Category: Wrote in 365 Parts

Written in 365 parts: 135: Electronic Disturbance

For a few minutes all the locks on the doorways were inoperable. The mechanical overrides triggered on a few, locking them with catches or bolts, but even some of those took instructions from electronic sensors. The building was temporarily dead. The active defences that would normally absorb the impact of a direct electrical weapon assault had been overcome. The security teams had no sensors, no views, no communications and no drone support. Some systems would reboot instantly, others would need manual intervention. There were a number of systems that would have to be replaced entirely, their critical delicate internals fried by the high energy magnetic wave.

Among the organics many lay unconscious or twitching, the residue of mild electric shocks that had coursed through their implants and electronic support systems. Those with cheaper model implants that relied on direct circuits had suffered the most, along with anyone who used electronic augmentation for muscles or reflexes. There were three organics who had serious, or life threatening, injuries caused by accidental shocks or device failure. Everyone had at least one type of circuit implant, everyone had been affected.

The main computer systems were housed in heavily shielded rooms in the basement of the complex. They had survived the initial assault with ease. However all the associated sub-systems and relays that connected them to the outside world had been disabled or damaged. There were auxiliary systems that were intended for such an event. They were tied to the underlying building repair and maintenance infrastructure which could withstand the magnetic charge from a nuclear explosion.

As the relays and bridge networks failed to recover the shielded intelligences opened up pathways directly into the maintenance sub networks. They established a full counterpart level access, and instigated emergency protocols, allowing those reserve sub-systems point of truth rights across the network. The maintenance sub-system connected to the main communications relay and took authoritative control of security systems and communications.

Silently the infiltration intellect inside the communications relay sent a coded signal to the maintenance sub-systems. Instantly a response was given that matched the pre-configured encryption signature. The maintenance system opened a port directly to the infiltration intelligence and connected it to the main intelligence in the basement of the building. 

A moment after that Rodero opened a new board in the games room. It was a complex multi-dimensional mathematical puzzle. A series of equations which had to be solved and matched across multiple directions to allow new equations to be revealed. As each equation was solved it was added to a list of solved tiles, which held the answers known. These were game representations of data storage systems that were encrypted on the secure network. Rodero was finding, decrypting and copying all the information they had, piece by piece.

Written in 365 Parts: 134: Pulse

The ground assault team had completed the first phase of their assault with the construction of a compact NNEMP device. Four small fusion reactors powering a non-Nuclear Electro-Magnetic Pulse weapon. They all called in the completion of their own devices, and Rodero started the synchronous timer for two seconds.

In the lift shaft Drick and Marsh both stopped their descent and locked themselves to the cables. They turned on the dampening sine-wave emitter that was keyed to be in perfect harmony with the pulse of electromagnetic energy about to be unleashed. The device was designed to work in perfect time with the EMP, same frequency but out of phase to lessen the effects.

Rodero set a system to enter into a critical loop. It was the absorption battery relay. A minor system in the buildings anti-conflict defences. The relay itself merely allowed electrical charges to be distributed towards batteries, the main grid, or to a ground spike. The critical loop forced the system to temporarily offline while the loop was broken. At that moment the entire of the anti electronic assault defenses were offline and the systems as exposed as they could be to the effects of electro-magnetic spectrum attacks. 

The counter in the views of the assault team reached zero. The whole team suspended all electronic equipment and braced. A microsecond before the powerful pulse was emitted.

Anyone looking at the building would have seen very little in regards to this initial dramatic assault.. A few sparks as electrical discharges flicked across materials of competing charge. Some minor explosions from circuits that flash fired into a sudden death. The most noticeable display was the sudden loss of light from any source. LEDs blinked out, camera lights turned off. Systems shutdown or turned to safety modes which resulted in every door, except a lift or security door, opening to allow easy movement.

A moment later Drick flicked all the systems on the monitors to full assault mode. At the same time the clones flicked theirs to active assault. Marsh and Boomer followed scant moments afterwards. The signal to Rodero by the upstairs link came back online a second after that. The assault had begun in earnest.

Written in 365 Parts: 133: Cellular Division

The four ground assault troops moved as if they were one body. They had trained together, memorised the same attack script and also had the same educational attainment and perspective. They were all of the same age, body structure and mental affinity. Each one of them was a precise copy of the other, which is hardly surprising as they were all tanked at the same time using the same genetic base. They were clones. Fast grown at a private facility that operated to a very select client base. Unlike the commercial tanking facilities the products of this facility could be custom built to an operational age in fewer than seventy-two hours.

