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The essence of hacking is to see without being seen. And the best way to not be seen is to convince people that you're nothing to look too long at.

Sally is good at hacking, at managing the delicate balance between seeing and seen, in maintaining the firewall between the surface world and the connected world.
She is very, very good at it. Even when the Man is looking right at her, she knows they won't see her. They'll be too focused on the men who use technology to escape the world rather than shape it.

That's why it takes her by surprise when she sees the man in the back of the vehicle that screams "Fed" staring at her. Not surprised or confused that she doesn't match what he imagined, instead looking at her like... like nobody looks at her. Like one of those actors who got to meet Marlon Brando when they (and he) were young. Like she was an artist or a rock star or Albert Einstein. But there was something else too, in the way he stared, something that was equal parts disturbing and comforting. He looked at her like he knew her, like he saw her. Like he was grateful to see her laid so bare, her combined physical and electronic presence, like he thought she was so vast and complex that he needed to take a moment to breathe when he saw her.

He looked at her the way she looked at code.

He was definitely not a Fed.

 

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He comes over to 'protect' her, and it's not condescension. Nevertheless, she doesn't tell him about her own security measures. She can make a hit man's cell phone Taser him (as long as he's not wearing non-conductant shoes), but she doesn't like to give that information out, even to charming men.

He is nervous, the way most men are if they aren't trying to put up a front, but he likes her directness, and soon she starts to trust him, maybe more than she should. She leans back as he kisses a slow line up the inside of her calf.

When he reaches her knee, she tells him that she likes it messy. She likes to be in the dirt, in the guts of it all, grimy and covered in mud and splattered with data. She presses a button and a large screen reveals itself on her ceiling, displaying real-time models of thousands of networks, with their millions of oppressions and resistances embattled in a great swirl of ragged flagellating data. Messages written in light, travelling along fiber optic cables, travelling in the air too, and they looked up at it, and then they looked at the rest of the room as the data strewed colored light across her bed, across their bodies.

She didn't have to explain what she meant. His eyes darkened and they moved to each other, and then it was chaos. The two of them amid the sticky webs of information that defined the world, the connected world, the honest-ugly-angry-joyful-corrupt-sad-terrible-sublime of everything out there, in their constant struggle for freedom and control, and soon there was nothing separating them, from each other or from the muck of the connected world, the real world. And soon she felt it, she felt everything, mouths and hands and light and scents and tastes and code and gorgeous, gorgeous chaos.

When it was done, she wanted to pull him close to her, to pull him to her breasts and sleep with his breath hot and constant on her skin, and for a second she wondered if it's a paradox for an anti-social anarchist to want to cuddle. But then Mozzie stepped out of bed and went to get his bag and she wondered if she had made a mistake.

But soon she was watching a naked man install electrified bars on her windows. After, he leapt back into bed and innocently snuggled up to her, falling asleep almost immediately. She ran her hand along the smoothness of his shoulder, and smiled.

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They see each other often. There is an understanding between them, a sameness that doesn't demand constant explanation.

Once, he tells her that he might leave New York. He looks guilty, and its not like him (not like them) to feel guilt for a simple change in continents, so she asks.

"My friend would call me a hypocrite," he says, looking downward.

"The one who wants to be a Fed?" she teased lightly.

"He doesn't - look, I just mean, I can't let him tell the people he --- spends time with. They're not like you."

"They wouldn't understand him."

"They wouldn't." He smiles at her, and it reminds her of the day they met.

She knows he feels lucky to know her, and she's getting used to the feeling.

"You know, I can find you wherever you are. Surveillance culture is everywhere, and a new identity won't stop my facial recognition software or massive sifting algorithms," she says, softly. She hesitates and then asks, "Wait, is that creepy?"

 

Moz snorts and says, "Are you kidding? Do I find it creepy that you can soar through vast networks of social control, transforming them into transcendent meditations on the paradoxical interdependence of individualism and connectivity?" Moz giggles, "That would be like finding it creepy to watch Edouard Remenyi play the violin."

She smiles at him and leans over to kiss him on the cheek before she goes to pursue her conquests, leaving him to pursue his. They never say good bye, and never admit they might some day have to.