Excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Test:
The knock on the door was prompt. Jared stepped out into the hall where a group of young men greeted him. They rode the elevator to the first floor and followed the signs past the club to the restaurant.
A smiling hostess sat the group at a large table handing each one a menu tablet. The menu offerings were shown as a 3-D image while a pleasant voice described the dish. Jared scrolled through the appetizers quickly. The voice on the tablet asked, “Are you ready to place your order?” Jared didn’t know if he was supposed to answer the device or not. He looked around for guidance. No one else was talking to their menu, so he kept scrolling to the main dishes.
Mandel leaned towards him. “First day, right?”
“This is so cool,” Mandel explained how the menu tablets worked. “You highlight what you want and it goes to your dinner screen. When you make your final selections, you lock it in. The menu is bio sensitive, so it charges to your room. Your university scouts will pay for it. Who knows if the university life will be like this, or back to the sterile dorm rooms… so, live it up!”
In Society the general public is pampered. Robots do most of the less desirable jobs as the population is small but the resources are plentiful. This scene is the beginning of Jared’s introduction to Society. Since there is no family structure to help pay for tuition, universities have adopted a percentage of future earnings fee schedule that is negotiated on an individual basis. Thus, the university scouts picking up the bill.
In the next scene Jared tries to find Benjica…
Two hours later Jared had no luck finding Benjica, but had a hit on Truman. He left a message on Truman’s social page and went to bed.
Jared awoke to the soft beep announcing Truman’s response. He went to the desk and touched the glass top, bringing the computer screen to life. Truman’s voice could be heard and Jared jumped slightly. He studied the screen a second, not knowing if he should just talk back or push a confirmation selector. He heard Truman’s voice again, this time laughing.
“Man, never leave your browser open. Turn it off and get dressed. I’ll be back in ten.”
Puzzled how his friend knew he wasn’t dressed, but still half asleep, Jared tapped the close session selector and went to get himself presentable. In the promised ten minute time, Jared tapped the ON selector and there was Truman’s voice again.
“Hey bro- tap the VIEW icon”.
Jared did so and a 3-D image of Truman came to life above the computer desktop.
“This is too cool! Can you see me?” Jared asked.
“In the flesh, man. So, I take it you are out wreaking havoc in Society? Where are you?” Truman asked excitedly.