Chapter 1 - Wrong Place

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Sept 17, 2229

Gill Rune sat at the dining-room table across from his daughter. He wore a suit made of carbon nanotubes arranged in a thick mesh. Small metal computer interfaces implanted into his temples glistened, and his eyes had a slight blue square of light coming from his pupils.

Poking his finger at a hologram of a cartoon woman, he pulled his hand back as its dress changed to a different style.

"No, no." Four-year-old Sydnie poked at the hologram, turning the dress back. "It's supposed to be this one," she said oddly accentuating some of the syllables.

"Oh, I see." Gill leaned back in his chair.

A call came in; a notification only Gill could see displayed before his eyes and an alarm sound he alone could hear. Using his thoughts, he opened the message with the Aivot computer system implanted in his head. He stood. "I'm sorry sweetie, but I have to go."

"No, Daddy... sit." Sydnie pointed at the chair.

"I'm sorry, go tell your mother I'm going."

"Mommy won't play with me."

Walking in, Maylis picked up Sydnie. "I'll play with you for a bit."

"There's an emergency I have to check out."

"Ok, Gill. We'll see you next week. Say bye," said Maylis nudging their daughter's wrist.

Burying her face into her mom, Sydnie didn't say anything.

Stepping forward, Gill put his hand on Sydnie's head and kissed the side of her face. She turned away hiding that cheek.

Turning, Gill hurried out of the apartment into a hallway lined with many other identical doors. He hastened to an elevator. It opened upon his arrival. Once Gill got on, the doors closed and the elevator descended. Tapping his right hand's fingers against his leg, he waited. The doors opened into an indoor garage filled with cars, not a single space vacant. Maintaining his fast pace, he got to his car and its driver side door opened for him. Sitting behind the wheel, he relaxed into the seat, and the door shut itself.

"66th Ave and North Broad," said Gill.

"66th Avenue and North Broad Street," said the car's computer.

"Yes."

Pulling out of the parking spot, the car drove through the garage without Gill touching the driving wheel.

Large identical rusty apartment buildings surrounded him. There were a good many cars on the road and only a few people strolling around.

****

Earlier, across the street from a quaint old monastery surrounded by large identical rusty apartment buildings, something was going down. A few cars drove by and many people shambled about. A crowd encircled one spot on the sidewalk. Many small drones flitted about like pixies recording the scene. The mob of humans yelled, their voices muddled together. Wendy could make out one phrase shouted every so often.

"Go back to your world," hollered several in the crowd.

She joined in watching what was happening. Holding up flat rectangular device, she let go of it. Floating, it transformed into a cube and filmed the scene. One newcomer ran up to the back of the crowd and released a spherical palm-sized drone.

A few people kicked someone with ram horns, large ears sticking straight out, and pure white skin with a brown mottled pattern. The short hair on their head also had the white and brown markings. Flat on the ground the humanoid alien tried in vain to protect himself.

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