Genre: Fucked if I know. Doesn't have one, more like monologue.
.....The year is 2005. Despite the claims and hopes of people past, we aren't living in space nor do we own flying cars. It seems that humanity's genius has finally seemed to run out. Unlike the late 90s, computers stay up-to-date for far longer than a month. Each new scientific breakthrough marks a new cap and limit in the field. Not that I particularly cared, mind you. Such things were far from important to me, the latest gaming developments and how expensive they were, these were my usual thoughts. My peers were the sole reason I was aware of the current events. Each one was like an RSS feed for their particular interest; full of the latest and greatest information from this source or that. One for politcs and legal matters, two for the gaming industry, one for science (mostly physics, mind you), and one for technology. They could, and would, debate and discuss for hours on end. I'd listen too. Not that I had any real interest, but rather I was fascinated by their interest. Which is probably why I should have done more in psychology. Few things held my interest for long, let alone be enough to draw me into an organization. Oh no, I was the quiet, well mannered one. Never to take a debate seriously or to even start one. My hometown was like any other small town, friendly and warm, with slight tendencies to gossip. Most importantly, we were under everyone's radar, so to speak. Unimportant and menial. That changed in 2000, along with a great many things. The surrounding area of my hometown was raw and undeveloped land. Pristine, crisp, and pure. So pure, in fact, that it caught the eye of a new, and well funded, research foundation. They foresaw the current technological slump, and sought to prevent it. Suddenly my small town was transformed into a busy and industrial zone. New homes had to be built, land cleared, materials had to be imported, but what really cause a stir was the deadline the research foundation set for their main research facility. 2005. Five years for a massive, multi-level, and mostly underground facility. Many were skeptical, but as I said, the research foundation was well funded, very well funded. Mercifully, the site was mostly free of rock, and the earth was soft. At the time I was working at an interior decoration store, owned and operated by my father. From flooring to paint, and outside to in, we could do it. My father was quite possibly the greatest flooring installation professional of his time. Seeing him work was more akin to watching an artist create a masterpiece, except that delivery was free and he was very quick doing it. Unlike some artists that the world hailed. We had one major competitor, a similar store from a different chain. Naturally, the two local hardware stores sold paint and flooring, but more often than not, they'd just contract our store to handle decoration. So when the facility was ready, on schedule miraculously, to hand out contracts for the flooring and decor, our family was on the edge of our seats. A contract of this magnitude would mean the realization of our materialistic dreams. When the land was purchased and the deals were signed, the foundation a clause stating that local businesses were to be given favour over all others. Quite possibly the greatest PR move in the history of my country. So, that means there were really only two choices, our store and our competition. Hence the mutual suspense for my family. It was decide by someone that a test should be devised, one that would prove our worth. Long and technical details aside, we failed. Badly as well. Some miscommunication led to a fatal error, which caused the whole thing to come crashing down around our ears. Literally, the test house collapsed in on itself. To be honest, everyone was a good sport about it, the head of the research foundation even offered to let us try again, upon hearing our explanation. He said that such a perfect example of the butterfly effect must be a sign from Galileo. Our competitor wasn't to pleased upon hearing this, not that I blame him. He made the mistake of objecting rather rudely to our second chance. The head of the research foundation, fortunately or not depending on whose side you were on, awarded our store the contract in response. What is the old saying? Lost the duel and won the fight? It was a very busy time for me, but I strangely enjoyed the active pace. When the time came to return to university, I actually choose work over academics. Not for the money or anything so trivial, but because I knew my father needed my help. So I moved onsite instead of on campus. The work was long and hard, mostly because it involved tiles. My father and I hate tiles, a great deal in fact. They are very fragile before they are set, and they are also very heavy and cumbersome for their size. A few weeks into the job the head of security, and director of the facility construction, paid me a visit in the newly finished lounge. It seemed my disinterest and lack of extra effort had earned me his attention and ire. I was playing my favorite light-gun shooter at the time. He said that I could always be found doing one of two things, reading a red and black book or blowing the heads off zombies. Not stopping the game, I turned and faced him, asking him his point. Becoming rather angry, he asked me if there was anything else I cared about. Without turning, looking at the screen, or blinking, I put three rounds in the head a of the zombie from the game. Not really, was my reply. Raising his eyebrows, he asked me what the book was. I told him, The Bushido, but before I finished he said something that managed to peak my interest: Shoshinsu. As it turned out, I wasn't the only Bushi on site. What he offered me next would change my life, a position under him as a security guard. He even asked my opinion of the training program. The program was mostly endurance and firearms focused, but the hand-to-hand section grabbed my attention. Krav Maga and Hapkido. It seemed a little extreme, considering the location and the local population. I agreed of course, not only for the sudden new future and career at my feet, or the private training before the rest of the security force, but because of the style of security he had developed. Taking the buddy system to a new level, and calling it the Yojimbo system. Each researcher above a certain security clearance would be assigned a personal bodyguard that would always be with them. Aside from these "Yojimbo", there would also be a standard security force to cover general security and such. For the next eight months, I trained and worked. Leaving me with only enough time to eat and a few hours for sleep, but I loved every second of it. I applied for a Yojimbo position, even though I lacked the actual combat experience that was required. I was granted the job anyway, perhaps I impressed the higher-ups? The facility was finished on time, a week ahead of schedule in fact. My body to guard, however, was arriving in two weeks, and declined my offer to fly and meet her in a week. I was afforded a weeks worth of leave, after signing several non-disclosure agreements. My life was making sense, and I was happy. It was around that time they arrived. Extra-Terrestrials. Despite years of the entertainment industry depicting monsters with claws and fangs, their appearance caught us off-guard. They looked like us, or at least they were similar. The facial features were a little off, as well as some biological differences. What the world cared about, however, was their technology. They were willing to share, as long as they gave us no more than a gentle push in the right direction, and we used it for peaceful applications only. With the exception of medical technologies, which they deemed important enough to hand-over and adapt for us. For once, I became involved. While everyone opted to change and follow new paths, I spoke up and out. Too much, too soon. I went unheard, so I let it go. I had my job, a body to keep safe. That body was very busy, and very important.