Pluribus 5

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September 15, 2031, 9:00 AM.

Monday morning Don woke up groggy and naked in the International terminal at LAX.
The general anesthetic given to all passengers on long flights was one of the reasons he hated to fly. Airlines liked the idea of stacking passengers like unconscious firewood. You did not have to feed or entertain them and even better, no one tried to hijack the plane.

He was surrounded by hundreds of other passengers in varying states of consciousness. A nurse checked his ID, unstrapped him from the stretcher. She assured him it would wear off, but that meant his headache would only get worse. Since he flew first class, he got a very nice cotton sheet to wear toga-style.

As an added service to frequent flyers, his luggage was brought to him. He headed to the lounge for a shower and shave. Since he was a Chinese citizen, he was waved through customs. An hour later he was eating something called a breakfast burrito when Luisa Almondo, Wakima’s local sales rep called him.

She spoke English. “What brings you back to the Free Trade Zone, Don?”

Don was still fuzzy headed. He set the phone translation to English because his brain was not up to the job yet. “The usual. Dead body, dead documents, dead companies and a real live deadline. Can you get me up to Burbank, Luisa?”

“Things are a little exciting right now. The cease-fire with squatters broke down yesterday. You have a choice. You can be ambushed in a convoy, have your helicopter shot down, or you can check into the hotel next door and we will pick you up tonight.”

Don looked at the time and winced. “How safe is the hotel?”

“Safe as long as you do not order room service.” Luisa laughed.

“Okay, pick me up after dark. Funny, I have been asleep for twenty hours and I need to sleep it off. Tell the hotel I am coming and I want one of the interior rooms downstairs. Also, here is the address of the person I want to meet tonight.”

Luisa started laughing again.

“What is so funny?” He asked.

“You do not know anything about the film industry in San Fernando do you?”

Copyright 2006 DJ Cline. All rights reserved.