A bank of monitors flickered images from around the Tower, images selected by the only person watching that night. On one screen was a woman on the forty-third level taking a shower, and on another was a couple having sex in the penthouse, twenty kilometres above sea level. All of the screens proved titillating apart from one, the centre screen, which held the image of a party or a dance, strobe lights capturing embarrassing poses and excited faces, grins as wide as perfection and bald heads as shiny as the polluted oceans on the planet surface.
Jonas picks up the communicator. It was time for the check-up.
“Agent 22”, he articulates clearly into the mouthpiece.
“Awaiting reception.” The automatic reply sounded human; so much that Jonas almost said “Thank you” but caught himself in time.
It never failed to amaze him how far the human race has come from the days when they populated the earth.
“The Planet Earth”, mused Jonas.
When he was born, his family lived in one of the few remaining Domes left over from the Bubble Age. The Towers were being finished and the very wealthy had already moved into the lower levels. As a boy, he would lie on his back and stare through the transparent Dome at a Tower stretching high into the sky, through the permanent cloud blanket, and he would imagine what luxuries were held within.
“Agent 22 here.”
Jonas throws his feet off the workstation and sat up straight.
“Hello, this is Jonas from Eval. Room 32 in the east Tower. Have you completed the assignment?”
He squeezed his eyes shut from exhaustion and ran his palm along his bald head.
“Yes, the family has successfully been transported.”
Jonas sighed, delighted to hear the news.
“How did you convince them to move?”
Agent 22 was assigned the task of moving the final human family left on the planet onto the Tower but until now, they had refused go.
“It was easy, really. I bought their lease from the World Bank and evicted them from their land. They had nowhere else to go.”
“That’s brilliant. Well-done Agent. You should fill in a Promo-doc for the effort.”
“Yeah. Maybe I should. Are you going to the party tonight?”
Jonas glanced at the monitors. He spots the woman who was in the shower entering the party. Everyone there is young, under forty. In fact, nobody grew older than that in the Tower. There just wasn’t enough room.
“Yeah, I was just about to head up. Looks like I’ll be the last one there.”
“Better late than never.”
Jonas winces. He had forgotten the Agents couldn’t attend. They were due at the new Factory complex on the planet surface in an hour to see it begin, breaking the champagne bottle off the bow so to speak. The new factories were a blessing as synths were low and the Tower inhabitants were getting frustrated with recycling. With the new factories, manned by bots, materials and artificial flavouring could be synthesised as desired. In fact, that is what the party is for, to celebrate this new development.
“Sorry,” said Jonas. “I’ll take some digi-pics for you, if you want.”
“Nah, don’t bother. We’re holding our own party afterwards. Just us Agents. They say the Administrator will be there too.”
“The administrator! Jeez, that should be good. Well, take care Agent 22, I’m signing off for the night.”
“Take care, Jonas.”
The line clicked dead.
All of the monitors are empty of movement apart from the centre one, which buzzed with energy.
“Monitors off” announced Jonas wearily, and the wall of screens blacken in a wave, from the top to the bottom.