All work and world negotiations take place in virtual reality, called the Realty Cloud – run and organized by men. Charity Northquest knows that her future is set – marriage at 18, babies, and the same struggle over dwindling resources that her mother faced daily.
But there is another way. And Charity accidentally becomes one of the girls the women of the Time Cult send back in time. Charity has only 100 hours in the past to make the right change that will create a better future. Or she will stay stuck in the past forever?
The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.
–B. F. Skinner
She nodded and thought furiously. She turned her head to take in the scene and search for inspiration. She had no home, she had nowhere to go, and she was tired, bone deep tired.
He watched her carefully. She didn’t blurt out any extraneous information did she? Clever girl.
Charity’s mind raced, and the track, she realized, did not have much in the way of signposts. So all those women, ALL those old women in the Old Women’s Home had tried this. They weren’t elderly at all, or at least they hadn’t aged in her lifetime. And either they didn’t find the key or, as she was slowly realizing, they did. But how can you know? You don’t, unless you return at the very last minute to see what happened.
But is that the whole of an existence? And what if they didn’t fail?
Charity offered a weak smile. “I don’t have a home here. I ran away.”