A picture of Earth from one of the millions of satellites orbiting it would show only a little change from a picture taken hundreds of years ago. Islands had formed, and pieces of entire continents had rearranged to form more islands. Since the water mass was the same as it’d ever been, pieces of land had to submerge, taking with it those who refused to believe in land disappearing. Even with the hundreds of years of documented footage, people still refused to believe that their piece of land could possibly disappear.
This is not why there is a human shortage on Earth. There were those who’d believed Earth to be overpopulated a 400 years ago, so they’d taken to a sort of Darwinistic viewpoint. Rationalization for serial killers.
Since most of the people who believed this were doctors, it became increasingly more dangerous to take your loved ones to see a doctor. In the 24th century doctors started mercy-killings, which were completely condoned by the governments. It wiped out most of the older generation, almost anyone with some sort of DNA-overwrite including Cancer and some strains of Flu, atomic bomb alterations. Millions of people were left to die, or killed. The purpose of a doctor was not to heal, but to ascertain the life level of a human and determine whether they would live unaided, if they would die faster with some help, and how necessary their genes were to the world.
As a result, many doctors were also dispensed with because of the risk of dealing so intimately with those who had certain diseases. Doctors became increasingly rare, and eventually Earthen Humans were cut down to more than half the population, maybe one third of it, as compared to the population before the culling began.
Shortly after this, a strange disease spread across the entire Earth at speeds never before seen. Speculation was that mosquitoes spread them. Others suspected some sort of herb or pollen-producing flower. No one was sure how it spread, but the affects were deadly, and Earth was left with one third of it’s population once again. Teachers, Doctors, Firemen, Heros. The last third of the population were not affected by the disease at all. It wasn’t until several generations had passed that the rest of the people realized they were, in fact, living far longer than the projected life span of a human. Not just one person, or even 100 persons. Every person was living longer.
What was left of Earth banded together under a group of leaders who appointed sub-leaders who appointed principles. No rule or law went through without the approval of several committees, and even after that, the law was subject to the approval of the ruled. There was a large margin required for any law or rule to be passed, and if it came one vote short of the margin, it was vetoed or accepted as the case might be.
One of the first laws put into affect was the Baby Law.
Anybody from the age of 13 to 99 was considered a Teen, not because they were a teenager but because the life span of humans had tripled. Anyone from the age of newborn to the age of 12 was considered a child. When someone reached their 18th year they were given limited free reign over their life. Free reign was limited by the ability to Marry and Keep Your Children. Anybody between the ages of 18 and 29 was considered too young to take care of a child, and so any child they had was taken from them.
The age of Complete Free Reign was 30. Once you reached this miraculous age, you could freely marry one person and keep any children that came of the marriage. A bonus to finding one person to marry prior to having any children, even when under the age of 30, was that once you reached the golden age of 30, if you married that person you would get your children back.
The years your child/children spent apart from you were put to Very Good Use. At birth you had the option to name your child, but an hour later they were taken from you and given to the custody of a prearranged 40 year old mother and father team. A day later an ear-node would be installed. The child would be tutored in a manner that would hopefully leave them in a better state than their parents had been in once they reach the age of 18. They’re given special treatment in this respect, and go to schools that any child born from a 30 would have to pay a great deal for.
This is the political aspect of the state of affairs on Earth.
Since the number of principles as compared to the number of public was a very lopsided ratio, principles allowed the start of Clans. There are three main Clans on Earth at the time this story starts. There is Ninjaen, which is very hard to join and can be quite deadly. There is Gang Clan, which is like an overbearing older brother that wants you to break the rules of the outside world but if you dare to break the inside rules, you are toast. The Gang Clan also has one predominant rule: the only way to leave is by dying. The third gang is the Political Clan. The Political Clan’s main purpose is to get laws passed for the principles, sub-leaders and leaders. They don’t try to pass all laws so much as they try to keep the public informed of the meaning of all the attempts at laws.
