Sera sat far back in her usual corner. Other avatars came and went, most ignoring her in favor of their own pursuits. A vid was up and broadcasting the very public resignation of President Belenus Bianchi.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my retirement. I leave the control of our grand city in the hands of Esdras Martel and the rest of the council.”
“That Martel is bad news.” She turned and looked at the speaker. He was a large, overly muscled man with pale brown skin and bright blue eyes.
Sera snorted. Compensating for something are you, big boy? She shifted a little and continued watching those around her.
“What makes you say that?” This came from a skinny waif sitting in the corner diagonal from Sera's. “He did a lot of good work during the war. Isn't that why Bianchi chose him?”
Sera mentally shook her head. The person's voice was high pitched and young sounding. Even she'd been smart enough to disguise her voice growing up as she had on the Net. “You're too young to know anything about it,” the bulky man said. “It doesn't sound like you're even old enough to remember the war.”
“I know what I've been taught,” the waif said.
“That's not knowing the war,” the man said. “You have to have lived it, or at least been alive and cognizant of the world enough to understand what happened.”
Sera sipped her virtual drink. Drinks on the Net were just as addictive as their real world counterparts. They sent currents through the neural net that stimulated the parts of the brain that led to the production of endorphins. The benefit of them was you didn't get that intoxicated unless you imbibed a whole hell of a lot more than was good for you, and the Net bartenders had readouts they could check to see your level of consumption.
Sera had been nursing hers for almost an hour. She was waiting for her contact to show up. She checked her internal chronometer. It wasn't like him to keep her waiting this long.
“I don't see why it matters if I learn about it in class or if I was really there,” the waif said.
“Learning about something from a holo text is very different from having lived through it,” the man said. “Now me, I actually fought in the war. And I'll say it plain. That Martel leaves a sour taste in my mouth.”
Sera finished her drink. She checked her internal chronometer again. She stood up. A quick transfer from her account to the Net based pub paid for her drink. The bartender noticed and waved at her. She was a regular there, in both of her personas, though he didn't know that she had two. As she headed for the door, her contact rushed in.