Hack: Part 3
He set off down the long barren street. The wind blew ash and dust into his face, blowing his hood off his head. He zipped up his jacket and put his hood back on. He turned around to check his progress. The abandoned apartment building was about 200 feet away, he was slowly making progress. Complex B lies on a street parallel to his but is 8 blocks away. A little further than he had wanted to travel, but he needed Banshee 7. His computer was too slow without it. He was ready to endure headaches if that meant virtual peace and happiness (for himself of course). With a faster processor he would, potentially, always be one step ahead of the hosts. Unless of course they were running on Banshee 7 or better, this is always a possible scenario.
He reached the end of the street and took a right. This stretch of road was always dangerous due to the high frequency of police activity. He could see city hall, and Open Park a little ways down. The hazy afternoon sun barely lit his surroundings. He strained his eyes to see only 20 feet in front of him. Although he knew this area very well, he could traverse the city blind folded if he needed.
City hall was soon on his right. He could hear loud shouts and booing coming from Open Park. He didn’t want to stop but it sounded like there could be an execution today. Some poor sap from The Ware Syndicate must’ve slipped up and got busted. Every once in a while there is a public execution. The point of which is to discourage others from selling Stim. He’s witnessed plenty of executions and still refuses to give up coding Stim. It’s too lucrative.
He soon approached Open Park where people were standing around encircling a large tank. The device was similar to a dunking booth. He thought: “this could be fun.” A top the dunking plank stood a man. He wore traditional WS colors, black and red. He stood tall and stoic, accepting his sentence.
An officer stood on the ground with his hand on a lever. The lever caused the plank to drop, sending the man into a piranha tank.
He got close enough to penetrate the circle and see the execution up close. “Oh, friggin yeah, a piranha tank! This guy is really in for some trouble. He must’ve screwed up bad.” He thought to himself. It was stupid of him to get so close to an officer, but he’s obviously too busy to check papers of some lowly kid.
The officer read the man his conviction. “You, Death Adder, captain of the Western Division of The Ware Syndicate are hereby sentenced to death for facilitating Stim transfer between bordering states. Do you have any last words?” The officer asked.
“Yeah, I got some. Flip off you measely maggot infested….”
And with those last few words, the officer frowned and moved the lever. The crowd was silent. The fish swam in darting passes. Each one of the 30 some odd fish were about a foot long, pretty large for a piranha. The man sank to the bottom of the tank, but could not get to the surface. The starved piranhas tore him apart. His screams were drowned by the water. His limbs were chewed to nubs. Blood rushed out into the tank, turning it from clear to red. Thirty seconds was all it took to finish the man and devour every inch of flesh. The only thing left were his tattered clothes. Red and black scraps floated to the surface.
The crowd, including him, cheered and clapped. Everyone had eerie smiles on their dirty faces. The officer laughed. Soon the crowd was silent. The officer just kept on laughing.
He backed out of the circle and resumed his journey. He crossed another block and was soon behind a feeble looking man. The man turned to him and huddled next to a stoop. He removed a BCI and a small rusty laptop. “Hey man, I wouldn’t do that right there if I was you.” He said. The man turned and said: “flip off, I can get high wherever I want.”
Just then an officer approached from behind him and grabbed the man. He lifted him up and starting beating him senseless with a billy club. The laptop and BCI fell to the ground.
“Oh crap!” The kid said, and he ran up the street. He was soon out of breath and looked back. The smog didn’t fully conceal the horrible beating taking place. The officer kept swinging his club. The man was soon unconscious.
The kid kept walking. Only 6 more blocks to go.
The wind picked up and blew a gust of ash and grime at him. He had to stop and steady himself against the assault from the concrete jungle. The kid past the 4th block away from Muto’s place and approached an old woman who was walking ever so slowly. She called out to him as he passed:
“Where are you going?” She asked.
“None of your friggin business lady,” he responded.
“Just asking. You know, life hasn’t always been this bad. The Stim revolution ruined our lives and society for that matter.” She said.
“You can’t blame this all on Stim. The government took away our happiness so we have to get it somewhere else, from an artificial source. People have to gain pleasure from somewhere else. We don’t have freedom so the only choice is happiness from using Stim and from other simulations. We’re like prisoners in this friggin state. A lot of people are too depressed to work, and especially since the main employer is the government, no one is happy working for the government. They hire people to spy on other people. Everyone has to go about their lives without enjoyment, and those who have to work, do so constantly, with little to no breaks” the kid said.
The old lady stopped and agreed with the kid: “I suppose you’re right, this isn’t all because of Stim.” She stopped talking to cough. “Have you seen all the abandoned apartment building? People are leaving this state; they’re running away from their problems.” The kid stopped walking, he nodded “yes they are” he said, and then continued.
Only one more block to go. He soon entered Complex B. There were security cameras everywhere. He stopped to pull up his hood and bury his dirty face in his jacket. He reached the mud room before the main lobby to Complex B. He scoured the directory for 202, which was the number for Muto’s flat. He pushed the button waited for Muto’s voice. “Who” said Muto.
“It’s me, open up you friggin freak.” Said the kid.
“Ok” said Muto.
The door buzzed and unlocked, he walked into the lobby.