Certain clans have promotion requirements, such as the execution of any leader on a list in their leader data-sack. The term leader is applied to certain hierarchy within a clan, and very rarely includes leaders from other clans, unless that leader has been posing problems, or is a double-crosser, etc. There are many more clans than those three, but mostly they’re limited to certain cultures and don’t leave the boundaries of the water surrounding their land.
He dodges from the far left lane to the right one, one eye over his shoulder, watching for them. They’re easily recognizable in their gear. While ranking isn’t one of the first things you think about while being chased by any one of the Ninjaen, it is something useful to know. They have a whole hierarchy, easily depicted by the only spots of color on their uniforms. The whole outfit is black, except for the word “Ninjaen” in white cursive, with the name of the Ninjaen’s zone directly beneath. With vague ideas as to the reasons for his current predicament, Keith contemplates his options.
With a quick feint to the left, he tosses his two-wheeler Saber into 6th gear and immediately goes vertical. His land-wheels disappear in favor of more useful air-wheels, he drops to 5th since 6th is only useful when changing wheels, shoots toward the exit that will take him to base, then checks over his shoulder to make sure the Ninjaen is still well behind him and not towing behind.
In the Ninjaen clan, colors are very important. This was adopted from their predecessors, the 24-hour operations that promised kung-fu prowess in 1 hour or less. Adopted, yes, but the colors hold different meanings now. What may have been considered beginner in the old days is not what anyone in their right mind would consider “novice” if they were to meet a Ninjaen bearing that color.
For the most part their clothes are black, as was mentioned before. Either long loose pants, long flowing shirt, and the all-favorite converse, or very short shorts, a tank-top and converse. The spots of color are in the form of belts and shoelaces and the handkerchiefs covering their mouths. Some of the longer-haired Ninjaen tie their hair back with a ribbon of their color. A choker is not unheard of, but typically only worn by the female Ninjaen.
There are a virtually unlimited number of clans of Ninjaen, but they all follow the same dress codes and color codes and Ninjaen codes. This makes it easier for those they’re tailing to know what they may or may not have done incorrectly.
Purple is the default color for Ninjaen. If you were to try to join the Ninjaen, they would laugh at you, and after several tests, they’d start you out in this category if you were still alive. Purple Ninjaen. While they may have been laughed at, scoffed, and whatnot, Purple Ninjaen are not laughed at by anybody they are tailing. Purple Ninjaen are just that bad-ass, and Purple Ninjaen are at the bottom.
Next up is Blue Ninjaen. Blue Ninjaen have completed a required number of “quests” as Purple Ninjaen and either excel or are promoted to make room for a Purple Ninjaen. If they excel, they are promoted immediately. If they are merely promoted, it takes longer, and they don’t move past Blue Ninjaen, unless they finish a particular “quest” that ends in either the Blue Ninjaen being dead, or someone else. It is a very difficult “quest”, so most Purple Ninjaen try very hard not to get promoted. Blue Ninjaen are a smidgen better than Purple Ninjaen. They are still very scary when you are on the wrong side of their blade.
After excelling in Blue Ninjaen, your path diverts. You will either go to Green Ninjaen or Yellow Ninjaen. The difference is weaponry. As a Blue or Purple Ninjaen you’re given free reign with your weapon choices, so that you will eventually go into one of the paths later on. Green Ninjaen are adept with throwing knives and the like. Yellow Ninjaen prefer long blades and creeping up behind the perpetrator to perform decapitations, whereas Green Ninjaen hide a distance away for head-shots, and if the perp is still alive, they run up faster than light and perform multiple stab wounds with a well concealed dagger. They are often used together to confuse the foe, or foes.
Yellow Ninjaen eventually become Orange Ninjaen, and at this point they mostly think up things for the Purple Ninjaen to do. They also perform the more deadly tasks (if there is such a thing as deadly for any Ninjaen), and are encouraged to study the art of Green Ninjaen.
