The year is 2082, or that’s what Marianne figured from the holographic billboards in the neon-lit street she was walking down. “Get your 2082 gear on with Quasar Fashion.” Marianne avoided eye-contact as she pushed her way through the crowded streets. Instead, her eyes were busy wondering at the flamboyant and colorful gel-like clothes worn by the people all around. It seemed like jeans and hoodies had been abandoned in the past.
And something else that had changed dramatically was the sheer scale of the city. This particular street was once a quiet side road that led to the municipal buildings. Now, the street had colossal glass skyscrapers at either side, that bathed the streets with their neon publicity banners. Marianne’s eyes looked away from the people and narrowed in on the street names coming up ahead. Harlow Street—that was the destination. At that intersection was the National Science Institute, where Marianne needed to collect some solid information to bring back to her time and prove that she truly was the first time-traveler to the future.
“Hold it!” a voice called out. Marianne ignored it. “Hey, I said hold it!.”
Marianne stopped. She looked to her left and saw what appeared to be a police officer mixed with a DJ. Not sure if he really was a cop, Marianne said, “Are you talking to me?”
“This is the Adult District, you can’t be here.”
“Yes, that means adults only. I’m gonna have to ask you to leave this—”
“Wait, wait, wait. I am an adult!” Marianne barked. “Geez, talk about profiling. I just turned 18.”
“I will have to see some ID, then,” said the officer.
ID? Of course Marianne had ID; she got it three months ago when she turned 18. But she wondered what the officer would think when he saw her date of birth, October 1st, 2003. She would be 79-years-old!
“If you have no ID, I’m gonna have to escort you away.”
That could not be. Marianne had to reach that Science building, or her entire trip was for nothing—and time was already running out. So, Marianne reached for her pocket and pulled out her ID—a plastic card with her photo, her name, and her address.
“What’s this?” asked the officer, taking the card. “I said show me your ID. Do you think I’m joking?”
“That is my ID!” Marianne cried and took a step back.
The officer looked at the card. He tried to bend it but stopped when he saw it could break. He tapped it. He turned it over. He even held it under the streetlight. “This is not—hey!”
Marianne darted away, pushing her way through the crowd. People looked at her, bewildered and confused, as she ran by. She could even hear some people say things like, “She’s wearing fabric!”
Then, Marianne heard police sirens follow from behind. It did not take long before people started to point and signal at her. Marianne’s heart began to race. Now she was a fugitive. She looked around frantically for somewhere to evade the pursuers. But she felt like a rat trapped in a cage where the bars were the enormous skyscrapers. Marianne began to feel dizzy with all the bright, flashing neon billboards. But then, she saw a huge Quasar Fashion store across the street. The police sirens were getting closer, so Marianne made a run for it.
Once inside the store, Marianne felt even more out of place. The store was entirely white—walls, floor, and ceiling. There were only a few clothes being displayed in revolving glass columns that reached all the way up to the high ceiling. The brightly dressed, young, beautiful people, whose gender was undefinable, all looked at the girl in the jeans and a hoodie who had entered their store. Marianne felt like she had just walked in the middle of a fashion commercial. She was quite impressed by the strange gel-like clothes on display, but before she let herself marvel in awe, she remembered that the police would soon find her, and she was running out time to get to the Science building.
But what was she going to do? How would she evade the police? There was nowhere to hide in this minimalist store. There were not even shadows being cast by anyone or anything anywhere! If the police came in, Marianne’s only chance was to blend in as a customer. So, she walked up to the first salesperson in sight and said, “Uh, hi! I wanted to, um, check stuff out.”
“Uh, right,” said the salesperson, eyeing her up and down. “Welcome to Quasar Fashion.”
From the corner of her eye, Marianne saw police lights just outside the store. “Thanks! Totally dig the, uh, Quasar thing, you know?”
“And you’re here for?”
“For clothes! Yeah! Uh, what’s… hot?” Marianne wondered why she said it like that.
“Anything you recommend I will literally try on, like—” the blue and red lights were glowing brighter outside, “—right now!” Marianne tried to hide her face with her hair. “I have money!” she added.
“Right,” said the salesperson, struggling to look away from Marianne’s ancient garments. “Well, we have the new Silica Holo-Bodice.”
Marianne could only produce a face of confusion. “A what, now?”
Someone tapped on the glass outside. Marianne did not dare to look. Her heart skipped a beat. “Oh, amazing! Can I—”
“This bodice is made of the finest silica mined from the Quasar Fashion mines in the Kuiper Belt. Its conductive properties are perfect for holographic displays that can be shared via RedTooth.”
“That’s amazing, now can I please try one on? Like, now?”
But it was too late. The doors of the store were slammed open. The police officer came in. Marianne immediately tried to hide behind the salesperson.
“You there, stop!” the officer shouted. “Stop!”
The salesperson raised their arms in the air and sidestepped, revealing Marianne. Marianne tried to run toward the door, but it was blocked by two officers. The officers surrounded her. Marianne had nowhere to go, nowhere to run, nowhere to escape. She closed her eyes and tossed and turned and—
She awoke. The bright lights of the laboratory blinded her. She saw the people looking at her from the glass outside the room. As she sat up, she saw Dr. Cruz.
“Well?” said the doctor, who was adjusting weird instruments that were connected to Marianne’s head. “Did you bring anything back?”
Marianne was not yet in her senses. “Back? Back where?”
“The present. Did you get anything?”
“Proof?” Marianne looked around. She was attached to a machine.
“Information that proves that you really went to the future in your dream!”
And then it her. The experiment with Doctor Cruz, of course! The whole world was watching. But now that she recalled the dream, Marianne was terrified to remember that she never reached the science building. She failed to recover any equations or scientific data that would conclusively prove—but wait!
“I knew this was a big waste of time,” said the Doctor.
“No wait!” Marianne begged. Of course, she had brought information. And not only that, she could lay claim to starting an awesome fashion brand! “Quasar Fashion mines in the Kuiper Belt. Year 2082 A.D.”