Trex World, Part 31
Paul’s face brought more attention than his run-in with yesterday morning’s terrorist event. Standing outside the local hospital wing, the skylight felt harsh, domineering. Checking the time, he found himself to be in the middle of a shift change, he’d have to wade through about a million or so eddies of humanity to get home. A long walk was ahead of him. One positive, people actually got out of his way, if only to bring their trex’s into focus range. Why all this publicity couldn’t score him some raisins, Paul didn’t know.
“Farking Trollz,” he muttered under his breath. It would be useless to put up a fight of any sort, it would only attract more attention. Keep calm, carry on and get yer ace to bed. That’s all there was too it.
It was a long walk, the hospital in his normal section of the woods. It was tortuous. It was substantially farther into the Interior the way, past several treetek and bushtek and his arm buzzed. A call was coming in from Daemon Joe.
“What can I do ya for, Joe?”
Joe’s normally lustrous and bouncing star was gloomy and brooding. Were those rain clouds behind his magnificently huge desk? “You could start by explaining just what in the hell of hells you decided to do with your accounts, Paul. Splurging what modicum of cred you had on what, alcohol?”
Well, you know, I’d been having a rough time of it and—
--and nothing, Paul. Look, as your personal banking daemon, I don’t care two-tenths of a cred what lifestyle choice you make for yourself so long as the money is in the bank. Surely you understand that? It’s been ten years since you contracted me as your personal banking daemon, Paul, and I thought it was going to be a rewarding experience on both sides. but I guess I was wrong. Which is what makes the news I have to give you all the more painful, Paul. The Twelfth and Dutiful Branch of Amalgamated Financial Assets has decided to exercise their option to repossess your abode, effective forty-eight hours from now.
Fark. In the back of his mind Paul knew, he knew, this was coming. The reality of hearing it though made his stomach feel like dropping to where his knees were trying to buckle. But what could he do to stop them? “Why take as long as that, Joe? Why not just take it now?”
Joe’s tone was abrupt, “Because Amalgamated is faithful to it’s contractual obligations, Paul, that’s why. And as such, I’m contractually bound to tell you have forty-eight hours with which to provide a counter claim. Though, given your financial acumen, as of late, I don’t think that’s going to be a viable plan of action for you. Please keep in touch, Paul. Especially when you have more cred.”
And Daemon Joe left his screen.
St. Sallie was next to buzz him. She was delightfully concise. Paul’s situation had no effect on her perkiness. Bubbly as ever, she beamed, “Hello, thar, Paul! Just buzzing you about defaulting on the Triple M. You know what that means! That’s right, your raisins are now red-stamped. Good luck!”
And St. Sallie left his screen.
Terrific. 48 hours to come up with at a kilo of cred. Red-stamped reputation. HAHAHA. What a farking waste of time. Maybe I could live under this bushtek. Not much privacy…Too much skylight. Shight. Go home, Paul. Go home one last time.
And at last he did make it home. He was tired and thirsty. There was no water in the walls. There was no humming music to greet him. The mood lights had given up on him as well for they were pitch black. Nothing but the glare of spots remained, turning his once beautiful sanctuary into a prison cell. Maybe he wouldn’t miss it after all. And maybe St. Sallie will suck me off. Yeah. Right. Fleebus I am in a bad mood.
This was exactly when his trex buzzed again. JEEBUS FLARK MARLEY HOPS. He opened buzzing channel.
The Detective stared back at him, “Back at home? Good. We’ve—
“We’ve got nothing to talk about right now, Ma’am. I’m tired. I’m hungry. And in two days I lose my pad so –“
“So you’ve got nothing better to do than listen to me. And believe me, Paul. You’d rather listen to me on your trex then from behind a cell window.”
Paul sighed and slumped against the black dead wall, sliding down the once dynamic interior to a seated position. “Fine. Whatever.”
“Acceptable. Now, we’ve mapped some vectors on a possible terrorist cell using a script-house by the name of,” and the next she says with definite dislike, “Taste!. We’ve been unable to, as yet, insert one of our agents into their fold. Their popularity is gaining momentum at a geometric rate. Raisin’s reaching for skylight, and yet none of the scripts they peddle through your former employer have any origins in the Business District’s R&D Authority.”
She sighed, exasperated. “Meaning, Paul, that they spontaneously came up with a new idea outside the watchful eye of Authority! Research and development on that kind of level requires cred Paul, and lots of it. How can a handful of citizens fresh from Hive life have that kind of capital? Scripts with their kind of complexity require licensing from Omnitrex Central to even begin that type of research! And yet, there is nothing on file with the OC with respect to research. Only requests for business transactions with Panopticon Productions, which seemed to just glide through without a hitch.”
“So…what did you do about that?”
“What was there to do? Raids of their squalid little Hive hovels brought up nothing. None of their trex’s display any sign of having been tampered with, not that they could have gotten as far as they have had they broken the Seals. Yet code is there, nonetheless. That sort of stuff doesn’t just appear out of nowhere. Taste shops are an old enough business, but they never pull the kind of attention like this particular one. Smaser’s indeed. Oh, they are a crafty bunch, it seems…That, or…”
“Or what?” News that the store operators resided in a Hive made Paul twitchy. The thought that he might be revisiting those cramped and crazy lifestyle options once more made him a bit nervous.
“Or they actually enjoy what they do, enough that they don’t need to hire any outsiders.”
Paul laughed. “So, what better person to attempt to plant in their midst than a nigh convicted and out of work terrorist?”
“Precisely. As luck would have it, you’re perfect for the job.”
“I don’t think luck has anything to do with it, lady. I think I’ve been set up.”
“You think you know your arse from a hole in the ground, as well. Recent life choices on your part seem to indicate otherwise. Now. Figure out how to get yourself into Taste!’s ranks, or let yourself fall into the land of the Dispossessed.”
“Would you rather have me retire you now?”
“Of course not.”
“I didn’t think so.”
A beat and Paul changed the subject, “Hey, what about my apartment?”
“What about your apartment?”
“Well, I mean, you footed m bill for the hospital—”
“—And you thought we’d pay your three mortgages as well? Please, Paul, don’t flatter yourself. Everyone who pays attention to the news memes knows what happened to you today. Suspected Terrorist Loses His Job. People did a little deeper than that and voila, there’s your address. There’s a million people in your section of the Capillaries, and it’s affair chance that ninety-nine percent of them are smarter than you. After continuing to live in such a high priced space with no source of income, where, oh where, I ask, are they going to suppose you are getting your money from? There are far too many curiosity seekers, Paul. That kind of interest would keep you from ever infiltrating the cell. Being destitute, however, will more than likely help.”
She clicked off abruptly. Paul sighed as the Detective’s image disappeared off his screen. He sat for a moment on the floor of his soon to be repossessed home and pondered the pros and cons of crying himself to sleep. The mental weights-and-measures exercise was too much for him. He fell asleep anyway.
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