“Okay, he’s awake.”
Those three words reverberated around the inside of his skull like it had been hollowed out with a blunt instrument, possibly a large serving spoon. He recognised them, he understood their meaning, but was unable to string them together to grasp the context. A dull ache behind his eyes blossomed into a bright white pain as he gradually eased into consciousness. A blurry glow of cold, clinical light was all he could see as he tried to focus on the indistinct shapes around him. One thing was for certain, this was not his bedroom. The world was disconcertingly unfamiliar.
“Can you hear me?”
It was that distant voice again. He tried to respond but his throat was too dry to allow him to form the words. He tried to swallow but ended up gasping for breath. Gradually, the fuzzy lines became shadows and the shadows took form. Someone was stood over him, but they quickly disappeared from view before he could discern anything more. He was cold and disorientated. An unknown place steadily emerged from the muddy gloom, which only posed more questions than it answered.
His arms and legs were heavy, far too heavy to move. Every muscle in his body felt taut and stiff, like a bundle of elastic bands that had been stretched too tight and then held in place. All he could do was lie there and absorb what information his senses would allow.
The dingy room smelled dank and musty like a neglected basement in a long abandoned apartment block. There were water stains on the yellowed ceiling, which peeled off in small sections from the old, rotten plaster lining. Rusting steel cages still barely clung to the dim, flickering light fixtures which buzzed and clicked in the quiet room like a cacophony of electric crickets. From the corner of his eye he saw row upon row of large silver tanks lining the far wall. They stood floor to ceiling and about four feet wide, each one peppered with rust spots over the dull, grimy surface. Several of them appeared to be leaking some sort of dirty brown liquid onto the floor.
“What’s your name?” asked the voice, now recognisable as female. He tilted his head to the other side and saw a young woman stood next to him. She was wearing a crisp white jacket and was holding what looked like a clipboard.
“David,” he croaked, then cleared his throat. “David Williams.”
Over the next fifteen or twenty minutes the young woman administered multiple injections into his muscle tissue, from the corded tendons in his broad shoulders, all the way down to the sinews in his feet. She ran test after test on him using strange looking medical equipment, which beeped and buzzed as she passed each device slowly over his torso. He flinched each time the cold metal touched his bare skin, and bit his tongue each time his questions were met with a curt ‘quiet please’.
“Okay, Mr. Williams, I think we’re done,” she eventually said. “Can you sit up for me?”
It was a struggle. David gripped the edge of the cold steel table and tried to hoist himself upright. He needed the help of the woman to make it all the way to a sitting position. His head swam like it was half filled with a liquid that sloshed around each time he moved. After taking a few deep breaths he was able to centre himself and swing his legs over the side.
“Who are you?” David asked, noting her appearance. The white jacket she wore, the paperwork that she had in her hand, all of the tests she’d been running on him, all indicated that she was a medical professional of some description.
“I’m your nurse.”
“My nurse?” he replied. “Oh shit. Have I been in an accident?” David felt utterly disorientated. This was not the first time he’d woken up in a place he did not recognise with a woman he did not know, but this was something different. Wherever he was, it did not look like any hospital he’d ever been in.
“You could say that,” she replied cryptically. “What is the last thing that you can remember?”
David concentrated for a moment. He sent a little probe down to his short term memory and found it came back with less information than he was expecting. He answered her question uncertainly, “I think I remember crossing the street.”
With a practiced motion, the nurse clicked a thin plastic tube which she removed from her top pocket and shone a bright light into his eyes. It was painful to look at, and he could barely follow it from side to side as she moved it around.
“What’s going on?” he asked more forcefully this time. “Where the hell am I?”
“Yes, this is always the difficult part. I would suggest you brace yourself for this.” The nurse stood directly in front of David and with a calm and measured tone, spoke the words which would change his life forever. “Mr Williams, you’ve just been brought out of cryogenic suspension.”
“What?” replied David, not quite sure he’d heard her right.
“Cryogenic suspension. You’ve been, for want of a better word, defrosted.”
His mind was unable to fathom the sheer magnitude of what she was saying. The words made sense but when they were all pieced together and applied to him, it just sounded like a daft concept from a comic book. Of course he’d heard of cryogenic freezing, but surely that was just something from science fiction movies. David quickly came to the conclusion that someone was playing a very elaborate, well-planned practical joke on him.
“Let me explain,” the nurse continued. “You are what we refer to as a ‘rejuve’. You died in the year twenty-fourteen and were placed into stasis as part of the cryo-clause in your employment life insurance policy.”
“Cryo-clause, huh? Is this a wind-up?”
“No, Mr. Williams, it’s not,” the nurse replied straight-faced. “In a nutshell, what used to happen was that insurance companies would place a small clause in their policy fine-print making you eligible for a cryogenic preservation scheme. If you died a premature or unnatural death, they froze your body until the medical technology became available in the future to allow you to be brought back.”
David started to feel faint.
“It was kind of all a big joke at the time of course. They would charge you a premium every month for the scheme, only a small amount, but of course that added up to quite a lot cumulatively. That coupled with the fact that most people never even bother to read the fine print anyway meant they were on to a winner. The insurance company’s only obligation was that in the event of an accidental or unnatural death, all they had to do was turn you into a human popsicle and warehouse you.”
“I think I’m gonna throw up.”
“Anyway,” she continued casually, “about fifty years ago when all the regenerative medical breakthroughs happened, the courts ruled that the insurance companies had to make good on their policies. A bit of a fuck-up on their part so they’re gradually going out of business now, hence the state of this place.”
“Are you telling me I’ve been in a block of ice for, what, years?” asked David. He glanced around the room at all of the corroded steel tanks lining the walls. It suddenly dawned on him that inside each of those tanks, with their little blue LED lights flashing away on the front, was a real human being.
