The City: 099: The Cat Lady

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“Because they’re building something else.”  The old woman appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the group of teens and twenty-somethings.  “The virus overwrites an Avatar, boots the user, and replaces it with a massive AI module.”
“What happens to the user?” Paulo asked
“Forced to log out, but it’s an unsafe boot.  Somewhere between ten and fifty percent will suffer acute Boot Syndrome.  Midas hushed up the figures about the problem.  It’s why I quit in the first place.”
“I’m sorry, who are you?”  Nora asked.
“I’m The Cat Lady, and I believe you have something of mine.”



The City: 089: Aoife

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“You shouldn’t be logged in,” Aoife said when her younger sister called.  She was inside The City.  Hadn’t she seen the news?  The software was glitching like mad, and there Nora was merrily meeting with her team of international hackers, or whatever they did all day.  Hang out, she supposed.  That’s what she did, when she was that age.  But she did that in a proper coffee shop, not a trillion euro VR playground.
“I know.  Things are weird, but I need a favor.”
“Of course.”
“I don’t think this is a glitch.  It’s a takeover.”
“What do you need?”

The City: 029: Nora

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Nora frowned after the cat and sat down on the bench next to Hiro.  She furiously typed into her messenger.  Between the six of them, they spoke ten languages, but there was not one they all shared fluently. So they typed, and used translations to be understood.
Paulo and I had an awful time getting here.  The trains are all shut down.  Nora wrote.
A woman got hit by one. Hiro replied.
Is it?  Dawn typed.  Or is it just so unlikely that it never happened before?  The Man sold out and the trains stop.  No such thing as coincidence.