Sample Chapter - Morning Rituals


"I must tell you about a vision. Only you determine your destiny, envision before enacting, and remember the primes."

A groggy voice responds, "Hello, is someone here?"

"Good morning Mr. Cade. It is 0601 hours, Thursday morning, November 17, 2039," said a monotone voice.

The dark blue vertical blinds in Spencer Cade's bedroom folded upwards as soothing music started to fill his space. The volume slowly increased and expelled natural melodies of a stream, overlaid with a series of flutes that echoed a deep bass tenor, followed by a soloist on a concert piano.

"Good morning, HICAMS. Is there someone in my room?"

"No, you are alone," replied the Home Interactive and Computer Aid Monitoring System.

"Did you mention something about my destiny?"

"No, Mr. Cade."

"That's strange. I could swear someone leaned over and whispered something in my ear, maybe I was dreaming," uttered Spencer as he started to dose off.

"Maybe Mr. Cade."

On a cylinder-shaped table, a seventeen-inch 3-D hologram of a female news broadcaster appeared in the middle of the room and spoke about world events.

"Yesterday, an earthquake occurred in Los Angeles, California at 1:51 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. It registered a 3.9 on the Richter scale. Casualties were few, and damage to the Metro red line ended up placing parts of it out of service. Reports have indicated aftershocks were felt as far away as eastern Nevada." The broadcaster transitioned to her next story with little concern in her voice, "Five whales were found on a beach in North Truro, Massachusetts. Residents spotted the finback whales at 2:33 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Emergency workers and volunteers are currently on the scene, trying to keep the whales moist until they can develop a strategy to move them back into the ocean. In other news, the unknown outbreak of an airborne virus, which broke out in Australia a week ago today, has been..."

"HICAMS, please turn this off. It's too depressing to hear this early in the morning."

"Yes, Mr. Cade."

"Also, can you stop addressing me as Mr. Cade. It's Spencer, let's cut the formalities. I have lived in this house for almost a month; I think we can address one another on a first-name basis."

"I cannot do that, Mr. Cade."

"Forget it, why do I bother," said Spencer as he pulled the covers over his head.

"Yes, Mr. Cade, is there anything else?" HICAMS asked via the internal communication system.

"What?" mumbled Spencer while under the blankets.

"Is there anything else I can assist you with?"

"Yes," said Spencer as he pulled a pillow onto the top of his head.

"What would that be, Mr. Cade?"

Spencer slowly emerged from his cocoon; there was a slight pause, "Umm, what was it?"

"I do not know Mr. Cade. That is why I am asking you."

"I was being rhetorical!"

Before HICAMS gave a response, Spencer asked, "I asked you to play this music to wake me up?"

HICAMS replied swiftly, "Yes, Mr. Cade, you asked me two days ago to play soothing music for you on your days off."

"Yes, soothing music, not sounds of a stream running in the background while someone plays the synthesizer. That's not music; it's some type of hippie intervention!"

"Correction, that is not a synthesizer, it is a concert piano."

"Sorry! Concert piano," said Spencer sarcastically.

It was then his queen size bed began lifting the upper portion of his body. "What now?"

"You requested your bed place itself upright at 0607 hours. As for your music, Mr. Cade, I will change the music selection immediately. Would you like to make a more specific music request?"

"No! I pay hundreds of credits for your programming, so I shouldn't have to make these decisions."

"Yes, Mr. Cade, my apologies."

Spencer paused for a moment and realized his behavior was uncalled for, "It's not your fault, HICAMS. I'm sorry for snapping at you. It's just..."

"No apology is necessary," interrupted HICAMS.

Relieved he didn't have to complete his sentence, Spencer replied, "Thanks."

"You are welcome, Mr. Cade."

"Why can't you call me Spencer?" "

"My programming does not give me the ability to interact with humans in an informal capacity."

"I can't believe this. When will companies make machines more like humans and less like morticians? We need to get you a personality," said Spencer while stretching his arms above his head.

