Chapter 10

I've been asked to write a bit about my reality for your files in Atoz. Okay. First, I think I'll go over what you've already got on this place; pretty much your basic entry.

"Wordcut-" Yeah, that's the name of the place. "Neutral Reality." I'll get to that later... tell you how it got like that. "Created 1995," -Now, alot of you probably already ken that realities can exist retroactively, in a way. Not that they were there before they were created, but a reality can come complete with a back-history. People native to a new reality can remember a life from before the place existed, as if it had actually happened. People and places and things can be old. History books can be filled with things that never technically happened, but might as well have; things that had a lot to do with the reality being what it is when it gets created. It's all very puzzle... or maybe it's child, I dunno. Anyway, I was 'born' in 1981, like fourteen years before Wordcut was created. And one year before Andrew was born.

Which brings me to the next bit of the entry- "by Andrew of the OR." You could look up his entry in the Atoz library-net. Go ahead, it's real short, I'm told. Little Money snotling only ever hopped once in his miserable little life. Back in the Original Reality, he was always reading or viddying fiction about times and places... well, real bad stuff. Stuff his 'rents would never let him experience in their reality. So he created a reality based on the stories he read or viddied, sort of an amalgam of such stories, with some of his own weak ideas thrown in. Wordcut. And he could just hop to this wretched little place, and dear old Mat and Vad would never ken. Punk-ass fanboy was prepped for 6 inside his first fifteen minutes here, so I'm told. And good riddance.

Anyway, here's the next part, the Atoz file's description of Wordcut: "Very few native Cutters enjoy their lives," (Ain't that the truth) "as the reality was set up to be a very dark, gritty, sort of punk-noir type place." Which I think I basically already said. You'd really have to come here to fully appreciate how thoroughly this place sucks, though. Unless maybe you're into reading the sort of stuff Andrew used to read. For one thing, only Uppers live above ground. Us Unders live in a monster city built underground, with artificial light (but never much of it), and artificial everything. What else? Alot of folks would like to kill themselves, but H.K.'s like Crim One around here. The Blueboys can just re-an ya, then you're lookin' at monster jail time. There's alot of other stuff I could tell you about the situation in Wordcut, but it would barely be a start.

"The language, Wordcut," -You guessed it, that's what the reality's named after- "is in constant flux, new slang is made up constantly." Yeah... Andrew set the place up with certain slang he'd sussed from all that fiction he read and whatnot, and he made up some of his own. And he wanted us, his creations, to continue making words up. We do. Funny thing, as soon as anyone makes up a new word, whoever we're talking to instantly kens it. Oh, by the way, the Atoz file has a link to an incomplete Wordcut vocabulary list, in case you're interested.

And that, I suss, is it. Now, about this 'neutral reality' stuff- there's a nice little story to that, which I'll have to relate to you. I'm sure Andrew would have enjoyed reading it.


"Hello, Jackrat."

"Hello, look. I don't know you; let's change that."

The maker smiled. It looked good on her. You don't see smiles much, outside the Artists' District. Not sincere ones, anyway. "My name's Laura. I'm a hopper. From the OR. I'd like to hire you."

"Hopper, eh? Far as I ken, you're only the second one of that kind I've ever met. Other one's from Beta. I suss you'd be an enemy of his."

"I suss."

"So, what's the job?"

"Just keep an eye open for anything suspicious- more suspicious than is normal around here, that is. Especially keep an eye on Jules."

"So, you ken of him?"

She kept on smiling. "I ken alot of things."

"He's a droog, you know."

"He's also an Artist here, and hasn't been out of the reality in a long time. He must not have the resources I do."

"You can pay me more." I smiled one of my not-entirely-sincere smiles. "And you have other ways of paying me, that he could never have."

"I have that option, I suss, but I don't intend to use it. My coin or merch should be enough, so?"

I thought about it. I was kind of in a financial slump at the present. "So," I agreed.

"Upper. I'll see you when you have news. Don't tell anyone about me."

And she vanished. Hopped out, I suss.


I headed for the Art District, to find Jules. Let me tell you about Artists in Wordcut. They are one step above Dregs, in some ways. There isn't much call for art in a place like this. You want beauty? Beauty's for other realities, and a little bit for Monies. You want tragedy? Look around you. There ain't a lot else an Artist can give you. Still, there's some call for their work. They can get some coin from Uppers and 'tenders. I've even heard of hoppers hopping in, buying a piece from a Cutter Artist, and hopping out, just like flat. Even Jules did that for a while, few years back.

