Tags: original

ffvii; wutai

[Original] [Cyberpunk] Warehouse (possible fragment of a larger work?)

original fragment; cyberpunk; WAREHOUSE.

They sit together-- she hunches over with her knees up to her chin, he sits with one leg stretched out and the other knee up-- on the cold concrete floor. It might be a warehouse; he didn't check. He probably should have checked, but the walls are thick and there are no windows. The sirens in the distance do not perturb them; the night watch's MVs will soon pass them right by.

He reaches for his raggedy-ass bag. The bag's cover flap got all but torn off in an accident he doesn't really remember, and it's got scorch marks all over the damn thing. It's a wonder he can store anything Tagged in here. God knows the wax paper he uses to foil the Tag sensors has probably all but disintegrated, or fallen out, or worn too thin to be any use. But somehow he got past six S-Bots with a bag full of Tagged shit-- all of it Priority 5 or greater.

The flap opens, nearly coming off in his hands, and he pulls out a water bottle. Its price label reads D 8.29: Priority 8 (probably because it's NSOL), but it only cost him a near heart attack and a quick sprint. His fingers do not fumble or jerk as he twists off the cap and takes a sip.

"Uhm," she says. Her voice echoes in the cold air. It sounds like one of those 'tronica songs, all high and kind of faded out. She's not a Dolly, he reminds himself. The sound is just leftover hearing problems from that burst of static. The last SIM skirmish was just a couple of hours ago-- the damage won't start to heal for a few hours yet.

"'n I have some?"

Silently, he passes the drink to her. She drinks some of it and pretends to give it to her imaginary friend. Logically, it's a waste of water, but it makes them both feel a bit better.

After a while, she asks, "Can I ask you a question?"

In normal days, he would laugh and tell her You just did and she would frown cutely and ask Then can I ask you a real one, but things haven't been normal for a damn long time. So he just says, "What?"

"Can your chara really fly?" Her words leave a puff of steam in the air. In a few minutes, they're going to have to pull out the blankets and huddle together closer with their shoes off but everything else, all the way to hats and jackets, still on.

But that's a few minutes from now, and they're bothing doing okay. So he just chuckles and reaches for the water, pretending that the ice cold won't make his teeth hurt. It does, of course, and once again he mentally damns whoever runs the universe this week for the government's shitty dental insurance in the past two and half decades.

"No. It's a glitch in the SIMSYS. Any sprite with a wing mod can do it. Hitting the jump key three times 'ports you wherever you have the cam'ra focused."

"You hate usin' glitches, right?"

"Yeah." He drinks some more of the water. "An' if you screw up your cam'ra, like looking in the wrong direction, then it works against you."

The sirens get louder, and the conversation ends. They go completely still, afraid to get out the blankets even though they really should because the MVs might well hear the fabric rustling. He breathes in, quiet as he can, and tries not to think about the ocmplete and total shithole of irony his life has become. Like how the resistance preaches about equal rights for total organics and the dangers of SIM-- but they're fighting all their battles in a virtual world, and it's getting harder and harder to blink in Phys without having seventeen S-bots and a tank riding your ass.

The faint glow of his scanner, white block print on green silently listing all the night watch MVs in the area and their orders, is the only light in the room. Slowly, carefully, he turns his hand around, putting the scanner face-down against his knee.