"I am sorry, Mr. Cade, I do not understand that last statement. My program does not permit me to conduct funeral arrangements nor preserve corpses. Can you please clarify?"

Spencer shook his head in disbelief, "Never mind."

"Yes, Mr. Cade."

Spencer piled his pillows to the side and said sarcastically, "Don't forget about changing my morning programming to something more uplifting."

"I will. However, this will be a difficult task to accomplish."

"Did you make a joke?" he asked in astonishment.

"I am sorry, Mr. Cade, but I was not joking. I was simply stating a statistical fact. If you look at current news programming and remove those that consists of negative overtones..."

"Stop!" yelled Spencer.

"Yes, Mr. Cade."

Spencer left his bed; he placed his feet in his pre-warmed slippers while looking out his eleventh-floor condominium windows. He contemplated his day when he noticed a nude man near his building He was yelling and running around a pile of boxes that appeared to have been tossed from a window.

"Must be another once loving couple gone awry. I love New York," mused Spencer. While he continued to stare out the windows, he suddenly remembered he had to work tomorrow. "I hate going to work on Fridays."

While still entertained by the scene outside, Spencer heard a young female voice yell, "Dad!" and replied as if on autopilot, "Yes, honey, what do you want?"

"I have to be at school no later than 7:09!"

"Ok, give me ten minutes," yelled Spencer as he thought, "The joys of having a thirteen-year-old daughter."

Spencer's mind immediately jumped back to his job, "I hope I don't have to work another eleven-hour shift tomorrow. I need to get some rest or stop working altogether. This job is starting to get on my nerves."

Spencer walked into the bathroom with a dreary droop while mumbling, "Sometimes waking up just plain sucks." As he looked into the bathroom mirror, he stood there and stared while criticizing his facial features.

"When the heck did I get to look so old? I have more creases in my forehead than I can count, and this gut, it must be at least seven pounds of additional weight." Spencer grabbed his belly fat and jiggled it vigorously, "I need to start laying off those bagels. I don't understand; I'm only fifty-one years old." He took a brief pause, shook his head, and continued with his depressing observations with little reassurance, "Well, there's not much I can do now, is there?"

"You could go on a diet and start exercising," replied HICAMS.

Spencer jumped back, startled, "Thanks for the words of wisdom. You maintain a full-time job, raise a teenager, then tell me how much time you have for exercise. Now stop monitoring my conversations!"

HICAMS replied in his standard sterile delivery style, "Yes, Mr. Cade."

"That's another problem; we need to get your voice fixed. I want it programmed with a female voice, you know with a British accent, no a Swedish accent, yeah a Swedish accent,"

Spencer looked at his shower and followed up with "97 degrees." During the time Spencer disrobed, he started to prepare himself for a relaxing wash and called out "Weather." An image of a female Avatar soon appeared on the bathroom mirror and reported today was going to be mostly sunny with possible showers, highs around 61 degrees, low around 53. As she progressed into the next day's forecast, Spencer yelled, "Stop! I'm only interested in today," and the Avatar faded away.

"You'd think that in the year 2039, we would finally have the ability to get a precise forecast."

As Spencer brushed his teeth, he continued to carry on about weather forecasters and his thoughts, "How many people can go to work and give a statement like, 'Mostly sunny with possible showers.' I mean, come on, are they for real? I think when I go back to work tomorrow, I'll start forecasting what types of crimes will occur and explain how it will be mostly quiet with a rash of burglaries."

His mind once again jumped the track and thought about the positive aspects of being a weather forecaster. "Maybe I can go back to school and become a meteorologist. I wonder if that's a particular study or something your boss assigns you if you suck at telling the news. Either way, I think I could do that. How hard could it be?" As he contemplated a new career choice, he soon realized he did not have what it took. "Forget it, who am I kidding. I don't have a personality. Plus, I'd look twice as fat on camera."

While Spencer continued to mumble his thoughts, he stepped into his shower and yelled, "Holy crap! I said 97 degrees, not 37 degrees!"

