Rainbow (pt. 8)

Part eight in the Rainbow series:

Rainbow (pt. 1)
Rainbow (pt. 2)
Rainbow (pt. 3)
Rainbow (pt. 4)
Rainbow (pt. 5)
Rainbow (pt. 6)
Rainbow (pt. 7)


Like being pulled backwards at great speed deep into an icy lake, Sonorous feels herself ripped from her body and propelled into the Network. The transition is nearly instantaneous, but the feeling lingers as if it had taken much longer. The hurricane of distractions that is her physical body is completely clear, leaving her mind open. The first seconds after flipping are always a phenomenal rush, feeling ones entire consciousness through focused through a pinprick is a sensation beyond the imagination of one with both eyes forever in the real world.

Extending her consciousness beyond that pinprick, like opening her eyes, she becomes aware of the fortress of data that is the Network reflection of the phone. Imposing, just like all commercial grade security, breaking it would be difficult and time consuming on the other side. From within the Network, this fortress was hardly more security than a wall of light on the other side.
With a thought she pulled an avatar around herself from the twisting currents of light, inexperienced Netwalkers like her felt the lack of physical body disconcerting and preferred to expend the minor portion of energy and attention required to hold a form. Sonorous’ avatar was quite unlike her real body, mostly ephemeral to minimise draining her focus, she was hardly aware that it had focused on the parts of her appearance she was most self-conscious of.

Sensing while Netwalking is completely unrelated to the act in the real world, nor like the belief people hold that it is like reading lines of code scrolling across the world, neither act would be sufficiently fast to whether the torrent of information that makes up the Net. Experiencing the net is like gouging out ones eyes to peel away the barriers preventing one from observing the whole spectrum of lights, it is light frying ones nervous system so all information passes direct and unfiltered through the mind at once.
The truth is even more mind breaking than it sounds, as torturous as the old witch’s training had been, without Faith’s lessons, Sonorous’ neurons would have been demyelinated and at least a quarter of her grey matter boiled away instantly. During her training Faith took her to meet people who’d had accidents while flipped, tormented by demons created by their own mind and incapable of controlling their own bodies, often even at an autonomous level.
The unbidden recollection brought Sonorous back to the moment. The euphoria completely banished. Drawing her attention inwards to the pinprick that anchors her consciousness in one place, projecting forwards between the bars of light defending the fortress, she understands the security’s code at an instinctive level. Building a code that would have taken hours or longer in the real world as easily as breathing, the barrier pulses momentarily before accepting her and opening.
The phone open, Sonorous opens her eyes. Her consciousness merging with her body sends electricity through her, releasing stress hormones and leaving her feeling slightly sick. Faith called it a bad landing, she still needed more practice.

In the room with her, Jazz and Feral don’t seem to have been expecting her back quite so soon, she notices Sonorous’ return first and instead of seeming embarrassed winks and purses her lips enticingly to be met with deep blush from Sonorous.
Coughing politely, Feral opens his eyes and shoves Jazz away. Staring daggers into Sonorous, as if to dare her to make something of it, he instead in his rumbling growl asks, “Done?”

The word only a question in the loosest sense, Sonorous hands him the unlocked device. Snatching it roughly from her hand, she shrinks away from him as he sieves rapidly through what it holds.
In the awkward moment of silence, Jazz continues to stare shamelessly at Sonorous, making no effort to fix her appearance. While no blushing maiden, Sonorous finds Jazz’s raw confidence and intensity as intimidating as Feral’s barely contained rage. Often more so. At least she knows where she stands with him, and what he’s capable of.

“This is it,” Feral declares, then without waiting he pockets the phone and stalks towards the door. Sonorous dashes to keep up, without averting her gaze Jazz falls in silently behind them.
Outside the two armed thugs glare openly as the three of them make for the exit. Squid’s door closed as it had been before they met him, Sonorous notices. Implicitly escorted to the exit, the punks stand alongside the hideous genefreak doorman to watch as they leave.

Walking in silence for a couple dark and filthy streets until they reach an alley with only a single drifter asleep on a makeshift trash pile. Feral walks up to the man, kicking him brutally sending him scurrying for safety.
Sonorous, tailed closely by Jazz, enters the alley joining Feral. Looking around conspiratorially, seeming satisfied he reaches into a pocked and holds out plug drive. Her payment was stored as secured data on the drive. Gripping the drive she moves to take it, but Feral’s grip doesn’t loosen and being far stronger than her, he doesn’t budge. Looking up to meet his gaze, his usually ferocious expression is less threatening than usual. The strangeness is almost enough to loop back around to intimidating again.
The fabric of Jazz’s clothing shift close behind her, drawing her attention to her proximity. Immediately nervous, Sonorous opens her mouth to say, “We did good tonight, yeah?”

“Right,” Feral answers, while Sonorous keeps eye contact with him resolutely, refusing to acknowledge the warmth on her neck that’s most likely Jazz’s breath. A beat passes as Feral seems to consider his words, “You do good work.”

“Thanks?”

“Too good to be freelancing,” Jazz’s voice a low husky purr in her ear, intoxicating and strangely threatening.

Sonorous keeps silent, letting them continue to lead the conversation. Eventually Feral recognises neither of the women are going to say anything and continues, “Our boss is looking for a Netwalker.”

Jazz’s presence is so distracting, Sonorous can feel the woman’s arms and legs wrapping sensually around her body in her mind from her intensity. It shallows her breathing and she can feel the blood rushing to her lips, her blood filling with knives of nervous energy while she struggles to concentrate on Feral’s vaguely threatening offer.
Swallowing hard to remove the dry feeling from her throat, Sonorous answers, her voice very slightly cracking, “I’m not looking to be tied down right now, I’ve got something I need to find myself.”

“Anyone with eyes can tell you’ve got needs soon as look at you, babe,” Jazz replies, “You want what you can’t get alone, trust me on that.”

“Contact details on that drive, just think about it.” Feral states, releasing his grip without ceremony. Stepping past Sonorous towards the mouth of the alley, he grabs Jazz and drags her away with him, “See you around.”

Sonorous doesn’t answer, taking deep breaths to recover, she slips the drive into her pocket. Jazz may have had a point, even with access to the Net, her search wasn’t going much better. Maybe joining a corp, gang, or whoever employed those freaks was exactly what she needed…

Author: Zairron

I'm writing to build a habit, practice, and be creative.

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