By Natalie J.E. Potts
Bryan finally sat down on the lounge with the TV remote in his hand when his wrist-watch buzzed.
“Bryan, you have not yet met your daily exercise requirement. Failure to do so will see a rise in your premiums of six dollars a week.”
With the barest sigh, Bryan put the remote down and walked over to the stepper in the corner of the room. It gave him a perfect view of the pile of dishes he was yet to do. His wrist buzzed again.
“Bryan, you need to be asleep in the next ten minutes or you will not meet your daily sleep requirement. Failure to do so will see...” Bryan covered his wrist with his hand and started stepping.
“Daayve, have you got a minute?” Bryan flagged down his boss. It was the first time he had seen him all day.
“I’m pretty busy Bryan, can this wait until next week?”
“No, I’ll be quick.” Bryan’s prepared speech fled, he suddenly felt nervous. “For a while now I’ve been thinking of volunteering for detachment. Yesterday World Order announced de-population numbers were going up, so there will a heap of new openings at the government detachment facility, but they’ll go pretty fast. I want to sign up for six months.”
“We need you here Bryan, we don’t have enough people to do the work we have as it is.”
“I know, but the twelve hour days, seven days a week.. . I need a break.”
“You think volunteering to let the government make you a zombie, take you off the grid, that’s going to help?”
“Only for six months.”
“You know they can forcibly acquire you once you are in. You might not get woken up for ten years.” Daayve raised his eyebrows. It looked like he thought the conversation was over.
“Daayve, I’ve only seen the inside of this building, the commuter shuttle and my apartment for the last five years. Doing this is the only way I can hope to have a relationship, or see a movie, or just go for a walk in the sun.”
“But it’s all fake, Bryan, it’s a virtual life. You only count as one tenth of a human when you are in the simulator, there’s a reason for that.”
“Yeah, but it’s the best tenth.”
Daayve shook his head. “No, sorry, I can’t approve your leave, in fact I needed to talk to you about a promotion.”
“Yeah, the CEO wants another kid, so he’s offered a very generous package to some of the managers to go off-grid for three years to counter the new life he’s bringing into the world. So I need you to step up to management for a few years.”
“Who’s role?” Bryan thought about all the extra hours and his stomach twisted.
“Mine.” Daayve actually had the hide to wink at him. “You start next week.”
About The Author
Natalie J.E. Potts
Natalie J. E. Potts has worked in everything from Air Traffic Control to Zoology, but writing has always been a constant. She writes spec fic for adults and young adults and has been published in Australia, the US and UK. She is a member of Melbourne's SuperNOVA writers group and Adelaide's Hiro's Ink writers group and is eternally grateful to them both. For more information see <www.nataliejepotts.com>.