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Three Fantastic Tales

Kate Rauner


Copyright 2018 Kate Rauner

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Table of Contents


Burrito Problem

Lady's Payment

Mission to Proxima

Sneak Peek - cult colonizes Titan

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Burrito Problem


Blue blocks of code spread like a fractal peacock. A quarter tone sounded, not discordant but essential. Ah, there was the problem. A bright yellow line that tasted bitter.

"Earth to Jayden."

His eyes snapped open and stared back at him from the bathroom mirror.

Kelly offered a towel. "Toothpaste's dribbling down your chin. Remember Sophie's birthday party is next month. You're arranging the food."

"Aw, Kelly. I'm starting a project with our new AI."

"I'll be at the Nevada trade show the entire week before the party."

Jayden planted a minty kiss on her lips. "You're the company's best rep, and the prettiest, too."

"Sweet talk, but you're still on the hook."

"No problem. Ice cream and hot dogs."

"You've got to read the RSVPs. See what the parents say."

Jayden leaned against his sink and sighed.


***


The boss walked into Jayden's cube. Sauntered, really, which always spelled trouble.

"Here's an assignment for our resident genius and that new artificial intelligence system. How to make the best burrito in America."

"What? I'm assembling data on shifting rain patterns. Do you realize that two billion people worldwide don't have clean drinking water?"

"I totally support your project. But we need to pay the bills. This will only take two weeks, since that's all the time you've got." The boss smiled like this was good news. "It's the novelty of an AI finding the best burrito that sells."

That evening, Jayden sat in the kitchen with Sophie on his lap and an oversized tablet on the table. He'd spent the day linking the AI to data from satellites and geological surveys, so he was starting burrito searches on his own time.

Sophie poked at twisting patterns of color on the screen. "What's that?"


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