There were costs to such a fast duplication process, the most immediate being a sufficiently accelerated metabolism. The clones would not last greater than ten to fifteen months before the cellular degeneration riddled them with lymphoma. The process of fast growth allowed the cellular structures to masticise at incredible rates but the process could not be regulated and the immune system was always the first to show the signs of uncontrollable cellular division. Cancers were commonplace and an early death was inevitable.

The law was not wholly clear on the rights of a clone. To a casual reading a clone had the same rights as any other organic. This was considered a basic moral code as most organics were grown in a tank. Most were either a biological pattern based on a single parent with additional biological material chosen to give pleasing features. Or they were the summation of the chromosomes of two parents, harvested and implanted into biological material to form a child with predetermined, or random, characteristics. Sometimes organisations created a biological mix chosen at random with the intent to grow a population, or increase diversity into an ecosystem.

All of these organics had rights. The right to an existence was guaranteed with the ability to be grown. However in regards to exact clones the law became complicated. A clone that was grown to be an exact replica for the purposes of extending a lifespan, or to repair major damage, could be produced at an accelerated rate with limited mental functions as required by the original donor. It wasn’t uncommon for extreme sports fans with enough private wealth, or the benefits of patronage, to have clones on ‘the grow’ almost constantly. This allowed them to indulge in any manner of dangerous activities. It was also useful in dangerous professions, or to preserve talented individuals.

The very wealthy could afford to have clones made to change their appearance without the inconvenience of surgery or waiting. These clones were grown much more slowly to avoid the complications of an accelerated biology. There were always those who would like to choose bodies that fit the next season’s attire, or on some other whim. 

Complications in the definition of what rights these clones had introduced changes to the law. All organic individuals were considered by the law to be equal, but not all organic life was now considered an individual.

With the advent of neurological mesh implants, technology that allowed replication of an intellect in a computational matrix, a copy of a person could be performed. While not able to capture every single facet of a brain’s complex makeup it could create a nearly identical facsimile. This was a snapshot of a person at any given moment. By matching the relationships and activities of the brain, with the responses through the whole body via the nervous system, a clone could be made that was an almost precise copy. With access to all the same memories, abilities, and individual emotional makeup.

This type of clone was alive but not independent in existence. It was a biological avatar. Even though it was a thinking, rational, intelligence it had no individuality, and a limited time in which to develop. It shared the consequences, yet had none of the benefits, of the rights of the individual it copied. If an exact clone of this type broke a law the charges would be levied against the original, they were the individual, they were responsible. 

There were few individuals who would contemplate creating such a limited copy. Outside of medical testing or dangerous exploration, there was little practical usage. The military preferred to use drones and automated battle systems for their large scale operations. The justice departments had followed this model. 

Drick was never satisfied with the pure machine response to a situation that involved emotional organic interaction. After all, organic was merely a different type of machine better to match it as closely as possible. There was a level of satisfaction in meeting the constraints of a system using comparable elements. Drick may have been enhanced over many years, but it was not to any greater extent than any other organic might attain. If they so desired.

The four ground assault organics moved as if they were one body. Which was not ironic, as they were all Dricks.

Written in 365 Parts: 132: Attaining Godhood

Boomer flicked the implant over to remote control and relaxed as much as possible for the inevitable. This part was out of their control and it would hurt. The internal medical systems detected the tenseness in muscles and cardio-vascular systems and, as previously instructed, administered counter measures to relax the body. There needed to be as minimal resistance as possible if the synchronisation were to be successful. The least resistance allowed the greatest control from both sides. 

As soon as vital signs reached an expected range the implants injected the massive chemical and electrical stimulants that made every fibre of Boomer’s flesh silently scream.

Rodero eased Boomer into a new construct in the same instant as the systems opened a full bi-directional control surface. In this world Boomer would be five organics simultaneously. One was Boomer themselves, perched overlooking the world from the vantage point of a God in some heavenly rest. The other four intellects that they now assimilated was a piggyback ride onto the implants of the four assault forces on the ground. 

The ground forces could be identified as Beta, Charlie, Delta and Echo. Alpha was the master organic for this set. They were on the roof of the building as part of the higher level assault. Boomer did not have access to their implant level and did not need it.

