Night Out On The Town

The image above comes from snati89’s DeviantArt Page.

 

“Excuse me, I have detected that your phone is at a low battery percentage. Do you need a charge?”

I looked up from my phone and turned towards the voice. At first I thought that someone was talking to me. This was a pretty busy outdoor mall. There were many people walking around and going about their business.

However, it was not a person, but a floating robot asking me the question.

“Oh, thank you…yeah sure,” I said.

“I have detected that your phone is an iPhone 14. Is that correct?” The robot asked.

“Correct,” I responded.

“Excellent,” The robot then opened a hatch and a charging cord came out of the robot.

“Thank you.”

I took the cord and plugged it into my phone.

“You are welcome,” The robot said. “If you need any further assistance or any questions about the Connection Point Project, feel free to ask and I will be able to assist you.”

“Thanks,” I said looking back down at my phone.

The Connection Point Project was the latest wide-scale collaboration between the Japanese Government and The NTT Communications Corporation to bring people together using technology. They released hundreds of these helper drones that floated around the city. They provide services like emitting free WiFi, showing a map of the city, and charging phones. They also provide information about nearby tourist attractions, cafes, restaurants, and other things for people visiting. During the second year, they expanded the pilot program to several other cities and included the ability to contact medical services or the police in case of emergency. There has also been a big upgrade to the AI in the robots and their ability to detect things around them.

Some people see them as controversial because they have been given things like face recognition and the ability to detect electronic devices around them. Old people like my parents think the government is using them to steal our fingerprints while others worry that they cause cancer. Young people, like myself, thought they were cool at first, but they kind of blend into the background. Just another blinking light.

“Are you in any need of food? I know some great spots nearby,” The CPP Drone said.

“No thank you, I’m here meeting someone. Then we’re going out together,” I replied without taking my eyes off my phone.

I scrolled through my Lantern account. Nowadays it was mostly wanna be models, rehashed jokes from 2018, advertisements, and old people who didn’t know how to use social media. However my Lantern page was mostly filled with people talking about the reunification of Korea and the newest Marvel Movie Coming Out. Apparently they are rebooting X-men again. Ugh.

I heard the putting sound and I looked up from my phone. There on his scooter was Hiroshi.

He got off his bike and pulled off the helmet setting it on the handlebars.

“Miku!” He waved at me.

I walked forward and the CPP Drone floated along with me.

“Hiroshi, what took you so long?” I asked him.

“Sorry about that. My sister moved into an apartment across town. It became a much larger hassle than I originally thought. There was quite a bit to move. But I got here as soon as I could.”

“You could have gave me some warning,” I held up my phone. “Send a message. Ever heard of it?”

“Yeah, right. I should have. I was just so busy and I thought I could make it. What time is it anyway?”

“The current time is 8:37 PM local time,” The CPP Drone lit up showing the time.

“Thirty seven minutes late. That’s worse than I thought,” Hiroshi said.

“It’s fine,” I said even though it was not fine.

Hiroshi had a tendency to be late.

“I’ll make it up to you! I promise,” He said with a slight smile. “We still have plenty of time for our date.”

“Can I interest you in some information about nearby events?” The CPP Drone lit up again.

“Uh…no thanks,” Hiroshi said.

“Just ask if you need anything from me,” The CPP Drone said.

I folded my arms and scowled at Hiroshi.

“Come on, Miku! Let me make it up to you,” Hiroshi said.

He gave me this look that reminded me of a puppy dog. His eyes grew large and I swear his lip quivered a bit.

I rolled my eyes and let out a small sigh.

“It better be good,” I said.

“It will! It will!” Hiroshi said bouncing on his heels.

“Fine,” I said with a small smile.

Sometimes Hiroshi got on my nerves, but he always made me smile. I know he cared about me.

“Hop on,” Hiroshi gestured towards his scooter.

I unplugged my phone from the CPP Drone.

“Thank you,” I gave the drone a small bow.

“Thank you for using this service. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you,” The CPP Drone said.

There was a small beep on my phone.

“I have sent you a quick survey for you to fill out at your convenience on my service and how it can be improved,” The CPP Drone said.

“Yeah, sure,” I said slipping my phone into my pocket.

I then hoped onto Hiroshi’s scooter. He handed me his helmet which I put on and snapped the chin strap under my chin.

I wrapped my arms around Hiroshi’s waist as we took off down the street. There was a lot of foot traffic, but not a lot of cars on the roads. Most people maneuvered downtown by walking or using a bicycle or scooter like Hiroshi. We had no problem going through the city.

I pressed my head against Hiroshi’s back and I smelled his cologne. He always smelled like the inside of a new book. It was my favorite smell.

Then I looked out into the city. The city was beautiful at night. Downtown was full of little shops as well as skyscrapers that touched the clouds. It was a modern city but it still had some of it’s old-fashioned charm. Some of my favorite places in the city were ancient temples and the old parts of the city. Hiroshi on the other hand loved the modern stuff. The floating drones, self-driving cars, moving sidewalks, and holographic billboards. He loved it all.

“So where are we going?” I tapped Hiroshi on the shoulder.

“There’s a new place that opened up. It’s a cafe, but they have a bunch of retro video games. Old stuff like the Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, and Play Station 3.”