“Indeed. It’s actually a fascinating science if you’re into that kind of thing. In order to stop the water in all your cells from crystallising when they freeze you, they suck out all of the water molecules and replace them with a cryoprotectant compound.” David flinched and scrunched his face as the nurse emphasised the ‘sucking’ element of the process.
“It acts like an antifreeze,” she continued with a smile that showed how much she really loved her job. “If they didn’t, we’d basically have to scoop you out of the tank with a bucket when you were brought back to ambient temperature. Then what they do is cool your corpse to about negative two-hundred Fahrenheit with dry ice, drop you into one of these things, and fill it with liquid nitrogen.”
“So, let me get this straight,” replied David as he shuffled uncomfortably from side to side. “I’m in the future?”
“Well, technically speaking you’re in the present, but I suppose from your point of view you could say that.”
“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me!”
David jumped off the table and started stumbling across the room. He headed for the window on the far wall in a roundabout way; his legs were still getting their bearings so he ended up doing an unusual kind of drunk crab-walk. He tripped and weaved dangerously as he veered across the floor, trying to avoid the obstacles of steel trolleys and mysterious rank puddles.
“Wait!” the nurse shouted across the room to him. “You’ve got to go through orientation first. You could go into shock!”
David never heard her warning, he was too focused on glimpsing the world of tomorrow. Scenes from all of the television programs and movies he’d watched when he was a kid suddenly started barreling through his mind. All of the strange technologies and weird customs that had delighted him growing up were now his reality. His hands gripped the dusty blinds and after a deep breath, he unceremoniously threw them open.
Through the grime-streaked glass, several hundred feet below, stretched out a metropolis of unimaginable proportions. Mega-structures and twelve-lane highways littered the vista for as far as the eye could see. The housing blocks towered towards the clouds like an endless forest of urban decay. Enormous, hulking masses of grey concrete blocks and corroding steel supports dominated the landscape all the way to the horizon. He felt dwarfed and humbled by the sheer magnitude of the sight before him; an overwhelming feeling of claustrophobic anxiety overcame him as he looked out into a new unfamiliar world.
“I don’t believe this.”
“Shocker, isn’t it?” the nurse said in an amused tone. “Listen, I don’t mean to rush you but I’ve got another two of you deep-freeze guys to thaw out today.”
“What the hell happened to me?” asked David as he stared out of the large grubby window. “How did I die?”
The nurse rolled her eyes and ran her finger over his file, “It says here that you were hit by a postal truck, whatever that is.”
“Fuckin’ postal service,” spat David as he spun around. “Those bastards should slow down. He was driving way too fast, that guy.”
“You remember what happened?”
“Yeah, I…” The nurse watched as David’s face first scrunched up in concentration before his jaw clenched tight. “That no-good, two-timing piece of shit!”
“What is it?”
“That’s why I was crossing the road,” replied David as he stared off across the room, his eyebrows furrowed. “My best mate was kissing my girlfriend on the other side of the street. Well, fuck Jeff and everyone who looks like Jeff!”
“That’s quite a kick in the balls,” said the nurse in an amused tone.
“Isn’t it just,” replied David before giving her a strange look. He pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath. Things had started out pretty bad so far this morning, and they didn’t appear to be getting better any time soon. As everything the nurse had told him started to sink in, another question suddenly sprung to mind.
“How come I’m not all messed up?”
“Excuse me?” replied the nurse.
“Well, I got hit by a truck, yes? How come I’m still in one piece?”
“When you were defrosted you spent twelve hours in a cellular regeneration chamber. All of the damage you sustained before your remains were placed into stasis has been repaired. Your body is perfectly healthy.”
She glanced down at his crotch, smiled wryly, then looked back at the chart in her hand. David swiftly realised that he’d be stumbling around the room completely naked. He walked back over to the table, snatched up a pale blue sheet that was folded up on the bottom, and wrapped it around his waist.
“Take this,” said the nurse, handing him a flexible semi-transparent plastic sheet with what looked like a medical report digitally displayed on it. “Go through that door and enter the first room on the right. There are some clothes for you to change into and then you need to sit through an orientation.”
“Right. Thanks,” replied David as he shuffled across to the door and stepped out into a dimly lit corridor. He entered the first room on the right as the nurse had instructed, and trudged barefoot across the threadbare carpet to a table at the far end. He discarded the blue sheet and then changed into the dark coloured clothes that were sitting in a folded pile waiting for him. The room was sparse and depressing; all that it contained was a steel table and two plastic chairs. There were no windows, no pictures on the wall, in fact there was no colour at all with the sole exception of the yellowed water stains in the corner of the room.
David wasn’t sure what attire he’d been expecting to change into, but the pants and shirt he now had on didn’t look particularly futuristic. They were some sort of cotton-like material and fairly loose fitting. It was so quiet in the dark room whilst he stood there stretching out the fatigue in his joints, that a sudden knock on the door startled him.
“Hello?” he called out nervously.
The door opened and in walked a beautiful young woman dressed in an unusual charcoal grey, low-cut business attire. She strode into the room confidently and took a seat at the table. The short skirt she wore rode dangerously high up her thighs revealing a fantastic pair of legs as she crossed them. David noticed those kind of things.
“Hello, Mr. Williams,” she said in her silky smooth voice. “My name is Vala and I am your orientation executive from Aeon.”
“Err, hi,” he replied as he slid into the other chair. Her hair was so dark it was almost black. He loved dark hair. “What exactly is an orientation executive?”
