“The cat,” says a familiar voice. What cat? In the darkness, you are flying. You feel motion, yet you are sitting at a table, opposite a dirty, unshaven guy pointing a burning cigarette at you. I know this person. When an angry Bruce Harvey says, “Where’s my cat, fucker?” you conclude it’s a dream. The has-been movie star is interrogating you in a grimy, run-down room surrounded by four cracked, windowless walls, but the only question running through your head is… Why this actor? Harvey karate chops you across the back of your neck. It’s not the pain that wakes you, it’s the warm light bleeding in through your eyelids. The nightmare fades, fizzling away, back into your brain’s nether regions, dying alongside discarded aspirations and forgotten memories. Drool runs down the side of your mouth, but you are unable to move. Your face feels numb, due to your cheek pressed against the cold glass. The tinnitus in your ears stops, replaced by the hum of the ute’s engine, and the friction between tyre, road and air, enters your awareness. You open your eyes, just wide enough to squint, focusing on the golden countryside sweeping past outside. For a moment; reality is a blur. You attempt to shift your head and are relieved it moves with little pain. Your arm is cramped, and your neck feels broken, but you know this is temporary. The breaking dawn illuminates the narrow, unmarked road, winding around a chain of hills. A clump of trees obscures the misty valley beyond, sending intermittent shafts of copper light to warm your face. Once the trees go by, you marvel at the spectacle, at the amber clouds cruising along the horizon, at the auburn fields, smothered with whispers of mist, rolling up and down between chestnut-coloured forests.
This is how to time travel on the subway. Look at the platform and imagine it being the destination platform. Walk to where you imagine the exit location is, and get as close to it as possible. Then board your train carriage at that location. It is the walking that makes the difference. Three minutes can be saved or lost, whether or not you choose to walk or stay dormant.
I attempted this today but my whole time travel experience got foiled when I was forced to change carriage to avoid the smell of vomit, foot odour, and rolling water bottles. I lost half a minute of time travel.
Although I did experience another form of chrononautics. I sat next to a guy who looked familiar. I had to ask his name. Sure enough, it was a long-lost childhood friend. Dangerous personality, always making dreams seem achievable. Too bad he sounded like he’d never amounted to anything. I asked him why he broke off contact all those years ago. He tried to answer but really didn’t satisfy my question, not in any meaningful way. I was however surprised he invited me home. Can’t work him out.
Eventually, he admitted to me that he lead a wasted life and then tempted me to show him what I’d achieved, but I was uneasy with this. What next? Do I kill him? Do I show him what I’ve been doing for the past lifetime and a half? I backed away and treated him like the stranger he really was. What really made me uneasy was the fact I had the urge to show off.
Martin felt the van pick up the pace as it hurtled down Salamander Highway, devoid of traffic or life. She looked over at Rick, who grappled with the steering wheel as if he were attempting to rip it off. His battle with the self-drive function could have been avoided had he been successful in disabling it. Rico managed to purge the van’s smartie and kill the geotracker, but not the self-drive. Only via the emergency override could he steer the vehicle, otherwise it will retrace the last waypoint entered into its memory by the now-defunct smartie.
Her russet eyes stood out, through dark mascara, heavy makeup and curly hair. There were several things I disliked about the girl; her open, shameless flirtation with Sophie being one. The dress she wore, an embroidered, simple number, suggested she’d been living in a bus shelter, a vagrant of sorts. She smelled like cheap homebrew perfume. Yet, my gal, my lover of nine years, seemed infatuated with her.
“I’m gonna feed you to the dogs,” said Fred Greenway brandishing a cleaver. He brought it down and cut into the young punk’s thigh.
Doctor Gus flinched even though he’d seen this a hundred times. Having taken a Lava pill, his brain perceived the high-def images on the screen as real. The narco-psychotic was formulated to assist with augmented reality training. Mindject users take the drug to help them form neurological pathways inside their heads so they can perceive artificial imagery or sound. Ingested without a mindjector, Lava forced visceral emotions to merge with one’s logic. The end result is exhilarating for some users, and terrifying for others.