Green Ninjaen turn into Red Ninjaen once they’ve successfully landed enough sharp objects into still-living bodies. There is more to it than that, such as the placement of sharp objects in the living body, and the ratio of landed-sharp-objects to corpses. Once Green Ninjaen are promoted to Red Ninjaen, they gain the use of any of the clan’s weapons once again, and like the Orange Ninjaen are encouraged to study the Green Ninjaen, they’re encouraged to study the Yellow Ninjaen. This is how most Leaders find themselves with a Red Ninjaen holding a long blade to their necks, and an Orange Ninjaen’s sharp object in the corner of their eye. If the Leader dies quickly enough, both Ninjaen are then promoted to Dark Purple Ninjaen. The only thing better than a Dark Purple Ninjaen is the Black Ninjaen, and after that, there are two Ninjaen at the very top. There is only one Black Ninjaen per clan. If you were to look at the very top, above the Black Ninjaen, you would find one Dark Ninjaen and one Light Ninjaen. The Dark Ninjaen favored the Green Ninjaen class, and the Light Ninjaen favored the Yellow Ninjaen class, when they were developing the Ninjaen Clan. They both wear only black, but one wears shorts and a tank top with her converse, and the other wears long loose pants and shirt with his converse. They both tie their hair back with shiny black ribbons, and the girl wears her belt around her bare belly.
Keith was currently being chased by a Red Ninjaen.
Not really wanting to be the cause of a Ninjaen promotion, he promptly dodges the Ninjaen and leaves them in his dust. Aware that an Orange Ninjaen is hiding in a tree nearby, he watches for slight movements. When the arm comes down, he waits a half second, then leans down to hug his Saber to his chest. The Saber runs into overdrive as his chest touches it, so air is all the six-pronged sharp object finds before plummeting to dust.
“Damnit,” Kiley mutters. Racing down to the six-pronged sharp object in less than the half-second it took Keith to duck, she plucks it from the ground and shoves it back into the special pouch attached to her belt. Her belt is worn the same way the Light Ninjaen wears hers, around her bare belly. It puts the pouch in the perfect position to grab sharp objects from. She pouts prettily in the direction Keith has gone, then turns when she hears Garth on his two-wheeler, a black Scorpio with a 0 decibel engine. What she’d heard was Garth’s heavy breathing.
“Why didn’t you catch him, Kiles? You’re supposed to be faster than lightning!”
Rolling her eyes at him, she climbs behind him and wraps her arms around his waist. She presses her knees into his thighs, telling him she’s ready to leave. He shudders appreciatively, then zooms off after Keith.
Pulling his Saber into an open slot, Keith yanks the cord from the underside of his two-wheeler, plugging it into the slot’s generator. He virtually disappears for two seconds before reappearing 500 feet away, near a see-through tube big enough for five Keiths.
Keith is about average height at 6 feet 4 inches, and average weight at 230 pounds. He has raven-black hair that reaches the edge of his size medium black short sleeved shirt, which ends just under the tops of his thighs. His also black pants are loose all the way to his monochrome flame size-20s, ending before the flames do so he doesn’t trip. He has silver eyes with BSOD colored rings orbiting his irises, and his skin’s melanin is about half-way between white and black. Probably the most notable feature is the info-sack attached to his chest.
He tilts his head as though listening to something, presses a tongue to his left tooth, then says “The Red Ninjaen and the Orange Ninjaen took chase after I dusted them. Should be waking up in an hour.” He presses his tongue to his left tooth again, shrugs, then enters the clear tube. He hovers there for a second before disappearing, along with the tube.
“Oh crap, where are we, what time is it?” Kiley tries to sit up, but is covered by Garth. He moans, moving his hands to cover his face.
“Garth. Snap out of it man, I need you to get the hell off me,” Kiley says, none too gently shoving at Garth. Opening his eyes, he looks down into Kiley’s harassed ones. He grins, moving his hands downward, covering her slim hips with his large palms.
“Get your hands off me Garth, this is neither the time nor the place. Where the hell are we, and what happened?”
“I don’t know Kiles, but I sure like when you wiggle under me. You know how that gets me,” he grins wider as she presses against him harder, trying to dislocate the bundle of hormones.