Boomer had wanted a clean construct and Rodero hadn’t disappointed. They were stood in a room with an array of monitors in front of them showing multiple tactical and real world screens that were fed directly from all possible sources and the implants, senses and mental conclusions of the ground assault organics themselves. In front of this there were four egg shaped stations with a three hundred and sixty degree environment. This was the world of each of the four organics. 

Boomer could come out to this overview point or immerse themselves in the egg of any of the organics. In this manner they would be able to view, direct or control any of the four exterior organics as if they were in their minds, which they would be. This construct could be ghostly or solid dependent on a moment of concentration, allowing Boomer to have either an augmented or immersive experience to enhance their ability.

In this manner Boomer could not only piggyback and direct the organics that were conducting the ground assault. They could also be a full riding tactical support or take over the functions of the body. The implants of the ground assault organics were the highest level of systems control. They did not just supplement the higher order functions of the brain while aiding autonomous systems. They could completely take over any neurological system allowing total dominance. 

These particular systems this team used required permission from the organic host, but they could be made to do so without permission. It wasn’t unusual for some professions to insist upon such, many corporations mandated it as part of contract.

Boomer set the medical implant to release a cocktail of chemicals into the brain and at the same time pushed the capacity of the implant to allow maximum usage. The power of the auxiliary systems under Rodero’s control flooded the system and a host of low level intelligences synched with Boomer’s brain to enhance all capabilities. To Boomer it felt as if they had a thousand times the aptitude, they could affect a plethora of simultaneous events. Time stretched to a lazy stroll as thoughts accelerated beyond any previously known capacity. 

This was a rush that made Boomer into the God that their callsign suggested. The cost? Just another slice of eternity.

Written in 365 Parts: 131: Roof-Top Entrance

The mission clock switched from it’s negative countdown to an active operation mode. Suddenly the two secure comm units, connected to implant monitors, came to life. Drick opened the support comms and blinked an overlay of the building into the optical parts of the brain. The implants in Drick’s head transmitted a signal directly into the lateral geniculate nucleus to combine it with the imagery being received via the cranial nerves. Data and images appeared over the world drawn by Drick’s eyes, seamlessly augmenting reality. It showed the schematics, important details and the positions of organics. Also highlighted in a more strident fashion were the security systems for the roof, and the floor directly below them. 

Drick did a moments quick check to confirm that the view could be moved in and out to show other floors, and to give a view of what the other team members could see on their display. Drick’s system was the operational commander and could change the direction of the assault if needed.

The second comms unit came into life and an image of the rest of the team scrolled onto Drick’s view, the images displayed any recent messages from that operative and their current mission objectives. Drick flicked a go command to the ground team; an acknowledgement to the situation report from God; an order for the roof support to hold position; and an instruction to Rodero to deactivate the door three seconds from Drick’s signal. 

Drick looked at the stealth suit of the other figure on the roof access building. Marsh had made the leap from the pod to the wall look easy. He had trained well with them in the simulation, but there was also the natural reflexes, and training, that he had been given in his constructed history. They had made him a good soldier. Drick idly wondered how close to the original Marsh’s experience the training they had given to him could be? The history of that time was sketchy in places. The military combines often dabbled in advanced training and manipulation. It could be that the original Marsh was augmented in some fashion which had been replicated in this version. It was hard to think of Marsh as a clone. He was so much more. He wasn’t an easy facsimile, more a precise replica. 

 Drick would not have brought him along if they had not thought him able to manage, but it was satisfying that he was competent and not just confident. It was also a comfort which Drick found intriguing. There was some inner sense of balance to the decision. A notion of a natural justice. But there was also something else. However, Drick knew that now was probably not the best time for further introspection.

The door signal was given and Drick waited three seconds before reaching to open. Drick hoped that the security was deactivated as requested as they reached down and placed an auto-pick on the keypad panel. The device took a few seconds to analyse and punch in the combination. Drick noted that it was a little under fourteen thousand attempts before it got the correct code. A grim smile flicked over lips, If the door’s security system had been active that would have triggered alarms. The systems showed clear on the monitor overlay. Drick reached down and flicked the door release and smiled as it slowly slid back. A moment later Drick and Marsh had slid around the corners of the doorway and into the machine room at the top of the lift shafts.

