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The Present Future

The Present Future

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The Present Future

264 pagine
4 ore
Sep 24, 2014


Dez Gemini is a Null Agent, it is his job to protect Milos City. The concept of what he does is simple, if the future of the city is threatened, Dez eliminates those threats to ensure that today has a tomorrow.
How he does this job is not so simple; Dez Gemini is a time traveler.
Guided by his mysterious benefactors, Dez lives an unassuming life as a travel writer in a socially detached, technology-befogged world that he is seemingly unable to identify with. He longs for actual human contact and interaction over the advantages offered by compu-chines, auto-chines and auto-tendants. He has disdain for the increasingly non-humanistic nature of this world, but, as a Null Agent, he is bound to it.
When the reality of his job as a time traveling protector unexpectedly lands on his front door, Null Agent Dez Gemini has a choice to make. And what he decides will determine not only his own, but also the future of his world.
It is about time, for THE PRESENT FUTURE.

Sep 24, 2014

Informazioni sull'autore

In my own words, I have lived what some may consider an interesting life (haven't we all?). I live my life by the "Motto" from Langston Hughes. Basically, I "play it cool and dig all jive..." I've always had stories to write, but thanks to NanoWrimo, I finally got down to putting them together. I have written fiction and non-fiction books and "The Present Future" is my first to be published. Hopefully, there will be more to come.

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Anteprima del libro

The Present Future - JA Sterling




JA Sterling

The Present Future

Copyright © 2014 JA Sterling

Smashwords Edition

All Rights Reserved


To my wife Holly,

who always makes time stand still


Cover is a derivative of Pocket Watch by PhotoAtlier

which is licensed under CC BY 2.0, and Broken Glass 05

by SuperStar-Stock at

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.

- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Chapter 1

A mechanical, low-tone of a hum interrupts the absolute quiet of the bedroom. Damnit! I told them I needed some time off! Dez is anguished by the thought of another job, he had just returned from a long job the night before. It has been a while since he's had time for some rest. When he finally completed that last assignment, he was looking forward to nothing keeping him from what he so longed for. But, there it is, a message staring at him with the same iciness as all the others. Instead of waking to music as he usually does, he is awakened unexpectedly by the soft glow and mellow hum of the small, techsphere-sized communications methodology otherwise known as a holo-message.

I don’t need this shit right now. He sits up in his bed and stares at the unwanted holo-message hovering above the foot of his bed. He instinctively reaches for it, but pulls his hand away just before the communi-charm embedded into his right hand can take the message. No. I’m not taking this message or whatever the job is. I’m taking some time off and that’s it! He slams his head back down on the pillow in a conclusive manner and punctuates his point by wrapping his head in another.

After a few minutes, the holo-message fades into nothingness as subtly as it had appeared. Knowing it is gone, Dez peaks out from the pillow and looks around the room, just in case. "They’ll get the message. I'm taking some time off. I need time off. I deserve this time off! They’ll get the message." He slinks back under the covers and resumes his slumber.

His name is Dez Gemini. There is really nothing unusual about him. He is in his late 30’s, dark complexion, tallish and handsome in what can be considered an unassuming style. His is a personality of quiet confidence, embraceable enough, but self-consumed enough to, at times, give the aura of a man who has a lot going on in his mind, but doesn't want to share it with anyone in an unintended, unguarded manner.

On his business cards, Dez is purported to be a freelance writer, with travel writing as his specialty. Anyone familiar with Dez, knows about his profession. They all know he travels extensively and can describe most any place with a luscious level of familiarity that gives anyone the sense of actually being there. The way he describes the weather, the colors, the trees, plants, animals, people, no one could ever find themselves doubting his knowledge of the outside world.

Dez lives alone in a penthouse flat atop an ‘ago’ building in the middle of the Milos City Central Sector. The place is as neatly groomed as Dez. Other than the size, it is quite large for one person, there is nothing outwardly extraordinary about it. There is a kitchen, a living room with a tele-fireplace, a few pieces of furniture and built-in shelving with long-forgotten lits, untouched music discs and videos. The bedroom has a large bed, one nightstand and a walk-in closet. Rounding out the flat is a bathroom and a working area that has a smallish desk. The floors are of the most immaculate hardwood and the walls devoid of any color. The only real liveliness about the place are the presence of immense windows throughout.

