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B. Branahin,  The End of an Information Age

Book I

A social contract is not something written and signed – a law of man; it is indisputable – a law of nature. Leaders act on the behalf of the led, not because it is their duty, but because it preserves the health of the society. It is the foolish leader who thinks he can out-prosper his own people. No one is above ‘us’ – we live or die together.

-Lord Pendigoss at the signing of the Il Fiore accord

Act I – Davius Place

1. A quiet lab

The lifeless metal body resembled a corpse, laid out on its back on a gurney in the corner of the room. A thin white jacket had been placed over its head, obscuring the vacant unlidded eyes from the rest of the room.

Three scientists, all dressed in white and hunched over console screens, were hard at work. The lead scientist, a sharp-eyed and olive-skinned man in his late thirties, was typing frantically. A setback in the project that morning had put them at least another day behind schedule and panic was creeping up the back of his neck. If he didn’t sort this out soon, his career was over. Actually, it was worse than that – there was more at stake than just his career.

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