Drick did a quick visual examination of the lifts, making sure they matched the schematics. The lifts used a magnetic propulsion system to guide them up and down their shafts. However there were two safety systems in the shafts as well. The first was a set of brakes that would clamp around an I-beam that ran the length of each shaft. The second was a cable on a drum that acted as a mechanical hold in case all the power and auto braking failed. It was a standard system fitted because the floating cities could have all their power diverted to maintaining altitude in a crises. In such a situation the whole of the magnetic system would go offline, but the mechanical brakes and pulleys could be used with emergency batteries.

For Drick and Marsh it gave them a way of using the cables for a controlled descent down the lift shaft, this would allow them to conserve their own precious battery power. Drick and Marsh attached harnesses and auto-brakes to the cables and stepped into the lift shaft for the ten storey drop to the secure command level.

Written in 365 Parts: 130: Games Master

The multi-headed avatar that Rodero had constructed used one of its heads to look down at the game board called Tower Assault. The name was a throwback to a series and style of game in a century long forgotten. But it prevailed throughout history. Rodero had designed it as a multi-level platform made from cardboard with tiny counters representing various objectives. There were people, cameras, doorways and other features, most of them security or threat related. All the passive pieces were coloured to look like furniture or walls. Cards labelled encounters, obstacles and rewards automatically turned over and presented themselves for the first hand which was labelled roof assault. Throughout the simulation would automatically shift and play hands while giving Rodero their best option cards.

Rodero opened the eyes on another head which was looking at a video game called Pot Shot. This showed a hologram of the building from ground level. There were four playing pieces arranged around the bottom of a multi-tiered rifle range. The figures could be controlled with a joystick to give them targets and direction. Rodero’s avatar grew four small children from its side and each picked up a controller. They were faceless blobs with a single sensory receptor that would automatically choose the next target based on a series of priorities.

Rodero flicked to a different head which had another board game. This was a complex puzzle made up of three dimensional pieces that changed over time giving the user an almost limitless number of choices to try and construct a solid object. It was a mathematical representation of the security system that Rodero and the other intelligences were interacting with. If the puzzle devolved into a shapeless mass they would be out of the system. If they completed it to an object, in this particular game a perfect sphere, then they would have total control of the system.

Rodero used a head to look at a complex series of plans. These were the real world schematics of the main building and security complex. Each layer had all the relevant details and Rodero was filling in as much real time data as they could manage. He made sure that all the operatives would have the best possible information and attached them to the relevant communications queue.

Rodero was ready. He started the game clocks as the synchronisation trigger activated for the infiltration teams.

Written in 365 Parts: 129: Comms Relay

The organic who had leapt onto the relay satellite had less than a minute to complete their next objective. They unrolled a small set of tools and flipped out a plasma cutter. Three seconds later they had cut a slice along the cable housing underneath the relay aerial. Inside there was a thick sheath that held the communication cables. The figure opened a pouch and attached a device around the sheath of cables and activated the primary switch.

The device was a military infiltration droid. Equipped with hundreds of small manipulator arms it set to work opening and connecting to the mass of fibres in the cable sheath. An organic would have taken hours to separate the cables, attach a bypass, cut the cable and insert the diversion cable to allow monitoring. Then the bypass of each one had to be removed after the insertion was tested and the slice resealed. The droid was able to do thousands of them a second and had managed to totally infiltrate the whole cable system in less than five seconds. 

The figure attached the infiltration droid’s output to a secure battle computer from their backpack and started the system. This computer was a set of highly specialised artificial intellects. Each one had a defined set of protocols. 

The initial intelligence was designed to breach security systems, being attached to an internal communications system made its job significantly easier. It was aided by the series of backdoors left in the system and the monitoring system running tests at appropriate moments.

Seconds after it breached the main system firewalls the next intelligent system started to clone the main code modules of the monitoring system and security detectors. Another series of programs attached themselves to all communications. 

The third system was a decryption intelligence and it was soon busy decoding the many secure communications that were being fed into its network. The last intelligence was a specialist in counter-infiltration. It was soon busy capturing and re-programming any stealth systems that were sniffing around the other intellects and their activities.

The figure completed the final task just moments before they were to move to active infiltration. It opened a special port on the battle computer and activated the systems own secure communications relay. Far away from the city in a geo-stationary orbit a communications drone suddenly burst into life, it started passing traffic between the security systems of the main building and an eager slicer who had been waiting impatiently for the relay to open.

