Tom couldn’t stand being in the unit. Dead or not, Jack was always present. Ruining it.

So he walked. He always walked.

Just like back in the day, with the crew. Except now it’s day and sticking to the shade trails.

He needed to see things he hadn’t seen, with non-anonymised faces and places. He passed shop windows with manikins moving from pose to pose in synchronised presentation. A park shaded by enormous shade sails was filled with plugged-in people playing augmented sports or sitting on benches consuming some entertainment or lying motionless on big towels. A sculpture stood at one end of the park, of a woman cast in bronze, holding an oar and a sack filled with seeds, or grain.

He followed a hoarding wall, scabbed with lichen and wounded with holes; big enough for him to peek through. Tom walked around the boundary, looking for an opening but saw only more evidence of abandonment; a washing line where clothes had been left to turn hard and crisp, dirty with months left in the haze.

It led to a gate, chained up with a large sign that read ‘Hazardous. Do Not Enter.’ A drone guard hovered closer when he stopped to examine the chains. He moved along.

What happened to make them close this off? Not even giving people time to take in their laundry.

Israel utilities hack traced to fringe group

Tom had spent so many hot days walking around they all blended into one endless walk; under street lights, the moon, through mask days and clear and sunlight hard enough to bleach his cool wear.

When the weather permitted he took the skyway through the city, a wandering path of covered bridges between corporate buildings that had been opened to the public. It was decked out with potted plants and benches. Small vendors worked from carts when the people were about.

He often stopped at one place that served espressos with a small glass of mineral water. Tom folded the crema into the shot and sipped, tasting notes of green leaves, chocolate and white pepper while listening in to the people nearby.

An ibis with a bleeding beak and a swollen eye stood on a rubbish bin, dunking it’s head in and out.

The woman next to him answered a phone call. ‘Yep, okay, I’m just around the corner having coffee with a friend. Yep. I’ll be right back.’

She disconnected and said to the man with her, ‘I have to go. There is a siege or something and they need me for a roll call.’

‘Oh, really? I was going to Hunter Street. Will I still be able to get through?’

‘We can go the long way around.’

Tom hurried home, into a sweet and potent smoke that washed up over the air bridge. He had to push through rioters with black Xs painted over their faces to anonymise them; as if crossing out their identities. They threw Molotov’s off the air walk, targeting the Mammoth Enterprises building.

He pulled the neck of his shirt over his mouth to block the smoke and began rushing towards home.

The tunnel under Central station was bisected by a wall of gates. Heavy plasticised teeth that opened and closed for people to pass through. Those allowed through, those who had the proper inoculations, received a green light and open gates. Those who didn’t, invalids, were blocked and shown the red. If they didn’t turn away, guards would move in.

‘You got credit? Give me credit,’ cried out an unregistered homeless man.

Tom hurried past, the barriers opened for Tom automatically. Ten steps inside, he looked back to see the beggar blocked on the other side. The blocks had come down and guards with stun sticks were hurrying to shoo the man away.

No immunity, no entry!

Killbot outbreak across China

In a co-ordinated release, tens of thousands of LAWs were spawned out of the commercial zone.

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An analysis of the K-list reveals no targeting pattern except for “humans in general”. Citizens have been instructed to remain indoors while authorities try to control the situation. As many as 50,000 are suspected dead.

Satellites reveal multiple air strikes on Chinese factories which experts suggest to be the actions of the Chinese government attempting to halt the production of more killbots.

International offers of aid remain unacknowledged.

It was only a few days since the non-valids had barricaded this tunnel. Over thirty had died and, besides the portable plastic barricades that were yet to be collected, the authorities had done a remarkable job cleaning away any trace of the slaughter.

There were sirens every night. Dogs barked. The air purifiers blew like a waterfall. Everything else stayed quiet and pretended to sleep.

The screen before him was playing Cyber Warriors. He was rewatching the series before the grand conclusion was released and the gangs would have their final battle.

Tom was watching by himself, the video overlaid into his eyes. A thousand EX2s had surrounded Juarez and his gang—he decided to message his brother. They’d spent hours watching this series together.

Pope flees Rome

Following a precision killbot incursion, the Pontifical Swiss Guard have removed his Holiness to an undisclosed location.

In this very room.

I’m watching CW again before the remake.

He waited a few minutes but Patrick didn’t reply.

ICSC to ‘yield the ground.’

This is not a fight that can be won. The disputed territory is not worth the cost of retaking it.’

Pope rejects holy war

From a secure location, his Holiness has urged Catholics not to retaliate and add fuel to the violence.