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A Place For Everything

By @Anansiboy

“Time to get up, my love,” cooed a soft voice in my ear. It was hard to tell it was synthesized, and when the warm hand caressed my cheek, I didn’t care either. Romantic wake-up was the best setting artificial intelligence makers ever came up with.

I was reluctant to get out of bed, yet in a good mood, and I thanked my household assistant, heading into the bathroom. As I entered the tub, Suny Corp presets turned the water on at just the right temperature and pressure and started up my playlist. I sang along as I bathed and emerged more awake and ready for the day. How in the galaxy did people start their mornings before the popular electronics planet existed?

As I entered the kitchen, I grabbed the eggs and bacon pre-prepared by the Suny Smart Oven and the coffee kept hot and waiting for me. I sat down and touched the edge of the table, which produced a hologram of text and video from my preferred news aggregator.

I finished my breakfast while contemplating asteroid mineral futures, my stocks and what the idiot politicians were saying now. As people who lived lives of luxury in geosynchronous orbit, they were out of touch with what those of us on the ground felt. It could give you indigestion.

I signaled my assistant to deal with the dishes and checked the time. I needed to hurry. I probably should have set my wake-up earlier, but I liked to sleep in.

My spaceship began setting up the moment I walked out of the house and as I began to climb in, the familiar voice of its built-in system greeted me. “Good morning, Drake. You appear healthy and capable of any necessary emergency operations.” I nodded. If I had been too addled with some substance or illness to take over if needed, the scan would have suggested I leave everything to the guidance system or wait until later, but I was ‘at optimal functionality’ so it proceeded with its internal checks.

“I am pleased to report my guidance system is at full functionality. I am pleased to report that my life support system is at full functionality.” I waited, keeping my patience as it chirped about everything being ready to go and how pleased it was, an extra part of the diagnostics that could get a bit tiresome, but which, as the sales rep had emphasized, made it more ‘relatable’.

“Where are we going today?” I needed only a one-word response, “work”, for it to lift out of the launch bay and set off for the usual place.

Despite the system automatically seeking out the fastest possible route to my planet of employment, the traffic both in orbit and along the way was terrible. And as for hyperspace? Forget about it, even if I could have paid the outrageous toll it wouldn’t have helped much today.

I sighed, put on some music and prepared to take the long way. My favorite band, Stars for Kittens, made me feel better about the trip. I reflected on the fact that the lead singer had not long ago procured his own minor moon and boggled at the cost that must have incurred, in particular when you considered the addition of either terraforming or dropping a portable atmosphere onto it.

I docked at the proper spaceship connection point on Planet Kiwi, and watched as the path to my work pod at Kiwi Galactic Communications lit up to show me the proper steps to take. Even on a planet this size, I was in no danger of getting lost. I could have followed the path in my sleep, and in fact had on several nights.

I sighed at the optiprint advertisement on the way in. Building on the optical illusions of centuries past and advancements in neuro-psychology, the bright words and images were designed to not just catch attention, but to be more visible when the eyes were closed, and remain imprinted on the visual field for several seconds after the victim/viewer looked away.

Why they felt the need to advertise to their employees, or to bully unaffiliated people who might happen to pass through the area baffled me, but I guess that’s why I’m not an executive.

“Long before FTL gave us the ability to check for ourselves, we detected there were billions of unexplored planets in our galaxy alone,” the ad reminded us in case we had forgotten everything learned in Principles of Astronomics 101.

“Technology gave us the means to solve the problem, but created many new challenges.” I found myself repeating the lines verbatim, having seen them every day for the five years I’d worked there.

“Among these challenges was communicating across the vast distances of space, and that’s what Kiwi is here for. Now you can talk to your business partners, loved ones and more from wherever you happen to be.”

“We know that in these busy and exciting times, one planet just isn’t enough anymore. Wars, overpopulation and other difficulties came from trying to confine all of us and our many different lifestyles to one world. Never again will that be a worry. Whatever your genetic heritage, religious or political affiliation, choice of work or pleasure, there’s a planet for that. And Kiwi will keep you connected to all of them.”

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