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F2 - REALITY 2.0

The future isn't what it used to be.

It was getting late, but Robyn and Lilith watched the growing police presence at the Watergate complex from their balcony in the Howard Johnson's across the avenue. Their funny neighbor Mr. Baldwin had to check out all of a sudden. Lilith asked Robyn, So did we do good?

Robyn looked dreamy for a few seconds. Oh yes. This bust right here isn't enough to do in the President, but he's going to try to cover it up, and then he's going to totally botch the cover-up, and that will nail him in the end. He will have no choice but to quit his job or be impeached.

What about the war in the Middle-east next year?

We still get that, and Israel wins, barely, but it doesn't go nuclear. No one goes nuclear, in fact, until well into the next century.

But not far enough out for my purposes, I suppose.

Robyn said, We get more breathing room, but the space program sort of peters out. Then when they start lobbing nukes around it's too late.

Okay, who starts lobbing nukes around?

About ten years from now some Muslims start using suicide bombers. One guy goes out and takes hundreds of victims with him. They promise their soldiers lots of post-mortem sex. So about 2001, America pretty much goes into a permanent war against them, and it's a very strange war that mostly stays off the front pages. But you can't uninvent the bomb, and sooner or later these suicidal assholes start getting some nukes, and there's no way to stop them. Eventually the West resorts to just sterilizing Islam from the entire planet but we take a lot of damage too, and after that the world is in no shape to do much of anything in the way of star travel.

So you're saying we traded a dark future for a darker one.

Oh, it's not all dark. There's some good things that will happen too. Computers, just like they have in insurance company buildings, they keep getting smaller and smaller, faster and faster, until people are wearing them on their wrist or keeping them in one corner of their purse.

But why will people need computers to be that small?

People will carry them around to be telephones, with no wires, and they will watch any movie or television show they want, whenever they want to watch them. These things will double as cameras. Movie cameras even. And all those pictures and movies and music and short little text notes they write about what they're doing will go up on this big, connected . . . thing . . . so all their friends and anyone in the world can see them. And that's how everyone will get the news or read books in forty years.

With all that going for them, why do they kill the space program?

It costs too much. Oh, they don't kill it dead, they just switch to sending robots to do it instead, take pictures of all the planets, so people can see them on their pocket computer. That doesn't do us much good.

No it doesn't. We definitely must find a way to make them reconsider rolling back their space program.

Reverse psychology, Lil. If they run into us up there telling them to go ahead and dial their program back, they'll do precisely the opposite.

But it was three AM and time for some goodnight sex. Lately Robyn was in the mood for wrapping her hands around a wiry man's tight muscular ass, and Lilith, as a shapeshifter, could accommodate her perfectly.

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