The Next Step

The next step arrived as an epiphany during a cataclysmic night of grief. He arose to think it through, but not much time was spent on that. More instinctively than intellectually, he knew what he was going to do.

Some second thoughts came when he checked the nets to see how much the next step would cost, and compare that to his assets. It would almost wipe him out. But the decision felt right.

He closed his heart around that and embraced it with his mind. Stepping into the hygiene, he cleaned his body and compiled fresh clothes while devising his action steps. His home systems weren’t sufficient for something as complete as he contemplated. He’d need to go to a clinic. Cleaned up, he ordered a fresh bulb of sugar coffee and sucked on it as he chased decisions on the webs. Dozens of clinics could do the work. Prices were comparable – of course – on the standard net, used by the vast majority of middle-classers like him. The gold net and platinum net served the wealthier classes. They would be much more expensive but they would probably provide the best service. He could have it done on the stone net that served the poor, but quality suffered.

There was the dark net.

The dark net scared him. However, he liked its optics for covering his actions. The scheme called for continuous duplicity, and living dual existences, really.

But he wanted to do this. Ceran was killed, murdered, damn it. No one knew who did it. It seemed painfully random. But he wanted to find her killers. Not for justice, but vengeance. So, he would become her, having his body and face modeled to look like her. Then he would live as both of them on the nets, to keep everyone off-balance, and find her killer.

Yes, it seemed like the correct and perfect next step.

He should have realized that was apparent to others, as well.

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