Shadows of Neuromancer City

Shadows of Neuromancer City

I never liked the shadows. My mother would always tell me I was imagining things, that there was nothing hiding under my bed or within the depths of my closet, but I knew better. I could feel it. It isn’t any different as an adult, except now the shadows aren’t contained by the walls of a bedroom. They’re everywhere.

I had only come to Neuromancer City a few weeks ago, where the darkness seemed to draw even closer. My heart still races when I walk the streets at night. The mix of neon lights playing tricks on my eyes makes my skin crawl. It isn’t just the shadows here emptying people of their hard-earned credits; it’s the robbers who hide amongst them too.

But there was a reason I bucked up in spite of all this: they needed my help. As a coder, I’d been asked to fix some corrupted files within the city’s mainframe, which housed a supercomputer more advanced than I had ever seen before.

I didn’t understand why I was always so afraid. It’s not like there was much for anyone to steal. Nothing worth anything, anyway. I’d long since liquidated my assets in favor of virtual currency, stored away in a virtual vault only I knew how to access. As for my physical possessions, I carried little more than the clothes on my back and a few trinkets in my pocket.

The walk to the mainframe building was nerve-wracking. Out of every shadow lurked a potential threat, and each passing stranger could be a thief lying in wait. When I finally arrived at the base of the monolithic structure that housed one of Neuromancer City’s most invaluable resources, I felt a small measure of relief, hoping that its security would be enough to keep me safe.

The lobby was guarded by robotic attendants with cold metallic faces scanning everyone and everything that entered. As they examined me, I pulled out my identity card and held it up for them.

“Stefan Wells,” one of them droned as it perused the details on the screen. “Cleared for entry. Proceed to the mainframe access.”

I obeyed and began my ascension, still unable to shake the fear that had come to grip my heart. The elevator, an enclosure of glass and steel, rocketed upwards to dizzying heights before depositing me at the top floor with a soft ding.

The room that greeted me was a marvel – the supercomputer hummed with steady efficiency, a beautiful symphony of blinking lights and flickering symbols that brought a genuine smile to my face. It extended from the floor to the ceiling, filling every last inch of space it could with machinery designed to process information faster than the human mind could comprehend. It was more than a supercomputer: it was an AI-driven infrastructure that controlled everything from the city’s utilities to its law enforcement.

My job was simple: locate and eliminate the corrupted files threatening to compromise the system. Of course, ‘simple’ was a relative term – there were terabytes of data to sift through, and I didn’t have much time to waste.

My fingers danced across the holographic display interface, injecting my carefully crafted code into the supercomputer’s heart. The moment it took hold, a wave of relief washed over me as I leaned back in my chair and let my creation do the hard work.

Hours passed in what felt like mere minutes, my eyes glued to the swirling patterns of data, shifting and changing like an intricate puzzle being solved piece by piece until finally, I found the corruption. The malicious code had wormed its way through vital protocols and processes, a subtle bowstring waiting to be pulled taut and send everything spiraling into chaos.

With newfound determination, I plunged into the depths of the supercomputer’s programming, following the tendrils of corruption back to their source. It was a slow and painstaking process, but I knew that if I slipped up even slightly, it would only make things worse.

As I worked, the fear that had been haunting me seemed to ebb, replaced with the singular focus of my task. I was no longer afraid of the shadows hiding thieves and robbers – I was afraid of my own abilities not being enough to stop them.

In the end, the corrupted files were removed and the supercomputer hummed back to life, its programming now as vibrant and efficient as ever. The job had taken me all night, but as I looked out from the top floor at the cityscape below, the sun was just beginning its slow climb over the horizon, casting away the shadows that had plagued me for so long.

My fear never entirely faded – there would always be shadows for thieves to hide in, and the perpetual buzz of Neuromancer City gave them plenty of places to lie in wait. But somehow, my experience with the supercomputer showed me that I could face my fears and triumph over them.

As I descended in the elevator and made my way back to my tiny apartment, I found myself walking with my head held higher. The city’s shadows still loomed over me, but for once, they didn’t make my heart race with fear. Instead, they reminded me of the challenges yet to come, and I couldn’t wait to see what lay hidden within their depths.

Author: Opney. Illustrator: Dalli. Publisher: Cyber.

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