The Last Great Gasp (Chapter 1)

(These chapters are under re-construction.../sigh




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Jeremiah gazes blankly at the landscape behind M-1. He blinks and then glances at M-1’s sensor band and says, “Please follow me.” He turns and walks toward the south east corner of the platform.

There a series of brightly “painted” warning/activation lines cordon off three sequential squares; one inside the next: outside blue, second yellow, inside red. Each square is east and south justified on the platform. The lines are 60 centimeters wide and each square is separated from the previous line by one meter of the lawn green platform pavement.

Jeremiah stops on the blue line with both feet. M-1 halts just behind him puzzled (its sensor band a deep purple background slicing into ribbons which then transpose into a muddy-green background).

Jeremiah states firmly, loudly, “Sports access.” He then lifts his right foot and taps the blue line twice with the toe of his shoe, pauses, then places his toe back onto the blue line and stomps his heal.

Immediately, from just inside the red lines, a plasteel-glass elevator shoots upward so quickly it displaces a water puddle some seven meters further into the air.

Startled M-1 takes a step back. A moment later it recognizes its reflex reaction and laughs (pulsing medium blue background with white sparks and ribbons of gold; tiny splotches of green bleed through momentarily).

The water falls back to the top of the elevator grandly dispersing yet splashing no further than the yellow lines.

 “Isn’t that interesting?” M-1 says.

“This elevator doubles as a catapult for air diving competitions.”

M-1 studies the back of Jeremiah’s head (deep dark amber field, with orange and green ribbons, blooms of brown, grey, and purple) as what remains of the puddle settles on top of the elevator, or over the sides.

A panel begins to glow translucent blue. Two lines define its width as it detaches from the frame outward. This door slowly slides open. Jeremiah walks towards the opening, M-1 hesitates.

Shifting its weight to its right leg, bending the left, it crosses its arms akimbo on its chest. As it speaks it cocks its head towards Jeremiah, “And the SPB approved?”

Jeremiah takes another step inside the transparent elevator then fully turns to study M-1.

He removes the cowl from his head.

His hair is neatly trimmed dark brown; his eyes are only slightly rounder than the typical Asian almond shape, they are dark brown in color. He is clean shaven - with high cheek bones - and a brown sugar in cream complexion. “I’m not sure I understand your question.” He says. “The Social Protection Board is not obsessed with governing social safety; if that is your concern. Otherwise I assure you there are a number of reasonable safeguards in place. Anyone standing on top of this elevator when it triggers in this manner got there knowing exactly what they are doing.”

“What if there were people in the lift already?”

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