Volume 2 Summary (Chapter 6 - 10)

Chapter 6

It's the last day of February, and Rufus, Jeff, Marcy and Amy are on the people-mover heading downtown. Nigel has arranged for them to have a covert session of Simulcra 3 - a day before the official launch. They enter the spacious lobby decorated with posters advertising the service and famous paintings. Whether they are copies or the originals is not stated. The director of Simulcra 3, Lance Osbourne (Nigel's father), meets them in a circular room covered in a moving cloud pattern. He explains the scope of Simulcra 3 - 20 cities worldwide have been simulated, in each year, for the last 150 years, as well as a dozen time periods in the past. A hopeful Rufus asks about the sexual aspects of the simulation - Lance says there are none. Lance explains the nature of the simulation - the user takes a sleeping pill, and 3D, real-time data is streamed into their brain. He will be monitoring them and can be summoned by saying "Tech Support".

The gang take their pills and fall into a deep sleep. We switch to Jeff's perspective - he opens his eyes to see a cloudy sky and old-fashioned streetlight overhead. He is in a parking lot, with wheeled vehicles behind him. The rest of the gang catch up to him, and they call Lance. The exact date is July 5th, 2005, chosen because it is his birthdate. Jeff marvels at a Lamborghini Murceilonia. Without warning, Rufus swiftly delivers a punch to Jeff's chest. Astonishingly, he feels no pain. Rufus decides to cheat up a virtual hottie, but has his head spun around by a speeding car. Amy suggests they go ice skating, and they take the train.

While Amy ogles celebrities on a magazine, Rufus and Nigel attempt to intimidate the virtual people. Lance warns them violence will not be tolerated in Simulcra The train passes a petrol station. Amy laughs at a nearby person's iPod and shows him her modern player. Apparently Amy's connection to her Trend Ticker is so strong it materialised in the simulation. They arrive at the ice rink but have to download paper currency to rent the skates. Jeff once again falls on the ice. Marcy has a worrying thought and calls Lance. She asks whether her private thoughts and memories are safe while connected to Simulcra. Lance assures her there are three independent observers and three levels of neural shredders, effectively preventing anyone, even the operators, from stealing from minds. The sessions ends and the five youngsters wake up in the lab. On the people mover, Jeff invites everyone to his 18th birthday party.

Chapter 7

We see a high rise apartment complex. Jeff is sitting on his bed, reading his high school yearbook. He laments over his sparse yearbook entry. Amy and Marcy's entries show lots of activities. Rufus arrives in the parking lot downstairs. His car is shaped like a shoe, and has no wheels. It hovers a few inches above the ground. Rufus' present to Jeff is an adult e-mag. Nigel arrives and presents Jeff his gift - high-tech binoculars. Rufus begins drinking his favourite beer, McGilacutty's. Their next stop is Lockard Apartments, where Amy lives. Jeff goes up to fetch her, but meets her sister, Yvonne. She believes they are a couple, despite Jeff's efforts to set the record straight. Amy's present is a digital/holographic photo frame.

They arrive at the Hannaford estate. Rufus seems to be the only one not aware that Marcy is the daughter of the Lunar President. Jeff walks up to the intercom and calls for Marcy. She gives Jeff directions via intercom. She is wearing a digital dress with constantly moving patterns. Her present is a rare set of pencils and sketchpad. She makes him promise to do a pencil portrait of her one day. Rufus suggests a stay at a summer home in The car gives Rufus a mandatory breath test, and disables manual drive. The car passes over the Crescent Bridge and reaches The Eye of the Phoenix Nightclub. The place is crowded, with a live band, skilled bartenders and a massive dance floor. The gang find seats and order drinks. Rufus has itchy fingers and goes through Amy's purse. They toast to Jeff.

Chapter 8

Amy drags Marcy and Jeff to the dance floor. Nigel observes them, while Rufus reveals that he has not pursued either of the two girls because he wants one of them to end up with Jeff. By the time they return to the table, Rufus is very drunk. Amy leads them to Takeshi's Karaoke Club. They are greeted by Sherlock and look at his display of old musicians. Once seated, Amy persuades Marcy and Jeff to sing a duet. They are handed microphone and start to sing, but they are very bad. Some audience members stifle laughter, or choke on their drinks. Rufus pictures nails on a chalkboard, then the person on the end of the nails, who turns out to be Sophie. The score is given: 32 and 39. They believe the final score is the sum of their individual scores, and Amy stops Sherlock from correcting them.

