Chapter 9:

Chapter 9: ...I Just Don't Know Where I Am

Neo-Tokeyo 199X: M1

As Arron walked through the crowded town plaza his plainclothes stuck out like a sore thumb. Many of the people he passed looked at him with distaste and quickly moved away from him.

This made it quicker for him to get to the exit but it did not make him any happier.

When Arron stepped out of the large domed garden he stopped in his tracks once again. In the distance, he could see two large clear tubes which disappeared into the sky.

As he inspected the distant tubes, several capsules could be seen flying up into space in the right tube while in the left tube even more capsules were descending to an unseen platform.

Arron turned his attention back to the quick notes he had taken to help him traverse through the several zones and the two sectors.

He reoriented himself toward the direction he needed to go and stepped on the sidewalk...

As soon as his first foot touched the right side of the large sidewalk it started to move forward and at a decent pace. Arron was unprepared for this and fell on his butt from being half on and half off the sidewalk.

He struggled to stand up while the sidewalk continued to move forward. On the left side of the large sidewalk, several people zipped past him all heading in the opposite direction of Arron. They didn't even bother to pay the floundering Arron any attention.

Now back on his feet, he looked down at the sidewalk with great interest.

This was truly a surprising technology. He guessed that if the moving sidewalk was present throughout the entire level and maintained the same speed, he could cut off several hours from his original estimation if he were to just walk.

“What are you? An old man? Why are you using such a slow speed?” asked an impatient woman behind Arron.

Arron looked over his shoulder to see a large woman with exotic purple hair rolled into many circles creating a pyramid atop her head standing behind him. In her arms, she held what looked like a small robotic dog.

“Bark!” said the robotic dog in a non-threatening metallic voice.

Arron, with a confused expression, asked, “What? This is slow?”

“Hmmph!” the large woman instead of answering him... flew into the air and zipped off towards a line of several waiting red and yellow taxis.

With her right hand, the large woman made a few gestures opening an unseen menu and paid the fee for a ride. The door of the taxi popped open for her to enter.

Seconds later the door slammed shut and the taxi rose into the sky, joining the many other flying vehicles. Floating blinking lights were all that separated the two lanes of flying cars as they whizzed past each other.

Arron had not seen any driver in the front of the taxi and guessed that this was the famed self-driving car of the Megacity. He wondered if all the cars flying above him were like that.

Since he had no money to waste on such a luxurious ride he continued to use the moving sidewalk.

The sidewalk came to a complete stop when it reached a four-way intersection. A large holographic blinking red hand could be seen on the other side of the crosswalk.

As Arron waited for it to change he looked around and saw that there were zero hover cars on the pristine street. All the traveling seemed to be done by flying vehicles.

“Why even have a street like this and keep it in such good shape if no one is going to use it?” wondered Arron.

While waiting Arron opened his NerViz system menu and looked for the option mentioned by the woman. When he found it, it showed that the sidewalk movement was set to the default slow speed. He decided to change it to a faster speed which would allow him to reach his destination even quicker.

Several moments later the red hand changed to a green walking human allowing Arron to cross the street. On the opposite side of the street Arron could see several large buildings towering high into the sky.

As he passed them at a quick speed he found that they were all different types of stores. Every one of them had at least one holo-screen on the wall of the building. They were either showing items that they had inside the building or they accessed his NerViz cloud chip and displayed ads based on his past purchases.

Many different brands of new hover tractors appeared each time he passed them. Each one of the tractors was priced at a stupidly high amount of credits.

A large screen that filled the entire wall of one of the large buildings was broadcasting KNN as he passed.

“...the new special unit once again suffered deaths due to some mishap.”

While riding the moving sidewalk Arron spent most of his time watching the ads and every once in a while the news broadcast on the passing buildings.

Arron felt that it was all an exotic experience different from any he had in the military or his small hometown.

He felt that people who complained that there were ads everywhere were over exaggerating.

Sure there were some but it was nothing overwhelming and they were all quite refined, except for the few random [Party of Mother and Father] ad's which were quite... awkward.

When he grew tired of watching ads he decided to enter one of the stores to check it out.

