Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 5: No Gaming Here

This entry is part 5 of 28 in the series Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Summer comes to a crashing end…

Ten-year-old Kevin Taggert prefers to stay home with his video games, but his parents insist he join a summer sports program. Exactly on the day the Vordac raid Earth. With his little sister depending on him for protection, Kevin must find the strength and wisdom to keep them both safe.

Before they both end up dead, or even worse: as life-long slaves of the Vordac.

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Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1)

Part 5: No Gaming Here

Kevin glared back at the Nanny-Bot. Sometimes she sounded way too much like a human. Right down to inflections that were sure to get a kid’s attention. But then, she was probably programmed that way.

“I’m not playing a game,” Kevin said with one last glare before going back to work. “Looking at the sport’s program information.”

Hoping to find something that he would like. Something he might have a hope of being good at. Or at least not make a total fool of himself.

Despite already having gone over it before. Despite knowing himself and his two-left-feet tendencies.

Christy leaned over the armrest of her seat. “Nope, he’s not. No gaming there.”

“Thanks,” Kevin mumbled as he went back to work while Nanny-Bot apologized for the misunderstanding.

After a few more minutes he wished he could escape into a game. Nothing looked promising. Nothing he wanted to spend several weeks this summer doing.

“There. Doesn’t Boo look pretty?” Christy held out the doll towards Kevin.

A smiling face framed by long dark combed hair stared back at him with glass eyes. She wore a pink and white dress with lace trimmings. The harder arms and legs stuck out, as if about to give Kevin a big hug.

“Pretty. Going to have tea with the fairies?” Kevin asked, glad his brothers were already at their programs. They didn’t understand Christy still needing someone to play tea-party with her. Ever since Greg’s last birthday, he’d decided he was too old for it, which left only him.

Christy sucked in her breath, eyes going wide. “What a great idea!” She pulled Boo back to give her a big hug. “Yes! We’re going to tea with the fairies today!”

Which should keep the Nanny-Bot busy following Christy all over the edge of the playing fields at the park. In a way, he wished he could join her. It would probably be more fun, especially with Christy’s vivid imagination.

The hovercar came around a high-rise, the windows reflecting the morning sun. On the other side lay an expanse of green and blue. One of the many parks surrounding Central City in the midst of a sea of desert turned green and useful by the pipelines bringing in water from the coast.

Heat. He hadn’t thought about it. How hot was it supposed to get today? The water and green of the park should help, but the temperatures could still make playing outside miserable.

The hovercar circled the park to the far side, and then started to drop to a parking area. Not as many vehicles there as he would have thought. Wasn’t this one of the biggest sports programs in the city for kids his age?

The hovercar came down neatly into one of the parking spots. Nanny-Bot turned her front chair towards them as the engines cycled down. “We have arrived.”

“Yay! Time to find the fairies.” Christy opened the side door next to her.

Moving more slowly, Kevin opened the door on his side and slipped out. He stood on the green-tinted pavement and looked around. Other kids, other parents, and even other Nanny-Bots of different configurations were in the process of moving towards the park grounds.

Right. Time to get as excited about this as so many of the others appeared. Smile. Head for the fields and the waiting tables. Sign in. Then out to try his skills on each of the offered sports. Maybe he would surprise himself. Maybe he could find something he was good enough at that he wasn’t always the last one picked for teams.

Maybe if he kept telling himself those things, he would one day believe it.

“To the fairy woods!” Christy shouted as she came to a stomping-stop in front of the hovercar. “Come on, Kevin. Time to have fun.”

He gripped the strap of his backpack harder. “Right. Is Boo ready for your tea?”

“We’re both ready.” She paused her happy shouts as Nanny-Bot came to a stop next to her.

“Remember, we stay together,” Nanny-Bot said. She took Christy’s hand and started walking into the park. Kevin trailed behind them.

“Then that means you have to have tea with us,” Christy said to her.

Kevin stared at the tables set among the trees a short distance away. Kids, parents, and nanny-bots crowded them. Other kids were already out on the field, playing around until the official start time.

Time to make it happen. Time to do it, and hope he didn’t totally humiliate himself.

“Time to-” Nanny-Bot’s words were drowned out by a piercing siren.

It wound up to a high pitch, and then down. Kevin and Christy clapped their hands over their ears. It didn’t help. The siren went right through his head, making him want to do anything to get away from it.

People started running from the park towards the parking lot. Kids and adults screamed as they went, but the siren continued to drown them all out.

Why the running? There was no smoke anywhere. Nothing to indicate an emergency.

Nanny-Bot turned and pushed them back towards the hovercar. Just like all the others.

What was wrong?

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Come back for more reading! Look for the next exciting installment each Tuesday.

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Part of the Forward Motion Flash Friday Challenge.

Series Navigation<< Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 4: DiversionSummer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 6: Dead Nanny-Bot >>

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  1. […] Summer Crash (Zerralon 1.1) – Part 5: No Gaming Here by J.A. Marlow ~ @jamarlow_sf ~ Between 500 and 1000 words ~ Science Fiction ~ Serial […]

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