作者 主题: 【Drawing Destiny】危险时分的爱人们  (阅读 703 次)

副标题: A revolutionary is dead, but revolution can’t die. 翻译:薛猫

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【Drawing Destiny】危险时分的爱人们
« 于: 2018-05-29, 周二 19:03:51 »
LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME
危险时分的爱人们

(Discipline, the Hanged Man, 3 of Batons)

O.C. PRESLEY

劇透 -   :
I have killed very much, but changed very little.
Aufheben could have nuanced that thought further, but the assassin tossing fireballs at him was keeping his higher brain functions off balance.
Just moments ago, he’d been meandering down the streets of the Dubai sprawl during a sweltering late afternoon, noting how it had changed in the two decades since he’d last been here. Preferring the parts of the city tourists weren’t supposed to see, he spent most of his time in the Sonapur district, where the lower class fled to when they weren’t working for pittance. He enjoyed the squalor, not because it gave him any pleasure as such, but because it was honest, and in his experience, the people in these places were more honest than their wealthy counterparts. He enjoyed it, right up until he heard a group of children gasp behind him. His years of dodging would-be assassins took over, and he spun just in time to evade the magic fire headed his way.
He threw himself behind one parked car, and then another. This fight would already be over if he could have brought his sniper rifle into play, but the mage was too quick. The fireballs weren’t elegant or even that large, but at the end of the day, they were still balls of fire hurtling toward his blond, German head.
“Which corporate master are you slave to, Herr mage?” Aufheben called out, his face wrinkling as if smelling sour milk at the answering silence.
Taking out a frag grenade and arming it, he switched on its wireless control, shoving it underneath the back-rear tire of the Gaz-Willys Nomad he crouched behind. Aufheben sprinted and rolled behind a Matrix repair van, but didn’t stay put. The van’s height gave him cover enough to throw himself behind the corner of a brick fountain.
The mage repeated the same pattern of fireballs, not powerful but reckless, and gained ground at a relentless pace, obviously hoping to keep his prey on the defensive as he closed the gap.
Aufheben signaled the grenade to detonate as the spell-slinger ran by. After the initial concussion passed, he grabbed his rifle, lurched to his feet, and jogged toward the wreckage while taking aim at his enemy.
Only a few steps brought him closer to the mage, now missing his legs. Blood pushed itself out around shrapnel that had shredded his chest and arms. Aufheben winced at the dying remains, his lips pursed.
He can’t be more than sixteen, he thought. Not much like a corp to have kids working as assassins. Too much bad PR. He was struck by the worn-out armor the mage wore. Looks older than he is, Aufheben thought. Surely whoever was trying to kill him could have sent someone more professional and better-equipped. The young man was Arabic, from the looks of him, making it unlikely that this had anything to do with his past trying to catch up to him.
“Sorry, magischkind.” Aufheben said as the mage breathed his last. Slinging his rifle across his back, he ran toward the shadows. There was something about the kid’s face that bothered him. It was somehow familiar. A mystery for another time. Because if someone as green as this kid knew he was in Dubai, others surely would as well.
我杀了太多,但改变的太少。
扬弃能够再细细思索,但刺客朝他扔的火球让他的脑部功能越发失衡。
就在几刻钟前,一个酷热的傍晚,他还在迪拜蔓城区的街头漫步,观察着自他离开二十年来这里发生的变化。
他更偏爱游客不应该见到的城区,因此将大部分时间都花在了索那普尔区,也就是底层人们再无法为微薄薪水工作时逃往的地方。
他喜欢这种肮脏,不是因为它让人心情愉快,而是因为肮脏是诚实的,依据他的经验,这里的人民比他们那些富有的同胞要诚实。他享受着这一切,直到他听见一群孩子在他后面惊声呼气。多年躲避暗杀的经验发挥了作用,他正好扭身闪过了朝他发射的火球。
他奔向一台停着的车辆,然后换下一台。要是能用上他的狙击步枪,战斗早该结束了,但法师太快了。火球不算精致,甚至没多大,但毕竟,那些是火球,还朝着他金发的德国脑袋飞去。
“你是哪家公司主人的奴隶,法师先生*?”扬弃喊道,沉默的回答,他的脸微微皱起,像是闻到酸掉的牛奶。
他拿出破片弹,解除安全装置,切到无线引爆,将榴弹滚到他躲藏的盖兹-威利斯越野车的后轮胎下方。扬弃半跑半滚冲到一辆矩阵维修货车后面,但没就此停下。货车的高度足够掩护他扑到一个砖砌喷泉的角落后面。
法师重复放出火球,不太强力但相当鲁莽,他保持着鲁莽带来的优势,显然希望让猎物继续防御,以便靠近。施法的家伙跑过时,扬弃命令榴弹引爆。最初的冲击过后,他抓起步枪起身,慢跑着靠近那一堆废墟,同时瞄准敌人。
他几步就靠近了那个法师,对方的腿被炸没了。血液从刺穿胸口和手臂的弹片周围涌出。看见这团濒死的血肉,扬弃退缩了一下,嘴唇紧绷。
他最多十六岁,他想。公司不太可能用孩子当杀手。PR太糟糕了。他被法师穿着的破旧护甲震惊了。看起来比他还老,扬弃想。不管是谁想杀他,都该派个更专业、装备更好的杀手。从外貌判断,这个年轻人是阿拉伯人,也就是说不大可能是他的过去朝他反咬一口,
“抱歉了,魔法小子。”法师吐出最后一口气时扬弃说。他将步枪挂回后背,朝阴影跑去。那孩子的脸有些让他在意。有些熟悉。下次再研究吧。要是这种生手都知道他在迪拜,其他人也必定知道了。
*译注:先生为德语,后文斜体均相同。




劇透 -   :
Two months ago, Jinn’s motionless body sat in a luxurious chair whose comfort level bordered on obscenely pointless. Two chromed datajacks interrupted his smooth, Middle-Eastern elven features. One connected him to the Shiawase Cyber-4 cyberdeck in his lap. He wore a silk suit, decorated with red and purple whirlwinds, and pointy, crimson boots with five gaudy gold buckles along the side. His long, dark hair was pulled behind his head by ornate wooden chopsticks with gold trim.
