Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Senescence: prologue

The working title of the conclusion to the Jez series is Senescence--the final stage of aging where your cells no longer renew themselves. Barring violence or disease, it is the death that awaits the entire human race. This story combines futurism, feminism, genetic engineering, and choices for our planet.

Prologue – T plus 13 years

“In the future, everyone will have their own channel,” the world’s richest woman announced to the crowd of reporters and news drones that followed her from her jet into the Welsh airport. Technically, Mira Hollis had over twenty blogosphere feeds dedicated to stalking her. As CEO for Fortune Enterprises, she was the most public and transparent executive ever. While her competitors analyzed every voice stress, groupies purchased the same clothes and makeup. She was corporate royalty. Her security handle was ‘Golden Goose.’ “With advances in microcameras and Internet capacity, everyone can have a safety feed. Imagine the elderly and young, monitored twenty-four-seven.”
A man from a competing mega-corp piped in. “Won’t the government use that to infringe on our privacy?”
Mira smiled. “They already do. In public places, there are an average of twenty-two cameras on each person in Great Britain. This will give the public a chance to see what their elected representatives are doing as well. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. Who watches the watchers? Fortune Multimedia will give you that power.” Her own info-link broadcast verified references for each of her statistics, the official product announcement, and the Plato quote.
During the armored limo ride, through the green and sunny countryside, the online commentators speculated. “Actually,” corrected the fact guru, Martin, “That estimate is already obsolete. With the advent of the new crosswalk safety measures last month and the independence of the Faukland Islands, that average increases to twenty-three.”
Gavin, the history correspondent, said, “The real question is: why is she coming to Wales? Sheep don’t care about tech.”
The fact guru replied, “She has a lawyer on the flight manifest who isn’t an employee of Fortune. Eliot Cook a specialist in British estate law. She’s only used their firm once before…the week of the mass funeral for Alcantara Spaceport.” Three seconds of silence ruled, out of respect for the dead. “Her entire family was wiped out in the Algerian reprisal for the Ascension landing on the alien artifact.” A stream of hyperlinks scrolled across the connection.
Bunny, the social commentator squealed. “That’s when she met with that dream boat Kieran Llewellyn.”
Gavin groaned over the link.
Martin punched up pop-feeds on Kieran’s residence. “The Ascension Memorial Museum closed early today. Directional analysis confirms—we have a destination. Deploy the high resolution cameras for the arrival.” His feed shifted to a commercial while technicians hustled to stage the next scene.
Eager to fill in, Bunny said, “After the death of her friends and family, Mira inherited majority ownership of Fortune. She was also one of the only three surviving board members, known as the Triumvate. The Chinese-Muslim alliance had declared war on her company and placed a bounty on her head. She had to force herself to be strong. Only after the treaty, at the funeral, could she allow herself to be vulnerable.” Someone posted a photo of the handsome, red-head Kieran with his arm around Mira. “He was ten years older than her, but he had lost his family as well.”
“The Llewellyns are all womanizers,” Gavin complained. “The will left everything to Captain Llewellyn. As a penniless cousin, Kieran had nothing to offer her. That’s why their mutual media blackout only lasted three days.”
“Well, he must have offered her something pretty special, because she loaned him the millions to renovate the family estate,” Bunny countered. “He was the first Cinderfella… and the biggest.” This is what the bloggers called the men Mira slept with and then made into successes—all of them subsidiaries of Fortune Enterprises.
Gavin grumbled, “She arranged for Kieran to head the foundation to hold the family lands in trust. That’s all.”
“He became the most eligible bachelor in Wales after that, but he still hasn’t settled down.”
“We know the who and where. The question becomes: why now?”

Bunny replied, “It has been eleven months and three days since her last acquisition. The Golden Goose needs to get laid. Maybe she’s never forgotten him.” In the background, producers scrambled for recent photos of each to splice together into a heart-shaped frame. This feed went to commercial as the romance-gossip team prepared for the reunion of old flames after thirteen years.

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