Plot: Flying hover cycles. Fiery mecha bots. BFs. After earth ends and re-population begins, two cKlone tweens get trapped outside of their safety pod hexagon by a fertility doctor who is out to snatch their souls.
“Proof?” Arik took a breath and held it. He checked his heart rate on his sleek wristband. The beat lowered as he inhaled. “That’s all we need, right? … Proof that the destination’s empty?”
“What are you so nervy about?” Flash fancied all assignments. Not every kid showed of gifted promise. Many were called to tend the farm fields. Some were called to service the androids that ran the machines. Others were lucky to be tested at all. But the worst thing that could happen to anyone in Hexagon––being banished.
“C’mon, we pass this … then we can practically pick our future. Trainees no more. A botanist. A techie. A surveyor. Or maybe even a cushion job … for you. Ha-ha. Just remember, whatever happens …” Flash pointed to a red arrow on his recycled cyber shirt and mouthed the printed words: “I’m B +.’”
Being an only cKlone child, Flash was left on his own often to abide by the rules.
Flash circled Arik on his hoverboard, stalking him.
“Me, nervous?” Arik checked his heart meter again. “No … I’m not nervous … not at all … nope.” Arik inhaled deep.
Now Flash Nelson, his hair was no longer than a #1 setting on a pair of dog clippers. He trimmed it himself, even though his two moms were happy to oblige. His moms spent their days working on a farm. One was a researcher, the other a techie. Repairing androids was preferred work. And the kid bowl cut was also the preferred mom specialty at home. So naturally, Flash took matters into his own six-fingered hands.
“Proof? Got it.” Flash jumped in the air––a complete back flip––and landed square on his board. Perfect. “A deal’s a deal-yo.”
Throughout their sector of Hexagon 1NE, Flash also had a reputation for his inquisitive, daring nature. One drab moonlit night, he leaped off his roof attempting to fly. Thankfully, it was only a single-storied home. And because it wasn’t a waste disposal night, the collapsible cans were directly under the porch to cushion his fall.
Lucky was right.
In the end, Flash claimed to officials that he was only sleep walking––some called it “sleep flying”––but wearing a superhero shirt and a red cape, too?
A blinding advertisement flashed on the side of a curvy building:
Hexagon 1NE … the pod to survive the dust-over.
The ad message rotated:
Hexagon 1NE … your pod to survive the next.
A few androids scaled the outside of skytowers. Horizontally and vertically. They worked to keep them shiny. Some were half bodied androids with tractor wheels. Others were full android robots with two legs.
The difference between an android and people? The hair. Androids weren’t designed to grow any, not even eyebrows. Most were bald. While others like household androids, their heads and faces were painted to resemble real hair and make them look friendlier. Some even wore press-on wigs.
All androids were programmed to smile.
All androids were programmed to serve.
Flash powered his hoverboard forward.
Roads were perfectly paved and curbs were cobble stoned and leveled according to the latest regulations for the disabled. One could charge a hover cycle at the drive-thru window of a five-star restaurant. Even crosswalks were equipped with artificial intelligence to aid the impaired. Sensors could scan a walker’s vital signs and adjust crossing times for the pokey.
Or in Arik’s case, the nervous, increased-heart-racing kind.
As they approached the intersection, a streetlight flashed a red hand. A voice-activated computer spoke, “YOU MAY CROSS SAFELY IN TWENTY SECONDS.” It counted backwards, “19 … 18 …”
Flash pulled something out of his front pocket, which unfolded on touch. He placed a clear, thin mask over his eyes.
“Wait, you’re gonna VR now?”
“Sure, why not,” Flash replied. “Virtual Reality is more real. Real skies. Real outdoors. How cool it must’ve been … I’m riding an old western horse right now. I’m in the wild.” He stroked his hands in the air as if petting something.
“Shhh, that’s crazy talk.”
A service android at a nearby retail kiosk stocked shelves. Its upper body resembled a human cKlone, but down below, it zipped about like a toy crane on wheels.
“The real outdoors … that’ll be me someday. Not stuck here in a bubble.” Flash dipped his VR mask.
Two adults walked past them, their faces glued to holo-devices. A pop-up cushion automatically re-directed one of the adults before crashing into the kiosk.
“See, Arik.” Flash made his point. “We’re all becoming walking machines. Don’t you ever wonder about it?”
“Outdoor fairytales? … That’s kid stuff. ” Arik thought the idea was ridiculous. Inside of Hexagon 1NE it was safe. Safe from dust-overs. Safe from the blinding sun. It was all they’ve ever known.
“5 … 4 … 3 …” the streetlight voice finished counting down and flashed green. “Beep! You may safely cross.”
Flash folded his VR mask and shoved it in a zip pocket. As he powered his hoverboard into the cross walk, an alarming tone sounded.
“STOP! Violation ALERT!” The voice spoke firmly, “Please dismount your device and proceed safely to your destination. Smile for the camera. Thank you.”
A flashing light flickered from above. A camera snapped a violation picture of Flash using the board in a crosswalk zone.
“Ugggg,” Flash moaned. This wasn’t the first time he had violated traffic procedures. “Bum, that’ll cost a sugar serving or two, all right.”
Sugar. The body needs it to survive. During digestion, all food carbohydrates break down into simple sugars to form energy. But after decades of dependency on artificial fructose, the body’s metabolism had shut down. Natural sugar––much like natural anything––became harder to farm, harder to grow after the world’s dust-over.
And humans (yes, even the genetically engineered cKlone kind) need natural sugar to survive.
It’s what the NOW coveted.
Arik and Flash’s first real assignment––an intel exercise for sugar. In other words, they were spying. And being discreet was everything.
Flash stepped off his board and summoned it to his hands. It responded in a SNAP. He pressed a button and the hoverboard folded itself several times until it fit in the palm of his hand. Then, he shoved it into the same zip pocket.
Arik smirked at Flash’s cool gadgets.
“Even with us going out on watches, we’re the ones being watched,” Flash moaned. “Let’s go. We’re on camera. Say CHEESE.” He adjusted his pants, properly, and tucked in his cyber shirt. “Good thing them cameras can’t hear us either.”
The streetlights turned green, perfectly in sync. Their greenness faded into a haze of gray down the skyscraper avenue. A hallmark of similarity.
The only oddity in Hexagon 1NE was a stone house at the tip-top sector of the metro. It stood out amongst glassy towers and cylindrical buildings like a frozen snowdroid in the desert. The house––built of flint and cobble and slate––was the most crooked of houses. In some places, the roof slanted a perfect 90°, or for you non-mathematical people, that’s perpendicular to the ground.
No one ever dared journey to the northern point of the Hexagon 1NE.
No one wanted to know what lurked behind the dense, black ivy and wrought iron gates that surrounded the non-symmetrical house.
No one, that was, except for Arik and Flash.
>>Stay Tuned for the next chapter 03