Inside the Matrix, however, he looked much different. In the artificial, interconnected, digital realm, his icon appeared as an enraged, purple genie whose bottom half was replaced with a violently-spinning red and purple tornado.
Shadow work had been slow lately, but his luxurious lifestyle left him with a need for constant cash flow. That was why, between runs, Jinn pushed his skill to the limits testing himself against corporate countermeasures, looking for top secret paydata he could sell to the highest bidder.
He knew if he spent as much nuyen upgrading his cyberware and deck as he did on clothes and shoes, he could compete with the best deckers alive. Well, maybe once upon a time he could have, but lately, he spent as much time shopping and attending expensive parties as he did on the Matrix. Be that as it may, he still took pride in being able to brute force his way into nearly any node, no matter how tough their intrusion countermeasures were.
Nothing about his decking was subtle. Lightning and flames erupted out of the whirlwind he rode when he smashed through Global Sandstorm’s classified data collection node. Its Matrix sculpting gave the appearance of an oil refinery, with tributary pipelines feeding into it from around the world. This was a sort of digital hopper for collecting audio calls, video, news, and other information that may be of use to Global Sandstorm’s intelligence ops, but which hadn’t been organized or analyzed yet. Boring economic contacts and data from other corporations, bombings of small villages in Central Aztlan, conspiracy theorists on the radio in Chicago…yawn, he thought.
Then, he saw something of interest. The subject line read: SUFI MEVLEVI (DERVISH) MYSTIC CLAIMS LEGENDARY ARTIFACT NET OF MARDUK FOUND IN DUBAI.
That’s certainly enough to get the attention of the corporation’s higher ups, he reckoned. It may be nothing, but they’d surely investigate, seeing as Dubai is one of Global Sandstorm’s most influential markets.
Jinn copied the file and placed the copy inside his tornado. He had just decided to watch the attached video later when he was slammed by a blast of fire from the mouth of a mechanized sphinx that had materialized behind him.
IC already? Jinn puzzled. This must be hotter than I thought. He spun around and checked his icon for damage. Time to get my fearsome self out of here before I get more than singed.
The wind beneath him grew and thundered as Jinn fired up his Hammer program and pummeled the sphinx with hails of lightning. The IC was no match for what he did best: Matrix beatings. With one virtual monster down and more on the way, Jinn knew it was time to jack out. What have I stumbled onto? was the last thing he remembered before he passed out for a long time.
两个月前,基恩一动不动的身体坐在一张舒适程度无意义得近乎可耻的豪华椅子上。两个镀铬的数据接口刺破了他光滑的中亚精灵面容。其中一个连接着放在腿上的幸福赛博-4碟板。他穿着丝绸套装,饰有红色和紫色的螺旋纹样,一双尖头红靴子,两边有五个恶俗的金扣。他的黑色长发被一根有镶金的华丽木簪束在脑后。
但在矩阵中他看起来大不相同。在人造的互联数字国度里,他的图标是一个愤怒的紫色魔灵,下半身被一团剧烈旋转的红紫色暴风代替。
暗影工作最近有些慢,但他的豪华生活方式让他需要持续的现金流。这就是为什么在狂奔行动间隔他会用公司风险管理软件测试他的技能极限、寻找最值钱的有价数据好卖给出价最高的买家。
他知道,他要是能用买鞋子和衣服同样的新円升级赛博殖装和碟板,他就能媲美活着的最强碟客。好吧,或许他曾经可以,但最近他花在购物和参加高级聚会的时间同在矩阵里的时间一样长。但无论如何,他依然以能暴力进入几乎任何节点为傲,无论他们的反入侵风险管理软件有多强。
他的骇入不存在隐匿。他粉碎防火墙、闯入沙暴的机密数据存储节点,身下的风暴迸发出闪电与火光。这里的矩阵构型是一个炼油厂,分支管道从世界各地汇聚其中。这里是收集各种声音、影像、新闻以及其它信息的漏斗,信息之后或许被用于全球沙暴的情报工作,但现在还未被整理或分析。其它公司来的无趣经济联系和数据,阿兹特兰中部小村庄被炸,、芝加哥无线电上流传的阴谋理论……困了,他想。
然后,他看见了有趣的东西。标题写着:苏菲派梅夫拉维苦修僧秘术师称迪拜发现传奇奇物马尔杜克之网
这个绝对够引起公司上层的注意,他意识到。可能什么也不是,但他们一定会调查,毕竟迪拜是全球沙暴最有影响力的市场。
基恩复制下文件,将副本放进他的风暴里。他刚决定要等会观看附带的录像,一个机械斯芬克斯在他身后显形,口中吐出火焰朝他扑来。
就有IC了?基恩有点蒙。这比我想象的还要烫手。他转身查看图标受损情况。趁我只是被烤焦之前赶快把可怕的我弄出去。
他身下的风暴增强,电闪雷鸣,基恩激活锤子程序,用带着冰雹的闪电猛击斯芬克斯。他最擅长的:矩阵战斗,IC完全比不上。一个虚拟怪物倒下了,但更多的正在路上,基恩知道该弹出了。“我招惹了什么?”这是他陷入一段长时间昏迷前最后的记忆。


劇透 -   :
A scorching wind whipped across the street below, and Aufheben watched shapeless trash scrape against weathered building walls. Refocusing his attention to the door of the building, he waited until his target appeared. He tracked her movement away from the apartment where she was staying, north along the narrow street. She wore her long, dark hair mostly around her shoulders, but the top half was pulled back in a bun. Its normally red streaks appeared dark, almost black in the moonlight.
