“THE CURRENT MARKET forecaaaaa—”
The voice stopped as the figure dissolved.
“What’s happened Jason? Get him back!”
“I’m trying, sir, but the signal has died. I’ve got the backup network. It’s voice only.”
“Hello, hello, where did you go?”
“I’m here!” shouted the Chairman. “Your image disappeared. Was it at your end?
“No. Your image disappeared. What the hell is going on? Get the tech people on it. Call me when it’s back on.”
* * * * *
RETURNING TO HIS WORK station Jason encountered a receptionist he hadn’t seen before. “You’re new here.” He smiled, introducing himself. “I’m Jason Albright in case anyone pages for me. My work station is at the end of the corridor.”
She was young and very pretty.
“Yes sir,” she replied indifferently. “I’ll monitor your signals.”
That was all. Short and sweet, oh so sweet, his fantasy thoughts were interrupted by vibration on his ear plug. He touched his call patch. “Jason here, image me.”
“No imaging, voice only. It’s widespread. No one knows what the hell is going on!”
“Shit. How widespread is it?”
“It seems to be the whole city. It could be a cyber-attack. The Communicon is blocked too. They’re instructing everyone to secure personal files on hard media.”
“That’s not good,” said Jason. “Keep me in the loop.”
* * * * *
THE CRISIS AND THE day finally over Jason relaxed in his new Googlecruiser moving silently toward home in the suburbs. He knew Liz would already be with the kids playing in their cyber world. He suspected it was not all games when Adrian disappeared into bathroom and showered for an hour. Cathy, on the other hand, smiled contentedly while she was gaming. Liz explained she was becoming a woman but he suspected that she had a cyber-boyfriend, but didn’t say anything.
His slightly paunchy frame fit comfortably in the soft leather seat as the car moved automatically in the traffic. Jason had recently had laser eye surgery and no longer wore glasses but his hair was already showing grey and he planned to have it treated with the new hormones that promised to prevent hair loss and maintain his youthful look. He intended to join one of the new fitness clubs where they guaranteed to make him as trim as when he married Liz twenty years ago. Turning forty five was an ominous event; he was probably half way through his life and had not reached his goals. The company was doing well but it seemed the rewards all went to the levels above him.
The car stopped unexpectedly. A voice interrupted the music channel advising that traffic was held up beyond the next interchange. There was no explanation or any indication of when it would move again. He called Liz to tell her about the delay. The visual image did not appear but a voice responded, “Jason, is that you, I don’t have your image, what’s happening?”
“I don’t know. The car has stopped. All images were off at the office today too. Myron said they think it’s a cyber-attack from somewhere. I don’t know when this traffic will move.”
“The kids are complaining their games are not working and the Holovision is off. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
“Try the music channels just to let them know there is more to life than images and holograms. I’ll call you when we start to move. Bye dear.”