Raze

Corey Dale-Gardener


Chapter II: Demography of Lives

APRIL 4, 2124, 5:31pm — SYSTEMS AUTHORITY HEADQUARTERS, PANILAY, COR HYDRAE

One of the largest buildings within the capitol was SSA Headquarters. It is not only home to the Vast Trade Collectives top law enforcers and investigators, but also the Vast Cubix’ most established and secure penitentiary to the galaxies well-known and notorious criminals; many of whom are from all over Cor Hydrae itself.

One of SSA Headquarters recognizable features is the Black Pillar; a near forty story high tower built entirely of black, one-sided glass placed in the centre of the prison. It serves as a lookout tower for each and every cell and prisoner, and in part, makes them believe that there is always a guard watching them from the other side.

Two Vauna psychologists that devised a way to influence obedience from the prisoners, having them believe that their every move, every action, and every word spoken, was watched, formed the architectural design for the Black Pillar. It was proven to work with an increase in eighty-nine per cent of prisoners documented in behaving satisfactorily. Little do many know, there are only three guards monitoring the entire tower. Rarely would there be three. Most of the time there is just one guard on the tower, and they’re not even organic — they’re automations. But as most SSA officers believe, no one needs to know that. It formulated a solution, and the SSA continued to use it. An effective strategy that made Systems Authority’s job easier than what it had to be.

In all the years Systems Authority’s presence has been active, there have only been five Chiefs of Systems Authority. Jackal Holyion — a Lugrathon- currently holds the title of Chief, wielding the high-ranking position among the Vast Trade that was taken on by the privileged and determined Chiefs before him. The title of Chief of Systems Authority is not a position simply handed over to the Deputy-Chiefs and Commanders that work to gain it. Not like the Confederations ranking procedures, where titles and honours are handed over as if they are dogs performing tricks for treats.

Among the hundreds of people roaming and rushing about through the courtyard below, one high-pitched voice could be heard even over the shuttle engines, e-board advertisements and mummers of nearly even person walking the streets in a four-block radius. The unbearable screech of the teenage human boys arguing and reassurances kept Kenisa thinking her ears would bleed out uncontrollably and that her brain would drain out with it. Even as the kid was inside the backseat of her SSA shuttle, people hustling by could swear that there was a pack of Guiltaby hatchlings in there instead of a petty, teenage criminal. Or so he thinks he is.

Kenisa walked around from the driver’s seat and found herself at the backseat door, where Loz’s oily face has itself planted on the glass, with pledges so enticing to her, it seemed he would have been a better forger or shifty merchant then as a shabby thief.

“Pleeeease K!” Loz implored, his voice becoming louder as Kenisa slid the door across. “This is all just a misunderstanding!”

Kenisa grabbed his black ponytail, pulling him out of the shuttle. “A misunderstanding, huh?” she questioned, pulling his dirty face closer to her scaled, reptilian grimace. “You think destroying public property in-front of hundreds of people is a misunderstanding? And pick pocketing innocent civilians is a misunderstanding? Is it a misunderstanding just like the last dozen times I’ve caught you committing some fucking crime around here this past week?”

Loz stood silent, staring at her with a mind running over snappy comebacks and excuses that he always tends to have. His silenced eased the pain on Kenisa’s ear cavities for the time been.

“Yeah, I thought so.”

Kenisa pushed Loz forward, grasping onto his narrow arms wrapped tightly behind his back. She didn’t know whether his voice was more enduring than the stench that discharged from him. ‘Fuck, this stench is unbearable!’ she thought, making her way towards the stairs towards the reception desk. ‘This is a job for a corporal or an officer, not a fucking lieutenant.’

“Look, K-” Loz said with a calm and collected tone, Kenisa knew he had clearly thought up of a good enough excuse to get her to let him off the hook.

“It’s Lieutenant to you, Loz.” Kenisa replied, glancing at him with objection. Loz looked to the ground, hesitant to even glance back at her. “Just because I’m the only fucking person on Cor Hydrae that always seems to catch you and bring you in, doesn’t give you the right to call me whatever the hell you want.”

“Sorry…” Loz moaned. Kenisa and Loz made way to the stairs, climbing with what seemed to Kenisa as forever with him. “It’s just- I’ve got no-one. I’ve gotta do what’s best for me, you know?” Kenisa caught his distress as they came closer to the glass doors. She felt some form of similarity between him and herself. Her earliest memory was her encounters with those struggling on the streets and those that turned to a life of crime just to earn a few credenzas’ to quench their hunger and thirst. She grew up on the streets, just as Loz did- and even being born on Cor Hydrae like Loz was, and still is, hard.

