tried to quickly scan the document. The print was about the
smallest he had ever seen. The text was strewn with number and
letter codes that referred the reader to other sources.
"You’ll give me a copy of this right after I sign it
tonight?" Alec said loudly, just to make sure that the
Omnivore 90 and the other people in the room would hear.
yes, yes, Alec. I’ll give you a copy as soon as you sign
took up the pen that the general had passed over, signed
quickly, and pushed the paper back to the too smiling general.
Alec. A very smart and patriotic move I must say." Then
turning toward the man hunched over the computer console, the
general snapped. "Stan, give me a standard disk with the
last three minutes of the Omni 90."
without delay, the man got up and brought a standard computer
disk to the general. "Here we are, Alec, your personal
copy," the general said as she slid the disk across the
table. The smiling teeth jumped as the general stood up with
an audible snap.
but, I wanted a paper copy of the signed agreement. I want, at
least, to read it all later…to see if I have any
about that Alec" the general murmured as she began moving
to the door. "We didn’t say anything about paper, just
a copy. Anyway, paper copies are inefficient. And my legal
boys tell me that the multi-channel recordings of my Omnivore
90 qualify as legal documents. Section 99 of the Code…ummm."
lingered in his chair at the table as the general opened the
door with an exit gesture. At the same time, the two MPs moved
silently to a position directly behind him. Alec stood
deliberately, grasped the computer disk, and walked slowly to
the door with a fell look on his face and a steady gaze
drilling down on the smarmy general.
put that disk in your PC, kid. It’s just like a video game.
After you open the files, just use the orientation controls to
read that whole form." The general gave Alec a light pat
on the shoulder as he left the room.
MPs escorted him out the front door of the now-deserted café.
Ordinarily, the café would have been humming with lively
conversations, laughter, and music at this time of night. But the two formidable MPs who stood at the café’s
door were not allowing just anyone to enter.
90's recording of Alec included his unique body print
generated from biometric scans—far
superior to fingerprint IDs.
back to his studio apartment on the outskirts of town, Alec
composed himself with a breathing exercise. His mind was in a
tumble cycle as he reviewed the day’s events. Why had the
general talked about an enemy intruder when all he had
experienced was a sense of connection and gentleness from the
being? Why did he fall for the general’s excuse for the
computer copy of the confidentiality agreement? Why did he
still feel he had experienced a rendezvous with a strange but
sentient friend? Jumbled thoughts and feelings accompanied him
all the way home.
modest studio, only a few miles from campus, Alec constructed
a fast sandwich, found some Cheese Nibbles, and resolved to
not give the strange visitor any more thought until tomorrow after a
good night’s sleep. But in bed, with the invigorating, cool
night air drifting in through the open window, he could not
help but see images of the day’s vivid events flash by
again. One thing was sure, Alec decided, the being had been
trying to say something, to communicate something good.
Somehow, the thing had connected with him, Alec Booner, the
Special Grip and Roaming Housekeeper of the Café. "I’ll
be back soon little friend," Alec whispered into the
darkness just as sleep slipped upon him.