Empire Airport, Part One – Vacation
Circa 2048. The year of the Dragon. The Second Summer of Love. Post World War Three in which China took political, economical and cultural grip on the world.
It was time to fly away to a quieter place. A place with less people, less buildings, less ruins of buildings, more trees and more stars. My medium size prepacked one week bag was all I was taking. I preferred to travel light or not travel at all.
Once I stepped outside, I could see the giant neon sign over the airport. It was a glowing arrow the size of the Empire State Building pointing down, suspended on a magnetic field. It was put up there by the Taboo corporation as it subtlety stated in glowing red letters at the very top.
It was the tallest suspended object on the planet. Considering the Empire State Building itself was destroyed during the war by telekinetic hackers who lifted four nuclear submarines from the Atlantic and converged them on it. Which had a decisive effect on the outcome of the war.
Bottom line; the airport was easy to find. My personal bee-drone was set to three feet from the remote control. I would not willingly upgrade to the latest version with a brain implant, so I still had a wrist remote control drone. I liked the idea that they called them bee-drones, or b-drone for short, but I preferred bee-drone. When they introduced them twenty years ago they were the size of an apple and made bee sounds but now they are the size of a actual bee and make apple sounds (no sounds at all that is). It was voice commanded for the most part but it needed a host hardware to link to. It embodied everything from a flashlight to a phone, a computer, bank accounts, electronic house keys. It projected maps, television or internet on any surface. It contained you, that is why the new version had a new security feature – self distraction upon individual dead. For the protection of the Taboo corporation.
My bee-drone called a cab and was entertaining me with Bach’s Cello Suits and the headlines of the Economist in the elevator. It had perfect intuitive timing. It learned my habits and set my alarms, leaving me time to think over the bigger questions in life. The moment we reached the lobby the car driver’s drone buzzed in and opened the front door for me. My bee-drone projected the driver’s photo and track record, mileage, time and fare to my destination.
I preferred cabs with human drivers because bots were often hacked lately and used in terrorist acts. The driver’s bee-drone opened the car door and entered through the drone hole by the side mirror. And off we went. The driver had the latest bee-drone version, recently purchased; I could see the surgery scars on the back of his head. I have heard cab drivers do well monetarily.
I preferred to invest my bitcoins on travel. This one year trip I was undertaking would cost me just as much as a new bee-drone. And mine was working just fine. Plus I had been planning to use it lightly over this trip, only when I really have to. And instead get close to the Earth, fish, dive, climb, dig a hole. I have caused enough trouble to humanity via technology’s loopholes.
I ordered a coffee and a vanilla tube of protein, vitamins and minerals paste from the cab vending machine. My bee-drone was glued to the car window, idle. ‘Redder than red.’ I said. That was the title of the file with my trip. It projected an interactive map of the world with lines connecting my multiple destinations and pulsing expanding dots with the details. I liked everything meticulously organized to the smallest details. I had done extensive research and booked the major flights and most hotels. I have created lists with noteworthy attractions and even set the the morning alarms on the bee-drone for certain occasions. A have left a good measure of the trip unmapped, taking a leap into local transportation and booking accommodations as I go.
I start the trip at Raja Island for a month, where I have rented a hut on the quiet side of the island right on the beach. There I will jump from a thirty foot rock into the ocean every morning, practice transcedental meditation and be a vegan.
Before I have time to go over more details we reached the airport. The glowing pink light of the giant arrow was blinding. It looked creepy in a way, suspended in mid air. It was a wonder of engineering. It had its own nuclear reactor that generated the electricity for the magnetic field and of course the neon lights themselves. There was a hotel inside that you can only enter with helicopter from the top because the magnetic filed on the bottom was too strong. Only very special people got to go there. Sometimes I thought a telekinetic hacker should converge a nuclear submarine at it.
I entered the airport and my bee-drone guided me through the crowds. It checked in for me and lead me to the security queue. In crowded places, like the airport, drones were silently hovering around their masters, they checked each other’s metrics through an algorithm and showed you if someone you knew was present or someone that had similar interests. Then you could send them a chat message and start a hangout. All clever computer stuff to make the time pass faster. It was a paradise for telekinetic hackers.
I reached the identity check point and pressed a button on my wrist remote control. To my surprise my bee-drone did not respond. The agent at the desk looked at me sternly and immediately assumed I was an idiot. He had a peculiar self-assured smirk on his face, subtly suggesting that he was smarter than me. But condescension was in line with his job. I pressed the button again, tried several combinations until I realized the remote control did not control the drone. The agent grabbed my wrist and attempted himself to dance on the buttons. After failing he said I should get the new version. Then pulled out a flashlight-like device and pointed it at my bee-drone. The drone was caught into a gravitational pull and settled on the scanning table. The agent pressed a button on the table and all my information came on the screen. Then he pressed another button that cleared the screen and my drone lifted off again.
I passed security and went straight to my gate. After reading for a while an old book called The Baker, The Butcher and The Brewer by Peter Odeon, I felt it was time to board. ‘Time?’ I said to my drone. No response. Strange. I walked to the boarding desk and explained my remote control was not working. They landed my drone the same way like at security.
‘Is this a new drone sir?’ The man on the desk asked. At first I thought he was joking but I quickly realized he was not. ‘You flight information is not on it. As a matter of fact there is no information on it what so ever. It is clean, set to factory settings.’
‘How is that possible, I just passed security with it!’ I try to make sense of this loss.
‘My guess is that a telekinetic hacker had converged on it sir. But my guess is worth nothing. Wait here, the authorities are on the way.’
Three men came to my aid. Two guards on each side and in the middle a telekinetic hacker dressed in intimidatingly sharp black clothes. The hacker pulled in my drone and held it gravitating on his palm.
Seconds later he asked. ‘Are you Mr. Xidan Phi?’
‘No my name is…’ I started confused.
‘We’ve been searching for you Mr. Phi. Some of us believe you are the most dangerous man on this planet.’
‘But my name…’
‘You should take that as a compliment Mr. Phi.’ Then he took over control of my muscles and made me walk after them in silence, telling me telekinetically that we will speak later.
all chapters: Empire Airport
more by MILEN VASILEV
photograph by Haley