I scowled, but Hiroshi couldn’t see it.

“You said that I was going to enjoy this,” I said.

“Hold on, I haven’t gotten to the best part,” He said.

“Ok.”

“Well last time I had you over at my place you mentioned that you used to play Dance Dance Revolution.”

“Yeah. Sure,” I said.

“Let’s kick some nerd butt,” He said with a laugh.

We pulled up outside this brick and mortar building. Hiroshi parked his scooter on the side. There was EDM music playing outside.

Hiroshi grabbed my hand and we walked into the store.

Immediately I was hit with flashing lights and the loud EDM music. There were people moving between arcade machines, gaming consoles, and other gaming stations.

“Hello, hello,” This man at the front desk welcomed us.

“Hello,” Hiroshi said. “Is this where we play retro video games?”

“If you’d like,” The man said. “You pay for an armband and you can play as many games as you like.”

“Awesome,” Hiroshi paid for two arm bands and we walked into the shop.

Quickly Hiroshi dragged me past the arcade video game cabinets and to the Dance Dance Revolution machines near the back of the shop. Currently there was no one playing so we stepped right up.

“You ready for this?” He asked me.

I removed my heels placing them off to the side.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve played this,” I said.

“Don’t worry. It’s like riding a bike. You’ll pick it up in no time,” He smiled. “We’ll start slow.”

He used his feet and the arrow pad beneath him to select a song. We started out on Easy. The song started playing and we were quickly dancing around the arrow pad as the music played. All of those childhood memories rushed back to me as I stepped in rhythm.

After the first song I had scored a B ranking and he had scored a C. Both of us were already breathing hard.

“You get quite a workout doing this,” He said.

“Yeah it’s more work than I remember,” I laughed.

“Come on, let’s step it up a notch,” He said selecting a faster song and a harder difficulty.

For the next few hours we danced, laughed, and danced some more. I was really getting into rhythm and scored at least a B on every song. Hiroshi on the other hand jumped into the A range and dipped into the D range depending on the song. Many times my Dance Dance Revolution skills saved us both from failing the song.

After we had tired from played Dance Dance Revolution, we played some of the other video games. Hiroshi showed me the first few levels of Super Mario 64 on an original Nintendo 64 and we even played some one on one in Halo 3. I was a natural with a rocket launcher. We also played some obscure games I had never heard before. Strange rhythm games you played with your hands like drums. Another involved spinning discs like a DJ. Neither of us were very good at that.

Around midnight we poured out into the street laughing and exhausted.

“You know what? That was fun,” I said to Hiroshi.

“I’m glad you had a good time,” He said holding my hand.

I checked the time on my phone.

“You know, I have tomorrow off work? We could stay out for a little longer,” I said.

He smiled.

“Ok. What do you have in mind?” He asked.

“I’m starving,” I said placing my other hand on my stomach.

Almost on command, his stomach grumbled.

“I haven’t eaten anything all day. Plus Dancing really made me hungry,” He said.

“Then let’s go get some food,” I said.

“I wonder what’s around here.”

“There!” I pointed to a roaming CPP Drone. “Let’s ask the robot.”

We walked over to the drone, leaving Hiroshi’s scooter parked, and engaged with the robot.

“Hello. Can I offer you some assistance?” The CPP Drone asked.

“Yes you can,” I said. “Can you tell me if there are any restaurants nearby that are opened this late?”

“Of course. One moment please,” The CPP Drone’s screen lit up and a little sushi roll appeared. The sushi roll dance and swayed for a moment before the screen switched to a map display with all the restaurants highlighted.

“What are you thinking, Hiroshi?” I asked.

“Doesn’t matter to me,” He said with a smile.

“Oooh there’s a frozen yogurt place around the corner. That sounds good,” I smiled at him.

“Frozen yogurt sounds great,” He nodded.

“Frozen yogurt it is!”

“Wonderful. I’m glad I could help you find a restaurant of your choosing. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“No thank you, but I appreciate your assistance,” I gave a small bow to the CPP Drone.

“Thank you for using this service. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you,” The CPP Drone said.

Again, there was a small beep on my phone which was muffled by my phone.

“I have sent you a quick survey for you to fill out at your convenience on my service and how it can be improved,” The CPP Drone said.

Hiroshi and I got back on his scooter and rode it a block to the frozen yogurt place. It was one of those self serve places that were popular in the early 2010’s. I guess they were gaining popularity once again.

It wasn’t super busy, but of course it was approaching 1 AM.

Hiroshi and I found a nice spot that let us look out into the city. I got a mix of peach and vanilla coated with rainbow sprinkles, while Hiroshi got straight strawberry. It was delicious.

We ate our frozen yogurt and chatted for a while. I told Hiroshi all about my day and then he told me about his. I was great catching up with him. We were always so busy, that it made nights like tonight even more important.

I gave him a kiss on the cheek and rested my head on his shoulder.

“What was that for?” He asked.

“Thanks for showing me a great night,” I said.

He leaned his head against mine.

“You’re welcome, Miku.”

“I love you,” I said closing my eyes.

“I love you too,” He said.

 

 


Header Photo Credit to snati89’s DeviantArt Page
Phone charger

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