Ever desiring a simpler, more human lifestyle, Dez has no use for the electronic devices that have become so commonplace with Milosians homes. He doesn't look down upon Milosians for their tech affinity, in fact, he does have a few of those conveniences himself. He has a teleview-chine for watching the ago tubes he enjoys so much. He also has an audio-chine to listen to the music he loves. He doesn't go for the 3D graphi-boxes that have become all the rage throughout the city. He prefers allowing the sound of the music to take his imagination away instead of having some graphical representation thrust down his throat, telling him the mood his is supposed to be in while listening. The only other electronic device he has use for is the compu-chine used for his work and writing.

His aversion to today's tech is embodied in the one item that he is never without, a simple, full-hunter pocket watch. It is a rather basic, mechanical movement time piece with a plain dial, neatly packaged in a smooth, polished silver casing. The only adornment other than its chain is a figure 8 engraved on the cover. In all, certainly archaic by the day's standards.

From his flat he has the best vantage point of the city, looking down as if in judgment, but only as if. Dez has no interest nor concern about judging anyone. He just prefers the perspective of not having anyone above him. It gives him a sense of comfort, if he is looking down on all there is, nothing can be looking down upon him. It isn't a god-like complex, Dez just doesn't like the thought of something above him, judging him, having control over him. This despite the fact that his very life and existence is all about control.

His job as a freelance travel writer was their idea. In truth, Dez Gemini is a Null Agent. His benefactors, known only to him as the ones who guide him, made him who he is. Without them, there would be no Dez Gemini. The Null Agent's job is to act in the future in order to protect the present, and thereby preserve the future.

They placed Dez, they gave him his name, his flat, everything. All that anyone could equate as being Dez Gemini, comes from them. Dez Gemini exists as he is, because that is what they want, what they designed. In truth, the personage Dez Gemini is of little consequence to what the man actually does. It has been this way for so long, even Dez doesn't bother concerning himself with any 'whys' or 'reasons' behind his existence. He is comfortable, he enjoys his life, he has no reason to feel any other way. They make sure of that.

Outside, the twin suns have nearly reached their morning peak and the flat is flooded with light. It seems to cleanse the home, washing it anew of any previous transgression that may have soiled its seemingly uninteresting interior.

This baptizing light is another reason Dez likes his flat from on high. It provides an oasis from the city and all that he dislikes about the city. Dez slowly extricates himself from the pillows and the blankets on the bed. He normally wakes up quite early, usually without the need of an alarm. However, of late, he has found himself sleeping much later than usual due to work being so taxing.

He sits on the edge of the large platform bed and takes up his pocket watch to see the time at 9:00 a.m. He looks about his bedroom expecting to find another holo-message beckoning his attention and ruining his morning, but there is none. He mumbles to himself quietly, I knew they'd get the message. He clicks the pocket watch closed.

You know, you probably should have answered that. It might have been important, and probably was. The mechanically female voice is from the auto-tendant standing at the bedroom doorway. Auto-tendants are a mainstay and very lifeblood of Milos City homes. A sort of electronic servant, auto-tendants maintain the temperature, announce reminders, set the lighting, clean, prepare meals, etc. Whatever humans should be able to accomplish on their own, the auto-tendant does.

While every home in Milos City has an auto-tendant, the three-dimensional embo-diment option is an update that has only recently begun rolling out. Even though he may not realize it, or refuses to, Dez has upgrades other Milosians can only dream of. They make sure Dez has everything he needs. And of course, in what Dez interprets as another move by them to exert control, his auto-tendant is embodied with the form of a beautiful and electronically alluring, obscurely, naked woman. There is nothing pornographic about her, she is tastefully naked even though her appearance is hued in an electronic blue aura.

Dez doesn't care for the auto-tendant, he much prefers fending for and tending to himself. Unable to turn the damned thing off and despite his aversions towards being typically Milosian, even Dez realizes his limitations and he just deals with the auto-tendant as best he can.

What would you know about something being important or not, you're just a machine. Dez reluctantly responds to the auto-tendant. He doesn't even bother giving it a name like everyone else who has one does for their auto-tendants whether embodied or not.

I know a great deal more about things than you care to give me credit for. Why don't you want me to help you? I'm programmed to help you, but you don't want my help. Why? I am programmed to be as close to being human as scientifically possible, yet you choose to refuse all that I offer. Why do you have to be so difficult? She stands with her electronic arms folded.

