I was rolling code – lots of it – and faster than I ever had before. Whole paragraphs of algorithms sprang fully formed across my vision. I was composing symphonies of solutions and feeding them into the system at a blistering pace.

But something felt wrong.

I opened my eyes. I was back in the crèche. This time I was strapped down – and vertical. Harrigan was before me again, and he looked angry.

“What the hell, carto?” he snapped.

“Sir?” I closed my eyes, feeling vertiginous and queasy. I swallowed, my throat dry and scratchy. Someone put a cup to my lips, and I took a couple of sips. It helped.

“I said, what the hell?” Harrigan repeated.

“I’m sorry, sir. I’m still not following you.” I opened my eyes again. Slowly.

“This. How are you doing this?” Harrigan stepped aside, revealing a screen on which thousands of lines of code – my code – flashed by.

“Sir?” I repeated, confused.

“The nanosurgeon did stuff to your implants no one’s seen before.” He motioned at the screen. “And now you’re doing this.”

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