When last we saw John, he was struggling to make his way through the chaos of post-revolution Seattle. We’re very excited to be bringing you a sneak peek of Andrew Gaines’s NeuTraffic, Part II.
Subscribers will be getting their copies of Four Windows: Seattle (Part 2) on November 30th.
Haven’t read NeuTraffic Part 1 yet? Just pop your email in the subscription box to the right and we’ll send you a copy, gratis.
But read on, if you like – there are no spoilers ahead!
Eddie Chiang-Williams spec’d the com and spat a curse, violently. They had to be fuckin’ trollin’ him; starball was ‘weet and all but playin’ fuckin’ moder for some piner shithead wasn’t exactly his hack; fuck; just a pomo off his last prog; no fuckin’ time to fuel; fuck; well; orders is.
Eddie took a quick snorter off of his desk, then jumbled around his desk for his sunscreen. Neg; maybe in the combcubby.
He loved his Hive deeply, intrinsically, but, like many of his fellow 2.0s – the children of the Fremont Founders – he really wasn’t a fan of outline tasks. Not that he had been on many. He had been six years old when the Hive was officially founded, and even at that point, he had rarely left his parents’ apartment (now fifteen stories below). His mother had always tried to get him outside, and Eddie had a hard suspicion that she was behind this little jaunt. His fingers ran furiously over his e-gauntlet as he looked through the large, brightly colored hexagonal shelves that lined the wall behind his desk.
U HAVEN’T LEFT YET?;
i-d so; thanks mom;
UR WELCOME HON; CAREFUL, IT’S CLOCKING TODAY; /;
Fuck; there we go. Eddie found his regulation bottle of H-Grade-S Sunscreen and applied it in thickening goopy layers along his arms, his face, and his legs. He dug through the combs, tossing articles of clothing around the room until he found a bright pink t-shirt and a pair of red and orange checkered cargo shorts. If he had to outline it, he was going to be spec’in’ ‘weet.
He dressed and looked around the small room for anything else he might need, stocking his pockets as he went. CarboNow, checkit; sunscreen, checkit; synthmeds, checkit; billfold, checkit; ‘weet cloth, checkit; ahh, there we go, cyber sungoggles, three cycles old, retro style. Checkit. He hastily switched out his monocle piece with the goggles (which powered up and connected immediately), took another quick snorter, then smiled and freeze-framed in the thin, full length mirror between his bed and combcubby.
specin ret, bug; saw ur proggin outline?;
aff, that fucked up piner a few pomos back;
hahah, super eddie!; ur mom?;
aff; fuck; starball get ready to get chiang-williamsed;
hahah; gl, bug; lets swarm when u get back;
fuck ya, bug;
Eddie left his room through his open cell portal and walked down the lemon yellow hall of his Partition, past the nine other open cells – Hivers inside and hard at work on their computers. The Gear Pool was five blocks away, on the Burke Gilman. He stepped out onto the rope bridge to the next building and smiled wide. He might hate going outline, but he loved the weave of the Hive, his home. He pushed the call button for a southward zip. He was on the nineteenth floor, and above and below him the tangle of bridges and ropes was thick and full of blue solar light glow and the buzz of his fellow Hivers going about their interconnected businesses; he beheld his place as one of the innumerable neurons of the tingling, stimulated Hive brain; the snorter was booting up. The zip arrived. He held on tight and took the quick cut to the next block down.
He needed to fuel; real fuel; he would count it as a necessary part of his prog.
Three stories later, the zip slowed appropriately and he took his practiced step onto the walkway platform. Thirty meters to the east – and about sixty below – Lenin’s statue contestably stood, the red paint on his hands fading, frozen flames of rev surrounding him. Eddie really didn’t give a snort about it though; he didn’t really care about the arguments, that was for the 1.0s for all he and his bugs cared; they rarely went down to the Legacy anyways, other than the electro shows at the High Dive and when they went deep-ret at the speakeasy pinball arcade. Their Legacy progs wouldn’t come for a few more years; Eddie was booting for Add-a-Ball.