Some of the stores hovering in the sky above could only be accessed using flying clothes, or a flying car.

Arron didn't care which store it was and just stepped off the sidewalk next to a random building only wanting to get a quick peek.

With a hiss, the doors of the large skyscraper store immediately opened for him. He entered to find that it was empty of any humans. There were only bots and several current-gen humanoid robots moving around organizing, packing, and unpacking things.

A second after stepping into the store an ad popped up right in front of his face showing off the store’s weekly specials.

After a glance at the items, he understood that this entire store was for the many types of flying clothes. He took a closer look at the price and nearly had a heart attack.

The 'exotic' flying clothes being shown off were 20-35k credits!

While Arron stood staring at the shocking prices a humanoid metallic robot walked over to Arron.

“A customer! Such a rare occurrence! Initiating assistance mode! How many I help you customer?”

Arron looked over to the shop’s assistant robot. I was painted in a way that made it look like it was wearing a black tuxedo. But there was one problem... It had no head.

“Umm... does this store have anything less... 'exotic'?” asked Arron.

“Certainly,” with a wave of its robotic hand, the ad in front of Arron changed to show a large list of flying clothes.

“We have hundreds of styles for those that wish for more modest looks. The multi-colored versions cost 15k credits while the single color ones cost 10k.”

“Do... you have anything less expensive?”

“Oh,” was all the assistant bot said.

The tone of its robotic voice turned somewhat dismissive. If it had a head that could show expressions Arron was sure that it would be showing contempt at those words.

With a wave of the hand, the large list disappeared leaving only one thing left. It was a plain gray-colored working one suit costing 5k.

“Thank you for showing...”

“Assistant mode terminated. Goodbye citizen,” said the assistant bot as it turned its back on Arron.

Aaron exited the shop. Even though he knew that the shop owner had given the shop's assistant bot that personality, out of the many dozen that could be picked, he still felt that it was an unpleasant experience.

As he continued through the many sectors he passed an industrial zone that had few factories and mainly only had large whorehouses with hundreds of humanoid Robots and drones moving about carrying things.

On his solitary ride on the sidewalk, he saw no other humans, only several robots going about their jobs such as street cleaners, garbage removal, sewage care/repair.

He could see that the city had a large reliance on the robots to take care of what they viewed as minor or dangerous jobs.

Arron was now in a civilian zone and found that the moving sidewalks all radiated heat warming up anyone that was on them.

He looked around at the houses trying to figure out where he was but everything looked the same! He was now having a hard time trying to figure out which way to go since he had lost track in the large maze of similar houses. The NerViz GPS and map were still not working.

As he stood still off of the sidewalk trying to figure a way out of this predicament, a curious voice called out to him.

“What are you doing mister?”

Arron turned and found a young boy standing in the front yard of one of the houses with a metal ball and a large robotic dog that was wagging its tail waiting for the ball to be thrown.

The boy was the first person Arron had met since leaving the area of the domed garden.

“Trying to decide which way to go, everything looks the same,” said Arron.

“You're lost mister? I'm 8, and even I get lost,” said the kid.

“I'm not lost! I just don't know where I am. This is my first time here so...”

“What? Why don't you have the NavGuide activated? Are you an M?” asked the kid, looking at Arron with an odd expression.

“The NavGuide?”

Taking pity on Arron, the 8-year-old boy walked Arron through the steps of setting up the NavGuide. He made sure to point to each of the different settings telling him what to choose.

The young boy walked back to his front yard with his robotic dog while laughing at Arron.

Arron set the destination as the Police HQ and then activated the NavGuide.

A blue fist-sized holographic pixie appeared in front of Arron.

It looked like a grumpy old man.

“What are you staring at? Haven't you ever seen a NavGuide before?” asked the grumpy NavGuide Ai.

“Hurry up and follow me,” said the grumpy NavGuide.

Arron stood still looking at the floating holographic NavGuide deep in thought.

“Hey! Over here!” said the grumpy NavGuide.

Arron was starting to get a feeling that this fast paced Megacity was not such a friendly place.