Michael’s supervisor was being a real @$$. Three weeks into collecting second quarter assessment results, he’d decided that Michael wasn’t being a team player and was more than likely manipulating data.
“How else do you explain these gains?” he demanded.
Michael shrugged. “I don’t know. A lot of ‘knock-knock’ jokes?”
His supervisor tensed. His superiors were expecting results, but any deviation from the standard projections would call a lot of attention by the audit department.
“Listen, Wood,” he demanded.
He reboots my visual systems. He’s younger than I thought he’d be. As more bands of the spectrum come up, I see that he’s had a lot of work done. Way more than me. Way more than anyone I’ve seen before.
He’s well crafted. Most of him looks perfectly human. Except for that arm. I can’t stop looking at it. It’s not crude, like military enhancements. It’s a sculpted work of art- chromed angles and knotted steel muscles.
Audio comes next. He puts the stylus down. “Sorry about the shutdown. You were about to enter your Omega Seven state.”
Hello, Oort Cloud. This won't make sense if you read it without the first two chapters, also blogged here.
I try to close my eyes and sleep, but my mind and stomach are spinning too fast for me to settle. The headache begins to throb in earnest. I need a cigarette.
I pull out my computer, trading one addiction for another, and log on to my hard disk.
Mail. Three rejections from three different print mags for three different articles. I asked for money. I think that was the problem.
Most guys hate the lab. Not me. They hate the lectures, the updates, the endless tinkering. I like to show off.
When someone says to me “Hey, what have you been doing with your imaging links?” or “This ware was never meant to work under these conditions!” it’s a compliment. Officially, they have to disapprove. Secretly, they like it. They just want to see what’s cool and what’s next like anyone else.
His actual title is “Resource Liaison.” Parole officer is a more accurate term. Since more than 40% of me is enhanced prosthetic or combat tech, I’m government property. Subject to recall and deployment at any time.
Sometimes I wonder if there was a debate over the 40% demarcation, or whether it was just slipped in a bill that no one read.
I remember my grandmother. Sitting on those hard, wooden kitchen chairs... or was it a bench? I can’t remember.
Her hair was long and black. She never smiled. Later someone would say it was just an “injun thing.”
She’d work in the kitchen. She was always in the kitchen, cooking meals for the procession of men who walked through. Some of them uncles, some of them uncle’s friends. Some of them... who knows?
She’d always talk. Sometimes one of the guys would want to put some music on.
“Stop that noise,” she’d say.
This is the tip of a novel I am attempting to write. I'm not sure how many Canadian readers we have here at Oort-Cloud, but if you live in Toronto, the place names will mean something to you.
My aim is to focus more on my characters and on digital rights than on ray guns and spaceships. Feedback appreciated.
It’s three AM or so now, and quiet. I’m listening to the rhythmic scrape of a bent fan blade as it brushes air from somewhere to somewhere. My eyes are closed, light-bruised. My mind makes the room rotate, pushing me into the couch.