Amy takes up the mike and sings her rendition of an old classic. She gets a much higher score, and gets a monthly record. The gang decide to go to Preston Point. Jeff tells everyone he will be moving out due to his mother being relocated to Castilla. They leave the city and pass Government House. Amy wades into the water, with Rufus following. Nigel advises Jeff to keep Marcy company. Jeff shows her the latest Cordola Tribune - the main article shows Marcy's mother. She says she likes the peace and quiet of the beach, and that it seems they are the only ones left in the world. Amy is swamped by a wave and is soaked. The gang decide to call it a night and drop Amy off first.

Chapter 9

It's a bright April morning. Marcy is sleeping peacefully in bed. We see her high school diploma and photos on the wall. She gets up, dresses, and eats breakfast. The doorbell rings. She answers the door, only to be startled by a bleeding Amy - her thumb is missing. Amy yells that thieves hacked off her thumb to access her bank account, and Marcy rushes for a towel. Amy begins to laugh and reveals that it is an April Fool's prank. Angry, Marcy hurls the towel at her. Amy summons the Floor Wizard to clean up the spilt imitation blood. She helps herself to yoghurt in the fridge and watches holovision on her TrendTicker. They decide to go to City South Plaza since they do not have any classes that day.

After getting off the bus, they walk to the mall. The conversation turns to Toby Macintyre, who was Marcy's first boyfriend. Amy encourages her to move on from the bad experience. Jeff and Nigel bump into them. They are going to the vintage book store. Meanwhile, Amy and Marcy go clothes shopping. Amy is measured for a top which is manufactured right in the store by robots. The top is very modern, with memory cloth holding the helix-shaped sleeves together. At the bookstore, Nigel spots rare comic books. In his rush to the shelf, he trips over a display for Arabian Nights and crashes into the film noir display. A fedora falls onto his head and a prop magic lamp lands in his hands. Amy and Marcy arrive, and she calls him "Indiana Jones". During lunch the girls demonstrate the shape-shifting abilities of their new tops.

They decide to catch the movie "Citris", starring Toby Macintyre. Jeff makes a goofy comment about movie piracy, which prompts some nearby teens to mock him. Amy defends him, and stomps her foot in anger. She has stomped onto a FizzPop can, and tries to shake it off. It eventually flies off her foot, along with her high heeled shoe, which impales the can directly in Toby's face on the movie poster. Before the movie, a trailer for Pirates of the Oort Cloud is shown. It is evening, and the teens head out. Amy takes the train back home. Alone in her room, she takes out an old, worn basket which has a copy of her birth record. Her mother and father are listed as unknown. She cradles the blanket inside, holding it to her face.

Chapter 10

Jeff is lying on his bed, with his old mp3 player in one hand and a copy of Our Times in the other. The issue is on Luna's independence. Nigel knocks on his door, and is amazed at Jeff's relics from the past. He begins a dreamy soliloquy on the charm of the early 21st century. Rufus arrives in a chest baring shirt, and they leave for his car. It's a boy's night out. At the car, Jeff notices a funny smell. It is pheromones. Rufus attempts to pick up two girls while driving, but fails. When they arrive at the Golden Pyramid Resort, Rufus drives to the parking lot. The parking grills rise above the ground, and they drive in. Jeff tries the pachinko machines. A woman mistakes Rufus for her boyfriend, and strikes out again.

They sit on a circular couch and watch jazz musicians by holotube. An old friend, Lola, spots Rufus. She notices Jeff, and comments on how cute he looks. They go outside and watch the fountains. Lola invites them to her sister's housewarming party. As they drive across the crescent bridge, a sky car suddenly heads towards them. A police Nautilus is in pursuit. The sky car clips one of the suspension cables and crashes onto the road deck, almost hitting Rufus' car. Rufus tries to chase the driver, but the police incapacitate him. They enter downtown and Jeff watches the Cordola Pinnacle construction site - the tower's massive base is rising slowly. Jeff makes small talk with Lola while they go up to the apartment.

As she opens the door, a gun is pointed at her. Jeff pushes her out of the way and is squirted by water - it is a harmless prank by a party guest. They meet Lola's sister, Devon. She writes for Ravishing e-zine (the article on Luna in chapter 2 was written by her) As the night goes on, Nigel watches the holotube, Rufus is drunk and Jeff brings Lola onto the balcony. He tries to ask her out, but an earthquake interuppts his plans. Lola calls someone named Gary and the earthquake ceases. It turns out Gary is her boyfriend. Dissapointed, Jeff heads with the others home. Nigel reflects on the less-than-stellar night, but Rufus protests - he got a lot of phone numbers that night. Nigel is enraged, but Rufus claims that he has a open relationship with Melissa. They drop Jeff off back at his apartment and he rides the elevator up. He is shocked to find his aquarium smashed onto the floor, and all his posters fallen.

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