Laser Boy stepped on to the crowded public transport cart. He pulled his hood down lower over his face. He was wearing the new clothes he’d acquired in Kay’s permapt. It was mostly vertical patches of alternating white and dark gray. It had long sleeves and pants that fit loose like a karate gi. The outfit included soft-soled shoes with a rough gripping surface on the soles. The arm wings and dorsal stabilizing fin were top of the line with reactive ribs that could be flexible or stiff for better zero g flight control.
Laser Boy was scanning the throng of people. To look at him you would think he was just idly daydreaming, but his awareness was split five ways now, parallel processing a massive amount of data. His HUD was overlaying data on each person around him. He could also see ghosts. Thousands and thousands of ghosts superimposed on top of the physically present people as well as each other. His tech had fully integrated into his mind, and fully immersed itself and him in the near infinite data base that was the station’s nano-computer.
Everything that had ever happened on the station was saved as probabilistic wavelengths in the quantum spaces between the tiny robotic urchins that saturated the air, always replicating, always evolving.
When Laser Boy opened his tech to the field of data, he became god like in his apprehension, at least in the sense of capturing and accessing the data. His understanding was far more limited.
Translucent swirls of pale color coated holographic overlays piled up around him. By shifting his focus slightly, he was watching the events of 50 years ago, when everyone wanted tall children with large eyes, and everyone looked like strange aliens, then 250 years ago, when militaristic angles and polished buttons were in style. Then 132 years ago, when there was a massive public riot right in this very tunnel. He focused briefly on a small man crushing the head of another man with a long pipe. Then he let the image fade back into the swarm of overlapping images.
What ever else he briefly focused upon, a pair of ghosts from about fifteen years ago was highlighted brightly, per explicit instructions. He was following them. A well off, kind looking man, smiling and chatting with everybody around him, holding the hand of a two year old boy. The boy looked unhappy and confused. The man chucked him on the chin from time to time, told him to cheer up and enjoy the day.
Laser Boy had been following this pair for about twenty minutes. The man had sat near the boy on a playground and started chatting cordially. Then, when the boy came near, he had taken his hand and led him off the playground and eventually onto this transport cart. The boy’s parents were looking around for him desperately on the playground, but nobody could remember seeing the boy leave. Vince could see how desperate the parents were, even at this distance; his tech split screened his experience. He rewound them and saw again how they were both well off and respectable merchants, but they were both born unaltered. The subculture they came from was against transhumanism. They fell in love, got married and had a child the old fashioned way. He was born healthy and beautiful. And then this man took him away from his parents.
Laser Boy cleared away the parents and focused on the abductor. He followed the ghosts when they exited the transport in the Copper Sphere. They led him to a dingy urban looking area, under a small footbridge and into an abandoned warehouse. The front looked old and unused, but through a door at the back of the room was a series of rooms filled with small children. Several adult guards with guns stood around. All of this was ghost imagery. The warehouse was gone now and a Leper Cheese franchise was there now and already looking run down, ready for demolition in its own right. Laser Boy watched the child until the first time he got smacked down by the abductor. Then he fast-forwarded the images, smiling when, two years later, the boy escaped, taking a small group of others with him. No slavery for these kids. Poverty maybe, but not slavery. He focused on the abductor. He tired of watching his sins. He ran the ghosts trail forward to present times. It was almost piteous how small and repetitive the man’s trail was over the past fifteen years. How boring and predictable. How lazily destructive. He was in the Copper Sphere right now. Not too far.
The conapt Laser Boy found the man in was new and sparsely furnished. When Laser Boy blasted the door open, the man, somewhat older now, jumped up with a bullet gun in his hand.
“You picked the wrong John hoody boy.”
Three bullets hit Laser Boy, with no effect. They stopped dead at his skin, no ricochet, no impact sound. Vince scanned the man. Good. Tech. Vince sent a carnivorous UNO into the man’s brainware. He was bombarded with images and feelings associated with his abuse of young Black Elvis.
The man spasmed and jerked around, suffering a major seizure of his nervous system. Laser Boy let it ride for a minute then shut down the UNO. The man fell back into his soft chair, coughing and spitting out blood where he had bitten the inside of his cheek.
“What the vent you want hoody boy? Whad you do da me?”
Laser Boy pulled down his hood.
“I’m Laser Boy. But to you I’m the God of Vengance.”
Laser Boy shot a dime sized hole through the man’s heart and watched him struggle for a moment, then seize up and die. He turned and, in large jagged slanting letters burned “Laser Boy Kills” into the wall. He turned and walked out.
He was already scanning for the place where Zombie Lisa was born, ready to track down any of her tormenters, when he was startled by a resonant, strangely accented voice behind his ear.
Laser Boy spun around but nobody was near. Several people adjusted their walks to gain some distance from him. He was looking around wildly.
“It is okay,” again. The voice was right behind him. He spun around. Several people were pointing at him.
“Where the vent are you?”
“I am right here. It is me.”
“I am your gun. We should have a conversation.”
Laser Boy will return in: Book 2: Haunting Season