The following excerpt is from New New York, a science fiction novel by Irina Gajjar.
Chapter 1 Tobor
Tobor’s feelings were hurt. Beyond that, IT was worried. In his most recent holographic message, Ira [officially Liera, his Arya, stated that he would be back at 19:00 hours and it was already 19:00 hours plus three segments. Tobor probed himself to figure out why Ira failed to message regarding the delay. Such lack of attentiveness was out of character.
Meanwhile Ira was rushing home on his hoverboard, drained. They’re losing it, he thought. The whole screwing lot is losing it. He had walked out of a meeting with the Planetary Secretaries for Education and Wisdom when he discovered that even Labella failed to appreciate the significance of the problems they faced. Inferno! It now looked like Ira, Chief of Education and Wisdom, would have to revamp his bureau yet again. This was always a pain in the neck. It also looked like his budding dalliance with Bella would come to a screeching halt even before it had an opportunity to bloom.
Liera couldn’t care less about whether or not Tobor had reheated his bathwater or arranged to freshen his dinner. As he reached his destination—the red quadrant, level l9 on 2nd Avenue and 18th Street East, New New York, in the Second Rim—he signaled for admittance without a second thought.
“Hail,” Ira said nodding to Tobor as he rushed to the hall bathroom because he felt an urgent need to relieve himself.
“Hail,” Tobor replied, hanging on to the slippers Liera had neglected to exchange for his shoes.
On his way out Tobor accosted him.
“Here are your slippers, Arya,” Tobor ventured because Ira totally ignored IT and was marching through the home with outside footwear.
Liera was flabbergasted. Tobor had just broken the cardinal rule of superrobo behavior: never address your Arya unless heshe first addresses you. Ira didn’t know how to respond. He had never heard of something like this happening and couldn’t foresee where it would lead. It made no sense at all. None whatsoever. In a daze, he took the slippers and headed for his bath. He found the temperature perfect and, as he soaked, he decided to message Tobor’s manufacturer, Whizwiz Dynamics, and if need be, kick some serious posterior until he got satisfactory explanations.
As Ira was not one to postpone a decided-upon course of action, he promptly linked the message and in a wink he found himself facing an elegantly attired female Whizwizzer.
“Hail,” Ira said.
“Ahem,” the Whizwizzer responded, immediately unlinking.
“Inferno!” Ira shouted to no one in particular. “Those screwing ding dongs don’t have any manners!” He was about to reconnect when he noticed that his bath was draining and he was visibly quite naked. Abashed, he quickly dressed and headed into his study. Then he messaged again and found himself facing the same female who had appeared earlier. This time her response was far more cordial.
“Hail,” she said. “How can we assist you?”
“I need to communicate with someone in Behavior Management immediately,” Ira answered.
“I am Dynima at your service,” the female stated. “I am in charge of the after-hours shift. Behavior Management is the only department that works after 19:00 hours. Please gave me the name, model and serial number of your superrobo and state the date of ITs last program check.”