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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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893544 No. 893544 ID: eda54c

YOU light a cigarette. Your first of the day, as you've only been awake for an hour. This cigarette is enjoyed by itself, as you do not drink coffee. Caffeine doesn't do it for you anymore, you need something a bit stronger than that nowadays. 60 milligrams of amphetamine was weighed out on a small square of tissue paper, wrapped up as tight as possible and swallowed with a mixture of water and essential vitamins and nutrients that you would otherwise not get. Another 20 milligrams was weighed out, and railed straight to the dome. You felt the short rush that came with the 20 milligrams up the nose, and now that it's over you are waiting for the other 60 milligrams to hit you. You finish your cigarette and look at the time. 12:35 pm. Time to go out back.

Your back yard is a small, 10 feet by 10 feet concrete slab with a high wooden fence partitioning it off from the rest of the concrete slabs. There is a doorway cut into the fence line adjacent to your sliding glass back door, with a metal fence. You have two ferns adorning the entrance on the other side of the fence. You light another cigarette. You doubt you'll be out here long, as it's almost 1 pm, the time your courier tends to arrive to give you your stops for the day. It's gonna be a busy Thursday, you think to yourself. These are always the most busy. Most of your clients time things so that they have your product before Friday, which is a major day for business. And night. You can't imagine living that life, being on call 24/7 for a job as thankless as that must be grating on the mind. This is grating on your mind but for different reasons. You never leave your house, unless it is to buy food and drink, and even that you buy sparingly. You've barely been eating the last few months and have lost 20 pounds as a result. Your daily use of amphetamines has had the effect of essentially cutting your stomach in half, and thus you are hungry less and full quicker. You weigh 120 pounds, and are six feet tall. A far cry from the 200 pounds you weighed two years ago, when you first started. There is no family or friends to be concerned about you other than your business associate, the Courier, who doesn't even personally care about your health, he only relays messages from those who are directly above him and so on. You're sure he also tells them about your current state, but you cannot be mad at him for that as it is what he's paid to do. Just as you are paid to do what you do.

It isn't long after finishing your second cigarette of the day, which occurred less than thirty minutes after the first that you see the plainly dressed Courier standing at the gate.

"Good day to you, Stones."
"And a good day to you." You don't know his name, but he knows yours which does not bother you, it is what it is.
"Busy day today."
"It's always busy on Thursday."
"That it is. Extra busy today. Six stops. Spread out too."
"Fuck me."
"My apologies Stones, but I am not homosexual."
"Fuck you."
"I'm not hermaphroditic either." You grin, and he presents a sealed envelope to you with on an open palm. It is a small envelope, specially made by whatever organisation it is you work for, for the sake of better concealment. You stand up and walk only as close as it takes to fully extend your arm to grab it, and do so, placing the miniature envelope in between your side and your boxers.
"Until next time, Courier." He nods, and walks to the left onto the grass rather than down the concrete path to the back alley, so to disappear out of your view immediately. You have always been curious as to the purpose of that, perhaps it is done out of paranoia, to prevent his back from being turned on you, or to prevent any further conversation from occurring after his job is done there so he can get to another one of his own stops quicker, as time is indeed money in this business. You smoke another cigarette before going back inside to truly start your day.
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No. 893562 ID: eda54c

YOU are sitting at your desk, a metal slab with four metal poles supporting it, made from scrap you picked up one day from a dumpster behind the grocery store you go to. It is rusted and dented, but serves its ultimate purpose of being a stand for your Portal, the black box which works by some magic to transfer the whole of your five senses including your consciousness into the current state of the internet, a cyberspace, though an amalgamation of cyberspaces all connected in the same way the Legacy Net was, but directly experienced through the use of these boxes, and far more ingrained into the lives of popular society all around the first world than virtual reality outside of this ever was or ever will be. This is where you are most of the time you are awake. This is your place of work, and your potential downfall.

