Ethan was working from home this week, to allow his new parrot to settle in a little easier. He didn't want to leave her alone during her first week in her new house, and he also didn't really trust her. He'd taken in Jackie after his mom has asked him to. She said she could not take the incessant talking anymore. It was cute at first, but eventually it had worn her down.
He was sitting on the sofa, trying to review a new contract one of his juniors had written up.
"Jackie wants a cracker," the grey-feathered parrot said, cocking its head and bobbing it up and down.
"You've had enough crackers," Ethan said, sounding annoyed.
He had very quickly started to understand why his mom had wanted her out.
It was a beautiful day out, but they hurried from the car into the shoddily-built adoption office building like they were afraid of the light. They dragged their son along as they went. At the front desk, they signed in and sat down.
The boy, Ronnie, asked if he could play in the corner, and they just nodded. When he'd gone over there, they looked at each other, sporting worried looks.
"Is this really okay? Because it doesn't feel okay," the woman whispered, after which she grabbed his hand.
"It is very boring," Samuel said to Layla. "So very, very boring."
They were sitting in a café which specialized in Italian-style coffee. They had received numerous awards for their coffee, but also for their decoration. Wood panels, black and white pictures of the Italy of a hundred years ago. Their table was near the window, offering a good view of the street and the nearby park.
"But isn't it amazing? People over the history of humanity have been dreaming about it," she responded, putting her coffee down after taking a sip.
"Yeah, it's amazing, but only for a while. After the 4th century, you just get tired. Immortality is a gift that turns sour over time. And the problem is, with the amount of time you get, it won't stop getting more and more sour."
Nobody had commissioned Solveig to build this massive work. But still he built. And he'd been more motivated for it than he'd been for anything else he could remember. This was his true passion.
He had stacked the stones as best he could, until they at least seemed to form a solid block. Grim had helped him, but Grim always helped and never asked questions. He wasn't all that smart but he was plenty strong. With Grim's help the almost 8 meter high stack of rectangular stones didn't take that long to put together at all.
Solveig had started work on it immediately after. It needed to be big. It needed to be imposing. It needed to be easy to see from a distance, even for someone of advanced age like Halvor.
"We may have one," Sorba said, pointing at monitor 37. A handwritten note had been taped to it, showing that it was monitoring "Planet 89B9x".
The monitor showed a lifeform walking towards a camera. At the bottom of the monitor an odd machine with colored buttons could be seen. The camera seemed to be attached to it. As the lifeform approached, its purple snout sniffing around it, all 4 buttons blinked at the same time, in an attempt to grab any nearby lifeforms' attention.
The lifeform noticed and waddled over, its head cocked to the side slightly.
Silas walked out of the tattoo parlor and grinned. She'd love this, he thought to himself, as he put his hand over the fresh tattoo he'd just had gotten on his upper right arm. It tingled a little. He'd been told tattoos can really hurt, but this had been more like someone was pushing a hairbrush into his arm. Half tickle, half pain, but as far as pain went, it wasn't even that noticeable.
He'd suggested it to her a few weeks ago, and she'd said "That would be such a good idea!" from the bedroom. He'd made a note of that response and made the appointment the day after.
What could go wrong?
"The launch is going to be amazing," Darren said, staring at the screen in amazement.
"That's not what the social media pundits are saying," Cecile said, raising an eyebrow.
"Fuck 'em," Tyler shouted from the other side of the room.
They were at Dione Space HQ, a small private aerospace company that was working on launching a test flight of their first crew payload capsule. They had launched multiple times, using their Helene rockets, and had garnered quite a following, as well as lucrative contracts to launch private satellites. With their crew capsule, they hoped to land a NASA or ESA contract to ferry astronauts to and from the ISS.
"Oh, hi! Everything is fine. Life's pretty good, actually. I got my second promotion this year, now I'm Senior Middle Vice President of Directorial Assistance. This year has been great. Just the best.
I moved into my new apartment, which is 5% bigger than the last one. Provided by the state, of course, as all homes are nowadays. Man, I'm glad the old days of having to battle for wages to afford a decent house are over. Now, you just receive an appropriate house for the level of work you're doing and that's it! No surprises, no hassle and definitely no worries. It's seriously perfect.
He said goodbye to his friend he'd just had dinner and a catch-up session with and walked away. He put on his headphones and turned them on.
He hit the play button and a rough punk song started playing. He looked around, saw no traffic, and crossed the street. Amsterdam was nice in darkness. You could hardly see all the grime. He knew he was close to what some considered the seedier part, red lights drawing attention to ladies for hire, coffee shops selling weed, shady guys talking shadily in the even shadier parts of the streets. But he felt fine, it was just an area where legal-enough business was being done and nobody bothered him as he walked along.
It had been a rough day and Jared knew he had to swing by the supermarket, since he'd run out of toilet paper the day before. Tired, he walked through the supermarket aisles, his basket containing only a bottle of wine. He walked past the fresh produce aisle and saw pre-packaged young coconuts, the kind you can still cut with a knife. He'd considered getting one before, but it always seemed like a hassle.
"Cut away the top and pierce the inner coconut shell with a chef's knife," the packaging demandingly said.
"Well," he always thought, "don't have a chef's knife, so I guess this isn't for me."