P.S.O Jules Stewart
Trade in Berry-Berry has picked up significantly, hard to find a free table, although my space in the darkest back corner remains vacant. I would flatter myself that it was because everyone has read the thread of my investigation in the Memory Store and wants to share my drinking den. But, I reluctantly acknowledge that the sudden crowd is on account of Gina, a new influencer on the network, who promotes orange, the colour and the fruit flavour. Her followers are dazzling. Although seated together in bunches they’re each individually occupied on the network. Laughing, chatting, their eyes darting across the datasphere projected onto their retinas.
When I finally get Fat Peter’s attention I order a Blueplumberry on ice. He returns with my concoction and squeezes into the corner, hiding in the shadow for a few minutes peace. He leans close, ‘I’ve been checking out all the connections on the network, all of the crowd memories. Seems there are several Estelle Fischers. But something cuts across these memories, like she’s some sort of super hero. Having magical powers through a wooden puzzle device, being left something mysterious by a relative in the Dingle, something like a treasure map, escaping from a locked boot.’
‘How do you think all of these events fit with the Estelle Fischer we’re searching for?’ I ask.
‘They have me stumped- they don’t seem plausible – they’re like a game, like a tacto-realistic scenario.’
Fat Peter could have a point here, ‘There are links in the stories on newspulse about her that link her to the use of some very imaginative tech, supplied by very dodgy characters.’ I say.
‘And didn’t Jet Wong have some connection with the Wavertree VR Lounge and Sensorium? I’m sure I read that somewhere,’ Fat Peter adds.
I nod to confirm this, slurping down the viscous blue liquid. ‘You’re right, she sponsored some kind of charity event there.’
‘So maybe that’s a pattern worth pursuing.’ He says, rising reluctantly in response to the negative feedback appearing on the network about the service in Berry-Berry. ‘Come back and tell me what you discover.’ He returns to his customers, with the biggest smile in place that his face can fit, he needs to recoup that goodwill, drag up those ratings.
I drain my glass and prepare to visit Jet Wong. I’ve been summoned to report on my progress. But on route there’s a matter I’d like to explore with Loretta Parkes. Fat Peter's right there is a pattern around dodgy tech and this could be connected with the corruption of Estelle's memory store.