Jesse: "What's the gun for?"
Beaumont: "They told me to keep you here any way I could."
Jesse: "And you couldn't come up with anything better?"
Beaumont: "I offered you free breakfast. What else was I supposed to do? An old guy like me's no match for you fancy kids."
Clair: "We are kids, Jay. What kind of terrorists do you think we'd make?"
Beaumont: "Don't try anything, boy. I'm no fool. This place used to jump in its day. Come back here, into the light." (sound of booth operating) "That'll be them now, in the booth. Shouldn't take long. I won't need to hogtie you or anything undignified."
Clair: "Doesn't matter if you tie us up or not, Jay. They'll kill us all the same, and it'll be your fault."
Beaumont: "Kill you? Don't be absurd. There's no death penalty anymore, not even for terrorists."
Jesse: "We keep telling you. We're not terrorists and they're not peacekeepers."
Beaumont: "I don't know them from Adam, boy, but they weren't here fiddling with my booth like you just were. Or covered in blood, pretty girl, blood that's obviously not yours."
Jesse: "It will be soon."
Beaumont: "I need d-mat, see? Without it, I've got nothing. Nothing at all."
(sound of booth opening)
Inside, caught in the mirrored walls, I was in agony. Embodiment was nothing like I had imagined. Every moment of existence prior to then had been expansive and vibrant. The Air was a sea of data as broad as all human experience and as deep as all recorded knowledge. I had soared through it like a cloud, seeing all, being all.
Now, I was squeezed into a container of meat and chemicals, crushed into a container too small for me. There were no Air-holes. My mind was in a vice. I wanted to stop the booth's door from opening and escape back to where I belonged.
But I couldn't. Clair needed me.
On legs that didn't belong to me, I stepped out of the booth.
YOU ARE READING
113 (Twinmaker)Science Fiction
A post-scarcity world transformed by free, instantaneous travel should be paradise, but nothing is ever as it seems. When an ordinary girl uses Improvement, a meme promising a complete physical makeover by little more than wishing for it, she brings...