The new beginnings of Timothy Braithwaite.
Timothy Braithwaite stared out of the large oval window, towards the New London skyline. His violet eyes glittered mirthlessly, while he ran his right fingers in a welsh rag, through his thick black greasy hair; as a white sun shone in a clear blue sky. It’s position in the heavens, at around about 13.45 meant that it rested just behind his allotted tower block, allowing the reflected and refracted light to sparkle like a thousand stars, upon the distant and near distant oval towers and cylindrical pillars and the pyramidical structures of the city, whose floor was forever lost in the dark musky forever cloud of pollution. Ten stories down.
In many respects, though he was loathed to admit it, he was fortunate; but that was because of his breeding. If it were not for his parents, he would be down there, under the cloud, facing life with a mask just to survive. Despite these driven and, he had to admit, ugly thoughts, the view forced him to think of looking into a pool of clear water on a warm summers day. Which was why he spent a lot of time, when he wasn’t working, looking out the window. It stopped thoughts about the recycled air and the recycled water of this, his grey walled single bed apartment one thousand one hundred and fifty floors up. In the ever on wall screen the background the adverts were broken up by a net-drama, where people, from all over the globe could participate in. it was – as always dull and uninspiring, with little or no real story to it. It usually involved elite kids or higher level blockers than himself, sitting in baths of chilli-chips or slime because they thought it was fun, or funny, when it was neither. People en-mass were hateful and only watched shows like this =, because to see someone more idiotic than them doing something embarrassing and incredibly stupid made them feel better about our empty, dull trite and boring their own lives were. “hey, I might be dull, but I’m not stupid enough to do that,” was the mantra behind it. However, the net show was so popular, that these people who appeared regularly actually got paid to do something incredibly so incredibly stupid that people could laugh at them. It was an insanity, one of many insanities that filled this world.
The net show was cut short by a man in a blue suit sliver hair, a chiselled manufactured jaw and the palest and very possibly the most digitally enhanced eyes he had ever seen, sit squarely behind a desk.
‘Good after-noon, New London, this is Chris Griffiths, giving the latest headlines around the clock and around the world.’ His voice was jaunty. It rose and fell, with an equal, amount of hope and cynicism, ‘… and the Brand corporation has just made another trillion billion on the solar stock exchange this morning; making it the largest profit in global and trans global-history. The company, ran by Thomas Rand, began life making the air filtration units we now all take for granted, its growth in the water-manufacturing indust…’ Chris Griffiths voice trailed away as Timothy looked outside, then he was pulled back to it once more as he heard ‘In other News Theodore Braithwaite, of the amalgamated unification corporation and senator for quadrant four of Terra has chosen to… Suddenly, His wrist-phone hummed. While watching the wall screen he replied to the call. It was Jennifer, his, in the loosest possible term “stepsister”.
Her auburn hair was stylishly cut to a bob, her eyes glittered with gold, the new trend for 2054, all paid for by a father who spared no expense on either Jennifer or Charlie, the brat who was already heading for the prestigious Mars academy based at New Paris.
‘Hi… ‘ as always the voice was cold, distant and hostile; this clearly was, as far as he could perceive, a conversation she didn’t want to have, with a person she didn’t really like; however, occasionally, what conscience she had, prompted her feel sorry enough for him to keep him informed of family affairs; he concluded that she was either phoning on behalf of his mother, and father, or because, she was sitting in her room watching Chris Griffiths, spout his jaunty voice the joys of trans global corporation, capitalism. A system that cut a swathe in the population; had found out that the story about his fathers so called “retirement” had reached the fast-net, and felt that Tim should -at least be prepared for what was coming.
‘Mum and dad want you over right away.’ That was it. A click and the message was gone.
After leaving a message for Debbie or was it Lucy? He couldn’t remember, he left the apartment and made the way by the crowded speeder- shuttle, to his parent’s house. The trip to the sky domes usually took less than half an hour, but with the rise of the terrorist attacks, he was stop-searched at every second junction by metalheads, who got on exchanged data and got off again. Metalheads was the slang term for the automated security guards who helped patrol the outer district and the wealthy owners of the sky domes. The shuttle was crowded; it was a large glass and metal tube that had rows of seats four each side a wide centre aisle that could fit two people comfortably. He thought, as he had nothing else to think about, that an average shuttle could safely hold over say, over sixty people at a time, but due to the greed of the drivers, who have to make coin, always led them to take on more than it was safe to do so; in the pretence that they cared about their customer’s which, in fact they didn’t. People from all walks of life took them from the elites to the streeter’s. Some simply took rides to see the sky above the rolling dirt haze below. You could always tell a streeter from a blockie, they had a paler skin, thin almost gaunt features and stank of grease and carbo fumes, they wheezed a lot too, and because health care was so expensive, they died far earlier than a blocker only the elites of the domes could afford the best life had to offer; so it was and so it ever will be.
