Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Madness

Diners at the Memory’s End


Raymond Frazee

Copyright 2012, Raymond Frazee, All Rights Reserved.

Note:  this is is being written as you read it.  It is a first draft, and as such, it may be presented with typos.  Please excuse these, and remember that everything will be nice, clean, and near perfect, when you buy this story.  Remember--you get what you pay for.

Part Two

Monday, 27 August, 3183

Cytheria Warington’s eyes snapped open, her mind instantly racing in the seconds after she noticed the dim light coming into the bedroom. She heard the shape intake of breath and tried to ignore it, because that meant she’d been dreaming, having the kind that made her toss and turn in her sleep, and were impossible to remember once awake.
She was out of bed in a moment, because she didn’t want to lay about thinking about what had happened. As she pulled on a pair of slipper, she checked the time on her internal clock. 5:03 AM. Damn, she thought. I didn’t intent to get up this early . . .
She noticed a robe was missing. Speaking of early risers . . . It was normal for Albert to be up before her, but for him to be up now was a bit of a stretch. “Winston?” she called out to the house Avatar.
In an instance his smooth, calming voice was in her ear. “How may I be of assistance, Your Grace?”
“Albert’s up?” she asked while throwing on her robe.
“Of course, Your Grace.”
“When did he get up?”
“One hour, seventeen minutes before you.”
Up before three; he’s got something on his mind, too. And Cytheria was certain she knew what— “Is he in the dining room?”
“No, Your Grace.”
“Could you have him met me there?”
“Albert’s not not in the house, Your Grace.”
A brow rose. “That’s a new one,” she said softly. “Where is he?”
“Albert walked to the cafes the level below us, Your Grace.” Winston paused, which was something he almost never did. “He said . . .”
“Yes, Winston?”
“You should join him, Your Grace.”
That last made Cytheria smile for no reason other than she could see him saying that as he headed out the door. “Did he change before leaving?”
“No, Your Grace.”
She nodded. “Thank you, Winston.”
“Shall I set a kettle of tea?”
“That’s okay.” She opened the bedroom door and strolled into the hall. “I’m off to get my own.”
The moment she was in the hallway, Cytheria felt a bit strange, as if she was exposing herself to some incredibly new experience. In a way, it was: if someone had told her a year ago that she’s wander out of her home in nothing but her nightgown, a robe, and slippers, she’d have called them mad. She simply wasn’t that sort of person.
Not that it didn’t happen in her part of the arcology. Land’s End Arcology was subdivided into many sections, and while many areas were open to the public, there were others that could only be accessed by area residents, and those people on an access list.
Cytheria’s section was like that: her part of the acrology—The Wall, as some called it—was very exclusive, reserved for those who were often of a high peerage, or who were financially very well off—or both, as often the case was. Albert once called the section a “gated community,” and Cytheria didn’t give him an argument, because the area was heavily restricted. She never wondered, in all her time spent living here, if that was wrong—in part due to the way she was raised, and where she was brought up. One day I have to take Albert to Scoth, she though as she stepped upon an escalator. If he thinks Land’s End is opulent . . .
She entered the area many called Cafe Corridor, a section set aside for small establishments to sell their wares, and to give locals a place to come, relax, and enjoy a bit to eat or drink. The cafes were open day and night, which was easy to do as nearly all were own and operated by former deminondes granted citizenship. This was one of the reasons why Cytheria could walk down here in her nightclothes, because the mobile avatars didn’t care about how humans acted or dressed, as long as it didn’t affect the condition of their shops.
Cytheria turned into the second shop on her right. She knew it was a coffee and tea cafe, and Albert and she had stopped there on a few occasions. Albert liked this shop because it offered one the option to pull up a rather large chair and sink back into it with your beverage, and watch the scenery beyond the windows. He’d told Cytheria that the shop reminded him of a “well-run airport lounge,” and as she’d frequented more than a few VIP lounges at various spaceports, she could well understand his description.
She found him sitting off in the corner of the cafe, as far as one could get from the door and still remain inside the establishment. She waved to the two female avatars behind the counter, then hurried over to where her companion sat. As Winston had indicated, he still wore his gray night pants and matching tee shirt, as well as the blue unisex slippers she’d given him for his last birthday. He was also wearing the gray robe he’d bought last year, and almost never removed when he was in the abode.
