The stench of trash rotting in heat lingers on the Midtown streets.
Glassless beggars shout attention-seeking obscenities as I pass. I hear them, sympathize with them, but I do not acknowledge them. My eyes do not stray to the Times Square peddlers of IRL tourist-traps. I see them all now for what they are. Security holes. Even the surveillance drones keep their distance. They have no interest in my ordinary gate.
“This is the Queens-bound 7 train. The next stop is 5th Avenue- Bryant Park. Stand clear of the closing doors please.”
I escape to Miombo and check the news:
Should’ve used Tor and PGP. My OPSEC knowledge already feels second nature.
“Now arriving at 103rd Street-Corona Plaza”.
My mind thinks through the other tools. How can I put them to work? I’m equipped to secure my communication and assets now but smart contracts…what do I do with that?
Hachiman’s bow and arrow is most perplexing. I get the power but I have no clue what to do with it. Each new piece of this puzzle exposes more missing pieces.
My subconscious is surprised by the emptiness of the apartment. Despite her state, G-Ma had a definite presence. Questions run through my head as I collapse in bed.
I wake to first light. The night’s dreams have digested my OPSEC lessons and fused them with my Rabbit Hole knowledge. My heart pumps as my brain explores their combined potential.
Eager for answers, I throw on my glasses and return to Uncle Rav’s cabin.
He acknowledges my new accessory as I enter. “Ah Hachiman’s bow and arrow. Geist must’ve approved of you,” he remarks with a smile.
“He has an interesting way of showing it,” I respond. Rav chuckles. I join him.
Our laughter is interrupted by a loud tick. Rav observes the clock over his shoulder and redirects his attention to me. “It’s time.”
He calmly walks to the clock, grasps the winding key and begins to turn it, just as I did to the IRL version days before. Except his hands know exactly where to go, as if he’s performed the action hundreds of times before.
Upon the second rotation, the pendulum door pops open. He reaches into the opening and removes a folded piece of paper.
“You’ve taken in so much over a short amount of time,” he says as he sits back down with the paper in hand, “but the reality is you’ve been preparing for this moment your entire life.”
His hand trembles as he extends the piece of paper across the table and places it into my hand. Its shape, colour and texture are virtually identical to the one that first brought us together.
The paper unfolds in my fingertips. My adrenaline pumps at first glance of its content. My instincts immediately detect its significance. Confirmation from a frantic scan of its words sends a shockwave through my body.
My senses shutdown. It’s as if I’ve initiated a Brainlink transfer but the only data is the text in my virtual view. I feel outside of my body observing through eyes that are not my own.
Rav continues to talk but my brain cannot process his words. It’s racing like a performance drone to process the inputs of my eyes while recalling events from the past…the days, the weeks, my childhood.
Until, suddenly, the drone stops. It all makes sense now.
What do I do with this revelation? An internal battle between sinful and virtuous desires wages. My conscious is prepared for the struggle — by my new-found knowledge, my experiences and the actions I’ve witnessed of those closest to me.
The battle’s resolve yields a surge of gratitude for purpose beyond my wildest dreams.
The words and gestures that follow are a blur until my anxiousness to act refocuses my attention on the present. “I know what I have to do,” I say as I exit the cabin and the Metaverse.
I go straight to my workstation. My OPSEC knowledge and tools come into focus. I know how to bring them to their full potential.
I find an immediate state of flow, coding on a previously unfamiliar level. My programming knowledge runs in the reverse order from which I received it — from my neurons, through my Brainlink sensors, to software code.
Hours pass in what feel like minutes. Not once does my focus slip. It cannot. Time is of the essence and there’s not a moment to spare. Shadows rotate around the room before they shrink and disappear.
QA on Hachiman’s bow and arrow is complete. I secure my coins and virtual goods and delete all traces of my real and pseudonymous accounts. Except for Faceworld. I need one more login. I run through my checklist one last time. My screen reads 10:30pm. Time to go.
“The measure of a man is what he does when he has power.”Plato