VI

EPILOGUE

Rose squeezes her eyes shut, in each hand she clutches a leather suitcase. Tonight is the night, her bones tell her. She's running away, somewhere far away from the Airstream and all other technology. She'll live among wild animals, the ones pushed out of the city by the electric fences and pesticides, if she has to.

Her father is in the kitchen, she can hear him from her bedroom. She can close her eyes and imagine him. He is clean-shaven and wears crisp clean shirts now, his fame has given him renewed vigor. She strains her ears, listening to him walk to the fridge and press one of the LCD buttons on the handle. Beep. She hears the box of instant coffee capsules rattling from the box into his hand. Most people used the caffeine application on their Impulse nowadays, but coffee was one thing her father was old-fashioned about. He liked to drink it.

She listens to him sit down as the capsule dissolves into his glass with a fizz. In the background, the faucet leaks. Her father could create artificial life, but he couldn't fix a sink. Drip, drip.

In her suitcases, she had packed little. A photo of her mother and father when they were young, a few articles of natural clothing, the only ones that didn't have Impulse modifiers sewn into them. She wore her standard issue black bodysuit with loose pants, the smart material of the bodysuit would keep her warm and nondescript enough, she hoped.

Her father hadn't been thinking when he banned her Airstream access pass, that would only make it harder for them to find her when she ran away. Though she couldn't escape as quickly without it, she also couldn't be tracked. Her only obstacle was that she had to literally run away. She wouldn't have the ability to teleport, which would have made it impossible for them to find her. They didn't even have buses anymore, those died out a few years ago when the passengers became so few and infrequent that they gave up on them.

Rose stands up, pushing her sunglasses back onto the top of her head. They had round jade colored lenses, her father had brought them back to her after a business trip in New Tokyo. That seemed so long ago, before everything had done astray.

Now she hears her father walking up the steps. Half past seven, he would be going to take his morning shower now. His feet patter upstairs, probably looking at his closet. He had so many fine suits now, not like before. They were wealthier than ever, now that he had been promoted and was the face of the revolution.

She quietly walks through the hallway, and on the wall sees a photo of her father shaking hands with the president of Sarpa. In the background, if you squint, you can make out the shape of Adam on a gurney. And though she hates Adam, everything he and his second life represent, she does pity him. He did not ask to be brought back, this time a patchwork corpse of a man who is treated no better than scientist's rat. In that moment, a part of her prays for his swift and merciful death. That would be the best thing. And not just for him. Not just for him.

She lifts her suitcases and walks out the front door.
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