But like I said, Artists don't sell much art here. So years ago, a bunch of them got together and started their own little community, the Artists' District. They control it themselves; the Govs and Blueboys leave them pretty much to their own. They don't pay taxes or nothin'. They produce everything they need themselves, so they don't have to buy much from the outside. They sit around fancy-minding (in any sense of the expression), doing whatever work needs doing, and occasionally actually producing art. A real commune.

Sometimes non-Artists like yours-humble drop in, when we want to drop out. Or if you're a Money, to buy some art. Or... well, there are a few other reasons to visit the Art District, but I won't go into them.

I knocked on Jules' door.

A look young fangirl with whom I am more than passingly acquainted opened the door. "Hiya, Jackrat. What's up?"

"Hi, Kalli. Is Jules in?" I came in, and she closed the door.

"I don't know, Jack."

"Don't call me Jack."

"Don't call me Kalli."

"It's your name; mine is Jackrat."

Kalli's a good, clean, money name. (She was, technically, Money, after all.) She didn't like it, she wanted an Under-sounding name. So she changed it a bit. She was a good kid, and what's better, she could be as bad as she wanted to be. And she was, as I've said, quite look. I liked her. Still, I liked to tease her sometimes.

She pouted. I never really liked the concept of pouting; too much a money affectation. So you'd think I'd be nothing but annoyed at anyone who pouted. Normally, I am. But on her, it always looked so cute....

"Sorry. Kallirack."

She smiled. As I think I said, that's more common in the Art District than elsewhere in Wordcut. "That's better. Yes, Jules is here. In the company room, with some droogs. You could go in and see him if you like. Or," and her grin widened, "we could go to a guestroom..."

"Maybe later. Right now I really have to see Jules."

She dropped the grin and pouted again. I was tempted to take her up on her offer, and see Jules in an hour or so. "Oh, alright," she said. "Come on." And I followed her to the company room.

We went and sat down wherever we could find free spots on the rug. The others were fancy-minding (in one very specific sense of the expression), and not very ken that I was even there.

Except Jules. No matter how fancy his mind gets, he is always completely ken of everything around him. "Greetings, Jackrat. How goes it?"

"Not great; no ship in sight. I'm practically dreg. I could really stand to drop out for a while. Unless... you don't have any stim I could deal out there, do you?"

Jules grinned and shrugged. "We're pretty much using it up ourselves, this boring little month."

"Then I suss I will just drop out here, at least for a few days. If you've got enough for me to use..."

"That much, I suss I do have. For a few days. So, no news?"

"Nope. How about yourself?"

"Not so much... nothing for poz, anyway. But I do hear vague rumors, which could become very interesting, if we can fully tumble to them."

"Such as?"

"Some monster puzzle deal going on, maybe. The Greymen and Blueboys getting all frat, maybe."

Greymen and Blueboys? Frat? Now that is monster. It's just too big, can't possibly be so. They hate each other as much as Uppers can hate anyone who isn't an Under. I don't rally it for a second.

"So?" I ask, calm as can be.

"Like I say, I don't know. Wanna look into it?"

"Maybe. Sometime. For now, like I say, I'm just gonna hang around and get fancy. You?"

"Yeah... maybe later. I'll stay here awhile, too."

So we did, a few days. Me, I spent about equal parts of my time in the company room with whoever showed up (people tend to drift in and out of other people's houses in the Art District, essentially at random), and in guestrooms with Kallirack.


And then one day, Jules said good-bye to anyone who was sober-minded enough to notice, and left.

I shadowed.

He went above. He went to a Money house, where he showered and changed his clothes. The only other people in the house were serfs. It took me a while to tumble to the situation: this was Jules' house. He was an Upper.

This struck me as fundamentally odd. I couldn't quite rally to it. He was definitely an Artist, a storyteller to be precise. I've listened to his stories, often enough. No mistake about it, he was an Artist, and not just some fanboy.

So he was both an Under and an Upper. I've never heard of such a thing in my life. If I ever told anyone, they'd say I was marbles, and I'd be inclined to believe them. But the facts were plain and child.

Now I wonder what kind of Upper he is? Just a Money, or something more? Couldn't be a Blueboy, he just couldn't. So...

He left, and I continued to shadow him. He went to another Upper house... a Gov's house.