Less than a second after they had opened up the drone’s relay the slicer was in the system and starting to compile the overlays for the companion program. Once the active signal started they would open the secure communications channel and start to transmit the data to the operatives on the ground. This had to be as fast, accurate and comprehensive as possible. They smiled and loaded an appropriate client program for their mind to enjoy as they assembled the system.

Written in 365 Parts: 128: Synchronised Plans

Four of the five remaining stealth vehicles drifted past the roof and moved slightly away from the main building complex. Silently they descended to the four compass points of the complex and came to rest in positions that gave them at least one hundred degrees of view each. Together they had a clear view of every plane of the building. 

Inside the stealth vehicle pods the four organics were ready. They had started to assemble the complex equipment that surrounded them. They would have very little time to complete the final construction once the exterior of the vehicles opened. The equipment they had to operate was coated with camouflage armour, active detection avoidance and anti-infiltration systems but the initial confrontation would make most of that defunct. The camouflage and detection avoidance was primarily as a deterrent for active laser targeting, visual identification, and not stealth. They would not be using subterfuge. The anti-infiltration was a necessity, there was a cyber assault as a component of this mission so aggressive computer defences would be active on all sides.

They were using synchronised plans but were still operating using total communications blackout. If any one of them was discovered the others would not know about it unless a significant amount of commotion was created. They all knew the risks of this operation. The targets would be doing their best to eradicate them as a threat, whereas they would be using weaponry and techniques to cause maximum disruption with minimum loss of life. As for their own lives it had already been taken into consideration.

Each of the occupants checked the special rounds for the weapons they were using and made sure that all the missile and projectile shots were in the ready mode but with safety locks activated. 

The fifth stealth vehicle had come to rest on its allotted position even further away from the main building. It was on the roof of an adjacent block of apartments that overlooked the compound but not the roof of the main building. It was not the most ideal spot but it would suffice. Its occupant was also busy preparing for the mission and their role. They had readied the screens and made sure they were able to accept information from the drones that would arrive after the infiltration began.

All of them were waiting for the mission countdown to flick from the negative preparation stage to the active mission stage. The numerals counted down in one colour in anticipation of counting upwards in another colour. In a matter of seconds they would begin the assault, once that began the comms blackout would end and they would use the encrypted channels and coded signals.

Written in 365 Parts: 127 First Penetration

Three of the stealth vehicles landed, without a bump as they actually came to rest before touching the surface, on the roof of the main offices. They held their position. They were a mere centimetre above the gravel covering but since they hadn’t actually touched down there was no pressure to the surface. The roof was fitted with an expansive sensor array to detect even the presence of small creatures.

Inside the suits the occupants waited as one of them prepared a short burst transmitter. It was set to broadcast onto a very narrow frequency at just one of the many relay dishes on the roof. The unit fitted with a powerful emitter that would project a highly specific wave of energy across a thin slice of the electromagnetic spectrum. It was a pulse which for a fraction of a second would overload that dish. 

This attack had been prepared for in advance by a previous intrusion and was part of the phased assault to gain access to multiple computer relays and networks that were separate to each other.

The transmission would happen at the moment the dish would be shut down, running a maintenance reset which had been programmed in by a corrupted recovery stack protocol in the janitor system of the building. This burst would allow the firewall protecting the main reciever to be overcome so that a second wave could carry a stealth package directly into the active maintenance program running security status. Once the code was internal it would release a plethora of smaller systems programs that were set to clone and replace some low-level mechanical assistance software in the repair programs of the security self governance systems. 

The maintenance program had been altered significantly in advance especially in its logging and data integrity analysis. Its monitor protocols would normally report any changes, including regular updates, to an overseer system. This time they would instead open up a small relay and report to an auxiliary broadcast system that was linked back to the pods hovering on the roof. This would open up a secondary backdoor access and allow the infiltrators to send a second package of stealth software into the overseer system.

The penetration of low level systems was completed in microseconds. A few picoseconds later the overseer program was breached and internal systems cloned, reformed to respond to specific triggers, and to ignore others. The system responded to its new masters with a welcoming prompt.

Inside the pods the occupants kept radio silence, but a small sub-system activated and received a single packet transmission which alerted them to the success of the first penetration. All three occupants set to work on the next stage of the plan. Each would have to be ready, the systems they had breached could only be controlled for very short periods without alerting a higher system. That was until they had completed the next stage of the plan.