Climbing down the fire escape, he silently followed. She turned a corner into an alley between two large buildings. As he passed, a lone devil rat hissed at him, guarding a half-eaten meal behind a restaurant. She picked up her pace, and he found himself almost running to keep up.
At the alley’s dead end, which smelled of urine and curry, she paused, turning around only when he was within arm’s reach.
“Thanks for coming,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if you even remembered me.”
“Please. You knew I’d come. It happens that I was looking to leave Bogota anyway.”
“I thought your Anarchist Bright Star was still fighting the fight?”
“They are, but the bounty on me is so high that every few weeks we were fighting off bounty hunters and wannabe shadowrunners trying to make a name for themselves. I thought it best to leave for a while.”
“Why’d you start Bright Star in the first place? Black Star kick you out?”
“Black Star is dead. Only Liberator and I survived the war, and neither of us left Bogota.”
“Odd that you say that. I ran into some runners not two weeks ago that said they were with Black Star.”
“Pretenders, I’m sure.” Aufheben paused, and his eyes widened with the faintest lift of his lips. “It’s good to see you, Mara.”
It was strange saying her name again after so many years. With effort, he pushed those feelings back into the past.
Mara took her commlink out of her bag and tapped the display. She motioned for him to check his messages. “That’s why I asked you to come.”
Aufheben scanned the file she’d sent, and a childlike excitement welled up in him. “These people: Shaheed Zahir, the Shura, the Sharif of Mecca, and representatives from Jamil Islamyah, the IUM, and Global Sandstorm. They are all going to be together, here in Dubai, in two weeks.”
“Yes! The Caliph, the tribal leaders, and the political, spiritual, social, and economic leadership of the Arabian Caliphate are in one place at one time. And we know where and when.”
He shook his head. “Now I see why you invited me here. This isn’t about helping people or reconnecting with me. This is about using me to help the Israeli government take out all their caliphate enemies at once. All while being able to deny involvement. I should have known. How can you stand to work for them?”
“Ah, the old Aufheben moral superiority.  Do you ever get dizzy looking down from your ideological high horse?”
“Don’t dodge the question. You know how corrupt they are. This isn’t you. You used to be so passionate, so alive. You used to take no drek from anyone. I remember a woman who used to pounce on cybered-up thugs who tried to order her around. Now, you just lick government boots like everyone else.”
“The Kidon have done things—I have done things—that we aren’t proud of. But we save lives. Stay focused. We have a chance to do good here.”
“Hmmph.”
灼热的风穿过街道,扬弃看着失去形状的垃圾被刮到残破的墙边。将注意力重新放回这栋楼的入口,他等待着他的目标出现。他跟踪着她的动作,从她居住的公寓,一直到北边的小巷。她的黑色长发大部分披在肩上,但上半部扎成一个圆发髻。头发通常的红色挑染在月光下颜色变暗,几乎成了黑色。
他从逃生梯爬下来,静静地跟上。她转进了两栋高楼之间巷子。他经过时,一直孤单的恶魔鼠朝他吱吱叫,守着一家餐馆后门被吃剩一半的饭菜。她加快了脚步,他发现自己几乎要小跑才能跟上。
巷子尽头是死路,闻起来像尿和咖喱的味道。在他仅有一臂之遥时她停下脚步转身。
“谢谢你来了,”她说,“我都不确定你还记不记得我。”
“拜托。你知道我会来的。正好我也打算离开波哥大。”
“我以为你的无政府主义组织明星还在战斗?”
“他们是在战斗,但我头上的赏金太高了,我们每几个星期就要打跑一批赏金猎人还有向出名的新手狂奔者。我想最好还是离开一阵。”
“为什么要成立明星?黑星把你踢出来了?”
