TOA Chapter 6: The Proposition

Calgary, Alberta CANADA | Wednesday April 2, 2070 | 5:00 am MDT

Newton awoke with a start.  He wasn’t sure why, after all it was the same beeping noise his alarm made every morning.  Newton tugged on his T-shirt and hiked up his flannel pants which he routinely wore to sleep.  Upon waking he was always worried that they may have shifted during the night thus unnecessarily exposing his mid section in some way.  This might seem like an irrational thing for a middle aged man who lived alone to be afraid of, but Newton was very protective of his seemingly ever expanding body.  In real life, this was not the case, but Newton felt like it was.

He stumbled through the narrow corridor toward his bathroom.  Newton took cold showers.  He didn’t want perfectly warm water  to tempt him into lingering longer than was absolutely essential.

After all, time, and heat for that matter, were money.  That saying rang more true than ever before in the Calgary of 2070.

Newton finished his shower in thirty seconds and proceeded to put on a white collared shirt and casual black pants.  He had brought his clothes with him into his bathroom to save time.  He combed his hair quickly and then proceeded to the kitchen to pour himself a bowl of Muse-Mix Cereal.

“Fibre is good for you.”  Newton said to himself.

To make up for that, Newton picked up a fresh orange from a basket on his kitchen counter, peeled it and ate it.  Now it didn’t matter how the rest of the day went, or so he thought at the moment.  Newton was satisfied for that instant in time.  Newton proceeded outside to his Mazda Zoom and began the quick trip into work.

Newton hated traffic and liked to avoid it in the mornings when he had total control of when he left the house.

Newton sped into work in under 10 minutes.  There were no police monitoring his section of town so he took advantage of it and soon was standing in front of the imposing front entrance of ZSoft.

They opened swiftly and Newton entered the vast common area.  To his left was the ZSoft store.  Newton turned to his right and proceeded 50 meters.  There he found a small door that wouldn’t have been seen if one was not looking for it.  Newton activated the entry code using a retina scanner.  A spiral staircase was revealed which he traveled down.  After this Newton was greeted with another retina scan and allowed to pass through another door which closed silently behind him.

Newton was ushered into what was known as the Techie Common area.  They had their own because it was not often that the software executives, let alone the president of the company ever wanted to associate with them.

Newton proceeded toward his office in the far left hand corner of the rectangular shaped room.   Unfortunately, he was promptly interrupted.

“Hello Newt!”

It was Gerri Sackamano, the 21 year old intern who’s parents had way too much fun ruining his life by giving him such a feminine name.  He avoided abuse with his mouth, speaking aggressively to anyone he did not care for  Newton did not respond.  He had discussed the fact that he hated being called Newt last week when Gerri first started interning for the company.  Gerri chose not to hear that.

Newton kept walking over to his office at a consistent pace so as not to show fear

“Hey Newt!!! are you a deaf old man?!  Why won’t you talk to me? you dirty piece of…”

Newton closed his office door firmly behind him.  He didn’t need to hear Gerri’s last word.  He knew it was less than dignified for anyone in any position.

Newton fired up his desktop, this was not your standard computer .  The entire surface area of his mahogany paneled desk was essentially a touch screen.  Newton picked up the wireless pen device and began scrolling through Zmail.  The company communication system.  Newton noticed a Zmail from his boss.  He tapped it with the pen and a 3 dimensional holographic image of Zeke Sabates was before him mouthing a self recorded message.


I would like to meet with you in your office at 11:00am  Can you manage that?


Newton responded eagerly.  He had no idea why Zeke Sabates would want to meet with him on his turf.  This must be important.

Newton spent most of the morning isolated in his office working on his portion of a new more powerful server for ZSoft’s file transferring.  There had been some lag issues with the current one and they needed to be fixed.

The time flew by.

at 11:00am sharp, there was a knock at Newton’s door.  Newton pressed a button on his desktop that caused the door to open automatically.   In walked Zeke Sabates.

“Good Morning sir!” Newton initiated cheerfully

“Good Morning Newman!”  replied the boss.

” What brings you to my humble office?”  inquired Newton.

“I’ve had a dream.” stated Zeke.

“What kind of dream?” asked Newton.

“A dream that the good folks at Calgary Health Unlimited also share with me.  Together we dream of a world where suicide does not exist.  Did you not hear about the Prime Minister’s son last night?”

“No.” said Newton.

“He felt the need to unnecessarily remove himself from this earth.”  sighed Zeke.

“That’s horrible!” cried Newton.

“Calgary Health United has a unique plan to prevent suicide before it happens, but they need our help with it.  We stand to benefit on many levels.  If you agree to head up this project, Newton, you will be in on a serious promotion.”

Newton loved the idea of that.

“What do they need from us, boss?”  inquired Newton.

“They want us to build a sort of thought transmitter that connects to the brain of an individual.  Every time a person has a suicidal thought, the hospital will be notified and can discretely notify those closest to the person.  They need our help building the transmitter.  You are the best hardware guy I have.  What do you say?  Are you in?”

Newton loved a challenge, and saw that his work was about to get very interesting on many levels.  Just think, he could be the one who went down in history as the man who exterminated suicide.  What a wonderful thing to be remembered for.  “Yes! I am in!” said Newton enthusiastically.

“Great!” said Zeke.  “Gerri can take over your workload on the server project.  Take as much time as you’d need to come up with a prototype and we’ll see if we can’t round up some people to test it out on.  Your pay raise is effective immediately!”

With that, Zeke promptly left Newton’s office.

Newton loved what he had heard.  Gerri would be too busy to bother him, and he was about to make significantly more money.  This was turning out to be a much better day than Newton had anticipated.

Newton spent the rest of his day researching the brain and trying to come up with a plan for the suicidal thought transmitter.  This was the working title for it, since the concept was not yet a day old.  Newton would come up with a more interesting name for it later.




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