Ah, man, I was knocked out again, wasn’t I?
Ah, man, I was knocked out again, wasn’t I?
He’s not speaking.
He’s just raising his palm forward at us. I don’t think Moonslash is playing around at this point.
“I think we should settle all of this like rational adults,” I say. “Maybe it’s time to talk it out–”
“You think a piece of filth like you is going to thwart me, a Cybermancer, by going to the Data Farm? I BUILT the Data Farm. This place’s my flesh and blood.” He continues pointing menacingly at Karina and me, and our buddy DODF too I guess, who continues standing at the reception desk.
“Hurry it up,” Karina says.
We’re walking to the Data Farm. My legs are all still wobbly from the experience of travelling on the rocket highway lane, and partially from the terror of one of my skates nearly giving out inexplicably.
“I’ll go as fast as I damn please,” I answer.
“Oh come on,” Karina says. “What’s got you in a mood?”
With a sickness mask, sunglasses, and a winter scarf wrapped around my neck, Karina and I walk towards the highway entrance. The bright afternoon sun is shining down and scorching me, but that’s okay for now.
So far, no robots to harass me. No middle aged dudes with trench coats stalking me. This disguise, while making me seem like the Invisible Being from Outer Space trying to fit into society, has been flawless so far. Being a doofus is an acceptable outcome.
Day three of being holed up in Karina’s house.
After the police finished questioning me for potentially being an on-the-run murderer, they inspected those huge packages in front of my apartment and found trace amounts of explosive material inside. I’ve been highly encouraged to seek shelter in Karina’s house for the time being, a place further away from my normal routine and not somewhere that the Bidbay auction robots have much chance of finding me.
Being once again forced out of my place is what blows. And I’m going to be missing out on half of a paycheck because of this. Whatever trials the Cybermancer may have given me, I have certainly succumbed to them.
I stare at the robot.
“One caesar salad, please,” I repeat.
But it simply stares forward as if I do not exist.
This would be one thing if this were just a glitch in its programming. But this is not the first time the Soup’n ‘n Green’n robot has given me the cold, metallic shoulder. In fact, it is the third day in a row.
And it is the same for every restaurant in the food court.
“The evolution of the lightbulb sure has taken some interesting turns. We had those incandescent bulbs for a long time, but then it turned out they just weren’t very efficient, so they made everyone get fluorescent bulbs, then just a few years later they’re all up and saying LED bulbs are the best bet. It wasn’t twenty years ago that you’d walk into a store and ask for a lightbulb, and that’s it. Now there’s so many options that it’s going to turn into a new fad, like, fan clubs for different lightbulbs and such. Maybe they’ll make a TV show about all the types of lightbulbs represented as cute high school girls. That will raise interest in the issue.”
“Chuck, we really need to stay focused here,” I say. “Can you tell me anything about what I should do to stop all of this?”
“Huh? What were we talking about again?”
“I’m Moonslash, the famous Cybermancer, terror of Atlanta!” Edd Rockatansky shouts. Well, I guess Edd is probably an alias now that I actually say the name out loud. It definitely cries “really fake identity I used to fool my employers.”
Oh, I’m not dead.
Deep in the Innovation District of Atlanta, there is a certain tech shop close to a certain apartment complex, a few blocks down from a certain convenience store.
It is said that in that tech shop, anything could be found if one were to look long and hard enough, that it is the place where lost or discarded items end up as per the Law of the Recycle.
There is rumor and hearsay about its management and its history. Some say they remember the shop being around as far back as the Second World War. Others swear that its owner is a mere holographic projection.
When searching Nostradamus’s texts of prophecies forged centuries ago, some have found a striking similarity to one of his quatrains about an endless void of unlimited supply, and believe this to be related to our present-day situation.
And in such a place of endless abundance of chatter, the legends may actually measure up to reality. No-one can be certain what will be found within.
That certain tech shop is known as Chuck’s Tech Emporium.