Ever since this new form of internet took hold, about a decade ago, laws have been introduced to prevent any sort of private business from occurring within Nodes that are owned by any private entity without paying them a percentage which more than not is 100%. The law makers said it was to protect the private holder of any part of this new internet, which is true, it protects the monopolies these private entities have over any and all commerce within their ever growing swathes of the New Net. You wouldn't be surprised if you was actually working for a legitimate corp that ran this trade in the dark. It would make the most sense, having your own piece of the pie that makes up current e-commerce, with hundreds of thousands of users coming and going every minute, there's a lot of money to be made in just about every side of legal and illegal trade there is.
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No. 893684 ID: eda54c

ANYWAYS, none of that really matters to YOU. You exist in the dark both inside and out of the New Net. You might as well be a ghost, paying for everything in cash, only shopping at the real last bastion of the 'little guy', a mom and pops brick and mortar grocery store. You don't know how many of these are left, but you can imagine not very many. You, R. Stones, do not go by that name anywhere, as the property you are living in is officially owned by some other rando who's name you forgot a long time ago. You haven't even met the dude. You are also ready to pick up and leave with everything important at a moment's notice.

In the New Net, you are nothing. A blank avatar using specially made scripts which came with the Box you do your business with. One thing that worries you is that your log-in credentials are the same every time, though your screen name and from what you can tell user ID is randomized every time you enter or exit a node, allowing you to bypass the the Bots which log all of that. You don't use the New Net for anything other than your given profession of being the mode for which transactions take place. You are nothing more than a glorified payment processor that also happens to get paid. All in crypto-currency of course which is traded in once as some video game currency worth real money (a long-standing tactic from the past) and from there converted into fiat which is put into one of the major corp owned online wallet services, with an account also under the same name of the person who owns the property you live in. From there you go to a specific ATM which you presume is controlled in some way or another by whatever entity it is you work for. You only withdrawal enough cash for exactly what you need when you go to the grocery and nothing more.

You don't get high, you don't drink, you don't even eat fast food. You make your rounds, smoke cigarettes and read books, turning on the television once every morning for the news hour, which you incidentally forgot to do today. Whatever.
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No. 893880 ID: eda54c

YOU open the miniature envelope. It contains a small letter, with times and locations. The locations themselves are very specific, and when you first started with this gig you thought almost too specific until you realized the kind of operational security you were given. The first stop you are going to make today will be in a low security node owned by the old group known as the Free Software Foundation, who calls their nodes Gnodes. This is Gnode 4, one of the largest forums for open discussion and presentation of free tech on the New Net. New exhibits pop up and go away every few days as the constant tide of tech moves forward, making it a smart choice for stops. Looking at your second stop, it appears that it will take place at the same stop. In fact, all of them save for the last will. You check your analog wrist watch, and see that the time is 1:30, with your first stop scheduled to occur at 2, a half hour from now, giving you time to find this exhibit, which is called 'KAI'. You assume it is for an artificial intelligence platform.

Putting on your EEG Headset, which you and others call EEGH's, you flip the black switch on your black Box to the up position which gives you a full sixty seconds for you to get comfortable in your office chair, which has a leg rest which you pull a lever to make it flip into the up position. You lean back with your legs stretched completely forward and close your eyes.
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No. 894632 ID: eda54c

An instant, familiar rush hits you as the EEGH takes magnetic control over the electrical impulses of your brain. You first begin to see different shades of purple and green as your consciousness enters a forced hypnagogic state. Your inner mental dialog slows down to a crawl, and after what seems like ten minutes of experiencing this slow down, it stops completely, and you enter what you and many others know as the 'transitionary stage' where your mind essentially enters what would medically be considered the state right before full REM sleep. Then you lose conscious, though only for a short while. Then you become awake in a black void, the same void that greets you before every entry into the New Net, one that you are sure scared the living daylights out of those who first experienced it upon testing of what would become the New Net, and then light floods your every sense of being. Advertisements flow in like a highly pressurized flow of water from a crack in a dam, and you are in.

The New Net was nearly overwhelming the first time you connected with your old consumer quality Box which was bought for you by a combination of money acquired by your parents and money acquired by your former job of a burger flipper. That thing is packed away somewhere in boxes. You'll never part with it, as it is a true marker of one part of your life to another. The New Net versus the Legacy Net which you existed almost entirely on before this New Net came to fruition with the mainstream, is much more all-encompassing, almost like the Legacy Net though the two just do not compare, text on a screen versus very real input from all five senses giving you a truly complete experience of what 'virtual reality' was to you when you were in your early 20's. There are some who have 'jacked in' and never 'jacked out'. Society looks down on the act, though you have asked yourself why should they? In as free of a society we live in, if we can feasibly afford to do such a thing, who has the right to prevent us to? The day the government would step in to reduce our ability to enjoy total virtual living is the day we go into a decline of human rights within this country and you will never believe anything less.

