Kyle wasn't usually the kind to travel with others - other people just filled his head with annoying, distracting and typically unnecessary noises - but today, when Dan offered him a ride, he thought he may as well accept.
The vehicle was a little beat-up, but seemed fully functional. "So," Kyle said as he settled into his seat, "How does this thing work exactly?"
Dan laughed, saying, "You don't know?"
"I've never had time to figure it out," Kyle said, silently agreeing that it was strange, given his obsession, that he couldn't figure out how a car worked.
"Well, I'll explain it to you as best I can," Dan said. He pointed to a group of what appeared to be vents on the hood of the car, explaining, "Those vents there - they suck air out of the car's surroundings and pull it right down into the engine. The engine then, from what I understand, converts the elements in the air into fuel and uses that to power itself. It mainly draws on water vapor, but it supposedly can run on dry air with a minimal loss of efficiency."
"Interesting," Kyle said, piecing a model together in his head. Okay, so those vents had to somehow draw in air without letting it immediately escape again...
"Yeah," Dan responded. "Did you hear about the bombing?"
When Kyle shook his head, Dan continued, "Well, supposedly there was a bombing up in the north, around Neo York. The ones responsible claim to be trying to bring out Gabriel." Kyle filed the information away, eager as always to hear about current events.
"This is my house," Kyle said. Dan stopped the car, shaking his head as if he'd zoned out or something. "Thanks for the ride," Kyle said.
Dan nodded, answering with, "Thanks for making Mr. Hindinburg mad. Made my day," before heading off, presumably to his house.
Kyle entered his house with a suddenly-approaching sense of exhaustion, sweeping his eyes from one corner of the living room to the next, searching for Lissa. His little sister was always in the living room when he got home. Where could she be? "Lissa..." He called out for her, receiving no response. Kyle walked through the living room and turned left into the kitchen, finding a note on the table as expected.
Took Liz to the doctor's office. She was complaining of a stomach-ache and headache. Be back just after dinner. There's some leftover pizza in the fridge.
"Wonder if mom knows Lissa's still eating six-month old candy from Easter," Kyle said to no-one in particular. He grabbed a slice of pizza from the fridge and, after heating it in the fusion stove for ten seconds, devoured the still-steaming slice - followed by two more. Once he was finished eating, he headed down to the basement.
Kyle started up his personal Intellisphere to run the usual music tracks, along with the daily news reel as he reclined on a bench with his back against the wall. He visualized the schematic in his head for an air-powered engine of the type described by Dan and set to work constructing it from thin air.
In reality, he was just taking atoms of the required elements from his surroundings and connecting them into the materials he needed. He never took too much from any given item - a few atoms from this, a few from that - but he eventually wound up with a finished engine.
As he sat in the basment listening to the Intellisphere's news feed, he heard the door open and paused the Intellisphere to go up and greet his family. As he neared the top of the stairs, his mother and sister entered the kitchen.
"Hi," Kyle's mom said, and Lissa came running over to give Kyle a hug. The seven-year-old red-haired girl was wearing a sticker and carrying a bottle of soda from a fast-food restaurant near the doctor's office.
After a lengthy conversation with Lissa and his mother, Kyle headed off to bed for the night.
The next day at school, he spent all day - except for English class and Science, which he actually attempted to pay attention to - planning out his car's body. Right after lunch, as he exited the cafeteria, he saw Milla again and headed directly over to her, this time without being stopped by an angry teacher.
"Hey," he said, taking a spot next to her as she walked.
"Hey!" she responded.
"So, I think I may have completely failed the trig test. Want to compare notes on the answers?"
"Sure. What have you got?"
Kyle rattled off his choice for each question and then heard Milla's answer. In the end, it was decided that he may just barely pass.
By the time they were finished discussing the test, Kyle was at his next class, so he bade farewell to Milla before entering the classroom. There, he saw Dan sitting next to the only empty seat in the room. The entire class seemed to be buzzing with excited conversation, and the wall television was playing a news "Special Alert" program.