Thursday, June 14, 2012

E.H.U.D.: Part 1, Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Life fell into a normal pattern following what his mother was now referring to as “The Lucy” incident. Every day would start late for John, usually around noon, and then segue into a lazy lunch in one of the restaurants clustered in the tower’s commercial bulge. From two until nine, John would walk through the endless mall that stretched away from the tower for nearly two miles. The first three levels, located above ground, were filled with large department stores: Dillard’s, Sears, Toys’R’Us. Those took little more than an hour to explore, and he only made one purchase: a small architectural model made by Lego.
Beneath the department stores—beneath street level—were more interesting stores. There were all the usual types: clothing and perfume boutiques, health food dealers, electronics stores. John mostly passed those by. Then he found the close-out stores, the novelty shops, the art outlets. By the end of the day, he had made it to the second level down, and had made one more purchase: an assortment of bricks from the Lego store, ready and waiting to be added to his other purchase.
After nine the mall began to shut down, and John returned to his apartment to spend the rest of the night preparing for modern life. He got accounts with and read through back-issues of architecture journals, studied the latest modeling programs, read up on news.
And one thing dominated the news, rearing its head in a thousand different stories and a million different blog posts: the E.H.U.D. Governors and mayors had petitioned the government to release the suits for police and rescue work; private citizens clamored for the suits to be mass-produced so that they could one day offer a cleaner alternative to cars. One enterprising woman had even made a proposal to a House subcommittee about using the suits for steel and industrial workers.
Looking for information about the E.H.U.D. led inevitably to information on the American Defense Initiative, or ADI, Bill, which had funded the development of the combat system. And information on the ADI led inevitably to the conspiracy theorists. The blogs were filled with every manner of insanity, from accusations that the ADI was designed to turn America into a police state to a profound belief that it was meant to create a military arm for the secret Elders of Zion.
There was one conspiracy, however, that was not only widely believed, but also well supported, was that the ADI was a cover for a secret military program to create super-soldiers. When he first came across this particular brand of crazy, John had ignored it out of hand. Super-soldiers. It was stupid. But more and more blogs insisted on it, and many had excerpts from the bill itself, little bits of legislation that allowed funds to be transferred, and organizations to be created, lands to be acquired, a thousand other little things. Taken in the context of the entire thousand page bill, they were nothing. Taken together, all of these little chunks seemed to form the frame-work for a shadowy organization, free from the control of conventional law, able to do what it wished to whoever it wished, able even to perform illegal genetic research.
It was so easy to dismiss it as fringe, conspiracy-nut madness. But it all made sense… Super-soldiers. Honest-to-God super-soldiers.
Of course, the government did address this particular theory, and the way they handled it brought a bit of sanity back to the situation: It had taken over five years before anyone had made a specific rebuttal, and it had been a minor functionary, an assistant’s secretary’s assistant or the like, rather than someone like the Press Secretary. These rumors of a secret program, it was said, were overstated, and were created using legislation that was really for hundreds of different little pork-barrel projects. There was no conspiracy, there were merely politicians siphoning off money to please constituents. And there was an official statement explaining that a form of super-soldier program did exist, but it was much less glamorous than the conspiracy theorists believed: Ten scientists studying twenty individuals who claimed to have psychic powers. Telepathy, extra-sensory perception; stuff from the soviet era.
This little bit of government spin had been enough to convince John that the conspiracies were what they appeared to be at face value.
But every night after leaving the mall, he returned to the crazies, immersed himself in their irrational, paranoid beliefs…
He eventually fell asleep around midnight, partially from boredom, partially from sheer exhaustion. At noon, the cycle would start again.
Six days a week would be like this, and on the seventh day, he went to his parent’s house for supper. They were cheerful but cautious, trying to steer conversations away from John’s past as much as possible, lest they waken any more memory lapses.
John was annoyed by this; they treated him now as an invalid more than they ever did when he was in the hospital. But he managed to survive this family time, mostly through conversing with Rachel, who wanted to be there even less than John did.
“It’s not fair,” she said, following supper on John’s second week in the world.
“Dad cut me off from Wayne.”
John felt a twinge of guilt, but decided against revealing it. “Did he say why?”
“He said he was too old, and I was too immature.”
“Yeah.” She leaned back on the couch and glared into the kitchen, where her father and grandparents were talking. “He said I can go out with him again if I can get my GPA up to at least a 3.5.”