Finding himself laid out flat on his back, he pillows his head with his arms and moves his eyes directly to Kiley’s. “Youch!” he exclaims, sitting upright in a move that would’ve caused whiplash in someone his age two centuries before, “The ground is fucking hot! Where the HELL are we?”
Kiley shrugs, eyes roving the area, her shoulders moving in a fluid roll that causes drool to pool in Garth’s mouth. He looks around, then down.
“Oh shit baby, I think we’re in the desert!”
She nods at him in agreement, her bottom lip worrying between her teeth.
“Hear anything?” he asks. She shakes her head.
Garth reaches behind his ear, preferring an easier to reach switch. Static fills his ears. A pensive frown covers his otherwise handsome face, clouding his grass-green ringed blue eyes, and his full peach-colored lips purse in concentration. Kiley’s eyes zero in on them, her own hormones driving overtime, and she walks toward him. His black shoulder-length hair falls backward as he looks up at her.
“I found a patch of Interlink in a spot over there, so I called in our location. Don’t know how long they’ll be, but they said they can’t get anywhere near here in less than an hour. Wanna cuddle?” she smiles down at him, baby blue eyes with purple rings, her six-foot frame tilting toward his six-foot-eight length. Under her tank-top, her lightly tanned skin glistens from the heat and her internal clocks, and her shoulderblade-length sunny-blonde hair curls temptingly over her left breast. Garth’s hormones all pool in his mouth as he jumps up and swoops her into his arms, carrying her off toward some shade in the distance. Their bike lays on its side, forgotten, in the middle of what was once fondly described as Death Valley.
Keith stalks into his office, unstrapping his info-sack and tossing it on his desk.
“Sugar in your coffee, Mr. Stran?” A lovely 20 year old female leans over him. Her curly brown hair swoops to cover her face as she places a cup and saucer on a clear space. Her eyes are a single shade of mint green. Porcelain skin covers high cheekbones, and her delicate fingertips are painted the same shade of shell-pink as her lips. Standing straight, she tilts her head toward him, a look of acquiescence on her face. A one-inch light pink ruffle at the bottom of her black silk skirt ends at the tops of her thighs, which end at the subtle curve of her knees and extend after that in the form of calf another mile or so to her two-inch black leather heels. Keith’s gaze is firmly focused on something only he can see, somewhere near her left breast, which is encased in a lacy black bra. A white v-neck blouse is unbuttoned, save for the last three buttons, and at a second glance it is noted that her hair is a mess. Keith makes a dismissive gesture with his hand then, and she rushes toward the door she came from, her hands moving to remove the last of the buttons before closing the door.
Touching a finger to his earlobe, Keith’s eyes come into focus on the cup of caffeine in front of him. Downing it in two gulps, he shoves the cup and its saucer off his desk, then grabs his info sack and gets to work. He presses his tongue to his right tooth several times, his brow furrowed, before randomly stopping. A smile forms on his lips, and he mouths the words to some song only he hears. Pressing his earlobe again, he lifts his hands in the air, and you see his fingers moving in common qwerty.
“Mmm. Let’s do it again, Kiles,” Garth says, his eyes roving down her slick torso. Moving faster than she’d anticipated, his mouth lands near her belly, and all she can do is grip his hair in her hands as he takes her over the top. Again. She’d forgotten how nice it was to have him all to herself for a few hours. The paltry minutes she’d been allotted as “her time” since becoming a Red Ninjaen had given her little time for pleasure. If she were lucky, his seed would root quickly and she’d be with child for nine months, and he’d be taking care of her, both in bed and out of it. Pregnant 20 year olds never got to keep their children, but the show of appreciation at the donation of human was always well worth the emotional strain. Kiley didn’t think of herself as a victim of pregnant 20 year old, but rather better for it. She’d gotten experience she couldn’t have gotten otherwise, and she did know who her mother was, as well as her father. Since they’d both married when they finally reached their 30s, she’d been allowed to live with them until she came of age.
