Meanwhile, in the lab, Lana was busy preparing a list of things she wanted to buy. The central market was going to open in a few ticks and then she wouldn't get much of a chance to get the cheap deals if she stumbled with the list. The list, that was the key to efficient shopping at the market. Very few people knew this and it meant Lana had no problem getting the things she wanted in time and at the cheapest price.
She knew the system that run the central market in and out. After all, it was her husband Mani who designed it. He would never discuss details of his work with her. But she wasn't part of the central investigative council for no reason. Her skills of 'persuasion' ensured that she had the necessary details of everything she wanted to know about everything out there.
Mani was out there somewhere in the outer Andromeda on his TIME project. He rarely drops a signal when he is out working. He is a real fanatic.Yet she was ensnared by his charm when they met during a TIME conference. He was also the most popular techie endorsed by the council and the legendary Captain Vikram. She still remembered the conversations with the captain with thrill. After all, he is the single person on whom
the entire mankind owes its existence. If it was not for his foresight and strategy, this settlement wouldn't have existed as the last foothold for mankind.
The 'list', for the benefit of the readers was not something to be typed up or written on paper. Paper or papyrus was an ancient material used to write things down either using the dark colours from a mineral called graphite, or at later times with a combination of chemicals that generated liquids of various colours that stuck to the paper material on drying. People used it extensively for communication and keeping records. The 'paper' was produced out of another existent artifact called 'trees'. Ah, those are the interesting things one gets to learn from the History of the Ancient Formers course at the academy.
To create the list Lana required, she has to first hook herself unto the Dreamfix apparatus.
Navigation of interface is to be done by simulating the memories and encoded nerves to select the various offers and combo deals out there. As for the list itself, all that needs to be done is to imagine the object and its name. The machine automatically flashes details about matched products and their prices, availability etc.
Last time, they had run out of the fancy Oxy Pro 2 models and Lana had to pull some strings with the council to release a quota for her. She would have felt naked without the latest Oxygen mask for the game of Gravo-o-Ball that everyone on Mars enjoyed during the Open days.
Anyway, she quickly composed the required mental images of all the stuff she had planned. Once she was done, she added them to the queue and ran a mental check if something was missed. "Perhaps an extra dose of Anti-Cancer cell shots would help Mani in his busy schedules." - she decided. But she was out of luck as all the cell shots were out of stock. She was annoyed at these frequent shortages at the market, especially for drugs. She recalled a finding in the recent council meet about rapidly increasing drug consumption and decline in stocks over all bases. The investigative council itself was poised to raise this issue to the head council about these.
"Ah, these days, work is too stressful. Maybe I should take a vacation to system B with Mani". She recalled his narration of the distant System B which was used for forward exploration and research by the TIME scientists. The view of multiple nebulae and disintegrated objects floating in the exospace also made it a much sought after romantic hangout, if only someone could afford it. But it also bears the marks of a completely destroyed object named Earth in the ancient days and was believed to be the original home of the Ancient Formers.
and she was eager to try them out, one finger waiting on top of the SatLink to her sister...
The above article is an extension of the story "Life in 2500 AD" narrated from the point of view of the spouse of Mani, the lead scientist who starred in the original story. The extension was inspired by the contest "The future of Shopping" by Ebay India, but as usual doesn't qualify due to deadlines :-)
All images are obtained from Google Images and copyrights are retained by their original owners.