“What is it now?”
“Three straight up.”
They sat in silence for a moment.
“Also, dad found out about a government club at school and wants me to get involved with it.” She stared at John.
“And he doesn’t care that I’m into Civonomics and stuff like that. But you do.”
John shrugged. “We might have talked after you left last week.”
Rachel smiled. “Thanks. So yeah, I looked into the club. Mostly, they look through the news and talk about it. Sometimes they send letters to congress, shit like that.”
“And is there anything to talk about in the news right now?”
Rachel stretched. “They’re looking into collapsing the whole D.C. Metro and starting fresh. The Secretary of Defense said that they’re licensing some E.H.U.D.s to the city for workmen to use while they go through the tunnels.”
“You thinking about joining the club?”
Rachel shrugged. “They need a better GPA, too. I guess I could try to boost it before the end of the year and give it a try.”
“Cool, cool.” John slumped down in the couch and stared at the ceiling. “So, those E.H.U.D.s… pretty cool, huh?”
“It’s just a smoke-screen for the super-soldiers.”
“Oh, so you read that, too, huh?”
And so it went.
Four weeks after his rebirth, John’s pattern changed. He was in the mall, nearing the lowest level, when the mobile he had purchased three week earlier buzzed. He pulled it out of his pocket, and saw that the call was forwarded from his home system.
“Hello, this is John Donalson.”
“Mr. Donalson? Hello, this is Isaiah Murphy, personnel coordinator for Cohen & Associates.”
John swallowed down a dual wave of joy and nerves.
“I’m calling in regards to an open position you were recently offered. If you’re still interested in the offer, we—“
Several people turned to look at him, then quickly walked away.
“I’m sorry, yes, yes I would be very interested.” He pushed his way through the crowd until he found a bench and sat down.
“Now, I was looking through the resume that was sent over,” Murphy said, “and I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve worked with us before. It’s, uh, it’s really quite an interesting case. We’ve never actually had someone leave us and then come back before, especially not in such an extreme case as yours.”
“Yeah, well…” John cleared his throat. “So, about that job?”
“Yes, of course, of course. Well, we’d be happy if you’d come back to the team, and hope that you could join us first thing Monday morning. Would that be good with you?”
“Definitely, definitely. Are you still in the same building?”
“No, we got a new one built about five years ago; very beautiful. We can send you the address today, along with the employee handbook, things of that nature. Sound good?”
“Sounds good.”
“Alright, we’ll see you Monday then. Have a good weekend.”
“See you Monday.” John disconnected and stared out across the bustling mall at the storefronts dug into the far wall. He could feel the world turning beneath him, pointing him in a new, better direction. And for once, he’d have something to talk about on Friday dinner.

First thing Monday morning, John stood in front of the Cohen & Associates building, watching his cab drive away.
This is it, he thought. The last life-line gone. Here he was, picking up the pieces that he could, ready to live life the fullest.
He stared up at the impressive façade of the Cohen & Associates office. It was predominately flat, of course, in line with the older buildings that propped it up on either side. There were definite visual cues harkening back to Sky Crest: the polished mirror of the floor-to-ceiling windows, the sloping roof-line. But at each floor level was a small ledge studded with modern art, all wrought in what appeared to be glass. Cetacean forms leapt and writhed out of the glass, warping the light that passed through them into an infinite array of hues that lit up the sidewalk. John smiled at the display, stepping back and forth to see the colors shift. He was vaguely aware of the few passersby staring at him in apprehension, but he ignored them. This was too much fun.
“Just as easily distracted as I remember.”
John abruptly stopped and turned to see a woman with an auburn bob-cut staring at him. She looked familiar, but John couldn’t place her. Then she twisted her mouth into a crooked smile, and it clicked.
“Alice!” John rushed forward and embraced her. “I haven’t seen you since college! Wow, I guess you work, here, huh?”
She disengaged from his embrace and straightened her jacket. “Yeah, I sorta got your job after you left everyone hanging.”
Her face suddenly split into a slightly demented smile. “So! You ready to get to work, huh? Lucky for you, they got me babysitting you for the first few weeks, so you ought to able to catch up quick.”
She turned and headed into the building.
John followed. “This way I guess you can pay me back for all those study sessions I did for you.”
