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Reading Section

I Prefer Chocolate - Chapter 1

World-Plex - Chapter Preview

Please read the following sample from the World-Plex novel.



Michael J Bell

Copyright © 2013 Michael J Bell All rights reserved


The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.


No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.


If you would like to communicate with the author, please visit:



Chapter 1

The Water-Way Tube

A massive pyramidal structure stood beaming into the upper levels of the atmosphere. Tabulated into levels and containing a maze-like array of structures, the Inner-core of the World-Plex was the first of the two-stage build. An integration process was underway and a group of individuals from around the world had been placed into tour groups to beta-test the World-Plex experience. These were the initial steps for the systematic relocation of the Earth’s human population.


Numerous changes had occurred towards the end of the twenty-first century. International air travel had been replaced by an interconnected system of underwater travel capsules referred to as water-way travel. This simple, yet elaborate system, transported small to large groups of passengers interconnected tubes around the world.


Michael, a freelance writer in his late twenties from Australia patiently sat in his tour capsule surrounded by a small group of tour members. He was 6 feet 2 inches, slender with razor-sharp features and his crisp bright green hazel eyes often held an intense gaze. Sitting from his water-tube window seat, all he could see was a blurred image of sea life frozen in time. The air was cool, and the surrounding banter was cheerful. Although he enjoyed the calming effect of water travel, he was struck by a host of conflicting emotions. This was a confusing time for Michael. The prospect of being removed from his current predictable life brought feelings of thrill and excitement together with a sense of unease and uncertainty. ‘At least I will be able to see the inside of the World-Plex before relocation’, he reassured himself.


Dream, a woman in her mid-20’s sat in the seat next to Michael. Although often referred to as ‘curvy’ her body was slender, and her features were easily noticeable in her preferred choice of skin-tight clothes. Her long wavy hair was deep red, and her eyes were blue, and, on this occasion, she wore a dark shade of blue one-piece outfit that stopped at her knees. Throughout the trip, Dream had been making eye contact with Michael whenever she caught him looking away from the window. Finally, she had built up the courage to say something and gently placed her hand on his arm, ‘My name is ‘Dream.’


Michael turned slightly to face her direction noticing her red hair and seductive deep brown eyes. He nervously nodded and then turned back to stare at the endless sea life rushing past his water-tube window seat.


Dream was a little shocked by his lack of response but didn’t take it personally. She had guessed that he was nervous about the future.


Michael's mind was travelling, and a feeling of uncertainty grew deep within. He began thinking about the various moments of his life and how everything will suddenly change. ‘How could I spend my life inside a building?’, he thought to himself. At that moment he turned to Dream and spoke, ‘‘We will ever be allowed to go outside?’


Dream stared in confusion, a little surprised that these were his first words to her. She assumed that he must have been suffering from anxiety.


Kirk, a stocky man wearing an orange shirt and silky black pants sat behind them. Staring at the woman almost the whole trip, he was just waiting for an opportunity to introduce himself.


He leaned forward to speak, ‘Dream, would you like a window seat?’


His voice was deep, and his eyes were a crisp bright blue. As he stared, time became frozen.


‘No. I’m fine, but thanks for asking. I’m happy with the view that I have now. With that, she turned and smiled in Michael’s direction.

Kirk was not surprised by the young woman’s reaction nor was he jealous. All he wanted was an acknowledgement and a chance to join their conversation. He leaned back in his seat and began tapping on a console to browse the beverage menu.


Michael was lost in his own thoughts but was conscious of the interactions around him. He knew that this young lady wanted his attention, and he was even feeling a little excited about it. Finally, he turned and made eye contact with her and spoke again, ‘My name is Michael’. He then turned to the red-bearded man behind them and acknowledged him with a slight nod. ‘Kirk,’ he nodded back. ‘Coffee?’


‘Sure, why not?’


Kirk found that he was extremely attracted to the young lady sitting beside Michael. He couldn’t help but notice her peculiar lavender fragrance when a sudden thought came to him which made him almost chuckle, ‘This scent seems to almost put me in a dream state’. He grinned with excitement and began tapping on his console once more. Within moments a cup filled with coffee arrived from a chute in each of their consoles. It was at that point that Michael and Dream spun around in their seats and the three of them began to discuss the World-Plex.


