Society

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?”

“Obvious?”

“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.

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The Test

In The Test, a novel by Forever Forbes, Society has everything one could want…beautiful homes, cutting edge technology, and an educational system that allows for all of Society to be their best…

“Benjica, come outside and plaaaay with me!” Jared whined as if he were a young child. 

He ran strong fingers through his blonde hair and slumped into the chair beside Benjica’s desk. 

Her heart raced as it always did when he was near.  She didn’t have to turn to look at him.  She had memorized the lines of his strong jaw and wide smile.  His tanned skin, smooth and masculine, haunted her thoughts daily.  She took a breath to steady her resolve. 

“No,” Benjica replied in her typical soft voice.  “I have to study for the test.”

Jared gave her his most disapproving scowl.  “Your name hasn’t even been pulled yet.”  His protest was cut short by the look of guilt on his best friend’s face.  “What?  And you didn’t tell me?  Benjica…why?”

“I couldn’t bear to spend the last of our time together here with you sulking… and I know you.  You would have sulked around and made life miserable and then neither of us would have gotten any of our studies in… or any outside time in for that matter.” 

She gave him her best ‘forgive me’ smile, and even though it was a forced smile, it was beautiful to him.  He could remember the first time he saw her.  She was three years old and had just been brought to the Facility for preschoolers.  Her dark hair clung to her round rosy cheeks and her brown skin glistened against the white dress she wore.  Jared was mesmerized at the tender age of four.  Benjica had been surrounded by doting caretakers who seemed to want to do nothing else but play with her.  Her laughter filled the room with joy.  If it were in her nature, she could have been the spoiled brat who cried and instantly got her way.  But she rarely cried… even now.  Jared wondered if her heart was breaking the way his was, and then he glimpsed into her deep brown eyes and saw her agony as well. 

“When do you test out?”  His voice cracked with fear. 

“The day after tomorrow.”  Her answer was almost a whisper as she hung her head.  “I was going to tell you tonight after dinner,” she headed off his accusing question before he could even form it on his lips. 

“The day after tomorrow!  We’re usually given a couple of weeks’ notice to prepare for the test… and for leaving.”

“I know,” Benjica’s throat tightened. 

The thought of leaving Jared tormented her.  She felt safe with him.  It was more than that.  She had vague memories of being held by her mother as a baby… of feeling loved.  Jared made her feel warm and wanted, like the feelings she had when she allowed herself to sink into those memories.

He breathed deeply, took her hand, and in a very unlike Jared manner, he simply asked, “How can I help my best friend study so that she may fulfill her dreams and be accepted into Society?” 

His smile indicated to her that he truly meant it.  She blinked back a tear.  This was how Jared said he loved her, and she knew he truly did.

 

 

The Test shows how far a society would go to protect the status quo, and how far one  would go when the survival of their loved one is threatened.  Join me on this journey as we watch The Test unfold.

 

 

 

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton