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  1. #1
    aldra JIDF Controlled Opposition
    had some ideas for a cyberpunk short story but I found I couldn't think of a focus, so I just started writing stuff

    The world doesn't sleep anymore.

    The lights flicker on with the familiar click of inverters and hum of high-voltage ballast; bright, sterile white washing over the neon filth of the night before. Through the drizzle across the glass wall behind my desk, office windows come to life in rapid succession. Six o'clock, according to the dusty clock sitting to my right.

    A clock's not something you see often nowadays - a machine for such a simple, dedicated function seems redundant in a world so interconnected. The sum of all human knowledge at our fingertips and I choose to look to an island from the last century... To the few people who've asked about it, I've said that it's important to have a constant in a world that changes so fast - but if we're being honest, I just find the bright VFD comforting at times like this.

    The stimulants are wearing off. My mind has started to wander, but we're getting into that place of diminishing returns where if I redose, my focus will most likely not return.

    I turn back to the terminal - the bright screen staring back, cursor blinking expectantly, and pause. The code is nearly complete - I'd been working on it nonstop for the last 12 hours, painstakingly testing and retesting each module before moving onto the next, and I was close to getting paid. This particular piece was a 'theoretical' attack - I was given a small chunk of code and asked to write an attack against it. I never actually met the requester, but if the video transmissions we exchanged weren't completely synthetic, he was an older man with a deep voice who worked for a 'prominent firm', asking for my help to test his security policies and heuristic engines.

    I didn't ask for further details. Requests for network penetration testing do not generally require such secrecy or security (the transmissions were excessively encrypted and routed through more compromised nodes than I could feasibly count), and I do not offer them. Espionage was most likely, though targeted attacks against government officials and specific 'persons of interest' were not unheard of - my official stance is that I want as little information as possible, though the timing of some news reports in the past have made such projects' true purpose hard to deny.

    Drifting again. It's become impossible to work. I look down at the box of pills, a pseudo-pharmaceutical cocktail pressed into light grey tablets. A combination of old-world amphetamines and the latest cutting-edge nootropics designed to help mitigate the damage they cause, and a neat little lightning bolt cut into the face to show they mean business.

    I run my fingers through what little hair I have and close the box. No. I have four days left on the contract and I don't want to make any mistakes.

    I stand up and stretch; my body more or less locked in place for the last several hours cracks as it loosens. I close the terminal, it's sleek black lid locking shut, lights flashing for a moment as security policies lock up data as best they can. I grab my coat, steel-grey in the light, and walk out of the apartment - the door loudly locking itself behind me.
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