New Pollution


Last time with Pedigrees –

North Georgia Mountains – September 2052

Leaves and twigs crunched under Caleb’s beige hiking boots as he walked to his pickup truck. He placed the tackle box and fishing rod in its bed and placed his hands on the rubber-lined side. He took in a breath of the North Georgia mountain air then said his numbers.

“9, 9, 1,9,7,0,5.”

Royal blue lasers projected from his eyes and he said the rest.

“Ava Pennington and 9, 10, 1,9,7,0, 6.”

Numbers, letters, and binary code danced in front of his face. The holograms prevented his eyes from closing so he inhaled the rustic calm, one more time, through his nostrils. Breann appeared, first. She was in her New York City apartment, sitting at her kitchen table, writing.

“Hey you. I already know. I got Kate’s message earlier and I tried to talk to Archer but he’s avoiding me. You know, we should let him get the surgery. Then, we could send robotic shocks to his nervous system when he acts like a punk.”

Caleb smiled and as he was about to answer when Ava’s hologram appeared. She was standing in her retirement townhouse in an Atlanta suburb, still in her house coat, drinking coffee. When she turned she saw Caleb and Breann. Delight dropped from her elderly face. Breann pounced.

“Aw, turn that frown upside down old lady Av. You know you miss me. What are you drinking, Metamucil flavored prune juice?”

Ava seethed. She was the same age as Caleb and Breann, eighty-two, but they looked and acted more than twenty years younger. Even with two face lifts, andseveral other procedures, she was in the final years of her life. Arthritis has taken away her medical career nine years earlier. She ignored Breann’s taunts.

“What is it Caleb? Your Pedigree system is fine. I checked your data earlier. Your daughter, Kate, and the creature in the other hologram, Breann’s are too.”

Caleb turned and threw his back against the truck. He crossed his arms and calculated his words.

“Ava, it’s my grandson, Archer. I guess when he went to the hospital a couple of weeks ago from the football game. It scared him. Now, he wants his mom and I sign off on a human-robot hybrid surgery. He wants to be a Pedigree.”

Ava smiled while Breann rolled her eyes. Breann blurted.

“Caleb, we need to get a doctor to check him out and put pressure on the doc to call his cardiac event an anoma…”

Ava raised her right index finger and interrupted.

“He’s twenty-one-years-old, Caleb, That’s only four years younger than mandatory age. He’s fully developed and he has three Pedigrees to be modeled after. He’ll be fine. I can oversee his conver…”

Breann shouted over her.

“You’re not getting anywhere near him, Ancient Ava! You almost screwed up Kate’s surgery!”

Caleb knew this would be the outcome of talking to them together. He was hoping Breann would be less protective and more realistic.

“Shut up, both of you!”

Their faces waved in front of him. There was interference in the signal and it caused to hurt. Ava sighed when she saw him wince in pain.

“Caleb, calm down. You’re in the middle of nowhere. Blue Ridge, right?” The infrared is terrible there. Come back to Atlanta. I’ll get in touch with the Program and we’ll figure everything out.”

Breann rose from her table and lowered her voice.

“Sorry, brother. I’ll catch a flight down there, tonight. We’ll talk to Archer together. Strength in numbers, right? I love you.”

Caleb relaxed his shoulders and the pictures focused. His daughter, Kate arrived from the lake and mouthed, “you okay Dad?”

Caleb grinned and ended the conference.

“Okay, ladies, let me talk to Kate and get back to civilization. See you both, later. 9,9,1,9,7,0,5, end.”

The holograms disappeared. His deep-set, chocolate eyes felt better. Kate grabbed her father’s right hand.

“Same old crap with those two?”

Caleb ran his thumb over his daughters fingers as he had done for almost fifty years. He looked away to find his truck keys.

“Four environment friendly Georgia governors in a row may have reduced the air pollution in this state, but they’ll never get rid of the politics, personal or otherwise. Come on, Kate, I’ll drive you to your car then we’ll go keep Archer as normal as possible, whatever that is these days, for a few more years”.

****blogger’s note****

This is a new series. Last year I wrote an 80 thousand word plus novel about six robot-human hybrids. You can read some of it under the tab “Pedigrees” What i wrote last year was set in the year 2010. This series will be set forty-two years later. Caleb, Breann and Kate are robot-human hyrbids. Ava is Caleb’s doctor and former girlfriend.

Today’s song is from Beck. It’s about a girl who feels out of place in her world so she does the best she can. I thought it fit the theme, here. 


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