Sitting on the bed, his mind still cob-webbed with sleep and rubbing his eyes, Because, I don't like you.

You say that all the time.

Well, what does that tell you?

Humph. I don't know what I'm going to do with you.

Nothing. That's what you're going to do with me, nothing at all. And that's the way I want it.

Some day, you'll realize how much you need me. Some day.

Well, don't hold your.... Dez catches himself imparting a presence of humanity to the auto-tendant via conversation. Never mind.

As is usual, the auto-tendant gives up, in the way that automated, computerized attendants can, she then phases out much in the same manner in which the holo-message did earlier in Dez' day. Sensing another victory over the machine, and the holo-message for that matter, Dez feels energy returning to his body and a spring to his step. It has been a long time without any break from work, and he is going to make the most of it. Never mind the fact that he is starting this day the same way he starts every other day, the knowledge that he is not going to have any work to do for them, makes the prospects for his usual day all the more enticing.

Just out of the shower, a light mist of steam follows him out of the bathroom, robe-clad Dez walks over to one of the immense windows. He places his hands on the windows and looks out to the city. The same thought runs through his head whenever he takes in all that he can from his city, 'Why do I have to live so far up here, away from everyone? I would much prefer being down there, with the people. I do so much for them, I'd like to at least be with them, living with them.'

The auto-tendant doesn't phase in, but makes it known that she has been listening in on Dez' thoughts. And what would you do if you were down there with them? Do you think anything will be any different than your life up here?

Looking up slightly, You know I hate it when you do that.

Never the less, the question remains, do you think you could actually fit in with the citizens down there?

Well, why not? This is my city too, you know. I'm the same as everyone else down there. Pointing in a symbolic manner down towards the city below.

"Of course you know, everything that you have is as they want it. I'm sure they have their reasons for separating you in such a manner."

That's always your answer.

That's what you always ask, so naturally my answer has to be the same.

Having had enough, Dez retreats from the windows and to his closet. He gets dressed in his usual garb: a black sports jacket combined with black slacks, accented by a crisp, slightly gray, banded collar shirt. The shine on his black shoes are matched only by the stark contrast offered by the bright silver chain from the pocket watch. Rounding out the ensemble, Dez carries a black, weathered looking man bag set to his right shoulder as well as a black trench coat draped over his left arm whether the day's weather calls for it or not.

His wardrobe being another of his lifestyle provided by them, he has no thoughts of dressing any other way, even if he wanted to. It is all he has. His black-clad stature would cast quite an impressive eye-catching view if ever truly noticed. Being so conspicuous is very un-Milosian, and Dez likes it that way. Not to feel superior to other Milosians, but instead to defiantly, and quietly show a little bit of independence.

Satisfied that he is ready for the day, he walks through the flat towards the door, his brightly shined shoes knock their presence on the floor as his footsteps echo throughout his cavernous abode. He walks past his kitchen with little regard for any potential breakfast that could be accomplished there. He never cooks, never actually knows if there is anything in that kitchen to cook with, he always eats out.

He often tells those who venture to ask why he always eats out, I find that when I am out amongst people at every opportunity, I can get a better sense of what it is they are interested in, and how I can write in a manner that will most interest them. That answer of course is made up drivel, but he always makes it sound like it makes all the sense out there in the world. Dez is good at talking to people, but not really saying anything. That ability evidently does not extend to his interactions with the auto-tendant.

Phasing in just as Dez passes the kitchen area, I suppose you're not going to let me prepare something for you to eat.

You suppose correctly, showing as little interest as possible as he once again checks the time on his pocket watch.

You know, you should give me a chance. I can prepare a breakfast, any meal, as good, if not better than what you would get out there. You really don't know what you're missing out on. I am programmed to prepare the most delectable meals imaginable. Input from the best chefs of Milos City.... Dez interrupts by closing the pocket watch cover just as he reaches the door.

Turning to face the auto-tendant, Seriously, what would you know about food? You don't eat.

I won't dignify that statement with a response. She phases out.

I knew you wouldn't.

As he exits, he pulls the door to and uses his key to lock it. His unit is the only one on this floor of the building so the only people he ever sees in the hallways are maintenance workers. To be specific, he sees Terk, the only maintenance worker for this floor. He is guiding an auto-cleaner along the floor, whistling the whole way towards Dez. His oversized gray, working uniform gives more of an impression than he is able to on his own.