He met this Gov, and they started talking. I left a bug on the wall just outside the room they were in, and slipped on my earphones. I started wandering around the house, grabbing whatever I could that looked valuable. Coulda done that at Jules' place, I suss, but... even if he is an Upper, he's still a droog. There was plenty there; by the time they were done talking, I was fairly bag-rich.

Meanwhile, I listened to their conversation. I ascertained that Jules, in Upper mode, was merely a Money, albeit one with upper Gov 'tacts. A very powerful man, all ends, it seemed. I suss this one Gov he was talking to was in charge of a section of Greymen. Jules wondered if he knew anything about these rumors, and the Gov said no. He said he had heard rumblings of such things himself, and was most concerned. If there was some plot ongoing, he wasn't privy to it. Could be monster tough-cat for everyone, if there was any truth in it all.

My hopper-malc soon left, and again I followed. It was gettin' late, and he returned to his pad in the Art District. I decided to take a break from the job, and beat it back to my own humble hovel, to stash my new-in merch. I'd have to get to market one day soon; Dealer's gotta deal.

After downing some deppers and catching some ZZZ's, I headed over to Jules' to see what he was up to. He was out. Damn.

I started scouring the city for him (and the place could use a good scouring, let me tell you). At first, I checked some of the usual places he comes when he's outside the Art District, but I didn't find him. Then it occurred to me: if he could be an Upper without my knowing, maybe he could be other things in lock.

So I thought, what's the pole of Upper? Dreg. Now Dregs, they're about the only kind in Wordcut what ain't got no official end of their own. Everyone, every caste, Upper or Under, we all got a District. Monies, Govs, Greymen, Blueboys above (although some of them keep second pads in other castes' Districts, for business purposes). Serfs, Dealers, Artists below. But Dregs, they can go any end. Homeless, vagrant, merciless mercenaries for hire. Usually you see them at the lowest levels of the Under city, if you see them at all (which you try hard not to do). But they can even go above, when they have business there. Hey, Uppers find their services useful, too. They work cheap, they'll do anything, they're infinitely expendable, and no one will miss them if they ...disappoint you.

I don't really know how I'd find a Dreg who didn't want to be found. Especially if Jules was indeed a Dreg himself; he'd already proven he could be plenty shadow. And if he was, he could be anywhere. Still, couldn't hurt to check the lower levels.

I've been down here maybe twice before in my miserable little life. Check that; definitely twice. You can't forget something like this place. If all of Wordcut is bad, and the Under city especially so... well, the lower levels make the rest of it seem like a place Jules told me about once, of which I forget the name. It was in the OR... sounded really nice, in the way only another reality could be... But I digress.

I've known a few Dregs in my day. I've dealt to them, but mainly that was in the Dealers' District, in the higher levels of the city. But down here, the place was crawling with them. I avoided them as much as possible. Spent hours searching the city, and never did spot Jules. It was well past mid-dark when I finally gave up and went home.


I woke around mid-light with Greymen standing about my pallet. "Morning," I said.

"Enough chit-chat," one of them said. (And who says Greys don't have a sense of humor?) "You're working for a hopper."

"You folks do have some upper intelligence, don't you?"

"So. And you don't seem to be denying the accusation?"



"I'm sure. Did you want something, or did you just stop by to tell me that you knew that?"

"We'd like you to do a job for us."

"How much? Some info for trade, maybe?"

"What do you want to know?"

"What's the deal with you and the Blueboys?"

He conferred with the others for a minute. Then he said, "For some years now, there has been a threat of invasion from beyond this reality. With the recent arrival of the hopper for whom you are currently running, it seems likely that the situation is coming to a head. We know there are at least two rival organizations which would like to control Wordcut, and the Govs and Monies would like to ensure that neither side wins. They want to retain control of the reality themselves. And so they have ordered the Greys and Blues to cooperate, against this common threat."

"Wow. I didn't really think you'd tell me. Okay, so what do you want me to do?"

"Continue as you have been. Periodically, we will expect you to report to us any information which you think may be of interest to us. That is all."

"Sure. Uh, I wonder, is there any more information you could offer me, which might help me to help you?"

"Hmmm... Well, I notice where you were looking for your friend Jules in the lower levels last night. In case you were unsure, he is indeed a Dreg, on top of being an Artist."

"And Money."

"Oh, pre-ken that too, did you? Well... you ken more than we sussed. How much do you know about Laura?"

"She's Jules' enemy... she's look... she's gonna pay me fairly well."

