Thorn of the Rose Issue 33: Other Ways In
How do you trust what is out there?
“So, are they right? Is that why you guys can’t use your keys?” Thorn asked, after the couple had rejoined the group and they all had left. “Because if you do your parents will track you and get you back?”
Stamen stretched out to Pistil, but Pistil jumped up and played the gun brigade from Bitter Fire, a movie just out which featured far too many guns for Pistil’s mother’s taste. He had seen it over 11 times, just to show his mother he could. “Yep. There’s a tracer put on each missing kid, each runaway. An Amber alert. You go over to any Port, put your little finger in, put your little DNA out, and that’s what its all about. Yes sir, no sir, got my parents right here sir. The brass’ll be on you so fast you won’t have time to enter your name, let alone your game.”
“Well, the library is out then,” Thorn said. “I’d hoped you guys could at least use your keys to figure out a map where we could get some internet access the old-fashioned way--without a Port. I’ve used all my sources already this week, and I need to lay low until the data stream runs by and covers my tracks.” Thorn gathered the backpack, which was still well out of Stamen’s reach, and glanced in to check on Potent. After seeing Potent’s claws tucked tight into its shell, Thorn hoisted the pack and got up.
The trio now walked along the streets on their own mission of trust, in silence. Or as silent as Pistil could stand to be, which wasn’t much. He provided a running commentary on the business suits, the bike messengers, the abandoned construction, the hot dog sellers, and the old homeless men.
“So not gonna be that guy,” he said, pointing to one rummaging through the trash, a plastic bottle of vodka nestled at his feet. “Gonna get me that Sparkly. Gonna win the ring, gonna get the brass, and aint no brass gonna take it from me.” Stamen and Thorn ignored his rapping as best they could as they all walked up 17th Street, down the faded murals of Urban Restoration and Barrio Unite from the bust and boom of LoDo in the 2030s. Thorn had them stop in every diner, every laundromat, every greasy convenience store, looking for a Port they could access which didn’t require the biometrics just to turn on. But LoDo held nothing.
They walked all the way over to 20th and Federal, then up Federal to 40th. This area had recently been renovated, and the new fancy shops were just too rich, too modern to hold any relics of unregistered internet access. The diners downtown, tucked into the slums, seemed to be the only hope. Eventually, the trio found themselves back in the same diner on Colfax they had started from, foot sore and belly empty.
“Oh come on buddy, old pal, old bosun friend. Come on, just forget about your paranoia just this once. Do this just this once. Go on the net. Just get it over with.” Pistil handed over a memory cord as he munched through a second sandwich. “It is all here, my friend. Just do it. Just do it now.”
Thorn shot back, “We’ve got till tomorrow. Let’s kelvin tonight, just hang out. Then we can try Five Points in the morning. Should be something there. I am just not going against Pet-the advice of my friends, that is all.” Petal’s name had so nearly surfaced. Throughout the long tramps of the day, Petal was nearly all Thorn had thought about.
“Tomorrow we might not find anything anyway,” Stamen added, sipping a now cold coffee and rubbing her foot under the booth. “Please, we want to enter so bad. Be nice knowing we had now…. and we can. Why are you being all paranoid anyhow?”
“Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean that they aren’t out to get you.” Thorn absently quoted Petal, upending the backpack and rooting about for a memory cord as well. “Ok. Ok. I know two accounts and I’ll just do yours from email@example.com and mine from the goldeneagle. I really shouldn’t, I’ve used both before. But, as you say, who’s out there to watch?”