Vala picked up the digital medical report he’d placed on the table. She ran her perfectly manicured fingers over it in a flurry of fast, strange patterns which elicited a series of quiet beeps and clicks from the glossy sheet as she touched it.
“Well,” she replied, looking up to meet his bewildered gaze, “it’s my job to handle your reintroduction to society.”
They drove past hundreds of colossal structures which he assumed were housing for the masses; impossible looking apartment blocks, each one a towering mountain of decaying concrete and dirty glass. As the electric vehicle they rode in passed each one, he read the signage which hung above the main entrances. Every block had a flickering red sign, the last one reading ‘Red Sector – Block 122’. It all seemed run down and depressing, not at all how he had expected the future to look.
Old, dried out newspaper fluttered past on a breeze as they navigated their way through a maze of underpasses, bridges and tunnels. The dry, dusty heat of midday noon gave the whole city an ethereal haze which the implausible structures faded into in the distance.
“Overpopulation has lead to a situation now of large scale unemployment, which in turn means that crime has become endemic in certain areas of the city. I would avoid those where possible. There are various public transportation systems as well as the hover-rail that runs the full length of the strip…“
Vala had been talking since they had left, but in truth, very little of what she was saying was penetrating his little bubble of consternation. Everything seemed eerily familiar, yet at the same time, disconcertingly alien. Where he’d had visions of a paradisiacal metropolis full of fresh air and light, he’d found instead a dystopian slice of realism. Fifteen minutes was all it had taken Vala to shatter his dreams. Fifteen minutes to explain the truth of overpopulation, poverty and global warming. The dimly lit room where they had first met had been fairly cool by comparison, but the oppressive heat of a near sub-tropical climate had hit him immediately upon exiting the building. In the imposing shadows of the towering, decrepit skyscrapers, the claustrophobic torridity felt like a hand closed around his throat.
The twelve lane highway they joined ran straight through the heart of the city. He saw multilingual signs hanging from the monumental, looping crossover bridges indicating that it was called ‘the strip’. Steel and concrete seemed to be the depressing palette of the future world he found himself in. In search of a splash of familiar blue, he looked skywards through the window and watched the slow circling of what he presumed were some sort of aerial surveillance drones.
“It’s a lot to take in.”
For the first time since they had left the cryonics facility, Vala spoke to him as something other than a customer on a guided tour. He suspected that it wasn’t so much polite conversation as a way to simply fill the time.
“A lot of you rejuves aren’t able to adjust to their new reality. They have trouble adapting and accepting the radical changes to the world around them. The suicide rate is very high.”
“The way you say that make you sound as though you disapprove of the practice, ‘you rejuves’.”
There was silence as she stared out of the window and considered her words. She had made it perfectly clear back in the orientation briefing that she was all business. Her attitude was a perfectly blended distillation of detachment and cold indifference. A little warmth would not have gone amiss.
“I meant no offence,” she offered, swivelling in her seat to look at him. “I just don’t want you to do anything stupid.”
“A touch of concern?” he asked, turning to look at her.
“You’re a client. If you die with no next of kin the state will seize your assets.” The frosty clinical tone now sounded raw and heartless. She turned in her seat and faced forward again. “Assets that the Aeon Banking Corporation currently manage for you.”
The vehicle eventually pulled off the main drag and approached a vast vertical wall. The embankment was easily a hundred feet high and seemed to span uninterrupted endlessly in both directions. It appeared to be a fortified border of some kind. They were stopped at a security checkpoint by two guards and promptly granted passage after the driver flashed them some identification. David found himself pressed up against the glass in eager anticipation as they passed through the dark tunnel and out into the light. The world he found on the other side of the wall was a breath of fresh air.
Gone was the grey, now replaced in an instant of total contrast with a most unexpected utopia. Lush green fields and tall trees welcomely replaced the monochromatic metropolis they had left behind. Oddly, it was the first time David remembered seeing anything green since they’d left the facility. Gone were the crowded boulevards of utilitarian high-rise housing; here there seemed to be only unblemished beauty. The road they drove on was completely empty and wound through the countryside in a lazy meander as though it knew that whomever drove on it had all the time in the world. A couple of miles from the checkpoint they’d passed through, David saw a frosted glass sign which stood at the side of the road. It read ‘Welcome to Angel Falls’.
“Angel falls?” he enquired of Vala.
“It’s the name of this sector of the city. It is walled off from the rest of the metropolis and is accessible only through security checkpoints like the one we just drove through.”
“It looks really nice,” he offered, but no reply appeared to be forthcoming. It seemed that was the end of the conversation.
They drove for miles in complete silence as David just enjoyed the view. It was a beautiful day outside and the further they travelled, the more he liked the idea of putting some distance between himself and the city. As they crested a small hill, a shimmering tower of glass appeared before them. It was breathtaking in magnitude and reminded him of something he’d once seen in a Hollywood movie. It seemed to grow exponentially in size as they drew closer to it, until the vehicle eventually pulled up in front of the building and stopped next to an enormous water fountain outside. Three foot high stainless steel letters were propped up on the perfectly manicured lawn spelling out the name of the building. It was called ‘The Spire’.
“This is amazing,” remarked David in wonderment as they exited the vehicle. “Is this really where I’m going to be living?”
“Yes,” replied Vala as she strolled off towards the main entrance. “We bought an apartment here for you.”
David had wanted to ask her where they were going in the car, but at the time he had thought better of it. The fact that a banking corporation was responsible for his transition back into civilisation seemed abnormal. Not that he even knew what normal was anymore. Did they still even use currency in the future? After taking a quick glance upwards and being unable to see the top of the Spire, he smiled widely and scurried after his orientation executive.