Kenisa’s only memories were of her petty crimes to fetch a few chits to pay for a burnt piece of limbernut bread, whether that be pick pocketing, whoring the streets or robbing and all the likes — she had been in the same situation Loz was in. And she felt sorry for him. Not only because of the circumstances he finds himself in, but also because of whom he is — a human. Even as she was growing up, Kenisa found slight acceptance and common generosity by pedestrians that walked by her every day. That in part, was thanks to her being a Lugrathon.

Humans on the other hand, have struggled to integrate within the Vast Trade Collective since entering nearly twenty years ago. They may have rapidly come accustom to the Vast Trade Collectives language — gamut parlance — and steadily formed common ground with their military force, the Confederation and the Vast Trade’s, Systems Authority. But with experience, Kenisa has unwillingly noticed their everlasting need for acceptance, and their demanding attitude for higher authority. They have got their seat on the Vast Trade Council, privileges that are rejected to handfuls of races, but they still want more.

“I know. Everyone’s gotta do what’s best for them.” Kenisa said, coming up to the glass doors. “But what you’re doing isn’t going to help you in the long run, Loz.” She didn’t know if that were a truth or a lie. The doors slid open in a second, opening up to the colossal, arc shaped reception hall, with doors in every direction that lead to hundreds of offices and interrogation rooms, among others.

“It’s not gonna matter if I’m found dead on the street of starvation, or rape, or being bashed to death…” Loz argued, raising his voice louder and louder as the officers walking the hall nodded and shouted comradely remarks to Kenisa. “I’m doing what’s best for me NOW! It’s not that easy to just sit there and wait for the high-sentinels to lay everything out on a Teluskian-made table for me and feed me until I’m as fat as a Zrutan!”

Kenisa made it look as if she couldn’t give two shindai’s about what he was saying, posing in the hardened and professional ways those around her have come to respect about her. But deep down, she really cared for Loz and what he had to say. It’s all about the now, not what’s to come in the future.

Loz continued to ramble on as Kenisa pushed and shoved at him towards the elevators, babbling on about bathrooms and defecating on sidewalks and scary homeless people. Or was it all a part of the same story? ‘How the hell did this get onto him shitting on sidewalks and homeless people?’ Kenisa thought, slightly picturing it, hoping to forget the sight soon enough. ‘I really do feel sorry for him though. He hasn’t had a place to call home, or anyone to tell him to behave in a specific way. He’s just learnt everything he’s seen on the streets. It all natural to him… Just as it was to me, I guess.’

With Loz’s unbearable shrills of desperation, voices over intercoms shouting out orders & requesting presences of officers and majors, intercoms buzzing louder than unwired automations and cries of pleas from victims alike -all of which bombarded Kenisa’s ears at once- gave her head spins. Once she saw the fifth elevator on the right down to the detention cells, she couldn’t help but rush forward in her peaked leather biker boots to avoid any form of interaction with anyone else in the elevator. Loz was quite enough for that long trip down.

Kenisa lead Loz into the elevator. She let her grip go of him, where the magnetized bars in the elevator pulled Loz’s handcuffs into them, securing him in an uncomfortable position where his shoulders dragged to the left covering half his face. Kenisa placed her palm on her forehead, thanking the high-sentinels for quiet elevators… Then Loz continued.

“Do we really have to do this again? I swear, I won’t steal or destroy anything ever again.” Loz said. Kenisa sighed heavily, rolling her eyes.

“Ju-just stop, Loz!” Kenisa shouted. She placed her palm back on her forehead. “I already feel bad enough that I have to write you down in the system… again.” the elevator fell silent, with only the chiming of the cheap elevator music playing.

Loz continued… again. “Maybe you could just let me off with a warning?” Loz responded with a tiny glimpse of hope that Kenisa may just do it. Kenisa glared at him as sharp as an edge of a blade.

“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” Loz whimpered like a Ozile pup as Kenisa lunged towards him. Kenisa moved back towards the railing, giving Loz time to recuperate his puny strength.

“It would just be so much simpler!” Loz said, tilting his head back to catch a glimpse through the elevator window of the descend down to the base of the Black Pillar.