“黑星完了。只有解放者和我活过了战争,我们都没有离开波哥大。”
“你这么说就奇怪了。我没两周前还碰到了自称是黑星的人。”
“模仿者,我确定。”扬弃停顿一下,他的双眼睁大,嘴角扬起了最轻微的弧度。“见到你真好,玛拉。”
这么多年之后再叫她的名字真是奇怪。他努力将这些情绪推回过去。
玛拉从背包拿出通讯链,电击显示屏。她示意他查看邮件。“这就是我为什么叫你来。”
扬弃检查了她发送的文件,一种孩童般的兴奋席卷全身。“这些人:沙希德·查希尔、舒拉协商会议、麦加的谢里夫、贾米勒·伊斯拉雅的代表、IUM、全球沙暴。他们全都会聚集在此,在迪拜,时间是两周内。”
“没错!哈里发、部族领袖,还有阿拉伯哈里发帝国的政治、精神、社会和经济领袖会同时出现在一个地方。我们知道时间和地点。”
他摇了摇头。“现在我知道你为什么请我来了。不是为了帮助人民也不是为了和我重聚。这是让我帮以色列政府一次性解决所有哈里发帝国的敌人。同时还能不牵涉其中。我该知道的。你怎么能忍受为他们工作?”
“啊,老套的扬弃式道德优越。你从高高在上的理想主义制高点上往下望时不会头晕吗?”
“别回避问题。你知道他们有多腐败。这不像你。你过去有激情、有活力。你从不任人摆布。我记得的那个女性曾经踹倒想对她呼来唤去的赛博恶棍。而现在,你和其他人一样舔政府的鞋。”
“那个刺刀队(Kidon)做过一些事——我做过一些事——我们都不觉得自豪的事。但我们拯救了生命。专心。我们有机会干点好事。”
劇透 -   :
“What’s that about?”
“Whatever do you mean, Fräulein?”
“That dismissive noise that crept from your smug mouth just now.”
“Oh. You say you save lives, and that may be true, but which lives? Just Israeli lives? Lives of people like you? What about the Palestinian lives in your backyard? Lives of people in Iran? Iraq? And let’s be honest, if eliminating the leaders of the Caliphate didn’t help your own country’s interests, you wouldn’t be giving me this info. You don’t care about the ordinary people in the Caliphate that suffer under the Caliphs and corps.”
“He says, ignoring the lives of the ordinary people who die in revolutions that only place even more violent men into power.” Her cheeks reddened. “I put those naïve beliefs behind me when I was given a chance to make a real difference.”
“You don’t understand anything about the real world.”
“Funny, I was about to say the same about you.” Damn you! Mara’s eyes said, even if her voice did not.
Aufheben relented. If he got a rise out of her, she wouldn’t let up. Being here, with her, flooded his mind with memories of when it was just them against the world.
“Are you going to act on this?” she asked, “or should I find someone else to help?”
Aufheben’s eyes narrowed. He clenched and unclenched his jaw several times before answering. “I’m in. Did your intel say why they were having such a high-powered meeting? And in secret, if I read the file correctly. This has no precedent.”
Mara cocked her head sideways, as if listening to something far off. “We should get moving. I have a safer place not too far from here. We can talk on the way.”
Annoyed, Aufheben followed, as he had many times before. He used to argue, but experience had taught him that when she had one of those feelings, it was best to play along.
Mara sighed as she walked and then, pausing, she took a knee on the concrete at Aufheben’s feet. She began rummaging through her duffel bag and removed a slightly curved sword with a hand guard resembling a Rose of Sharon. “At least I brought my street fighting clothes.”
“Why do you say tha—” Aufheben’s reply was cut off by the revving of a Suzuki Mirage motorbike throttling towards them. “Oh. Think they’re after you or me?”
“We’ll ask ’em in a minute.” Aufheben reached for his sidearm as Mara crouched, raising the blade above her and focusing her breath as the rider bore down. The spirit mask of her mentor, Lion, washed over her, giving her the untamed visage of a lioness herself. No matter how often he saw it, it always sent chills down Aufheben’s spine.
The rider’s features were obscured by a helmet, but he saw the glint of an arm-blade from a cybered forearm. The bike skidded against the curb in front of them and spun in a crescent. Aufheben aimed his pistol, but before he could get a clear shot, Mara sprang at their assailant.
Momentum and mechanical speed slammed into magically enhanced strength and skill with an eruption of sparks. The grace with which the rider tracked Mara’s movements and anticipated her strikes impressed Aufheben. Even with Lion bolstering her strength, he sensed this would be a tough fight. Waiting in the background made him feel impatient—or was it something else? Aiming carefully, he fired a single shot from behind Mara and the rider fell, clutching her suddenly fountaining neck.
“I thought we were asking questions?” Mara’s Lion mask faded as she whipped her head back toward Aufheben.
“People try to kill me all the time.” Aufheben lowered his rifle. “It’s all the same.”
“It’s not all the same! Since when did killing people become your first response?” She didn’t wait for an answer. When she pulled the helmet off the rider’s head, the face of a defiant Arabic woman stared back at her. Her gaze didn’t last long, but shifted toward Aufheben as he walked to her side.
He was struck by how much she looked like the mage who had attacked him earlier. The same angry eyes, just before death stole their passion.