Anyways, time to get on with your work.
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No. 894637 ID: c4809e

Put on your E-shades and do that phone hand gesture to start up a call to whatever the job needs.
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No. 895251 ID: eda54c
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895251

Sitting in a wave of advertisements which greet you and every other user upon log-in, you blink twice in quick succession which causes a black bar that looks as if it is made from purely black obsidian to form from a small point of digital void directly in front of your face. Lines of code come up from the bottom edge in a low resolution white colored font. This is a custom loader, bypassing many security checks from the servers. There is currently a debate as to whether or not they should be banned, you doubt they ever will be and to you, good on that. In the real world you are sitting silently, but in the cyberspace you say outloud Free Software Foundation Gnode 4, and a terminal interface forms on the black bar with 'GNODE 4 - FSF' highlighted, then you say JOIN. The bar disappears, as do the advertisements. Everything goes silent, and it is almost peaceful in that black void during the load period. Peace is quickly replaced with your awareness of a crowd containing characters of all shape and size, all talking with one another out loud or in private message, a think cloud appearing above some their heads to let others know that they are typing. You look at it with a face that doesn't exist. You cannot see it, and neither can they. You are an invisible, formless being among the artistic to the abstract avatars that make up the general public of the New Net.

Gnode 4 is comprised of a white void with a solid flat plane to stand on. There are various groups of avatars standing or floating or flying around at various heights, but none below the invisible platform you stand on. Scattered about there are different virtual exhibits featuring holograms and solid objects floating and dismantling themselves and reforming, with avatars discussing what is going on. You fly above the crowd at a low level, only two feet above the highest head you see, and move about looking for your stop. You see a floating yellow hologram with chunky text that says 'Kilimanjaro Artificial Intelligence Group'. This must be your stop.
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No. 896376 ID: eda54c

Here you have waited, at the Kilimanjaro Artificial Intelligence Group exhibit, where they discussed the prospect of neural networks being used alongside equipment that would simulate the 5 senses of the average human, a disgusting idea to you as it is the creation of artificial suffering, something you don't abide by. It has been fifteen minutes since arriving. Your contact should be here in that same amount of time. You don't want to risk it getting here early and you missing it, so you don't take off your EEGH to go smoke a cigarette although you would like to.

This is it to you, the gist of your work, waiting. You don't mind it, it's easy work though some of the places you have to sit and wait aren't the best for your mind, it is nothing a cig can't fix after the fact. You look at the time indicator in the upper right of your vision. It's been another ten minutes. You are told that you don't have to wait past the actual stop time itself, though you tend to do so for another five minutes at least. This time you don't have to, as a flying worm with wings flies to your exact spot, and just sits. This must be your guy.

You initiate a private chat with it, and send a crypto wallet address for you to receive the payment, and after a few seconds the worm flies away, and you have a notification telling you it was processed safely, and thus you log out.
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No. 897010 ID: eda54c

YOU are sitting outside, smoking a cigarette once again. you have another hour to go before your next stop at the same space you were at for the first. You wait for your Courier to show himself. You know he is never too far away, you sometimes wonder if he even lives in one of these housing units. Doesn't matter. You await his second arrival for the day to confirm everything went well. You stare up at the grey overcast sky, and blow smoke rings towards it with a blank, uncaring expression on your face. Immediately after finishing the cigarette, you light another and wait.
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No. 898810 ID: eda54c

THE courier comes around the corner, as he always does, with the same blank look on his face, the friendly smile with eyes that say nothing, saying,

"Everything is going well."
"As always. I'd hope that by now they would trust me enough to know if anything did go wrong that it wouldn't be from my end"
"Even if they did you know they'd be looking at you too."
"Aye." You nod in understanding. Not that you would think about robbing them, knowing the potential consequences for fucking a greater organization like this out of any profit small or large, though you'd like there to be at least some faith in how professional you keep things.

"Either way, things went good so far and I suspect it will continue that way."
"I hope so for your sake." the courier responds.
You nod, and he leaves. You look at your watch, and see that there is 45 minutes left between now and your next drop. You light your last cigarette before jacking back in.
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