Outrun Stories #31

Operation Sandwagon

“Turn it up, Billy! Turn it all the way up!” Lothar is screaming at me, and I’m jacking his HAR-D I.C.E as high as it can go. I mean, any second he might have a skitzoid-embolism, it’s almost a dead cert that something in his fucked-up brain is going to go POP any second, but I couldn’t give a shit, he wants to go out like that, let the poor bastard.

“Billaaaaayyyy!” he’s roaring. “I can see it, it’s coming, oh that sweet sunset, the midnight sunset, Billy! The one we’ve always dreamt of.” It’s not the first time his rig has fed him this bullshit, but it’s not like he’d ever remember. I just gotta keep him online and alive long enough so I can sneak in under his rig I.C.E and tap through to the network on his ticket.

“Three, two, one, mark.” I say it out loud, so I make sure I don’t miss it. Lothar is fucking catatonic and I’m flying into the static at the speed of light ready to make some dough, some serious dough. God knows I need it, the last score didn’t cover half my original bills and I’ve gone twice as deep since then, but fuck it. There’s always some easy mark out there, and as soon as I hit the transcendental plane I can spot some poor fucker who just like Lothar has his nodes jacked up too high and is ripe for the picking.

I swing in, nice and low but fast as I can take it. Technically my consciousness is traveling at the speed of light, but in the I.C.E I’m doing about Mach 5. By the look of this mark, it wouldn’t matter if I was on a golf cart doing 10kph, this guy is fucked up, which means an easy night for me.

Before his security protocols know what hit them I’m below his radar and hammering deep into this neural network. It’s a god damn mess in here, but that’s a good sign. Only rich fuckers or good jackers like me can get things this messed up, no one else can afford it. Fucking pay dirt, this guy should have been more careful. HAR-D I.C.E is nothing to be messed with and if you’ve got the money to go really fast like this guy, then you need the security to back it up. Probably some trust fund kid, makes me feel all the better when I clear him out and put a bug in his brainstem so he’ll never be able to get back into this place. He doesn’t deserve it.

And like that I’m gone. He’ll wake up with a bad headache, an empty bank balance and a soul full of regret for being such an asshole. Me, I’m out, and I’m back before Lothar has fried himself into the I.C.E and lost it completely.

I lift the rig off my eyes and look at the sunset off the coast, the hue of oranges and yellows and purples, I guess the real world still has something to hold. I turn down Lothar’s feed and slowly lift the rig off his beaming face, giving him a quick slap.

Smiling down at him I give him a shake as his eyes roll back into their regular positions. “Hey, asshole, happy hour, I’m buying.”

“Good man!” He laughs. “Good man, indeed!”

Musical inspiration: Robert Parker – Disco Death