The Device Ryan Russin Hunting for the most bleeding edge of technology was as much an art as it was an act of desperation; the black market was notoriously dodgy on availability, and getting what you wanted required a combination of a keen eye, people skills, and knowing the right people. Can’t get that Akira x7400 power drive if you’re not there to pick it up in time, now can you? The device Sneakers had purchased from the market was a small thing, barely bigger than the palm of her hand, with the edges smoothed out and sporting a chromed-out finish. It had two ports—one for Ethernet, the other for a USB jack. Beyond that, it had no identifying marks on it, and nothing in the cyborg’s systems could tell her what it was. It seemed typical of most personal datajacks, where one can plug their brain directly into the web. In truth, Sneakers didn’t need the device—her own cybernetic implants were superior to most anything out on the market—but the lack of screws or even seams on the mysterious box all but ensured she’d shell out the credits just to see what it was. Curiosity is a hell of a drug, and in the confines of her own home she could indulge in discovering just what the hell this thing was. Her home was a hacker’s wet dream. Ultra-thin monitors hung from the ceiling in a circle around her equally round desk, with several computer towers shoved underneath the countertop. Most of the computers were hack jobs, a frankensteinian mix of products hot-wired and soldered together in ways no computer logically should, and yet somehow worked despite their hacked-together appearance. As befitting such a techy crash-pad, wires hung from the ceiling, most of which did nothing more than complete her sense of aesthetics. A constant hum of electronics hung in the air, accompanying the faint smell of burnt ozone. It was always warm, but Sneakers didn’t seem to notice or care; her manufactured body, a composite form of polycarbonate and synthetic muscles, kept what few organic parts that were left at a constant ninety-eight point six degrees.
Published on May 18, 2017