David heard the commotion when he got close to the kitchen. He could hear Cassandra in a discussion with the chef, his mechanical voice answering her pleas without comprehension.

“All I am asking is that you not make my meals for me. That is all, can you do that,” Cassandra stated. Frustration was in her voice.

“There is no need for you to slave away making your own meals when I am here. That way you can do more of your work and not worry about things.” the chef answered, his mechanical voice showing no sign of any emotion.

“Don’t you understand that there is nothing for me to do here? I have no job and no work, plus there is no point in having you prepare the meals when I am perfectly capable of doing it.”

David stood in the entryway for a moment. He did not know what to do with her. She was going to be quite a disruption to the household. If she was having problems with the chef then she was going to have problems with every other machine he had in the house.

“Cassandra, can I ask you a question?” David said after he had watched for a moment. Cassandra turned around, her hands on her hips. Her face was soft even with the hard lines. David had a moment of déjà vu. It was gone before he had a chance to grab it. “Why are you so opposed to technology? Hema told me that you were living in a non-techno zone. Are you a technophobe?”

“I am nothing of the sort, I currently live in a manual zone, and she might have gotten them confused. Sometimes people from an advanced area do not see the difference.”

David held his hand out in the direction of the table, “Why don’t you sit down and tell me about it while we eat. I know the difference, but I am not even sure that I would know how to tell them apart.”

Tension left Cassandra’s body; David did not seem too bad. Sometimes there was discrimination when it came to the technological beliefs of other people. Cassandra had lived in all four worlds so she knew enough about each of them to understand them. She walked over to the table and sat down across from David. The table was small, only four people would fit. There were only two table settings.

“I guess no one else is joining us for lunch,” Cassandra said.

“That is correct. Alex is out on patrol. Hema is probably out lying in the sun instead of doing her work. The boy is probably hiding,” David said. “So, you were going to tell me about the differences between the zones.”

“Yes, you do know that there are four areas, zones right?” Cassandra asked. She took a bite of the omelet that was on the plate.

“I do, the general names are Amish, Anti, Manual and Advanced. The Amish do not use any sort of technology or electricity.”

“Yes, the Anti only uses basic technology items like lawn mowers, washing machines, laptops, phones and such. It also includes items that still use fossil fuels. The Manual use more advanced items like solar, electric power, and wind power. They will also have homes that will be more efficient and have technology that will help to maintain the conditions in the house like windows that will darken to keep the house cooler in the summer. The manual group though does not see the need for Robots when they can do the work themselves in relative safety.”

“Then there is the Advanced group. They will have robots, like me that cook, clean and just about every other job, thereby, letting the owners do more real work and get things done,” David commented.

“There is that, but there is also the tendency to do nothing. Just spend your days talking with people you will never meet in person, playing videos games. That is why a lot of the people in the advanced group tend to be on the exercise pill to keep their weight down.”

“Not everyone is on the pill in that category. Some of the people do real, actual work. I might not leave this place too often but I do have work that I need to accomplish.”

“I did not say that you were. I have stayed with people in the Advanced group where the children were over two hundred pounds and needed to take a lot of exercise pills just to stay at that weight. They spend all day eating while they do online school, then play games and chat all day. When I asked they said that they had never been outside and they thought that I was strange for suggesting it.”

“I thought cases like that were rare. The family must have had a lot of money in order to afford massive amounts of the exercise pill. I have heard it is quite expensive, probably trying to exploit the wealthy with technology. You do not need to worry about that here. There is a gym in the house. There are also walking trails that can be used when the weather is decent.”

“Walking trails, you have walking trails around here. We must be quite a distance away from the city if you have walking trails. I had not thought to look outside yet to see where we are,” Cassandra commented.

“The house is set on a four hundred acre preserve. I would recommend that until you get your bearings that if you go out on the trail that you take a locator with you. It will help prevent you from getting lost. It is easy especially once it gets dark. The house is not visible at night. There are no external lights. So unless you can read the stars you might be lost for days.”

Cassandra nodded the sheer size of the place made her wonder who this man is, that he has secluded himself and the rest of the household from the rest of the world.

“So, David, you said that I would have answers once we got out of there. I will probably be glad that you came to rescue me, but I wonder what prompted you to come and rescue me.”

“Well, the group that took you we tend to just call the Agency. They do not have an official name even though they are part of the government. It is a secret organization that started out tagging people, apparently with you they have moved to other avenues. They seem to think that you have valuable information and went to great lengths to follow you for a while before taking you.”

“What do you mean following me, how long have they been following me?” Cassandra asked, her flight or fight response had kicked in. “I have been moving around quite a bit recently. I have only been staying in one place for a few weeks, a month at most.”

“I do not know how long they have been watching you. I have only known for a few weeks, when we came across some communication that said they had you. They do not know how to get at the information you know. They seemed sure that any attempt to get the information might lead to your death.”

Cassandra stopped chewing her lunch. She looked like a porcelain statue, frozen in that moment in time. You could visibly see her swallow. “What?”

“Yes, I need to know what they were up to then. So I came in and grabbed you. I am assuming that they are currently looking for us.”

“But, I do not know anything. Why do they think I know something?”

“I think I might have an answer to that,” QT interjected, “I found something in the files.”

David hurriedly shoved the balance of the food into his mouth. Cassandra only starred at the rest of the fruit left on her plate. She was no longer hungry.