Prologue part one.

Year: 2045. date: July 18. 3:00 pm

Joshua Kristofferson couldn't wait to get home. Today was his birthday, his fifth birthday, and his mother said he would get something special. He was picked up from kindergarten by Hurb, the automated child care unit Joshua's mother had bought shortly after he was born, and she discovered she wasn't cut out for parenting.

Hurb arrived by subway, and when Josh saw the chrome silver humanoid walking up the subway station stairs, he ran over to give the cold, hard machine a hug. The diminutive Joshua wrapped his arms around the tin man's right leg, lovingly. Even though Joshua was the tallest in his class, he only came up to the spot between Hurb's knee and hip. This is because Joshua's father (who may have been dead for all he knew) was from mars. And no race was as tall as the red men. Because Hurb was a surrogate father, he was built to be just as tall as Joshua would someday become.

"Happy birthday sport! Anything cool happen in class today?" Asked Hurb. He had a voice that was deep, even as the sea. Though it was much warmer, even than most humans.

"No" said josh, With all the flat carelessness that only a statement of fact delivered buy a child can convey. Almost every word he uttered was in this same, flat, plane, mater of fact, way of speaking.

The two of them went down the stairs to the subway station. Even in the nicer parts to city #4, the subway was a filthy place, but the miasma of sweat, alcohol, urine, and marijuana, was at its peak during the afternoon rush.

Hurb was so deeply engrained in the daily grind, that it was completely unnecessary for him to check the schedule on the subway map. But he was glad that he did so, for today there was a change. some maintenance was being done in the tunnel they normally used, so it was necessary to take a nother, older train.