You’re so damned tired. And hungry. But mostly tired. Seamus turns on the TV, because of course he did, but it’s something in Arabic, and you close your eyes for just a second…
…and you’re somewhere else. Some epic cavern like the inside of the Death Star or something. It’s dead silent, and after looking around you realize you’re disembodied, literally just a point-of-view that can rotate in place.
And there’s a guy here. Eastern European, clean-shaven, dressed in a black suit and white shirt, unbuttoned at the neck. There’s a strange tic to him, like he’s just a tiny bit Max Headroom. It really cranks up the uncanny valley factor. You can’t really move, and can’t speak as far as you can tell.
The guy folds his hands in front of him and smiles. Or simulates one.
“Hey S3cret,” he says. His voice is a smooth baritone, American without a hint of an accent, he could do radio. “That bot of yours,” he smiles and chuckles to himself, ”that bot of yours that you knocked out in five minutes on an unfamiliar workstation with zero tools and even less connectivity managed to cripple one of the most secure facilities on Earth in less than forty seconds. That’s…well…that’s damned impressive.”
He paces a little bit in front of you – for dramatic effect you guess.
“Frankly, we need people like you. The world is getting more complex every day, and people like you can navigate it. Money isn’t really a thing we worry about. And every bit of humanity’s data would be your playground…. Pick up a phone and call our number. Take no more than thirty minutes to think it over. I…wouldn’t suggest following that dead thing anywhere. His people are an unfortunate artifact of the past. Their time is over.”
He turns and gives you a smile that seems friendly enough if it wasn’t for the weird digital twitch. He takes a glance at his watch.
You jolt awake in the smelly motel chair with the Arabic babble in the background and a phone number stuck in your head.