`The matrix has its roots in primitive arcade games,' said
the voice-over, `in early graphics programs and military
experimentation with cranial jacks.' On the Sony, a two-dimensional
space war faded behind a forest of mathematically generated ferns,
demonstrating the spacial possibilities of logarithmic
spirals; cold blue military footage burned through, lab
animals wired into test systems, helmets feeding into fire control
circuits of tanks and war planes. `Cyberspace. A consensual
hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate
operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical
concepts... A graphic representation of data abstracted
from the banks of every computer in the human system. Un-
thinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of
the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights,
`What's that?' Molly asked, as he flipped the channel se-
`Kid's show.' A discontinuous flood of images as the se-
lector cycled. `Off,' he said to the Hosaka.
`You want to try now, Case?'
Wednesday. Eight days from waking in Cheap Hotel with
Molly beside him. `You want me to go out, Case? Maybe
easier for you, alone...' He shook his head.
`No. Stay, doesn't matter.' He settled the black terry sweat-
band across his forehead, careful not to disturb the flat Sendai
dermatrodes. He stared at the deck on his lap, not really seeing
it, seeing instead the shop window on Ninsei, the chromed
shuriken burning with reflected neon. He glanced up; on the
wall, just above the Sony, he'd hung her gift, tacking it there
with a yellow-headed drawing pin through the hole at its center.
He closed his eyes.
Found the ridged face of the power stud.
And in the bloodlit dark behind his eyes, silver phosphenes
boiling in from the edge of space, hypnagogic images jerking
past like film compiled from random frames. Symbols, figures,
faces, a blurred, fragmented mandala of visual information.
Please, he prayed, _now --_
A gray disk, the color of Chiba sky.
Disk beginning to rotate, faster, becoming a sphere of paler
gray. Expanding --
And flowed, flowered for him, fluid neon origami trick, the
unfolding of his distanceless home, his country, transparent
3D chessboard extending to infinity. Inner eye opening to the
stepped scarlet pyramid of the Eastern Seaboard Fission
Authority burning beyond the green cubes of Mitsubishi Bank of
America, and high and very far away he saw the spiral arms
of military systems, forever beyond his reach.
And somewhere he was laughing, in a white-painted loft,
distant fingers caressing the deck, tears of release streaking his