City of Walls: Chapter 9

          I wiped the tears from my face and closed the holo screen. Nothing new, all alone again. If the Stockmans were arrested, its best that I not try to contact them.
          I got up from the table and walked through the bathroom to get to the closet. After moving some shelving, lifting carpet, and removing floorboards I found what I was looking for. I knew that other alias was worth it. Sitting on the floor, shoebox in hand, I opened it up and began to sort through documents. Soon I had a small pile of evidence claiming I was Tara Henderson. Shoebox returned, floorboards, carpet, and shelving in their proper place I continued with my contingency plan.
          Paper will get pulped and composted with the building pile. I'll have to break the new digital ID card, toss the plastic, and scrap the circuits. Though the digital IDs were tracked, the new system was poorly created and horribly managed. Many beta testers for the digital ID system were told to keep the old standard IDs, but I'd just moved from Russia, and had no standard IDs for the United States. Creating the two alias' had been simple, My real name hasn't been "on the grid" since I left to live with the Gulfs. I should call Helena, the longer I wait to do it the more hurt she'll be. Grabbing my cup I walked over to my bed and sat in front of the Over View Screen. Bringing up my VOIP client produced two messages, both from Sonja. I better call her first.
          A tap of the screen and Sonja's office line was connecting. "Freidman’s" She replied before looking at her monitor. Her eyebrows jerked up when she did look, "Girl were your raised by wolves? You have the nerve to wait 3 hours to call after you were released from emergency care. Guardian, status report!" She waited for a few seconds staring to a point just behind me.
          "I wasn't assigned an escort or police protection, if that's what you're talking about. And let me explain why I di."
          "Guardian! Reveal." Sonja's dark skin was getting darker.
          "Look, I know your mad, but listen. I was passed out when the paramedic released my to the care of the Goldberg's. I don't know how long I was out. Then when I woke up, I."
          "Oh what was the command."She sighed and began to rummage through a pile of papers on her desk. "Tara, do me a favor and access my SOA for me, I can't get it to work."
          "Huh, why?" I activated the new netlink, now almost charged, tapped through its menus, I'll need to customize these tonight.
          "Silvia called me after I left you those messages. But that doesn't mean you have no manners. Have you even called your aunt yet?"
          "I was just about to when I saw your messages." I found the SOA, and tapped it. I turned the holo screen around so that Sonja could see it.
          "This is authorized user, Fennelweigh. Restart Guardian protocol. This should work." We sat like that for 30 seconds.
          "OK, Sonj, your turn to explain. What is this guardian you keep talking about? This is just a simple document, see?" I opened up the task manager, to strengthen my point. Then saw the active process in the document. "Sonj, what did you do?"
          She covered her face with her hand. "Its kinda an illegal AI. It was buried in the seal. Its protocols were to ."
          "Don't tell me, Mend and Defend?"
          "It sounded like a good motto. Anyway," she lowered her hand to look me in the eyes, "If it wasn't for Seraph, I wouldn't have gotten the alert, or been able to tip the authorities. If capture of the assailants was possible, it would try for that. Since no reports of any modrpunks being brought in, so I assumed it stayed to protect you."
          "And what happens if the AIs programming is over written by a nannite harvester?" I asked, afraid I already knew the answer.
          "If the overwrite is successful, then someone's got a new toy to play with. But I doubt it." She bit her lip, then continued. "You see, I kinda based the AI's personality on a ancient mythological being called an "angel". It has near omnipotent power and is just as likely to appropriate the nannites for itself."
          "It'll steal nannites! That's not the kinda thing an angel would do. And what about the people who are suffering from the glitch? Wouldn't the AI be hurting them?"
          "I don't know. When I wrote the code, I didn't think that something like the Glitch was gonna happen. Seraph probably thinks he's banishing evil spirits. There's no telling what'll happen to the modrpunks. I heard that in Dallas, some have been turning up dead. Some have come forward to be test subjects for a possible cure, but no word on how that's going. Tara, if the ones that were after you this morning come forward, Seraph'll be traced back to me." She covered her head with her hands. Hair normally sleek and smooth, poked out from between her fingers in tufts. She shook. In the short time I'd known Sonja, I'd never seen her so distressed.
          "Sonj, you'll need to brace yourself for the possibility that they die. You could be charged with manslaughter."

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