2300

A Novel

We knew from jump that Puggy was fire

more in the Dantean sense than the zoomer 1.

So when we heard he’d been hired to kill, 

twas clear that Tiny’s time was running short 2.

All 313 pounds of the man,

every atom jollier than an advert cartoon.

And man did we fret and flail

girding ourselves for a fight

no non-govt man, like as not, could survive.

We didn’t pack Zammo, bandage, or Kleenex,

such was the dire gallop of the moment.

With Puggy in hot pursuit, guns ablaze,

we stood little chance. Our demise would

spell an end to Tiny’s chance to check 

West Taiwan’s reign of terror o’er her trembling 

ppl, cowering in the mire, thirsting freedom.

Twas an unusual freedom her ppl thirsted 4.

West Taiwan (WT), an asphalted vastness 

running from Central Asia 

to the orange lapping of the South China Sea,

had long ago, from the fallen empire 

of America, filched the technology powering the 

Singularity. This coup was welcomed initially

‘round the world, as it brought limits

and protection from digital tyranny.

Twas welcomed still when WT in its teething

idealism outlawed prison and cap. punishment.

In their stead arose a govt monopoly on 

Karmic punishment, meted out with 

a Karma Gun — the only gun allowed under

imperial law, save those entrusted police — 

which verily killed the body of the victim

 

but, before doing so, uploaded the mind 

to a govt network, whence it would be

implanted in a gestating baby. This made 

good the promise of deathless punishment

by ensuring the “offender’s” rebirth, tho

invariably at a lower realm of being.

A raw deal, and a much abused one, birthing

a century of movements and resistances.

Among them ours, a band of folx that still

coded by hand, some of the last of our kind.

And the best of our lot was Tiny, who deduced

from a govt network encryption irregularity 

a backdoor to the servers hosting the keys 

to the kingdom — the Singularity Source Code.

Infosec best practice dictated that Tiny guard

the passwords & procedures in his mind alone.

 

W/ the same cyberoffensive tactics used to

depose the Chinese, WT’s authorities 

fingered us as the culprit and dispatched

a police force under the command of  

Captain Pris. Her number gave chase, 

grim flak jackets aflutter in the sickly breeze.

The firefight came once our coders’d been

cornered on a dusty greenhouse island.

Our Zammo rounds meant nothing,

our forcefields flickered and failed.

Pris herself, with a smile spelling death, 

fired the Karma Gun.

Two of my friends were lost, dispatched

to a grisly rebirth. (╯︵╰,)  (╯︵╰,)

But Tiny’d sent Pris a big crypto wallet, so 

she called off her men and feigned defeat.

 

“These degens are good”, Pris said

to WT’s Chairman, “they’ll kill us all

if given the chance”. So they contracted

Puggy, a mercenary whose muscled arms 

and well-oiled AR-16s belied a mind wittl’d

to nought but wrath and malice.

He chased us from holodecks 

to soot-choked crannies, just one step 

and two bits behind our dogged band.

We used the last of our crypto + our most 

well-reasoned anti-establishment arguments

to hire Kasha, a stouthearted coder/killer; 

her trove of banned cyberweapons

could knock out a small country.

Kasha tracked Puggy thru desolate fens

and bustling squares.

 

A subtle miscalculation left him vulnerable

2 ambush at a hacker cell in St Petersburg.

Realizing that both had contrived traps

to kill the other should they leave the room,

the pair, rippling abs + marble breasts heaving

decided 2 make the most of their fateful error.

They were disappointed but not remorseful

as their lifeblood drained out.

Few clockcycles elapsed b4 the Chairman’s

Guard arrived and fried all our Neuralinks.

Our brains, internetless, were packed with 

fluff and sleepy misrememberings.

Pris smirked, Tiny hung, and we went in-n-out

of history. A year to go until the next century,

our band’s feat of cracking WT’s firewall gave

great hope to dissidents of the 2300s.