Chapter 4: Radio towers and Chinese food
Apple looked out over the edge of a radio tower, taking in the view. It was one of the very few places to see more than just a few feet ahead of her. She was sitting on the tower’s service platform, one leg hanging off the side and the other near the edge. Her arms were crossed, supported by her leg. She puffed on her E-cigarette and blew a cloud of blue smoke. She felt the wind blow upon her face, as the air circulation blew the atmosphere of the spacecraft through the filters, a mile behind her. She could see the entire structure of the state from here. It was a beautiful sight, the inside of the cylindrical shape of the spacecraft. Through the gaps in the plating she could see straight out into space. The whole spacecraft gently sailed through the stars, its body of energy and of metal, slowly turning in the void that was the stars. Inside, Apple could see the six segments of the city, each like a single building, with light and color dotted over the darkness. It was an incredible sight to behold, and she was awestruck at its majesty and beauty.
But, she wasn’t up here for the view. She reached into a small pouch at her side, and pulled out a small, plastic package, jointed at its middle. She turned it on, and it expanded into six sections, thick, strong black film stretching across the gaps. The film contained the laptop’s electronics and interface. It was reinforced with carbon nanotubes, and near impossible to rip or even crease. She waited for it boot up, and plugged a USB into the tower. It gave her access to a variety of data involving the layout of the city’s electrical lines and Atomnet providers. Atomnet’s availability wasn’t based on location, but on quantum inference. Atomnet, unlike the far inferior internet, connected to computers via quantum entanglement, and therefore location did not matter. Apple only needed the layout of the system’s usage, something that government screening and one unfortunate police officer got in the way of. They didn’t want people to get into these diagrams or mess with the towers, so they posted guards. That unfortunately included the police officer that had been guarding this tower. Apple licked her bloody snout clean. He’d tasted all right. His arm, at least. She didn’t have time to eat all of him.
She’d left her clothes with Renan before she’d taken the policeman out. Unlike his, hers didn’t self-clean. She’d sent him to fix that. One of his headset’s memory units was in her bag. It had his money on it, and it kept him with her. His memories were on a different one, which also happened to contain the EMB. She grinned evilly. She had her own little servant.
She worked silently, feeling the cold wind and hard touch of the metal on her skin. She opened the diagrams, and looked them over. It was pretty easy to read them. The more red, the less usage. She opened up a search engine on Atomnet, and pulled up a few maps. The cute, cartoony little Quetzalcoatl in the upper left hand of the screen analyzed the data and helped her. She was pinpointing a spot with the least usage. The feathered serpent was the face of an anonymous and universal assistance program. Quetzalcoatl had become a cultural icon in Labrose. The space borne nation had their origins in South America, namely among those of Aztec descent. The influence of it was everywhere; in the people’s dress, their language, their culture…well, if they had a culture in the first place. The people of Labrose were so focused on surviving the bioterrorists and gangs and so absorbed in their own interests they didn’t have much of a culture anymore.