Bobby just laughed it off. She talked to me about it, though. She'd had her corneas done twice, but she still wasn't ; so she wanted Ikons. Brand of the stars. Very expensive. Tiger was so pleased with his Sendais that he couldn't help smiling, but I doubted whether he'd have smiled otherwise. He had the kind of uniform good looks you get after your seventh trip to the surgical boutique; he'd probably spend the rest of his life looking vaguely like each new season's media front-runner; not too obvious a copy, but nothing too original, either.
I watched as he tried to take me in with his idea of professional simstim glance. He was pretending that he was recording. I thought he spent too long on my arm. Sendai eyes are notorious for depth-perception defects and warranty hassles, among other things. He didn't smile back. Know an agent? Then he got up and left. He said a quick goodbye to Rikki, but not to me.
You know that, Rikki? Those Sendais are illegal in England, Denmark, lots of places. You can't replace nerves.
Well, Tiger's not too swift, but everybody knows about Sendais. They're all he can afford. So he's taking a chance. If he gets work, he can replace them. You know better than to take a gamble like that. I drank my coffee, and she ate both my croissants.
Then I walked her down to Bobby's. I made fifteen calls, each one from a different pay phone. All in all, it took us six weeks to set the burn up, six weeks of Bobby telling me how much he loved her.
- Burning Chrome: An Analysis Essay;
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- Burning Chrome.
I worked even harder, trying to get away from that. Most of it was phone calls. My fifteen initial and very oblique inquiries each seemed to breed fifteen more. I was looking for a certain service Bobby and I both imagined as a requisite part of the world's clandestine economy, but which probably never had more than five customers at a time. It would be one that never advertised.
We were looking for the world's heaviest fence, for a non-aligned money laundry capable of dry-cleaning a megabuck online cash transfer and then forgetting about it. All those calls were a waste, finally, because it was the Finn who put me on to what we needed.
I'd gone up to New York to buy a new blackbox rig, because we were going broke paying for all those calls. The Long Hum people were so oblique that they made my idea of a subtle approach look like a tactical nuke-out. Bobby had to make two shuttle runs to Hong Kong to get the deal straight.
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We were running out of capital, and fast. I still don't know why I decided to go along with it in the first place; I was scared of Chrome, and I'd never been all that hot to get rich.
Burning Chrome by William Gibson by Maja Kwiatkowska on Prezi
I tried telling myself that it was a good idea to burn the House of Blue Lights because the place was a creep joint, but I just couldn't buy it. I didn't like the Blue Lights, because I'd spent a supremely depressing evening there once, but that was no excuse for going after Chrome. Actually I halfway assumed we were going to die in the attempt. Even with that killer program, the odds weren't exactly in our favor. Bobby was lost in writing the set of commands we were going to plug into the dead center of Chrome's computer. That was going to be my job, because Bobby was going to have his hands full trying to keep the Russian program from going straight for the kill.
It was too complex for us to rewrite, and so he was going to try to hold it back for the two seconds I needed. I made a deal with a streetfighter named Miles. He was going to follow Rikki the night of the burn, keep her in sight, and phone me at a certain time. If I wasn't there, or didn't answer in just a certain way, I'd told him to grab her and put her on the first tube out. I gave him an envelope to give her, money and a note. Bobby really hadn't thought about that, much, how things would go for her if we blew it. He just kept telling me he loved her, where they were going to go together, how they'd spend the money.
That's what she wants. She's serious about that simstim scene. We're going to make it, Jack. She's my luck. She won't ever have to work again. I wasn't happy. I couldn't remember when I had been happy. I missed her. Missing her reminded me of my one night in the House of Blue Lights, because I'd gone there out of missing someone else.
I'd gotten drunk to begin with, then I'd started hitting Vasopressin inhalers. If your main squeeze has just decided to walk out on you, booze and Vasopressin are the ultimate in masochistic pharmacology; the juice makes you maudlin and the Vasopressin makes you remember, I mean really remember. Clinically they use the stuff to counter senile amnesia, but the street finds its own uses for things. So I'd bought myself an ultraintense replay of a bad affair; trouble is, you get the bad with the good.
Go gunning for transports of animal ecstasy and you get what you said, too, and what she said to that, how she walked away and never looked back. I don't remember deciding to go to the Blue Lights, or how I got there, hushed corridors and this really tacky decorative waterfall trickling somewhere, or maybe just a hologram of one.
I had a lot of money that night; somebody had given Bobby a big roll for opening a three-second window in someone else's ice. I don't think the crew on the door liked my looks, but I guess my money was okay. I had more to drink there when I'd done what I went there for. Then I made some crack to the barman about closet necrophiliacs, and that didn't go down too well. Then this very large character insisted on calling me War Hero, which I didn't like.
I think I showed him some tricks with the arm, before the lights went out, and I woke up two days later in a basic sleeping module somewhere else. A cheap place, not even room to hang yourself. And I sat there on that narrow foam slab and cried. Some things are worse than being alone. But the thing they sell in the House of Blue Lights is so popular that it's almost legal.
At the heart of darkness, the still center, the glitch systems shred the dark with whirlwinds of light, translucent razors spinning away from us; we hang in the center of a silent slow-motion explosion, ice fragments falling away forever, and Bobby's voice comes in across light-years of electronic void illusion—. The Russian program, rising through towers of data, blotting out the playroom colors. And I plug Bobby's homemade command package into the center of Chrome's cold heart. The squirt transmission cuts in, a pulse of condensed information that shoots straight up, past the thickening tower of darkness, the Russian program, while Bobby struggles to control that crucial second.
An unformed arm of shadow twitches from the towering dark, too late. Bobby was laughing, tears in his eyes. The elapsed-time figure in the corner of the monitor read The burn had taken a little under eight minutes.