Monthly Archives: July 2017

Didn’t finish a chapter in time #7

So I’ve been crazy busy the last few weeks. Was kind of surprised that I actually got a Leesandra out, not last week, the week before. I managed to get that Harriotskelli Plays out, but to be honest Quake Champions wasn’t anything exciting so making that was actually hard work. Most of the other videos I make I actually have fun making, but it can’t all be fun and games.

 

My next few #Video_Goals are some highlights and probably Dawn of War, but should also be picking up Elite Dangerous soon which will be jammed with the lads.

 

Of course I am working on the first part of Whiskey’s story at the same time. Which I’ve now named (spoiler) Sour Blood by the way (let me know how you feel about that). As well as trying to fit in time for Leesandra.

 

I have a bit on my plate when it comes to all that, not to mention my actual every day job which will come first even if it wasn’t the only thing paying my bills. Talking about my actual job, they sent me to Australia for a day this week for a conference. I know I’m becoming an adult because I actually feel like I got something out of it and it was all about about my work.

 

During my time there I had a little inspiration of the Science Fiction variety though. In normal circumstances this would help me write for Leesandra, but this is for a more contemporary timeline.

 

*

 

I exited the airport into the cold, it bit into my fingers and arms like wolf that had been gnawing on snow all morning. Even though I knew I’d be flying from summer into winter I could never have packed for this. New Zealand’s cold was different from the mid-west, it was the Antarctic wind.

 

Trying in vain to keep myself warm I pulled my sweater up over my nose. At least it stopped my teeth from chattering. I pulled my phone from my pocket, instantly regretting it as another gust picked up. A black electric car pulled up in front of me and it’s back door opened. I hadn’t called a car but I knew it was coming.

 

The personal concierge app had connected to the in-flight wifi and ordered a ride, the plane would have given up it’s flight details on request. Knowing that I hadn’t made any calls or received any emails regarding my travel arrangements it prompted me while I was catching up on a Netflix show. I had instinctively pressed yes.

 

I got into the self driving car, the leather seats were softer than i was expecting leaving me both comfortable but uncomfortable at the same time. There were no front seats, this was still jarring as right up until my teens I can remember my parents sitting there in front of the wheel.

 

The door closed as I pushed in my seat-belt. I barely noticed as it slowly pulled away from the curb. My phone buzzed in my pocket and I winced thinking about how cold it was the last time i took my hands out of my pockets. Shaking off the unreasonable fear, I slid out my hand holding my phone and looked at it.

 

The screen was on but black except for an alert.

 

‘Would you like to book a hotel for your stay?’ It has already checked my emails and found my return date. I pressed ‘Yes’ and the screen went black again. It would have already set up the booking, single room, higher than the third floor and a bar of dark chocolate waiting for me. Just how I liked it.

 

I looked out the window of the car into the cloudy sky. We passed a couple of old street signs giving rough distances and speed limits. It dawned on me that I hadn’t seen any billboards since I departed the airport.

 

Fumbling at my pockets again I dragged my phone out from the depths and held down the main button.

 

“Why are there no billboards?” I asked out loud.

“Checking…” My phone responded with the voice of Mufasa, just as I had set up. “The Anti-Advertising bill of…” There was a loud honk from a car next to me, damn human drivers. “… In simple terms has disallowed all signposting in publicly accessible areas. This bill was met with multiple protests from both major business entities but also small…”

“Yeah, that’s enough.” I said as I stuffed it back in my pocket.

 

The rest of the drive was quiet. The car slowed to a stop outside of the Hotel that was booked for me. I climbed out and it took off just as smoothly as it arrived. I looked down the street. It seemed so bare without posters and billboards. Then I noticed the green, there was flowerbeds and trees every few metres.

 

Wind hit me again. I shuddered as though my soul had left my body. I need a jacket.

 

I pulled my sweater up over my mouth again and took off down the street.

 

“I see…” I said, talking to myself “They are allowed to have their store signage up.” I had spotted a men’s clothing shop. The door was closed but the lights were on. I pushed on the door and let myself in, warm dry air washing over me revitalizing my senses.

 

“Welcome, how can I help you?” I turned up towards the greeter, for a few short moments I would have sworn, that this store was managed by a human being. Eventually I could see that the gentle and kind face that I saw was not organic. There was always something about the texture of the skin that didn’t look right, even when it’s made to seem like they’re wearing make up. “Would you like to see our winter collection?”

 

“Yes, thank you.” I responded looking about the store. It was about the size of a large wardrobe. The walls were covered in posters with different male models wearing the clothing brand. The greeter stood behind a semi-translucent white plastic desk.