The lobby was immaculately clean and flooded with brilliant sunlight. The entire front facade of the building was constructed of gargantuan sheets of glass which were supported by stainless steel struts and cables. The sweet fragrances of fig and cedarwood hung in the air and reminded him of a holiday he’d once taken in the mediterranean. It gave him a sense of peace and tranquility as he breathed deep. It was as if the entire structure had been designed with the sole purpose of instilling a sense of calm relaxation. He liked it.
“What did you mean you bought an apartment for me?” he asked as he caught up with Vala.
“Aeon used their discretionary powers over your estate to purchase you some living accommodation. It was presumed that somewhere like this would be more to your liking than one of the city’s housing blocks.”
“You got that right,” he replied cheerfully. “I only had a few hundred bucks in my savings account though. You know, when I croaked it.”
“It’s called compound interest, Mr Williams. Here,” she said tersely as she handed him a file. “This is your latest statement. Three hundred and twelve dollars, and seventeen cents, at an average of three point one percent interest over three hundred and forty-eight years.”
They stepped into a spotless, shimmering glass elevator at the far end of the lobby, which got David wondering how much the cleaners got paid to keep the place so tidy. A beautiful, clear female voice seemed to radiate from every surface of the elevator at the same time which said softly, “Welcome to Angel Falls, Mr. Williams.”
“Err, thank you.”
David didn’t know where to look or who to address, but he gave a slight nod in recognition as his eyes roamed around. Buildings that greeted you: that would take some getting used to. It was all very polite and civilised. He shook his head in amusement before glancing down at the current balance figure displayed on the bottom of the sheet in his hand.
“Fucking fifteen million dollars?!” he screamed as the elevator doors silently slid closed.
When they reached his floor, Vala motioned for David to touch the back of his hand to a glass plate that sat flush in the wall. As he did so, a quiet beep sounded and the door to his new apartment slipped discretely into the wall void.
“Door access is controlled via a microchip embedded subcutaneously,” explained Vala as she strode into the room. “The same applies to any other access system such as the elevator that we were just in. Lights.”
As she said the word ‘lights’, the room he had followed her into was abruptly bathed in a warm, homely glow. Panels in the ceiling and oval glass domes on the walls illuminated the large apartment. A huge ‘L’ shaped leather sofa sat in the centre of the room surrounding a polished black glass coffee table. On the wall was a sizeable portrait-orientated video display screen which was currently switched off. Most impressive though was the fact that the entire back wall of the room appeared to be made of glass. He assumed it was a window with one hell of a view, but at the moment it was completely black, floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall. It was the very definition of luxurious by anyone’s standards and immediately brought a smile to his face.
“These are your new quarters. Everything is voice activated. Just ask Alice, she can explain anything you wish to know.”
“She is your domestic artificial intelligence assistant, of course.”
“Of course,” David muttered under his breath. Desperate to relieve himself after the long drive, he stuck his head through a couple of doors until he found the bathroom. Everything was made from a material that looked like polished black marble, yet it seemed to have an unusual iridescent lustre to it that exuded a sense of opulence.
“I couldn’t help but notice there’s no toilet paper in here,” he called out to her, “but there is a huge shiny crystal thing sat next to the toilet that someone’s probably robbed from a diamond merchant.”
“Ask Alice,” replied Vala with just a hint of irritability. “Lots of things have changed since your time. She will explain how everything works.”
She stopped at the door and turned to David as he walked back into the room drying his hands on his pants, “I’ll check in with you on Saturday to make sure you’re settling in okay. If you need me for anything urgent, my Ident-Code is on the top of the financial statement I gave you.”
“Wait. I have a question,” he said quickly as she was about to leave. “I was curious about something that occurred to me earlier. There were a lot of those freezer tank things back at that other place. The ones with people in.”
“Well, aren’t they all super rich when they’re brought back as well?”
“Hardly,” Vala replied, slightly amused. “Most of those people will be housed in one of the city’s residential blocks and be placed on a living benefit until they find a job. The banking collapse of the twenty-second century wiped out most of the accumulated wealth of the population, including those in cryo-stasis. Very few financial institutions survived and fortunately for you, yours eventually became Aeon.”
“Oh,” David said with a blank expression on his face. “Lucky me then.”
“Is there anything else?”
“I don’t suppose you fancy showing me a smile before you leave?” he asked, his eyebrows raised in a friendly gesture.
“Goodbye, Mr Williams.”
David leaned heavily on the window wall. It was cool to the touch and felt sturdy enough so that he didn’t worry about it not supporting his weight. He was absentmindedly sipping an electric-blue drink which had been deposited from behind a small glass panel in the wall when he had enquired if there was anything to drink. It tasted sweet and fruity, but unlike anything else he could compare it to. It also seemed to be glowing slightly in the dimness of the room. It was only a luminous drink, but even the small things seemed deliberately unusual as if to keep him on edge.
The view had rendered him speechless when he’d eventually worked out how to disable the shade-screen feature of the windows. His entire smart-glass wall, floor to ceiling, had faded from jet black to completely translucent, revealing the awe-inspiring panorama before him. As the sun set over the distant alien cityscape, the sky had turned from a deep gold to an eerie blood red, something he assumed was due to either chemicals in the atmosphere, or the global warming problem that Vala had mentioned briefly. He could have stood there all night and watched the city slowly illuminate as the sun went down.
After a while he trudged over to the couch and slumped heavily into the soft luxurious cushions. It had been one hell of a day so far and all things considered, he thought everything had turned out pretty well. He picked up a brochure for The Spire that he had found in a welcome pack and began to idly flip through it out of boredom.
“Amy? I mean, Alice?”
“Good evening, David.” The female voice that reverberated around the room was soft and enticing, without the slightest hint of it being electronically generated.
