Most people get a sense of home when returning to haunts where they’ve grown up. Not Horatio. He loathed the Tangle, but from time to time certain aspects of his servitude required that he descend from the Spire when he was on Earth and retrace its narrow and dangerous avenues. The last time he had felt familiar walking among other Citizens was when he was just a child. Now he was a young man, twelve years removed from being uplifted out of this milieu of poverty. Dragging his feet through the filth felt like a test to him . . . or a reminder. Perhaps that was the point. He never considered this place his home, only the first page to the short story of his life.
Tonight he was meeting Ophelia and Hamlet in the Plaza of the Tree, and it required that he pass through the Social Circle. If Citizens couldn’t afford the prices to live incredible fantasies somewhere in Infinispace or a Dream Theater, they resorted to the more mundane, traditional, and unsafe offerings here. Unsafe wasn’t the proper term, more like unsavory or deadly.
It was rare, but Horatio was required to shadow Hamlet whenever he left the Spire . . . no exceptions. He touched the black dragon tattoo on his armed and watched it writhe and squirm in anticipation. It could sense the loathing and trepidation in his mind directly from his bio.node implant. A sly smile crossed his face as he knew he had his own shadow watching over him. These were the same streets he knew as a child, be he was no longer that same lonely child.