Volume 1 Summary (Chapter 1 - 5)

Chapter 1

It's the morning of February 3, 2048 in Cordola, Carnelia. 17 year old Jeff Fletcher is hurrying to the maglev for his first day of university. Amy, a short-haired girl with trademark Trend Ticker glasses, strikes up a conversation. It turns out they are both freshmen at Cordola University - his major Architecture, her's Advertising. She takes out her Virtua Scribe (an E-paper Organizer) and shows him a photo of her and her best friend Marcy (perhaps aiming to find her friend a date). They part to their respective classes, and Jeff meets his long time friend Rufus. He is boistrous, confident, and a player. Jeff's unusual preference for paper books elicits comments from Nigel, a bespectacled young man with long hair.

Jeff is surprised to see Marcy, the girl from the photo, turn up for the lecture as well. With prodding from Rufus and Nigel, he moves to meet her, but trips on his shoelaces. Retreating after his embarassing fall, the lecture begins - remotely - as the lecturer, Sophie Marks, is still in Paris. During lunchtime at the cafeteria Jeff formerly introduces himself to Marcy and start up a conversation. She reveals she was born in London and moved to Carnelia at age 6, hoping to visit her hometown one day. After a few pleasantries Marcy bids farewell; she plans to meet Amy in the city. She takes the people-mover south but is almost blown off by a flying car and pursuing Nautilus - a rare high speed chase through the skies.

Chapter 2

At MegaBurger Amy teases about her meeting with Jeff, but becomes annoyed when a guy hits on Marcy instead of her. After an early dinner of burgers, fries and salad, they happen to walk past Takeshi's Karaoke club. Marcy is dragged in. They meet Sherlock Takeshi, a friendly Japanese expatriate and owner of the club. Amy takes the mike and wows the crowd with her voice and performance of Our Soul's Are One. The evening spent, the girls say goodbye and we follow Marcy as she heads home. The travelator takes her to Honeysuckle Station and she walks furthur on to Dewpoint, where her family's estate lies.

Her younger sister Daphne is watching a documentary on Venice. They discuss how they feel about their mother's job of governing Luna. Tired, Marcy heads upstairs for a shower. She seems to harbour some kind of resentment toward the famous young actor Toby MacIntyre, despite having his poster on her wall. She goes to sleep.

Chapter 3

We now visit Jeff, sleeping on the morning of February 10 ( a week later). A field trip to study the city's architecture is today. He collects posters, visible are ones advertising the movie Clutching Straws, one of Lakesha Primrose (the singer of Our Souls are One) and the 2025 Carnelian World's Fair. A novel teardrop shaped alarm clock with Jeff's pre-recorded voice urges him to wake up. After a while with no response, a nozzle squirts him with cold water. He brushes his teeth (with smart brushes updating him on his dental health) and enters the kitchen to find his mother has already left for work. He tries to get some ice cream sandwiches but the Smart Fridge denies him access. We see that his love of old-world items extends to stationary - he decides to bring along his notepad instead of his Virtua Scribe. He arrives early to see Sophie preparing her notes for the trip. She warns him that his assigned partner for the field trip, Marcy Hannaford, is the somewhat private daughter of the ruler of Luna - Estelle Hannaford.

Nigel and Rufus arrive and sit with Jeff. Rufus immediately begins salivating over Sophie, and Jeff reveals that Rufus has a girlfriend. Nigel scolds him, but Rufus states that they have something of an open-relationship. The students file out to walk to the maglev station. Jeff meets up with Marcy and they chat. Marcy tells Jeff that her mother will be returning to Earth on May 25, and that she's looking forward to it immensely. Rufus tries to hit on Ms Marks, but is coolly rebuffed.

The maglev stops at Cordola Central Station, the central rail hub of the city. Sophie's virtua scribe (it's an older model) has run out of batteries, and she is forced to improvise. Meanwhile, Marcy has to use the restroom, and Jeff offers to wait outside. Rufus promises to let Jeff know when they're moving on. Jeff offers Marcy a Choco-bit when she comes out, but she declines, saying she doesn't eat any genetically modified food. She is distracted by a news report of riots on Daudaeus, where her mother lives. Jeff realises, but it's too late. The train is pulling away, and they both watch helplessly as Rufus waves goodbye from the rear.

Chapter 4

Marcy starts to panic, fearing their study trip is lost, but Jeff assures her he can take over the tour himself. First he explains the history of the Station, then they walk in the shadow of the Crown Tower, the tallest building in the city. Jeff points out the Pinnacle, which at one kilometre high will be almost twice as high. Passing the bright garish holograms of Crown Square, with the most advertisements per square kilometre, they take the travelator to the Cordola Art Museum.

First, they have lunch at an Italian restaurant. Marcy tells Jeff the nature of her and Amy's relationship - they are close, and supportive, but she often gets on her nerves. Amy's playfulness and immaturity coupled with Marcy's temper leads to many conflicts. Jeff notes some similarities with he and Rufus' own relationship. Marcy invites him to a session of ice skating. They enter the museum and look at black and white photographs. Marcy plays a little joke on Jeff - she asks him to describe the meaning of the photos after already seeing the artist declare "the meaning is up to the viewer". After looking at some robotic installations and sculptures, they leave, just as Sophie and her class are about to enter.

Jeff says goodbye to Marcy at the maglev/people mover interchange and takes the train home. We see that he likes to muse on philosophy on his commute home. Rufus and Nigel have already made themselves at home at his apartment, playing VR games. They decide to observe Jeff's next planned meeting with Marcy, at the Ice Skating Rink.

Chapter 5

It's 10 20 am on February 15, and it's snowing in Cordola. Jeff takes the train to the massive Cordola Stadium, where a giant banner advertising the city's Olympics is hanging. At the tables outside the nearby Ice Skating Rink, he sees Rufus. Waiting in line already is Amy and Marcy. Rufus and Nigel watch as they go in. In the female changing room (labelled XX) Marcy asks Amy to tone down her antics. Amy teases her about a possible attraction to Jeff. After getting the skates, Jeff attempts to get onto the ice. He falls. Amy neatly does a double axel, stunning Jeff. She reveals that she was abandoned outside a hospital in Stockholm and was put up for adoption. She followed her adoptive sister to Carnelia when she became an attendant for Carnelian airlines. She claims to be uninterested in tracking down her birth parents, saying she instead plans to visit her adoptive family later that year.

After skating, Amy goes to get them lunch. Marcy tells Jeff Sophie awarded her high marks for a field trip they didn't even attend. They seem to share a taste of old movies. Amy arrives with food, but quickly annoys Marcy by snatching her gloves. She really loses her temper when she discovers Amy has accidentally given her non-AGMI food. Suddenly, Rufus bursts onto the ice with a hockey stick and puck, yelling Jeff's name. He is escorted away by security, while Jeff hides his face with embarassment. Marcy realises she has just seen Rufus.

The trio take the people-mover to the maglev station, discussing the new attraction Simulcra 3. It's a fully immersive virtual reality environment streamed directly into the unconcious brain, like a lucid dream. Marcy has her doubts about the safety of having images beamed into the brain. Jeff leaves the girls, heading for home.

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