“S’up,” he replied. “There anything fun to do around here?”
“What do you mean by ‘fun’?”
“You know: amusing, enjoyable, entertaining. Fun stuff.”
“There is an art gallery located on the twelfth floor which is currently exhibiting works by the famous sculptor Edvard Von Shlang. Among the pieces on display is his world renown…”
“That sounds utterly delightful,” interrupted David as he cut her off.
“Would you like me to procure you a ticket for this evening?”
“I was being sarcastic,” moaned David. “Don’t you have a sense of humour?”
“The humour personality trait is an optional module that I do not currently have installed. Do you wish to purchase it?”
“Please, for the love of God, buy the fucking thing.”
“Very well,” replied the soft voice. “The upgrade will take place at midnight tonight when my system is next scheduled for an update.”
“Fine,” mumbled David as he flicked over a page in the brochure and stopped on a section teasingly entitled ‘Sexual Health’.
“What the…” he mumbled quietly as he sat up straight. “What the hell is the Sexual Recreation Facility?”
The sweet voice in it’s honeyed tones began to explain, “There is a sexual recreation facility located on level seventy. All citizens of The Spire, based on current medical guidelines, are encouraged to engage in sexual congress at least twice per week for their own physical and emotional wellbeing.”
“You’re shitting me.”
“I’m sorry, I do not understand the question,” replied Alice.
“Now this is what I call fun,” chuckled David. “What’s the deal with like, STD’s and stuff in the future? If I hook up with a hot chick, is my Johnson going to explode the following morning?”
“All known sexually transmitted pathogens were eliminated following the Fielder Institute international immunisation program in the year twenty-three nineteen. Every female is also now fitted with a Gravida wetware interface implant which gives them conscious control of their reproductive system.”
David whistled as he slumped back into the couch. “I have absolutely no idea what any of that means, but it sounds impressive. What about me?”
“As part of your rejuvenation procedure, your DNA was genetically altered to include all current disease immunisations including MRA, NSD and Sarla.”
“Okey-dokey. And on that note I’m content to remain blissfully ignorant.”
“As you wish.”
After cleaning himself up and changing into the only clean clothes he could find in the apartment, David once again stepped into the lavish elevator and rode it down to floor seventy. The view over the land surrounding The Spire as it descended was breath-taking. The immediate locale was filled with lush green parks, areas of wild woodland and glistening blue lakes that he made a mental note to check out later on.
When the doors sighed opened, David stepped out and found himself standing in a large, swanky entrance hall. It was immaculate and airy, with white marble floors and glass vases full of colourful fresh flowers. It was not at all like the knocking-shop he was expecting to walk into. A pair of double doors seemed to be the only passage off the main room, and a familiar looking flush glass plate in the wall provided him access inside.
“Welcome, Mr. Williams,” chimed the same, sweet female voice that had greeted him in the elevator.
“Hiya,” he replied as he stepped into one of many small changing rooms on the other side of the doors.
A video display screen on the wall showed a series of pictographic instructions which gave him a basic understanding of the layout of the recreation facility, and also served as a warning that the lighting level when he first stepped inside would be low. It sounds like a good idea to tread cautiously; he supposed you could stand on something quite unfortunate if you were not careful.
David removed all of his clothes as instructed, hung them up in a locker and slipped on a loose, soft cotton bath robe. When he was ready, he pushed a glowing blue button on the right-hand wall. The lights in the ceiling dimmed down as the door opened, and he stepped out into a dark, balmy room. The floor felt soft, like a pliable rubber, and warm to the touch under his bare feet. Slow, ambient music filtered through speakers hidden somewhere in the jet black ceiling, and he stopped for a moment to admired the subtle twinkling of the video effect that played across it. It reminded him of going to a planetarium when he was it kid. Staring up at the ceiling in here was like looking out into the depths of space.
A familiar myriad of scents gave David cause to pause for a second and take a deep breath. The room smelled of fresh ground coffee, marijuana, and sex; a heady concoction of recognisable and reassuring olfactory pleasures. He already liked the place because it was somewhere he felt more relaxed in. It was a warm, dark den of inequity which stood in stark contrast to the shimmering sterility of everything he’d seen outside.
Not knowing what else to do, on natural instinct he headed for the bar. David took his time as he weaved cautiously between the low, plush couches, careful not to trip over any of the shadowed figures lounging on them. When he made it to the glass-topped bar, he just stared open-mouthed at the shelved display of brightly coloured exotic liquids available for consumption. Before he had the chance to look for a bartender and ask about them, a soft voice gave him cause to turn around.
“You’re a rejuve, right?”
David flashed a quick smile at the cute Asian girl who had sauntered up to him. She was dressed in a dark blue silk robe that was wrapped around her perfect little body like a second skin. She was absolutely gorgeous. It might have been the lighting that made it look that way, but her dark hair appeared to have a gleam of midnight-blue to it.
“I am, how could you tell?” he asked, genuinely curious.
“You look a little out of place,” she replied with a smile. “My name is Kiki.”
“David. Nice to meet you.” He took her hand and shook it gently when she started laughing. “What? Did I say something funny?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. It was just a little formal, that’s all,” she chuckled. “We don’t really do handshakes in the Rec. This is your first time here, huh?”
David suddenly felt a little out of his depth. He ruffled his hair and glanced around the room. Now that his eyes had adjusted to the gloom, it became apparent that the dark figures that he’d been so keen to avoid tripping over earlier were in fact enjoying more than just some polite conversation. The room was filled with naked bodies grinding and bouncing slowly on top of each other.
“Oh wow,” he said to himself. “So people just come here and…”
“Fuck?” Kiki finished his question. “Yes, they do. Many of us are too busy with our careers to worry about relationships and partners. The Rec has become our way of releasing some pent up tension.”
