Scroot: Terminal Velocity
Scroot was an industrial accident. He had been dumped in the Slum Sphere eleven years ago when he was a newborn. His parents had surely had their reasons for that. It may have had something to do with his comically enlarged testicles. Each one was like a spongy cantaloupe. He was bio-engineered, like all non-slum babies, but things do go wrong. Hackers, power outages, neutrino storms in the nano-computers. His parents must have had a sympathetic side; they could have just recycled him. Of course there were fees for that.
Syrge found Scroot two years ago and has no idea how he survived to that age alone. Syrge, who at eight years of age had already read thousands of articles, and hundreds of the archived books that no one else seemed to know about, recognized the signs of autism in the giant balled boy. When they met, the boy was obliviously letting his genitalia hang out through the leg holes of his shorts and walking around bow-legged.
Syrge fixed up a rig that held the scrotum in front of Scroot’s naval. With carefully altered pants and shirts, you could no longer immediately sense the deformity. Scroot just appeared to have a potbelly. This combined with his Shemp hair, sagging eyes, and hooked nose combined to make him look like a tiny and tired old man.
He was non-verbal, but once Syrge fashioned him a computer terminal that was strapped around his waist and rested atop his comfortably supported nuts. His value became clear. His hands were clumsy and slow, but he connected with the networks and storage mazes at a primal level. Several weeks after receiving his terminal, he had sent some schematics to Syrge for an implant rig. This was in the days before Black Elvis had taken them in, so the two of them had made a risky excursion to the Mercantile Wheel and hacked a nano-maker. Once the device existed, Syrge, after a quick crash course, performed the minor brain surgery required to connect the device. A small disc in the pre-frontal, a headband with a HUD lens over the right eye, and a belt with two small robotic arms became part of Scroot from then on out. The robot arms and head tech were controlled directly by the implant and he no longer had to rely on his clumsy hands to operate his terminal.
Now, he was very busy dealing with the fallout of Laser Boy’s robbery. Not even Syrge was aware of how many organizations were expending resources trying to find Vince. The imagery from the heist was everywhere. Laser Boy was the new anti-hero of the station. The various popes and CEO’s did not appreciate anti-heroes, especially ones that flaunted taboos to achieve their goals. The taboo against piercing the station’s hull was there to empower the establishment, not to be exploited by slum rats. When Vince was caught, he would be vented.
So, while the rest of the kras went about their routines, Scroot was waging silent war against dozens of computer specialists and AI hunters who were mining data attempting to find Laser Boy. Scroot was fast and nearly prescient about the nets. Most hackers looked for patterns, but they were always distracted by the meaning of what they read. Scroot had no use for meaning. The patterns for him were pure and easy to predict. The Slum Sphere did not have as many cameras as most of the other modules, but there were still a lot. Scroot manipulated the data to keep Laser Boy from appearing in any of the footage, but he implanted him in other files so that he popped up in footage from all over the other wheels and spheres, dancing into shadows with his famous sneer and wink. After ten days, the company hackers and AI Engines abruptly stopped looking, and Scroot was able to relax.
If Scroot had communicated any of this information to Syrge, he would have been suspicious at the abrupt calling off of the search, but Syrge was not even aware of the search in the first place, and Scroot did not understand the relevance of the cessation, only that his job was done. Directionless, he looked for someone to play i ching with.