So familiar, Aufheben thought. His sister, perhaps? He said nothing of it to Mara. “The world does not always leave time for reflection.” He paused and looked up slightly, as if he had just figured something out, but then snapped back to the present.
“Take your cues from the world now, do you?” With a shake of her head, she stood up. “We’re out of time.” She motioned to the people staring at them from windows and doorways, having been awakened by the commotion. “We need to go.”
“Fine. Lead the way.”
Mara sheathed her sword, slipped it back into her bag, and started running towards the Al Rigga district of Old Dubai.
“怎么?”
“你说的什么意思,女士?”
“现在你自命不凡的嘴里发出的不屑声。”
“哦。你说你们拯救生命,可能救了不少,但是是谁的生命?只是以色列人的?和你一样的人的?你们后院的巴勒斯坦人呢?伊朗人呢?伊拉克?诚实点吧,要是消灭哈里发帝国的领袖与你们自己国家的利益无关,你才不会给我这条信息。你不关心哈里发帝国里受哈里发和公司压迫的普通民众。”
“他这么说,无视那些在革命中死去的普通人只会让更加暴力的人获得权力。”她涨红了脸。“我得到了正在做出改变的机会时就把那些天真的想法放下了。”
“你对真实世界一无所知。”
“好笑,我要原话奉还。”你该死!玛拉的眼睛在说,尽管并未发声。
扬弃缓和下来。如果激怒了她,玛拉不会放手。在这里,在她身边,两人共同对抗世界的记忆如潮水般涌现。
“你非得这样吗?”她问,“我是否该找别人帮忙?”
扬弃眯起眼。他咬紧又松开了下颚好几次才回答。“我加入。你的情报人员由说他们为什么举行如此高规格的会议?如果我没看错,还是秘密进行?史无前例。”
玛拉把头扭到一边,似乎在听很远的什么声音。“我们该动作了。我有个安全点的地方,离这里不远。我们可以在路上说。”
扬弃有点恼火,他跟上了,如同之前许多次那样。他曾经会争辩,但经验告诉他,在她闹这种情绪时,最好合作点。
玛拉走着走着,叹了口气,然后停下,一只膝盖跪在扬弃脚边的水泥上。她开始翻找她的背包拿出一把略微有些弯曲的剑,护手像一朵木槿花。“只是我带了街头战斗的衣服。”
“为什么这么说——”扬弃的回答被一辆轰鸣靠近的铃木幻影的引擎声打断。“哦。猜他们是找你还是找我?”
“一分钟后我们再问他们。”扬弃伸手取侧枪,玛拉蹲下,利刃高举过头,呼吸专注,而骑手朝他们冲来。玛拉的狮子精魂导师面具覆盖全身,赋予她野生雌狮的外表。不管他见过多少此类,这依然让他背脊发凉。
骑手的面孔被头盔遮挡,但他看见一条赛博前臂上利刃的反光。摩托在前方的路沿侧滑,一个弧度调转车头。扬弃的手枪瞄准目标,但在他能开枪前玛拉已经冲向了袭击者。
动能和机械与魔法增强的力量碰撞,火光四射。骑手优雅地踪玛拉的动作、预测她的行动,让扬弃刮目相看。即使有狮子强化她的力量,这也会是一场苦战。后场待命让他感到不耐烦——还是别的什么?
他小心地瞄准,从玛拉身后开了一枪,骑手捂着突然冒血的脖子倒下。
“我以为我们要问问题?”玛拉走回扬弃身边,她的狮子面具慢慢消散。
“总有人想杀我。”扬弃放低他的步枪。“总是一样的。”
“不总是一样!从什么时候起杀人成了你的第一反应了?”她没等收到回答。她取下骑手的头盔,一张反抗的阿拉伯女性面孔瞪着她。她的视线没能持续多久,但在扬弃靠近时,女人的头转向了他。
太熟悉了,扬弃想。或许是他的姐姐?他什么也没对玛拉说。“世界不会总是给你反省的时间。”他停下,眼神稍稍往上,似乎他刚刚弄明白了什么,但马上回过神来。
“接受世界的暗示是吗?”她摇摇头站起身。“我们没时间了。”她指着那些从窗户和门口盯着他们的人群,他们被这场骚动惊醒了。“我们该走了。”
“好。带路。”
玛拉收剑入鞘,把它放回背包,然后朝旧迪拜的阿里加区跑去。



劇透 -   :
Upon arrival at the safe house, Mara had been silent. The smell of roasted lamb and tabbouleh wafted in from outside, making Aufheben hungry, but he didn’t want to intrude upon her thoughts to ask about eating. Why did he care about someone’s feelings all of a sudden? He’d spent the last two decades of his life doing what had to be done, pleasantries and feelings be damned! And now, he’s sitting here with an old lover, and didn’t want to, what? Spoil the mood? He was beyond this, he decided.
“Where’s the food in this place?” He purposefully projected an edge in his voice to mask his discomfort.
“Check the cupboards. You’ve never been to a safe house before?”
“Not in Dubai. At least not for a long time,” he said. “Not since ’55.”
“When you…” her voice softened, “Failed to stop the Caliphate from forming?”
