End By End II

The two enter the pod, agony in hand. The extraneous gear gets off right away. The brick hooks, up, and charges in their stead, siphoned to hers. Easy.
“Where’s your storage?”
“In the basement, same as anything else?”
“Right, wasn’t even a question.” They leave, and the door solidifies behind them. They walk down the smooth colored walls. It’s a brightness not available in true reality, perfect for their geostation, the Galactic Halo. Entering the lift, a note of fear enters his brain.
“This isn’t… would… Newgov will have our asses for sure for this one if it goes wrong, won’t they?”
“It’s the same for nearly everything done here. But, yes, this more than any other.”
“Ha!” the doors slide open, and they walk to storage locker C-18 “Well, you know what they say:”
“If you can play, we can pay!” Saying it together, they exchange a hearty laugh, echoing the darkened steel and concrete of the sub level. Before long, they arrive at his storage. The door dissolves as all the others. He enters the room, and emerges with a cold metallic briefcase.
“Here they are, let’s get this done.”

They arrive at her pod, and begin inside.
“Wow, I didn’t even think this was possible! How many bricks are in here? This can’t be safe!”
“You worry too much, it needs this, come on, check your value here, I’ll set up the discs, run them on a double, then loop the block to pass. After hinging, of course.”
“At least it’ll be safe.”
“I hope so.”

The two work diligently, she performs her tasks with a nimbleness not seen outside the inner world. When he is able to catch it out of the corner of his eye, it disturbs him. There’s no way interlocked in his mind for it all. It simply doesn’t.

“I know you know what you’re doing, but I hope the results work out for us.”
“I hope so too, but if this isn’t based on Type-6, and a whole new type like I think it is, we can’t be beat, we’ll earn big by playing. Unless, of course, we encounter the protus.”
“But wouldn’t doing this basically ensure we encounter it?”
“Well, yes, but that’s why I have you installing alongside me.”
“You really think I’m that good?”
“Inside? Yes, the electricity is chemical. What’s the readout?”
“It’s all good here.”
“Great, time to test this out: “the paradisio drive.”
“So, what, exactly, does this do?”
“It’ll give us an unknown advantage. I can’t even explain it out here, and it’s far too dangerous to even talk about it in there. For all intents and purposes, we’re just playing.”

On the inside:
“You have picked for the first round of today’s games!”

“Ugh, damn ads.”
“No amount of tech will remove those, I guess.”
“C’mon, the rounds are launching. We have to play.”

They flow downwards through the pathstream. Data of rush transverses the constructed ether, towards a piloted goal of time and skill. There is only a realness felt here. It’s not a certainty of feeling, but is a reality of the brain. In such a way, that is, to cloud the fog of the outside. The death, the sand, the desolation.

Every game gives you more.

“These guys are giving away 20,000UEC bonus to all entrants, get yours here!”
“Yeah, we know, adbot!”
“Psst, no, guys, it’s me, Ceta.”
“Ceta? How are you doing here?”
“Yeah, last I heard they found you, dead.”
“It’s not a way to slide, I’m here for life. It’s hard to explain. In short, they did.”
“But that doesn’t make sense.”
“It does, but I can’t say this close, we’d need a closed channel. Next cycle, worldtime, y’know, the innercyde.”
“Perfect, we’ll install on a secure-pain.”
“Until, then, don’t spill a byte to a soul.”
“There’s no such thing, see you then.”
“Try all our games and collect more extra cash!” He disappears back into the adbot, slipping through the cracks in the lifecode.

They continue through past the netic-ghost, into the arena. In the center of the large room, vidlinks on all the walls, they focus on the one dead ahead. The big seller, damn near a job, or, the best anyone can get nowadays.

“There it is, the brand new and now best way to earn UEC: Sybaritic: The Havoc Onslaught” Their minds double-click in unison, and they leave the bounding overworld into a narrower channel.

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