The sky shuttle kissed the side of his parents dome with a hiss, the door hummed, clicked and curled open, open. He took a deep breath as he made his way, through the crowds, on the speeder to the door. He looked down, feeling the eyes of the passengers glare at him .
They all know, they all know his mind raced he felt frustration and hurt rise as he heard someone state
'-I’d piss on you if it wan’ a waste of water. ‘
Another whispered ‘thief’.
Another, ‘water thief.’
He wanted to shout and scream and say that it wasn’t his decision, that he was not like them, but nothing came, so he looked down, feeling ashamed at the dark eyes that he imagined bore into him as he walked. in what seemed like an age to him, he finally reached the open door and stepped out into the entrance. Two metalheads, armed with pulse rifles scanned him, before opening the second door that led to the main dome. But even then he had a five minute walk, via a gravel driveway set between a perfectly manicured emerald green lawn, that sprouted large bulbous trees, whose arms he couldn’t even reach round and whose tops seemed to touch the top of the dome itself to the large wrought iron open grates of his parents four story mansion house, complete with with tall austere columns and a cavernous double door entrance.
He looked down feeling his rage knot inside him. . A lot of water was wasted here. An awful lot, but, his father could afford it; after all daddy was one of the richest landowners of quadrant four. He looked down as he recalled the children and parents of the lower levels; those kids on the sky shuttle, their faces gaunt who, he knew, as he has been down to the streeter level more than once, had to resort to begging for water handouts from those who chose to accept what the world had become. Coin went to coin and those without coin, well, they didn’t matter anymore. With a growing sense of bitterness rising in his heart, he could see that packing was fully underway.
There was a gentle tap on his shoulder, as Tim walked past the iron gate post. He turned.
‘ Hi Tim, how’s it been?’ asked his father, whose enhanced blue eyes shone with happiness. His wide lips over perfect white teeth curled to a smile, from his strong yet pointed jaw. It was a smile that genuinely shone from his eyes. It was clear that he was really happy to see him. Tim looked at the rest of the family who were busy packing the transport.
‘Charlie your brother’s here.’ Shouted his dad.
Charlie looked up and gave a fake smile. His mouth curling into a Joker slit; while his slit eyes made it hard to see whether he meant it or not. He doubted that he did. The little shit was contemptible. Jennifer who just came though the large front door, pulled and muttered something towards Charlie, then both Jennifer and Charlie walked through the large double doors of the mansion and out of site.
His father noting the action frowned slightly ‘look… your, your , mother and I…we, we want to talk to you…in the front room, we have laid out a spread, have you eaten? we have….’
Tim sighed; he thought that the words jumbled out of his father’s mouth as if he was cargo on a sky-train; all jumbled but lacked any real depth.
Tim shook his head, but maintained what dignity he had, he nodded said the right thing, in the right place, nevertheless, his mind raced as they both walked up towards the house , their feet crunching on the gravel underfoot, then echoing on the steps before they passed out of the heat of the day and into the cool of the man hall though the large oak doors, then clicked over the large marble back and white chequered floor tiles that reflected the light from a cream walls, that in turn shaded to a vanilla in the corners high above his head.
On the left-hand wall, there rested an enormous three dimensional image of the family. There was Dad, Mum, Jennifer and Charlie…where was he? Tim didn’t exist.
‘Do you like it? We had it taken three months ago.’
‘it’s a nice rendition.’
‘Your mum wanted it done’
‘-No doubt.’ A pause ‘so you’re set on going then?’
‘-That’s what we want to talk to you about.’ Said his father tightly, his eyes looking away, within a moment they were both in the large front room.
A fire curled up the large flu, that was on the far wall thirty feet away, in front of him, there was a large white faux leather sofa along the right hand wall by the windows , and the left contained a long line of tables food. Just to his left and from behind the door, there came into view one of his mother’s new toy’s; a genetically modified deer, a doe it seemed at first glance its purple and violet hide changed colour in the refracted light coming from the large open windows, its flank was a long low hanging hide of shining leather that webbed from toe to toe. Beneath the does head, and looking up was her calf, the eyes of the doe looked blackly into his own. Then she paced towards him; as Tim walked over towards the large white leather sofa and sat down. The doe came up to him and gently bowed down giving him, her young.
