Hope

Melissa stood in front of the mirror and studied her features. Everything had to be perfect. Her campaign staff made sure of that. Her entire appearance was carefully selected based on extensive analysis conducted by computers nearly as powerful as Google before the collapse.  This would be her final speech and she knew it had to be perfect. One last chance to convince the voters that she was the right choice to be the next president of the United States.

“Melissa! Your hair, those eyes,” fawned her stylist. “Now show me that gigawatt smile.”

Melissa turned her hips a few degrees to one side, pivoted her chest so it faced him, tilted her her head just right and then delivered a presidential-winning smile .

“Love it! Love it!” the stylist cheered, “Melissa you got this!”

“Did John arrive yet?” she asked. Her eyes scanned the room searching for him. There were at least 20 staffers in the suite of the 5-star convention hotel – but John wasn’t amongst them.

A man holding a pair of intelli-glasses sprinted into the room to meet up with Melissa. He kissed her on both cheeks to greet her. Then, he stood back to soak in his prodigy.

“They’re going to love you,” he praised, “I know they are.”

“I think so too.  I can make a difference. I know I can help this country  if they just give me a chance.”

John agreed, “Yes! We all believe in you. Take a look at the data on our audience.” John put on the intelli-glasses and spoke to the device, “DISPLAY AUDIENCE STATS.”

The intelli-glasses projected campaign statistics onto the wall and the staff gathered around to study the information together. John pointed to certain sections of the data, “it’s a real diverse group of people tonight….”

Melissa was pleased, “..it’s a perfect blend of races. I love this crowd. So here’s the key issues I want to cover –  Let’s take down that wall with Mexico, renew health care, and reinstate universal pensions. And I really want to make free education happen.  Can we do that?”

“A good education costs a small fortune,” John reminded her. “That’s the way it’s always been.”

“The young people need this, and our future needs them.” She looked around the room for support, “It’s the right thing to do.”

A staffer raised a hand, “But the money? Where is the money going to come from?”

Melissa thought for a moment, “Four years ago, we received penalties from that middle-eastern bank who defrauded all our investors. That settlement money wasn’t allocated yet. And instead of putting that towards the military, we’re going to put 87.5% of that towards universal free education, and the rest to boost benefits for the disabled.”

The people around the room were caught off guard by this idea.

“I’d also propose that we take a portion of our legal defense fund and make mandatory charitable donations. But let the taxpayers choose where to donate the money. This will boost our humanitarian network without hitting any existing budgets. We want to help people support what they believe in.”

The staffers cheered at this. They loved these new radical proposals. John walked up to Melissa and just stared at her with awe, “I’m so glad we gave you hope. You’re exactly what this country needs.”

Melissa smiled, “It’ll work. When I convince the people that all of this is possible, you’ll be amazed at where I can take this country.”

John became distracted as he received a message over his subliminal communication channel. “OK people, this is it, Melissa is on-stage in 10 minutes. Let’s get this show started!”

Melissa started to follow John out the door of the suite. All the campaign staffers were shaking her hand and wishing her well as she moved slowly through the room to the hallway.  The view from high-up was magnificent. It overlooked a cavernous lobby fully protected from the outside air. The interior was filled with lush, gravity-defying gardens and waterfalls. Levitating magnetic platforms could be seen moving people between different floors and convention halls. A crowd of thousands were gathered below, waiting to hear her speak.

The mag-way platform rose from the ground and arrived to meet them where they were standing. Camera drones surrounded Melissa and John as they stepped onto the platform. They waved to the hovering drones, as well as all the supporters watching throughout the lobby. The mag-way was programmed to circle the atrium before landing at the podium in the center of the lobby.

They floated past the lush gardens, and then past the rainforest. But when they approached the redwood forests, John saw multiple red laser dots appear on Melissa’s chest.

Several men armed with gunpowder-based rifles and laser-sightings emerged from the trees. It had been decades since gunpowder was used. Somehow, they must have slipped the weapons into the hotel undetected. The men locked their aim on Melissa.

Their leader moved into the open and spit in her direction, “Your kind can’t be President. We warned you what would happen!”

John tried to protect Melissa and block the shots with his own body, “Please! She only wants to help everyone!”

The flashes of multiple muzzle bursts could be seen. Melissa reacted instantly and put herself between the shooters and John. The bullets were meant for her. When they reached her chest, each one reacted with an explosive charge. The small blasts knocked John onto the floor.

Within seconds, the hotel’s security system came alive and gunnery appeared across all levels. They fired a synchronized wave of high intensity laser bolts which disintegrated the terrorists instantly.

Melissa remained standing. She didn’t feel any pain as the mag-way continued on its path as if nothing had happened.  

When it reached the podium, it slowed to a stop. Melissa looked down and could see their weapons had torn open her chest, wires were exposed, and electrical sparks were dancing in the opening. She checked on John, “Are you hurt?”

John shook his head.

“Why didn’t they like me?” asked Melissa.

John reached up and took her hand. He looked past her broken chest and into her eyes, “We thought they were ready for someone like you. I guess we were wrong.”

Melissa smiled, “Don’t give up hope, People can change.”

~ end ~

Image Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-black-shirt-with-long-hair-63456/


Balancer by Patrick WongWhat if you had the power to control Life? But in order to heal you had to harm to maintain balance in the world. Find out what happens to Nicole in The Final Deity Series. Available for sale at Amazon.

A suburban teen finds herself caught up in a series of inexplicable miracles, until she is forced to confront the startling truth about herself: She has the power to give life or take life from every living thing around her. As Nicole explores the extent of her powers, her activities attract the attention of government agents. The concepts of right and wrong will be blurred in this new urban fantasy novel as Nicole struggles to maintain her innocence in a fight for her life.

BALANCER is also available for download for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Genre: Middle-Grade/Young-Adult, Urban Science Fiction, Coming Of Age

  • Ron Sparks

    I had only a single clue something was not as it seemed in the story until the end. An Android as a presidential candidate. Very clever, reminiscent of Asimov’s humaniform robots.

    So other than the one clue and the end, there don’t seem to be any other indicators of “difference” between the android and the humans. Is she supposed to look and behave 100% human or are there more clues I missed?

    Anyway – I think it’s an awesome story.

    • PatrickW

      Melissa’s supposed to be highly realistic and nearly indistinguishable from a human. Like Ava from “Ex Machina”. The staff knows she’s an android, but she’s so convincing, that people can see past that.

      • Ron Sparks

        That featured in tho – can’t decide if it’s robot porn or 100% on-point. 🙂

  • tlrelf

    Perhaps it was the image – along with the other clues – but I was certain Melissa was AI. Even though I was correct, I enjoyed the journey to the final reveal. . .and actually got the chills at the end. Good show!