Silently the pods opened to reveal darkness. Three figures raised themselves slowly but almost unseen to sensors and the naked eye. The stealth coating of their suits revealed them only as a slight distortion at the edges, less than a millimetre in thickness where the planes of light were angled around their forms. An observer stood greater than a few metres away would be hard pressed to see any difference, even within a metre or two the effect was barely visible.

As one, the three moved into position and adjusted their gravity compensators. The first figure leapt at the main comms relay of the cluster of satellite uplinks thirty metres away. The other two leapt towards the doorway of the emergency roof access. They all landed softly, instant adhesion gloves and boots stuck them firmly to the surfaces of their respective targets.

Written in 365 Parts: 126: Unknown Occupant

“…was to be expected. Look, I really don’t care for too much small talk, this game you want to play is annoying. We don’t have that relationship anymore. I wish you’d move on.” Susa sighed and took a drink. “Look, Minch, I get it that you still have feelings. But you and I both know that those feelings originate and end in your pants. So let’s keep this as a purely business thing and quit with the hopeful small talk and crude innuendo. It won’t get us anywhere and it is a little embarrassing. I could have used anyone for this job, you are not the only Ganger with the right skill set, you just have the advantage of my trust.”

“Right,” Minch growled, “you know I don’t always have motives. I thought we worked okay together. I’ll try to back off you were the one being friendly and I got the wrong message. Don’t lose your cool. Doesn’t change that I am interested in what’s going on. I have nothing more than what you have said and I’ve been asked to do some pretty dirty work. It’s my neck on the short leash. I think I deserve more.”

“You were well paid. There are further payments once the job is complete and potentially future work. What’s the problem? You got enough to do what you needed to do. You are getting more than I would normally give.”

“I just want to make sure I have a better chance of survival. Knowledge is power and all that. Look what i just had to do.”

“A little knowledge will free you, too much will get you buried. It is better that you know as little as possible. You know what they asked you to do. You knew enough to get it done. The only thing you have to do now is tell me how it went?”

“They were right. Your mysterious friend.”

“So there was a switch?” A pause and the sound of a drink being consumed, “I assume they still passed you the authentic materials?”

“Seems to be legit. I ran the analysis that you said I should on the mini kit you gave me, and it came up green. There was a bunch of other numbers but that was stuff I couldn’t make out, and that’s knowledge that you are not paying me to learn.”

“So what happened? I’d like the whole story but it can be edited for minor details.”

“Well they were in the correct place. I watched them go from the mag-train station and head out into the plains. I followed them on a scope and they weren’t followed as far as I can tell. So I waited as instructed. When I went to the tent I knew that something was wrong. You were wise to get that material that reacts to body chemistry and set it to our friend as there was a visible line of an unknown occupant on the outside seam. I went in and they were all masked up. I obviously kept my mask on. The person was close in build and look, from the outside in heavy clothing and a mask, to our contact. They were using voice modulation to sound like them. We exchanged packets. I left and got to a safe distance and made sure they didn’t leave the tent. Then, kablooey. Razed the area to the ground with the targeted strike as instructed. There was nothing but a smouldering crater. I waited but there was nothing moving except fragments of dust. The heat scans showed nothing except a rapidly cooling impact zone. Whoever they were, they are dead.”

“They were likely to be a justice operative named Hooper. A clever guy but clearly not as smart as our mutual employer.”

“Who is still a mystery to me.”

“Which is the best thing for you. You don’t want to owe them any more than you currently do. You also don’t want their attention. They won’t appreciate your loyalty like I do. They are likely to just see you as a liability. They tend to eradicate those. They don’t like threats or loose ends.”

“Must be someone high up to have access to that kind of smart technology, the tent and the missile?”

“Nope, just someone with impressive connections. The tent and missile were not government, they were from a private organisation. So don’t go sniffing around as you don’t want two organisations considering you a liability.”

“What do you want me to do? Am I a liability to you?”

“You’re a friend. I still like you and you confuse that. But it doesn’t stop me knowing that I can trust you. Lay low. Take a long holiday in the lower levels or a marginal city, maybe take a spa holiday in the sky cities. I don’t care, just keep a low profile and don’t break any laws and I will contact you in forty days at the agreed location. I will not need your services until then and you need to hide while the situation cools off. “

“Right. And if I have a problem?”

“Deal with it. Don’t become a problem as you are aware of how those we serve solve their issues.”