The Roar of Our Stars Round 3: Chat 3

Icon credits: First and Second.

lolkarma: deels need a favr

cheydostudio: This sounds important.
One might even say…

Delia pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at the chat window. “That was abrupt.” She closed the chat and skimmed through her other windows. Homework, research to help her parents with their work on the island, humorous internet banality. The latter was another sort of research.

It wasn’t that she didn’t understand the memetic humour that was so prevalent over the internet. She also had plenty of time to indulge in it. But she never saw a reason to bother. But Carlos made her laugh, and she had figured out that at least some of his jokes were references.

She closed her browser window and then shut the laptop. “Speaking of flapping in the night,” she said softly, setting the laptop on the wicker love seat. “I’m going to get busy doing that.”

It didn’t sound at all right, but that was one of the advantages to living on barely charted Science Island. No peers to pressure her into not sounding lame. She laughed at herself in their stead and ran from the porch to the forest.

Her father had started to map the forest, but she’d begged him to let her, and he’d left it to her in typical dad fashion. After weeks of cartography work, she knew the forest as if she had helped nature make it.

In the deep forest, there was near-constant simulated night. She crawled under the brush, following intuition. Her sense of dread had passed sometime that morning, but the premonition stayed in her mind. She had somewhere to be. She didn’t know where it was yet. She’d find out soon.

This was the way it usually went. She could handle it.

Although he had the ability to be offline only when he was sleeping, Carlos preferred to keep up appearances. Even if Vivane bugged him about it whenever she couldn’t reach him. That was what email was for, he would tell her.

He ducked low to the ground and swung his body to the left, executing a jump that made him look like a thrown object. He stopped the arc of his ‘flight’ by grabbing onto a fire escape. Before his fingers even touched the metal, a large black arm smashed down into the pavement where he had just been standing. He pulled himself up over the railing and drew his pistol.

Synaptic messaging was Vivane’s greatest stable idea yet, in his opinion. Completely indistinguishable from the way he usually typed. Although it picked up on his mood a little too well.

The time was right, at least. That was the trigger part of working with Delia. She had to get something right, and then he’d know. He aimed, holding his ground.

As he squinted at the shadow, a cherry red blob of light glowed behind it, dulled by the shadow’s metaphysical mass. It came from a night club down the street. He fired at that spot.

Shrill cries pierced his ears, but he was prepared. That was another function of the computational headset Vivane had made for him. It kept every sound he could pick up at a comfortable decibel, stored a giant database he could search by thought, let him chat via synaptic texting, and even streamed movies for those dull nights when there was absolutely nothing going on.

The shadow staggered, a fascimile of blood flowing from its weak spot. He flicked out his wrist, deploying a trap on the roof of the nearest hardware store. Shrieking, the shadow wrenched itself inward, becoming a bloated ball of lopsided blackness, before being sucked into the trap.

Carlos left the trap where it was. It wasn’t the end yet.

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