Tuesday, 17 December 2013

S A L - IV --- Grace Jones private life

Rogan lives in a cave. That might sound strange but since Lumatel took over you either hand over your data or make yourself scarce. Failing that, death. Suicide is the new survival, or so they'd have us believe. There's just nowhere to run any more. And those agents are getting good. They possess the most advanced technology: laser communiqu├ęs, multi-dimensional phone mapping and a level of mind fracking beyond any I have witnessed before. It's not enough to lie. Deny all knowledge? You have to temporarily obscure all your existing data if you want to beat them. Don't even bother with retaliation -- they swap particles from one chip to another as readily as changing clothes. Why stop at one when you can have many?

As such, it is impossible to trace the lumadata of an agent. Of course you could just dole it out quick like a good citizen. Loads of people do that. You have to. It's the law. Kosmanarshi is watching them pass on the street with a mixture of disdain and envy. They look so happy. She's curious to understand how that would feel...but not that curious. Besides, for every law abider there's a law breaker. Criminals? No. Just lost souls. A culture of people tarnished with the same brush since time began. Quietly reproducing and fading; unseen by the powers above. Once you've joined them, you never escape.

But I digress. The cave. Rogan had discovered Kosmanarshi sitting outside a cave. His cave. Why was she there? You'd probably have to ask her yourself. Although, Rogan did try that and all he got was unintelligible babble. If you want my opinion, she was looking for someone. A friend. Maybe. The man she'd known before the natural disasters, industrial meltdown, the outbreak of mindworm. He'd been kind, intelligent, trustworthy. Head-hunted. The day she'd found him gone she was filled with despair. It was too late. Her heart felt like lead. She had sat on a rock. Just to think. Just to breathe.

"Okay enough. I get it now. I know what I did wrong. I - I'll do better next time."

"Really? What did you do wrong?"

She wished he hadn't asked that.

"The agents. I chose my words badly. I thought they'd care if I told them the truth."

"They don't care. Ha! They know what's inside you already," he looked over to observe her reaction. Despite the fading light his teeth still gleamed as he smiled, "they have you on file."

Kosmanarshi looked away. "How long can I stay here?"

"Two months."

She attempted to disguise her disappointment by staring into the fire, to no avail.

"You think I'm cruel."

"No, it's just I thought that...well you know, with you only living in a rock crevice -"

" '--Only a rock crevice.'"

Cold eyes fixed on her. "'Only.'" Absently Rogan studied the flint in his hand. "I've lived here for years. You thought it would be okay to take liberties. Is that it?"

"No! I thought I might be able to help. I've got some food and lighters and..."

"Let me tell you something. This isn't the city anymore. You can't expect to survive with a pretty knife and leftovers. This furniture, all the things you see here, I made myself. That rug you're sitting on was a deer that I killed and skinned."

"Yes. Of course. I just thought I could -"

" - Do what you like, but I bet that packet of biscuits you'll be begging to leave within a fortnight."

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