Author : Christopher Booth

The war was over…sorta…The big one was over. It led to the Texan independence wars. Eventually five states all wanting to be called Texas.

He is dressed in blue denim and gray to match the day. A cold dull light comes inside. Vern never liked drinking in the morning. He wished he did.

Not much need for software engineers in this brave new frontier. His wife left, daughter whoring, and son killed in the war. No work, very little money.

His career started in an aerospace/defense firm programming technology that the world would not see commercially for decades. When he disobeyed the CIA’s orders (long explanation for another time) he was off to find another job. That is when the Superconducting Super Collider called. Really just a big hole in the North Texas plain. No atom was ever intended to be smashed there. It did allow Congress or the CIA or somebody to funnel billions of dollars to a project the public never really questioned. It was closed five years later.

Vern wrote neural networks. His software was the brain. The other engineers and biologist etc. would build the bodies. A soldier. Let the enemies kill the machines. We can always make more. Vern never saw his software used. Vern eventually went to work for a bank. Stayed there twenty-five years.

Then came the war. America had lost it’s will to fight after Iraq and Afghanistan and Iran and Iraq again. The states broke up. Each state became its own little republic. Texas tried to stay together, but in the tumultuous times the state split into five separate states. The south (proclaiming itself Texicana) was definitely the strongest of the states. Back by a still functioning Mexican government and a population that was once considered minority now had the regional power. Vern hated Texicans – That is where his son was killed and his daughter was shacking-up with one of the bastards. Vern wasn’t sure, but he thought the Texicans would kill anyone with skin whiter than theirs.

The knock on the door startled him…He was dozing. Still before noon. Too early to start drinking. Vern cracked the door. A young man who appeared to be tired and scared – jittery. Dressed in a Sabine (the current name of the East Texas state) army captain’s uniform.

“Mr. Adams, you got to let me in. Mr. Adams, THEY want to kill me!”

“Who the hell are you? No I am not letting you in”. Vern’s voice startled himself…when was the last time he spoke?

“And how do you know my name?” The phlegm caught in Vern’s throat. Apparently he had not spoken in quite a while.

“You are Vern Adams, correct?” The young man’s words were urgent, the tone wasn’t.

“Whatever. And who are you? And if they want to kill you don’t do it in my hall”.

“Mr. Adams, sir, I am your child. You are my father…”

Vern tried to remember the last time he had sex. Some whore with a birthmark right below the top of her pubic hair. Vern initially thought she had some damn disease. He eventually got it up, but he swore off of sex ever since.

“Boy, my son is dead. Killed somewhere near Padre. This Ain’t funny…”

“Mr. Adams, the SSC. You wrote me into existence at the SSC. I know who you are. You have to help me Mr. Adams. I am part of you. Please Mr. Adams! THEY want to KILL me!”

Vern pulled the door to and leaned back against it.

“Damn!” Vern knew he was gonna have to think for a minute.

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