This thing with Garth looks good, and she wants their children to be in a good position once they’re able to marry. So she rears up as his lips reach her center, as they pull her juices from inside her and cause her to scream. She pushes him over and straddles him, riding him until she feels his seed spill into her again, along with her own release. She then curls up against him and snuggles, resting a hand against his heart.
“Kiles.” She looks up at him, smiling when she sees his smile. “Kiles, are you sure?” His breath hisses out in relief as he sees her nod, and his hands scrape up her naked, sweaty sides.
“Hmm.” Keith mumbles seemingly to himself, then shrugs, stands up, yanks his info-sack off his desk and straps it to his chest. His hour is almost up.
He stalks toward the clear tube, enters it, then disappears. Two seconds after the tube reappears in the two-wheel park, he appears by his Saber. Unplugging it, he hops on, then takes off in a southerly direction.
“Think he’ll make it?”
“C’mon. You can do better than “Maybe”, you’re one of the top fictionalists.”
“Yea, and I’m telling you ‘Maybe’. So it’s a ‘Maybe’. Now leave me alone so I can work.”
“Fine. Let me know when you want to discuss his future.”
“It’s not that. I wish we could’ve…”
“I know, I understand.”
Keith had turned 18 with a mountain of credits in his account. His training had been top of the line, a training befitting someone of his intelligence. His parents had been 20 year olds, and they hadn’t been interested in eachother after the one time that got his mother pregnant, so he’d never been given the chance to meet either of them. There were rumors as to his parentage, but he never listened. He was his own person, and the best thing his parents had ever done for him was to give him this life by not marrying eachother.
He’d told himself that every night until he turned 18.
Once he’d reached this miraculous age of freedom, he went to Japan. Japan had all the best installers, the best equipment, the best of everything, and it was all exorbitantly expensive. He wanted top of the line, and his mountain of credits was going to pay for it.
At birth, children from 20 year olds are installed with ear-nodes. By default, the switch is installed behind the ear-lobe. This allows care-takers to tell the child to come in for lunch. Some slovenly teachers will use it to teach children from an info-sack. Fortunately for Keith, all of his teachers taught face-to-face, not with the ear-node. This didn’t prevent him from teaching himself from an info-sack. Ear-nodes are more than a way for care-takers to talk to children, but until a 20 year old’s child reaches the magical age of 18, that is all they can use them for.
So, Keith went to Japan. His ear-node’s switch was moved to his mouth. His left tooth switched the ear-node to interlink so he could talk to others, his right tooth switched the ear-node to music. Even when in interlink mode, it is possible to hear music, but the music must be turned on first, and when in interlink mode the music is turned to “mute” which is slightly louder than its name indicates. You can still hear it.
In addition to the ear-node, Keith had an eye-screen installed.
The added ring around his otherwise silver eyes is an indicator that he has an eye-screen. By law, anywhere you go, your eye-screen must be a completely different color from your eyes, so that others know of its existence. This color is decided on before they install it, and it stays that color until you upgrade, at which time you may request a different color.
The eye screen works with Interlink, same as the ear node. Everything is connected via Interlink. His info sack could be on someone else’s desk, and he’d still have access to it. With his eye-screen, he can see everything in his info-sack with a GUI. Every 20 year old’s child is taught GUI when they’re 10, so even though Keith is an informationalist (otherwise known as a nonfictionalist), he can also perform basic necessary operations on his info-sack so that it will work on Interlink and with gadgets attached to Interlink.
Now, you may have a question about security. Encryption, passwords and the like are all part of GUI. Without the proper identification of your eye-screen or ear-node, you have no access to someone else’s info-sack. The age of hacking was obliterated when Simon Grayson created the first dna-required GUI, a hundred years ago. It started a temporary age of hacking up bodies, which was quickly squashed by the addition of heart-beat requirements, and temperature requirements. If Keith has a fever, he can still use his info-sack, but it requires a complex set of executions that only he can administer, and he has to have nodes attached to his fingertips the entire time.
