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Monday, March 10, 2008

Tales of the Cypherpunk 17

index

"How old are you?"

"Twenty-nine?"

"How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Thirty."

"Uhh, Shy, are you sure-"

"Shut up!" His eyes focused on Betty, her face scrunched up in a cute, demonic frown. "Oh, I wasn't talking to you."

They sat alone in a back room. Shilo lay on a plastic bunk, propped up on fluffy white pillows, half covered by a white polyester sheet. Betty sat next to him. Three other dusty plastic bunk beds lined the three other walls. A clear cup half full of orange liquid sat on the floor.

"You need to reboot your image more often. Every time you do it you're shutting off alarms and talking to it. Why don't you disable the talking?"

"I like the audio announcements. Also my subscribers like them, so I'd have to debug two mods."

"But you always turn them off."

Shilo shrugged.

"It won't be funny when it crashes one day and your brain gets fried."

"I don't think that can hap-"

"And mo, those pills can give you a heart attack! What if you die? Our profits will go down."

"And then you won't get your upgrades?"

"Exactly, I'll have to scrape by with flesh and bone like the rest of you."

"Betty.. I wouldn't let that happen."

His face softened under the fluorescent light. Limp black hair slid from his forehead. Brown eyes traveled down Betty's bare shoulder, smooth arm to the hand that now rested on his. "We'll both be fine."

"You have your health and you go out and risk it. Why?"

"..to be the best. It seems like.. history's over, so what do we have to do? Your job is more dangerous than mine. And it's not like.. you're not alive now."

Betty turned to the side. Her gray eyes found something far away in the small room. "Are you sure you... if you got out, you could probably settle down and.. get married, have a house and not get shot at."

In the distance, the boss yelled. It carried through the walls, muted. Dawn had arrived.

"I've thought about it. The money's too good. And I wouldn't leave you and get married. You guys. I wouldn't leave you guys."

"Drink your juice."

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