2.19: Scroot: 3… 2… 1…
Scroot sat on the strange furniture in the nest watching and wondering in his private iconic language if Syrge was going to start throwing the native young out into the world. Everyone in the house was doing what they would normally do, but with Scroot and Syrge in their midst.
Ked and Kind were sharing stories as they did twice every week in order to keep their marriage alive. Though, tonight, Kind was triple tasking. She was also watching the number two newslink on the station on her HUD, and keyed into the apt controls doing some routine management.
The older kids were playing a competitive thingame against each other. They wouldn’t be, but it was required by the apt’s parental settings. Their access to the weirld was locked until they reached a required number of social interactions with others in the family. Vex and Vim were stalking the corners of the apt looking for escape routes or means to create chaos.
A perfectly normal middle class evening at the Reflectrox home, except for the tension evident in all of their faces. Except Vex. Vex grew stronger under all strain. It was not a programmed trait. It was some strange random expression of personality that was rare in gengeniered children and it absolutely terrified his parents.
Syrge sat in the middle of the common room as if he owned the place. He was watching a screen that was linked to Scroot’s system. Scroot was feeding him all the data on their kras that he could find.
“It looks like Vince is back in the axel with his little budgie raising a ruckus. Back to the scene of his original crime I shouldn’t wonder. I guess we should go soon. This poor family’s reaction to our presence here is worrisome. Still a few glitches in my application I guess.
“Still, I really don’t know what will happen when all the parties come together. And will our presence make a difference to the outcome? And will it be a more positive outcome? Or will we be risking our lives for nothing? Or are we just afraid?”
Ked walked over and sat next to Syrge. He patted his knee and said, “Nice work son. Keep it down now for me. It’s been a long day.”
Syrge ignored him and kept talking to Scroot about options and potentials.
Scroot was half listening, that is, he was hearing every word, but the patterns of speech from Syrge were well known to him, and there were few rhythmic, melodic, or volume variances to keep his attention.
The Papal computer techs were aware of him. And they were scared. Even if they thought he was Syrge. In their panic at how adept he was at battering through their defenses, they redoubled their efforts to protect the extremely sensitive data in their charge. All they accomplished was drawing Scroot’s attention directly to classified information he was not looking for, nor indeed, even aware of.
They might as well have put up a blinking neon sign pointing right at the files. Scroot stole the files without knowing what he was stealing, or even that he was stealing, since as far as he was concerned, the online world belonged to him. The other entities that moved about in there were like game peices, and he recognized that these files represented a way to turn one of his pawns into a queen.
Then he watched the vectors of chance and decision that moved his Kras and their enemies around. He projected outcomes and predicted intersections. At exactly the right moment he stood up and saved his Kras’s asses.
Syrge stopped talking abruptly enough that even his cuckoo’d family turned to notice. Scroot was staring right at him. It was a rare occurrence. Syrge brushed his hands against each other.
“I guess we go now?”
Scroot turned and headed for the door.
Syrge looked around at the family he had jacked, gave them a two-fingered salute and followed his friend.