"Mmmm. Well, she's been here almost a month-back, and she's been running all ends, just like your droog's been doing for years. We think he'd sort of gotten lazy in his own mission, until she arrived. Now they're both trying to get the job done flat. They've each got stations like you working for them, but of course he's got more. We're doing what we can to turn their 'tacts, but not all rally to us. You do, though?"

I shrugged. "I suss. I will get upper-paid for this, so?"

"So. If we win, in the end."


"Good. We'll be seeing you."


After they left, I went to market to do some dealing. Made enough coin to support myself for a while. Dropped most of that back home, then headed to the Art District.

Jules, as friendly-fate would have it, was in. I fancy-minded for a while, until he left. Again I shadowed.

He went to the lower levels. He met various Dregs. Lots of bad things happened, but I've been asked to leave out the gory details in this little narrative. So I'll try to summarize.

It seems the Dregs are somewhat more organized that anyone would have sussed. They have their own disgusting little society down there, with their own dreg versions of Govs and Blueboys and Dealers. Most Dregs, though, are just plain Dregs; Independents.

There are little empires down in the lower levels, crim families whose bosses call themselves Govs, and who employ enforcers they call Blueboys. Other Dregs who work for the families call themselves Dealers, and it seems these are the ones you'd see, for the most part, in the higher levels of the city. (Although it's most likely the Dregs you'd see above, working for Uppers, would be Independents, or sometimes enforcers.)

The vast majority of Dregs seem to be Independents, as I've said, people who don't belong to or work for the crim families. Jules, in Dreg mode, was an Independent, although, as with his Gov ties as a Money, he did have connections to the families.

There was a war on down there. There were always wars on, between families. But this was different. This war had been growing for years now. Presumably, I thought, since Jules was new-in to Wordcut. And now, with Laura here, things were working up to a fever pitch. By the time this war was over, it was expected there would be a single family remaining in power. Jules had hooked up with one of them, Laura another. They both pretended, I suss, to be frat with several others, but I'm poz they truly backed only one each.

How the outcome of some Dreg war that most Cutters would never know about could possibly have any upper impact on what hopper organization ended up controlling the entire reality was beyond me. Still, I was sure the Greymen would like to know what was going on.

I got home just before mid-dark that night, and thought maybe I'd get to sleep at a half-decent hour. Before I could even open a bottle of deppers, though, that hopper-devot materialized.

"Any news?" she asked.

"Ah, I was wondering if I'd ever see you again. Yeah. I'm learning more about my malc Jules than I ever woulda sussed. He's not just an Artist, he's also a Money and a Dreg. All ends, he's looking into a rumor about a Grey-Blue alliance. Also, he seems to be running a Dreg war. You know, just tonight, I've learned more about Dreg culture than I ever thought there was, let alone wanted to ken."

"Anything else?"

"Well, I assume he's running some kind of scam above, too. And the Greys are most likely on to him, some. Oh, and I assume you're doing all the same stuff he is."

"So. That's it?"

"For now. Do I get paid anything yet?"

She tossed me a bag. "Here's some drugs. I'm sure you can get some coin for them."

I looked through the bag. There was some stuff I hadn't seen in years, and never much of. Some monster upper stuff. I could get enough coin off this to live like a 'tender for a year. But I probably wouldn't. I'd probably use most of the stuff myself, and maybe share with a few of my closest droogs.

"Sure," I said. "Great, thanks."

She hopped out, and a minute later the Greys entered the apartment. I told them pretty much the same things I'd just told the hopper, but added a few gory details I'd witnessed tonight, just to spice the story up.


And then, nothing happened, my end, for a couple of weeks. Jules pretty much stayed home; if he was ever out, it wasn't somewhere I couldn't find him. I didn't much bother about finding him, 'cause when I did, he was never doing anything that perked my 'tent. Laura never came to see me, nor did the Greymen.

I dealt the upper drugs the maker-hopper had given me, a bit. I spent a lot of time using them, too. Fancy-minded with Dealer droogs at my place, and Artists at Jules' place. I wasn't used to having as much coin as I had at the moment, and thereby so much free time.

Really, the two or three weeks I've been detailing here are quite atypical of my normal life. Normally I'm on the streets all day, scamming and stealing and dealing and just generally hoping to die as flat as possible. Pretty much everyone in Wordcut wants to die, even most Uppers. That's why H.K.'s illegal, and why they re-an ya if you try it. Still, the Blueboys will let you stay dead if you die natural, or if you're prepped for 6 by some tough-cat or other- and if they don't suss the cat who hit you was doing it at your request.