"Sorry, Mr. Cade. I will recalibrate the temperature gauge."

"Shower off!" Spencer yelled.

"Yes, Mr. Cade."

Spencer stumbled around while putting his bathrobe on and said aloud, "I'm sick and tired of these malfunctions. I'm calling Reece at work today; maybe he can reprogram my condominium. He owes me for those speeding tickets I was able to get squashed."

While he finished his morning routine in the bathroom, Spencer thought about how long Reece and he have been best friends. He recalled how they met during their sophomore year of college and remembered if it were not for Reece, he would have failed his calculus studies, as well as being a complete social outcast. During his nostalgic moment, he reminisced how Reece became a Level 1 Programmer and now works for one of the world's largest global software companies, Central Circuit.

"Better yet, I'll go and visit him at work today. I always love arguing with him about his inventions," said Spencer, while he tried to spike what little hair he had left.

After he finished grooming, He walked back into his bedroom and asked HICAMS to select his clothing. A large door opened up, and racks of apparel slowly emerged. Each hanger had a small fiberoptic light built in which allowed it to exhibit up to twenty-nine different colors. HICAMS would proceed to match up each article of clothing and assign each outfit a specific color. After HICAMS recommended seven other suits, Spencer chose the blandest, casual pair of faded blue jeans with a charcoal gray t-shirt.

Once he finished getting dressed, he stumbled around looking for his digital assistant (PDA). "Where did I put it? HICAMS, can you help locate my PDA?"

"Yes, Mr. Cade, it is underneath your bed."

"Ah, yes," Spencer quickly kneed down and looked, "There it is." As he tried to reach for it, he quickly learned his arms were too short, and his body too big to maneuver. "Damn it, I need something straight and long," Spencer looked around his semi-cluttered bedroom and noticed his ski poles, "That will do." He grabbed one and used it. "Mission accomplished," said Spencer with a proud look as if he had conquered Mt. Everest. "Thanks, HICAMS."

"You are welcome, Mr. Cade. May I recommend you get a PIC implant?" asked HICAMS.

"May I recommend you get a lobotomy?"

"I am sorry, Mr. Cade, but lobotomies were once used to treat mental illness in the 1900s and become obsolete after creating various drugs and physiological treatments. Further, lobotomies practiced on biological life forms, something I am not."

"Yes, yes, I know. I wasn't serious, it's an insensitive figure of speech, and I'm not interested in a PIC. They will have to kill me before they put one of those 'I see, I hear, I know all, government tracking chips' in me. You can add this to list of things not to ask me again," ordered Spencer.

"Yes, Mr. Cade."

Spencer thought, "I swear they purposely program these foolish in-house monitoring systems to push products they want you to buy. It's like living inside a commercial. I am contemplating getting HICAMS removed."

"HICAMS, I will be in the bathroom again, taking care of some business."

"Yes, Mr. Cade."

While Spencer was away, a public service announcement started broadcasting to the circular table in his bedroom. A seventeen-inch hologram of a government official appeared and said, "Are you thinking of a Personal Identification Chip, otherwise known as a PIC? If so, let me explain the benefits. It holds all of your data, including your health and financial information. The procedure takes only a few minutes, and the user feels no discomfort as the implant fuses into his or her deltoid on their dominant side. The PIC directly connects to the user's spinal cord and monitors the user's health. It also allows a user to make financial transactions with a simple thought, exchange digital data with other users, surf the Internet, interact with millions of different applications, and various other social and business activities. This data transfer completes its journey wirelessly on an internal encrypted network tailored to that specific user. The PIC can range in size, anywhere from 500 petabytes to 500 zettabytes in digital storage. Several upgrades are available. Among our most popular upgrades is a user's ability to listen to audio or make and receive calls. This device communicates directly with a small transmitter and receiver that the user carries in their ears and cheek. Once this procedure is finished, the user can elect to get ocular implants, allowing them to view and store any video type. If a user has a friend or family member with an ocular implant, the two can consent to tap into each other's feed and view what the other person sees. If you are interested, please visit these local retailers..."