He placed an order on his e-gauntlet as he walked into the building to his right: Dev’s Rabbit Hole, four Photu-burger sliders with a side of fries; to go; the prog fuel of champions. His stomach growled as he walked into the open doorway, past the first set of cell portals, and down four flights of stairs.
U BETTER FUEL FAST BUG;
ah cut the cable mom;
NOT JOKING HON, THIS PROG IS PRIME;
aff aff aff; don’t beescod; g’s;
“Fuck!” Eddie tiffed. Always on his ass. He stepped onto R-Floor 12 of the 36PhE building. The electro was thumping, and the baby blue, pink, orange, yellow, and black lights were shifting quickly in time with the music. ‘Weet. Eddie began to groove to the moment, excited about Dev’s and soon forgetting about his mother’s prodding. He started to shake his shoulders, bouncing up and down with the beat, and his walk shifted into the latest glide-step. His feet slid him west, past Paul’s Pharm, Anet’s Threads, a JetGO! (a 24-hour party space for Hivers off-prog), and a Hot Topic; he danced past Higher Dive, a pho restaurant, an e-bar, Thai-Me-Down, and Neon; he winked at some 2.0 girls he didn’t recognize, and felt boosted when he saw they were spec’ing him; checkit. R-Floor 12 was the spot.
Outside of a HoneyDrip, he shifted to a ret conga shuffle for the last ten meters to Dev’s. The throwback “Cyberpunk” themed diner was covered in black paperscreen, flowing with millions of neon green numbers and half-width kana. The two servers wore long trenchcoats, spiked hair, and cyber sungoggles that were so reflective they were essentially mirrors. Eddie thought the whole thing was hilarious, and the fuel was fucking great on top of it. He walked up to the server at the counter, a 2.0 with blue hair and what seemed to be a permanent sardonic smile, who was spec’ing Eddie as he approached. At least Eddie assumed he was – he couldn’t really tell with the mirrored goggles.
“Eddie, I presume?” The 2.0 asked, pointlessly. He was a few years older than Eddie; Eddie figured he might have been bordering being a 1.5er, but didn’t bother spec’ing. He was too busy checking out how his pink shirt and new “Monae” haircut looked in the other Hiver’s mirrors.
“You know it, bug!” Eddie had hoped it would have been the cute bald girl, Kae-T, working today; no big.
“Lag a moment.” The blue-haired 1.8 turned to the kitchen and grabbed a bag stamped with Dev’s red pill logo.
“’Weet, bug.” Eddie placed a 20-credit bill on the counter, took the bag, grinned, and turned to leave.
“Do you need a spoon?” the server asked him in a bored tone.
“What?; no; why the fuck would I need a spoon?”
“Good; there is no spoon.” The server kept the sardonic smile, then took the bill from the
counter and looked past Eddie to another customer entering the restaurant – at least Eddie assumed he did.
Eddie didn’t quite get it, but thought it was kind of funny anyways. He shrugged and stepped out, then held up the bag against the backdrop of the glowing green digital rain. He freeze-framed;
‘weet bug, checkit;
sum photu burgers; sum fries; chaingchamp fuel;
jel; lets get more when we swarm;
EDDIE CHIANG-WILLIAMS GET UR ASS TO GEAR POOL;
aff aff aff aff; i’m on it;
AND BLIZ, YOUNG LADY, ESC BUGGING WITH HIM UNTIL HE’S DONE WITH THIS PROG OR I’ll MAKE SURE BOTH OF U ARE ON OFFCODE PROGS – ALONE – FOR THE NEXT MONTH; CONFIRM?;
Aff, Mrs. CW; sorry!;
Eddie winced and immediately started down the hall, at a much quicker pace then he had been dancing before; ain’t no g comes from stingin’ queen bee, as they say.
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