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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Short story teaser - The SHIELD by Maria K.

- It is absolutely out of the question. The place is tiny as is! And now you drag this enormous... thing in here.

- Aww, come on, honey. It's not that bad, we can reshuffle things a bit – it will fit just fine. Besides, it was an awfully good deal. They were practically giving them away free.

Lynn stood in the middle of her miniscule combined living / dining area looking helplessly up at her husband. Yes, boys would be boys when it came to gadgets. And this boy had caught the technobug at the age of six when he received his first iPod for Christmas. But this was getting ridiculous.

She had resisted the SHIELD craze for as long as she possibly could, although Chris did manage to talk her into getting a small one for Ben, arguing that it was just the thing to develop the kid's imagination. Why it needed developing, Lynn had no idea, as her son was a master of make-belief since he was little. She gave in, hoping that having one SHIELD in the house would satisfy Chris's notion of being up-to-date on the latest and keep the influx of other gadgetry to a minimum. She was wrong.

The latest and greatest super-SHIELD three-seat monstrosity was now sitting in the middle of their living room, occupying nearly a third of it and ruining the clean classic d├ęcor Lynn had worked so hard to establish. Chris was already settling into one of the seats.

- Ooh, this is comfy. You should try this, Lynn, really! The mindstream quality is supposed to be superb, and they've expanded the scenario interpretation functionality way beyond the previous model. We could use it separately, or have, like, family nights with all three of us.

- Why can't we just read?

- But honey, this is better than reading! It's like reading on steroids. Like being in a book. Come on – at least give it a shot.

Chris gave her one of his most child-like blue-eyed looks. She knew she had lost the battle. Lynn couldn't remember how many times their son had used this very same look when in trouble or when asking for something he knew he shouldn't have. He had clearly inherited it from his father, and they both used the technique to bend her to their will. At least Ben wasn't here to witness this latest humiliation.

Technically, Chris was right. The SHIELD – SensTech High Intensity Entertainment and Learning Device – really was a remarkable invention. The device was introduced by a company called SensTech that specialized in brain-wave scanning equipment and related technologies. It started off as an aid to forecasters and risk analysts to help them visualize potential trends and disaster scenarios. Instead of having them use traditional software to manually plug in scenario parameters and replay them multiple times, tweaking one factor at a time, the device was tuned to read and interpret the scenarios directly from each individual analyst's mind. Dozens of possibilities could be explored and discarded within minutes, allowing the analysts to narrow down their selection to only the most likely or the most risky scenarios.

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The SHIELD is now available on

- Smashwords
- Amazon Kindle
- Barnes and Noble NOOK

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