Random Access

Last week I introduced Serotonin Overload, the main protagonist of my still-untitled cyberpunk novel. Since arriving in Cap City, Sera’s been supplementing the Basic by taking on odd jobs — mostly illegal.

This might be as dramatic as hijacking a self-driving cargo truck out in the mostly unpopulated boonies, or as simple as picking up some illicit package and delivering it back. Most of these jobs come from a man who calls him “Random Access,” or Rand for short.

… tall and thin with a narrow face. His hair — long, unkempt, and lank — hung over his face in the front. His skin was rich brown, his eyes dark behind the faint shimmer of implants. His left hand, where it emerged from the stained and tattered sleeve of his coat, was a gleaming metal prosthesis. He perpetually smelled of machine oil and stale perspiration.

Rand presents a shadowy, elusive figure in Sera’s life. He provides her with the jobs and a way to earn digital credits — “didgies.” But he’s never taken her into his confidence, and maybe she prefers to keep it that way. Sera remains wary of him. Or perhaps it’s only her own muddled feelings toward him she’s wary of.

“The dead man had something I need. Five hundred’s what I owed him, so five hundred’s what you get.”
“Five hundred for a retrieval job? What’s the catch?”
“If you’ll just get in the car, I can fill you in on the way.”
“Mama said never to get in cars with strange men.”
“You’ve known me over a year.”
“And yet, you remain strange.”

Random Access and Serotonin Overload

Turns out, 500 didgies is just about exactly what Sera needs when our story opens. She’s got her eye on some new tech, but she needs the scratch. So this latest job opportunity sure is tempting, even when you factor in the dead man and Rand’s damned secretive nature.

How exactly did this other associate get himself “blue-screened,” as Rand puts it? What’s on the thumb drive he asks her to retrieve form the corpse? And how will it thrust her into confrontation with cops, spies, and the Solar System’s most dangerous terrorist?

That’s for Rand to know, and Sera to find out.

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