REBOUND is the final installment in the TWO JOURNEYS trilogy. An adventure story set in a post-pandemic, dystopian world.
********************* Sample **********************
Then one morning, as I stood on the roof looking at the horizon through my spyglass, I noted three independent pillars of white smoke, considerable distances away, twenty to thirty miles to the east, south, and north. They hadn’t been there the day before, and I wondered about their origin. I went in search of Imani and told some people to warn Apollo.
Half an hour later, he joined us on the roof. He stared at the smoke through his binoculars and went in search of a woman whom he knew. The two of them returned a full hour later. Imani and I had continued to look at the pillars of smoke, but they hadn’t changed much in character or size. Apollo introduced the woman as Aderyn, a former power plant inspector who had lived in the area before the pandemic. She was gray-haired, sturdy, and in her fifties. Her glasses dated back to the Fifties, too. She took Apollo’s binoculars and studied the three pillars of smoke.
Finally, she dropped the lenses and turned to us. “In the northeast, Pawnee Generating Station. In the north, Rawhide Energy Station, and in the south, the Ray D. Nixon Power Plant. All three are about 40, definitely less than 60 miles from here. I used to service all three of them before I was made redundant.” I wasn’t sure whether she meant that she had been fired or had been become jobless by the pandemic.
“Are you sure? The smoke seems to originate from a source nearer by… perhaps 20-30 miles?”
She raised her binoculars again. “No, these must be the power stations. It isn’t smoke, you see, it’s steam. And it’s the Denver air. Everything seems closer. My uncle used to say: on a clear day in Colorado, you can see the grim reaper walking towards you.”
Apollo looked at us. “What do you make of it?”
“Owosh,” said Imani, with grit.
“Exactly. Robots,” I said. “If I would be a hyper-intelligent robot, interested in embarking on some hyper-evolution, I would crave energy. A helluva lot of electricity. Break into a power plant, get it working, charge the drones… bob’s your uncle.”
“But where do they get the coal?”
Aderyn smiled. “I presume there is still a shitload of coal on-site. Wagons and wagons full of the stuff. That could last for a few weeks.”
I added, “From what we have seen, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for these creatures to crawl into a mine, drill for coal, and get it onto a train. And drive the train over here, too.”
“Hm. Any evidence for those statements?”
I looked at my notes. “I checked over the last hour and counted forty drones traveling toward the plant in the northeast, about twenty flying away from it. Of those twenty, four came directly towards us and landed somewhere south from here. If you look very closely, you can see drones flying towards the plants and away from them. You lose sight of them in the distance. I bet considerable robotic gymnastics are going on there.”
Originally posted 2021-04-12 17:07:00.