Preston was bored. Work had dried up this week in the Research Facility. He was surprised that any work came in at all - he was certain that humanity had researched every possible thing and proven, or in some cases disproven, every possible theory. Time travel, interstellar travel, the cure for cancer. Even world peace and global unity was achieved at the turn of the twenty third century.
He walked over to the food dispenser at the other end of the vast, brightly lit office. He tapped the touch screen on a picture of an apple, and then tapped ‘Download’. He placed his thumbs over the payment scanner and within a matter of seconds a freshly printed apple emerged from a gap below the touch screen panel. He swiftly picked it up and took a big bite with a satisfying crunch.
Suddenly, an alarm sounded. He jogged back to his work station and looked at the screen. “That must be Trevin coming back.” He took two more very quick bites from the apple, threw the rest away into a nearby Waste Vapouriser, and made his way to the Time Portal room.
A bright flash of blue and purple lit the room as Preston walked in. Trevin emerged from the Particle Constructor, wearing strange looking clothes and holding a mysterious object.
“Trevin, welcome back.” Preston smiled as he sat on a white plastic chair. “How was 1996?”
“Interesting.” Trevin replied, rubbing his eyes as they tried to adjust to the white and blue clinical environment. “Not sure I’d do it again though.”
“Seems too much hard work. People do the jobs we take for granted from the robots today. Get this - doctors actually open patients up themselves to perform surgery! How macabre is that?”
Preston grimaced. “That’s just gross.”
“Indeed. All part of the job of archiving history before the Ultimate War though. Anyway, look what I’ve got here…”
Trevin placed this mysterious object onto a shiny white table. He appeared to open the top of it, and remove items from inside. Prestons eyes widened.
“This is called a CD.” Trevin said, holding a disc shaped object in the air, the lighting of the room reflecting off its shiny surface. “And this is a book. Now books are very important when…”
“Never mind all that crap,” Preston said, getting out of his chair, “what’s this thing?” He picked up the soft, flimsy, brown square shaped object.
“Oh, that? That’s called a box.”
“Yes, a box. But that’s not important right now. These books however represent a significant…”
“Box…” Preston repeated, holding the object with both hands. He stared at it in awe. “Box…”
“Look Preston, trust me, it’s no big deal.”
“No big deal? Look at this thing!”
“Preston, we have no need for it. Everything is digital - we download it, print it, use it, consume it, vapourise it. It’s been like that for years. Look in the room you are in now. Look familiar?”
He looked around him, and then at Trevin. Realising his point, he smiled and laughed, placing the box on the floor and proceeded to stand in it. “You're right! This box represents everything Trevin, don’t you see? We LIVE in boxes. Always have done, always will. This is…” he paused, “this is the greatest discovery known to man!”
“Really Preston, it isn’t. I really don’t think….”
“No Preston, BOOKS!” he shook a copy of something called The Bible at him.
“Box! I must inform the high government at once!” Preston jumped out of the box, picked it up, and hastily left the room, muttering to himself on his way out. Trevin meanwhile stood in total bewilderment, book in hand.
The next day, the Almighty Leader summoned every citizen within 10 miles to gather in Glorious Court to witness a most amazing discovery. Gathering in excitement around Victory Tower, the citizens watched the Almighty Leader emerge onto the balcony, holding a mysterious object. Preston and Trevin were stood behind her, in the room adjacent to the balcony, out of view from the crowd.
“Citizens! Today is a glorious day. Our enlightened scientific geniuses have made a most wonderful discovery. Behold,” she held it high in the air, “the BOX!” The crowd gasped in wonderful amazement, followed by curious whispers.
“For too long we’ve been confined to our own boxes, slaves to our daily digestion of digital goods and services. But now, we can keep our treasured memories stored away in these objects. With these boxes, our imaginations can realise their true potential. We can explore our creativity, and even our inner child...watch!”
The crowd watched the Almighty Leader place the box on her head, which had two small holes cut to look like eyes on the front. She giggled with laughter as emotion came over her. “I am now the BOX!”
The crowd erupted into delightful laughter, before descending into a chant. “Box! Box! Box! Box!”
Preston and Trevin watched her wave her arms in the air with glee, with the box on her head. Huge banners unfurled down the sides of the buildings around Glorious Court, with a picture of the Box on each one.
“What on earth have you done, Preston.”
“Oh lighten up Trevin,” he replied, rolling his eyes and patting his friend on the back, “you made the discovery after all.” Smiling, he walked away, leaving Trevin stood there with his head firmly placed in the palm of his hand.
© 2018 MattyRasker