Terk doesn't lift his head from the auto-cleaner until he is right upon Dez. He points down to the door handle that Dez is securing, Good day Mr. Gemini. You know, you should let me install one of those Bio-locks on your door. I can't believe you still use that lock and key thing on your door, it’s so ago. You're the only tenant that uses that old relic. I'd hazard a guess you might be the only one in the whole city keeping that old tech at it. Somebody could break in quite easily through those, ya know? And besides, the updated locks are provided at no charge.

Dez, laughing as he turns to face him, Well, good morning Terk. Dez reaches out and shakes Terk's hand enthusiastically. His first human to human contact during the day, he always makes the most of it. I tell you what, these old relics haven't let me down yet. And besides, you know I don’t have the know-how for all the tech-chines that are out there. I like things to be less complicated. Dez pauses for a moment and looks at Terk who doesn’t seem to comprehend what is being said. Anyway, I can imagine what the world will be like with nothing but tech everywhere, and I don’t think I want any part of that type of life."

I suppose so Mr. Gemini, I suppose so. Pointing a friendly finger upward, But, don't say I didn't warn you. Anyway, have yourself a day. See ya. Terk continues on his way down the hallway. The hum of the auto-cleaner resonates lightly through the hallway. Dez nods in agreement. He would have liked to talk with Terk more, but being the dutiful worker he is, Terk doesn't like to dawdle. Dez waves to the departing Terk and walks the opposite direction towards the conveyor.

Dez always rides the conveyor down alone. Once in and the doors close, he turns with his back to the conveyor doors and gazes out at the city. What he sees, what he always sees out there lowers his spirit slightly. As enlivening as the sunslight is, it has its limitations in Milos City.

No matter how brightly the twin suns shine during any day, the light never really reaches the ground. To be certain, the light of the suns offers a contrast to the darkness of night in the city, but there is a constant light grayish nebula, or haze about Milos City that the sunslight cannot penetrate. The haze isn’t thick enough to prevent sunslight from blanketing the city. It is just enough to obscure the light. Everything within it seems a bit off-focus and fuzzy. Such is the suns-up view in Milos City.

The haze isn't exactly fog or smog, Milos City has long gone techgreen with the eradication of pollutant producing vehicles, smoke stacks and dangerous emissions from whatever source. It is not a dangerous haze, it just is and the people have long grown used to it. No one really takes notice of it, no one questions it anymore. If anyone ever does, the answer is always the same, 'it just is'.

Its light grayish hue blankets every outside space in Milos City: the streets, the sidewalks, alleys, open areas. It is everywhere. The haze is as natural to the city as citizens are. As much as the inhabitants can't define the haze, it is a part of their everyday life. The haze is as much a part of Milos City as its population, it just is.

Along his descent, he has no worries about the conveyor making any stops and someone joining him. There are no express conveyors in the building, but Dez can't ever recall stopping at any other floor either going up or coming down. He is glad of it. He doesn’t want anything or anyone ruining his first real view of the city.

Despite what awaits below, he likes savoring the view of the city as he descends the 118 levels down to the street. The brightness of the morning suns bounce wildly and freely off the massive buildings that reach high above the city haze with their sharp lines and slightly fading bold colors. Looking out through the windows of the conveyor, Dez can see the level to which the haze forms a barrier over the city below from the bright suns above.

To Dez, the haze looks like a soft, almost serene cloud when seen from above. 'That stuff looks so harmless. But, being in it, that's something else,' Dez thinks to himself as he does every morning. 'Then, it’s just the haze, nothing more. It just is.'

His descent continues and it is like as if he is moving from day to night with the conveyor reaching the ground level. As he exits the conveyor car, Raymond the lobby attendant is there to greet him.

Good day to you Mr. Gemini, good day indeed. Raymond wears a uniform, and it looks as if he takes better care of it than himself. The creases are always crisp, its particular shade of gray is always distinctive. The sections of the uniform are well-defined by thick borders, of a darker gray shade. None of the black buttons are ever out-of-place. Everything in perfect, Milos City order.

It is a sharp contrast to Raymond himself who always looks as if he hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in quite a long time. This is not to say he looks haggard or disheveled, he just looks tired all the time, much like every other Milosian. Appearances being what they are, the picture of the man doesn’t match what he exudes. Raymond is always in good spirits, always has a smile for

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