High Altitude, Low Opening

Aster Risk

Risk Assessment Management had a sheep as it’s mascot. Take the Ram by the horns. Blow the horn. A cuineiform. A nautilus shell. Aster funnily enough, when she went into an area was the source of most of the risk. She had remora tulpas bobbing in her wake that, when she had completed a mission, would flash-echo her image, to confuse the cameras and anyone that was stupid enough to follow her. She had been using Dead-Stop bullets of late, because they hit the targets and left no exit-wounds, but then they broke down naturally, so they couldn’t be extracted for evidence. The now ex-President of Autumnleaf, a planet in the western sector of the spiral arm of the Queem Galaxy, lay there with a slowly pulsating rhythmic dart of red coming from his head. Aster stepped onto her Snap-back Platform, and she was catapulted out through the adjunct logic of a temporary urban myth addition to the localspace narrative structure, back to the origin point of her journey.The High Fen was waiting there for her. The Punch-You-Agents were a lethal force alternative to Soft Edit Deployments, and not too many Reality Engineers knew about them. Finn Terrobang was sat there vaping as usual, bent double over his hack-rig, mumbling to himself. ‘That was record time, Aster. Finn’s cleaning up the continuity errors right now. When Iambix gets back with her Parrot-Graph we can bounce. I don’t like that Autumnleaf has to wait for a drift-edit to come so long after we’ve done our work, but the closest free-lancer was satellited two planets over, on Spryng.’ ‘Doesn’t that leave the door wide open for Juncture-Vultures to come in.’ ‘We do the work and then we leave, what else can they ask? Jerry Rigg knows the score – he’s been an area-editor for twenty consec-years.’ Aster laughed, what the hell did all this talk matter? It was the edits that counted. She looked at the sky and she could hack-shimmer all around. Time to leave. Time to board the text-sub and disappear into the sub-text. The Narrative Ocean would close over them, and there would be no trace that they’d ever been there.

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