A deep guttural yawn passed through me, chin in my hand and one eye lazily peering through the protective glass in front of me. The world beyond the glass was muted, slow and predictable, people meandered in loosely defined lines toward their destinations, thoughts focused a few steps too far in the future to be truly bothered with the present. In my other eye, a projection, a stream of information from my contact-lens directly into my cornea, in which I could effortlessly browse a much more interesting, albeit much less tangible, world:
…Terran Intelligence divisions are investigating a series of burglaries spreading across several different sectors within Metapolis. So far, there is no lead in regards to a suspect or, most interestingly, means of entry…
A soft chime and light drew my glazed attention back to the tangible world. A business man approached my kiosk and pushed a thin, mostly blank, card and his ID through the slot in front of me. Wordlessly, I took the card and ID, verified they matched, while simultaneously typing in his Citizen Code as well as his Destination ID into the transportation log. I manually read and punched the coordinates into his card, barely glancing at the destination template that appeared on the screen for my reference when making the holes. Once I slid the documents back to him, he turned and approached a tall rectangular frame set against an otherwise featureless concrete wall.
The frame jolted to life following the man inserting his freshly configured travel pass. A warping field of sibylline oscillating light filled the center of the hollow frame and the businessman stepped through without hesitation. Almost immediately, the field receded and blinked off leaving the frame standing dormant once more.
A steady stream of travelers made their way through my station, our interactions coming and going with little more than a glance in each others direction. I mindlessly repeated my days work, punching out coordinates to familiar locations: Metapolis Financial Trusts; InterSTELLAR Communications; a handful of common residential portals. Hundreds of working citizen, traveling students, and transitioning vacationers disappeared into ebbing light in a steady stream for hours until one
I looked up from the travel pass and the ID I had been given and through the transparent wall between me and the streams of travelers. A smiling man stood there, a brilliant yellow shawl wrapped around his shoulders.
I tilted my head. “Don’t get many private Portals through here. Flyin’ coach today, Mr. Sentori?”
“We’re opening our new location in upcoming weeks. Want to make sure our customers can access our firm.” He replied smoothly while slipping another card through the slot.
I looked down at the translucent business card, the name “Placid Cat Acupuncture” displayed in golden frosted letters across the top of the card and in the bottom corner was a location code for a portal technician to read and translate. The code on his travel pass matched and a quick search for the business name showed it as a recently registered business within Metapolis. He offered me a free session which I shrugged and accepted. He hoped to see me there, I simply nodded and watched him off leaving out the fact that I was a skeptic.
The rest of the day passed on uneventful. I punched out one last travel pass, a free one designated to my home Portal, and locked up the kiosk before stepping through the industrialized wormhole. Back at home shared time on the couch sharing events of the day by gone. I remembered the article about the burglaries I had been reading and pulled them up to show her:
…Gateway Networking is enduring some minor investigations regarding the possibility that the suspect, or suspects, could be using private Portals to gain entry. CEO Ronny Cornerwell ensures that Portals were designed with such a precaution in mind and firewall safety features are in place to prevent unauthorized entries…
“Oh, by the way,” I pulled out the Placid Cat Acupuncture business card and flashed it at my wife, “some new xen mechanic offered to jab me with needles for free. I figured you might be into that…”
Daily Prompt: Puncture
Word of the Day: sibylline