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Normally, Sneakers would run diagnostics on her new device, but a part of her—what was still human—told her to toss caution to the wind and try it out now. A giddiness she hadn’t experienced in years filled her, borne from the mystery of this internet drive. What did it contain? Who built it? Was it just a commercial-grade datajack in a fancy case to upsell it to gullible idiots, or was it more than that? Maybe it was government tech. Or experimental stuff stolen from one of the corporations. Or heck, maybe it was a bomb and it’d all explode in her ceramic-white face. It was all just so … so unknown. Could anyone really blame her for buying it? For bringing it home, to insert the Ethernet cable into it with surprisingly shaky fingers? She didn’t even register when she plugged the USB cable into the other port, nor when she plugged the opposite end of the cable into the back of her own neck. To Sneakers, and to most people using a datajack, the web looked like a series of 1’s and 0’s that vaguely formed images. Easy enough to explore, though rudimentary, and with the right knowhow one could manipulate these binary numbers to do as they wished. But this was different. Sneakers could feel it, even as the first kilobyte reached her, even as her artificial eyes widened and a gasp left her synthetic lips. No. This was not normal. Power shot through her spinal cord like lightning, running its course up past the cranial cage that housed her brain and directly into her Occipital lobe. Neurons fired off, one after the other, with dendrites writhing rapidly across her grey matter in ways she’d never experienced before. Jacking into the web was an experience, definitely—intense at times, mundane at others—but this was like nothing else. It hummed through her, her fake teeth vibrating with a frequency both terrible and wonderful. Like rain on a train, plinking across a speeding bullet of steel as she rocketed towards … something. She wasn’t sure, couldn’t be sure, and her mind lost itself to the glorious unfolding of this new dream of technological livewire mysticism. A cavalcade of experiences, of colors unfolding like origami before her, lattices of bright and glorious logic sprouting around her from a colorless expanse of nothing. 96

2017 Freshwater Literary Journal  

Professional literary journal produced at Asnuntuck Community College