Chapter One

Rouge had never met his parents.  His boss knew where they were, knew where all those like his parents were, but would never tell him.  Rouge had only been told they had disappeared in the flooding.

It was July 3rd in the largest city of the United States, outside of Rouge’s work at Keraldtech a cardinal rested its feathers before the 280th year of Independence.  Here in Chicago there was no flood, it was 73 degrees or more all year long, and the paradise had brought millions from the underwater New Work where the houses were barely above the waves.  Most did not know what the Independence was from however, just as they had never learned about the flooding.

Years before ninety percent of the satellites had been destroyed, cell phones and laptops had been made illegal and all books had been burned.  Anyone with a television knew there were linkers, but only linkers knew what it meant to live before 2020 as anyone born before had disappeared.  His boss, Brad, was a linker.

Normally the program would cost 12 million units a year, but Brad had been given the privilege of unlimited linking through his position at Keraldtech.  This meant the privilege to know everything that had happened; under the condition that he would never share it with anyone under penalty of death.

Keraldtech had designed a new system of free television for all in 2032, five hundred channels existed for any story a person could want. Between the stories was advertising and that’s where Rouge was an expert, today they were working with Perfects.

Rouge and his department were in charge of sponsorship for the networks, and the year before Rouge had captured the attention of his boss with an idea.  Rouge recognized each consumer wanted more than anything to fill that void they felt in themselves, and his storyboard technique echoed throughout the company.  Brad understood how a Planter like Rouge had identified that need, and knew that implants like his could help in thinking outside the box.

“Rouge hey man you are the most brilliant Planter I’ve ever met.  I mean your work on the new Keraldtech spot was borderline genius.”

“Well even robots gotta be good for something don’t they?  With a little grease and oil I can cook a steak as good as my boards.”

“You want to meet up for a grill tomorrow Rouge?”

“Didn’t the link tell you I already had plans with Sylvia?  I’ll see you on the 5th.”  Rouge then smiled and walked away.  He thought for a moment that he was genuinely clever, just as last year’s Keraldtech award winner came on one of the screens.

Is your life the way you want?  Have you reached all your dreams?  At Keraldtech our team of committed doctors has a permanent solution tailor-made for where you need to be.   No more wishes, no more needing, just pure contentment.

As the spot finished Rouge felt a pang of regret.  Then a shock ran through the back of his head, as if the sadness was not being allowed by his mind.  But in a moment it passed and he was right back where he was supposed to be, feeling nothing but pure joy.