Dimension 11 – The Tenon Estate, The Middle Islands
April 3077. 11:15. Seven hours after the arrival.
Eberkerson hadn’t seen the sun all day. He sat at huir desk in the dark, windowless room. The only light source was the holograms that littered the space, floating in the air or pinned to the walls and emitting a faint glow that made huir pale skin look ghostly. Huir long, wavy black hair was tied into a loose, disheveled bun. Though formal in style, huir clothes weren’t much neater. Zei slouched in the hovering office chair barefoot with one heel on the seat. On the desk was nothing but a silver antenna device and a bottle of wine that zei occasionally drank straight out from. Zei typed into a hologram with one hand while scrolling through another with the other hand.
A small pinging sound emitted from the silver antenna device and a holographic 3D video of a proudly-standing man with a similar build and complexion as Eberkerson appeared. Though, unlike neir unruly self, zei had slicked-back hair and was wearing a perfectly ironed suit.
The man’s stern and rather hostile voice emerged from the silver device. “I would like you to open the door.”
Without even looking up from the hologram zei was scrolling through, zei lazily leaned forward and pressed a button on the silver device. The round doors in huir line of view slid open with little more than a quiet mechanical whirring sound.
The slicked-back suit man stood at the entrance, back-lit in an intimidating manner, but Eberkerson still couldn’t be bothered to look up.
“Father,” Eberkerson said.
“I’ve finished what you asked. This is the last thing I will do for your company.”
The father scoffed. Entered the room with huir hands behind huir back and huir chin in the air as zei looked around at the floating holograms. “I wouldn’t be so sure of that. You come back here when no one else will take you in Rokon. You’re a deadbeat in that city.”
Eberkerson lifted huir hands in surrender and pretended to be offended. “Ooh. My poor heart. Straight for the jugular I see.” A little smile peaked at the edge of huir lips.
“You belong here. And you know that because everything is in it for you here.” The father turned from a hologram on the wall and directed huir gaze at nem. “Do yourself a favor and fill your role as the successor. Your brother likes to pretend zei’s the superior sibling acting the role of ‘the good son,’ but we all know who’s really had more success with our business.”
Eberkerson casually took another swig of wine from the bottle. “Imagine Ebenraen hearing that from your mouth.”
The father looked irked but held back any obvious reaction.
Eberkerson shook the empty bottle, made a little pout, and then placed it back down on the desk. “Anyways, Saoroen Co. won’t suspect your company as non-neutral anymore.” Zei pressed a button on the silver device and the holograms directly in front of en flickered out of existence. “You won’t have any complaints, as per usual.”
The father narrowed huir eyes. Watched as Eberkerson stood up, grabbed a black backpack that was leaning on the side of the desk, and ambled towards the exit.
Just before Eberkerson could exit, the father called to nem, “wait.”
Eberkerson stopped at the doorway. Only turned huir head just enough to see huir father from the corner of huir eye.
The father’s voice seethed. “You won’t be frolicking as you please. You will never find out what happened to that boy if you are stupid enough to leave.”
Eberkerson looked back forward but stared vacantly at the floor.
The father continued. “Now. You will show up at the initiation tonight promptly at 19:00. Oh, and fix up your hair if you won’t cut it. It’s so unruly.”
Eberkerson mumbled, “Whatever happened to that boy has been irrelevant for years.” Zei exited the room the rest of the way. The door slid shut behind en.
~ ~ ~
The mansion that zei walked through was ornately decorated in red and gold designs from the hallways to the large off-shooting rooms. The structure was organic as it easily allowed the light to filter in, and yet its aesthetic was incredibly detailed, much like an old castle from the renaissance age before the first senergian and exergian Great War. Small hovering robots zoomed to and fro in the hallways, a few of which greeted Eberkerson as zei walked by.
Zei almost slammed into a young man at the exit of the hallway leading to the large entrance room. Nei had that same slicked-back black hair as their father, though nei had a thinner frame and a more boyish look. It wasn’t a particularly pleasant kind of “soft” look as nei reeled back neir head, furrowed neir brows, and went “tch.”
Eberkerson simply nodded huir regard with no reactive expression and said, “mornin’ Raen” in such a purely casual way that it might as well have been intentional.
