Cross Bones

The Jolly Roger unpacked in anyone’s head that crossed the geo-tagged spot. It unfurled like a warning. Carlos had hijacked this Hakim Bey Station a long time ago, and people whose Sparks went out assumed that they had inadvertently crossed into a Pirate Zone and that their online systems would reboot after a certain amount of time had passed. Very few of them realised that they had been hacked.

He’d been a Skull Pirate for a long time now. He’d assembled a rudimentary hack-rig from pieces left around his home, and his father had been his first target. His father worked in the intelligence field – something to do with numbers stations – and he had access to a lot of data to do with agent placement in active theatres. Carlos knew that information would be valuable and wanted it.

There were not may people who had access to that data, so his father would be top of the list of suspects when the breach was discovered. Carlos saw this as a necessary catalyst to catapult him into the kind of life he wanted.

He found a buyer pretty quickly, and the Taproot Rider System he had put in place to monitor occurrences with the agents began to flag up those who were expediently retired. Carlos, or Cross Bones, as he became known, started to get something of a reputation.

Hugo Bering had a reputation, and he wanted to make sure that he stayed on top. he was paying Carlos to scrape skulls for him in the financial district. Someone flagged up who was Traces Clean, and Carlos didn’t know what to make of it. How could you get to the age this guy was and not have any trail? No one was this clean. Even sending someone in after you to wipe down didn’t erase everything – clean up crews often advised against it. He got no pings on the visual search either. He dropped a mechsquito into the mix and the blood sample gave him nothing.

There were some interesting tags being flagged up on the DNA marker run that pointed to quantum irregularities, and some elements that were not human, but apart from that he was drawing a blank.

He arranged a meeting with Bering, placed the picture in front of him, and watched the colour drain from the man’s face. Unter King. That was all he said for a long while. Then he rattled out a whole bunch of reasons why they needed to get off-grid as soon as possible. Carlos filed it away as interesting data.

The next day Bering took a high dive from his office block, and Coux, a reporter for the Daily Stun, seemed to have an exclusive listing out a whole bunch of business issues leading up to the suicide that Carlos considered to be totally bogus.

Fuck. He triggered a Raze Protocol in one area, and a Raise Protocol in another area. It would take a second for the data migration, and he’d have to kill an onsite Brane Brain, but it was worth it if he could walk away from it alive. He tapped a little tune on his wrist monitor and the nanites began to swarm his bloodstream, already initiating Racial Profile One. Carlos would never leave the room. Euphrates Denton stepped out into the warm August air of Flaw-Rider, off to Tamper.