Donnor was bored. The hospital staff wouldn’t let him dance, or play interactive vids or ping his friends, or even pull his feeds and sort the news from the trivia. In fact, his brain-tenna was automatically tuned out when he entered the facility and would not resume broadcast until he left the building. No wonder so many people died in this place – boredom is a killer!
Leaving his Mother at his Grandmother’s bedside, Donnor wandered the halls looking for anything to take his attention off the mind-numbing quiet. No music. No background commentary, not even any ad-vids to break the monotony - just corridor after corridor of artificially homey décor, steroid enhanced plants and soothing colors.
It was completely rankerous, Donnor thought, that the hospital employees were allowed to keep their brain-tennas tuned in – even if only to Government approved channels. He slouched down the halls kicking out at random planters, carts and dispensing stations, wishing he was anywhere rather than here.
Turning a corner Donnor came up against a door clearly marked ‘White Coats, Pink & Whites and Mothers only beyond this point’.
Finally! Here was something to get his mind off the lack of brain-tainment. Donnor had never been able to resist the temptation of the forbidden. From the time he was a little kid he was drawn to the things he was denied by his Mother or the Watchers. Tell him he was not to climb trees and he went into full monkey mode. Mention that the school was off limits after dark and it became his night-time haunt.
“One of these days,” was his Mother’s constant litany, “you are going to get into trouble you can’t get out of.”
Shaking off the ghost of her warning, Donnor considered the security pad on the door in front of him. It was a flex-plastic palm reader that read not only the lines of the palm, but the contours of the hand. Not easy to fool. Of course, in the vids you would just mob some unsuspecting Doctor, knock her out (or chop off her hand if you were violently inclined) and use her hand to gain access.
There was no real way to just sneak through when someone else opened the door – the entrance censor would sound the intruder alert. He moved back to a position across the hall and slid to the floor next to a giant violet. The 2 meter high blooms gave him great cover, and if anyone did notice him, with his spiky black hair and slumped posture, he would just look like another bored teenager.
The longer Donnor stared at the door the more intrigued he became. Unlike other similar passage doors in the hospital, this door had no plexi-panes to allow you to see the hallway beyond.
Whenever a Doctor approached, they checked the hallway behind to ensure they weren’t watched before pressing their hand into the flexi reader. The doors slid open for the briefest of moments, revealing a flash of electra-sun washed space before sliding firmly closed again.
For the supplies carts the doors did not slide back at all. As the self propelled carts arrived, a port appeared in the left hand door only fractionally bigger than the cart itself. The cart whisked through, and the port closed seamlessly into the door once again. The fit was so perfect that not even a glint of sun-light bled through.
Donnor sat and studied the door for a long time. By now his Mother would have finished her visit with his Grandmother and would probably have headed to the Vac without him. He had been riding the Vacuum cars on his own since he was 8, and she was used to him disappearing. As long as he made it home before general curfew was sounded she never worried too much.
As afternoon turned to evening an idea gradually began to dawn – it would involve some vandalism and destruction of hospital property, and it might mean a spell in deten if he got caught, but the intrigue was too much to bear. Donnor had to see what was on the other side of those doors – he would take his chancequences.