Clippy watched as I calmly placed my spoon on the table; she seemed curious to see how I would react. I glanced around the diner, but I couldn’t see the mechanical octopus or any other signs of wait staff. I calculated I was perhaps seven paces from the door. Clippy pre-empted what I was thinking by biting out a warning, “Don’t. Don’t you dare.” Her voice got louder as she spoke; I stood and started running for the door. “Noooo!” Clippy cried as she bounced along, trying to keep up. I was barely two steps outside the door when cyberspace triggered its immune system. Giant lymphocytes floated toward me at a seemingly slow pace. Thinking I could outrun them, I dug into a sprint. Behind me, Clippy yelped, but when I glanced backward, I lost my footing and crashed to the pavement.

Flat on my back with my heart thumping, I heard Clippy bouncing closer as the glowing orbs slowly descended on me.

A photo of large, glowing algorithmic lymphocytes floating down on a cyberpunk street, framed like a David Fincher film


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