“Good morning,” she said softly as she walked up behind him. “Winston told me you were out and about this morning.”
Albert Dalh reached up, took her hand, and gave it a squeeze as she headed for the chair across from him. “Yeah . . . My mind wasn’t in the mood to shut down and let me sleep. I didn’t feel like using the sleep initiator, so I came down here.”
“And you dressed for the occasion,” Cytheria quipped.
He picked up his tea saucer from the low table next to his chair. “There weren’t a hell of a lot of people out that time of morning.” He raised his cup to his lips, and took a long, slow sip. “And the ones who were, they’ve all heard stories about me.” He held the tea in his lap, safe and secure. “The ones who know me, even a little, think I’m nuts.”
“Which you do nothing to dissuade—”
“True, that.” He pointed toward the pot. “I ordered Siriland blend; one of your favorites.”
“You knew I’d come?”
“No. But I like it as well, so it wasn’t like it was going to go to waste.”
They both sipped tea in silence, being watched by the women at the counter. “Why up so early?” Cytheria finally asked.
“You need to ask?” Albert set his saucer upon the table. “Nerves. What else?”
“Over class?” Cytheria gave him a semi-scolding with her eyes. “We discussed this weeks ago.”
“Yeah, I know.” Albert looked a bit sheepish talking about this, though Cytheria wondered if lack of sleep was a factor in the way he looked. “I shouldn’t get all wound up, but . . .” He shrugged.
“But that’s you.” Cytheria bit her lower lip; she’d learned this aspect of her companion quite well.
“So tell me why you’re worried?”
Albert shrugged. “Won’t be able to keep up, I guess. I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking, ‘Whoa, why am I doin’ this shit?’ Just . . .” He sighed, then rubbed his forehead. “I don’t know. Maybe this isn’t suppose to be something—”
“Oh, Albert.” Cytheria leaned forward, closing the distance between them. She didn’t want to speak aloud, not even in a whisper, because she knew the women running the place could probably hear her. But she knew they couldn’t hear this . . . Why do you do this? she said, using telepathy to allow him to hear her word. Why do you doubt yourself? You’re the one who died saving another civilization. You died saving me. She spoke aloud. “You’ll do just fine. Stop exaggerating the difficulty, and do what’s expected of you.”
He nodded, realizing what she’d told him was the truth and nothing but. “I know; I’m just being irrational.”
“That you are.”
Albert snorted. “I just worry about tests. I never was any damn good—”
“Tests?” Cytheria laughed, then paused to refill her tea. “Albert, a very long time ago, scientists were able to determine the parts of the brain that were stimulated during learning, and figured out to read the neural impulses that told them a person was not only understanding the subject material, but were able to retain the knowledge so the they could put it to later use.” As she raise the cup to her lips, she shook her head slightly. “There hasn’t been scholastic testing for about seven hundred years.”
“No. But you will be monitored to see if you are understanding the subject.” She held her cup firmly as she added, “It’s all recorded in your texts and study materials. That’s what Winnie will be looking at.”
Albert nodded. “My books will be spying on me.”
“Not spying: recording your scholastic aptitude.” Cytheria chuckled. “There’s a huge difference.”
“Easy for you to say.”
“Actually, it’s very easy.” She took another sip, then said, “I have my degree, remember? I’ve already had four years—and then some—of this.” She eyes Albert suspiciously, then shook her head. “As many times as Lynette has scanned you, I would think you’d have grown used to this.”
The tea was having a calming effect on Albert, and he felt like he could fall asleep here. Yeah, I should be used to that, he though. Guess I don’t thing about what Lynette’s doing inside my head as being the same as what’s going to happen in class . . . “When you’re done with that, we can go back to the house.”
“Finally feeling tired?”
“At least you can sleep. I have to begin getting ready for class.” She checked the time. “First bell for me, nine o’clock.”
“Gonna take some getting used to hearing ‘Professor’, isn’t it?”
Cytheria knew Albert was right. She was so used to hearing people address her by her title that having someone call her, “Professor,” or worse, “Professor Warington,” was going to be a little jarring. “I won’t have to hear it from you, will I?”
“Not once.”
“Then I suppose it’s a manageable burden.” She set her tea aside, then stood. She helped Albert to her feet. “It won’t take me that long to get ready—” She raise one eyebrow. “Maybe there’s something we can do for each other.”
Albert put an arm around Cytheria’s shoulders as they walked towards the door. “Something quick?”
She smiled. “Well, not too quick, I hope . . .”

Hope you enjoyed that.  If you have any questions, please leave a comment, and I'll see you next week!


  1. Part Three, you'll met The Lusty Librarian, and see the smoothest meeting line ever.