They woke in the afternoon, he found himself wondering why she had chosen that moment to seduce him, she could have done it any time from the minute she walked into his POD. Was it something he had said pushed her to a place she didn’t want to be? He asked her if she wanted toget up but she opted to stay in bed and watch the local news. Jay liked that humans were still consuming news , although he knew the real work was done by the AIs. He wondered too if the AIs were somehow connected to the attacks on his firewalls, but surely if it was them directly they would have very little issues breaking even his slightly modified defences. There were a lot of questions building up.
“The fifth and final habitat dome on the moon has been completed,”said a newscaster with perfect teeth. Behind her on the screen were two figures in spacesuits with giant scissors, cutting a red ribbon.
Abby nudged Jay with her elbow. “Maybe we should have a weekend trip, what do you say?”
He didn’t take his eyes from the screen. “Darling, you know it’s mostly military and resettlement. Why bother, when we could go straight to Mars? Wait, I want to hear this.”
The screen had shifted to the intergalactic relay, a technology so distant it appeared as only a silver blob against the black of space. “Top AI specialists have reported making contact,”the news reporter said, “but what exactly are they making contact with? Stay tuned for the full story.”
“They’ve been stalling for months,”Abby replied. “I think nothing’s really happening. Certainly nothing important. Intergalactic contact, finally. Something us monkeys would have taken millennia to do, I have to give the AIs credit for that.
The holo winked out. “Oh, wait keep it on,”Abby said. “I want to see the next item about the expansion cruisers.”
Jay turned the holo back on and the picture winked back into focus.
“I heard people died in suspension on Cruiser One,”Abby said. “Everyone is saying it’s because they rushed to meet launch day they didn’t get everything right.”She sat back down. Things like this really bothered her.
“I think that’s just speculation. You know how little real news we get. I don’t understand why the build and design process was so public, anyway.”Jay was constantly frustrated at the news, more importantly the fake news and lack of real news that you could trust in.
“Exactly, and not to mention the spectacle they made over the selection process for the luckypeople being chosen.”Abby suppressed a tirade of abuse. She hated the establishment but only yesterday had been on this same rant.
Jay crossed his arms. “I was really proud of the human race for taking such a bold step after the Atmos-Zone event. We took positive steps to ensure the human race had a chance to expand and survive beyond earth.”Jay sat and stared at the useless mini news stories that followed the cruiser segment. It was practically “Man Bites Dog”news, so controlled by political influence and ISEC censoring it was hardly worth watching. They both got their own news from what they believed to be more trusted and independent sources online.
“Yeah but it wasn’t humanity that did it, silly,”Abby said. “It was the AIs who made it possible for us to put people into suspended animation. It was the AIs that told us the new atmosphere they erected wouldn’t keep the sun’s radiation out forever. It was the AI’s that–” Abby stopped mid-sentence.”Hey, I have an idea.”She jumped up and padded over to her bag. “Upjacks. Totally pure, guaranteed not to give you a hangover. My neural implantwill be healed by now.”She touched the bruise on her temple and tried not to wince. She was cute, but he saw right through it.
“You know that I don’t have a neural implant for that. And I don’t like it enough to insert it manually.”Secretly he worried about her having gotten the implants in the first place, but her argument was that it was almost impossible to get a job or an apartment without them, and she was right. He struggled more and more without them, but the surgical teams who worked on his brain as a kid had always warned against it.
She looked hurt. “It’s no fun by myself.”
“Tell you what,”he said. “Let’s go out. We’ll have a long chat, maybe find some other jackers to chill with.”
“All right,”she said, and they dressed and hit the basement, she knew instinctively he would want to walk. Very few people walked anywhere on the streets these days. There was crap and rubble everywhere on the pavements. The roads themselves were not much better, cracks left unattended had become fissures with steam bellowing from them coming from deep within the earth somewhere. The smell wasn’t as bad as you would think but it had a distinct metallic scent which stuck in the back of your throat all day.
As they walked, Jay tried to think about what had gone wrong in his DNA manipulation the previous night and what he could do to correct it. Every time he got so close to what he knew was another person’s dream, something stopped him entering, pulling him into a dark void of unpleasant dreaming where he was totally out of control, which reminded him too much of his childhood dream, something he tried to forget. Abby’s hand slipped into his and he let her guide him along the darkened street while he slipped deeper into thought. Why had he been able to enter her dream but still even with all the work no one else’s. They key had to lie in that fact somewhere.