TOA Chapter 1: Lincoln Park

Calgary, Alberta CANADA | Tuesday April 1, 2070 | 7:55 pm MDT

Newton Hiltz loosened his tie as he waited at an intersection.  He had never seen Richard Road so crowded with cars.  Or so he thought  Newton was headed home from his job at ZSoft.   where he currently was employed as a hardware engineer on the company’s latest project.  ZSoft had an enormous complex which resides in the area formerly known as Lincoln Park.  Not long ago, commercial interest in Calgary had boomed yet again, to the point where profit became more important than green space.  Anyone with enough money and a well proposed venture could inquire of the mayor, Nicholas Fyfe, and he would grant or deny him or her a building permit.  Five years ago, before Zeke Sabates inquired of the mayor of Calgary to buy out the property, Lincoln Park had been a lush getaway for the general public who needed a break from city life.

This reality was no more. Now , looming over the horizon was a giant concrete complex of buildings that housed the ZSoft Enterprise.  Newton was glad to be employed, but he missed simpler times of not so long ago.

In the Calgary of 2070 the mayor made all the decisions that had anything to do with the city as he saw fit, without hearing any public input.  Yes, the city of Calgary was now under a dictatorship.  There had not been a democratic municipal election in Calgary since 2050.  That election ended in bloodshed when a 20-year-old Fyfe had personally assassinated the mayor to be Ralph Jenkins on the night that he won the office.  After the assassination, Fyfe took over as mayor  To reinforce his power, mayor Fyfe had employed anyone who couldn’t find a job elsewhere in the city of Calgary to be part of his own personal army, because of this the unemployment rate in Calgary was close to 0%.  Calgary maintained it’s position as a city in Alberta, within the Dominion of Canada because the federal benefits of being in such a position were just too good to pass up.  Members of Parliament in Ottawa had spoken out about Mayor Fyfe’s dictator tendencies, but not wanting to start a civil war, the trend was to turn a blind eye.  After all, there were no reports of any civilians getting hurt by Fyfe’s leadership style.

Newton suddenly realized he was day dreaming.  He edged closer to the car in front of him.  Under normal circumstances, Newton wouldn’t be able to do that because these days all cars had built-in sensors which automatically keep cars at a certain distance from each other.  The cars could drive themselves, a popular feature now standard on all makes and models in an effort made by car manufacturers to avoid human error behind the wheel.  The cars had a manual override in the event of an extreme emergency, but it was suggested never to use it.   Not wanting to lose his ability to focus altogether, Newton, with his immense abilities in the field of hardware had come up with a way to disable the sensors completely without sending an automatic SOS distress call to the nearest roadside assistance drone.  Newton preferred driving the old-fashioned way.  Though if any of the roadside assistance drones found out about the modifications he had made to his car, Newton would be severely fined.

So far so good.

The light turned green.  The cars in front of him accelerated instantly.  Maybe those sensors weren’t so bad after all, Newton thought, for other people anyway.  Newton continued down Richard Road, and then turned east bound on the Glenmore Trail.  Since the speed of the other cars was strictly regulated on highways, due to the sensors and other safety technology, Newton often liked to merge over into the almost always empty Ambulance lane and pass every single car he could see.  Since the other cars were automatically controlled, there was no need to worry about getting caught for speeding because the Calgary Police Force, there were no more RCMP officers in the city, another strategic move by mayor Fyfe, was busy with dealing with other more important matters.  Highway patrols were obsolete, much to Newton’s delight.

The commute home was really the best part of Newton’s day.  He crossed over the Glenmore Reservoir.  He saw it every day, but Newton still thought it was the most beautiful body of water he had ever seen.  Especially since it was the only body of water Newton had ever seen.   The sun was in the process of setting over head and it made the scene all the more beautiful.

Newton continued on.  He exited the Glenmore Trail and turned north onto Elbow Drive.  Newton had to be wary of Police now, so he adjusted his speed accordingly.  Just because they weren’t paroling the highways, didn’t mean they wouldn’t pull him over on the inner city streets.  Newton turned left on Malibou Road and immediately pulled up to his little bungalow

Newton parked his Mazda Zoom (yes that’s what they called it) hatchback in his tiny parking space of a driveway.

Newton got out of his car and stretched.  Every joint in his body made a cracking sound, which couldn’t be healthy, from the effort and his muscles were sore.  Newton groaned and wondered how long his 48 year old body would hold out.  It had been a long day at work, the standard 9-5 rules for full time employees no longer applied.  Newton muttered something incoherent to himself as he wandered up the steps toward his front door.

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