The Price of Entanglement - Chapter 1, Pt. 4


She sat at the kitchen table with a tired sigh of relief. The groceries had taken far too little time to put away; she really did need money again, soon. She pulled her phone out to review her options; her email app opened up, appearing to float above the surface of the device in 3D as she read over the display.

No email; that was unfortunate. Sometimes she’d pull it up to find several prospective jobs waiting for her. Oh well. So much for the easy way. She pulled up her client list, gesturing this way and that to send the little 3D representations of each back and forth in her field of view as she considered her options.

Sal was usually a good bet; she was technologically ... well, awkward, and Jo made frequent trips to see her whenever her friend ran into problems she could take care of. She was pretty good at run of the mill stuff like app conflicts, OS updates, and even grounding certain devices—the current term in vogue for enabling people to run otherwise unauthorized apps on a device, or even getting access to the raw hardware underneath the vendor-supplied operating system.

She stared at the little holo of Sal thoughtfully and nodded. “Note, call Sal tomorrow.” There was a musical chime acknowledging her request, and she went back to flipping through her entries.

Sal would be a good start—if she had a problem Jo could handle. She frowned over the display. None of her other clients were regular enough. That was pretty much the whole problem. She might be able to scrounge up some courier work, but the pay was crap. She’d need a lot of it to make enough.

She sighed again—she seemed to be doing that a lot lately—and slipped the phone back into her pocket. A shuffling from the front of the house preceded her Gran. “Smells good, what is it?” he asked with a voice somewhere between a rasp and a wheeze.

“Tomato soup,” she said, getting back to her feet and stirring it.

“You still usin’ that relic?” he groused, pointing at the stove. “What’s wrong with the microwave?”

She rolled her eyes. Always with the microwave. “It tastes better from the stove, Gran, even you’ve said so yourself.” And he had, but it never stopped him complaining. He’d been part of the first generation to grow up in the age of microwave cooking, and in his earlier days, he’d done all his cooking with the thing. Jo mostly used it to reheat stuff, not cook stuff, and even for reheating something, she’d often throw it in the oven or on a burner.

“Bah, suit yourself. I’m hungry now, though. How much longer?” He slowly lowered himself into a chair.

“It’s almost ready, just another minute.”

“If you’d nuked it, it’d be done by now.”

She frowned. “Gran, really,” she complained. She could never quite suppress a shiver when someone, usually an elderly person, used that bit of slang. It hadn’t aged well after the nuclear strike near the national border a little over a decade before.