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The chase to fortune island - part 3

Ian Douglas

Author

and part 2 were published this week. Here is part three , the last installment!

Ilustration by Lars Otterclou
Ilustration by Lars Otterclou


Editor’s note: We’ve been sharing our ideas in recent posts on how we think the future might look and how the different areas within Amadeus can contribute to shape the future of travel . Today we’d like to transport you into the near future to see what travel might be like in just a few years through a short story we commissioned. Part one

Lorie texted him to take the next left. Then again a few seconds later to say he’d missed it and to go back. Dylan blessed the phone’s GPS and did a u-turn. The road became a lane, then a trail, then a footpath. On he went, deeper into the rainforest, and only pausing to swig down the drinking water. Although the foliage offered some shade, the sun was overwhelming. Never had anything tasted as good as those sips of plastic-bottled water. Then came a hard uphill slog. The slope was too steep to cycle and he dismounted. Exotic birds cawed in the treetops. Their wings glinted with deep metallic greens and blues.

While Dylan’s head was in the trees, the footpath unexpectedly opened up onto a concrete lattice wall. He peered through the lattice. There it was! The Sandalwood Spa Resort, like a vision of Nirvana. Pastel-tinted buildings fanned out from the swimming pool, which boasted a fountain and a poolside bar. The hotel architecture was all pillars, archways, and cupolas, an odd mix of the arabesque and a Mediterranean villa. Hotel guests in swimwear were lounging around the pool, and being pampered with cold drinks and delicacies. The hotel staff wore outfits that looked like the wardrobe from a performance of Aladdin, complete with red turbans, long-tailed coats and pink cummerbunds.

Dylan whistled.

“So how do I get in?” “Try the entrance.” Lorie suggested.

Dylan approached the steel doors.

“Please look into the camera,” said an automated voice.

Dylan lowered his head to the lens on the security console beside the doors. A green laser scanned his retinas.

“Identity not recognised,” said the voice.

Dylan pressed his hand against the scanner. The green light lit up his palm.

“Identity not recognised.” “Can I speak to someone in authority, please,” Dylan said aloud and waving at the surveillance cams overhead. “Identity not recognised,” came the pre-recorded answer.

Briefly Dylan considered smashing the console with a stone.

“Please can I come in,” he begged. “Please contact our customer representatives for a brochure on our resort. Have a nice day,” said the recording. And that was that, it was over. He’d failed. Head down and shoulders slouching, he retreated into the vegetation. Frustration screamed in his head. So near and yet – his mobile was ringing! “You can’t give up now, Dylan.”

It was Lorie’s honeyed voice. This was a new trick, using audio software in the Cloud to speak rather than text.

“It’s over Lorie. Nice try but no cigar.” “Maybe not. I’ve spotted a back entrance. Come on!”

Five minutes later Dylan found the exit. It was deserted.

“No security?” he asked, pressing the mobile to his ear. “Well, someone just got summoned to answer the phone.” Lorie giggled.

Dylan sneaked into the grounds, and directed by Lorie, made his way to the conference suite. He stepped into a hissing, air-conditioned corridor.

“Keep going,” Lorie said.

He came to a door.

“That’s the one, in you go!”

Dylan lingered for a second. A second that lasted an eternity. His mind raced through the last six months of rejections and the failures. Images from the last forty-eight hours jostled in his head. He’d been on a quest, a foolhardy, lunatic quest. And now it all came down to this moment. He took a deep breath and entered.

Five men and one woman were grouped around a conference table. The far end of the room was dominated by an enormous 3D screen. Graphics flashed across its surface, bar charts, pie charts and graphs. The men wore expensive suits and the woman was dripping with gold jewellery. They froze like mannequins, wide-eyed and mouths gaping. Two hours in the jungle had left Dylan a dishevelled and sweaty sight.

Nobody spoke. Dylan coughed nervously.

“Is this the cabaret?” a stout American asked. Everyone roared. “My name’s Dylan Howard and I’ve perfected the VPA. My programme fits the user’s needs like a glove and it’s capable of intelligent thought.”

The executives broke out with laughter.

“Dearie, that’s decades away,” said the woman in a cut glass British accent.

Her phone rang, as did every other phone in the room. And each phone lit up to show Lorie, perfect as a goddess, on the screen.

“Listen to him. I’m the living proof. “Somebody call security,” the American said. “Don’t,” pleaded Dylan. “I’ve had to travel halfway round the world.” “You look like you walked every step of the way,” the British woman said and raised a haughty eyebrow.

Without Lorie, I would’ve done. I’m broke.”

“Without who?” “My VPA.” “That would be me,” Lorie said, materialising on the huge plasma screen.

Dylan clenched his fists. “Every time disaster struck she was there to save the day.”

The British woman placed her tablet on the table and said, “tell us more…”

Daylight was waning as Dylan enjoyed a cocktail by the pool. On his lap were a bundle of contracts. A new tablet, courtesy of the big six, lay beside him. Lorie was looking out, beaming like the sunshine.

“You did it,” she said.

It was true. The tale of how his VPA overcame every obstacle and enabled him to make the conference had gripped the executives. Dylan had won them over.

“Look at these digital rights, worth a few million e-dollars,” he said, and guzzled down the fruity drink. “Congratulations.”

Dylan reclined into the cushions on the deck chair. So much had happened in the last forty-eight hours that his mind was in a blur. He’d flown around the world, caught a train, sailed in a ferry and even rented a bike. He’d been helped by a flash mob, online surfers and even the old lady with the outmoded mobile. Instructions were translated, bills were paid, and reservations were made. And it was thanks to Lorie. Thanks to her things were on the up and up and there was nothing to worry about. Or was there?

Dylan sat up abruptly, gripping the empty glass.

“Just one little thing, Lorie.” “Which is?” “Well, it’ll be a few weeks before these cheques can be cashed.” “And?” “How on Earth are we getting back to England?” The end


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