He tosses and turns, another hour wasted on futile attempts to fall asleep. He’s overworked, his whole apartment – if you can call this pigeon-hole an apartment – stinks of a man too tired to clean. After a while he gives up on sleep, stands up and looks through the solitary window. The street below is mostly dark, only the new autonomous lamps are on – the rest is turned off, due to energy conservation measures. Only the ever-watchful cameras benefit of this meagre light; it’s long past curfew, nobody is around at that hour.

He’s not only tired, he’s unnerved. This is normal, of course, this city is full of shell-shocked primates, walking around in a daze of government-sponsored sedatives, doing their pitiful best to not notice. As if the crystal computronium tower just on the outskirts of the city could simply be ignored, all three kilometers of it. As if the monolith plates, slowly drifting across the sky, their composition or purpose unknown, could be unseen. As if you could simply live as if the world did not change at all.

But this man in the window does notice, and the ordinary signs of the extraordinary bother him no more. He learned to live with “the upstarts”, to sift sense out of the cacophony of voices the uploaded present to those that still cling to biology. He endured the thinly veiled sneers of the unbodied, he helped broker the deals that made this city possible – after all they live on the goodwill of the tower, or maybe on dregs of their excess production. What worries him is that the upstarts talk no more. The tower is silent, the computronium dark. Something has changed and he does not know why. His job is to know such things, that’s what the Ministry of Defence of the Provisional National Salvation Council pays him for.

His job is also why I’m here, hidden behind his eyeballs.

You see, I’m the spy. Or maybe he is. Or rather I’m the spyware, he’s the zombie – but I don’t control him, at least not yet – this would give us up. I live in his head, on a bioware built in-situ by a slew of micromachines masquerading as an infection – a stomach flu, I think. A large part of the local population may have this unplanned add-on in their heads – he seems to remember that stomach flu was rather popular this year. This is all conjecture, I cannot access his memories directly.

This is also why I don’t know why I am in this head. A hardcoded program recognised something of interest to us, so it triggered a download of – well, me. But I don’t know what tripped the routine. I have to wait until he sees or hears it again, whatever it was.

In the meantime, we wait out the night, he and I.


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