Updated: Apr 17
“Papa?” The pimple faced teen read the name off the side of the tall coffee cup burning his fingers. After a second of sharing blank stares everyone started to say their name. They chirp like birds in a nest waiting for mama to feed them the nectar of those sweet bitter beans.
“How about Pops?” Asked a middle aged man close to the counter. He wore a tan jacket over a dark sweater.
“You win,” mumbled the minimum wage earner and he handed Pops the cup. After a minute of working his way through the crowd to the sugar and cream, Pops stepped lively to the door.
“Oh, thank you,” said Pops as a young man with a back pack held open the door and smiled.
Digits entered the shop greeted by overworked radiators and the welcoming smell of brewing beans.
The crowd noise was deceptive in that the rest of the sizable coffee shop was rather sparely filled. Also, thought Digits, aside from those thirty-somethings getting take away, those sharing booths were in their twenties. More than half were decked into the Net with high end Net glasses or low end Virtual Reality goggles. Only a few computer users sipped their latte and wrote on their next best selling book, thought Digits as he pushed his black backpack deep against the wall of the high-backed booth.
As Digits sat, he pulled Net glasses from his pocket and slid them onto over his nose and hooked them behind his ears. The glasses immediately linked into his Cyberdeck via the Sabretooth software protocol even before he had time to set the warm device on the table. Digits always had a deck running whether the portable one he sported this morning or his full home rig crowded into a false television cable box in the basement.
Digit’s eyes gave a faint glow in the dimmed light of Cyberdeck Cafe.
The pictures and heads-up overlays projected onto Digit’s eyes were far too small to be seen.
Digits raised his eyebrows with curiosity as he seen through the eye of the camera on the Geyser building. It looked directly down Washington Street giving Digits a third story perspective of the goings on of up to the past forty-eight hours.
On the screen, a couple of drunken sailors stumbled up the street being rowdy. Digits fast forwarded. Those same two sailors were back, heading in the opposite direction. Digits zoomed in and saved the picture. It was a beautiful shot with half the face of one sailor blurring the foreground.
With only a glance at the phone icon floating in the lower right of his vision, Digit’s call began to ring. Another Sabretooth connection, but this one was all sub-dermal. The hardware resided under his skin leaving only a slightly raised fractal antenna hidden beneath his hairline just above his ear.
“Hey, I see your problem, ” said Digits softly. “Looks like a loner,” he said as his eyes looked at the saved image. More specifically, at the teenager walking in the background wearing the Net headset with VR goggles.
“No strays, this time,” said a firm voice in his ear.
“No strays,” echoed Digits before ending his call. He killed his connection to the Net with just the thought of doing so and pulled off his glasses and tucked them away in his chest pocket.
Digits picked up his Hazelnut Mocha coffee and took a sip. No strays, he told himself.