“Yeah.” Aufheben was no longer hungry. He took a seat at the table across from her. “There wasn’t much I could have done, looking back on it. I knew the Caliphate was going to be just another consolidation of power. Just another Empire in collusion with the corps and dragons. But youth and anger and charisma were on my side.”
“Now what drives you? Just anger?” Mara asked.
“Funny. But now I want you to tell me what else you have. Knowing all of those motherfraggers are in one place isn’t enough for a revolution. Why are they meeting? And more importantly, what are we going to do about it?”
Mara tapped away on the face of her commlink. “There, I sent you another file.”
Aufheben began reading in his commlink. A file about a Sufi mystic who had a bad dream? He clicked his tongue in disappointment. “What is this, Mara? People have stupid visions all the time. Please tell me you have more than this.”
“Keep reading.”
“Okay. It says that this Net of Marduk could…trap a dragon? I’m still not convinced.”
“Our adept prophets looked into it. They confirmed it with Greece’s oracles. The Net of Marduk is real. It’s far more ancient that the Babylonian myth, of course. I assume you are familiar with some of the other artifacts that have been found recently?”
“A bit. It’s not really my area. But I have colleagues who know about them,” Aufheben replied.
“The fact that no one has said a word about this publicly, in addition to the Caliphate recently taking this mystic into custody, and that my sources tell me that this high-level meeting includes a discussion about the Net, makes me say that it is legitimate.”
“Where did you get this intel?”
到安全屋后,玛拉一直很安静。烤羊肉和塔布利沙拉的味道从外面飘进来,让扬弃觉得饿了。但他不愿问吃饭的事打断她的思绪。为什么他突然关心其别人的感受了?过去二十年他将生命花在了完成必要之事上,客套和感受滚一边去!可现在,他和一位旧情人坐在这里,不希望……干啥?毁了好气氛?他决定了,他已经超越了这种情绪。
“这里哪里有吃的?”他故意往声音中添加一点愤怒,好演示他的动摇。
“看看壁橱。你之前从没去过安全屋?”
“没在迪拜去过。至少很长时间没去过了,”他说。“55年之后就没有了。”
“当你……”她的声音缓和下来,“没能阻止哈里发帝国建立时?”
“是啊。”扬弃没再觉得饿了。他在桌子旁坐下,面对着她。“我多少能做的。我知道哈里发帝国只会变成又一个权力集合。另一个和公司还有龙勾结的帝国。但那时我年轻、愤怒,还有号召力。”
“现在你的动力是什么?仅仅是愤怒?”玛拉问。
“有趣。可现在我想让你告诉我你还有什么。知道全部狗娘养的都在同一个地方可不足以发起一场革命。他们为什么会面?更重要的是,我们要对此做什么?”
玛拉在通讯链表面敲了几下。“喏,我给你发了另一份文件”
扬弃开始在自己的通讯链上阅读。一个苏菲派神秘学者做了个噩梦?他失望地弹了弹舌头。“这是什么,玛拉?人们总是会有愚蠢的幻觉。请告诉我你还有别的信息。”
“继续读。”
“好吧。它说这个马尔杜克之网能够……困住一头龙?我还是不能相信。”
“我们的修士预言者研究过了。他们用希腊式占卜确认了。马尔杜克之网是真的。当然,它比那个巴比伦神话还要古老。我估计你对最近找到的其它奇物很熟悉?”
“一点点。其实不是我的领域。但我有同事熟悉,”扬弃回答。
“没有人人公开发表一星半点说法这个事实,外加哈里发帝国最近将这位神秘学者纳入麾下,还有我的消息源告诉我这次高等级会面将包括对这张网的讨论,这些让我相信它是真的。”
“你从哪里得到信息的?”
劇透 -   :
“From Jinn,” Mara replied. “He sold it to Mossad a week and a half ago.”
“You believe him? That arschloch’s just a Shiawase shill!”
“So he’s at his best with a specific brand of products.” Her eyes narrowed. “So what?  He came to us first. He knew we pay well for that sort of information. And it checked out. So calm down and talk to me.”
 “I’m tempted to ignore all of this, and let the Caliph and his buddies try to kill a dragon with this Net. But I think I know where you’re going, and I like it. If we can take out everyone at the meeting and grab the Net while we’re at it, we’d have social change and an anti-dragon artifact to put to good use.”
“Bingo. I love it when we’re on the same page, mensch.” She hadn’t called him that in a very long time—not since he’d left her for Dubai decades ago. It caught her off guard, and apparently did the same for him. Outside, a neon Taco Temple sign flickered, its orange glow washing on and off Mara’s olive skin, nearly hypnotizing him.
“Mara…” Aufheben waited until her eyes met his. “I never meant to hurt you when I left.”
She took a deep breath and released it slowly, then got up and walked to the cot where she had set down her bag. Reaching inside, she pulled out something and came back to set it on the table in front of Aufheben. It was a small amulet, brown and square, with a circular hole right in the center.
“After you left, I was broken and aimless. A lovely and wise woman took me in and helped me find a new path. She gave this to me when she died. Said it was an heirloom, and showed me this…”
She spoke a word in Hebrew, and a circle of light surrounded her, approximately one meter in every direction. “Speak the Name, and it protects the wearer against any physical harm.” She spoke the Name again, and the globe of light dissipated.
“That would certainly come in handy. Does it actually protect you?” Aufheben asked.
