Project “Cyberspace”: Excerpt from Chapter One

As mentioned a few times in previous posts, I started a new story.  My current working title is Sleeping in Cyberspace, but I usually call it Cyberspace.  I wrote the first chapter not so long ago, and I thought I’d share it.  So ta-da!  (Critique is appreciated, but mostly I just want you to enjoy it.)

And then he was in.

Ceveth glanced up from his tablet screen, making sure that Dazant hadn’t glanced his way. To his relief, Dazant was still staring out the window, oblivious. Kivessa saw him, and waved her hand impatiently, mouthing, Get back to it before he looks over!

Forcing his attention back to the tablet screen, Ceveth swallowed down the guilt, the paranoia, and everything else that came with what he was doing. Mostly the guilt. He tried to tell himself that he’d had no choice, that Kivessa had forced him into it, but she really hadn’t. He’d been eager.

Eager to break into another person’s identity, and use their money to purchase something.

Oh, he felt so guilty. And yet, he didn’t stop.

“C’mon,” Kivessa whispered, keeping her voice just barely soft enough that Dazant wouldn’t hear it. She shot Ceveth another impatient glare.

He took another breath and ignored her. He had already broken in. That’d been the hard part–but then, this was the risky part. He reconnected his tablet to Izioth–glanced again at Dazant–received another glare from Kivessa–clicked the purchase. Instantly, the confirmation window appeared, requesting that he press his right thumb against the screen so it could scan his thumbprint and confirm his identity and his purchase. With another nervous swallow, Ceveth pulled up the program he’d written so that he could get around having to put the thumbprint in, or else it would recognize that not only was his thumbprint different than the identity he had broken into, but his thumbprint would also pull up all the records of his past. And then the purchase would be cancelled and police-droids would be surrounding the building any moment.

Dazant suddenly said, “I think we need to find a new safe-house.”

Ceveth startled, but Kivessa kept her cool. She shot one last narrow-eyed glance at Ceveth, then regarded Dazant as if nothing in the slightest bit suspicious was happening. “Why’s that?”

Ceveth fidgeted in his seat, pulling his knees up and resting his tablet against them, so if Dazant decided to glance over, he wouldn’t see the tablet. The program wasn’t as fast as Ceveth wished it was, and it would be another few moments before the purchase actually went through. Until then, he could still get caught by Dazant.

“I think we’ve pushed it too long,” Dazant said. “We need to relocate.” He did glance over then, and Ceveth had to force himself to not tense up. “You know Izioth has patrols every few months to make sure things are as it thinks they should be.”

Kivessa pursed her lips, thoughtful. She crossed her arms behind her back, where only Ceveth could see her hand making circular movements, indicating he needed to hurry up. “Where would we go, then? Somewhere further west?”

Dazant grabbed one of the chairs a little bit too close to Ceveth, but then pulled it back to the window and sat. Ceveth relaxed again.

75%, his tablet informed him.

“Actually, I was thinking we leave the city entirely.”

Ceveth and Kivessa froze simultaneously, staring at him. Then they traded glances.

“Why?” Ceveth asked, at the same time as Kivessa cried, “Daz, don’t be ridiculous! What are we going to do outside of New LA? You can’t find work out in the country!”

“And I clearly can’t find work here, either,” Dazant snapped, instantly on the defensive. Ceveth could tell he’d been thinking about the idea for a while, even if he’d only suggested it now.

83%

“But—” Kivessa started.

“No, hear me out before you start arguing!”

89%

Dazant took a deep breath, closing his eyes, gathering his words together.  Ceveth tried to pretend he wasn’t looking at his tablet anymore, and instead focusing on his older brother.  Just let it finish.  It’s eleven percent.  It’ll finish.  It’ll be fine.

Dazant still didn’t speak.  He ran his fingers through his light hair, looking back towards the window.  “Let’s face it, Ki,” he said, a little softly.  “I’m not going to find anything here in the city.  Anything legitimate will not be willing to pass over our identities or be willing to ignore using thumbprints—and even if they were, Izioth would find us anyway.”

“And you think it’ll be any different outside of the city?  Izioth can find us anywhere, Daz.”

“There’s less resources in the country.  Izioth won’t be able to find us as easily.”

“There’s less resources for us to survive!  You aren’t thinking this through very well!”

That hit a nerve, and Ceveth winced.  Dazant’s face clouded with anger, and then he was on his feet.  Kivessa glared at him, unwilling to backdown.

96%

“Don’t you dare accuse me of not thinking things through.  Everything I do—everything I do, Ki—is for you and Cev!  Of course I think things through!”

Kivessa huffed and crossed her arms.  “How much you do for us has nothing to do with how well you think it through!  Gosh, Daz, don’t go making arbitrary decisions when you haven’t thought it through!”

Ceveth watched his brother’s fingers start to curl in, and then Dazant forced himself to relax before he’d made an actual fist.  He started to turn away, then instead looked at Ceveth.

“What are you doing?”

“N—well, nothing.”

Dazant looked as if he didn’t necessarily believe him.   But instead of requesting to see Ceveth’s tablet, he sighed, raised his eyes to the ceiling, and turned back to the window. He didn’t sit.

Ceveth glanced at the tablet. 99%, it read. Almost a second later, it said, COMPLETED. Smiling a little, Ceveth returned his focus to the purchase, which now said, PURCHASE VALIDATED. ESTIMATED ARRIVAL: ~JUNE 7, 2137.

Ceveth glanced up and caught Kivessa’s gaze. She raised an eyebrow. He gave her a thumbs up, and mouthed, Happy early birthday, sis.

Kivessa smiled.

“Hey, Daz,” she said gently. “What do you say we go and get some lunch?”

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3 thoughts on “Project “Cyberspace”: Excerpt from Chapter One

  1. Ali-jo

    Wow! Just wow.
    Shim, you are One. Talented. Writer.
    I cant even begin to describe to you how good this is!!!! 🙂
    I love how you have ceveth’s program loading while the other two are fighting, that really adds suspence to the fight, which could have been boring if it wernt for waiting for the program to load. While I was reading this I felt just like ceveth! 🙂 Keep up the good work!!

    1. Thanks!
      That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work, so I’m glad it did! In fact, I’d say it works both ways. Without the argument, the waiting would be kind of boring, and without the waiting, the argument would be kind of boring.
      I’m pretty happy with how this chapter turned out. I’m glad you enjoyed it as well.

      Thanks for reading and for commenting!

  2. Pingback: So I made myself a book cover… – Sketches and Scribbles

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