How I woke up on the roof of a house was anyone’s guess

Except mine, of course, on my second last morning in the Sprawl, when the floodtide abated and the rooftops peeked, like a billion kids in straw hats, from the syrupy dawned surface of the City. An hour later the water had disappeared altogether, and I was able to clamber down into the Street.

AC had gone, probably teaming it with Sally back in PS now. So I tracked an Aqua-Scancil, booked it, set my clock to analogue and pulled off a nearest manhole ove the nearest sewerage drain, then jumped into the two-metre deep brown water. My fistlights came on auto, no problems there. Within minutes the AS swept past, and i hooked a ride.

Funny thing, the old Aqua-Scancil. The old humans, they don’t go in for it at all, really. But freak, is it fast! Talk about old greased lightning. Within miliseconds I was throttling at billions of light-speed seconds per atom!

Then I started going fast. I mean like “I’d already got there” fast. Bwwing, gone. See ya. That kind of fast. Only backwards.

Before I knew what I’d hit I got lodged inside some garbage disposal unit, only to be spat, like a chicken wing, across a vast junkyard so large that when i landed they handed me a ticket for a free trip back to the present, and the number on it read:

100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,001.

“Join the queue.”

An old digital joke. Ha ha.

Must be back where I started – inside the honeymoon suite at the Hotel New Sprawl. Three days ago. No. Two. Freaking binaries. Enough of this shit.

I pulled off the head-mask and blinked. Back on the roof.

Relics.

Man, the 2010s were weird. Remember the google shits, girls called bananas and that spiegel-chord? Me neither! That’s what I mean. Totally dead. Then along comes the Relics, and suddenly – well now, give me a run at that safety crash mask, little jugular implant there and wa-hay, hands up who’d like to take up the aesophogal option? Me, please!

Freaking entire generation, died of hyperventilation.

It was the greatest crime of all, Whitney. Made being shotgunned through a virtual sewer seem like hosiery in comparison. Sure, they banned the head units, eventually. Not before releasing the final version, though: Relics 0.0 – Crime and the Hotel New Sprawl suite solution!

“Like I said at the beginning,” I muttered to a now imaginary AC, “no one promised you an easy ride, buddy. Sure, we’re back in yesterday eventually but we’ll get to tomorrow already. We’ll worm ourselves out of this, you’ll see! Not even Silver and the Rockets could do it but you can! We can! I can! Just you wait! We’ll get beyond this digital yet!”

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