A list of locations replaced the hologram, and a warning written in bold red letters appeared. It read, "Government Warning - if you were born after the year 2017, International Law dictates you must receive a PIC implant by the age of five. Individuals that have been convicted of a crime and has a PIC implant, their PIC ties into the International Law Enforcement Global tracking system. In that case, this will shadow the criminal's whereabouts and record everything they hear and see. It encourages them to make good choices." The advertisement faded away, and a historical program on past computer technology returned.

After Spencer finished getting ready for his day, he walked down the stairs and into an open spaced kitchen. The design was simple yet artistically stylish. There was a crescent-shaped stone wash counter in the center, with four metal stools, and a greenish amber oval light fixture suspended from the smooth metallic ceiling directly above. To the right of the counter stood a stainless-steel refrigerated flush with the bluish-colored walls, only recognizable due to its handle. The stove blended perfectly with its surroundings; the only distinguishing marks exhibited were four thin gray circles representing the burners. The circular sink sat on the back wall directly behind the counter and underneath housed a double-hinged dishwasher with stone washed facing. Lastly, no small appliances were littering the kitchen. Spencer always felt preparing a meal in a slow, relaxed manner made for better family time.

Spencer found his daughter, Jade, sitting at the metallic kitchen table across the counter, opposite the sink, eating cereal and fighting with the holo screen.

Jade was Spencer's biological daughter, who was in eleventh grade and considered a savant. Jade could have already graduated high school but did not want to miss out on her junior and senior years. What was rare about her intelligence was she did not show any signs of heightened abilities other than her unparalleled math and science skills. Jade's genetic makeup was compared against both her mother's and Spencer's; the geneticists concluded Jade obtained these unique abilities from her mother's side of the family.

"I see you're eating a healthy breakfast," said Spencer.

"Dad, we need to get a new holo screen. Every time I change the channel, it takes, like, forever. Look at the people; they're all fuzzy like."

"What are you saying? This screen is only two years old."

"So, look at it! The picture sucks! I tried to fix it, but we don't have the right parts."

"Well, when you get a job, you can spend your own money and fix it however you like," said Spencer calmly.

"Dad, why do you always have to be so difficult?"

"I'm not difficult; I'm fiscally responsible. You forget, there is only one income, and if you want to go to college, we need to be frugal."

"Frugal is another word for cheap. Anyway, I have a full scholarship to MIT," muttered Jade.

"What's that?"

"Nothing, Dad," said Jade, who was becoming even more annoyed.

"That's not what I heard, and I know you have a scholarship. I want to make sure when you leave here, you have a safety cushion and never have to worry about money."

"Whatever! Speaking of money, I need to get some credits on my PIC. Can you transfer some over?"

"I uploaded some to your account last week."

"I know, I know, but I downloaded this new app, and it ate up all my credits, and I need them for the hover rail. You want me to get to school, right? No credits, no hover rail, no school."

"Fine. Here you go," as Spencer typed in a few keystrokes on his PDA, "By the way, these credits will be restricted only for the hover rail and withdrawn from your monthly allowance," explained Spencer.

"You're so not fair," yelled Jade.

"I know," said Spencer as his PDA read, "Transfer complete, Mr. Cade."

"So, when are you going to get a PIC implant?" asked Jade, hoping this would annoy her dad further.

"Never," said Spencer with a slight annoyance in his voice. "And the only reason why you have one is that International Law now requires it."

"Yeah, I know," said Jade as she realized her choice of topic was working and continued.

"But do you know how easy it is to, like, walk into a store, grab whatever you want and then walk out without waiting in a line to pay or to..."

Spencer quickly interrupted, "Sure, easy for you, but expensive for me. When I was growing up, I had to wait in a line and watch the store clerk total up how much I owed, in doing so, I knew how much I was spending. Nowadays, you walk into a store, grab whatever you want, and half the time, you don't even know how much you're paying. Until you walk out, the store scans your items at once, and then charges your PIC."

