| The Network Revenant
There are some questions which are truly universal, following Mankind across oceans of water, time and interface. They are as urgent to people now as they were to people hundreds or thousands of years ago. Mikare angled fractionally in his flight across the Downtown grid, bouncing into a new Square with the practiced ease of the veteran 'dancer he was, and instead of continuing from the roof of the ComLINK booth over the Street as he'd begun he stopped, smoothly, ending up in a crouch atop the spindly structure. His body wavered into the reflectives for a half a second, cycled primaries, ended up back in basic black and froze, one knee lifted and the other flat, waiting, speed and time gone syrup still and waiting while his flatplane face looked out over the busy commerce that was and pondered.
Where the hell does a person get a drink around here?
The answer was waiting even before the question was posed, laughing in holoform in his personal space for his and his use only. He didn't need his 'jack to tell him, though, because there was only one answer, really. He was Mikarecursore. Even as he sat there, near invisible through his stillness in the riot of color and motion that was the Downtown Street of the Revenant Internet, two or three avatars were turning to look at him at his perch atop the ComLINK, at his flat thin form with the mirrored winglets on his ankles. One avatar was raising a hand to point at him from across the Street, and Mikare sighed, far off in the distance of the meat, and bounced into slivered stopmotion.
Hard to follow, he was.
Seven, maybe eight glimpses of him they caught, in midgrid and across the space before he flickered out of view and (like that) was gone between the Starbucks and the FENDISpace that shouted for attention, his form lightly touching their outer walls in an impossible dance of ascension as he rose where their code should have prevented him from being, ever, even for a moment, lifting up the forbidden planes of light and copyrighted view and gone.
Two or three avatars watched him go with the stillness of screenshot writ large across their blocky rental faces, grins of tourists telling weary locals that they'd be off to tell their friends of what they'd seen. The natives snorted, moved along and secretly, deep inside, waved like children too at their private hero as he (she? it?) rushed off into impossibility and was gone.
Another day on the Street.
Mikare soared amongst towers not bothered by the trivia of hard physics, touching here and there and there again to divert his course where experience had taught. He did not fly, no; he moved at almost what one might expect, falling at the regulation nine-point-eight m/sec (when he fell) and running across the unreal pavement with a speed that looked like a human only lightly cranked on crystal meth. It would have taken a careful check to catch him out, and the Street had been trying for years, now -
Mikare's flickerjack danced somewhere in the not-quite-real, packets phasing out of time and almost - but not quite - breaking link. His session stretched, taffy in the sun, position in the unreal space blinking forward just inside the boundaries of error but still in sync; and with a stuttering in not-quite-space that the avatars could see, he danced the Run and flew across the Street.
Up, and over, then beneath; into a Doorway (freeze and let the Systerm grab your packetstream, log into the private space, then select a different exit point from that cheating private zone - thank you Sears! - and blink! - back out into the Street but Squares away, now, and still at running speed, across the walk and in another Door and over Shelves of infotainment, news and pr0n. Slide underneath the cheapshit barrier that you've hacked long weeks ago, grin as it screams in frustrated electronic rage behind, then - frisson of static in your head - through the 'port marked EMPLOYEES ONLY! and you're inside Salon News's dispatch term. Choose the 'port you want from habit gone, and BLINK you're out again, this time in a Square not often traveled but one that you know well - the Monorail is still running here, and you've come out the newsstand's coded 'front' with velocity to kill. 'Run' up the Tram's pylon to offload the v, and then turn right - look, there it is! Between the blocky, low-rez shit that reeks of government (and once was) and two squares of aggressively null-deco hackerhousing, the mirrorball with the sign out front and the livewall windowband-
TOURETTE'S SIN DROME.
Standing, Mikare stopped.
This was not a normal thing, for him, but stop he did. Here it was okay; this Square had defenses (illegal as all hell, but no-one had managed yet to prosecute) and it was worth the risk. He gathered up his Cool and sauntered into the bar.
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