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The Dataknight

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    Story The Dataknight

    Pan Hong was many things, the most common descriptors being “wastrel,” “lazy” and “jobless.”

    Today though, he was Dataknecht. Today, he was standing over his kneeling opponent, hamstrung by his sword.

    It would take a single blow to finish him, a clean sweep would see his supplicant’s head roll across the floor. The digisphere would even provide the necessary blood and offal.

    But even back-router digisphere brawls had a deeper calling.


    Pan Hong raised his arms, admiring the way the binary numbers he had textured on the armour swirled. He turned away, beckoning to the crowd of digizens that watched, the mob that hungered for spectacle.

    “Opening bids!”

    The roar of the crowd was a thrilling thunder as the auction began with not a man present caring to heed the wounded man’s pleas. Those too poor to bid yelled a single word: “Kill.”

    Pan Hong waved again, earning silence.

    “The digizens have spoken, sacrifice!”

    The Dataknecht kicked his foe backwards and placed a heavy boot atop his chest. His sword swung down, thrusting deep. The body shuddered, the digital form breaking up as shock passed from digizen to host. There was enough time for Pan Hong to draw his dagger and carve, sawing away at the dataflesh until he could close his gauntlet around his prize.

    The Dataknecht lifted his gory reward, a rendered heart thumped in his fist. He took a bite and threw it aside.

    The crowd yelled his digizen’s name, “Dataknecht!”, in a frenzy, but Pan Hong had already disconnected as soon as the clamps that trapped him in the digisphere had released him.

    Gone was Dataknecht as Pan Hong returned to being Pan Hong the Jobless. He pulled out the interlink spike from his skull. Somewhere, across Hades 9, a host would never wake again, dying as his brain hemorrhaged from the feedback shock.

    And life continued indifferent to the loss. Though there was one small difference.

    Now Pan Hong was a thousand credits richer.

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