Chapter 8

X Dot Sam thought she knew the answers. She maintained a list of phone numbers to call people anonymously. Under normal circumstances, she would have not been caught. And retrospectively, she felt lucky Rana was kind enough not to turn her into the militarized police. In fact, to call people was the cover story she used. But actuality, her goal was simple. To anonymously sign petitions on the web, when not wanting to use her real identity. She always used a random real name, based on the owner of the phone number, whether it was a hotel, a restaurant, are a clerk at a tire shop. But Rana wanted to test her psychic skill sets to show just easily one could be found using psychic espionage.

At midnight Rana gathered the coordinate details of lone wandering in the darkness, wearing a glove filled with Thumb Drive for various purposes: to maintain a private drop, to connect to the TOR browser, and to carry forth information on the sneaker net that simply to risky to own, such as various form of contraband like where to purchase the best weed, along with the best coffee shops long since lobbied as being illegal under current non compete clauses. Therefore some of the best places were underground establishments. Rana looked through a web map herself to search through the likeliest routes that individual may take. The old route to the mom and pop's coffee shop had long sense been abandoned since the rebirth of Russian and Syrian tensions by the United States, and now was primarily home to the derelicts of society. The derelicts of derelicts. And therefore, because Rana had been down these routes before, she knew that there was a hidden stair way where she could find the coffee shop.

The next morning, she approached the woman in a normal conversation, asking them about what their favorite coffee drink. No need to be stylish for the occasion, as people didn't divulge details if you immediately started asking them things like where the nearest mom and pop's shop was, But eventually X Dot came to the realization what Rana's game was. -- So what are you really wanted to know?

-- I just want to know where to get some good coffee.

-- Come follow me, watch your step. Around here people go missing, and they end up on the side of the road somewhere stripped naked.

Rana assumed the implications of what was said, and didn't say a word. X Dot led her to a mom and pop's joint at the bottom of a staircase through a hidden door that looked like an eBook vending machine. The machine automatically closed and locked itself shut, not letting anyone else in that wasn't authorized by underground crime lords to visit.

Then they went into a party room, where people were dancing to various music renditions of Front Line Assembly and Cut Rate Box. Here they sold booze and coffee, sometimes at the same time if what they call "The Real Irish Coffee" that was a mixture of cannabis leaves, Baily's Irish Creme De Mint, and Kenyan coffee imported straight from an African salesman fenced by proxy through Iceland. There were various people making various gadgets, from explosive lipstick cans, Thumb Drive gloves, and air soft guns affixed to briefcases to carry during "Times Of Great Need". But now Rana simply wanted a drink.

And she had her coffee.

At the end of the trip, Rana and X Dot exchanged contact information, and X Dot would notify of upcoming events in the underground. Although Rana was unsure how often she would go. She was a loner at heart, although she had gotten to the point where she could tolerate being around people. But sometimes it was still hard, and she would come home sweating buckets.

And cry buckets of tears.

After a few days since visiting the underground coffee shop, that also served whiskey and wine, Rana wanted to build herself a desktop assistant that could carry out basic tasks like opening different desktop application while she was on the wire. She wanted to open Audacity, Focuswriter, Calibre, and other applications she used on a day to day basis. This would eventually be merged with the sentient sneaker net network project, that would replace the old internet that had gotten to the point of spying on everyone's behaviour on the web, weaving a web of a mix of disinformation and misinformation across various political parties, urging most people to be as partisan about their views as possible. And even now most people complain about the lack of health care rather than whether all their assets on some hidden web server in the darkness is collected for future storage, and used for some future probability that such individuals may be useful for blackmail. -- I see you've been looking at spanking porn, what would you boss at your department store think? Or maybe you might want to get a plea deal with him, and agree to be paddled so that you can keep your job.

Among other issues, Rana worried about how she could be blackmailed out of a future profession on the wire. She wanted to build different kinds of artificial personalities, yet sher herself was simply to tired have the energy to program on most days, or even to write diaries and memoirs. On most days she would go into a kind of day dream where she felt like she was both in Tacoma, Washington and the beaches of South Carolina. She would want to have sex with girls in Jesus sandals, while ordering a case of peanut butter fudge. And at other times visit Roswell, New Mexico to see what books were on the display case. She admired the Mexican restaurants she used to get to visit, yet now simply didn't have enough money to even buy a pack of cigarettes on most days. Despite the issues of the present, she blinded herself in the joys of Indian and Italian cuisine, perfecting her cooking when she felt like it, to a fine art. Just because she was a programmer, didn't mean she didn't have other interests. But most of these interests didn't revolve being in the wider world at large, where militarized police check for suspicious packages, and then realize there isn't anything in there.

Unlike others, Rana didn't care much for the waking world in general, so it didn't matter much that the world was going to shit in a minute and utterly effective fashion. She consumed the flow of wine with a passion, on the few days that she got to drink it, but spent most days watching UFO programming on the tube, listening to various quacks and actual doctors pontificate about various intelligences outside of our world. For, whatever issues aliens would face, she at least hoped that they had a better world than she did. But there was that constant likelihood that reality itself was merely a dream, a simulation, and in fact everyone across the world over was really dead. At least according to some tube videos she took with a grain of salt, and a swig of gourmet tobacco coffee, falling on her face day by day as the night gave way to day.

And gave way to other issues.

She slept, she wept inside.

She dreamed.


Fairy Dust



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