Friday, November 5, 2004

I’ve been relaxing a lot lately. Not pushing myself to work so much in the evenings. It’s been surprisingly good. I want to finish up several projects that I’d promised others, now, so that I don’t have to do them anymore.

I want free time, frankly, and I think I have to fight for it.

Now, more VR story:

Thomas’ eyes snapped open. He was curled up in a pool of sticky liquid, in an aisle between two relatively sturdy shelves—both were only half annihilated, and offered about four feet of ragged cover above them. Doodlehopper crouched next to the remains of the opposite shelf, her arms outstretched and her hands flat against the floor, looking just like Julie Newmar. Her eyes were focused inwards, every other sense straining to detect their adversaries.

Thomas twitched, catching Doodlehopper’s eye. He mouthed, “Is he crazy?” Doodlehopper made an impatient motion with one hand and looked away.

They could hear the crunch of glass beneath boot, and both stopped breathing. Outside, Grey Hackle advanced further, his grin widening into a skull’s permanent rictus.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!” he shouted, stepping up onto the curb. “I’ll find you soon enough. Why not be a man and at least show yourself before you die?”

Thomas’ jaw set. This was not the first man to threaten him. VR was full of immature script kiddies who taunted improbable destruction at the slightest hint of provocation, but there were other, more dangerous breeds who could erase your existence—or at least make it very difficult to use your credit accounts.

Thomas had never had a hero. Even when he was a kid, he’d been in his share of fights and been threatened by his share of bullies. Nobody had ever stood up for him. He always did that himself. He could be immature, lazy, picky, quick to anger, and just generally a jerk. But he had always stood up to bullies.

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