Hardwired (216 words)
The vending machine gave out a loud clatter and a document pack dropped into the tray. Ceila grabbed it and unwrapped the chip. Like most, she was suspicious of freewire and only connected by proxy. Those who still trusted to freewire networks were outlaws, idiots, or just desperate. She clicked the chip into her memory pile and waited for the data to stream.
Welcome to the academy, said a cool foreign-accented voice in her head. Ceila frowned. This wasn’t the programme she’d asked for.
Before she could force quit the spiel, her vision snapped to nothing.
When Ceila opened her eyes again, it was to a murky haze which she couldn’t blink clear. A heavy hand pushed her onto her back as she tried to sit.
The voice was male. Not one she knew. ‘You need some tea. I’ve made a pot.’
‘Where am I?’ Ceila asked in a shaky voice. ‘I can’t see.’
‘It’s the Academy. It’ll clear soon.’
‘I need to back up. Can I connect?’
The heavy hand fell on her thigh. ‘Don’t. It isn’t safe.’
‘The Academy is looking for you. We can’t hard connect. We’ll have to go wireless.’
‘You mean freewire?’
There was a pause. A sigh. ‘I think you’d better tell me why they’re after you.’
Written for the CAKE.shortandsweet Wednesday Write-in.
Read my other free stories here.