In the meantime (that is, while you're alive), you spend as much time as possible fancy. All Cutters do drugs, no exceptions. I hear drugs are illegal in some other realities. I have a hard time rallying that, even if they are better places to live. Anyway, here, you'd soon be found certifiably marbles if for some unfathomable reason you decided you didn't want to fancy-mind.

I must say, though, it's kind of nice just sitting around doing nothing. Almost makes life seem livable. I was kinda fancy when I thought that one up. I was feeling pretty good, actually. And the next morning, I woke up next to Kallirack, and suddenly remembered we'd gotten engaged the night before, while we were both as fancy as we'd ever been in our lives.


And suddenly, there was war all ends.

I didn't really see it coming, and I'm still not entirely sure how it came. But here is the best I've managed to do at reconstructing events: At some point, at least two years back, and maybe alot farther, this fanboy Money scientist (really, there are lots of kinds of Monies, different occupations, and all; Uppers find it useful to make such distinctions, but we Unders usually don't: to us, Monies are Monies) called Jellico dropped out, went below. And stayed there.

He became a Dreg, and worked for one of the families. He developed lots of nasty little toys for their 'Blueboys' to use. For example, a replicator gun that flatly produced particularly sharp knives out of thin air, and just as flat fired them at high speeds with dead-on precision. (Now I have got to get me one of them- btw, Jules tells me there's a word for that kinda gun, when it ain't a replicator kinda deal, but I can never quite remember it.)

But recently, he'd been getting more ambitious in his inventions, and his family's chief rivals were getting scared. They started getting frat, to defend themselves against this common enemy.

And then Laura arrived, and started giving new weapons (from more advanced realities, I suss) to this new amalgamated super-family, while Jules was siding with Jellico's. Apparently, there were a few people all ends who were aware of such goings-on, and wanted a piece-in. Jules (in Money mode) was apparently a friend of Jellico's from years back, and had perhaps even facilitated the scientist's defection to the Dregs. And he maintained 'tacts for Jellico above.

It seems too that a lock society of folks from all ends had for I don't know how long been growing. (Well, maybe not quite all ends, but most. The group included every caste but Blueboys, I think; but mostly Dregs, Serfs, and Greymen.) This group wanted to take over Wordcut, and make some sweeping changes. Personally, I couldn't see how that'd be possible. I mean, a reality can't be anything but what its creator intended, right? Still, it's nice to dream.

Anyway, Jules and Jellico wanted this family to support the Dissident organization, and it looked like they were going to. Laura worked against this on her side. And all of a sudden, the Grey-Blue alliance had caught wind of at least part of this, and raided the lower levels.

And that was when all-out war was declared, with at least three distinct sides fighting.

I couldn't quite tumble which side I was supposed to be on anymore, so I just stayed in the Art District for the duration. Jules showed up there once in a while, over the week or so that the war took. No fighting ever took place that end, and Jules liked to call it 'Switzerland,' though I'm poz I don't ken what he meant by that.

About half the people in the Artists' District made a point of staying off drugs that week, so they could keep informed on what was going on outside. The other half made a point of staying fancier than ever, so they wouldn't have to think about it. Me and Kallirack stayed sober. We got married on Friday.


And flat as all, it was over. For a while, no one seemed poz of who had won, or whether anyone had won at all. But the fighting stopped, sure enough. Must've been a few thousand people killed, all ends. And then there weren't enough people left to fight. It was a couple days later when the leaders of each end started thinking about getting together to talk. And after all that fighting, it would be the talking that decided things. Ain't it funny how that runs?

The first thing that was done was a rearranging of the city Districts. The big change there was the creation of a Dissidents' District, also called the Upper Levels. This had something of an effect on the Serf, Artist, and Dealer Districts, but left the Uppers and Dregs essentially unaffected.

This naturally led to the official recognition of the Dissidents as a proper caste. No one really had any idea what would end up coming of that, but only the Dissidents themselves were entirely happy about it. They'd make lots of changes in the years to come, but of course nothing too drastic. They liked to think they had a greater effect on the other castes than they did, though.

