среда, 14 ноября 2012 г.


 Chapter I

The Day a Boy Got Disintegrated and Frozen

"Switch that damn thing off!" yelled Microsoft, entering the kitchen. "I wanna see the real street, not the flickering hologram."

Arone didn't even turn around. "It's not a hologram, it's a projection! It's same exact thing, just sunlit."  Breakfast was Arone's specialty, the only thing she ever made at home herself. She was handy with the Touch Cooker and dexterously moved pictures of eggs and bacon from side to side, cutting, mixing, adding salt, spices and whatnot.

Microsoft scowled at his partner and started tinkering with the consolidation panel himself. Arone looked at him and sighed. "Oh, for God's sake, Micro, you're impossible! When are you going to get the hang of it?" 
She tapped the 'cook' button and came up to him, slid the menu on the panel screen, tapped a couple of icons, and the window turned dark, revealing the twilight street outside.

"I hate it when you call me Micro, and you know it. Do you have to do this on purpose?"

"Well, I'm not gonna call you Mike, it's a girl's name!"

"It's not! I had relatives with the same name."

"Yeah, relatives living two hundred years ago. Micro, please," Arone opened the TC and breakfast slid out perfectly arranged on two shiny black plates. "I'm tired of fighting with you every morning over your bugging name!" 

"Well, if you call me Micro, I'll call you Macro."

"Oh, don't you dare!" She looked at him with eyes the size of the moon. Her sensor eyelashes spread and made her look like a life-size doll. She still looked stunning. Microsoft smiled at the sight. 

"What's so funny? Do you really think I'm fat?" she asked.

"No, my point is, I want to have a normal name, not the one of some ancient computer company, I'm sick of technology."

"Well, you don't mind the program-cooked eggs." Arone sat down and put a spoonful of her scrambled eggs into her mouth with a blissful groan.

"You don't want to cook them yourself, so, it's either this or starvation."

"I do cook them myself!"

"You click and slide pictures on the screen." Microsoft gave out an impatient sigh and got up. "Thank you. It was delicious."

He brushed her cheek with his lips and went to his room. Breakfast or no breakfast, he was never a morning person.

As he pulled his jeans out of his wardrobe, the familiar soothing music sounded from Arone's dressing room.

"Hate technology," he mumbled and slid his jeans on. 
He heard Arone swirl and spin on clothing platform; she was ready in 2 minutes. Microsoft was still buttoning up his shirt when the front door clicked closed. 

He went to the garage and patted his old R11. 
"I wish they'd left the roads untouched, babe. Sorry," he whispered and hopped into the LandHover that was standing next to it. The blue monster whizzed up and hovered out of the garage. 
Mike couldn't stand implanted mass media, so he turned on his built-in radio and moved two levels lower to the slowest lane to have a better look at the destruction works. It'd been 4 months since the new Transportation Law had come into force; it had eliminated the onland road network, leaving only the magnetic railways for trains. Mike's stomach twisted as he saw his beloved Roosevelt Street being torn apart. A cheerful female voice on the radio distracted him.

"The Global Corporation "Zenith Perpetual" finally permitted to use their brand for children's first names. Within just 8 hours since their public declaration the World's Birth Statistics registered 25 newly-born Zeniths, 45 ZeePees and 3 Zepers. According to President Celestro Rawotzki, that was to celebrate their first place in 'The World's Tech Top 10' this week."

"Oh, how nice!" said Mike out loud. "Isn't this adorable? ZeePee? Really?"

The car lit up yellow and made a warning sound, he slowed down. The new traffic light system was one of the very few things about technology Mike actually appreciated. He got distracted so often, that the whole light and signal thing really helped him out. Humming the commercial tune "You'll never miss the light", he pulled at a traffic pole. The car lit up red and beeped the stop signal. Meanwhile, the lively presenter was twittering about teleportals.

"3 cases of illegal teleporting were registered earlier today. Teenage boys hacked into the local teleporting system and programmed 3 fake teleporting licenses. Two of them were severely injured and were taken to the regeneration center, one boy is missing in the disintegration field..."

"Damn idiots," Mike rocketed up onto the speed lane as soon as the car light turned green.

