Saturday, May 7

Fragment 1

Perhaps a little back story: my grandmother, Sophia, taught Greek and Norse mythology at the local college. Why she chose to write a science fiction story, I have no idea (she never showed it to anyone, but I don't know if that's because she was ashamed of it or because she never finished it). Anyway, after her funeral, when my parents went through her big house, that's when I found the notebooks. The chapters (written like entries in a journal) are called "fragments" for some reason.

Anyway, here is Fragment 1:

They call me the Stray. That's what I am. An animal who ran away from her home. It wasn't my home though. The sprawl is my home. I can feel its fingers reaching upward sometimes. Trying to tear down the sky.
I get my jobs from Guillemet on the grid. This time, he sent me a secure flashline and when I accepted, his thin face showed up. <<Hey, Stray,>> he said. <<Got a jump-job for you. Flash in the pan.>>
"That's what you always say," I said. "Tell me it's better than last time."
<<It's better,>> Guillemet said. <<One point five petabytes.>> I whistled. That's a lot of info.
"Who's the infoman?" I asked.
<<Anon,>> Guillemet said. <<Large score, though, must be a big boy. Database can't work out text patterns, though, so nice security.>> Guillemet is an grid-based artificial intelligence. He can analyze someone's speech and text patterns to identify exactly who they are and what else they've said/written, so matter the scrambler. It's rare to find someone who can fool Guillemet.
"Okay," I said. "I'll take it. Where's the push point?"
<<Ophan,>> he said. <<Not a nice place, but high sec.>> His voice started going out and in, garbled with numerous other voices on the grid. Traffic must have been interfering. Finally, he became clear enough so I could write down the address of the jump job, then he cut out again.
As Guillemet said, Ophan is not a nice place, especially at night. It's a substructure to the sprawl, to Pinnacle City itself, but the architects abandoned it long ago. The continual building of the city stopped in Ophan. It's quiet and sterile.
At the address is a small, squat building. I can see with my grid-goggles that there's power to it - unusual, given that all the buildings around it are powerless. I set up a jump to several rooftops over to get a better view and finally see the opening. There's a door to the side of the building. And a sign:
And underneath was another, smaller sign:
Have You Been Touched By His Tendrils?
I lifted down my grid-goggles and squinted at it. I hadn't heard of this church before, but I wasn't a churchgoing person. Well, whatever the big boy wanted was in there, so I had to start going.
 [This part looks as if it was added later on.]
I could have left, though. I could have stopped what I was doing, refused the job. Something smelled like fish here, but I was lured by the large info I could obtain. I could have turned away, but I didn't.
And so the path was set out before me. The path that would lead, eventually, to the end of everything.

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