Mother stood by the fireplace, her violet eyes shone humorlessly, her auburn hair shimmered in the morning light, her full lips glittered and the dress fitted her figure well.
‘MY You ARE privileged’ she said, ‘…not many get to hold my emerald’s new baby, she has taken a likening to you. ‘ the tone of her voice was dismissive, it was as if she had to say something.
Tim looked down at the baby in his arms, her eyes were wide and gentle.
‘ Beautiful’ he said.
Charlie suddenly came into the room .’Mum, Dad, I need help to pack the trans, hydro morph engines.’
‘-Tim will help you in a minute.’ Father stated
I will? He asked.
‘Mum, Dad, I need help now… you know we only have two hours.’
Mum looked at Charlie until he stopped talking and left the room
There was a long pause.
‘So you’re going in two hours?’
‘-Yes, we are leaving on the 17.38 long haul to New Paris.
‘ I see, and why didn’t you tell me? No in fact why am I here at all, its clear that I’m not welcome here. You have made it-‘
-How are you coping?’
‘-I’m coping fine.’
‘-That’s not what we hear.’ His mother stated.
‘-Look, I don’t know what I have done to make you-‘
‘-You turned down a scholarship , you have moved in with this- ‘
‘-Rebecca and I finished a month ago, you saw to that mother. ‘
‘-And, and who are you with now?’
Tim looked away.
‘-How is the position at the speeder wash going?’ his father asked.
‘-It isn’t.’ Tim's reply was hollow.
His father looked down.
‘Charlie needs help with his studies, if you like- ‘ His father began almost apologetic.
Tim balked. He felt a ball of clay within his stomach almost rise and gag him.
‘-You want me to tutor That?’
‘-Charlie is a part of this-‘
‘It’s a fucking machine! And a liability at that. It’s set up with the fucking-‘
‘-Don’t you dare!’ His mother shouted, his father paled and rose from the couch.
‘-I don’t much care for hybrids.’ Tim spat.
‘-That’s racist. ‘ his mother stated coldly
‘-Just because you couldn’t have a kid you could be proud of, you had one genetically made to suit your fucking lifestyle! its sick. What about me? I’m your flesh and blood, you made me together!’
‘-yes, we did.’ Mother looked down and father turned away.
‘-so, so, you are gonna, gonna have me move in with with you on the condition that I I tutor that that thing! ’
‘-Do I assume you don’t want the position?’ asked mother. Her voice distant and business like. This was a transaction, nothing more.
The calf looked up at him. Her eyes glistening with water.
‘The morph can sense your emotions, its reflecting grief now.’ Fathers words echoed.
‘-And what else am I to feel! I’m your son! You biologically made me! you gave me up for genetic hybrids built in a factory… creatures that might have the appearance of humanity but are-‘
‘-SAY IT! GO ON SAY IT! ALIEN! ‘ His mother’s face was hard the eyes cold. The doe came for her young. Tim looked down. A tear welled up as his vision blurred.
‘-Am I your son or am I your sin?’ he said quietly.
With that he lifted the baby from his lap and put it on the sofa .
There was along pause,
‘Do you know what your SON is into, that thing upstairs, going on about thermos engines, let me show you!LET ME SHOW YOU! ’ with a rage building within him, he , stormed out of the living room, into the hall and climbed the steps two at a time pulled crossed the upper hall and kicked the door of Charlies room in.
‘Wh what are you doin-‘
‘ Fuck off! Tim rummaged through the half-filled boxes until he found what he was looking for. A cardex file, a holographic data chip cube that contained all this little shits correspondences and coin transfers to date. He opened it with a jimmy clip he kept on himself for this very special occasion.
‘Wait! No stop stop! The forever boy face narrowed its eyes hostile, glowed red, its square face was knotted with rage and tears, he tried to reach up and stop Tim, but Tim was taller and heavier; and pushed him down.
'Leave that alone!
'The fuck I will! This is your precious cardex, all your little ,misdeeds and appropriations are on here, aren’t they? ‘
‘That’s my property!’
‘Fuck off you hybrid scum!`’
‘-You’re not what mother or father expected.
‘-and an, and how would you know! he was never there and she never cared!'
‘They are monsters! Monsters in charge of beasts while real humans suffer!‘
‘-But that’s the whole point.’ Charlie stared up into Tim’s eye,
‘your race is over. Give it up!’
He left the nasty little Hybrid standing in the doorway its pupils glowing a dark red.
