20: Void Aum Sphere Final

We are roaming mountains.


He had dark eyes and a fathomable expression, the sort worn by men who choose to be lonely. 

Lonely they are, Constance believed, and a dying breed in an age that begs approval. She knew he was Imre Void before she noticed the perfect cut of his suit or that he seemed to be making sure his senses were in order. He snapped and rippled his fingers, then gave a low whistle. 

Then he glanced down at her and blinked. 

"I'm terribly sorry," said Constance. 

Imre Void rolled off her. "I apologize." 

"Think nothing of it," she said hurriedly. "Most would probably be more disoriented given the circumstances." 

He gave her a haunted stare, something in her inflection, something in her tone. 

"What did you say?"

Constance shivered. "Just that you'd best relax for a moment.”

Void shook his head and rested both hands against the walls of the Aum Sphere —for that was where they were—as Constance leaned against the door. 

"It will open when the power comes back on," said Void with a frown, focussing on the floor. "I am disappointed with the Hirogaru Power Grid for the floor. I will have to..." He closed as his eyes, and Constance wanted to reach over and turn him to face her, flip off his calculating escape mode that all lonely people have. "I will have to reorient the control system, refit the wiring after this..." 

The Aum Sphere fell quiet. Then Constance reached out with her hand. "My name is Constance." 

Void could have asked a question or two, but he remained silent. Then he reached over as well and they shook hands. "Imre Void." 

"Thanks again for the internship, Mr. Void."

Constance watched him struggle with something, then seem to want to pull her into the light. Goosebumps trickled down her arms. 

The power came on, and the door to the Aum Sphere finally opened, and Void watched as Constance rushed back into the crowds of the office. 

Dominic leapt to his feet with a shout at the sight of Void in the Aum Sphere doorway. As far as he was concerned, this was the new future beginning, the start of a new human complex, as he and Void were in the same room. He would be the intern chosen for employment. 

Dominic clapped Constance on the shoulder as she passed. He would work at Void Inc., and this would be his new home--he had no other to go home to, nor did he want one. 

Conrad lifted himself from the Windows's chair, his legs shaking and his eyes clouded, tear lines on this cheeks, but otherwise all right. 

Then Void finally exited the Aum Sphere, listening to the cheering as lights swept on over New Chicago. 


If cameras worked on Imre Void, for the briefest millisecond, they might have caught something resembling the barest quirk of his lips at the sight of the crowd in his office.