At the height of the terrible war that had devastated the planet, a few thousand of the population's children had been selected for their genetic superiority and brought into the City of Domes. Their lives were controlled by the master computer, ticking off every minute until they reached Thirty and faced Carousel, as a form of population control to ensure that the resources within the City could be maintained.
Not wanting to risk everything on a computer, the city builders also set up a small council of elders, men and women who were allowed to live beyond Carousel to oversee the City and make decisions that were beyond the capability of the computer. The rest of Earth's population were left to fend for themselves or die in the radiation ravaged world outside.
Over time, the Council of Elders had begun to relish their position within the Domes, not wanting to see either their power or the genetic perfection of the Dome dwellers diluted by outside influence even though they knew the air outside was no longer toxic. Logan was the first Sandman to run and for that reason alone, they could not afford to let him live. They needed to bring him back to face Carousel and so dissuade others from running. They needed him back so they could brain wash him into perpetuating their lies by denying the existence of any form of Sanctuary existing beyond the Domes except for death.
Four years had passed and he was still a free man - slowly becoming a legend that was whispered in the corridors of the City according to those who had come much later.
Logan stirred the remnants of the communal fire and thought of the ever-rising number of people surrounding him. In the beginning it had been only him and Jessica, running from the City of Domes with the certain knowledge that the elders could not afford to allow him to escape. It had taken him over a year of running before he realized that Sanctuary was not some particular place waiting for him and Jessica, a haven overflowing with milk and honey like some promised land. Sanctuary was any place outside of the influence of the Domes and its rulers.
He thought about the man whom he had once considered his best friend. Francis had taken on the role of pursuer after Logan became a runner, and it was not until David joined them that he discovered why Francis had turned on him. Silently, he wondered if Francis had gained what he wanted most - that coveted place on the Council of Elders - or if his failure to recapture him had condemned Francis to the next Carousel.
Logan felt a hand drop onto his shoulder and he glanced up at the man who had become one of his most trusted friends. He had been wary when David 12 first joined them, having been betrayed once before by a Sandman pretending to be a runner, recalling Hal 14 who had almost succeeded in luring them back to the City of Domes before they discovered his ruse. However, David had proved himself time and time again over the years as they thwarted all attempts by Francis to bring them back to the City to face Carousel. Those years had been long and arduous, and the road difficult and filled with danger, especially when their numbers began to swell with the arrival of more runners, but there had been no sign of pursuit for many months now.
When David stumbled across this fertile valley several months earlier, they decided that this would be the place where they would start anew. It had taken weeks to build the small village, with more of the small huts erected each passing day, but there was plenty of water here and plenty of arable land and potential livestock.
The trickle of runners had grown after David followed in Logan's footsteps, with many seeing the run of a second Sandman as a sign to risk their eternal lives and run too. A few had returned to the City of Domes, unable to face the hardship of life outside, and Logan knew not of their fate. He could only hope they were spared immediate Carousel and allowed to live out their thirty year lifespan, but it seemed unlikely.
The majority had stayed though, willing to face the hardships and create real lives.
A small cry cut through the silence of the chilled night air, and Logan stood up in both fear and awe. Rem, the android who had befriended him from the outset, walked from the home Logan had built in this fertile valley. In his hands he held a new life, one of the first who would not see their life flicker away in the ever-changing colors of the palm crystal: Logan's child with Jessica.
"It's a boy," stated Rem, face almost alive with pride. Once again Logan thanked the day that they had found Rem, unsure how any of them could have survived without his teaching and his knowledge of medicines.
Hesitantly Logan accepted the newborn child into his arms. As he looked down into the tiny face of his first born child, a rush of fear and elation so strong hit him so hard that he felt as giddy as if he'd drunk too much honey wine. He was caught by an almost overwhelming love for both the small child and his mother, for Jessica; his knees giving out beneath him. David's strong hands caught at him, helping to lower him down safely to the ground with the baby still held fast in his arms.
"What will you call him?" asked David as he leaned over to look in awe at the perfect features, at a sight that had not been allowed within the City of Domes.
David frowned in confusion, and Logan could understand because Francis had caused them all so much pain and anguish over the past years. "Why?"
Logan looked deep into David's green eyes and smiled, realizing that this moment had brought him to the end of one journey and the start of a new one.
"Because the name means free, and it's time for someone with that name to truly live its meaning."