Night falls early in meatspace

Afterwards, the store owner chuckled, “I’ve had a lot of women do that for a lot of goods, but for spray paint? First time.” He grinned like a lord, shotgun in one hand, scanner in the other. Small time. He wouldn’t last the winter.

“Yeah, well.” Jenny stuffed the can into her rucksack. “Much obliged.” The shop’s bell jangled as she pushed out into the snowy dark.

An hour later, on numb feet, she arrived at an abandoned barn with a roof tilted sharply enough to keep the snow off. She adjusted her gloves and scuttled up.

She left her sign on the roof in big neon-orange loops. The same mark she’d been emblazoning all across the country, anywhere a security computer or patrolling copter-cam might snap an image, transmute it into 1’s and 0’s, feed it to the net where he could reach it. Even coded transmissions would be too dangerous, but this—no one else would know it was for him.

She slid down the ladder, dropped the spent can in the snow, and kept walking. In the distance, sirens wept through the night.

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