Across the road a wiry group of youths sculpted by scanty food and occasional manual labour lounge against the frontage. All wear eye-sets – chitinous, intimidations reeking of testosterone.
Delicately it probes one of the open access fields, bouncing a disguised connection request. Immediately there is a rustle of activity: stealthy digital legs stalking – A spidernetic mutabot or some other insectificial tasked with embalming unwary code for the attention of its hacker master.
The murder rate is well above the national mean – 0.015% per annum. That’s nearly six people every week. 85% of them are young black men. But, though proportionately fewer, some of the murders perpetrated on women are particularly horrific.
“Oh…My…Gosh! I’ve discovered a first: cybernetic post-traumatic stress disorder.”
“It’s a savage cyber-slum out there. Down at street level, so to speak.”
“It’s illegal to remove ID, but it’s not illegal to go un-wearing after twenty-one.”
Thuli begins to sob, even more intensely than before. What on earth is happening to me? she wonders.
Glimpsed in the headlights, a child darts for the edge of the road. Thuli brakes, and the car slews – she hears a soft thump – and begins to spin. Helpless, she resigns herself: a limbo of thought in which she avoids imagining the bone-rending impact to come.
The AI ceiling: any software that exceeded parameters for independence and self-awareness found running free on the net was culled by Initializers.
“And that’s going to turn it into an AI?” gawped Jordan.
“Nooo. Twit! I already said not. Mostly they just freeze and die. Junk code’s all that’s left. But sometimes…” Sean tilted his head for emphasis. “Sometimes, they come out drooling idiots, like. When that happens it’s a laugh.”
Simone wore fairy wings. Butterflies haloed her, flitting in and out of sight at the boundary of the v-effect. And her hair was an ash-blond bob that seamlessly flowed into a sparkling shower of jeweled rain that vanished as it hit the sun-parched pavement.
The shadow approaches her window. Dun jacket flapping, stick-thin, intimidatingly insectile AR glasses hiding his face, only stubble and crooked teeth showing. A ghostly praying-mantis. He taps at the glass, and she rolls it down a crack.
While Darren jumped the gate into the Arderne Gardens – unexpectedly meeting Arno there, Leandré had been entrancing the crowd at The Compass with a performance inspired by Poliamuel, her angel.
While Leandré has been busy at the The Compass, entrancing the crowd with a performance inspired by Poliamuel, her angel, Darren had been out walking.
Darren had taken over, had sidelined Marcus (du-rag) with an accidental-on-purpose blow to the head, and has performed an amazing solo. The crowd loved it, but now they’re not sure what he wants them to do.
Rapper, du-rag had been making eyes at Leandré, Darren’s sister. While most of the crowd were virtual, those three, along with Leandré’s friends and Pastor Arendse were there for real. Pastor was talking with a banana...