Excerpt from Chapter 2
Reverside by Night
Sleep that night was anything but uneventful. A game was afoot. This was bad timing before his journey. Attackers from the west activated countermeasures on the bridge. Marto played in the role of autonomous command from the second eastbound tower. The exercise was boring, but all players knew they would need extra cycles before waking. The bikers, running on ethanol, both in their bikes and in their guts came roaring over the bridge as if raw speed and enthusiasm alone would protect them. Some notes pointed to a lack of strategy in the attack. This may have been a simulation or it may have been real. Regardless, it was a regretful slaughter.
The glass tipped gyros under Marto’s command wrapped around the support cables of the bridge. Each gyro had a modicum of intelligence guiding it, expelled from its casing with a blast of compressed nitrogen. Viewing the action from high up on the bridge tower commanders chose the targets, which lit up in bright red glowing bullseyes for the gyros to hit. The game took place in a kind of half sleep, similar to active dreaming, but requiring very little focus. Attack style operations like this one needed only slight concentration compared to building, puzzles, adventure, possession, or invention games. Marto was able to stay in a restful state from the time the alarm stirred him until the attackers were down. The results were gory. The glass edges on the gyros cut through even the toughest armor at their rotational speed of 75,000 rpm. Gyros got stuck in the resulting mix of cloth, leather, bones, digestive acids, and blood, which is why a second wave of clean up commanders are roused to guide the decompilers.
Tribal members of lower Merit volunteer for this second duty, as it is an easy way to move up. The downside is, that it can cause nightmares, and is disgusting. Long ago, when he was a noob, Marto opted in for this activity. Thankfully, as his Merit rose, he received a forgetfulness synth gland, and never had to volunteer again.
For all their unpleasantness, decompiler technology has been critical to a livable anthropocene environment. People do not like to remember the aftermath of the flood and its accompanying migration of people and viruses. If any upside to all the ensuing unprecedented loss of life could be imagined, it was the necessary development and deployment of decompiler technology. The micro-robots that distinguish between animate and inanimate organic material, processing what human beings would be loathe to touch or smell, without burning it, or leaving it as food for troublesome insects and bacteria, has been invaluable to human and animal alike, and more than anything has helped to eliminate new breeding grounds for parasites and pathogens. Without decompilers human society would be at a loss to process the impossible accumulation of sewage, food waste, and bodies that accumulated during the days after the great tide.
Decompiler tech, dreamed up by the augment pioneer Tara « Sibby « Maria « Lucy « Cynthia « etc, was achievable once the process for the auto creation of nanotubes was integrated into semi-autonomous micro machines. The robots construct the tubes at a rate of a dozen a minute and insert them into the dead material. Liquid as grey water travels down the tube, away from the solids. The body or material is desiccated. Another robot collects the water and moves it to a neighboring tank for distillation. Finally, the dried remains are sorted in pits with the use of some mechanicals into carbon, nitrogen, silicon and other compounds. Some of these become the building blocks for more decompilers, the rest is transformed into dry fertilizer, and other materials.
- The Wakeful Wanderer’s Guide, Ep. 6, lines 91 & 92.
It was 01:24:10 and Marto was still awake. He kept replaying Helen’s removal in his mind. She had seemed so harmless to him. Naturally he trusted Reyleena, and all the security team, but something about her visit seemed off.