The Tower was nothing like she remembered it. It had been pristinely chiseled from stone. Nanotech had surrounded them, making everything seem magical. The Author’s teachings had been depicted by the most talented artists on almost every wall. Holly shivered. She had relived those memories over and over for thirty years. Now, it was crude, defaced, a nightclub meant for the bottom feeders of E society and crime lords, perhaps. There was an air of danger, and not just because she was a NW.
Music was thumping, bouncing off the walls and resonating up to the top of the Tower. She was being dragged, rather roughly, by the man who had found her in the courtyard. Random crowds of Es were dancing, some were kissing, some were being entertained by NW dancers. Some ignored her while others stopped to gawk. Quite a few were in military attire, she observed, although clearly off duty. Although Holly had never been religious, she still murmured the words to the devotional app from time to time. She found herself doing that now. Some brainwashing was hard to rewrite, especially here.
Holly knew she was walking in the thirty year old body of her daughter, but how, she could only guess. While everyone else had lost the intermind connection, hers had managed to spark. That’s the only word she could really think to describe it. It just, sparked, on and off. There was nothing to connect too, aside from fragments of fleeting data in the atmosphere, and of course, to Cray. Cray had learned how to keep her out though, like a defiant teenager slamming the door. Where was Cray now? Somewhere inside this mind watching Holly take control?
I’m right here.
“Shut up,” the man said.
Get the hell out of my mind!
“Don’t speak to me that way!”
“What is wrong with you tonight?” The man pulled her into a room she didn’t recognize and pushed her onto a bed.
I can’t believe this. Finally get a chance and my mother is here!
“What, you want this?” Holly asked.
“Oh yea,” he said, unbuckling his belt.
Ew, not him! This! I can’t believe my luck! Cray’s voice was exasperated. Mom, get out of here!
“I can’t!” Holly responded.
“You wanna bet,” the man answered, pushing Holly down on the bed and digging in his knee to part her legs, while she desperately tried to wriggle away.
He’s part of my mission.
“What? What mission? Are you plastered?” The man asked.
Stop talking out loud!
“What are you talking about?” Asked Holly.
OMG, ma. Just stop talking. You have to kiss him. You have to trust me. It will knock him out. Do it, or so help me…
“Ok, alright, geez.” Holly puckered her lips. The man looked down at her, puzzled.
He shrugged, “You NWs are crazy,” and bent down to kiss her. His kiss tasted like chemicals. Holly couldn’t place it. His mouth went deeper and deeper until Holly was gagging on it. His body weighed down her small frame. Suddenly, he inhaled deeply and let out a loud sigh.
He’s asleep. Benzodiazepines, strong sedatives.
Holly tried to answer, but her mouth was being filled by snores. It took a few minutes to wriggle herself, or rather, themselves, out from under him.
“Now, Cray, you have better start explaining yourself.”