Hermes is smoking, leaning against the door and watching me work. Every so often the door glitches, a sharp blue judder than runs around the frame, reminding me that it’s not a real door, it’s an informational construct, a way into the data-haven where I have my workshop.
“You sure you haven’t seen my doggie, Polyphemus?” Hermes asks, dragging long on his stogie. Hermes is a messenger virus, and he’s somehow misplaced his payload. I’d laugh, but Hermes is dangerous with or without it.
“I’m sure,” I say, bending to my task. In my bowl are glittering gems that change shape slowly. Whenever they change into parallelepipeds I sweep them onto the table. When they are all parallelepipeds I can assemble them into a key and sell it on to people who want access to places they shouldn’t go.
The door glitches badly suddenly, and Hermes starts smoking all over; something’s discharged into him.
“Time to go,” he mutters and vanishes through the door, not hearing the bark from the room behind me.