Steve Bastione believed he was a reasonable man. He did not consider himself an animal; a savage from the north coast slums. Sure, the Black Dragons were infamous for their brutal ways, but things had changed. Fame and fortune had opened a new frontier for the little-known group of drug dealers. Overnight, they become celebrities. They were entrepreneurs in charge of a savvy business machine, selling gang-related paraphernalia to the masses. The textile trade didn’t deliver as much cash as distributing narco-psychotics, however, the legitimate enterprises did give the Black Dragons avenues to launder the income.
“Did ya reset that last Pango before you sold it to the girl?” asked Martin while urinating, standing upright behind a mound of garbage. She finished, pulled up her pants and strolled over to where Rico sat.
Rico surveyed the laneway situated adjacent to the B line train tracks and intersecting South Valley Road. The thoroughfare was nothing more than an illegal dumping ground among a forest of weeds. “Why the fuck would I wanna do that?” responded Rico, sitting down on the broken pavement and picking at a hole in his dirty pants. “Fuck, I’m hungry.
Tucker turned to Jackson. “Any idea where he’s holed up?”
A voice called out, “He’s probably gone on a bender.” They all turned to find Nigel Price stepping out of a silver sharecar. “So what monkey business are you baboons up to?”
“We are buying Episoft,” explained Tucker.
“Don’t jack me off, you diseased prick. I have better things to do.”
“We are buying Episoft,” confirmed Jackson.
Gob-smacked, Price followed Tucker and the others up the granite steps towards the Corinth Star Building’s entrance. “Why?” His voice betrayed a hint of excitement.
“Haven’t you heard? Episoft has gone volatile.”
“No.” Price fell briefly silent as the four men entered the elevator. “If that’s the case then everyone will want a piece of the action. This could get expensive. Do we really need Episoft?”
“Yes. In more ways than you could imagine,” said Tucker.
“Are you sure about this?”
“Have I ever been wrong?”
“No. Even though you’ve totally fucked up in the past year, I’ve never doubted your abilities to spot the good ones.”
“So you are not opposed to this?”
“Fuck no. I’m in, all the way.”
Tucker could sense Freddie Jackson grinning behind him.
Haverick Investment Corporation.
They jostled out of the elevator and shuffled into a conference room, led by a laconic office zoid meandering on the lumeglass wall.
A group of Haverick executives entered within minutes of their arrival.
Tucker’s mind went into overdrive; For CEO Thao Berry to take this flash meeting in person indicated that MercurEx still garnered some semblance of respectability out there.
If only Berry knew.
After a brief exchange of hurried pleasantries, Jackson nudged Tucker into action.
“We live in a world with five internets. We have never been able to tame the Cobweb. The Angry Tree will never be secure. The private internets are too private. Satnet and Ambercast have become too expensive and inaccessible. Mr. Berry, my money is riding on the free waves. Yes, it’s chaotic. It hasn’t the coverage or the security the other internets offer, but the value is in this very chaotic nature that Episoft has tapped. The magnetic field, wave peer-to-peer communication network is an ever-evolving beast, much like the early Cobweb used to be. It’s malleable, adaptable, egalitarian, cheap, and most of all, access is free. Our superzoid technology will plug the security issues and the way Episoft is going they’ll be plugging the gap in coverage in no time.”
What a sell!
In another spacetime dimension, Tucker would have made many people very rich. Instead, the prospect of making many people very dead haunted his immediate reality.
“It’s a spirited investment strategy,” said Berry. “You and your team have a very pragmatic understanding of what you are trying to achieve. I don’t deny Episoft is a powerhouse company and do agree its current crisis is at best superficial.”
“But…” said Jackson.
“We only invest with OE&S accredited firms.”
“We’re accredited,” countered Jackson.
“With due respect, Mr Berry. Time is of the essence here.” Price, a known sucker for Tucker’s pitches, could no longer hold himself back. “We need to act now before Episoft’s stakeholders snap out of their current jitters.”
“I agree that MercurEx is in the perfect position to pull this off, but I’m sorry to say we can’t provide you with the kind of funds necessary to make such an acquisition.”
“Fakeman. What is this shit?”
#According to the Haverick corefront cybe, they are certified by the Office of Corporate Ethics and Standards. They risk losing it. So do we.#
We are wasting time here.
The hustle began.
