At first, they were all startled by tweets, chirps, alarms and other mechanical beeping sounds. There was a particular ominous sound that a heart monitor made when it stopped beating. It was a series of high beeps, followed by the dreaded, familiar flatline sound. Indeed, it matched the flat line that had appeared on the monitor. Everyone’s eyes were diverted there from the screen.
People seemed inordinately focused on his turning fourteen, Toby thought. His mom acted a little odd. She wasn’t concerned about paying extra fares to get them to the Mayo Clinic. At each juncture, she took the fastest and usually the most expensive Tele-portal connection to Minneapolis.
Toby felt self-conscious about this because it was out of the ordinary and not a typical practice in their household to be anything other than extremely frugal.
Something funny happened on the way to the publisher. As a first-time fiction writer, I imagined that after writing a collection of short stories, the bulk of my work would be done. In this fantasy, I pictured myself finishing the novel I started and stopped a few years ago. That novel is the prequel to my new book Another Tomorrow.
“Empathy chips transformed certain androids from mere Personal Assistants into companions.”
— Dr. Herbert Hoover Sr., Computer Scientist and Android Designer
Toby Troy slumped in his chair at the kitchen table, staring out over the farm of corn-filled patches in the Territories. If only tomorrow weren’t his fourteenth birthday, he might go out and wander. Even though the sun blazed hot on the fields, he needed space to think, and time to plan. The state required all youths to select an android before the age of fourteen. If an adolescent didn’t select one, then one would be assigned. Even though Toby knew exactly which android he wanted, he couldn’t quite get him yet. This meant that he needed to convince his already overworked mom to help execute his plan. And, he needed to do all this before tomorrow.