Heist by Alexander Mandradjiev
Word of the day: Improvise.
Most street rats who call themselves ‘Citizens’ have few choices. Their only daily improvisation is deciding who to kowtow to, or what to eat for lunch. Improvisation for the meek and powerless. Their identities are chosen for them at birth, and the concept of destiny stolen from them before their bare asses even touch the cradle. Not so The Cleaner is a former Spireling who now plies his unconventional trade in the back streets and black markets... More. His improvisations tend to lean toward the independent, exotic, violent, and illegal side of the socioeconomic equation of life. There’s a direct, inverse proportionality between conformity and affluence. Conformists follow, the affluent lead. Conformity equals slavery, affluence equals freedom. That’s simply the nature of the beast living under the umbrella of the Triocracy.
The Cleaner is basically an independent contractor of mayhem and improvisation, sowing chaos throughout the Continuum for the benefit of only one person. Himself. Tonight’s mayhem? Avatar kidnapping and ransom. The filthy rich are the epitome of narcissism and vanity, even when it concerns their virtual selves. They will spare no expense to put on a face that reflects their station … or a facade that is above their station. There are also others in the Continuum willing to tear down those facades and take them for their own. For the Cleaner it’s hard to turn down their easy snatch-and-grab money.
The Cleaner is basically an independent contractor of mayhem and improvisation, sowing chaos throughout the Continuum for the benefit of only one person. Himself. Tonight’s mayhem? Avatar kidnapping and ransom.
But things had gone sideways on this job … they always do. His ride went .node dead during the jack in Möbius City, land of decadent parasites. Now he’s standing in the middle of a wet, empty street staring down the lights of approaching Collectors, finger firmly planted in his own ass. Clearly his victim had reported the theft of their vanity and autonomous systems were already activated and in hunter mode.
Typical bullshit, never fails. Someone was going to pay for this cock-up. He had back doors out of Möbius City, but they weren’t exactly user-friendly to get to, especially on foot. There was no way he was going to make it back to Realspace by using Gateway. But he had a few tricks up his sleeve … tricks learned from his past when he rubbed elbows with Triocracy elite. Not virtual elbows, but the real thing. Flesh and blood. Connections, power … and affluence. That word again, like a tantalizing carrot that’s been dangling out of his reach his entire life, not for want of trying.
The Cleaner willed a Tormenter to materialized in his armored hand, and with a thought it was there. He could feel the security of its false weight registering in his hand.
Time to sow some chaos and improvise the fuck out of Dodge.
Note: Continued in Rooftop Retreat.
Words © 2019-2020, Neal Ulen. All rights reserved.
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