It occurred to David that being such a luxurious and exclusive place, anyone that lived in The Spire must be quite wealthy and successful in their own right.
“Speaking of tension…”
As her words trailed off, David felt a warm hand wrap around his stiff cock. He flinched at her touch and gripped the edge of the bar so hard that his knuckles turned white. He hadn’t even realised he was aroused and protruding from his robe.
“Woah,” he whispered whilst quickly trying to conceal what was going on from the rest of the patrons. No one was paying any attention and wouldn’t have cared even if they were. “Don’t you want to chat first? How about a drink?”
“Oh, I think we can do better than a drink.” Kiki’s hand stroked his throbbing erection leisurely as she looked directly into his bewildered eyes. David was a little shy, and Kiki seemed to find that very amusing. “What do you say?”
“You don’t want me to suck your dick in front of everybody?” Her pouting lips were the sexiest thing he’d seen in a long, long, long time.
“Come with me,” she whispered as she released his hard length and sauntered off towards the far wall. David followed her obediently, marvelling at the sights and sounds around him. Everyone appeared to be completely at ease having sex in front of one another, knowing that every moan and groan of pleasure could be heard by anyone else in the room.
They passed a small couch in a dimly lit corner where a young couple were tightly embraced. Their sweaty bodies writhed against each other as they both sighed heavily and rhythmically. It was the sound of a couple having sex that they’d waited the whole day for.
As Kiki led him towards a secluded entranceway, she stopped briefly to whisper into the ear of another girl. She too was spectacularly attractive and similarly dressed in a light silk robe tied loosely at her waist. The girl grinned from ear to ear before glancing towards David, removing a bright pink lollipop from her mouth and winking at him. She never said a word.
“You don’t mind if Layla joins us, do you?” asked Kiki as all three of them entered the small room. Before David could ask what she meant, he turned and saw both of the them staring at him. Their intention was obvious; they meant to devour him. It was the same look you would expect to see on the face of someone offered a cheeseburger who had not eaten for three days. All of a sudden David felt like he was living in the dying seconds before a tsunami was to crash into him and carry him away.
“Oh no, not at all.” His cool demeanour gave nothing away, but on the inside his mind was screaming, “Fuck!”
Kiki pushed on his chest gently and David slumped back onto a soft, spongy bench. It felt like nappa leather and was comfortingly warm to the touch. The room was small and unusually circular like some kind of a pod. Swirling images like backlit smoke, washed hypnotically across the video walls as if writhing in anticipation of watching what was to come. He glanced to his right as Layla curled up next to him. She smiled sweetly, twirling the luminous pink candy so that it clicked against her perfect teeth.
“So what do you think of the future so far?” asked Kiki as she straddled his hips and made herself comfortable on his lap.
“S’great,” he squeaked before clearing his throat, a little embarrassed by the sound he had just made. “I mean, erm, this is all pretty strange to me, you know? I woke up like twelve hours ago. Yesterday was… well, it was a lifetime ago.”
“I’ve met a few rejuves over the years,” she replied. “Some of them find it impossible to accept what’s happened, what the world outside is now like. You seem different though. The trick is just to go with it.”
As she leaned forward and whispered the last few words, she kissed him slowly. Kiki’s lips felt soft, and warm, and inviting. Her tongue probed his mouth as she sighed into him, her body leaning into his own as they both got lost in the moment. His hands found their way to her bottom and squeezed it gently which caused Kiki to let out a quiet moan. When their lips finally parted, David was left with a sweet taste in his mouth and a fuzzy warmth all over his body.
“Wow,” he whispered and swallowed hard. “I’ve not been kissed like that for three-hundred years.”
Kiki smiled and slid slowly down his body, parting his legs to kneel on the floor between them. Layla also crawled with a feline grace to join her friend in front of him. He watched wide-eyed as they both tugged softly on his cotton belt until it unfurled and his robe fell open. Their eyes were immediately drawn to his hard cock which he could once again feel throbbing in anticipation.
“Let’s see if you’re all thawed out yet,” said Kiki teasingly.
She pinned his erection to his stomach as they both leaned down and began to softly suck on his balls. They took one each into their mouths and gently tugged in different directions. The sensation was unlike anything he’d ever felt before; the sight alone was almost too much for David to handle. He gripped the soft leather of the bench and breathed heavily as he watched the two young, gorgeous women suck and draw on his balls.
Kiki and her friend Layla seemed to enjoy teasing him. Each time he moaned or squeezed the seat tighter they giggled like schoolgirls. His eyes rolled in his head when he felt two hot, wet tongues agonisingly lick up either side of his cock. They met at the top and wrapped around his swollen head like they were fighting for it. A small drop of pre-cum was quickly lapped up as the girls began to french kiss, mashing their lips together in a heated embrace, yet with David’s cock in between them. The heat and exhilarating caress of their lips was excruciating, and as if they could read his mind, they stopped just a second before he would have been unable to prevent an endless torrent of cum from spilling into their mouths.
With a wide grin of satisfaction on her face, Layla climbed back onto the bench next to David and cozied up to him. She parted her legs and nibbled her bottom lip seductively as she removed from her pussy the pink lollipop that she’d been sucking earlier. Open-mouthed and only barely managing to remain in control of his faculties, David stared intently as she popped the candy back into her mouth. So that’s where she’d put it.
Kiki snuggled back onto his lap and holding his hard dick in place with one hand, lowered herself slowly onto it. David hissed through clenched teeth as she unhurriedly impaled herself balls-deep with a contented sigh. She rocked her hips back and forth leisurely, just to make sure that every single millimetre of his throbbing length was buried deep inside her body.
