[ 2002/07/23 ]
While a floor is required to give the neophytes a sense of direction,
walls and ceilings are not generally considered cost-effective. Grey,
unremarkable plains typically stretch out in all directions until
they run into the grey shapelessness of the sky. Smack in the center
are the filing cabinets.
They don't have to be cabinets, but they usually are. Recognizable
idioms foster increased speed, and most folks know filing cabinets.
There are often in-and-out boxes, too, and manila folders, and index
cards, and pie charts. Here, though, we just get the cabinets.
I've labeled mine, though it's patently unnecessary. "A - Ba," "Be -
Ch," and so forth -- it's a joke, of course, and one which the ties
don't get. They keep telling me to take the labels off, and I keep
agreeing and ignoring. They're not going to fire me. I know too much.
Sucks to be them.
My Avatar clock reads 4:59:56.47. I've got less than 4 apparent
minutes remaining, and if I had palms they'd be sweating. The drawer
constructs on filing cabinet proxy K22347-126 (cheekily labeled "Kn -
Ll") fly open and closed at absurd rates as I file sales and
marketing data. Most of it, anyway.
Finally, the icon for my mail hack lights up. It's 4:59:57.12 --
she's certainly taken her time. I trigger the hack, and load the
"1: wire - the scanners are down. deload pronto. this was a complete
pain in my ass. you owe me big time. - trill"
I pick up sales customer matrix M139946-2-19, but it never makes it
into the file. My storage hack shows a 30 GB decrease in free space
on my cube.
4:59:59.00 arrives. I keep on filing. Nothing to see here; just
another drone. The grey sky hangs lifelessly above me, and my
enhanced senses tingle with anticipation.
59.50 -- my proximity hack lights up. Three units, security drones,
are on their way. This is not unexpected; a matrix has gone unfiled
for more than one second.
59.57 -- a port irises into existence. The draws on cabinet "Fe - Ff"
slam silently shut as the ties arrive. Everything locks down.
59.59 -- there are three of them, sure enough. The third emerges from
the port, and it begins to iris closed behind him. They turn toward
me, but they're too late. I've hacked my Avatar, and the ties are
just noticing that my ID fields are all blank. I'm nobody. I'm
everyone. It doesn't matter -- I'm untraceable.
My automatic deload procedure kicks in, bypassing the lockdown, and
the world bends, shifts, reforms. My head throbs, and the air stinks
of sweat and electronics.
Allow me to welcome you to the good ol' USA, circa 2058, population
23 billion and climbing. Enjoy your stay.
I stretch cracklingly, and reach around to deslot my cube. The
readout confirms: "M139946-2-19 (29.93G)" -- I'm in business.
trill's hack of the deload scan must have done the trick, too, as
it's been a few seconds realtime, and I'm not five bodies deep in
ties. Let's hear it for corporate espionage. I head for the main
exit corridor. My buyer awaits.