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POWER OFF

Dreamed 1997/6/17 by Chris Wayan

I'm a Spaceport Authority investigator, driving down from the City to San Francisco Interstellar. But the crash hasn't even happened yet! A criminal mastermind is holding the runways hostage, threatening some high-tech, remote-control destruction.

I meet my colleague, Jim Kirk, Starfleet (retired). He says "I have a hunch" and zooms off with his sidekick the Kid, an Asian guy (an adult despite his nickname; not played by George Takei). They ride levitators, which look like silicon chips the size of motorcycles, with four to eight unjointed metal spiderlegs. With no moving parts, levs are so reliable they don't even have emergency wheels--the legs are just for parking.

I feel sorry for that young man, believing in Kirk like that. My hunch is that Kirk's just playing cowboy again.

Kirk and the Kid ride their levs out into the Bay along a rugged breakwater--way too rugged for wheeled vehicles, just a ridge of slimy boulders. At its tip, a big, futuristic installation glows and crackles with energy. A power plant, but of some kind mere non-Starfleet officers wouldn't understand! Our criminal has made it his stronghold, Kirk's sure of it. They park outside and prepare to go in.

Then Kirk somehow shuts down the power! This seems dumb--warning the enemy. In they go...

And they win. He was there, they beat him, Kirk was right. You happy?

But after it all, they return to find... their levs are dead along with the plant! Of course. It WAS the local power plant. They've blacked out half the Bay Area with their heroics.

So they're trapped out here and have to wait for rescue, or so they think. I gotta laugh--they're just a couple miles from shore, though the causeway is rough--just a long rock-heap, really. But it'd only take an hour or two for a 20th century hiker.

Not for these lev-spoiled futurians. Walk that far? Inconceivable!

And so they wait helplessly, our stranded heroes... for someone to figure out just how to travel, without broadcast power. For someone to remember engines... or boats... or feet.

NOTES NEXT MORNING

2001 NOTE

This was of course several years before the wave of power failures hit the Bay, and we learned just how much more disruptive they are once you're addicted to computers...



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