The counter ticked upwards as Seb ran through the warren of service tunnels criss-crossing under Neocastle. Tightly secured goggles displayed a wealth of easily accessible information for a Packetrunner. There were five main tools in his goggles that he relied on.

The AnoniPOS mapping system; a tracking-reduced version of GPS pinging off stationary WiFi hubs around the city to provide position synchronization for the next essential bit of software. That was RunSneakerRun, the cartographic bible for any Packetrunner that was crowd-managed and updated by people in the business. It required hefty vetting to get access, but for any Packetrunner that could, it made their life a lot easier.

The next two tools in Seb’s visual arsenal was FuzzFinda, a police and security services detection tool to avoid the authorities, and Magician’s Hat: the hacker and cracker’s tool of choice for getting into, out of and around places they just weren’t allowed.

And the last tool, one of the more important tools, was Latency. In the black and grey data delivery trade, there were two main factors that counted towards payment. Stealth, and speed. Some jobs just needed speed. Some needed stealth. The really, really tough ones required a mix of both that few could deliver.

Seb’s packet today was thankfully just a speed-based one. Sprinting up a concrete staircase, he was out into the factory wilds on the edge of the city. Fresh air was a blessing. The air here was not fresh, so the A20 breathing mask he kept in his utility belt came on. Between expensive trainers, tough-but-light clothing and his climbing gloves, he did not look ‘greyman’ enough to bluff his way past any security guards.

So the only way was up, clambering fire escapes like a monkey only to throw himself off the rooftop, across an alley between buildings to the next. And there, marked as clear as day on his HUD, was the drop point. An old air conditioning unit with a neat break in the vent covering.

The flash drive tucked into his clothing was quickly slipped inside, skittering down the pipes. And just as quickly, his burner phone vibrated with a message.

[Thnx 4 the bday card + new purse, ❤ Mona.]

As Seb took in deep breaths of air through the mask, he dismantled the phone, removing battery and SIM card to dispose of later. The sooner he could get home and check his CryptoCent Wallet, the better.


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