Victoria Diane Mariette
supernova73’s blog: 8/8/2613 12:15 p.m.
Topic: [Re: Wait a second…] So who is Stela?
Steladisappearing…cool screen name. Sounds mysterious – and I like it. Willie, you’re so lucky to have found out about her! I hope one of us meets her after our Trial. See, that’s why I’d ask what your name is. Don’t worry, I’m asking all this in a friendly, non-demanding, nonintrusive way (I hope). My name’s Victoria Diane Mariette. No one would want to steal my identity, so I have no problem giving out my name. Anyway, there’s one question my friend didn’t ask. I hope you see this and answer it. I mean, I don’t doubt you failed. Even today computers aren’t powerful enough to have the same Internet on both Earth and the moon, even if people there were allowed to communicate with us here. That’s why we don’t have many information sites. But back to the point. Is America dangerous? I’m asking because I don’t think I’ll pass, plus I’m concerned about someone I know. (Not you, Willie.)
I don’t log off for a while, surfing my favorite science sites while I wait for Stela to respond. After a while I give up and get up to get some pizza from the hotel kitchen to call lunch. That’s when I remember – my long-distance teleport back home has been moved forward to today. I have to get to Station du Terre in…fifteen minutes!
I scarf down my pizza in a matter of seconds, and then I sprint to my room to pack. I throw my clothes haphazardly into my suitcase, more concerned with haste than with keeping them unwrinkled. It’s not as it the laundry room won’t iron them out as soon as I get home, anyway. Luckily, I didn’t bring many books. The rest are hidden in the wooden chest in my room, protected by a state-of-the-art fingerprint scanner that contrasts with the old-fashioned paperbacks inside. The ones I did bring easily fit in my backpack, hidden under my hairbrush, toothbrush, and all the other beauty and hygiene supplies that aren’t available in every bathroom. When all my stuff is put away, I run to the elevator, endure the suspiciously slow ride down to the ground floor with a Younger girl who keeps giggling at random intervals, relinquish my room key at the front desk, and pop into one of the doors in the sunlit corridor containing the short-distance teleporters. I don’t know how I’d be able to survive if these weren’t available 24/7!
“State your destination,” the mechanical voice drones as the doors close. I guess they have so much programming for the teleporter itself, there is no room left for one of the voice-programs that sound human.
“Station du Terre.” Station of Earth. I say this in a monotone similar to the teleporter’s, but it doesn’t have enough artificial intelligence even to appreciate my humor. I chuckle, half out of nerves, and feel a bit too much like the Younger in the elevator.
After a second, the chrome-plated doors open before me, revealing mainland Europe’s largest teleport station. An old-fashioned sign declares that I’m in on of the eastern short-distance hallways. Checking my watch, I take off down the long-memorized route towards the station itself, with a bit less than five minutes left.
“Ticket, please,” a more realistic, but still computerized, voice says as I enter the grand auditorium that’s the main part of Station du Terre. I dig mine out of the side pocket of my backpack and flash it at one of the holographic sensors. The holographic ticket checker nods. I hurry and make it to the correct mass portal with a minute to spare.
The Station du Terre really is beautiful. It’s designed to look like you’re by a mountain lake, standing in a sunlit garden, or, like today, walking through a peaceful forest. All the scenes reflect the natural beauty of Earth before the Final War. That’s one of the reasons I love visiting France so much, along with connecting to the family history mentioned to me while I lived on the moon. The Station of Earth is the last place you can find this beauty besides the books I love. The establishment of the Realm had ended the Final War and ensured that it really was, well, the final war, but it could never bring back what technology had destructed.
With an unexpected jolt, the mass portal hums into action, bringing me back to the present. I’m finally on my way back to England.