"Ford Industries reported that their experts are doing their best to find..."

"Ya, right! Bet you can hardly find your weenie in your pants! Hacked into the fucking system! Can you, people, make anything right?"

"Zenith Perpetual is planning to launch their independent line of teleporting, promising a better and safer way to travel...."

"Oh, shut up!" Microsoft switched off the radio and ran his hand through his hair. Not that Ford Industries was any better than Zenith Perpetual, both were like fat octopuses sitting on top of the world and sucking money in, both were hi-teched to the teeth, but Microsoft had always had an inherent disgust for the ZP, especially for its arrogant schlump of a president. Besides, Microsoft worked at Ford Industries and considered himself rightful to hate its biggest rival on the tech market.

He maneuvered the LandHover into the parking space of a huge office building, and soon was climbing up the stairs. One of the key reasons he worked at Ford Industries was the stairs left intact inside the building.  All other companies had new buildings with only vacuum tubes or teleportals. Through the transparent walls he saw people spinning up the tubes and wondered whether the company would replace those last two by inhouse teleportals, the thought made him sick.

Feeling firm ground under his feet and sweet painful tension in his muscles was uplifting. He entered his office on the 25th floor with a contented smile to be met with the roaring voice of Adrian, who greeted him with a loud "Here comes the champ!" Microsoft walked over to Adrian's desk.

"So, did you hear about those technopsychos? The whole building is tiptoeing 'cuz the 100th floor is spitting gears and snapping at everyone," said Adrian.

"Of course he is. He should have listened to the Lab guys, they told him to leave it in the trial for another half a year. The man's just losing it."

"No wonder. ZP's rocking it, man! And now, if they launch that new teleporting line, people won't care who said "dibs" first, the Ford's days will be over."

"ZP's really pissing me off. I'm telling you, Ad, one day they'll enslave the world." Microsoft tapped nervously on the back of Adrian's chair.

"Oooh, big words, Softie. By the way," Adrian rolled his nano-sphere into a tiny ball between his palms. "The Old Hundred's granddaughter is one of the 45."

"What 45?"

"ZeePees!" Adrean opened his palms, the nano-sphere exploded into a glowing ball and hovered in the air. "She's been born today and called ZeePee. You know how they say 'awesome like ZP'? Well, Jenk from the Lab telepassed today that at her first school sports competition the granddaddy would cheer her with the words "Go Pee!" Ad threw himself back in his chair laughing. Mike snorted.

"That's big. Ok, I'm gonna get to work." He made a step, but halted. "Hey, Ad, so what's with the lost boy?"

"The one in the disintegration field?"


"Well, the Security Team is on it, so I heard. They think he mixed up the codes and wound up in a developing tunnel.  They are checking them in all directions, but you know, the field's huge, who knows how long it would take them. They froze it as soon as they got the error alarm. That's all I know, the big cool guys up there don't bother explaining things to us, humble servants." Adrian put his hand to his chest in a theatrical way.

"Any hope he'll be alive by then?" said Microsoft, ignoring the pantomime.

"Alive - probably, in one piece - not sure. Smells like law suit."

"Okay, thanks for the update."

Microsoftheaded for his table thinking about the boy. He had never teleported in his life and wondered how it felt like being frozen in a different dimension, disintegrated into tiny particles. He found himself hoping the tech-heads had managed to freeze the system in time. 

His table stood out in the office, as no one else's working space had pencils or paper. But Microsoft preferred to stick to the old ways. Pencil and paper gave him the inspiration that an interface designer needed. He would draw his ideas on paper first, put down calculations and only afterwards slide his hand across the table to turn on the surface screen. 
When he approached his working place, he frowned. The surface screen was glowing green. He tapped on the middle, and Ford's projection sprang up: "Mr. Microsoft Stevenson, see me in my office at 6:15 a.m." The image of the old man dispersed in the air.

"Creepy," Microsoft heard Adrian say. His colleague was standing behind him, staring at the space where the message had been. "Still can't get used to this dispersion app. What does the Old Hundred want with you?" 

"Don't know." Microsoft looked at the screen clock. 6:10. "Shit."

"What?" Adrian knitted his eyebrows.
"Have to take the damn vacuum tube!"

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