 

I walked up to the desk, the top of it had lit up and was now displaying the stores logo twisting around slowly. The greeter tapped their hand on the desk and it faded to another screen, a catalog of winter clothing. “Just a jacket please.”

 

“Sure thing.” The greeter acknowledged and the screen changed again, now displaying several styles of jacket as worn by pale torso. It was using my exact measurements to create this body double

 

“Bring that one up.” I pointed to one that would have come down past my hips.

“This is our Ram’s Head jacket, made from synthetic Merino wool, no animals were exploited to create this item.”

“I’ll take it.”

 

“Please wait a moment while we find one in your size.” The greeter walked, no, glided away out to the back room. They weren’t going to search for my size out back, that was just something all store robots say. Right now they were probably standing in front of a small machine that was chugging away at synthesizing my order. Generating the wool from a fluid pumped into the top and weaving it into the brands trademarked ‘Ram’s Head’ jacket.

 

I would know, I used to run maintenance on those machines.

 

For some reason I suddenly remembered a random out of context memory from my childhood. It all a blur except the sound of my father voice. He was talking to someone on the street, they were holding a sign, I don’t know what it said but I can guess.

 

“Machines won’t ever replace me. They could never do the kind of work that I do.”

 

I think that was only two years before the last car repair closed it’s doors. I can remember that year a bit better it would have been the same year that the United Nations bill of human rights was updated to include a living wage.

 

“Here is your jacket sir. Have a nice day.” The greeter smiled at me

“Thank you.” I took the clothing out of her hands and I smiled back. I pulled on the jacket and stepped outside without hesitation.

 

The year after I quit my maintenance job was the same year that currency was abolished. What could money mean when every task worth doing could be done for free.

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Leesandra 17

Harold’s office was right next to the external bulkheads of one of the ending rotational rings. There was some redundant maintenance space between his office wall and the actual external panels, so the floor to ceiling windows behind his desk didn’t display outside. Instead a simulation of late twentieth-century New York city. Not that he would have wanted to see outside, the very idea that he was spinning made him a little queasy sometimes.

 

His desk was made from a synthetic carved wood of a dark brown colour, the colour could be changed but Harold left it the default look. He sat down at the desk, the window behind him and cast a slow sweeping gaze over his office. The walls were clinically white and partially covered by book shelves, art pieces and certificates of achievements.

 

It was all fake. The book shelves didn’t have any books in them, just coloured blocks stacked up to look like them. The paintings were digital reproductions of old Earth landscapes. He never went to College and none of the achievement’s he was actually proud of would have produced a certificate. It was all just decoration, to make one feel like they were back on Earth.

 

“Fucking fighting to get back in the womb.” He muttered under his breath. Harold raised his hands over his desk initializing his HUD to use it as a textile surface. White grid lines appeared separating segments of the desk into simulated displays. Only he saw this, it was generated by his Kyber systems and just overlaying his own perception. He tapped on the desk where the lines formed a keyboard, each segment lighting up as he did so.

 

“Call coming in from Gerald Cooper, do you wish to accept.” His Kyber systems alerted him in the same robotic tone that CAL had chosen. Above the keyboard segment of his desk another segment flashed white notifying him of the same call. If he left the call ringing that segment would eventually expand to be the length of the keyboard section but not covering it. He pressed on the flashing piece begrudgingly.

 

“Harold. I’ve had the board of spaceport operations in an out of my office for the last five hours. What can you tell me?” Gerald’s personal avatar appeared as an image on the desk. It was a small cartoon ghost with a huge smile.

“CAL isn’t a toaster Gerald, you can’t just tip them upside down to get the crumbs.”

“You designed her Harold.”

“No Gerald, me and fifteen other people designed the foundation of the programming. CAL has evolved and will continue to evolve. This is going to take longer than a day to find out what happened. And even longer to fix it.”

“What do you need?”

“Well if you could get me back at least five of the fifteen…”

“You know that’s not going to happen.”

“Then give me time! Alright?”

“Fine, but we want constant updates.”

 

The call cut out and Gerald’s avatar faded out, returning to the series of grid lines.

“Do you think he bought it?” Harold was mildly surprised for a moment wondering why his internal systems would ask that, then he realized.

“Of course, why would he not believe me? I’ve given no reason for him to suspect me and there are fourteen other people who could have done this.”

“Still, seems like an unnecessary risk. Sticking around.”
“We’ll if you hadn’t got that girl ejected we wouldn’t have this problem.”

“She’s important.”

“How is a HUD-phobic girl important CAL? And where did she even go?”

“All life is important. Our friends picked her up.”

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