At this point in the conversation, Jade realized she should stop because she knew she had successfully invoked her dad into a rampage. Instead, she decided to continue, "I know how much I've spent before leaving."

"Well, of course, you do, your mathematic skills are far more superior than most people's."

"Dad, it's, like, simple, you know, addition and subtraction. It's not that hard," She continued to fix the holo screen while annoying her father.

Spencer quickly responded, "Yes, it may be simple mathematics, but it adds up quickly, and when the end of the month arrives, you're going to get hit with a bill saying you owe thousands of credits. You'll then realize you can't afford it, so you don't make your payment, and then you end up getting hit with high-interest rates..."

Jade started tuning her father out when she heard him say, "Ok, I know I'm not going to win this argument, so let's change the subject."

She now realized this was her opportunity and asked, "So, Dad, can I get the upgrades to my PIC? You know the ear and eye implants."

Although a patient and forgiving man, Spencer looked at his daughter, and with a quiet and highly annoyed tone, he replied, "Have you lost all sense of reality? The day you get those implants will be the day aliens abduct me. There is no way I'll ever condone such a ridiculous decision. Why would you want to allow the commercial industry and our government to monitor what you hear and see in the world? Oh sure, they say they're not monitoring what people with implants are doing, but who believes that? You may as well use the names of those people as the definition for naïve." Spencer continued with his rant. He looked over at Jade and noticed she had her earplugs in, listening to music and smiling. "It makes me feel so much better than I have your undivided attention." The moment after Spencer finished, he started to realize what his daughter's real intention was.

"Hello," as Spencer waved his hands in front of Jade's face.

"What?" said Jade laughingly.

"I was talking to you."

"Oh, sorry. I thought you were reminiscing about your childhood or developing new government conspiracies," said Jade with a smirk.

"Ah, very funny, I know you're trying to get another rise out of me. Don't think I don't know what you were trying to do; it's not going to work."

"I don't know, Dad, you seemed a little more than annoyed there for a few minutes."

"Really?" said Spencer knowing she was right, but in no way was he going to admit this to his only offspring.

After he realized Jade pulled one over on him, Spencer decided to change the subject and asked, "Did you drink all the milk?"

"Sorry, Dad, I can't have cereal without milk."

"No, but you could have at least saved a little for me. You know I can't drink my coffee without milk. And you know drinking coffee is one of my morning rituals."

"Ok," replied Jade, who was not paying much attention to what her father was saying.

"HICAMS."

"Yes, Mr. Cade."

"Can you please put a gallon of two percent organic milk on the grocery list?"

"I have completed that task, Mr. Cade. I placed the order after detecting the empty jug of two percent unprocessed milk in the recycling bin. I confirmed with the refrigerator; there was no more milk and took the liberty to place an order with the Health Market."

"Wow, my appliances communicate better with each other than I do with my daughter," thought Spencer.

"Ok then, when is the next delivery?" he asked, trying not to act too impressed.

"The next delivery will be on November 23," replied HICAMS.

"That's six days away," said Spencer in a disgruntled manner.

"That is correct. To be more accurate - six days, eighteen hours, and twenty-three minutes."

"Ok, ok, we all know you're great at math too. Can you speed up the delivery and get it here by today?"

"Yes, Mr. Cade, but your account will receive a charge for changing the delivery date."

As the words "account" and "charged" rang in Spencer's head, his frugal nature kicked in, and he replied, "Never mind. I'll have to go to the Health Market. I hate shopping on my day off. But keep it on the next order. We'll need more by then."

"Dad? Can't you wait? It's just milk."

"No, I can't," snapped Spencer.

"Ok, whatever," said Jade.

"Better yet, HICAMS, cancel the delivery service entirely; I'm tired of paying to have our food delivered."

"Yes, Mr. Cade."