Team MercurEx left one prominent financial institution, crossed the street, and entered the sumptuous entrance of another.
Kallman & Kallman
In one instance, they traveled from floor to floor.
By sunset, they had no more Bluezone left on the peninsular to cover.
“Fuck this bullshit door-knocking for investors,” complained an exhausted Price. “I’m going home.”
“We’ll keep you posted,” said Tucker.
Price ignored him. He walked up, hopped into the nearest sharecar, and disappeared down Chesterton Street.
“I guess we try again tomorrow,” offered French, bored as usual.
Tucker threw his hands up, “This is a twenty-four-hour city. We can still keep going.”
“That is why you’re an Uberman, Tucker. You never say die.” French smiled, a rare occurrence, as he too departed on foot, leaving Tucker and Jackson to mull over their next move.
“What now?” After repeating the sales pitch over thirty times, Tucker felt married to it.
“We start over,” answered Jackson. “I think that Haverick CEO Berry seemed keen. Something’s holding him back.”
“Yes. He likes you, a fan for sure, and I’m certain he knows how good your instincts are. All he needs is a little more persuasion.”
“What have you in mind?”
What the fuck?
“No, no, no,” pleaded Tucker.
Tucker’s pleas fell on ears too preoccupied with assembling a crew and a ride.
“This is crazy.”
Jackson ignored him. “Tachyon, I want a team ready in five minutes. We are going on a raid… to the hills.”
“I won’t allow it.”
“Come on, Tucker. Don’t be like that.”
“This is not the right way.”
“You are looking at this the wrong way. We are not breaking any laws here. We are simply creating a set of new ones. Come on, this is where the fun begins.”
I stand before you to address a matter of utmost importance—an issue that has the potential to overshadow the most pressing challenges facing humanity. While climate change and war undoubtedly pose significant threats, the greatest danger we face is anarchy.
Anarchy, the absence of a centralized authority or system of governance, may seem like a remote concept to some. But history has shown us that when societies descend into chaos, the consequences can be catastrophic. Anarchy leads to a breakdown of law and order, creating a breeding ground for violence, injustice, and suffering.
When anarchy prevails, society loses its cohesion and the fundamental values that hold us together. The very fabric of our civilization unravels, leaving a void that is swiftly filled by chaos and self-interest. Without the structures and institutions that regulate our behavior and resolve conflicts, our collective well-being is endangered.
Consider the consequences of anarchy upon our daily lives. Our streets would become battlegrounds, as lawlessness and violence run rampant. Communities would fracture, as people retreat into enclaves of self-protection, eroding the bonds of trust and cooperation. The rights and freedoms we hold dear would be undermined, as tyranny and oppression fill the vacuum left by the absence of governance.
Moreover, anarchy threatens our progress as a species. It undermines our ability to tackle global challenges collaboratively. Without a framework for international cooperation and diplomacy, we would be left to fend for ourselves in a world that is increasingly interconnected. Climate change, poverty, inequality—these pressing issues demand collective action and global cooperation. Anarchy undermines our capacity to address them effectively.
However, it is crucial to understand that anarchy is not the same as dissent or calls for change. We must not conflate anarchy with the pursuit of social justice or the desire for a more equitable world. Indeed, peaceful protests and movements for change have played a vital role in advancing our societies. But anarchy, with its inherent chaos and absence of governance, poses a threat that must not be underestimated.
To address this looming danger, we must strengthen our commitment to the rule of law, to democratic institutions, and to the principles of justice and fairness. We must invest in education, critical thinking, and civic engagement, nurturing responsible citizens who understand the importance of social cohesion and cooperation.
It is our responsibility to reject the allure of anarchy and to work tirelessly towards building inclusive societies, where the rule of law prevails, where every individual is afforded dignity and protection, and where the rights and freedoms of all are safeguarded. We must uphold the values that have guided us thus far—values of unity, compassion, and respect for one another.
Let us recognize the profound threat that anarchy poses to mankind. Let us recommit ourselves to the principles that have allowed us to progress as a society. Together, we can build a future where justice prevails, where the rule of law is upheld, and where anarchy remains a distant memory. It is within our power to shape the destiny of humanity, and I implore each and every one of you to join this crucial endeavor.