Michael spoke, ‘How would it be any different?’. The two stared at him in silence.


‘Well, I mean, it’s just meant to be the same, right? The same as living indoors in the real world?’


‘What do you mean by ‘real world?’’, asked Kirk. 


Michael who was now leaning sideways in his chair took a moment before responding, ‘The World-Plex is mostly indoors. We have a key to the outside world. In the World-Plex we won’t have this key.’


The three of them sat in silence as they felt the reality of that statement. ‘Is it really true that we won’t be able to leave?’, Dream asked?


Kirk nodded in agreement, ‘It’s true.’


‘I’m not concerned about that’, Dream said waving her hand in front of her.


‘What are you concerned about, dear?’ Kirk asked.


‘How will the shopping experience change? Will it be the same or better?’


The three of them chuckled.


Kirk realised that Dream must not have read enough about the World-Plex to know that traditional shopping would be still available.


‘Shopping will be the same and better’, Kirk informed.


Dream leaned back a little in surprise, ‘Really? How so?’.


‘Shopping does, in fact, exist in the World-Plex but there will also be another option for purchasing goods.’


Dream glanced over at Michael who nodded in agreeance.


‘You see’, Michael began, ‘goods will be delivered to people’s homes directly via a kind of automated suction tube and these goods will be free. Yet at the same time, you will be able to go out and shop as usual.’


‘For free?’


‘Yes, everyone will be given credits’, Michael answered.


‘And where will all these free goods come from?’


‘Underground machines, my dear’, Kirk explained. ‘The outside world’s resources will be sought and processed by machines that source and produce goods without the need for human labour’.


Dream momentarily pondered these ideas while another thought came to her, ‘Michael, are you married?’


Michael chuckled instantly.


‘What are you laughing at?’ Dream demanded with an eyebrow raised.


‘Here I am sitting alone on my way to the inner-core of the World-Plex,’ Michael said with a nervous grin.


‘So, you’re not….’ a smile came to her lips.


‘She certainly isn’t shy but why is this extremely attractive young woman showing interest in me?’ Michael thought to himself.


He angled his head towards the window and gazed directly into the deep waters rushing past. The haze of water and sea life whizzed past and not a single detail could be identified. Michael felt a sudden moment of calm when suddenly a loud message came on the console giving him a burst of anxiety: ‘Arrival time is near. Please prepare for departure’. The mood on the tube was one of excitement and wonder as passengers began to shuffle around.


Kirk watched Dream pay close attention to Michael’s every movement. He could read the situation well. ‘Dream, how about giving young Michael here your contact number? After all, it would be a shame to lose contact.’


Michael turned and saw Kirk grinning.


‘Sure. Why not?’ She reached inside a small red handbag which was placed on her lap and pulled out a card. ‘All my details are here’ she said and handed it to Michael. Instantly, he began to examine it closely.


The text ‘Find Your Dream’ was printed on the card and overlayed with a sprawling entanglement of vines.


‘Dating agency?’ Michael queried.


Without responding, Dream, once again reached into her bag and produced another card and handed it to Kirk.


‘Dear, how would you like to swap seats with me. Give Michael and me a chance to acquaint ourselves. If so, we’d better act quick before our belts are automatically locked.’


Dream nodded and stood up with her red bag hung over her shoulder, ‘Be sure to stay in contact if Michael feels too shy.’


Kirk stood up, and the two crossed past each other. Dream was staring directly at him as she squeezed past his bulky exterior while Kirk deliberately held her hip on his way past her. As he did so, she quickly brushed her fingers across his stomach until crossing over. Dream sat in the bulky man’s warm seat and began to quietly tune herself into the wireless entertainment system provided by the tube.


‘What was all that about?’ Michael asked as the big man sat down next to him.


‘Just being friendly, Michael’.


Kirk held the card in his hand looking at it curiously.


‘Why not just contact her, Michael? It could be interesting.

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