Flying

As a boy of eight, Seth finds his life changed by a dark secret … something that he can’t possibly understand.

Years later, old faces, memories, and an envelope, draw Seth back into the web.

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11. 11 - Memories

11 -  Memories

April 16, 2383

 

Seth gives his head a shake, knowing that this should mean something to him.

He looks at the document titled ‘Interface’ … an image of a production terminal. An inset image shows the back of the terminal. A small, steel plate with two data terminals is highlighted. Seth had never used the production terminals. The photos brought back memories of the few times he’d spent running around, or hiding behind them as a child, waiting for his mother to finish some business.

Seth blinks as memories of bits of a conversation he overheard long ago come back to him …

 

“I can’t believe it. The interface … it’s so obvious! I’ve seen these hundreds of times.”

“We all have. We’ve just never thought about their purpose …”

 

Seth lays the document on the bed, beside him. He looks back to the remaining documents and takes a closer look at the schematic. The scaling is shown as ‘size as’. Whatever it is, it’s small, only about five inches square. He stares at the diagram as more distant voices come back to him …

 

“So, a portable, local device is used?”

“These are the schematics.”

 

Seth is startled by the sudden clarity of memories, long forgotten. He struggles to put names and faces to the voices.

He puts the schematics aside, and scans the pages of computer code, understanding none of it. His gaze wanders to the window. He looks up at the Brooklyn sky and the evening stars. Tristan’s distant voice comes to him …

 

“Two hundred lines of code, hidden within the billions of lines that make up the GD master code. They’d never be noticed. Almost impossible to find, even if you knew what you were looking for.”

 

More memories were returning. Things he had forgotten, or perhaps, tried to forget. Memories of the few weeks before his mother’s accident …his mother’s fear … unexpected visitors …a tall man with a low voice … running through the Pegasi 51 colony … a smiling woman …and his mother, staring up as she lay by the marketing terminals.

Confused and shaken, he opens the envelope wide, looking inside for something he might have missed… nothing. No note from his mother. No explanations. Why, and why now?

Seth gathers the documents and slides them back into the envelope. He goes to his closet, placing the envelope at the back of a high shelf. He turns off the room lighting and returns to his bed, laying down and looking out the window.

How could he find out more about the documents? They were obviously important to his mother. Even though he’d been traveling around New York and frequenting the Brooklyn mall for the past four years, he’d never even caught a glimpse of any of the CMG members he knew as a child. No help there.

Mark had said that he was a good friend to both his mother and father. Seth sighs, silently cursing himself for not asking Mark where his restaurant was located. He lies back, closing his eyes. Scattered memories fade in and out…

He is still awake, four hours later, when Jax returns, announcing his arrival by falling over a chair … and then, a table.

 

April 17, 2383

 

Seth smiles as he approaches the restaurant counter and sees Jullian’s hair. The dirty-blonde had become a dark, shimmering purple.

“Hello Jullian.”

Jullian looks up from a stack of disposable plates she’s counting, “Hi Seth.” She notices his stare and smiles. “Well … what do you think?”

He had been attracted to Jullian since he first met her when she’d started working at the restaurant a year ago. She was short, a little ‘plump’, and she had one of the prettiest faces that Seth had ever seen. “I like it …” his smile grows, “I like it a lot.”

Jullian blushes a little. “I’m glad. So … the usual?”

“Not today. Actually, I’m looking for some help. I’m looking for a restaurant. All I know is that it’s off-world and it’s owned by a man named Mark, the man who met me here, yesterday.”

“That older guy? Sorry, I didn’t recognize him.”

Seth smiles. “That’s alright, Jullian. Don’t worry about it.” He turns away, taking a step before Jullian calls him back.

“Seth, wait.” Jullian looks around the restaurant, “Before I got my job here, I applied at just about every off-world restaurant and club. I didn’t recognize that man from yesterday, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t own one of them.” She looks back to Seth “If it would help, I can make you a list of the off-world restaurants and clubs I know.”

He gives her a big smile. “That would be great, Jullian. Thank you.”

 

Seth hadn’t been off Earth since his mother’s death. This day, he had visited six colonies. He had visited eight restaurants and clubs. He had talked to employees and patrons.

No one had heard of Mark.

He walks down the steps, approaching the Pegasi 51 travel terminals, feeling tired and hungry. Using his, soon to expire, student travel pass, he buys a ticket home and steps into the gate. As the beam envelops him, he catches a glimpse of a figure at the far side of the room ... a figure with dark hair and sparkling blue eyes.

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