Earl L. Shandry, leader of Team Lucas, walked into his climbing tower. He was sheened with sweat and breathing the way Lucas prescribed after 20 minutes on his brand new Multi-Exerciser. Post-aerobic, he took long, slow and very deep breaths. It was an optimal recovery breathing pattern, designed by Lucas, to follow the Short Program on the Multi..
The rope climb was the final step. Up and down the two-inch thick hemp rope ten meters in the half tuck climbing position, then again in the arched position. Lucas had suggested the arched position as optimum back and butt exercise after some kinesiology modeling. It had been a bitch for Shandry to do at first. Now it just felt good, and his butt was looking better already.
Five minutes of slow cool-down stretches, and the workout was over. Shandry felt marvelous. Workouts were always a significant part of his life, islands of peaceful mind in the stormy seas of his overclocked intellect. ADHD, the family pediatrician called it in a third grade diagnosis. Long, hard runs, sometimes clear around the small town where Shandry was raised, would relax the boy after a day in coiled frustration at the town’s one primary school.
In high school he was a multi-sport jock. His letter jacket was covered with medallions. Now, at forty years old, he sailed his stormy mental seas with aplomb, and still valued regular, hard workouts for their unwinding powers. Therapeutic, aerobic rest stops they were.
Adjacent to the climbing tower was a ceramic-tiled shower room. Its sensors saw him coming and turned on the lights. Brilliant whiteness welcomed him as Shandry walked through the air curtain. Bright light of a certain spectral combination just after max effort exercise has a beneficial effect on the vagus nerve, he had learned from Lucas. Shandry noticed a definite positive reaction the very first time he entered the shower room after the lights were installed. Again it was a Lucas prescription. The white tiles were the perfect complement, but that was just accidental.
Five shower heads unleashed on him as he stepped into the shower, tracking their sprays and gushes over his body, avoiding the sensitive bits with anything too strong. Waves of varying temperature water coursed up and down and around him like colored lights on a Las Vegas fountain. When he shut his eyes and just felt the temperature patterns, he could see the swirls and cascades coming from the ingenious nozzles. Controlled synesthesia, a trick Lucas had shown him in a hypno-training session, guided his perceptions.
Shandry told the shower to go through end-pattern 3, thirty seconds of a hundred and four degrees all over, then glissanding down in a ten-second sweep to a jarring fifty degrees. Then off. Number 3 was his default finish.
A thick, oversized towel was on the cantilevered counter in front of the full wall mirror. He dried vigorously, watching himself in the mirror, then he stepped under the air bath for the final evaporation and banning of dampness. He enjoyed the powdery dry that the air bath could accomplish, and he liked the way it left his hair, just perfectly scrambled for its two-inch length.
His cheeks, jaw, chin and neck were as smooth as his shoulders. No shaving for the last six months had done wonders for his skin quality. He did not miss his five o’clock shadow, nor shaving. His beard, when he let it grow, was very Irish, thick and shapeable. Now he was beardless as a baby, following a supplement and electro-stim regimen Lucas suggested. He had decided to go clean part of the time, and grow his beard now and then when he felt like it. At the moment, he was quite satisfied with the no-shave-clean-shaved look and feel. The technique clearly had huge commercial potential, but Shandry strenuously avoided the distraction of wealth-creating opportunities falling out of Lucas every day. His eyes had to stay on the prize. A billion bucks almost matched the joy of winning, both big priority drivers.
The three others on the team were unaware that Shandry had this much private communication with Lucas and was actually using Lucas’s ideas in practical matters. Perhaps the others had their own Lucas secrets, thought Shandry. Perhaps he should tell them about his.
Robo the Rolling Robot wheeled into the shower room with Shandry’s clothes. It’s otherwise silent tires made small squeaks on the tile floor.
“Meeting with the team in twenty-two minutes,” said Robo, in Lucas’s voice.
Shandry put on clean sweats and walked out of the shower room barefooted. He walked across the floor of the climbing tower, slapping the heavy rope, sending a sine wave up to the top disk and back.
As he left, the air bath aimed a nozzle at the towel he had dropped on the floor and flew it into the hamper panel in the wall. Robo rolled away on another task. The special spectrum lights turned off. Lucas had reprogrammed the household AIs for Shandry, a minor violation of the security standards, he thought, then brushed the thought away.