Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Document Type



In the aftermath of a worldwide war, the planet Xica is split into small pockets of humanoid civilization. One pocket is a divided abandoned military compound. Beyond the wall is the Outer Rim where people are free yet violence is rampant. Within the wall is the state of Sheol whose inhabitants are drugged and have few choices. Sheol’s ruler, Jared, conducts an experiment where children are raised without physical contact in the Complex at the center of the city. One boy, Zahid, escapes from the Complex and meets other children; Nick in Sheol and Alexandra in the Outer Rim. Together, they find the fortress by the ocean, Sheruwth, and are accepted into the community where they make friends and learn skills. Meanwhile Jared searches, thinking that Zahid has been kidnapped. Nick becomes jealous and returns to the Complex telling Jared where to find Zahid. Jared’s attempts to bring Zahid back fails and he arranges an accident for Ellen, the woman who helped Zahid escape from the Complex. Nick escapes and finds Ellen severely wounded. She dies in Sheruwth. The children deal with grief, forgiveness, and guilt. Zahid proposes a plan to return to the Complex and free the other children while secretly harboring a desire to kill Jared. Some people from Sheruwth agree to go with him and the plan is set into motion. Once there, Zahid confronts Jared, and then at the last second, decides not to kill him, seeing him for the pathetic creature he is. Instead, Zahid debunks Jared’s deified status in Sheol. The drugs are destroyed and the inhabitants are given the chance to leave Sheol. The children of the Complex are freed, although some decide to stay. Ten years later, Zahid has his own family and a teaching job that he loves. Jared sends word, asking for Zahid to visit him. The former ruler has lived in isolation for the past nine years, deserted by all except for his assistant. Zahid offers hope to Jared.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Moira Crone