“Life’s not that simple, Loz.” Kenisa advised. “I can’t just give you a get-out-of-jail-free card and let you waltz out of here unpunished. Life isn’t that simple, it never has been, and it never will be.” Kenisa moved closer to Loz, craning her head to the right nearing his left ear. “Some see life as a game. You’ve got the ones playing on the easiest difficulty, those on medium, those on hard… then there’s you and I. Stuck on insanity, barely able to make it past the tutorial. You and I both know that life is no game.”

Loz became relaxed. His eyes heavy and his lips pursed. “No. It’s no game. It’s a test. A demography of lives, its all part of the plan.”

Kenisa turned to face the elevator doors, rolling her eyes and biting her lip. ‘All this religious crap again.’ Kenisa dreaded the talk about beings watching over us and planning our every encounter. It’s being talked about over the Net for a few months now, with thousands of people flocking to the High-Sentinel religion and devoting their life to the so-called Vessels of the Sentinels— those who claim they have come into contact with the higher lords and proclaimed them speakers of their cause.

The elevator reached the bottom floors. Once the doors opened, Loz’s cuffs were released from the bars beside him, allowing him to stretch his arms and crack his shoulders back into place. Before Loz could even react, two eight-foot tall Sunkin guards grabbed him by the arms and dragged him into the black-marbled circular room that revolved around the Black Pillar.

Loz began shouting, crying out demands that wouldn’t come, and shouting out about the pain the guards were causing him holding him by the arms like they were. Kenisa followed behind the guards, examining all the other petty criminals in their detention cells. This section was only a quarter of what the rest of the SSA Prison was like. The one Loz was placed in was for delinquents such as himself — thievery, arson, scammers. The rest of the complex is suited for more harsher and severe crimes committed; things such as rape, murder, paedophilia… some of the many ‘wholehearted’ acts accounted as unconstitutional amongst the Vast Trade Collective.

The guards stopped at an open cell, waiting for the electric force field to power down.

Loz looked behind him and faced Kenisa. “How long am I gonna be in here for? The usual one day? Two days?” he asked, sobbing.

Kenisa shrugged and said; “Don’t know yet. I’ll have to file everything first and see what’s happens from there.” she gave him a slight smirk. Just before the force field powered back up, the guards chucked Loz hard onto the cold-chiselled floor. The guards activated the force field via the keypad on the left, and as they were doing it, Kenisa came to face Loz as the purple field emerged, Loz’s face gloomy and grim. “Once I have everything, you’ll be the first to know. Okay?”

Loz nodded, finding his feet and placing himself on the bare bed beside him. Kenisa was going to be true to her word. She knew he would be out if not tomorrow, then the next. ‘I just hope this is the last time I see him in here for his sake, and mine.’ she thought. Kenisa moved away from the cell, walking back towards the elevator, leaving Loz to stare blankly at the black one-sided mirrors of the Pillar, not knowing how to behave with someone watching him consistently.

Kenisa couldn’t help but keep comparing herself to Loz. What was it about this boy that constantly pressed her buttons? What was it that seemed to always bring about memories of her past that she only wants to forget?

The elevator reached the bottom level and opened up. Kenisa took a step in with the door closing not long after. She turned and pressed the button that would grant her access to Level 31, where her division, Xeno Homicide, was. The Xeno Homicide Division is Systems Authorities top division within the agency. It not only deals with murders, but also crimes that consist of any form of hate crime and rapes that coincide with the inclination of race differentiation. The division is run by Commander Polar Uro-Lao.

Instead of thinking about Loz and her past, Kenisa kept trying to distract herself. She whistled and chimed to the music that played softly within the glass walls, and pulled up the ripped material on her leather coat countless times to catch a glimpse of the beam-light watch on her wrist. She tutted at the sight on her watch. ‘How slow can six o’clock come?’

She found herself running her fingers along her scaly brows, and tapping her feet as she leant on the railing looking out at the Black Pillar as it narrowed ever so slightly as she raised each level. Before she knew it, she was humming over the elevator music to try and fish the continuous tune out of her head. ‘I’d be a good strategy you know. Using elevator music as a trigger or mind controlling technique…’ But for now, at least she forgot about Loz for the time being, and focused on other… serious concerns.

Kenisa felt the elevator slow down as she came to pass Level 23, realizing it had stopped. She recognised the smell as the individual walked in; a combination of old age, exorbitant cologne, and the best clothing a rich person can afford. It was Captain Hirika Comowit, a veteran Teluskian officer of over nearly 200 years.

He strutted graciously into the elevator, a posture as straight as the Black Pillar itself, and a neck as long as the Mamarati Creek. He wore a white cotton cape that suited over his grey latex body suit and a fragrance too strong for Kenisa’s nostrils to handle.

