Douglas

Spirals swirled above as Sam sat looking out towards the stars. Not blinking, just moving slowly, effortlessly above her head making her effortlessly dizzy. Acrid smoke filled her lungs. Any second now another explosion would happen and Sam would die. The Vacuum of space took no prisoners.

The movement of muscles now impossible due to what little strength she had bringing bare another breath of oxygen. The vapors grew stronger.

—–

A spotted sleek and heavy skirt fitted neatly on her waist. The first day aboard a new station. So good they called it Douglas the song had said. So good they had no real activities for a eight year old. Yet Sam would not complain. Douglas was big, although dirty and it might be fun to explore its vastness. They had yet to really cater for younger people. Douglas was new, mostly empty save for the space port and the internal structure. It was a hollowed out metal based asteroid, used by many as a way station between the Earth, Mars, the asteroids and the stations beyond. Replaced the old station, called Keynes. A horrid construction left from the last system war.
Douglas was hopefully better than living on Mars. No more hiding under meters of rock at the Messa or feeling like your always being followed by natives in Catacarras. The station Douglas was filled with Earthings, like her. A few Martians, a couple of Cyborgs and Androids, and now her. Her Dad had told her she had a wonderful gift, and he knew those on Douglas who could help her learn to use it.
Mars had turned conservative and backwards over the last few decades. There were whispers that people like Sam had been hunted in parts. They talked of it, her father had protected her. His position made it possible, they moved from the Messa to the city of Catacarras when one like her had been found dead on the streets.
A new species some said, but the scientist that dad had consulted told her that it was an old gift. One that had been hidden in her bloodline, or just happened. To those without the gift it was magic. Technology seemed as good as magic when it was sufficiently advanced. Those whom could access the darknet without a junction box or a cyborgs implants? The Japanese had a name for it, but Sam had not heard it said aloud. She preferred her name, the Darkcaster.

The darknet, so called is and was a system wide network of machines. All cyborgs and implant wearers could access it, all with a terminal had access. It was full of old and new technology. Things from Earth where Sam had been born, things that had been invented. There were free AI on the darknet, some friendly, others dangerous, kept in check with technology and by those cyborgs who had the fastest skills. Darkcasters like Sam could access it without a terminal, a ability that would appear unnatural. She didn’t know how she did it, but she could access books, information, data, programs, everything she could imagine. Her dad had taught her to control it, somewhat when it had first emerged on Mars a whole year ago.
She remembered it starting. Dreams of fantastical things, places on Earth, Mars, beyond she had never seen.
She knew the answers to her teachers questions as soon as they where asked. She knew her way round every house and place, never got lost. She knew secrets of people she met, and sometimes she accidentally let them out. Dad had found out when she quoted all the different elements in the periodic table there ions, and even a new one whose discovery was only just confirmed.
—-

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