“I seem to remember it being the other way around. Hey, Steve.”
She waved to an older man sitting behind a curving desk that took up most of the lobby and scooped up something as she passed.
“Steve, you remember John?”
Steve shrugged, and John hazarded a wave.
Alice turned and slipped whatever she had picked up into John’s jacket pocket.
“Well, it was good talking to you, Steve, but me and zombie-boy got work to do.”
She led him through a metal detector and into an elevator.
“You gotta be careful with Steve. He’s a great guy and everything, but give him half a chance and he’ll talk for hours. That’s your card, by the way, in your pocket there. It’ll get you anywhere in the building you’re allowed to be.”
John extracted the card and slipped it into his wallet, then stared around at the elevator. Sadly, it wasn’t nearly as interesting as the rest of the building.
And there was Alice.
They had been friends in college, in the same graduating class at the School of Architecture. They had even tried dating once, right before—before John remembered taking a break from dating and never picking up the habit again. This must be the time where Lucy resided.
Thinking about Lucy quickly made John uncomfortable.
“This’s a hell of a building so far.”
“You like it? My best work, I think.”
She turned to smile madly at him. “Yeah, internal contest; mine was seen as the best by old man Cohen himself.”
“Heh, yeah, it’s hard to get him to like anything.”
Alice shrugged. “He’s mellowed since the heart attack.”
John managed to turn an inappropriate laugh into a snort.
The elevator stopped and they stepped out into an open commercial loft, with light streaming in from the huge windows on the long sides of the rectangular space. All around was the sound of restless scribbling, fevered typing, light music and hushed whispers.
“Welcome to the working floor.” She led the way towards a line of cubicles huddled against one set of windows. “I assume you read all the employee-handbook stuff over the weekend? Not that anything’s changed since your time, mind you. Of course, you still have to sign the—“
John tuned her out as he passed the cubicles. In each one sat an architect, lost in their own little world of aesthetics, wind-shears, compression stresses, maximum weight loads. He felt a brief burst of nostalgia, longing for the rush of creating livable-art.
“And here we are,” Alice said at last, leading John into a cubicle devoid of everything save for computer, chair, and view of the city. “This is your home for the next… well, forever, as far as we know. Maybe some day you’ll be good enough to live on Mount Olympus.”
John looked up at an office-studded platform that extended over part of the room.
“Let me guess; that’s where you work?”
“Damn straight. Only the best make it to the Mountain.”
“So what’ll make me the best.”
Alice folded her arms and chewed her lip for a moment. “Well. I’m guessing you’re ten years off the industry, right? You been doing your homework?”
“Yep. Can’t get any of the programs at home though.”
“You got ‘em here and now, though. Tell you what; I’ve got a meeting with a client in half an hour, and you need to catch up. You just stay here and play around through the project archive, maybe get something running in one of the programs and mess around, okay? I’ll meet you for lunch at one, and we can catch up on your lost years, introduce you around, and generally shoot the shit. Deal?”
“Sure thing. Any security I need to get on?”
“Log-in wizard’ll take care of that. Anything else?”
John spread his hands. “I’m good. See you at one.”
Alice smiled again. “I’ll leave you to it then.”
Ten minutes later, John was through the log-in process and looking through the company’s extensive archive of past projects. Everything they had done for the past fifty years—since the firm was founded—was in here. Some early houses that Julius Cohen himself had designed for college professors and friends; several buildings for the smaller townships orbiting Philadelphia; civil buildings for cities around the county; mansions and museums and arenas and everything imaginable for those who could afford it all over the world.
And then there was Sky Crest. John saved a copy of the file to his own secure folder, then continued through the archives.
Most of the files were in chronological order, oldest to newest, with a few projects for repeat customers sectioned off on their own. But there was another cluster of files—nearly half of C&A’s projects—that had their own ordering: military contracts.
When John tried to access them, he was met with a brief warning that the contents of the files were classified, and that by accepting this warning and continuing, he would be liable for any information he knowingly or unknowingly disseminated to the public. Despite a feeling of trepidation, John accepted.
The military files ended up being much less interesting than their warning implied. Nearly all of them were very utilitarian structures, most only interesting for the occasional engineering trick they incorporated to beat rough weather or explosives. But every once in a while, something caught his eye.