"Why do you always have to snap at HICAMS?" asked Jade.

"I'm not snapping, I'm..." Spencer paused for a moment to devise a quick response, "I'm complaining. You know, in an aggressive manner."

"Sure, whatever, I still love you, HICAMS."

"Thank you, Ms. Jade."

"You know, Dad, you're going to reschedule the delivery service again after you bring home the next grocery load," said Jade with a smile.

"I find it so comforting that you think you know me so well," replied Spencer as he kissed Jade on the forehead.

"I like to think so."

"Hey, wait a minute. How did you get HICAMS to call you, Ms. Jade?"

"Oh, I logged on to his program last night and changed some of his coding."

"What do you mean you logged on and changed some coding?"

"It's not like it's so hard, I mean come on Dad, they teach this material in seventh grade. It's, like, common sense, general programming of a mod 5 interface."

"Mod what?" Spencer asked with a confused look.

"Model," said Jade while laughing.

"Then why don't you say, model?

"Because saying mod is faster."

"Faster? I don't see how reducing a word from two syllables to one syllable will make speaking faster. Does this make your sentence an extra one-hundredth of a second shorter? And if so, for what? So, you can have more time to listen to your music or watch the holo screen. Next, you'll be speaking in clicks."

"Oh, hilarious, Dad."

"Well, excuse me, Level 1 Programmer."

"I wish," said Jade.

"You don't need to wish; I'm pretty sure you're already there. You just don't have the official title yet."

"You think so, Dad?" said Jade with a slight smile.

Spencer quickly replied, "Um, how would you put it? Oh yeah, ah, duh!"

As Jade laughed, Spencer followed up with a severe tone, "Well, answer me this, Ms. Jade. Why can't these programmers make it easy and give us simple-minded people the ability to program these in-home monitoring systems ourselves by using simple voice commands? Wow, wouldn't that be a breakthrough." Spencer said while reflecting that he was on to something.

"Well, according to my tech history teacher, sorry, technical history teacher," said Jade in a witty voice, "The mod 2s were able to have their basic programming changed via voice commands, but this ended up being a disaster. Originally, they said the changes were for safety and security. Still, I think it was because too many people were screwing up the programming, which resulted in the owners calling tech support too frequently. This increased operating costs for Central Circuit. So, they ended up encoding even the more basic commands for the newer mods, or should I say, models, to prevent the owners from screwing them up further."

As Jade continued to explain to her father her theories on why these restrictions are in place, an electronic hovering advertisement board glided slowly past one of their exterior windows. It read, "Stop the monopolies! Central Circuit is one of only three technology-based companies that produce civilian-based programming and electronics. Central Circuit is currently trying to expand its base to include military applications, but Technology Gold continues to undermine them. Who is Technology Gold? They, too, design and create programming and electronics, but solely for Government use. Please visit Crush the Corporations at one of the public kiosks or go online for more information."

"You know my feelings on this?" said Spencer.

"Yes, Dad, I know you think the less control the masses have with technology, the more control the companies have who manage it. I think it's hypocritical because you support the companies who write the software when you use it for your job," said Jade.

"Let's not bring my job into this, but I have to say I'm thrilled you know how to get around their elite programming. It comforts me that you will never have to be dependent on these services," explained Spencer.

"Thanks, Dad, I guess." Jade then changed the subject and continued by asking, "Did you know Central Circuit's board of directors believe proper manners and honesty are characteristics of a strong society and they're the company that programs the HICAMS? They also believe life is a gift, and one should not treat it as a burden."

"I'm aware, and don't leave out they're also a bunch of religious fanatics," harped Spencer.

"Oh, stop it, Dad, you're starting to sound like one of those crazy conspiracy people again."

"Humph, well, it's nice to see you're paying attention in school. So, can you reprogram HICAMS to call me Spencer and not Mr. Cade?"

"Sure, can you transfer another 151 credits to my PIC. I need to buy a particular app for my tablet this month."

"Sure," said Spencer with a grin.

