Clay by Tony Bertauski

Book: Clay by Tony Bertauski Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tony Bertauski
farther out, are swallowed by the haze. Marcus likes to think the design resembles two halves of a brain, but it looks more like a futuristic prison for all the world’s criminals.
    Far below on the first few levels, the servers store all collected data. Farther up in the “thinking” rooms are the processing units. Above those are labs for experiments and research and things the inspection teams won’t find. It’s not difficult to keep secrets in M0ther’s maze.
    “Personally, I don’t give a shit about your appearance in Seattle. Broadcasting it through the bloggers was brilliant, if you ask me. You let the viewers know what will happen when they get caught.” Powell leans on the polished rail. “The problem, Marcus, is that you looked batshit crazy. People don’t like a madman at the wheel.”
    He stops grinning.
    “You drive up with a cavalcade of bricks, get out with Anna, who looks like a goddamn sexbot. Don’t get me wrong, she’s nice and she’s effective, but she’s a brick, Marcus. And the world knows you’re fucking it.
    “Now I’m not saying men in power don’t do crazy things, but they do them behind closed doors. You paraded yours across the world’s stage. All those secret videos of you getting freaky with your other biomite porn dolls? We put that behind us. You can bet your ass the bloggers are dragging those back out.”
    Marcus clenches his fists. It was one of the reasons he wanted to hang Cali Richards from the rafters. Twenty years ago, she threatened to reveal his perversions if he didn’t leave them alone. But when videos of his Biomite Real Doll orgies leaked on to the Internet, his family stopped talking to him. His career was over.
    Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
    “I get the job done,” Marcus says. “It’s my mission.”
    “That’s right. And that’s why we appointed you. But we put you out here, in the middle of this godforsaken part of the world, so that the public would forget you. And they did, Marcus. They forgot all the nutty places you were sticking your cock. Your job is to stay here, in the dome, and get the job done. Are we clear?”
    Powell’s expression softens.
    “Listen, the world is a little jumpy when it comes to what we’re doing. You’re working with this Big Brother dome to essentially turn people off and we don’t call it murder.”
    Marcus pitches his halfskin argument: Humans with more biomites than clay are mostly machines.
    Powell holds up his hand. “Save your breath. I’m not here about your mission; this is about your approach. We need you to slow down. Whatever shutdowns you conduct, do them quietly. Make the world believe that the worst is over, that there are no more Seattles out there. You pull another warehouse stunt—strutting around with Anna on your arm—and the powers-that-be will bury you.”
    Marcus’s chin juts forward.
    “We want the public’s support, Marcus. Win them over. You’re fighting for them, remember? Make them believe it. We on the same page here?”
    He stares at a small group of technicians crossing a catwalk several floors below. The humming grows louder.
    Powell looks out over the industrial matrix. They watch another group of technicians rise in a clear elevator shaft. A few of the men are inspectors. They’ll be escorted to selected labs, take their readings and write their reports. They’ll never realize there are sections they missed.
    “You doing all right, Marcus?”
    “I’m doing fine.”
    “The technicians say you’re almost non-existent. Some of them have never seen you. We’d like you to occasionally interact with the staff, meet with them. You don’t have to hide up here. You should also meet with the staff counsellor.”
    It wasn’t a request. Powell wants him to talk about his feelings and thoughts. Powell and his “powers-that-be” can’t pry inside him since he doesn’t contain a single biomite. A whole industry of hackers has specialized in hacking biomites, using

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