Visions of Cybersex: Highrise Sunrise (II of III)
A three-part short story about a woman looking for the past in the shadows of the future.
WORDS BY Gonçalo Neto // ILLUSTRATION BY Belinda Yonan
The blood splatters the cubicle as her limbs tear her unlikely lover open, clots of Unit-B meat fluid on the crevices of the detached condensers, over her face, on her hair. She drops the body and starts running, eight limbs scorching the ground as she pounces towards the aircon tube in the ceiling.
She slithers and pushes and growls as she climbs the shaft eight step by eight step. Her mind is clouded by the sights she absorbed through the zoid, the incomplete narrative taunting her as she climbs the insides of the Tower. Her purpose is unfulfilled, even if the raid in the basement yielded the results promised by the datamerc. Payed for in coin and flesh, the old rat had sold her the plans for the vault where the Master keeps his secrets, buried in the Tower under the maze of infratraps and sonic dialooms. She chose tonight, out of all nights to make her move, out of opportunity but also out of curiosity. She was hoping that the announced ceremony would keep unwanted attention away from the bowels of the building. But deep down, while hoping to avoid a direct confrontation, she could foresee the fear now seeping through her body would end up reconfiguring her plan to include a detour through the center of all of the night’s entertainment in the Tower. She knew he would be there presiding over the ceremony.
Reaching the end of the shaft she finds her way to an empty room, the white noise echoing behind the closed door reminding her that from here on out it is kiss or kill. She retracts her limbs, sharpens up her glow and her hair. Reaching under her skirt she touches herself and brings her fingers to her mouth, the sweet taste reassuring as it has always been, ever since the sleepless nights in the aseptic orphanage and the sleepless nights in the grungy slums. She exits and walks defiantly, the dim green lights guiding her voluptuous figure through the elegant corridors and waiting parlors, each movement a promise of victory, each step the sudden realization that she has come too far to go back now. As she approaches the Temple, a roboboy passes by, giving her a cheeky wink while carrying out a tray filled with glasses of white combo wine.
She enters the room and the music rips on, big beats in short blips, phasers on the level and crash to the max. There are sixteen golden columns elevated above the guests’ heads, the projections beaming through optical silicon tubes to the surface below. The evening’s starlets, inverted, manifest themselves as products of light. The girls slowly walk the lightwalk above, hissing in turns to the circling seers as the animatronic patterns of the efabric tissues flash the season’s slogans. Here “Avenge” on shapeshifting tits, there “Cube” on liquid asses, “Judgment” on everyone’s geometric sleeves. Five thousand pairs of eyes enjoy the show live in the room. A fourth of the syndicated holostream network watches back on the 27 spaces of the Federation, according to the projections for the day. The Master watches all behind shaded glasses, enclosed in his gallery above the crowd, surrounded by men with small mouths and big eyes.
The girl with the shadow limbs walks the left side mile, scanning the room until she locks on her target. She stops, concealed by the thundermist blowing out of the gyro fans circling the room, and considers a discrete approach. But it is too late. (...)
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