She smiled to herself as she reached into one of her robe pockets and pulled out several small, silvery-coloured pills in a clear plastic zip-loc bag. She popped it open and handed one to Layla who swallowed it without a moment’s thought or hesitation. Then with finger and thumb, she took one herself before holding the last to David’s lips until he parted them and extended his tongue. Kiki placed the pill on it gently and looked into his eyes until he smiled nervously before swallowing it.
“What is it?” he asked her.
“The technical name has about twenty-seven syllables, but we call it Sugar.” Kiki spoke in a sexy, smoky voice as she lazily slung her arms over his shoulders and crossed her hands behind his head. “You know how when you come really, really hard, it’s like a grenade exploding between your legs?”
David swallowed nervously and nodded. When she’d emphasised the ‘really hard’ part, Kiki had clenched her pussy around his cock tightly.
“Well, Sugar turns it into a nuclear explosion. It’s a sensory enhancement. Everything slows down, becomes heightened and fine tuned. Touch is electrified, colours become more vivid and saturated, taste is enhanced.” As soon as she seductively whispered the last three words, Kiki leaned forward and ran the flat of her tongue over his cheek like some sort of wild animal.
“Oh fuck,” David moaned.
“Oh fuck is right,” replied Kiki as she reached down behind her back. He felt her warm palm cup his balls. “And just when you reach that point when the whole universe explodes into a supernova of red hot pleasure, time stops. It feels like your orgasm lasts forever.” David winced as she squeezed his balls firmly in her hand.
“A little pain can be quite pleasurable, too.”
Kiki released his sensitive plums and started to rock and bounce on his lap playfully. She bit her bottom lip and looked directly into his eyes as they started to build a rhythm. David couldn’t remember a time when he’d had more fun. Kiki’s pussy was so tight, it felt like a hot velvet vice as she squeezed and relaxed her muscles. He glanced down and ran his thumb over a little tuft of bright blue pubic hair that she had shaved into a narrow landing strip.
“Blue,” he mumbled, amused by yet one more unusual quirk.
Kiki laughed at the expression on his face. It was as if he’d never seen blue pubes before. Whilst riding David’s lovely cock, she untied her silk robe, slipped it off and discarded it on the floor. His hands immediately clasped her firm breasts, massaging them eagerly and rolling her tight nipples between his fingers and thumbs. This only fuelled her desire to fuck him harder. She used her leg muscles and arched her back to impale herself on his length harder and faster. The sound of her perky bottom slapping against his thighs filled the small room.
David was torn. In front of him was a stunningly beautiful girl, straining every muscle in her slender body to fuck him into a delicious oblivion. On his right was Layla, a pink-candy sucking nymphomaniac whose flushed, bald pussy was being expertly fingered before his eyes. She really seemed to love getting herself off and having him watch as she did it.
The alpha male in David reared its head. He gripped Kiki’s dark hair firmly in a tight fist, pulled her head back and licked her exposed throat as if to mark his territory. He felt a low grumbled moan of appreciation reverberate in her throat like a purr. His last cheating slut of a girlfriend had loved to purr in bed also, he found it a huge turn on.
With Kiki riding him like a bucking bronco and Layla giving him one hell of an eyeful to his right, David didn’t know how much longer he could hold out. His heart was racing in his chest and his mouth had gone dry; probably a combination of his surging adrenaline and the pill he had taken. As he began to feel the all too familiar throb of an impending orgasm, the raven-haired beauty on his lap rose up until his rock hard cock slipped free and slapped against his stomach.
She stood up on shaky legs, turned to face away from him and bent at the waist. He watched intently as she widened her stance, moved her hand between her legs and slipped two fingers into her sopping cunt. Her labia were puffy and glossy, just two cum-slicked swollen folds of sensitive flesh now stretched around her intrusion. She moaned and let out a held breath as her fingers split her peach again and again.
David watched with rapt attention, completely absorbed as she slipped a lubed-up finger into her bottom, and exhaled as it probed deeper up to the second knuckle. His cock twitched as he watched Kiki finger her ass right in front of him. When she removed it, her cute little pink pucker was glossy with her cum. With a quiet giggle from Layla as if she knew what was coming next, Kiki shuffled back between his legs, placed her hands on her ass cheeks and spread them.
“Fuck my ass, David,” she begged.
“What?” he asked, as if she’d been talking in an alien language. He’d always wanted to experience anal sex but had never found a partner willing to try it.
“Fuck my ass. I want that big dick of yours inside me.”
He wasn’t going to wait around to be asked a third time. Without any further hesitation, David gripped her shapely hips and guided her down onto his slick throbbing length. As the large head of his cock began to stretch her wide, she groaned and dropped her head forward. Kiki was so tight it made his head spin. He lowered her slowly until he was fully inside her hot core; it was incredible. All he could do was fling his head back and roll his eyes as Kiki started to rock her hips back and forth.
It was the best sex David had ever had. With his hands firmly gripping Kiki at the waist, he began to bounce her up and down, giddy at the sensations he was feeling inside her tight ass. It was like two tight fists were gripping his dick desperately trying to squeeze the life out of it. Perspiration specked her skin, coating her smooth back and trickling along her feminine contours in little rivulets. He traced a finger down her spine, following the flow of sweat and causing her to shudder. It was fucking scorching in that little room.
Kiki leant backwards into his body, pressing her smooth back against his billowing chest so that he could rest his head on her shoulder. Her skin felt hot and flushed, like when you keep pushing yourself harder and harder during a long run in the heat of midsummer. Their skin was sticky with sweat and saturated with the continued exertion of two people desperate to finally experience the ultimate bliss they’d worked so hard for.
