Beyond The Blue Horizon
Tel stared out through the treble-layer glass at the blue horizon. It seemed to be growing a shade darker every day but he looked down at the printer, at the reports, and they didn’t show anything out of the ordinary; the heartbeat lines pulsating in rhythm with no hint of a deviation. If there was an attack due then the machine wasn’t sensing it.
There was only one other explanation that Tel knew, or rather had heard of. It had never happened in his lifetime.
It was going to rain.
He couldn’t say anything. They’d laugh at him.
No one knew what effect real water would have on man-made water. Would they just blend or would one substance react with the other? Kill the other?
Maybe this was the attack after all. They, the powers that be, had said it was to be an air attack. Could it be something as simple as rain?
“Rain?” an alarmed voice said behind him.
Tel swung round. “Stop doing that!”
“What?” Farbe looked innocent.
“Sneak up on me… read my mind.”
I only read the good bits, Farbe said not moving his mouth. “Now what’s this about rain? You know we haven’t had that since-”
“And we won’t,” Tel interrupted. “The reports are fine, everything’s fine.” He gave a nervous chuckle.
“Then why is the sky getting darker, bluer?”
Tel turned to look at it. “You’ve noticed it too?”
“No.” Farbe leaned in. “I was listening to you.”
Tel stepped backwards, standing, not by accident, on Farbe’s foot.
Tel faced his colleague. “How long have you been standing there?”
“Since just after you were thinking about what you’d like to do to Evetha.” Farbe grinned.
“Before…? Before! How?”
“I’m a Mark IV, remember.” He tapped the side of his white metal-clad head. “Improved sensors.” He then shook his foot to clear the pain, which appeared to do the trick. “Right,” he said, as if taking authority. “What are we going to do about this rain?”
“There’s a contingency plan somewhere isn’t there?”
Tel’s eyes lit up. He opened a drawer under one of the desks and pulled out a red file.
Farbe stepped forward to join him.
Turning to the index, Tel ran his finger down the alphabetical list then read out, “Railway incidents… Raised blood pressure… Raisins stuck in throat.” He looked over at Farbe. “Raisins? They’ve got raisins but nothing about rain? What are we supposed to do?”
“Maybe you’re wrong.”
“I don’t think so. I can feel it in my…”
“Water?” Farbe laughed.
“Bones. I’ve just got this horrible feeling…”
“Then you should tell someone.”
“They won’t believe me.”
“I believe you.”
“No, you don’t.”
Farbe put on his sincere expression. “I do.”
“Then you tell them.”
“Oh, I can’t do that. I’m only a Mark IV.”
“What were you saying about improved…?”
“Sensors. But we’re still young. No Mark IV I know of has got past Assistant, and I’m not even there yet.” He hesitated then thrust a finger in the air. “I know!”
“Let’s ask a Mark V!”
“What? There are no Mark Vs.”
“Yes there are. There’s one. It was in the paper.” Farbe held up his right hand, palm facing Tel, and a screen within it burst into life.
Tel read the first few lines then looked back at Farbe.
“That’s no good. We don’t know where it is.”
Farbe sighed. “If you’d read a bit further you’d have got to the bit saying where it was going to be delivered.”
Tel looked out the window, to the right of the horizon, to the city complex and the thousands of home-pods. “Go on, where.”
Tel turned to Farbe. “Here? Really? When?”
Before Farbe could reply, an electronic swish sounded behind them and a door slid open. It was the same sound as they used on the first Star Trek TV series, Tel’s boss a big fan, had been insistent on it.
They stood there open-mouthed as a gold version of Farbe glided in. “Hello, I’m New.”
“We know,” Farbe said first.
“No, my name is New.”
“Oh,” Tel said. “And erm… what do you do?”
“Everything,” New replied, his voice changing tone with every word, like a gentle stream on a summer’s day.
“Everything?” Tel repeated.
“He does,” Farbe said, looking at Tel, then scrolling down the text on his palm screen. “He even tells the future.” Farbe turned back to face New. “We have a question for you.”
“I know,” New said.
“Of course,” Farbe laughed. “You can tell the future.”
“Rain,” Tel butted in.
New faced Tel and gulped.
Picture above courtesy of morguefile.com.
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