Kenisa flared her nostrils as the smell wafted over her. Not only was she disgusted by the smell, but also because of who he was, and what he knows he is -rich, powerful and a man of prestige. Yes, he was one of her commanding officers, but it was people like him that passed by her every day when she lived on the streets, cursing and forcing people like her to piss off the streets. The Captain glanced over his high-peaked shoulders and gave a slight nod of his head. “Nod it any harder, and your head might just slip off that thing you call a neck…’ Kenisa thought.

“Good evening, Lieutenant Branoria.” Hirika greeted, moving his arms behind his back.

“Captain.” Kenisa responded, finding her stare out the window, unable to simply look him in the eyes. There was a sudden silence, one Kenisa wanted to keep until she reached Xeno Homicide, but in this case it could not possibly happen; the Captain was part of her division.

“It has been fairly quiet this afternoon, wouldn’t you say?” Comowit said, grabbing the whisker above his lip and stroking with ease.

“Well, in my opinion, that’s not a very good thing.” Kenisa implied, the Captain not surprised by her odd comment. “When you’ve got a quiet day, it’ll triple the next.”

The Captain chuckled; Kenisa swore his neck stretched another foot as he chuckled continuously. “Let’s hope that doesn’t happen then, Lieutenant.” Comowit commented, adjusting the cuffs of his coat. “I heard the division closed the Nazara Dune Case today as well. Unfortunate I wasn’t there to put that scum on the bottom level of the Black Pillar myself.”

‘Well at least that’s one thing we have in common’ Kenisa thought to herself. She straightened her posture as she came closer to Level 31. “That xenoist piece of shindai has what’s coming to him.” Kenisa glanced over at Comowit, looking him up and down. “’Unfortunate you weren’t there’, huh? Before you know it, Aviad will be promoted and Kamaran’s gonna jump on your job if you don’t step up your game, Captain.” Kenisa smirked.

She could not tell if Comowit was amused or not. He simply stood in his place and breathed heavily through his nostrils, not even pursing or curving his lips. He was almost always expressionless, and you’d find out if he were amused or not the next day whether he would mention it or not. But she did not care.

The elevator came to a stop, with the doors sliding open not long after. Kenisa and Comowit were welcomed to the long empty hallway, with not even a hint of dust particles in the air. The only objects around were the scattered motion-frames on the walls, and the desk at the end of the corridor. Before Kenisa could even take a step out of the elevator, Comowit laid out the red carpet for himself and jumped out before Kenisa could. ‘It would’ve been the gentleman’s thing to do.’ Kenisa thought. She let him walk by, and when he did, all she could think about was thrashing him over the head with the metal frame on the wall beside her. But that would be wrong and unethical… Right?

Kenisa came up to the reception desk for Xeno Homicide, with nothing but a screen embedded on the face of the metallic desk and a lone headset with strands of dark-red hair. She realized there was no receptionist. ‘Nice. Yamara gets to go home, but I don’t?’

She noticed the bouquet of rokabuck flowers in the glass vase on the back shelves, dead as dead could be. But even the stench that they gave off, smelled better than the cologne or the rubbish Comowit was wearing. She was certain that even a dead Cavarmian carcass smelt better than he did.

They both came up to a large set of glass doors. Comowit pulled up his nametag that dangled on his neck, and swiped it across the metallic lock that held the glass doors in place. In an instant, the doors clicked. Comowit pushed the doors open, only to make way for himself as usual. He walked through, with the door closing behind him. Before the door could close, Kenisa placed her palm on the face of the door and pushed it open for herself. ‘Asshole’ she grunted.

Comowit had taken over as soon as he stepped foot into the foyer of the division, taking over his replacement; Captain Levina Kamaran. The previous case the division was investigating was wrapped. The clean-up had almost been finished, with data been transferred from Frame-Pads and stored within the Archives, and interactive boards with witnesses and suspects photos being cleared.

There was something about this case that affected nearly all of Xeno Homicide. The Nazara Dune Case: a troubling act of xenoism, murder and rape, seemed to affect each and every one of Kenisa’s colleagues on different levels and left each of them in various states of anguish, shock, and trauma among other things. The state in which the Nazara Dune Killer’s victims were in — naked, brutally bashed, slit, skinned and raped — all in that order, were left to rot out in the Nazara Dunes, one hundred kilometres from Panilay.

