Welcome to Immersion, you have reached Strata 7
They are exceptional cultural learners and can read situations. These skills have enabled them to develop complex trading tools. They rely heavily on these skills to create abstract cerebral and linguistic representations when placing themselves in various environments.
The cultural and socio-political environment in which humans have evolved has led them to acquire the cognitive skills, particularly mathematical, to support a sophisticated disposition and capacity for reciprocal cooperation and conceptual ideas of property and exchange value. Humans are savvy, humans broker deals.
Outside there was an optimistic sun and the people bussied around the market unaware of any of the commotion that had occurred in the bank.
The POS informed Renyke that he had lost negligible battery power and there was no damage to his mechanical structures.
The robodog came towards Renyke and the female guide's cat leapt onto her shoulders.
Maybeline returned to Renyke's pocket for a nap.
'You got my Bits?' asked the woman
'Go to Hell!' said Renyke, counting the contents of the steal.
'We already in Hell Soldier Man,' cackled the woman who resigned herself to not getting paid and ran into the crowds, as lithe as the cat
Back on the main street Flex approached, smiling and jaunty. Renyke felt reassured to see him.
'I need a vehicle Flex, something to get me to where I am going,' said Renyke.
'Yes, yes, yes Mr. Leather Man, where you going is where I'm going. Let's find a veee-hicle. Jerome, he is the car man, he got cars, and bikes and scoots..... and copters, and airships so they say.'
'Take me to Jerome,' said Renyke.
Flex took Renyke into a disused concrete building as the robodog curled up and waited outside.
There are the echoes of voices, activity and motor engines being revved from another part of the building. There is a smell of fuel and mumbled communications. Somewhere too there is music.
Flex beckoned Renyke to Jerome's office, a ramshackle room filled with books. More books than Renyke had ever seen. Books were no longer used in most homes or schools and the paper shortages after the warmings had meant that they were no longer being produced. Paper had become heavily taxed and there were also problems with scritters.
Scritters were large crawling insects that had been made in a laboratory by the Russian military.
They looked deformed with big insect heads and metal body parts. At birth scritters are born with a soft back and they look for protection from any material that offers a hard shell. Because of the huge landfill areas the rubbish had provided the perfect materials for protection, plastics and metals mostly. During the Russia China wars scritters had been used to carry tiny incendiary divides on their backs as they could be trained easily and were not affected by the nerve gases. But after the wars, the scritters had bred like wildfire, devouring paper and trees and nesting in book spines where the glue offered a perfect cocoon for pupae. Whole libraries had been mutilated by them. They were a scourge on the planet and another reason so many houses were built on stilts in the Midcast Projects. The more paper they ate, the more they reproduced. Books and paper matter that had not been digitally copied had been devastated and lost forever.
'A car you say?' asked Jerome. 'I got plenty, but the fuel....we got no fuel. We are working on some alternatives, but all prototypes so far. They cut off our fuel after the riots. And the food supplies. I have been missing gummies, I loved those.'
Renyke nodded as Jerome continued....
'Transport is a big problem. You'll be better off walking, my friend, if you can get through the tunnels. But there are booby traps all around the perimeters here in the zones.'
Renyke checks the POS for details but the tunnels are unchartered. The POS seemed to be struggling with connection and was operating intermittently.
'I have a hybrid cart,' continued Jerome. 'It runs on solar but only for about 3 hours per full charge if you do under 40km. And if it is a cloudy day, an hour. I can let you take it for 3000 G-bits. It won't get off the ground without jet fuel but it can drive on flat ground well enough. It doesn't hold the road well, but if you are a good driver, it won't be an issue.'
'Can you drive?' Renyke asked Flex.
Flex laughed... 'Of course I can.'
A scritter crawls across the floor and Jerome stamps on it. A black tar oozes from under his foot.
Jerome sees Renyke might be changing his mind about the deal.
'I will take TELL You got some TELL?"
The POS gets a signal......
...TELL: abbreviation of Tellurium, found in copper ore. Used in mobile phones, especially older versions where it was added to other metals improving their strength and hardness and reducing corrosion. Rare due to demise of traditional copper mines.
Renyke begins to feel confused about how to get the vehicle and asks the POS for advice.
I am not programmed to have opinions, Renyke. I do not have access to data about the vehicle or the seller. But Redact is within walking distance.
Renyke looks at Flex and then at Jerome. A scritter is crawling up his boot and he throws it off with a kick. He feels a rising panic and a thumping in his chest which he does not recognise.
Finally, Renyke says, 'I will walk.'
To be continued
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