Like this one. John was quickly scrolling through the thumbnails when he caught a glimpse of it. He quickly gestured for the stream of data to reverse and… There. He poked at the file, and it came up in the editing software.
This structure—Now this structure was interesting. It was a bunker of some sort, a low, heavily built surface structure over about fifty feet of elevator shaft and piping, followed by a ten-story deep substructure.
A few minutes of intense rotation and zoom gestures revealed high, vaulted ceilings, thick, bomb-and radiation-proof walls, living quarters for a small army, an Olympic sized swimming pool, gas and water hook-ups for a kitchen and even what appeared to be a medical facility on the lowest level.
John whistled. This was very impressive. He switched to the file’s information page and whistled again. Presidential Emergency Catastrophe Shelter-Tulsa. Someone pretty high up was pretty paranoid. Of course, it could just be a plan—no, there was the build date. Wow.
John quickly glanced over his shoulder, made sure no one was there, copied down the real-world location of the shelter, and hid it in an innocuously named file somewhere deep in his hard drive. He felt a brief thrill of excitement as he committed his first felony, then felt fear slowly close in as he fully realized the ramifications of what he had seen. If people that high up were that paranoid, perhaps he should be, too.
He closed the file and went to his desktop. He opened the file of Sky Crest he had saved earlier and began to play with it. The program that C&A used was proprietary, and was in fact a later version of what John had used during his previous time of employment, so it wasn’t long before he was fully immersed in the tower, looking through its superstructure, finding little changes he wanted to make. First, he cleared out the other apartments on his floor, just as a little joke for himself, then he set to work trying to make the tower taller. It was easy enough to separate the top few floors and duplicate the basic apartment structure under them, raising the tower another three hundred feet into the air.
But when he brought the program into its physics simulation mode, the tower swayed far too much, and at one point even collapsed. Back to the drawing board.
He took the larger section at the bottom of the tower and extended it out and up, giving the tower a much wider base. From there, he dug duplicates of the mall out of the virtual terrain and placed them at ninety-degree increments around the tower, mostly for the look of the thing.
Now, to extend the tower itself…
This time, John was able to get it to more than twice its original height. Any more and it collapsed.
“Wow, I can see you’re having fun.”
John blinked and looked at his clock: ten after one.
He turned his chair around and looked at Alice. “Yeah, I figured Sky Crest would be the perfect project to experiment on and got carried away.”
She nodded in approval. “Good for you. Anyway, we still on for lunch?”
“Where’s it going to be?”
“Break room today, most days. Wednesdays we all go to The Gilbert Wallace; they do employee discounts.”
John smiled at that. The Gilbert Wallace, the newest of Philadelphia’s seemingly ancient hot-spots, had been one of his favorite eateries during college.
He got up and followed Alice out of his cubicle.
“By the way, I was talking with my clients, and they said they had another project coming up. I think they said it was museum. I mention you—hell, I down right plugged for you—and they’d be interested in seeing you when I meet with them next week.”
“Sure sounds good.”
“You’re back in the world, zombie boy, back in the world.”

After lunch, John returned to his cubicle and continued to work on his Sky Crest. His goal now was to get the tower to over a mile high, but that was impossible with the current design.
He expanded the base again, then completely removed the central tower. He switched to the materials section of the physics simulator, and played around with different metals and plastics, trying to find something both light-weight and flexible.
By three o’clock, he still hadn’t found anything. With a resigned sigh, John saved his changes on the file, ready to come back to it tomorrow with renewed vigor; the rest of today would be spent looking through the software’s documentation to find certain features that he knew where there but somehow couldn’t access.
He was just about to close the Sky Crest file when he decided to look at the information page. It was… extensive. Build site, build date, contractor list, owners and investors. Interesting fact: One General Robert Mistlethwakey was the primary investor and current owner of the complex. John was suddenly more understanding of his current position.
After the general information was where Sky Crest’s page ballooned. The building may have been beautiful, but the construction process wasn’t. Delays, contractor disputes, inclement weather, injuries, even a death.
John clicked on the death report and a new page opened.
At the top was a picture of a man in his mid-thirties with widely-spaced eyes, short reddish hair and thin sideburns. Below was his name and basic information: Allen Fendleton, age thirty-three, died August 16th, twenty-one years ago. Despite being an experienced technician, he had apparently stuck a screw-driver into an active electrical socket and had died rather violently. Location, location… location. John swallowed. Allen had apparently met his end in apartment number five of floor twenty seven—John’s current home.
