CH. 04 «My Minifeed»

AIPTEK

03-01-2308

For the entire time I’ve shared the unit with my Jovian roommate we’ve complained about our occupations as wannabe net pirates. A wireless receiver—which can be found in practically anything from a texti or your imager to a soda can or a lotto ticket—will only keep you connected if you’re within radius of an access point. Most families can afford outfit their unit with a Home-Sphere; a wireless central hub that that integrates all the corresponding systems around your unit and in your pocket together in a local network.

Meager is the minimum wage compared to cost of life in OC and my roomie knew as well as I did it couldn’t win the battle over food and electricity; and why should we really? Our building was a conglomeration of tiny apartment units. We could easily find signal from various neighbors overlapping certain spaces in our home. The only problems you face with buccaneering some spheres are the measures people take to prevent hacking or leeching. You might think it simple since the obsolescence of the coaxial or the push away from fiber optics–you don’t have to splice your neighbors line anymore, rather you can just skim some bandwidth off remotely.

It’s not always as easy as I make it sound. Most people end up taking an unprotected signal versus tangle with password protection. Some people get too frustrated with a cramped jacuzzi they keep losing their place in, though. If you’re really willing to go the extra step and you can get through a password, be warned! You’ll likely be faced with a myriad of firewalls, hack traps, or even bots programmed to infect intruders’ systems with crippling computer viri. Some are particularly destructive strains, capable of mortally wounding key hardware components. I’m sure the Jovian, Pashan, is as unwilling as I am to seek such an encounter. Thus we came to a consensus and decided it was time to go legit and invest in our own access point.

I really shouldn‘t be trying to afford anything else though, what with being recently unemployed. I didn’t even save enough credits when I was working at the bookstore, barely making it out of there every Friday with my paycheck intact. There are so many unread hardcovers and trades just collecting dust in the living room, which is also probably coated by a thin layer of neglect. Clothbound novelties on all manner of subject from prehistoric art to goddess literature and studies of shamanic cultures throughout the solar system just aging. I suspect I could read a few pages instead taking 20 minutes just to check my mail with this weak signal. You don’t want to know how long it takes to get my whole minifeed.

Archaics and old fashioned families usually take in a full cast from the teli, but anyone who’s young or just synced-up and living on-the-go needs it in a more readily accessible, swallowable shape. Sometimes that means being delayed leaving the unit while I’m waiting for the condensed cast to trickle into my gadget. Then I can take my minifeed on the fly; though not giving the screen my undivided attention until I find myself at signal lights, straight-aways and the gridlock.

Sometimes it’s all I have to survive this murderous Martian traffic.

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PREV CHAPTER: CH. 03 «Additive-Free Lungs»

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NEXT: CH. 05 A Martian Rite of Passage – My First Tattoo

NEXT: CH. 05 A Martian Rite of Passage – My First Tattoo

CH. 03 «Additive-Free Lungs»

AIPTEK

02-26-2308

I stepped out of my unit into the belligerent wind. It was evening now and the clear, starry sky above looked more purple than black. Waiting a moment for the unruly breeze to die down, I caught the slight stench of the hundred cigis lying with the mulch around me. A moment to light another one was lost with a gust that brought that permanent burnt-blood smell of iron oxide to my nostrils, giving the distinct memory of bitten tongues. A feeling not unlike the sting on my exposed skin from the cold that accompanied the odor. I leaned back inside the hatchway to dodge the wind and soon only smelled the choke of the Martian Spirit I lit after another minute, instantly remembering why I didn’t like smoking them at all.

I had bought the pack at the filling station in desperation, not able to pick out any other familiar brands from all of the foreign labels in the nicotine bookcase behind the counter. I recognized these right away, they had been popular with hip kids back on Earth who were trying to be green or just trendy, the “healthy” cigis boasting liberation from pesticides and other additives–and from any discernible taste. I personally thought these pre-fab’d cigis were bland and took larger lungs to drag, and they take too long to burn in the blasted wind. I forgot about it until I heard a skittering to my right and leapt back to the airlock, reaching inside to flip the porch LEDs. I returned to the pale-blue illuminated patio alone; I saw no scaly tail nor heard the scratch of claws, so I felt safe to assume I was so. Wishing I had not lost my hat, I pulled up my collar and hugged myself with my smoke-free hand. I missed that herringbone dob, even if Leucosia gave it to me.

Another, larger wind-wrought clatter in the yard beside mine startled me from my lamentations and decided I ought to head in. It was too bitter out there to make the cigi worth the hassle. Stomping it out on the pavement before it ever had a chance to burn to the little printed ink graphic, I turned on my pressed toe and hurried back inside. The automatic hatch slid shut behind me. Its hermetic seal squealed as it cut off the atmosphere from outside… all except one tiny wisp of smoke that followed me back into my unit. circularcrop-itlom004-chapter-additivefreelungs copy

NEXT CHAPTER: CH. 02 «A Tlogger in Olympus»

PREV: CH. 02 «A Tlogger in Olympus»

NEXT: CH. 04 «My Minifeed»

NEXT: CH. 04 «My Minifeed»

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