Gilan staggered out into the City street. The
unexpectedly bright light blinded him. He
blinked several times and gathered everything
in. Pedestrians flocked in every corner, filling
the sidewalks. Past the noisy people was a
street covered by cars, horseless carriages, of
very color from yellow to purple and blue to
white. Shops lined the sidewalk also, with
colorful umbrellas and signs. Neon light blinked
everywhere and the world was full of color.
Buildings served as a backdrop in the distance,
towering at heights Gilan had never imagined
possible. They reflected the sun, making Gilan
shield his eyes. The most noticeable thing was
the people. Wearing the strangest outfits and
dyed hairstyles, they all stood out in their own
way, unique to their own style.
Except for one thing. 3-D triangle necklaces
bounced on each chest. Although mounted from
different necklace styles and colors, the
triangles themselves varying from diamond
studded to sleek black, they all were the basic
Gilan had read up in the prisoner library about
the modern inventions. These objects were called
AMAs, or Ask Me Anything, which they were. The
triangle face had a small square screen on it,
with four spaced out buttons below the screen.
On the bottom of the triangle was a speaker.
The owner of the AMA could merely speak or type
on a tiny keyboard that came out a slot if one
pressed the rightmost button. The owner would
ask it a question and it would reply out of the
speaker in a voice the owner could change by
pressing the leftmost, then second-to-left, and
the leftmost once more in order to reach
settings, sound, and speaker voice. They could
even enter a voice sample (leftmost, second-to-
left, leftmost, rightmost), and the AMA would
speak in that voice. The owner of the triangle
was licensed to it, as Gilan had read, in a
large book much like the phonebook - of course,
those had stopped being published for about
three hundred years now. There were shops where
one could buy one, prices ranging from 15 to ten
thousand Kren. (One Kren equals one dollar,
which were officially out-of-date exactly 32
years ago, 2092*)
To tell the truth, Gilan found these objects
Gilan surveyed his surroundings. First thing
first, he thought.
He would have to blend in, and that meant buying
crazy clothes and an AMA. That meant getting
money, and that meant stealing. Since it
happened all the time, he figured that the
police wouldn’t bother going after him.
Gilan found himself being swept into the river
of a crowd. He walked along willingly, surveying
shops. He realized that instead of stealing
money and then buying clothes, he could merely
shoplift one of the sidewalk stores.
Gilan ducked in an alley in between two stores:
Recent Fashions-So cute you can’t resist and CDs
and Movies: download TODAY! (And Free AMA
Gilan crouched behind a trash can and thought.
He’d probably have to wait until tonight to
commit his crimes. He’d do it about eleven, when
most people were asleep and the ones who
Gilan felt a hesitant hand tap his shoulder. He
whirled around, angling his head so he could see
with his one good eye. A man in dark shabby
clothes was looking at him hopefully.
So not everyone here is filthy rich, he thought.
Gilan shook his head, and the man sadly turned
to two friends, and they walked away on shaky
“Wait!” Gilan called. He hurried to catch up
with the men. “Wait,” he panted as they stopped
and looked at him with large eyes.
“I CAN help you,” he said slowly, “But I need
you first. I’m planning to rob someone, for
clothes and money. Help me, and you each can
have a fourth of the loot.”
A small voice in the back of Gilan’s mind was
whispering that he was crazy, he should just
leave these frazzled men alone. But Gilan
swatted it aside like a fly and waited for the
The first man turned to confer with the others.
After a ten-word exchange, the man turned to
“Yes,” he said. He held out his hand. “I am
Jorah.” His black eyes were slanted strangely.
Although thin and comparable to a stick, he held
the composure of a fine leader.
Another man stepped forward. “I am Zepith.”
Despite the grubbiness of his body and clothes,
his long, black hair was smooth, slick and
The last man leaned forward. He was the smallest
of them all. “Korunt,” he smiled grimly, and
Gilan reluctantly shook another dirty, grubby
"All right! Let's get this party started!" Gilan
grinned, clapping his hands.
The three stared at him.
"...Or... not...." He muttered, somewhat
*The current year is 2290, 278 years from now.
This article has been read