“Yes, it’s an anchored enchantment. In fact, it has saved me many times; from bullets, magic, even grenades.” Her face looked tired as she raised her head to look Aufheben in the eyes. “I want you to have it. It meant a lot to me, but I want you to have it now. Keep yourself safe.”
“Mara, I can’t take this. What I did to you—”
“That was over twenty years ago, Aufheben. We were both young and stupid then. I was over that a long time ago. You didn’t owe me anything.” Her expression Aufheben didn’t recognize, as if her eyes and her mouth did not agree.
“Of course I did. I owed you everything. You were the one who got me out of Saeder-Krupp. You were the one who helped me survive in Berlin. You were the one I fell in love with.”
“Love, Aufheben?” Mara stood up. Turning away from him, her hands rose and swung down again. She turned back to face him. “I loved you, too. But I don’t think you know what that word means anymore. You’re different. I’ve read the files on you. I’ve seen what you’ve done. You don’t love anything except violence. You say you are working for the people, but all I’ve seen in your wake is the death of those same people.”
That was enough. Whatever moment they could have had was gone. She was stabbing at open wounds that he was already struggling to bandage. In order to do what needed to be done, he couldn’t afford to get sentimental.
“I’m not going to take this from some nationalistic boot-licker,” he snarled. “I have fought for the people, bled for the people. The same sort of people you bomb and care nothing about! If you want my help to assassinate a bunch of world leaders, fine. But your lecturing stops now. And when this is done, we’re done. Don’t ever contact me again.”
“Fine.” Mara snapped.
“Fine!” Aufheben shot back.
But it was a lie. It was not fine. Even when—perhaps especially when—she let her emotions get the best of her, she captivated him. He took a deep breath, his gaze lingering on her face. Mara looked down and began entering data on her commlink. She raised an eyebrow and gestured for him to see what she was seeing.
“Let’s get working, then,” she said.
He was still for just a half-second, looking at her. Her eyes seemed bigger and warmer in the orange light. He glanced at the amulet lying on the table, and nodded as he reached for it. Putting it around his neck, Aufheben twisted his mind toward making plans for murder once again.
“基恩,”玛拉回答。“他一周半前卖给摩萨德的。”
“你相信他?那个王八蛋只是幸福的骗子!”
“他擅长提供某一类产品。”她眯起眼。“那又如何?他先找了我们。他知道我们会给这类信息一大笔钱。我们查过了。所以你冷静下来跟我说话。”
“我想无视全部这些事让哈里发和他的狗腿去尝试用这网杀一头龙。但我猜我知道你的意思,我喜欢。如果能干掉会议上的所有人、趁机把网抓走,我们就能改变社会,还能好好利用一个对抗龙的奇物。”
“中了。我喜欢我们意见一致,善人。”她好久没这样叫他了——自从几十年前他离开她去往迪拜后就再没听见。这让她有些措手不及。显然对他来说也一样。外面。一家塔可神庙(Taco Temple)的霓虹灯在闪烁,橙色的灯光洒在玛拉淡褐色的皮肤上,几乎要将他催眠。
“玛拉……”扬弃等到玛拉与他双目相对时才说。“我离开时绝不希望伤害你。”
她深吸一口气,缓慢地吐出,然后起身走到她放包的折叠床旁。她把手伸进去,拿出某件东西,又坐回扬弃对面。是个小护身符,褐色的方形,正中间有个圆形的孔、
“你离开后,我很受伤,失去了目的。一个美丽又智慧的女性接纳了我,帮助我找到了新的道路。她去世时将这个交给了我。她说是个祖传之物,还给向我展示了这个……”她用希伯来语念出一个词,一个光圈将她包围,每个方向都是距离一米。“说出名字,她就会保护佩戴者免遭任何物理伤害。”她重复名字,光消失了。
“这可相当有用。它真的能保护你吗?”扬弃问。
“能,它是一个锚定的附魔。事实上,它保护我很多次了,无论是子弹、魔法,甚至还有榴弹。”她抬起脸看向扬弃的眼睛,脸孔看起来十分疲倦。“我希望你拿着它。它对我意义重大,但现在我希望你拿着。保护你。”
“玛拉,我不能收下。我对你做的事——”
“那是二十年前了,扬弃。我们那是又年轻又愚蠢。我很早就克服了。你什么也不欠我。”扬弃无法确认她的表情,仿佛她的眼神和话语有不同意见。
“我当然欠。我欠了你一切。是你把我带出了赛德-克虏伯。是你帮我在柏林活下来。是你让我坠入爱河。”
“爱,扬弃?”玛拉站起来。转身背向他,她的双手举起又放下。她转回来面对他。“我曾经也爱你。但我想你再也不知道那个词的含义了。你变了。我读过关于你的文件。我见到了你做的事。除了暴力,你什么也不爱。你说你是为了人民,但我在你的身后看到的只有这些人民的死亡。”
够了。他们的那个时刻消失了。她在在揭开那些他好不容易才修补好的伤口。为了完成必要之事,他不能变得多愁善感。
“我不会接受某些民族主义舔靴者的话,”他低吼。“我为人民尔战,为人民流血。同样是这些人民,你们毫不在乎地用炸弹轰炸!如果你想让我帮忙刺杀一堆世界领袖,可以。但停止你的说教。这件事结束后,我们也结束了。别再联系我。”
“好。”玛拉挤出一个词。
“好!”扬弃反击。
但这是个谎言。这不好。哪怕当——或者说是尤其当——她的情绪战胜了理智时,他还是被她吸引。他深吸一口气,他的眼神在他的脸上游移。
玛拉低下头开始往她的通讯链输入数据。她扬起一边眉毛示意他看她正在看的内容。
“那么,我们开始工作吧,”她说。
他僵硬了半秒钟,盯着她。橙色的灯光下她的眼睛显得更大、更温和。他扫过桌上的护身符,点点头拿起它。
把护身符戴上脖子,扬弃再次将思维扭向谋杀计划。


劇透 -   :
The day of the meeting had arrived.
