Tuesday, May 10

Fragment 2

Another day, another soulcrushing eight hours of work. Well, at least I can provide you guys with another chapter. Enjoy!

I'm writing this on paper. Dead trees. It feels weird. No haptic feedback except the pencil in my fingers.

Yes, I'm paranoid. Every system can be hacked, no matter what security. I know this - it's my biz to know this. So if I write down my thoughts, it has to be on dead trees.

The building housing the Holy Church of the Thin Man sat like a fat, grey block in the middle of Ophan. Around it were the faded marks of graffiti, the nanotags proclaiming who wrote it long since dissolved into dust. Nobody visited this area of the sprawl anymore. Except I could see: inside the building, there were people. The building's polycarbonate windows didn't allow me to see much, but I could make out five figures. They knelt in some sort of religious ceremony.

I wasn't going to get anywhere just watching from the outside. I needed more info. I couldn't blindly walk in there to do the jump job - I had no idea of where the info was stored, what security systems they had installed.

It's at this point, other lifters might resort to trickery - disguises or holos to fool stupid people - or perhaps complicated schemes in order to get the building evacuated. An empty building would be nice, but I always found there was a much simpler way than the complicated schemes some of my peers thought up.

I strapped my harness to the line attached to the roof, then slid down to the pavement. Not a lot of people in the sprawl liked walking on pavement anymore. They used lift-lines and platforms and avoided the ground at all costs. High class was in the sky. Low class was on the ground.

The services at the Holy Church of the Thin Man was almost done, I could see. The figures inside were finished kneeling and were now shaking hands with another man, tall and thin, his arms unnaturally long. One by one, the figures shook his hand and walked out the door. I snapped shots of them as they came out (you never knew what you would need in jobs like these). Then, when it was just the tall man, I approached the building.

"'Lo," I said to him. The tall man looked up at me from where he was standing. His face was completely blank and it startled me for a second, until I realized that it was just a mask.

"Hello," he said as he lifted the faceless mask, revealing a short nose and inset eyes. "Can I help you?"

"Is...is this your church?" I asked. It was always better to ask questions - the easier the better at first - because it gave people something to answer, put them at ease.

"Well," the man said, "the Church belongs to all of us, but I am the main priest, yes. Are you interested in joining?"

"Mebbe," I said. Short slang makes people assume you are stupider than you are. Use clipped sentences, short words. "I mean, I'm not much of a religo, but..."

"I understand," he said. "We all need something to believe in in these trying times. My name's Father Caulis. What's yours?"

"Terri," I said. When using an alias, keep it short and simple, something you can remember easily. And don't try to change your personality - spying is hard enough as is without adding a whole new persona as well. "So, uh, what do you guys worship?"

"Well," Father Caulis said, "we don't really worship Him. But we do believe and our belief gives us strength."

"What do you believe in?" If only I knew then what I know now, I would never have asked this question. [This appears to have been added later.]

"We believe in black and white," Father Caulis said. "In good and evil and the thin line in between, in which He walks. The Thin Man, the Long-Limbed One, the Tallest Tree." He smiled at me. "We believe in the Slender Man, Terri, and He believes in us."

1 comment:

  1. Why scream at a corpse to run if it's already dead?

    ReplyDelete