Back to Where It All Began

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                   The music seemed to fade away. The crowd, the smoke, the lights. It all seemed to fade away into the background as Vee initiated a private neural link connection. For an instance it was just Vee and the barkeeper surrounded by a blur. They ran an ID verification command on each other to confirm it was safe to talk. Vee disconnected the neural link.

'The usual?' the barkeeper asked with a grin. Vee's face remained expressionless. Laughing he grabbed a glass and filled it up with water. He set it in front of her. 'So, what've you been up to? You look...' the barkeeper paused for a moment, 'spent. More spent than usual I suppose.'

'I've got some news for our mutual friend,' Vee started, ignoring the barkeeper's comments, 'I need you to initiate the minting contract.'

'You got it Vee. Any preference?'

'I want to mint the rare pass.' The barkeeper stared back at her from his left eye. As a reflex he pushed back a lock of blue hair that fell over his eye patch covering his right eye. Vee knew she was asking for a lot. The usual timeframe for the past two meetings she had set up with the Doctor had at least two weeks in between. But they needed to move fast. The Doctor would understand. He had been waiting for this as much as she had. Vee stared back into the barkeeper's left eye.

'You don't need to do this, you know. You're here now, free. It's a clean wallet, no one knows the public key is linked to you. You've got enough skills to just coast through the easy jobs and make enough Ether to live comfortably without attracting any unwanted attention.'

Vee remained unfazed. A rare pass would immediately draw attention from almost anyone with half a brain monitoring the blockchain. She would be ready. 'Yes. Just do it.' She put her left elbow on the bar counter and lowered her arm a little as if getting ready to arm-wrestle. The barkeeper let out a big sigh.

'It's your funeral,' he said, as he mirrored her pose, 'or deactivation I suppose, considering the amount of tech you carry.' He gave her a teasing smile. Their subdermal chip implants lit up activating the interface, and the barkeeper ran a command. 'It's ready. You can sign the transaction.'

Out of habit Vee skimmed through the details ensuring it was what she needed. She signed the transaction, and a moment later confirmed the NFT was in her wallet. 'Thank you,' she said and started pulling back her arm. The barkeeper intercepted her movement and grabbed her hand. She looked back up at him.

'Vee,' he started but then paused. He held her hand for another second, but then let go of her. He did not finish his sentence. Vee walked away. The barkeeper looked down at the untouched glass of water. He grabbed it and poured it down into the sink. Behind him a group of women tried to get his attention. He took a deep breath before turning around with a big smile. 'What can I get you fine ladies tonight?'

                    Outside, Vee hailed an air taxi. Within a minute, one descended in front of her. The door to the cabin opened up. Careful not to use her Ether wallet anymore, she interfaced with the terminal manually this time. Anyone watching the chain would know exactly which vehicle she boarded if she made any transaction, and considering the rare pass she was carrying around, she could be sure there were some whale watchers tracking her every move now. From one of the compartments in her body she pulled a public transportation card she had lifted of some punk in the past. She had charged it with fiat at one of the big transportation hubs. It was not perfect, but it would have to do. As the air taxi carried her away into the brightly lit up night, she pulled out the picture of herself and her mother. I am close now, mother.

                   'Violetta... Violetta, where are you?' She was holding her breath. She did not want to be found just yet. Everything would be over if she did. 'I can hear you Violetta...' said the voice as she heard it coming closer. It had to be now. Violetta jumped up from behind the bench and started running towards the tree they had designated the base. Her mother was chasing after her laughing, but Violetta managed to touch the tree just in time. 'I win!' Violetta exclaimed proudly. Her mother walked towards her flashing a big smile.

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⏰ Last updated: Nov 25, 2022 ⏰

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