Dangerous Journey by David Scholes

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He tried to move as quickly as possible through the clearly hostile environment.

Why was it taking so long? He knew he was tired but he seemed to be moving in slow motion relative to almost everyone else that was near him. This scared him. Had he been drugged? What if he should be attacked? For some reason he seemed to lack the speed for an adequate or even life preserving response.

The distances between locations seemed greater than ever he could remember. Surely they had never been this far.

He should communicate ahead but couldn't seem to remember how to utilize the 3 D comms device imprinted on the inside of his wrist.

Almost furtively he viewed the carrying system. There didn't seem to be any option other than to utilize it. Though the trip would be fraught with danger. The fear continued to build within him.

The system was under heavy load. The audio sounds were extraordinarily loud, monotonous, grating, and incessant. Nothing he could do about that. Just accept it, and try to turn off to it.

He wondered, for a moment, if had been wise to come unarmed. It seemed like everyone else might be armed with something. Even a laspen would have been better than nothing. In looking at others on the carrying system he conjured up visions of undetectable lasknives, energy dusters, neural dislocators, tele-shunters, and lord knows what.

Finally the assigned focus drop off point was reached. Thank god for that.

Still he had a distance to go and it was getting darker.

He wasn't sure if he'd been followed from the hub. Even now there were a lot of the original people still about and it was very hard to distinguish the differences in their less developed members. They all looked pretty much the same.

He concluded he was being followed but couldn't think what to do about it other than increase his snails pace.

Heart thumping, lungs bursting, he finally reached his end objective point. Yet he struggled with his keyless remote entry. First to get it out and then to get it to work. Stabbing at it furiously time and again.

Then the less developed original people, laughing at his obvious distress, or so he thought, passed on by moving across to the faster travellator.

He breathed more than a sigh of relief. Then finally the keyless remote entry device worked and the semi-armored portal opened. He looked back again.

"Hi Hon!" came a voice from inside the portal "welcome home, how was your compworkday?" "You know you forgot your meds, and your IDS pak?"

Earle looked down forlornly at the meds, the blood press and age retardant tabs among them, and the memstim tabs, all of which one need only press lightly against the skin for them to be absorbed.

But most important of all he had missed the grannyboost tab. The wonder drug that elderly citizenry were able to take once a week to help them through the compulsory one work day per week that had been forced on them because of the age bulge demographic.

He looked down almost as forlornly at his interdimensional storage pak. So much larger inside than out. The noise suppressant plugs, the small, light, exo-skeleton aid, the deflectors, the energy prod umbrella, and other things. All designed to make life a little easier for him outside the apt. He should have put some of them on before leaving this morning.

How he had missed them all, what a day it had been without them!

What a trip home!