In a far-off time and place, a colony of human life comes to terms with its existence as an experiment spanning 7,500 years. As it comes to an end, it begins to unravel too soon. The story spans a year-long quest for truth, causing conflict between man, machine and woman. And what of the rogue interlopers? All comes to a dramatic conclusion of rebellion, romance and resettlement.
An excerpt from
Diary of the Shy
Entry 17: 281
Date 64 of 7499 SC
Our blue sun dawned through my eastern window, with unforgiving ultraviolet. It fell through the filter and upon my face with a soft warmth. Slowly, I stretched and yawned. There was sleep to rub from my eyes, and steadily unbridling energy with which to do so.
"Good morning, Shy!" said the console, jutting out from the wall at the foot of my hammock.
I turned, put my feet on the floor, and blinked at the harsh light. I did not answer.
"I said, good morning, Shy!"
"It's not a good morning," I muttered. It either didn't hear me or pretended not to.
"I said, good morning. Please answer me, Shy!"
"Good morning, Mother..." I groaned the words reluctantly at the machine. "What time is it?"
"Oh-seven-hundred-and-thirty, Shy," it told me in a synthesized voice. It never sounded quite right. "Day four of month three, year seventy-four ninety-nine. Twenty days until your eighteenth birthday, Shy."
"More than I needed to know," I said to myself.
"What's that, Shy?"
I ignored it, as I found my slippers. I melted my toes into them, savouring the touch of the soft fabric.
"Did you say something, Shy?"
"No, Mother," I answered. As I approached, my wardrobe doors slid open.
"You're naked, Shy."
"I know that, Mother."
"May I suggest the deep blue Hierto dress?"
"No, Mother. Please, leave me alone."
"Your adjective truly becomes you," Mother buzzed. Then, it assumed a new, monotone voice that was truly Mother's, "Request granted."
I stared at my clothes, looking for something less pretentious than all else. It was clear that Mother had been limiting my selection so that I would attract more attention. I hated its meddlesome nature. It always sought to improve us, parenting until death. And our death always came first. Live, breathe, contribute to culture... and then die.
Why now, of all times, is she trying to draw attention to me? I wondered as I picked out a dress of pale yellow and off-white. There were fake flowers, of a brighter yellow, blossoming out in spirals and growing around it in elegant green vines. And yet, it was the least pretentious of them all.
I regretted putting it on, as soon as it tightened around my diaphragm and flared out at my waist. I cursed obscenities, and then drew a hand to my mouth. I hoped the rumours were untrue. They say Mother always listens.
I knew better than to childishly fear a changing of name. She never assigned us anything with an overtly negative connotation. They were always accurate, defining and merciless.
Pushing the button to head down in the elevator, the pillar at the center of this tower of bedrooms, I pried at the bust of my fragrant dress without success. I could tell what she was trying to do. But I longed to learn why.
I decided to save it for my therapy session with Intuitive. In her cozy office, Mother had no eyes or ears.