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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tales of the Cypherpunk 13


Shilo clung to a slick glass facade nearly a thousand meters above the abyss.

Moe left the coffee shop with intel that money, apparently, could not buy.

Betty dusted a lamp.

The city was fairly free of dirt, but the chemicals in the air had a tendency to condense and congeal any time the weather changed. True, the city never rained; a constant updraft of warm, dry air from two hundred kilometers of sprawl deflected and absorbed precipitation. Even the humidity was somewhat regulated. The only real changes came twice a year when the outside temperature was pleasant; it was as if a thousand air conditioners cried out in fear and were suddenly silenced.

Air pressure could change, and temperature could change, and in the toxic soup of the Eternal Now, any change meant chemical reaction.

The practical result was a greasy film on most surfaces.
Dust was obsolete, deprecated in the most current version.

Betty dusted a plant.

The street outside was busy. Capacity in the city center was too valuable to be left fallow at night. Here, behind the giant window that marked Tom's Travel Agency, an unnamed dispute resolution firm carried on its business. What, exactly, were they doing? Were they administrative staff for an army of hackers, bodyguards and assassins? Were they virtual arbitrators? Did they arrange vacation packages for innocent travelers?

T-Rex finished his inventory of the cyphers' equipment. It was divided, not by item, but by cypher. Shilo had by far the largest lot, as per his mission and status. T-Rex tapped his pad and the full report was generated. By the time he returned to his desk, inventory charges were entered into the financial statements.

William sat slumped, drooling, twitching, wearing a pair of opaque goggles. Suction cups decorated his bare arms and chest. He gave orders to a group of uniforms, somewhere under a blazing sun. They suffered no casualties.

Betty dusted. She was on call.


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