Ebenraen straightened up, adjusted the collar of huir sleek dark green shirt, and skirted past nem all the while looking as though nei didn’t exist. Zei disappeared around the corner.
Following closely behind Ebenraen was a second young man. Zei looked much friendlier. Huir dark brown hair wasn’t slicked back, though it was short and neatly styled. Though zei wore a consistent smile, it looked as though the bags under huir eyes could carry all of one’s daily belongings and more.
“Eber!” zei exclaimed.
“Good morning, Ekky.”
“Ekky? Really? Well, that’s a very you nickname to give me. Anyway, you’re heading back to Rokon now?” The young man, named Ekjun, but mostly called Jun by everyone except Eberkerson smiled brightly. The smile broke when zei sort of lifted huir shoulder and winced, but zei went back to huir original expression soon after. (This would happen a few times during the conversation, but it seemed to be something everyone around en was used to).
“Indeed,” Eberkerson answered.
“Ah goodness… I really want to go with you.”
“I am sure you will manage to find your way outside the mansion.”
Jun looked flustered. “H—hey now. Don’t make fun of me! I’ve just been doing some of our brother’s work, you know. Ever since zei started university again. Well, more like a lot of it. It’s not that much work, but still, it keeps me b—”
Eberkerson smiled. Patted neir shoulder and walked past nem out into the grand entrance room. “Not much, huh? I wish you luck in any case. I implore that you try not to get involved if Ebenraen ends up doing anything… Mmh… overachieving for the company.”
Jun looked confused but nodded. “I—of course.”
Eberkerson turned away gracefully and began to walk to the exit.
“Wait, Eber!” Jun called out.
Eber turned back to nem and raised an eyebrow.
“I was meaning to tell you… I know you probably are not fond of father right now, but I wanted to say, all in good faith—just that zei’s trying very hard to keep the company going while mom is sick. You have your own dreams, and I do, too. But just…” Jun averted huir eyes and ran huir fingers through huir hair nervously. “Oh, I don’t know what I’m trying to say. See you at the initiation.”
“Good day, good brother,” Eberkerson smiled charmingly and waved shortly at nem.
Zei turned back to the mansion’s front door. “Dreams, huh,” zei muttered and smirked dismissively.
As zei arrived at the door and the robotic butlers bowed on either side, huir watch began to buzz.
“Ah, now what?”
Zei looked at the watch screen.
Huir finger hovered over the screen for a bit before zei reached into the pocket of huir pants for a pair of wireless earbuds. After fumbling to get them in huir ear, zei answered.
Zei looked up at the ceiling.
“Oh? I have them with me now, in fact. Explain?”
Zei unhooked huir backpack from huir shoulder, placed it down on the ornate red rug, and unzipped the main section. “Speaking of, let me check if I have everything I need.”
Zei rummaged through the backpack. Took out various devices and placed them carefully on the floor.
“Okay. You could’ve simply told me you don’t want to come then. I don’t need fantastical explanations about new planets. I know you don’t like these kinds of events. I simply offered.”
One of the devices zei brought out was a boat-shaped mechanism with a clear glass-protected red button and a screen below it. Another was a clear glass cube with a chip floating in the middle. There was various other random equipment, such as small picks, lasers, and what appeared to be microscopes with fancy tech attached to them. Zei waited a while before zei could speak again.
Zei paused for a second. “You’re actually serious, aren’t you?”
Zei resumed checking for a few other tools.
“Huh. Well, I was going to disassemble it for other purposes. But I guess I’ll keep working on it. How about I pay you two a visit tomorrow at our usual place? It will be around 18:00 after my performance tomorrow, assuming my people don’t drag me under. And I trust you and your friend won’t be diseased by then.”
Zei smirked. Picked up huir bag again and walked out of the mansion, down the white marble steps, and to the sleek black car that stood on the right side of the large, round stone driveway. In the middle of the driveway was a garden circle with a large fountain.
Zei clapped huir hands. “All automatic functions, please. Take me home.”
The car lit up and the door automatically opened.
As soon as zei got inside, zei replied to the caller. “Yes, of course. I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”
Zei tapped the watch and Sage’s name disappeared. Zei sighed. “I suppose it’s back to that old project then.”