Chapter 1.5

“What do you mean she’s at home?” Laura asked curiously.

She was driving now, and since it was almost 10 PM, there wasn’t much traffic around to slow her down.

    New New York was beautiful at this time of the day. Although all the light pollution prevented one from seeing any stars at night, the artificial glow of everything kind of made up for it in it’s own, special way. 

    There were hologram billboards of different sizes all over, displaying advertisements, shiny, glowing orbs on street corners, and floating traffic lights, that kept drivers in check.   

    Sophie rested her head against the passenger side window while she watched the city pass by all around her.

    She didn’t look at her friend while she spoke.

“I...Bought a synth, okay?” Sophie said defensively. She really didn’t want to dwell on the topic any longer, because she already knew how Laura felt about synthetics.

“Wow” replied Laura.

     Next to the ignition button on her car’s control panel was a light blue button. It had the letters "AGS" marked in bold white letters on it.

    Laura pushed this button with her right index finger, then took both hands off of the steering wheel so that she could massage the sides of her head with her ring and middle fingers.

    She always did that when she was feeling stressed.

AGS stood for Automatic Guidance System. They came standard with all modern cars these days, and worked with a vehicle’s GPS unit to bring the driver to their destination. They were also programmed to choose the fastest route, yet stay within every area’s designated speed limit.

With the steering wheel turning by itself, Laura’s mind was free to focus on other things.

“You know those things have killed children, right?” she asked, almost yelling. “Since they came out two weeks ago, one has drowned a little girl in a bathtub while bathing her, and another one choked some little boy when it was supposed to be feeding him breakfast!”

    Sophie continued to gaze out of the window.

“Those were all...Accidents...” she replied lazily. “And besides, Elle already downloaded the latest data patch from Synthetica...Everything is fine.

    Laura was disgusted.

“You named it?”  she asked rhetorically. “And everything is not fine! Those “accidents” are only the ones that happened here in the city! Who knows what else is going on around the world?”
Laura sighed and massaged her head some more before continuing.

“Soph... You’re my best friend, and you know I love you... But you never think anything through! You’re trusting a friggin’...Robot to watch Catherine, and now you’re saying that everything is fine! The last time you said that, you ended up sleeping with Deadbeat Dennis, and look where that left you. Single and with a kid!”

Sophie’s eyes widened in surprise, then began to fill with tears.

Fortunately for her, she was still facing the window, and Laura could only see the back of her head.

Sophie shifted her weight so that her back was now facing Laura, and she brought her knees up to her chest before wrapping her arms around them.

Laura didn’t have anything more to say, so she took hold of the steering wheel, pressed the AGS button once more to deactivate it, and they drove to Sophie’s apartment in silence.   

The End

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