He quickly scrolled through the rest of the incident report, and noticed another linked at the bottom. Clicking it brought him to an incident Allen was involved with three years before his death. Allen, a senior electrician, had been working with his crew in the bottom of the Central Maintenance Core, back when the slender tower had been all that existed of Sky Crest. The report was vague, but it seemed that Allen was cut off from his crew by a freak electrical discharge from the metal pylons making up the core. By the time his crew had found him, he was severely burned, near death. They got him to a hospital, but doctors had only given him a twenty percent chance of survival. Despite their predictions, he pulled through a long and fever-ridden recovery and was able to return to work within three months.
It was a rather straightforward account, nearly indistinguishable from the other disasters that beset the construction. As John read, he began to discover just how big that “nearly” was. For one thing, despite being no more than ten yards from Allen when the discharge occurred, it took the work crew over four hours to rescue Fendleton and report the incident. For another, despite being admitted to the hospital with severe electrical burns, Allen began to show symptoms of extreme radiation exposure, and even suffered through several cancerous growths during his brief hospitalization.
Strangest of all though, was the second body. When construction supervisors had gone into the CMC to investigate Fendleton’s injury, they had discovered a lump of bones and tissue that they believed to be a human body, although it was too mangled and burned for them to be entirely sure. It was quickly ascertained that all of the contractor’s workers were accounted for, so the police were called.
Crime scene investigators were able to make a definitive identification of the body as human, but nothing beyond that. They took the body away to analyze it, where it quickly disappeared behind a smoke screen of paperwork and was never seen again. Police still listed it as an ongoing case.
John closed the file and stared out at the city. He knew that if he looked for more information on the mysterious body, he’d quickly uncover a deep pit of conspiracy theories and claims of government cover-ups. Ten years ago, he would have chalked all of this up to one of life’s little mysteries and Allen’s death in his home as an unfortunate, if unsettling, accident. But after his own time as a missing body, he couldn’t shake the coincidences.
Especially with the name Allen. It hit him suddenly, a dream he had had—
No, a dream he had had in a dream, one he had been telling Suzanne about…
And who was Suzanne?
He couldn’t find answers here. John angrily shut of his computer, feeling lost in his own mind. Huge portions were gone, other portions floated around without context, and now he was starting to get sucked into conspiracy. A body, put into government custody had disappeared. He, in government custody, had disappeared as well, only to come back and live in the same apartment that the man who had apparently found the first body had died in, an apartment supplied by the government, in a tower owned by a high-ranking member of the government, which may or may not be creating super-soldiers, and covering their tracks with shiny new tech, which was being used to clear tunnels in Washington that may or may not have collapsed to cover up—
This was leading no where. It was interesting, in an infuriating way, how nearly any piece of information could be convincingly worked into any conspiracy.
John grimaced, and inwardly vowed to steer his weekly talks with Rachel along more conventional lines.
He looked at the clock: four o’clock. Good enough for a day’s work.

Allen and the mysterious body wouldn’t stay dead.
John sat in front of his computer screen, staring at the first twenty results for the name Allen Fendleton. There was of course the obligatory advertisement (Looking for Allen Fendleton? Find it here!), followed by one or two news stories and an official incident report.
And below that was what John had expected. Construction worker injured in alien encounter? Killed by shadowy government agencies to cover up his contact?
There was proof, of course; there was always proof. Allen’s body was found across the room from the electrical socket; the electrical burns were in a strange pattern that indicated some kind of energy weapon was used on him; the mysterious body found two years earlier glowed in the dark.
John’s words returned to him: any piece of information
He left the conspiracy site and found, at the bottom of the first page, a brief public profile of Allen. He idly wondered if there was one for him, then clicked the link.
It was mostly information that John already knew. But at the bottom was a paragraph stating that, during the last several years of his life, Fendleton had been an army reservist. Before his death, he had even told some of his co-workers that he was planning on quitting his job with Sloan-Watterson Construction and joining the army full-time.
John wondered who that little fact had escaped the conspiracy nuts.
He went back to the main search page and just stared at it. The thought that this man had died were John lived, maybe even where he now sat, was more than a little disturbing. And that body…
John yawned and glanced at the clock. Five thirty. He blinked, and it was suddenly five forty-five.