It was no wonder to Kenisa that the officers that arrested him were as stern as a hard-nosed, snouted Sunkin and felt they had been personally related to his victims. Kenisa, like the officers, has felt that she had been directly attacked, him having done this to nearly one of each species. All Kenisa thought was that during all these years of Humans continuously trying to consummate their place within Vast Trade society, he wasn’t setting a good example for Humans at all. He was setting them back.

Comowit had situated himself in the centre of the room, so tall, he was able to overlook and face each officer in the division.

“Exceptional work today.” Comowit said. It seemed to Kenisa, that commending the hard work of the officers and success of the case was a struggle for him, seeming as though he cannot garner the praise and have people been told he was the one who brought the killer in. That’s what you get for towering the ranks and serving beside Commander Polar Uro-Lao. ‘It must hurt soooo bad, Comowit.’ Kenisa giggled.

“All of you have shown what it truly means to be an officer. You have shown dedication and endless amounts of vigour in bringing in this piece of shindai.” The room became as silent as the vacuum of space. Officers that were walking amongst the halls had come to a halt, each breathing in the seemingly hollow speech given by a man that could barely lift a finger for his own muitha.

Kenisa looked around the room, not for one second listening to a word. She could see by each and every other naive first-officers faces, they were enjoying it, taking it in and gaining the motivation to strive to do better. Understandable. But from Kenisa’s point of view, they had no idea what he was like.

She was just looking for the camera crew taping him for his new reality show. It was that rare he would commend officers personally, usually he would be out with high-profile celebrities and politicians than doing the grind work and conversing with those he would consider beneath him.

“In my years with Systems Authority have I ever seen such a collaborative team of officers, all working towards the same goal. A goal that was accomplished here tonight.” Comowit straightened his stance and took a deep breath. He released. “Months and months of hard work have finally paid off. We got him!” Comowit nodded furiously as the officers among the room shouted and cheered at one another. It was a warm sight, but to Kenisa it was piercing on both the eyes and ears.

Across the room, Kenisa caught a glimpse of Rick Turnar sitting at her desk, rolling his eyes at her whilst pulling faces and parodying Comowit’s every move as he greeted and conversed formally with everyone around the room.

Out of all the people Kenisa had worked with over the years, Rick seemed to be the only logically gifted person that understands free will and decision making that doesn’t always seem to revolve around the stringent protocol of Systems Authority. He wants to get the job done, as does Kenisa, but in an effective way that brings them some form of content and allows them to sleep at night, without laying in their beds, contemplating too themselves they could have saved someone’s life if they had not been restrained by rules and committee boards.

Kenisa laughed as Rick mimicked and ridiculed every move and gesture Comowit made. Rick was a well-built Human with arms tightened under his thin, teal material of his long-sleeved shirt, with long blond hair pulled back into a pony-tail and eyes as green as her pale-green scaled skin. As Kenisa made way over to him, she could see blond strands of hair scattered on his black-leather vest. Rick sat back in the leather chair, running his fingers through his fringe.

“I didn’t expect to you see you back here.” Rick said, chewing the gum in his mouth.

Kenisa placed her hands on her hips. “I wasn’t gonna miss the show.” Kenisa replied, glancing over at Comowit.

“It was magnificent, wasn’t it?” Rick joked with a faint smirk on his face.

Kenisa kept her stare at Comowit. “It was a load of shindai, is what it was.” She turned back to face Rick, his smirk diminishing as Kenisa came to face him.

“Well, I don’t believe anything he says for a second.” Rick confided. “All these blood-sucking, bureaucratic assholes always know what to say.” he lent forward onto the glass desk, looking up at Kenisa who placed herself on the edge of the metal framing. “Look at him…” Rick said, Kenisa finding Ricks glance over to Comowit, conversing with every officer in the room, especially the high-ranking ones. He loved those with more power. “Making goodies with everyone, turning them to his cause.”

Every word Rick spoke, Kenisa always found that he took the words right out of her mouth. He may be human, but this human was a clone of her Lugrathonion personality. And she liked it. “Yeah, you can say that again.” Kenisa agreed. “And when the time comes, and Uro-Lao is dethroned, they’ll all demand Comowit takes his place…”

“And then we’ll all be one big happy family!” Rick cheered, throwing his arms up into the air. Kenisa faced him again, her eyes focused within his. ‘Those eyes are just one of a kind. I’ve never seen human eyes with that sort of colour.’ She thought. Kenisa always seemed to find herself questioning Rick’s coloured eyes. They couldn’t possibly be human made, unless one of his parents were Kelcorian, their eye colours have a distinct brightness to them. Kenisa thought that maybe he is a Panirar, like her -offspring of two differed species, are considered Panirarmian, a separate species to others among the Vast Trade Collective.

