FutureBlog chapter 8 by Pete Nicholls
Questions and a shock...
Welcome to chapter 8 of FutureBlog! When we last saw Sato, he woke in someone’s bed, deep into the Machine Levels. I know what you’re thinking: what’s a bed doing where only machines are allowed? Sato begins to ponder the mysteries he’s getting deeper and deeper into.
Apologies for the week off—Substack was having issues the night I usually post the chapter—I MEAN—Substack was having issues and Sato’s latest FutureBlog post did not make it back in time until a week later! ;)
22220913 posted by Sato Nakamoto
I'm not at all a fitful sleeper. My dad used to joke that I got it from my grandfather, also named Sato. I come from a line of them. I think I’m the fourth or fifth. You’d think that they’d have gotten tired of naming their sons “Sato.”
Apologies. Bad pun. Do you have puns all those years ago? Probably.
Honestly, I can sleep through quite loud noises if I'm expecting them, or rather, am used to them. When I was a child growing up in New Edin, the weather authorities experimented with letting it rain in order to lower the costs of cleaning the buildings (can’t have a utopian society with dirty buildings!). When the storm generators suffered a software glitch and created ten storm systems in a single day, turning off the generators didn’t stop the storms. So we all had to get used to ten storm systems quite literally bouncing into one another for the better part of a month. The first few days were torturous, but by the end of the second week I could sleep through the loudest thunder crash.
I don't know how active the night was back in the early twenty-first century, but now there is really no difference between night and day in regards to when people work. It's a twenty-four-hour-a-day society. Despite the lack of sunlight, you're just as likely to see people walking in the park at three in the morning as you are twelve hours later.
As I said, I don't sleep at all during the night if I can help it. I think it’s because the night is when I do my best investigating. I always feel like I should be doing something even at two in the morning. My grandfather used to tell me I was a “yorugata,” which was an old term from his grandparent’s home country back before the world was made up of domed cities around the world. The term means “night owl.” I keep meaning research what an owl is or was, but I keep having to do more important things.
Speaking of: the night after we got back from the M's, I was wiped out. From the next morning on, I had been laying low and taking it easy. I could have easily been killed down there and I wanted to get comfortable in my own skin before I went back down there. Arif even suggested it was traumatic.
That night, I could have sworn that mystery woman had come to me—as I slept—not to me in bed, or anything, but to my window and she potentially saved my life again. There's no walkway immediately outside my flat, but I heard a noise at around forty-past-two. I'm still not sure what it was, but when I opened my eyes, I saw a dark and strange shape at the foot of the bed. The shape slowly creeped around to the side of my bed and slowly toward me. The closer it got, the more terrified I felt. Just as it was about to touch my right hand, it dissolved into the shadows of my bedroom.
I decided that part was me seeing a trick of the light or perhaps I was asleep? When I glanced to my bedroom window, I saw her—the woman from below the M’s. Well, she was silhouetted—her body turned black in the security lights outside my flat.
As my very fatigued brain finished processing what I had seen, I sat up and turned on the light. Focusing on the window first, I saw no one there, just the open air and the pretty view down the way past a few very beautiful buildings and the traffic, of course. Turning my attention back to the room, I saw Ryca standing by the bedroom door, completely still, like a statue. She definitely gave me a start.
So much for her focus on protocol.
I still don’t know how she was able to save my life twice now.
Before I went back to sleep, I put on my robe and stepped outside my flat. I live on the edge of the building, hence my window with a view, so I peered around the corner from the walkway outside my flat and saw my bedroom window, ten meters above the window below it and ten meters below the window above it. There was no way a human could reach it without a scaling pod or some other climbing apparatus.
I was able to fall back asleep after a few hours. At one point I was so desperate, I thought about asking Ryca to sing me a lullaby. Not Arif, but some other friends often encourage me to get a prescription for sleepers but I simply am not a fan of consuming chemicals to solve my problems. They’ll only mask that something is wrong and the wrong thing will keep on, well, wronging.
No, thank you!
Perhaps I should just get a therapist. Especially after what I am about to detail next. It’s been so nice not thinking about this next part.
I woke one morning days after the trip to the M’s to find an e had arrived on my dev from my employer, the good Madame Chancellor, you remember her. We saw her on the subtrain. I opened the e-message to find that she had "invited" me (in quotes because it was clearly a demand) to attend a rather important dinner event that was being co-sponsored by both the Body Corporate and the Body Governance, our two most powerful political bodies.
The e was short and blunt and included something about her date for, some reason, “bailing” on her thus nominating me somehow as the replacement. Seems her date is is a member of the anti-terror body and they needed to work that night due to a lot of chatter coming in about the Nogoodnicks.
Of course, that night, from my perspective precisely then, was that night.
Even worse, there would be a horrible tragedy at the event and I'm afraid I don't have all the facts despite having been there and there being days since the bombing. The events of that evening were so very much chaotic and they remain that way in my mind. I'm afraid that I won't make the most sense if I try to explain everything to you now.
The short version of the story is that the Nogoodnicks struck at the dinner event Chancellor invited me to. There was an absolutely horrible explosion and something like fifty or sixty people are dead. We're not sure of the exact number of dead as many fell from the building. Scanning crews have been searching for bodies, but they're difficult to find.
Those bastards hit the dinner because it was filled to the rafters with the elite of New Angels City. The mayor, the governor, the CEO and the CFO, as well. One of them is dead and the other two are receiving critical care, which means they could be dead as I type this.
I lost Chancellor in the confusion. I tried contacting her but her dev wasn't accepting my e’s. My hopes for her health are low, currently.
Nearly the entire top floor of the City Conference Center was destroyed in the explosion. It was a miracle that it wasn’t the entirety of it. I can't imagine what the Nogoodnicks hope to accomplish by doing something horrible like this. In fact, I don't see how terrorism has ever been a viable alternative to diplomacy or peaceful protests.
This is simply horrible. There were flames everywhere…
We were lucky Critical Care Authorities were there as quickly as they were or more would have died on the spot.
It’s not like it happened yesterday, but I still feel like I just need some time… to gather my thoughts or continue gathering them and the facts. It’s awful to feel this way. I feel compelled to get out of my bed and investigate but I know my head just isn’t right. When you witness something like this first hand, it truly is a horrifying experience and I'm afraid my ears are still ringing and the faces of the dead and horribly injured have yet to leave my mind and…
She was there. I saw her in a window. No silhouette. No shadow. Just her, same athletic suit, same circuitry mask… she was there the night the Nogoodnicks struck.
The thought that she had something to do with the bombing did cross my mind. How could it not? It’s not like she’d been invited. So, why was she there? Though, if she saved my life that first time below the M’s, before Ryca had been assigned to me, I wonder why should would have taken part in a terrorist bombing of a public/private bodied event.
No, I am not ready to accept the possibility that she was part of it. Though, I can’t deny it either.
Thanks for reading! The next chapter will be out in 14 days! Yep, I am giving myself more time to edit the precious work I did years ago and to write some non-fiction (as in, not fiction) every other week (see ScriptDrPete.com and NerdyPete.net and all of my comics via Pete.ink to see what else I’m working on). I hope that you are enjoying this so far! Please, if you have thoughts on FutureBlog please let me know what you think via my contact page or just:
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