Steppin’ Razor 2.0
by Tom Tinney
©2016 Steppin Razor 2.0 Pir8 Productions and media
(This FanFic Flash Fiction story was inspired by the artwork of DaWid Cencora and the written works of William Gibson. I AM a HUGE Gibson fan. The Sprawl series and Burning Chrome shaped my SciFi tastes for years after I first read them. I have read them many times since. Provided neither of them yells at me, for totally using their work for inspiration, to take it down, I hope to expand with a few more shorts along the same vein. If you haven’t read “Neuromancer” , “Count Zero” or “Mona Lisa Overdrive”…you may be confused.)
Leon’s reeked of freshly puffed black lotus ganja. Hydroponics made for powerful weed. The seeds for plants came up the well decades ago. Back when everyone was trying to escape the Sprawl. I’d come up two months ago, a crispy fried console jock, with no eyes, very little skin and no future. Sixteen and I was a total write-off, just like 30 km of Bostlanta when the nuke went off North of old Charleston.
A Rasta rhythm thrummed through the cabin, I felt it vibrate in my bones. Then came the assault on my ears.
“Ya gotta be free, da Lion beat da drum, Legba says, ya gotta be free, be a livin’ Son,” Leon sang, or more aptly, spoke the words to the beat. His singing voice sucked.
“Jeez, Leon, play something, anything, else. I’d take some Brazilian C &W over that drubbing shit,” I reached my hand down until I felt the Velcro strip that held my water bottle in place.
“Ya got no ear for da classics, none at all,” he replied, his accent thick.
Holding the bottle, I aimed toward the voice and squeezed, firing a stream of tepid water across the living module. There was no arc in Zero-G.
“Ah, not smart, Lil’ girl. Nasty Maggie. Ya gonna get my gear wet. Stop dat shit.”
“Closest thing to a bath you’ve had in a while, Leon. Might want to think about that. You’re reeking worse than that skunky weed.”
Leon grumbled. I mentally touched the dimmer, bringing my visual cortex online. My fingers wiggled in the air, tapping a virtual keyboard that only I could see from behind my mirrored visor. The inset direct camera feeds lit, the blackness faded and the room came to life. I “saw” the walls of my cylindrical haven, which was a poorly attached pimple on the ass of the Zion station. They were covered in bright shades of rolled on latex paint and hundreds of hand written poems and songs.
The designs confirmed that Leon got high. He got high a lot.
“So, Maggie girl, now that yer a well one, what do da fates have in store? What can Zion do for their adopted kin? What’s the plan for the Lil’ razor?” Leon said, his fingers nimbly sifting through floating buds and plant material in a clear plastic bag, his practiced hands flinging the sorted material to one end of the bag, or the other.
“Can’t be a street ninja, or a gopher girl, with no eyes. Maybe I can turn meat-puppet tricks down in Old New York? Some pervs might dig my visor.”
Leon stopped his ministrations and looked my direction, his dreads reacting like mindless snakes in the Zero-G.
“That’s so much bullshit, Maggie. That tank fixed what it could, ya heart did the rest. Ya got the genes of a fighter. The spirits like ya, girl. They owe ya family.”
They didn’t owe me, they owed Aunt Moll. The real Stepping Razor. A legend on Zion station. She set the Legba free on the net. She wasn’t really my aunt, was she? I heard that at the hospital, having had my eyes seared away in the blast. Turned out I was a clone. The serial tags were in the blood, so nobody could miss them. Not registered at viability. That was a no-no and Aunt Moll knew it.
Worse, with all of the surgeries I had once I hit puberty, I had brain and body implants that were illegal in 50 countries. Nasty stuff. Powerful stuff. Gifts from Aunt Moll. I figured I was off to detention, or to some black lab tank in Chiba, where I’d probably been conceived. That’s when some lawyer, the kind that costs a thousand new yen a minute, shows up and says Tessier-Ashpool Limited accepts responsibility. He’s ready to throw down with the Gene-cops. Make life rough for everybody if they can’t come to an arrangement. Next stop, Zion Station. As healed as I’ll ever be and not knowing what the hell comes next.
“Did ya open ya present? The one from…her?”
The amulet chain touched the back of my neck, where the patches of real skin still lived adjacent to my nano-tube reinforced Synthskin. I held the heart-shaped locket, pressing the release. Inside was a micro sliver.
“Jack it,” Leon said, nodding his head, his toothy grin urging me on.
I did. There was searing pain as my wireless went nuts. It downloaded ExaBytes of compressed data. I could only watch the stream. Hours passed.
“Open your eyes, sweetie.”
I didn’t have eyes, but I saw a room. A construct in my visor. Old décor. Stylish. A veranda and cracked stucco walls. Flowers in vases and a vineyard in the distance.
And there she was. Tall, her mirrored lenses gone, green eyes. Black leather jacket, her nails looked metallic. Steppin’ Razor in the virtual flesh.
“Hello, Maggie. If Leon gave you this, I’m gone.”
“Aunt Moll? How?”
“Oh, baby, we have lots of time for that. I told you I’d settle down one day. Well, that was never in the cards. Too many enemies and too much baggage. But we have this. Based on the stamp, I uploaded 90 days ago. Good. Still fresh.”
“Why? Why this?” I asked, spreading my virtual arms.
“At first? You were a…my safety net. I’d visit. Watched you grow. Decided I didn’t want to do a Clone lay-over. Better to be beside you, rather than be you. Be part of your life. This was the only way I could do it and keep you safe.”
“Safe? Your last visit, that nuke burned my eyes, fried most of my skin. I…that was aimed at you, wasn’t it?”
“Probably. Missing 90 days, remember?”
“Now we get to visit in my head? If you’re an AI, Turing will shut you down.”
“I’m an AI in your head only, Maggie. I can’t leave or even link outside. That’s what the hardware was for. It’s your life. You’re in control. I’m just along for the ride.”
I wanted to cry and laugh, punch and dance.
“Ok, what next Aunt Mo…Mom?”
“We go visit an old friend and figure out why he had me killed. Did I ever tell you about Finn?”
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