No, it was too early to fall asleep. He got off the couch and paced, trying to get his blood flowing. The day’s work had been more exhausting then he had initially assumed.
An idea struck him. Maybe, instead of trying to read about Allen on the internet and filling his head with more paranoia, he should try to metaphorically follow Allen, walk in the places he had walked before his death. At the very least, it would give John something to do for a few hours.
He called up a floor-plan of the apartment on the wall screen, then used it to find all of the power outlets. Not that there would be any evidence of the incident…
And there wasn’t. Each outlet had a fresh covering, fresh paint, et cetera. Of course the construction company wouldn’t leave burned walls behind.
Well, there was always the core. John knew there was nothing down there for him, but he had always wanted to see it, and now was a good a time as any.
He pulled up information on the screen, only to be told that the core was off-limits to residents. He sat back down for a moment, lost in thought, then went into his room and slipped into a polo shirt. He looked himself over in a mirror, tucked the shirt in, and put a few pens in his pocket. There; he could now pass as a computer technician.
Ten minutes later he stood in the Sky Crest lobby, walking purposefully towards the administration hub, past the main office, and through a door marked “Employees Only.” Inside was a short hall ending with an elevator and a stairwell. John got in the elevator and pushed the only button on the control panel: CMC.
The elevator stopped, and he got out in a dimly-lit space, stretching out ahead of him and curving away to both sides. As he stepped forward, lights snapped on overhead, and he found himself in a forest of pillars. He recognized it from the Sky Crest file at work; this was the foundation of the building.
The pillars and overhead lights disappeared up ahead and then, after a brief void, continued towards a rounded concrete wall on the far side of the building.
There was the core. John stepped out from the pillars and looked up into oblivion. The tower seemed to rise forever, disappearing into darkness high overhead.
It terrified him.
He stepped up onto the open elevator platform that stretched across the whole of the core. As with his exit from the elevator, lights flickered on up the sides of the core, showing a warren of tunnels leading off into the building.
The lights dimmed as he walked into the center of the elevator, and John smelled something burning. There was a sudden brilliant flash of light, and John was thrown to the wire floor of the platform.
He saw a light overhead explode, and an arc of lightning pass from it to another light, and then towards the mesh.
John rolled over and tried to stand. The lightning passed through him and he screamed, collapsed to the floor, tried to crawl away. More and more arcs filled the air, filled his body. The smell of burning was stronger, now. His vision blurred, and his body tried to pull in too man directions at once.
Suddenly, the pain stopped, though the lightning continued to pass through him. Around him, the core seemed to fade, to e replaced by an antiseptic white enclosure, filled with people staring down at him in concern.
They all moved strangely, stiffly, walking and talking in reverse. And now John’s body began to fade. His limbs were still there, but they moved through other limbs, burned, mutilated limbs. The other body closed around him and—
John jerked sideways and opened his eyes. He was in his apartment, on his couch. There was no burning, no pain, no body. He sat upright and looked around in confusion.
The clock on the screen read six fifteen.
He took several deep breaths in an effort to slow his heartbeat. The… The dream, the event, had seemed so real. He was sure he had been in the Core with the body, but—
He glanced down at his shirt. It was a dress shirt, the collar and several of the buttons opened. It was what he had worn to work today. He got up from the couch and looked in his closet. There was the shirt he had worn to the Core, clean and unwrinkled.
It had to have been a dream.
Or an aberrant memory of some sort. If he couldn’t remember Lucy, then maybe he could remember something completely nonsensical.
He walked back to the living room and stopped. A man stared out at him from the screen, off center and out of focus; clearly a home photo. Beneath the picture was a name—Jorge Rodriguez—and a brief story. John skimmed it and collapsed onto the couch.
Jorge Rodriguez had been an undocumented worker from Honduras, doing construction for Sloan-Watterson as a member of Allen’s work crew. Rodriguez had died during Allen’s unexplained electrical storm and, in order to avoid undue investigation, the other members of the work crew had disavowed any knowledge of their unfortunate coworker. Now, years later, a combination of genetic evidence and testimony from a conflicted crew member had identified the mysterious body as Rodriguez. Case closed.
The report was dated to ten years ago.
John relaxed into the couch. This was all too confusing. All he wanted now was sleep.
Tomorrow… tomorrow he’d update the Sky Crest project information sheet.    

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