David’s gaze flittered between the sight of her heaving breasts, two perfect mounds of firm young flesh undulating in front of him, and the glossy fingers that were plunging two-knuckles deep into Layla’s tight little pussy. She was lay on her back next to him, her legs splayed obscenely in order to give him the perfect view. She moaned and bucked her hips as her fingers worked in and out of her flushed, swollen clam.
David’s left hand roughly clasped Kiki’s breast as his other reached down and began to vigorously rub her clit. His fingers became slick with her arousal as he worked them against her clitoral hood. He could almost feel the pulses of red-hot bliss as they tore through her body each time his fingertips bumped her inflamed, throbbing nub. He could feel his own orgasm approaching at a frightening speed.
“Oh fuck!” screamed Kiki as she clutched his arm tightly. “Come with me!”
David held her slender body tight to his and slammed his aching cock into her hard with a finally flurry of frenzied thrusts. Their bodies seemed to melt into each other as they became a writhing, clenching mess of drug fuelled sexual abandon. It was as if the narcotics knew when to kick in because a daunting surge of energy washed through his body. He was on a one-way journey to trip-out city and there was no turning back.
As he felt his balls clench painfully tight, his mind began to spin. A dizzy euphoria washed through his consciousness as an electric shock began to rip through his nervous system. It felt like ten thousand volts coursed through his cock and then spiderwebbed across his body, searing a path of white hot fire and leaving a fierce burning in its wake. He shook violently, his hips bucking as his teeth clenched tight. He’d never imagined it was possible to experience anything like this.
Just when he expected the intense and overwhelming sensations to abate, time seemed to slow to a crawl. The room became infused and saturated with every colour of the rainbow. He watched as Kiki threw her head back in ecstasy and a droplet of sweat shook free from her forehead. It travelled through the air in slow motion, like a tiny twinkling crystal floating in the zero gravity of space.
Sounds seemed to echo indefinitely as they bounced off every surface of the room in a droning, circular effect. Cries of adulterated, chemically enhanced pleasure vibrated from all three of them in a medley of orgasmic joy. Gasps of sensory overload and ragged breaths sucked through clenched teeth became muffled and muted in the heavy-time he found himself drowning in. The complete and total contentment of perfect sexual release slowly began to wrap around him like a comforting fuzzy blanket. The last thing he remembered feeling before slipping into exhausted unconsciousness was the warmth of being pinned under the dead-weight of Kiki’s spent body.
To say the headache was bad would be doing an injustice to every man and woman that had ever woken up with a hangover. The first thought that David managed to make sense of was actually question: how has someone managed to remove my brain and replace it with a pineapple?
The surface he was lying on was cold enough to sting his skin. The chill seemed to seep into his bones through his muscles and tiptoe along his spine. It quickly became apparent that the only scrap of clothing that he was wearing was his pants. His shirt, socks and shoes were all missing. There was something very familiar about waking up cold and disorientated.
“Oh fuck, not again,” groaned David in a gruff, gravelly voice. His throat was as dry as desert dust but his mouth tasted sweet like he’d spent all night binging on ripe cherries. He tried to move but the pain in all of his limbs suddenly ballooned across his body. He ached all over from head to toe.
“Hello?” he called out.
“The human is awake.”
David immediately froze when he heard the grating, mechanical voice. It was deep and synthesised, like a perfect cocktail of every element that makes an effective voice for a villain in a movie. It sounded dangerous and malevolent. Not something you ever want to hear when first waking up in the morning.
“Prepare the probe.”
“Probe? What probe?” he asked desperately. “Who is that? Who’s there?!”
“It’s Alice,” a different voice replied cheerfully.
The name rang a bell, and so did the soft feminine tone with which it replied. Somewhere in the watery pea-soup which had become his brain, something was telling David that that name should mean something.
“I am your domestic artificial intelligence assistant.”
Like a river breaking its banks after a heavy rain, everything came flooding back to him. David managed to roll agonisingly onto his side and glance around the room. He was lying on the floor in his apartment.
“Oh right,” he groaned as he stumbled to his feet. “Very funny. You almost gave me a fucking heart attack then. I thought someone had stuck me back in one of those bloody tanks.”
When he tried to take a step forward, he almost tripped and fell face first into the coffee table. Only at the last second did he manage to stop himself from a painful injury by lunging and grabbing onto the arm of the couch.
He looked down and discovered that for whatever reason, he seemed to have his pants on back to front. Everything was all still hazy in his mind but from past experience, the pants thing usually meant he’d had a good night. He peeled them off whilst looking out at the sunrise through the windows and kicked them into a pile on the floor. The rich orange heat of dawn warmed his face comfortingly as it broke the distant horizon. He stood in the middle of his apartment stark-bollock naked and stretched as high as he could. Life was good.
With a more pressing matter to attend to, David trudged off to the bathroom to relieve himself whilst wondering what the hell he had gotten up to the previous night. He stood at the toilet bowl with one hand resting on the wall to steady himself, and wondered why he smelled like a tart’s boudoir. Everything was so neat and tidy in the apartment, it had occurred to him when he first arrived that there may well be some kind of maid service. He dreaded to think what they might deduce if they found him passed out on his apartment floor half-naked, wearing his pants on back to front and smelling like a department store perfume counter. His gaze dropped to the little shelf next to his thigh.
David mouthed the words ‘davy baby’ before shaking his head. What the hell had gotten into her?
“How does this thing work?”
He sighed exasperatedly when he heard a childish giggling from the other room. It was that damned humour upgrade thing she’d mentioned the previous evening. He knew he’d regret buying it for her.
“Don’t you just aim it and try to relax?” replied Alice.
“I meant the fucking crystal!”