When Keith turned 26, he fell in love with a Ninjaen. This started his insane attempt to become one. He eventually became a Black Ninjaen in the Carmel Zone, near the coast. His love was still an Orange Ninjaen at this point. She woke up one morning with her bed-monitor beeping at her, discovered she was pregnant. They were excited, exuberant, enthralled. Couldn’t wait to help out with humans.
Two months later she woke up with her bed monitor beeping at her, telling her she was at risk if she was pregnant. Keith rushed to her, they went to a doctor, and as she lay there on the operating table she died, and their child with her. He learned, then, that she’d been a prototype clone with most of her abilities intact, and they’d unleashed her to find out if she could also be impregnated. Apparently she’d been a successful experiment up to the point where she’d died. Keith was devastated, to say the least, and couldn’t so much as look at another woman for a year. He moved up in the Ninjaens, got to know Kane and Shelley, the Dark and Light Ninjaen. He was dubbed Shade Ninjaen, and if there could’ve been a third at the top, he would’ve been it.
When he turned 25, the word “Hero” was stamped on his physical ID, and in the data-sacks, his information was moved to the “Hero” data-sack.
While two hundred years ago this would’ve been considered a “Very High Honor”, now there must’ve been at least that many “Heroes”.
This is why Keith felt very little about his status as far as being a Hero was concerned. He’d been given the honor for doing what anybody with a heart would’ve done. Being an informationalist, he had first dibs on bits of new information, info that was as-you-read-it-was-being-written. So he’d hopped on his Cutter (it’d been top of the line three years ago) and raced to the scene. Two Ninjaen were there, one bleeding from his shoulder, the other bleeding from his thigh. They were wearing purple. Keith’d taken stock, moped up the blood, removed a poisonous sharp object from the one guy’s thigh, then yanked an arrow out the other guy’s shoulder. They’d been terrified, since the poison was near the point where it started its second course. Given his knowledge of poisons, Keith’d been able to fix an antidote in less than five minutes, had administered it, and was chatting amicably with them when the doctor’s four-wheeler showed up five minutes later. Thus, he was given the honor of “Hero”.
He wrote a purely non-fictional accounting of the story, and his superiors had told him he could stick to non-fiction, or make a killing as a fictionalist.
Now, at the age of 28, he is an accomplished informationalist. Under a different name, Hero K, he writes fiction based on the information he accumulates as a non-fictionalist. The two sides to his writing life leave him feeling almost complete. The only thing missing in his life, he feels, is the Orange Ninjaen who’d died two years ago, and the child she’d carried within.
“What’s that noise?” Kiley sits up from her position by Garth’s side, he mumbles, tightening his grip on her waist. “Garth, stop it. There’s someone coming, we have to get dressed!”
Garth sits up slowly, grunting when Kiley tries to put a shirt over his head. He pulls it the rest of the way on, stands up, and pulls on his pants. Watching Kiley pull on her shorts, he grits his teeth to hold himself from pouncing on her. Sensing his thoughts, Kiley turns around, ignoring him, looking toward the cloud of sand trailing behind a two-wheeler in the distnace.
“Who is it?” Garth asks, pressing his hand into his forehead to block the sun.
“Don’t know. It’s not a Ninjaen two-wheeler. Looks like one of those expensive types, a Saber or something.”
They both stand there, chewing on their lips, watching as the Saber gets closer.
Keith sees them on his radar, two dots lumped together until they see him and turn into two separate dots. Less than a minute later he brakes, sending up larger puffs of sand. Setting the kick stand, he jumps off the bike and walks to the two 20 year olds.
“Heard you were into some trouble,” he says, tilting his head. He barely manages to keep a smirk from showing on his lips.
The two 20 year olds stare at him, brows furrowed, as they realize who he is.
Keith’d changed into his Ninjaen outfit, complete with gray laces and belt and monochrome flames. Watching their reaction carefully, he moves directly in front of Kiley.
“Kiley, correct? Garth, Kiley’s boyfriend.”
They both nod, and Keith senses their movements before they realize they’re going to attempt them. He moves faster than light, a blink and they’re disarmed.
“Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way. Why were you chasing me earlier?” Keith held his arms on either side of him, showing he would pose no threat until threat was imposed on him.
Kiley nods, then steps forward, looking into his eyes.
“We want to be promoted, and you’re one of the Leaders we can kill to be promoted,” she says. She frowns when her hand finds only skin where her pouch used to be.
“I’m on the Leader list?” Keith raises his brows, head inclined, “How did I end up on that thing?”
“You were under the Black Ninjaen category, so I’d assume you were promoted,” Garth says, stepping next to Kiley. He frowns, also, feeling naked without his blade.
“That’s odd, you know. I’ve not been a Black Ninjaen for a year, not since I was promoted to Shade Ninjaen.”
They frown more, glancing quickly at eachother before looking back at Keith.
“There’s no such thing, sir,” Kiley says
“Well sure there is, but I’m the only one, like Dark Ninjaen and Light Ninjaen. It’s not a very well known title, but Light Ninjaen gave it to me after…after my girlfriend died,” Keith says, biting back the bile that rises to his throat whenever he thinks of his girlfriend.
They nod solemnly, eyes downcast for a few seconds of the appropriate silence.
“Was she…was she pregnant?” Kiley asks, looking up at Keith. At his nod, she frowns contemplatively, eyes darting toward Garth. Her hand comes up to cover her belly, and Garth’s eyes flick toward the motion. He looks up at her, brows knit together in worry.
“It wasn’t anybody’s fault. She was a prototype. She couldn’t carry past three months.” Keith’s words fill their ears, and they all hear Garth’s breath of relief.
“Any idea what zone I’m the Black Ninjaen of?” Garth asks, his gaze flicking toward Kiley’s.
“Tumult. It’s a new one south.”
Keith’s tongue moves to his left tooth, his hand to his ear, and he nods the pair toward his two-wheeler.
Climbing into the driver’s seat, Keith kicks up the starter, then races off with the two of them in the direction of Tumult.
“I’m sorry, sir, you can’t speak with either Kane or Shelley without an appo…oh sir I’m sorry!” The Ninjaen secretary connected Keith with Shelley before going back to her nails.
“Shelley? What’s the meaning of this? Black Ninjaen over in Tumult?”
“Keith! Great to hear from you! Yes, we just sent over a letter informing you of your promotion!”
“Whatever happened to Shade Ninjaen, Shelley?” Keith asks, eyes darting toward the two Ninjaen seated behind him on the seat.
“That’s honorary, Keith, you know that. We gave you a whole new zone now, possibly the best promotion there is! You get to hand pick all your Ninjaen!”
“Well that’s all fine and dandy for you Shelley, but somehow I’ve ended up on your Leader list, and I had to deal with an Orange and a Red,” Keith says, his voice going up an octave in anger. “If I were going to be stuck on that list again, I would’ve quit the Ninjaen!”
“Quite sorry, Keith. I’m not aware of who stuck you on that one, but you can be sure you’re off of it now!”
“Good. I’m heading for Tumult now. I’d like to keep the Red and the Orange if I may.”
“Why not? Good luck then, Keith, be happy!”
Shelley clicks off first, so Keith sits there for a few seconds listening to muted music.
“Am I off the Leader list?” Keith asks, turning his head toward Kiley.
“Let me check.” Kiley winks one eye, then stares blankly in the direction of Keith’s handle-bar. “Don’t see you. It’s like you weren’t even there.”
Keith nods, revs his engine, and turns up the speed to shoot out of Death Valley.
Blue Screen of Death: Popularized by Microsoft in the 21st century. Error screen that displays when your computer has Ram issues.
 Info Sack: A small sack that holds information in bits, displayable on any screen with the proper connector. Info Sacks can also connect to the Interlink to attain more information. Usually worn strapped to someone’s back. When worn on the front, the wearer is usually typified as an “Informer”, recording data as they see it.
 Qwerty: the topmost five letters on the left side of a Standard American Keyboard from the 21st century.