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[ Eastern-Sector, 4th Quadrant, North America | September 2196 ]

"So, did you get a good POD?”

     "Excuse me?” She blinked (with that peculiar wrinkle in her nose, he would come to love) and squinted over the thin rimless-glasses to look at him, for the first time; “I’m sorry, where you speaking to me?” Her deep-brown eyes fluttered  inquisitively.

     She had been fixated on her new ‘Comm’, an i640-A, even better than Michio’s, enchanted with the 20-zp screen that her brother swore she needed.  He was right, it’s so cool – all she need do is stare at one portion of the ZED screen to activate the bouncing hologram. Her brother hacked it in after purchasing it (surely from the ‘ZionX’ black web, which was free if you knew how, since he could barely afford the monthly e-charge for his housing-unit and drone. A pink furry (as big-around as her fist), with a fluffy crimson tail and the cutest purple nose now floated inches above her Comm.  Hmph, she snorted – Crimson and purple, his University Colors, he always found a way to rub it in.  Win one stupid “All-Sector” Championship and you’re Elite?

    “I was just wondering, if you were able to get a good room for the trip?  I guess technically, they’re all good, if you consider the view and the arrangement - of course, the Class…”

     “My room’s fine. Thank you.” she continued sharply, then softening a bit as she met the sparkle of green in his eyes, partially concealed by handfuls of deeply-rich crescent-shaped black-locks, that would shift and sway gracefully with the movement of his words, and the changing of his gaze.

   “I’m on Business-Travel so, nothing fancy this trip;  Corporate-Sponsored Utilitarianism, I suppose.” she ended, lowering her gaze back to her Comm and it’s dancing hologram. As the pink ball of glowing fur begins to spin and morph into an ad for e-Drama’s and Acai Berry Ice-sodas, she sighs and pokes lazily at the ghosted figures, swiping ads right and left as she increased her ‘cookie-count’, and outwardly moans at the thought of even more junk-grams.

     Michael continues, never shifting his gaze from her warm-bronze skin, and shiny black hair, which lay gracefully upon her shoulders as she tilts her head and smirks at her Comm. Sitting there, in the harsh-white light of the transport, he breathed her in; Jasmine, Sandalwood, and warm Vanilla.


     “So what do you do, for a living I mean? Can I guess?  A Chef, in a Sector-Class Restaurant? Or maybe and Artist…”

     “I’m an Engineer.” She interrupts, shifting her gaze to meet his. “And you, what do you do? Oh, let me guess; You hang around Space-Lyft ticket-offices, trying to lure young professionals into ‘Off-Terra’ Time-Share’s.  Did I get it right?  she beamed sarcastically with exaggeratingly pouted-lips, slightly tilting her head like an inquisitive pooch and then just as quickly again, back to her vibrating lap and glowing Comm.

     “Johnathan, yes I’m here.  Yes, I’m at the terminal now, Business-Class.  My first time… Yes, that’s right. I’ll check-in with the Project-Lead as soon as I’m on site.  Yes, thank you again – I hope to enjoy the view as well.” And with that, the glowing-orb of her Corporate logo spins and morphs-into the shimmering-blue Earth, properly axial-tilted, with the 3D text above reading, ‘Please dismiss to accept and return to EarthNet!  Your GLOBAL Net-Solutions Provider!’  She reaches out a stiff and exaggerated finger to poke at it (roughly about the Indian Ocean), watching it explode into a million tiny digital shards, that would  pause at the orbs invisible boundary, only to collapse back onto itself and into its original planetary form. 


     As it returns to shape, the glowing blue Earth begins to fade away to bright-Crimson thick block lettering that pulsated like an ancient and angry neon-sign; "Welcome to LL-3!" and then smaller now translucent lettering; Please remain in your POD.


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|  a short story by Mark Wilson  |


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