Working as a Counter was mindless, ten hours a day of numerical transcription with no idea what purpose it served, but stressful. Each row of ten Counters was assigned a Watcher to monitor their progress, each station was equipped with a flashing light to alert the Watcher of any mistakes made at that station, any Counter who triggered their light would be charged with treason against the Empire. With that in mind, your typical Counter would have overly dexterous fingers and a mind capable of transcendental meditation.
Ezmerel was not your typical Counter. As he worked his fingers shook slightly, each digit requiring his total attention. For years Ezmerel had almost enjoyed this tedium, it allowed him to continue not thinking about other things and filled up a lot of time he did not want for himself on the typical day.
Today was not a typical day. Ezmerel could not stop his mind from wandering. A few times he found himself sitting motionless, staring off into space without working at all. His production was dangerously slow. If he did not finish his workload for the day he would be charged with treason against the Empire. After each lapse he would work dangerously fast to regain his pace. His forehead and upperlip greased with nervous sweat, his breathing loud and troubled, Ezmerel could sense his Watcher standing not a foot away, could feel his stare, and he did not like what he was seeing.