Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
The approach panel flashes green and shows the Public Credentials of the impending caller. I call to Julie as I head for the door.
The relief in her voice is more than her Mental Balance counsellor would be happy with, I’m sure.
A low double chime indicates arrival, and that it’s a formal call.
I tap to open the door, then step to one side, waving the robed dignitary in.
“Thank you. I’m Servitor Andrews.”
She puts her hood down and I recognise her instantly.
The fixation of my teenage years turns and smiles at me in a distracted way.
Ouch. Some things never change.
“My elder brother. I’m George.”
“You have a matter that needs attending to?”
Julie rushes round the corner and grabs her hand. Half-towing, she leads her towards our gathering room.
“We were left them by George’s uncle. He got them back before the seawalls went up.”
Charlene pauses to look over the stack of black boxes and jumble of wires.
“It wasn’t disassembled by a Servitor.”
“My father still harbours some delusions regarding personal action outside class designations.”
She nods, her tone sympathetic.
“It’s something we encounter with the last of the first generation post-ecollapse. Don’t worry. I see no attempts to reassemble or open casings. This is not a Contravention matter.”
Julie flaps her hands in relief.
“Would you like some tea?”
“Are you a Vendor?”
“Sorry. I’m the designated family hostess. It’s habit.”
“Then if you happened to make surplus sufficient for a third cup while preparing for you and your partner, it would be rude of me to refuse.”
That’s clever. Bypassing the class statutes by using the etiquette standards.
“This shouldn’t take me long.”
With that, she moves to the pile of technology and starts to sort it. Time passes. Julie brings tea for us.
“I presume you intend to have it on display and in use here?”
She indicates the tall black boxes.
“Place one of the tallest in each of the corners on your AV display wall. The medium-size go in the corners at the opposite end of the room. The smallest pair go halfway down the length of the room, and the cube goes against the AV wall. Try to get it as central as you can.”
It takes me a few minutes moving ornaments and display cabinets, but I finish in time to watch her wander around the room, bending to slot a small silver card into the back of each of the boxes. She sees me watching and smiles.
“Connecting wires are inefficient and overly complex. Part of my duty is to simplify where it will not affect the output.”
She checks her infocuff,
“If the two of you would stand in the centre of the room, please.”
We do so. She taps the activate panel. The AV wall lights up. A deep hum raises the hair on my arms.
The film we’d been watching last night starts from where we left off. Except, this time we’re standing within the audio. It’s astonishing. Julie makes little noises of awe. Charlene smiles.
“They called it ‘immersive sound’. Apart from being quite spectacular, these devices are now banned products due to the rare materials needed to manufacture them. Your uncle left you a valuable legacy.”
Julie looks at me and shakes her head. We’re not selling it.
“I’ll leave you to enjoy this souvenir of a world we’ll never have again.”