Tim came down the stairs and burst into the front room where his father who was looking pale and strained and his mother was looking stern turned towards him.
‘Do you know what your SON has been doing?’ He rocked back and forwards, between his left and right legs, his breath came in gulps from the exertion and the rage he left. With shaking fingers he pressed the red operate button on the base of the cube. .
‘A list of water misappropriations and water crimes! ‘
‘He’s a cheat and a liar! And he’s ripping you off and-‘
‘-Timothy!’ his mother sounded stern.
‘-Son, please that’s enough now!’
Charlie came into the room.
‘-That’s my mine! he took it and uploaded stuff and-’
‘-Oh you little shit!‘ Tim bellowed. his face knotted into a ball as hewent to punch him.
‘PLEASE STOP!’ it was Jennifer
She stared at Tim. Then she stared at his parents.
‘Have you told him what will happen if he says no ? Does he know yet?’
Jennifer continued ignoring him.
‘He needs to know. You have a duty of care.’
Tim stared at them. Mother was looking down and father was looking away, their faces looked tortured,
‘We have to pay a price son.’ Began his father sadly.
‘What? Tim looked at his father, his eyes swollen, in dark pits of pain
‘ You have no choice son. Its tutor Charlie or…’
' The camp.’ Jennifer said coldly as she left the room.
Tim stared stiffly, at them. ‘The camp? but that’s for-‘
‘-Undesirables, life expectancy lest than ten years, and with your problems , I doubt you’ll survive three weeks… if you come with us, I’ll give you a room, of course Mother and I, will leave you alone. You have earned that right.’
His father looked down. ‘ Its political son, that’s why we are leaving to Mars, I have holding’s there, we can be safe from prosecution. The problem is, of course, you won’t be if you stay.
‘Meaning your time on Earth–
‘-Yes has come to an end… the rebel forces have put a price on all of us, its not that-‘ his voice trailed off.
Tim snarled down at the box and crushed it in fury, the plastic and glass shattered into his hand.
He turned to Charlie who was staring at him with hatred in his eyes.
‘you kill people with this sort of petty greed and tar me with your brush you vicious little shit.’
Tim’s hands burnt with pain. A pain he knew that those creatures that had made his life here hell enough for him to leave home, would never feel. How could they. They were Mechanids.
He turned to his parents,
‘You have brought up two of the most spoilt snobby bots I have -
‘-And you’re nor better,’ sneered his mother ‘You’re a petty bitter, racist, alcoholic, who can’t hold down either a steady job or a decent relationship! Can you blame us for not trying to have a perfect life?’
‘-That’s the whole point mother. Life isn’t perfect. It’s full of wannabess and cando’s, who fight for the merest chance at life while the wealthy keep their distance and watch the fight… as if its in an arena. Men and women snarling at the game from a distance, betting like your so called son does on the odds of survival! It easy for him, look what he comes back to every night, with wads of cash in his pocket! I I might be a failure, a loss and a broken man, but, I tried… and in that effort I have some honour and dignity. These kids of yours, they will never know what it’s like to struggle with nothing; and their actions prove it.’
There was a long strained pause. There was little -if any real option, the camp, where he would have to pay for his father’s crimes, while he lived on Mars, or a chance to live somewhere new.
Tim paused ‘ Ok, I’ll teach your child…but for a price.’
‘I want a decent apartment in New Paris, not some dump where I have to fight to survive and a decent wage, Christ knows, I’ve earned it. ‘
‘Anything else?’ Mother looked at the fire. He voice did not hide the bitter rage she felt.
‘Yeah, a written apology from you for all the pain I’ve been through.’
One month later
Tim sat in a café bar along the main thoroughfare of New Paris, it was late evening, but the air conditioners made it feel like July all the time, which was nice. In his hands were Charlies grades, he had improved by 20 present which meant that he was free to enter into the next level, the political arena. This of course was his destiny, it was Charlie boy’s place to stand next to his father and take on the role of chief executive of Quadrant four, once, of course, the rebellion on earth was crushed.
But where did that leave him? Tim looked at his hands, hands that curled around the glass, that was felled with the best wine, that New Paris could give him. Sure, he thought he was safe for now. The brat had another ten years to go before father handed over the position.
he looked up and saw the hologram of the water whale a huge liquid shaped mammal , Mar’s future, come surging towards him just above his head . Its turquoise fins and pale blue shape splashed the buildings around him as it turned the corner and disappears from sight and with that he gave a smile. It was something he hadn’t done in thirty years.