Jack stood on the wooden platform hundreds of feet above the ground and stared over the top of the trees. Six months ago, he was thrilled when his buddy Ted had asked him to be his best man, then immediately cringed at the words destination wedding. But damn, if the Costa Rican cloud forest in front of him now wasn't a sight to behold!
Formed by a combination of winds and geography, these unique ecozones were only found in a few places on Earth, but their existence was threatened. The chance to see them now was definitely worth the trade-off of a few days' of party planning, speech making, and guest wrangling.
"You ready, boss?" asked the guide.
Jack nodded. "Just a sec," he said before raising his left arm. Aiming the sleek, steel and rubber band on his wrist toward the magnificent view, he gave a command. "CeeCee, record on."
The ComfortConcierge obliged and securely streamed the video to Jack's personal storage device in his apartment in New York.
This feature was the only thing Jack had consciously used it for so far, but the tech—while similar in appearance to those popular wristbands that have existed for years—could do much more than count steps or measure his heart rate. The AI-based software was still in the early adopter phase and was way too expensive for regular guys like him to own, but the Marriott San José where Jack had booked a room provided one to each guest during their stay.
"Record off," Jack said when he had completed a sweeping panorama of the landscape. After walking across to the other side of the platform, he waited for the guide to buckle his carabiner to the zipline and pushed off.
As soon as he dipped below the lush, mushroom-like caps of the native trees forming the dense canopy, CeeCee activated its sonic mosquito repellent feature. Jack didn't even notice how he was the only person in the seven strong group not swatting away at the pests during the hike back to the parking area. As soon as the crew was loaded and the van began its trek back to the hotel, CeeCee calculated the duration of the drive—current traffic conditions and weather, as well as the chauffer's history of making the journey—and alerted the room service staff back at the Marriott.
When Jack stepped into his suite at the end of his once-in-a-lifetime adventure—tired, dirty, and hungry—a warm bath had been drawn and next to it was a tray of pre-dinner, gluten-free appetizers and a glass of his favorite white wine.
* * *
"Have you heard from Jack today?" Emily asked her friend lying on the poolside lounger next to her.
Christa turned her head, pushed her shades up, and squinted in the bright Costa Rican sun. "I'm not about to marry him like you are Ted, Em, so he doesn't need to check in with me. I'm just his plus one, remember?" she said with a laugh before pressing a button on her wristband. Thanks to their shared suite, their devices were geo-locator synched. "But, it looks like he is within five hundred feet of us, so I'm guessing he's back from the rainforest."
Emily's shoulders fell as she visibly relaxed. "Good. What with the wedding tomorrow and everything, I'd hate to have anything go wrong."
"Ms. Christa?" a waiter holding a silver tray interrupted.
She sat up. "Yes?"
The hottie in white shorts and matching white polo shirt handed her a tall glass filled with a pink drink. "Your fruit explosion smoothie."
Christa took the glass, but furrowed her brows. "Thanks, but I didn't order this."
The waiter smiled. "That is correct, but your ComfortConcierge indicated that your blood sugar level was becoming dangerously low. We had this prepared to strict dietary requirements for individuals needing a quick dose of glucose."
"Oh," Christa exhaled the surprised syllable. Lost in blissful relaxation, she hadn't even realized how much time had passed at the pool since lunch and blamed her slight headache and dizziness on the heat. "Thanks again."
Emily's bracelet dinged as the waiter walked away.
"CeeCee speak," she said, activating the voice technology to reveal the newly received message.
"The weather report for Saturday, August nineteenth twenty twenty-three for San José, Costa Rica calls for intermittent rain. To ensure an enjoyable experience, our event management team has been notified to set up a tent for the outdoor ceremony," the pleasant, slightly robotic voice said. "Additionally, I advise that due to the higher-than expected humidity, the previously arranged loose curls for your hair style be changed to an elegant up-do, which will add another twenty minutes to your salon appointment. If this is acceptable, please say confirm. If not, please say more options."
"Confirm," Emily said with a frown.
Christa laughed after swallowing the last of her smoothie. "What's that look for?"
"Rain on my wedding day?" Emily asked with a shrug.
"So? You're in paradise and your every whim is being catered to even before you realize you want it." She raised her hand and shook her wrist for emphasis. "Enjoy it while it lasts, girl. After your honeymoon, it's back to reality."
Emily finally smiled. "You're right," she said with a mischievous look in her eyes. "Now how do you suppose we can smuggle these bad boys out of here without the resort knowing? I could definitely use the tech to run all of my life!"