She stuffed half of the breakfast bar into her mouth and the other half into one of the utility pockets in her pants. On her way to the door, she went online by thinking the right combination of phrases to make it happen. The chips in her brain whirred and clicked; at least, Jack liked to imagine that they did something like that, but she couldn’t actually feel or hear anything. She absentmindedly rubbed the area behind her left ear where the chips were implanted. She shuddered slightly as the image of her home workstation superimposed itself over her vision and her personal startup chime sounded in her ear.
She had a handful of messages from the night before, but she figured on reviewing them at her desk. Work had been dull at Bellis lately, so catching up on mail was a good way to ease into the day. Work at Bellis has always been dull, Jack thought, it just had been even more slow recently than it had been in the past. I guess there isn’t a whole lot to secure these days, she thought, grabbing her jacket which was covered with the words Bellis International Security in large font, encircling an image of a sad looking blue daisy locked up in chains. Jack hated the blue daisy logo that Bellis slapped on everything, so she took a perverse pleasure in the Security department’s version of the design.
Jack clomped down the stairs of her building, passing a couple of neighbours along the way. They did not acknowledge each other at all; Jack had never spoken to any of the other people who lived in her building. Most of the time everyone had that thousand yard stare that comes from paying 98 percent attention to their desktops and 2 percent attention to the physical world. Given proximity sensors and integrated global positioning and mapping systems, no one really had to pay attention to where they were going.
Jack pushed open the front door of the building, an old-school heavy door made of real glass and wood. There was no doubt that it was the nicest part of the building —— the interior was broken into tiny cubicle apartments, just like almost every other building in this city and every other city. Hardly anyone lived in more than 200 square feet of space per person and many people lived in less. But of all the shitty apartments she could have chosen, Jack liked this one. The building door was cool; you hardly ever saw real wood anymore and the amenities inside her tiny apartment were thoroughly up to date.
As she exited the building, Jack reflexively looked up and down her street. Her neighbourhood wasn’t known to be particularly dangerous, but there were always people on the streets looking for handouts either by begging or by grabbing. Even though she rarely carried valuables, Jack wasn’t about to be accosted. Partly it was common urban defensiveness and partly it was years of security training, as Jack scanned her lines of sight, checking for streeters while she moved purposefully down the street toward the train line.
Jack owned a second-hand electric scooter that she’d had an old friend of a friend modify to run hybridly on biodiesel for extra distance and speed, but parking was exorbitant everywhere and Bellis didn’t spring for it for a lowly Security Officer Class 5. Only people high up in management, the kind who could afford parking on their own, got to have spots paid for by the firm. So Jack was waiting at the train stop, along with the rest of the downtown workers from her neighbourhood.