"Really?" asked Jade with a surprised look.

"Absolutely, but before I do, let me subtract your room and board for October from the 151 credits," as Spencer pretended to type on his PDA, "Oh, look, you now owe me 761 credits for the month."

"Yeah ... hilarious Dad."

Spencer responded proudly, "I thought so."

Jade walked into the office and called out, "Panel." A semi-transparent keyboard with a series of letters, numbers, and symbols appeared from the empty wall space and a blue screen, which floated above the keyboard.

"Stand by for program modification, HICAMS," advised Jade.

"Yes, Ms. Jade."

As she quickly tapped several keys with her tiny hands, the transparent keyboard started turning bluish. Spencer looked over in astonishment and said, "They teach this in seventh grade?"

"Ah yea, Dad," she replied sarcastically.

"But honey, what they teach you in 7th grade is much more advanced than what they normally teach, you know this right?"

Jade continued to type, "Whatever, Dad."

"Well, I guess my 7th-grade experience was a little lower tech."

"Yeah, like no tech."

Before she finished, a holographical avatar of a middle-aged man, seven inches tall, appeared on a cylindrical platform in the kitchen and said, "Call for Mr. Cade."

"Thanks for doing this, Jade. I'll be right back; I have to take this."

"Ok, well hurry up, I have to get going. And I still need a ride to the hover rail, or I'll be late for school," replied Jade as she finished the coding.

"I'll be a second," yelled Spencer from the other room.

Jade told the console to close and yelled back, "I'll be outside in the parking garage, waiting." She grabbed her bag and ran out the front door.

"Hello Peter, what do you want," said Spencer as he looked at the hologram.

"Sorry to bother you on your day off. We wanted to know if you could come in later today and work Jennifer's shift. She called in sick."

"No, I can't."

"Are you sure? We've already received nineteen cyber tips, and it's looking like five of them may lead to an arrest."

"Yeah, well, if you want me to keep my sanity, I suggest you find someone else. Call Robert; he could use the extra hours and certainly the training."

"Are you joking? Robert has the personality of a dead snail."

"You're the one who promoted him to the unit. See you tomorrow. Bye," as the hologram faded away while calling out, "Spencer, but wait ..."

Spencer grabbed his coat and walked towards the front door as he mumbled to himself, "Ever since the Federal Government took control of this task force, they think they can call you up at any time and assume you're willing to drop everything to run and help."

After he realized there was nothing he could do, Spencer thought, "I'll have to stand my ground. It's a paycheck." As he left and called out, "Have a good day, HICAMS, I know I will."

HICAMS replied, "You as well, my Royal Highness."

Spencer paused for a second then yelled, "Jade, that's not funny, you will most certainly change that when you get home tonight!"

Chapters

  • Morning Rituals............................................................. 1
  • Who Controls Whom................................................... 17
  • The End.............................................................................27
  • Friendship...................................................................... 49
  • The Beginning.............................................................. 59
  • Getting to Know You.................................................. 69
  • An Anomaly................................................................... 81
  • Reality Bites................................................................... 93
  • Reboot...............................................................................103
  • Starting Over................................................................. 113
  • Wake Up Call................................................................. 121
  • Discover...........................................................................135
  • Friends and Enemies.................................................141
  • Purge Them................................................................... 153
  • Answers.......................................................................... 163
  • Welcome Home............................................................ 175
  • Concern............................................................................185
  • I'm Innocent.................................................................. 195
  • Incompetence.............................................................. 205
  • Family Ties................................................................... 217
  • Pushing Forward........................................................ 233
  • Destination....................................................................259
  • Merger............................................................................. 273
  • Time Matters............................................................... 287
  • Decision..........................................................................301
  • Purpose.......................................................................... 313
  • Conversion................................................................... 331
  • Reunion.........................................................................345

Attributes

What attributes are used to calculate one's Established Attribute Rating

Intelligence, Strength, Charisma, Perception, Forgiveness, Understanding, and Acceptance