The noise of rain on graphene retreats like an orchestra forgetting that which it professes.
“All Veil Squad members now passing through the red district, Body Shop Street has now been cleared of pedestrians. Proceed in accord with the drones. Repeat: you are to coalesce with the rest of the squad members from the…”
Chaotic machine noise cascades over human noise. The morphology of the street matter now quarrels with the drones in the sky for the eyes of the squad. All of the squad, except for one.
Dwelling in lonely freedom, undistracted by the drones lighting against the night, she sits in what may be slumber. She disregards the city over, that from the top glares a scape of blue and red. There is no sound that can tell her through what dark corridors she should pierce. Sound is ambience.
She is alive but she is not alive to that reality which dazes the mind. The energy of haste which dissipates in chaos through chemical hinges is sweet nothing to her. She does not move but her strength is clear and the time grows short.
There is, somewhere, a room with dim red lighting.
Corporate primates speak as if with weight:
“This is only a dress rehearsal.”
“Besides, there is nothing unethical in being adequately compensated for advocating a cause in which you deeply believe.”
“That is blasphemy.”
“I think he is a missionary and we should keep an eye on him.”
“I was impressed by MEVC2, it left me somewhat overwhelmed and pretty badly scared.”
“Threat is overrated, I don’t care what you think of it.”
“The company is already running…”
Sweeping aside all this gourmet of speech, the most snapping voice streams a message into that cybernetic echo of a woman.
“Veil Squad Mercia, you are to kill the monk.”
She can feel the coldness of her hair as she pulls it apart behind her head. The plug, once inserted, ignites a warm ruby glow from the edge of her cranial skin and down to her ballerina feet. She was going to assassinate him anyway.
Her ankle gyrates and she sprints.
Joints stab through ramen mist, stab, stab, and the neon rush blurs itself into the temple. She jolts and pounces through the temple door.
Wood creaks like a screaming Kami. Behind a stone Buddha, an extra pair of hands holding guns. Nanotech fiber shoots from her fingertips. Pirouette in sharp motion severs both hands. One rolls off from its bleeding wrist, the other was mechanic. She crosses her arms with force, and the strings cut the stone savior into pieces. With short stumbles, the monk runs behind the next thing he can hide behind.
Her head tilts back until it abruptly stops when her chin is perpendicular to her neck, like interrupted software.
“Wasn’t there a Zen koan that said that if you see the Buddha, you should kill him? Well you’re not exactly the Buddha, but I guess you’ll have to do for now. You see, I’m very devout.”
He looked pathetic for a moment, with thin stumps leaking his chemicals away. But he regained his composure like nothing happened. Death had to be met with a slight smile and a straight spine.
Then she peeled her eyes already peeled. “You’re not the monk I’m looking for. But you’re clearly his accomplice. Tell me why you’re all planning to destroy our identities with the cyber virus EMVC2.”
He took a breath full of true value.
“Your identities never existed. We will help all beings realize this, and the Dharma will be fulfilled.”
“It was hard to have the Buddha’s ideals fulfilled when Homo sapiens was entirely biological. But now you’re exploiting the fact that we all have cyber brains to bring about an instant enlightenment by reconfiguring our neuronal processes. I suppose this virus will modulate our attention so that we cannot help but inhabit a state of flow. Therefore the contents of consciousness will be too fluid and we will not be able to construct a sense of self. Interesting. I can’t say I really disagree or agree with your vision. I have no opinions, just a chip I plugged in the back of my head, and it’s whispering that I should kill you.”
Her doll like lips curved and revealed a handsome sadism.
She broke one of the spokes of the glossy Dharma wheel and drove it deep into his intestines.
His eyes squinted until they were bizarrely compassionate and yet anchored to nothing.