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Idolatry, Episode 1, "Insurance Policy"

Idolatry
By Bryan White
Episode 1

"Insurance Policy"

Alan Chung, mind thick as a Letegian mud-fog, slowly became aware of a faint buzzing sound in his lavish, executive office atop Merch. corporate headquarters. He struggled to drag his head up off the embedded glass vcalendar atop his desk, and as he rose, painfully acknowledged the date, January 26th, 2460, a solemn reminder that it had been 3 days since he'd slept a full night. The noise within his ears became more annoying, slowly drawing him out of slumber, until he could no longer fight its call and snapped up to full alertness, barely slamming on the comm button in time.

“Yea, yea, what it is it.” He spoke wearily into the air, rubbing his hands across his pale, olive skin, disgusted at the new layer of stubble on his face. Alan hated looking unprofessional.

An overly-eager, young male voice erupted out from some invisible voice box within the room.

“Sir, the ship you asked us to track, the Persephone, has just now departed the Letega system, and will arrive at Draco station in under 6 hours.”

“What?” Alan searched his still foggy memory for what significance that name had. “Oh..right, yes, report back to me the second Altrile has returned with the..uh..shipment.”

Alan cared little about such benign tasks anymore, for he'd been working hard on a deal that would ensure he never had to work again. He believed he deserved it, after all, he had built this company from the ground up.

“Yes sir. I'll notify you immediately upon his return!” The flight controller beamed with all the fervor of a first year cadet seeking promotion, but his fervor annoyed Alan, as he could tell the cadet was sucking up to him. The cadet, of course, not a member of some federal military, but Merch's own private military with Alan Chung as its commanding officer.

“Yes, yes good work lieutenant. Don't contact me until that ship is back. Got it?”

“Sir, yes sir.” The soldier briskly responded. Alan envisioned him saluting hard enough to bruise some bones.

Alan ended the call, letting out a sigh of boredom as he slumped back down into his chair. A few seconds went by, but just before he could fully relax, another buzzer went off in his office. He let it go for half a minute, then reluctantly opened up the comm.

“What is it now?” He said, annoyed. It was his secretary, Victoria, a vibrant blonde whom Alan had hired for less than professional reasons.

“Good morning Alan, just letting you know you have a package waiting for you in your mail buffer. Want me to transfer it over to your deskmail?”

He wondered who could have possibly needed to send him physical mail directly to his office, well, physical mail in the sense that the end product was a physical object, for the actual transmission of the package all takes place via broadwave signal, and is assembled at its point of destination in a mini-fact, a desktop molecular manufacturing plant.

“Who, exactly, is it from?”
“It says from your cousin, Andrew Chung.”
“Oh, well, send it through then.”

A little package materialized itself on Alan's desk. It was a small box that read simply:

To Alan Chung,
From Andrew

Alan opened the package gracefully, but to his surprise found only a small piece of paper, that read:

Would you have shared it all, in the end? Only one is needed, after all. So, the question remains unanswered, as it shall for eternity. Goodbye Alan.

Suddenly the paper in his hand dissolved into what looked like a thousand, glass-like particles, and only then did Alan realize what had just happened. The note was made up of a million, microscopic, airborne robots designed to emulate a real world object, in this case, a piece of paper, but no longer did. Soon the cloud grew into a thick, unstoppable swarm that flew up towards his face, made its way through his nose and mouth, and finally began to pool in his lungs. Alan swatted at the insidious fog, but soon found it hard to breath, as the swarm's only function quickly became evident. He wheezed, coughed, and then spat blood across his desk, a sign the little demons had begun shredding the delicate tissues within his lungs. The world around Alan slowly became dim, and as his his head slumped once again to its favored resting position, he thought of two final things. One, he remembered that in his insincerity he had missed his cousin Andrew's funeral two years ago. And two, he thought; how wonderful it might be to not ever hear that annoying buzzer again.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

Interesting little bit of

Interesting little bit of technology there... for a less lethal application, you could use it to send a letter that changed itself based on the mood of the recipient, or even use it to spy on them...

Well. Ok, then. So much for

Well. Ok, then. So much for Mr. Chung. =)

I hope we'll be seeing episode 2 soon. This is a great start.

The only part I thought needed work was the explanation of the 'physical mail.' I suspect that would not be missed if just cut out, because the important point is that Chung is receiving a physical object. How it gets to his desk doesn't seem very important.