All these years they have known each other, they have never once asked each other about their past, never asking about their families or events which lead them to becoming an officer. Their relationship has been solely based on the present, and under all that lay Kenisa’s sudden and unforeseen attraction to Rick over the past few months.

Ricks laughter had subsided as their stares held. It seemed to be hard to look away for both of them. As others would find it easy to look elsewhere, Kenisa and Rick found comfort.

“How are you doing anyway?” Rick said, breaking the silence between the two. Kenisa rubbed along her brows, giggling under her breath.

“Considering the circumstances, I’m okay.” Kenisa explained, remembering the countless months where every victim seemed to have found their ways into her dreams, and causing horrid hallucinations every day she lost sleep. “What about you? Still seeing that broad from Hunters Creek?” Kenisa questioned, enlightening the mood.

“Hey, hey!” Rick said, raising his voice and pulling his hand up towards Kenisa. “Franvana is… was a lovely lady, alright!” Rick sarcastically defended. “Besides, I realize now it was just another episode in my life.” Kenisa eyes widened, and her forehead loosened.

“Oh really? Someone in your sights, Mr. Bachelor?” Kenisa remarked. Rick leaned in towards her.

“You could say that.” Rick teased. “Her name is Ms Galax-Net!” Rick laughed, clasping his fingers together, forming stroking motions in the air. Kenisa rolled her eyes at his perverted remark. He jumped backwards in his seat, tears dropping from his eyes.

“You’re sick, you know that?” Kenisa stood up and made way around her desk. She came up behind Rick, placing her hands on the top of the leather chair.

“And I’m not afraid to admit it, K.” Rick joked. Kenisa tapped the chair dozens of times before Rick finally stood up, towering over even Kenisa and her long, elasticized legs. She pulled the bottom draw open, grabbing her small truffle bag and rectangular shades.

“So, what are you up to tonight?” Rick asked. Kenisa kicked the draw shut and pulled the strap over her head and shoulders.

“Catching up on sleep and all the day-time dramas I’ve missed out on for the past few months.” Kenisa smirked. She opened the bag and rustled through all the junk to find her keys. She pulled out candy wrappers, torn papers, old shredded skin of hers and a tazor. But could not seem to find her shuttle magnet. Rick ran over to his desk to grab his coat and coffee, before coming back to face Kenisa.

“Sounds good.” Rick said. Kenisa sighed in relief as she found the shuttle magnet. She pulled it out of the bag and found herself glancing directly into Rick’s eyes again. “But wouldn’t it be more entertaining seeing me jumping up on tables in a bar singing ‘Struck by Lightning’?”

She certainly did favour the idea. But wanted to be as subtle as possible. “It would keep me more focused, I guess.” Kenisa elbowed Rick as she made way past him.

Rick followed behind her, dodging the officers lingering the room. “So you’ll come with me?” Rick asked. Kenisa and Rick made way down the corridor leading to the elevator, with other officers following behind them. Kenisa had already made up her mind by the time she shut her desk draw, with one thing on her mind in particular.

“Which bar has the best Likazax Rum?” Kenisa asked, licking her lips at the thought of the rum swashing around her mouth like a tsunami of flavourful, bitter pleasantness. Rick was already jumping like a child opening a present on Christmas Day hearing the word ‘Rum’.

“Ohh, The One-Eyed Pilot out near Ripens Grove is the shindai!” Rick educated, already picturing the run-down, rusted joint miles and miles out from Panilay. He pulled his light-brown coat over his broad shoulders as he and Kenisa waited at the elevator doors.

“Then it’s a date.” She always wanted to say that. “Send the address to my shuttle Nav-Comp, and I’ll meet you there.” Kenisa said. She could swear Rick squealed as he pulled his sleeve up revealing the metal band wrapped around his wrist. Like pulling up a tape measure, Rick activated the data-band, pulling up a transparent screen revealing the date and time, contacts, pictures and the weather among a few of Dhiscarvv Robotics products features; including their automations and A.I technologies.

The elevator doors opened, and the bodies flowed into the compartment like water seeping into a glass cup. Kenisa and Rick huddled together as more and more people jumped into the already crowded elevator. As it reached its maximum capacity, they found their faces pushed up against one another as the doors closed.