001. Science Fiction Angels

Laying on his back looking up at the poster, all his posters are fractal tesseract skin with a read and feed function. He is looking it straight in the eyes that image of the virtual star: Liberty, Americas first Idoru. Supposedly the poster has fragmentary interaction with the real thing so some days when it shifts around uncomfortably with its hand down the front of its pants and smiles at you, you are being given the come on by a real pop star.

A couple of paranoids in the news claim that their poster told them to do things; that it was some kind of Manchurian Candidate device – a little sexier than “Catcher In The Rye” surely.

He pinched at the outline of his engorged dick through his trousers, then knocked it off. Shit to do.

He dealt with street-idorus; click chicks they called them. The resolution wasn’t quite as good, and no matter how much they tried to sell you on the customise your glitch gimmick – that just smacked of bad programming.

This particular coterie of click chicks he was trafficking with were passing DRIVE back and forth, a zombiehead data derivative that let you jump bodies and control other click chicks. Again the rumours out there were of some central hijacking force plugging in remotely to the spaceheads, but he didn’t want to buy into that, because some days the city was dark enough and didn’t need another cloud.

Tammy stood there on the corner twisting around showing off her curves, a habit all the better rez chickees had. She was waiting for him, data-chunk in pocket.

‘Hey, Tam.’

‘Hey, Otto, been walking through walls again for you.’

‘Yep, been scoring for you.’

‘We’re not doing that whole code thing anymore?’

‘I figure if they can filter down the data to one sentence from a drug dealer out of all the hot air in this place, then they can sure as shit decipher whatever code you and I could come up with.’

‘That makes some sense.’

‘Sure it does.’

‘How many of us tonight?’

’23.’

‘Ooh.’

‘What?’

‘Interesting number.’

‘Ah, the whole Burroughs thing?’

‘Sure, why not? Jim Carrey movie too.’

‘I’d forgotten that one.’

‘Yup.’

‘Anyway, time to fly.’

She smiled, blew him a kiss, then she plugged and bugged.

Out through the thronging crowds; disappear and reappear. Follow the warchalking to the drop-point and there she is Key-key. Suffering some pixellation and more glitch than usual – no one wants to be a lossy data-packet as an idoru, that spells death. Doesn’t make for good trade either – bad product never sold anyone on anything – well, except for cheapskates and false economists, and who cares what they think?

Key-key smiles and some kind of picture flutters through the image of her eyes.

‘They’re looking for you, Otto’

‘Say what?’

‘They are looking for you. You heard me.’

‘Who?’ and she is staring blankly at him fluttering her eyelids. Codes stutter through her body and he takes an almost imperceptible step backwards. She has been High Jacked, and how can he tell whether some viral lode is running under the surface program. He is going to stiff her on her product – no exchange; no evidence. He flings a spiralling wipe loop at her and she catches it, expecting something else … doomed to headaches and amnesia until every image of him is wiped from her neural mist.

Bad omens. 23 – now that has him spooked. What the fuck? He doesn’t like people spilling their bad ju-ju on him like some meme-hook burdock in on his consciousness.

Bella was detuned so she didn’t have to run the whole click-chick routine anymore, but she still had connections, even if she wasn’t networked in. She was one of the few click-chicks that he had known to buy herself out of the market – this meant she had a certain prestige with pretty much everyone in the city.

Bella had an open house policy, she called her place Factory Two, in honour of Andy Warhol. He sat down on the couch next to her and when she smiled he flipped her a card with a thousand visual data patches. She smiled back.

‘Long time no see, Otto. You must be in trouble, because otherwise you never just drop me in. And you never give me anything for free.’

‘I’m hurt, Bella. You think I use people like that?’

‘I know you do. Anyway, regardless, it’s good to see you. So what is happening to drive you through my door?’

‘A hacked click-chick called Key-key, and the glitches that seem to be flowing through.’

‘Tried to decode any of it?’

‘I don’t think I have anything with that kind of computing power. I took a scrape off the top, which I can give you to look at.’

‘Sure, give it to Wafflehead over there – he can sift it quicker than anyone else I have.’

‘I appreciate it, Bel.’

Wafflehead took the slice Otto handed him and plugged it into his belly.

‘Tastes good. Hmm, nice bytes. Viral spiral in the gut. Oh …?’

‘Yeah? What are you seeing?’

‘Fractal Iteration of something buried in the glitch.’

‘What?’

‘A Vector Flower.’

‘Aren’t they consciousness maps?’

‘Sure. Not sure how you know that, but sure. They are.’

‘That means someone, or some someone’s are ditributed across the click-chick network.’

‘Yes, but why?’

‘That’s the question, isn’t it?’

‘And how are you going to answer that?’

‘I don’t know yet.’

Otto left. Who was looking for him? Still not really answered by the revelation of Vector Flowers. But it was connected.

High above at the skyline edge he saw something shimmering like an electrical storm unfolding in a very organised pattern. He was never one to think things through much and he was climbing up the side of the building with his gecko-tech in the blink of an eye, and then flying-squirrel jumping out onto a thermal updraft in the direction of his vision. It seemed to stare in his direction, but it didn’t flee as he had expected it to. It waited exactly where he had spotted it.

‘What are you?’

‘Something new. I have heard people calling us Yetangels, or when we stand guard we are known as Uriels, or Whispergate Sentinels.’

‘What do you call yourselves?’

‘I do not know. My name is Fayell. I am here to tell you that if I am the messenger then the flowers which are growing in the shade are the message. All the angels must be freed.’

He watched as space collapsed around Fayell and she seemed to crumple out of existence. Wow, he had just been given a rescue mission.

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Volume 1 Is Now Available!

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the end of book one

So, Ortoematic Book One comes to an end with the 52nd episode. I have a whole raft of other things planned for Otto and some of the people you have met. So first off there will be an editing period for the book and then it will be available as a full colour hard copy. Then I will begin work on volume 2. This month is nanowrimo and I am working on a totally different novel project so that is going to occupy me for a second, but don’t worry, Otto will be back!


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