The Tels Trilogy
The Tels Trilogy
Thank you, God...1
JONATHAN felt his heart beginning to beat harder with each sudden jerk of the toggle, and the booming bass emanating from the car's MuzSat link only intensified the pounding in his chest. The Interway was clear, and Tarris piloted the car like he was raging on some biovid game, high into the bonus levels. He calmly hummed as they slipped through the hot Midwestern night.
"Well?!" Jonathan yelled over the deafening sounds of Nymphia Scooter Pie, this week's flavor for Tarris.
"Well what?" Tarris shot back and brought the music down a click.
Tarris had been Jonathan's friend ever since the "event," three years ago. He was older, cooler and could drive. And if you could drive, then in this little town you were free.
"How does it feel?"
"Oh, the car?" Tarris asked dryly.
Even Tarris's name was cool. He was of the generation whose parents had abandoned the typical names that had permeated the culture for the last hundred and fifty years or so in favor of techno-names. Sharp-edged names. Names that melded the cultures, even the world, into a standard, much like the Internet did a century earlier. And he was Jonathan's friend and brother figure, even, he dared think, a father figure. At least as much a father figure as a 17-year-old can be.
"The car handles as it should," he said.
"Yeah?..." Jonathan pressed.
"Damn right it does!" And with that, Tarris asked the car to accelerate beyond the legal Interway limit.
"How did you do that? I thought these models were unalterable."
"Don't worry, Jonny, just a little retroengineering trick my dad taught me." (Jonathan hated that version of his name.) "My dad says that even after alterations, the biochip's constructs can't be permanent. They just regenerate and reconfigure to the factory specs and before you know it, original car. Just like it was right out of the tank."
The car Tarris piloted was as much a car of the last century as milk that was actually milked. Or a building that was actually built. The Biolution of the mid-21st century had changed much of life. The way the world was headed in the first half of the century, who would have guessed it? The Biolution was predicted, but nobody expected it would happen this fast. And with consequences such as the event.
It was hard for Jonathan to hold back, to swallow the pain every time the event was mentioned. Every time he thought about it. He swallowed. Hard. Thinking he could gulp down the fear. But he knew what would come next.
He used to run. Anywhere where he could be alone. Then came the rush of memories, of faces, of a life he knew he would never have. The stolen life he would never reflect upon. The life he should have had with his mother and father. And their Hawaiian home where he used to play, three years ago.
Where he had played was now what the world called "ground zero," still dominating the news. Even if Jonathan could, he would never be able to outrun the event. In many respects, it forever changed the world. Much as, the history pads said, the atom bomb did in the mid-20th century. But what the pads left unsaid is what his grandfather called the "collateral damage." The shattered lives of thousands of relatives and friends left behind, alive.
No one saw it coming. The world's collective fear of terrorism had waned by the mid-21st century. Individualism and information had been interwoven, due in part to the Internet revolution. But the Biolution made the bandwidth issues of the late-20th and early 21st centuries a thing of the past. The world had been lulled into a false sense of security, thinking there wasn't any problem the collecti