Wild, Wild Red Planet 2

There’d been a time when Duran had cared an awful lot about quite a few of these issues.  Looking at his reflection in the shop windows and seeing streaks of gray in his black hair, it seemed a lifetime ago.  Now he just wanted to take a walk down the street, pick up a few things he couldn’t make himself, and move on.  As he went into a shop that looked like it had what he needed, a red light flashed at the edge of his vision.

Bringing his computer back up on his left hand, he thumbed away a couple popup adds the store had snuck in when he’d crossed the threshold and checked his messages.  He was just about to open the newest arrival, but apparently he didn’t move fast enough, because his computer shorted out for a second and the message opened of its own accord.

“Impatient much Yellow?”

Even though he was speaking to an empty room—the store was completely automated—the woman half a world away heard him loud and clear.  A semi-transparent image of her face hovered in front of anything he tried to look at.  Even letting his eyes go out of focus didn’t help.

“Can it Grey.  Just got a ping on your location.  I don’t suppose you actually installed that new firewall last week like you said you did?”

“It was on my list of things to do today.”

“Well if I saw you, someone in town must have as well.”

“I’m surprised you can keep tabs on me all the way out here.”

“I go everywhere baby.  Hmm no official chatter yet.”

Duran walked around the shop, collecting a few odds and ends.  No reason not to get his errands done, even if people were trying to track him down.

“Maybe they’re not coming this time.”

“Trust me, someone’s coming.”

“Thanks for the heads up.  You’re a real sweetheart.”

“Gotta keep you alive so you can rejoin the cause.”

“When I said I was out, I meant it.  I don’t want to be a part of anything anymore.”

“You may not have noticed this, but you never get anything you want.  Keep your eyes open.”

With that, Yellow Blake disappeared.  It’d been years since he’d seen her in person, not since he’d become a wanted man.  It wasn’t safe for him to stay too long in any one place.  Yellow still sent him the occasional software updates for his CPU and useful information from time to time.  She usually gave him warnings so quickly he often wondered what else she had time for besides keeping tabs on him.  She was cute for a stalker though, so he wasn’t complaining.

When they were younger, he and Yellow had bounced around between a half dozen different social and political action groups, agitating for a unified Mars.  The city states fought over resources and cut each other down instead of helping each other up.  Duran had given up, and Yellow had never stopped hoping he’d change his mind.  She wanted him to be a symbol of hope, but he just wanted to be left alone.

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