Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Goetia," Patience, pt. 4, 380 words

Like many of the past two and a half generations born in the West, she's used to omnipresent connectivity and the comforting knowledge that a friend can be reached in an instant by querying the IM programs in her PAN, or, for the particularly old-fashioned, by pulling out an honest-to-God physical phone. She finds physical presence somewhat discomfiting, unless it's one of a small group of close friends, with even most of the Goetia too unfamiliar to fit that subset of humanity. But to be so utterly disconnected, spending half an hour or more to send a message and get a response, is well beyond her normal tolerance. It makes her feel like she should be wearing hoop skirts and riding in a horse-drawn carriage, communicating through posted letters.

Her goal, the promise of the big payoff for her and the rest of the Goetia, is enough of a motivation to go through with it all, however. She's ready to tolerate a stint of two Earth orbits around Sol out here for the sake of material security forever after. All it takes is breaking contract, and keeping that contract-breaking secret until after she gets back home.

Part of her personal cargo includes a three-dimensional printer. She had to sacrifice more than half her allotted mass for the printer, which was so cutting-edge when the Goetia bought it that their collective stock took a noticeable dip to afford it. It can produce microprocessors to the latest commercial specs, stuff that's almost nano-scale in size.

In another twenty generations of processor miniaturization, they might finally have access to smart nanite clouds, but for now this is the best stuff available to the general populace. She's been tooling around with the printer to the best of her abilities, optimizing the performance to keep up with each new development reported in her regular data squirts, occasionally using the printer to build the tools necessary to upgrade it.

Someday printers like this will be smart enough to upgrade themselves, but – mercifully, for Sitri's current plan – not yet. She doesn't need it out-thinking her in a mad race to rampancy and delusions of godhood, she needs it to be a dumb drone that's only just smart enough to carry out some very complicated instructions.

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