Meanwhile, Jules and Laura finally met face to face for their own talks. Since no one was yet sure who had really won (the Dissidents were satisfied that they had, of course, but the new Super-family ended up taking over most of the low levels when the bulk of the family Jellico worked for moved to the Dissidents' District, and that was all they wanted anyway; meanwhile, the Uppers still seemed to be more or less in place and in power, so they hadn't technically lost), the hoppers decided it was up to them to tumble between themselves who would claim securement of the reality. They Greys and Blues offered up some token protest of this, saying they had won, and that the hoppers had no right to claim Wordcut for either of their organizations.

Surprisingly enough, Laura and Jules took this into consideration. Although of course, they were just about the only people directly involved in the war with sense enough to call it a draw. I suss reality-hoppers are better than most stations at seeing reality, as it were. And for all they'll run a monster war using a reality's natives as pawns, they can be awful casual about things, when they want to. So they just agreed to call the place a neutral reality, which I suss is something hoppers like to do sometimes.

For a while after that, folks did some thinking about how or whether the changes in society would affect them. Most just went back to their old ways of life. Me, I decided to join the Dissidents. I had to move, of course, but my new pad's much nicer than my old place in the Dealers' District. Kalli moved with me- yeah, she went back to using her real name. We both liked the idea of Dissidents- a caste between Uppers and Unders. There are lots of ex-fantypes and -'tenders there.

Jules went back to Beta to report, and I suss visit some friends he hadn't seen in a few years. Laura stuck around a while, to talk with any of her 'tacts who were still alive after the war. Eventually she got to me.

"Just wanted to thank you for your help," she said.

"Yeah, well, I helped the Greys, too. I suss. I dunno. I don't think I did much. Learned alot, though."

"I'm sure you did. And I'm glad you chose the Dissidents."

"So? I wouldn't have thought so. You were on one of the other ends, right?"

"Yeah, but sometimes you gotta do things you'd rather not. I actually preferred the Dissidents, but Jules was a few years ahead of me, so he got first pick. And sometimes the Betans like to leave Paradox with a distasteful choice. Not that they think it'll stop us, but at least it annoys us a little."

"Run into that alot, do you?"

"No, this was only my second assignment. In my first one, the Betans sided with the bad guys. Actually, it's more puzzle than that, they... well, I won't go into it. Anyway, we secured that reality. Oh! Congratulations on getting married!"

"Thanks. So, your bosses gonna be upset you didn't secure this reality?"

"Nah. Well, first, I don't exactly have bosses, Paradox isn't run like that. We're all technically equal. But anyway, we like to have some neutral realities. Places we can run with the enemy without being enemies."

"You hoppers are weird. Still, I'd like to be able to hop, I suss. This reality bites."

"So? Aw, it's not so bad. You like art?"


"And drugs?"


"And running with droogs?"


"And making?"


"And adventure?"

"Rarely. But sometimes."

"And power?"

"I can't have any power."

"You couldn't, but now you can. These Dissidents are going to change things like that. You could be a Gov. You could run the world."

"I can't quite rally that."

"Sure you could. Try it sometime. Oh, and how would you like to be a Stationary agent?"

"For Paradox? What about Jules... or isn't he coming back?"

"Oh, he told me he'll come back here eventually. He still has jobs to do in other realities, but I think he likes the place. Maybe he'll retire here one day."

"Likes the place? This place? Wordcut?"

"Yeah. Oh, and he won't mind if you work for the enemy."

"Hmmm. And you're allowed to have agents here, even if the place is neutral?"

"Sure. You'll probably never have to do anything, but you'd have all the privileges of a Paradox agent."

"Why me, anyway? You offering this to all your 'tacts?"

"Nah, just the ones I like, and I think might be amenable to our cause. And hey, the place might not be neutral forever. If you do become a Gov, it'd be nice to have you on our side."

I thought about it. Finally, I shrugged. "Yeah, okay, whatever."

"Great. So, life's good, right?"

"Hmmm? Oh... back to that, are we?"


I thought about it. And thought some more. "Yeah, I suss."

"Good. I'll get a Transition Facilitator out here, or maybe a Recruiting agent. Good luck." She hopped out. And hopped back in. "Oh, say, maybe you could write up a little something for the file on this place, in Atoz. Keep out the gory details, though. Bye." And she hopped out again.

In case you care, I won a seat as a Dissident Representative in the next election. I'm a Gov now, I guess. Kalli thinks I'm gonna be Gov-Gen someday. Maybe.

...Disneyland! That was the name of the place. I knew it'd come to me.

Oh, and yeah, I'm a Stationary agent now, as my file in Atoz says. Maybe I'll add some detail to the entry one day, write up my life story...

Nah. There'd be too many gory details.