“Jinn, are you in position?” Aufheben asked on his comm. On Mara’s suggestion and Israeli Intelligence’s nuyen, Aufheben had resigned himself to hiring Jinn for Matrix support. He’d suggested others, but Mara insisted Jinn’s reputation was solid and he deserved the chance.
“Yes, sir, that I am. And if you don’t mind me saying, that suit and tie look really good on you, Mr. Heben. Much better than those tired black fatigues.”
“Every time you speak without need, I am going to dock your pay, idiot.” Of course, Aufheben wasn’t paying Jinn, so it was a hollow threat. And to be honest, Aufheben had to agree that he did look good. The Burj Khalifa was once the tallest building in the world. More than eight hundred meters high, it had become the symbolic heart of Dubai. From afar, the glass and steel gave the appearance of a spiral minaret emerging from its Y-shaped foundation. He couldn’t simply march into this place, where Global Sandstorm had its Dubai offices, looking like the anarchist revolutionary he was.
“Understood, captain.”
“Ugh. Mara, I hate him so much.” Aufheben rolled his eyes. “Are the packages secure?”
“Yes. The Mossad agents embedded at Global Sandstorm planted the components of the bomb on the 153rd floor last week.” she replied. “Remember the plan. Ever since they remodeled the spire of the Burj Khalifa in ’65, the upper floors are reinforced and magically warded. If you don’t place the bomb right where Jinn specified, the spire won’t collapse, and we’ll have wasted our chance.”
“Roger. Jinn, I’m headed in. I expect the surrounding floors to be evacuated without alerting the spire levels. Our target is Global Sandstorm, the Caliph, and the rest of the Caliph’s goons, not brainwashed wageslaves.”
“So little faith, captain. Remember, I have no love for the Caliph, either. Sufism continues to be outlawed by the Arabian Caliphate, despite how much we have grown in influence since the awakening.”
“Jinn—”
“After the failed New Islamic Jihad, the Islamic world is looking for alternatives to our violent history. For what they did to my Aunti and Uncle, I want them dead as much as you.”
“Then shut up! Your reasons are your own—all I care about is killing these oppressors so the people can be free.”
Aufheben headed to the elevator that would take him to the 153rd floor using the forged Global Sandstorm ID Jinn had procured. He found it odd, after a decade of guerilla warfare, to get back to the sort of shadowrunning his colleagues on Jackpoint were used to.
“All right team, going radio silent on my end.”
“Roger,” came from Mara.
“Understood,” Jinn replied.
会议当天来临。
“基恩,就位了吗?”扬弃用通讯链问。在玛拉的建议以及以色列情报部的新円之下,扬弃勉强同意雇基恩提供矩阵支持。他建议用其他人,但玛拉坚持基恩声誉够好,应该给他机会。
“是的,先生,我在了。如果你不介意的话,我得说你的套装和领带很很合身,先生。比那些破旧的黑皮衣好多了。”
“你每次说不必要的话,我就会减掉你的报酬,蠢货。”当然,不是扬弃付钱,这只是虚张声势。而且老实说,扬弃必须承认自己看起来确实不错。Burj Khalifa曾是世界上最高的建筑。超过八百米高,它是迪拜的中心象征。从远处看,玻璃和钢结构呈现为一座螺旋的宣礼塔,从Y形地基向上升起。他不能一幅无政府革命者的样子径直走进这地方,也就是全球沙暴的迪拜办公室。
“了解,队长。”
“恶。玛拉。我真的讨厌他。”扬弃转转眼珠子。“包裹安置好了吗?”
“是的。摩萨德潜伏在全球沙暴的探员上周将炸弹的组件埋进了153层的地板。”她回答。“记住计划。65年他们重构了哈里发塔的螺旋塔,上部楼层被加固过,还有魔法防御。如果你不能把炸弹放在基恩指定的位置,螺旋塔就不会倒塌,我们也就浪费了大好机会。”
“收到。基恩,我要进去了。我希望周围楼层被清空,但不要惊动螺旋塔的楼层。我们的目标是全球沙暴、哈里发还有哈里发的手下,不是被洗脑的薪奴。”
“对我真没信心,队长。记住,我对哈里发也没好感。苏菲派一直被阿拉伯哈里发帝国视为非法,哪怕自大觉醒来我们的影响力不断扩大。”
“基恩——”
“新伊斯兰圣战失败后,伊斯兰世界正为我们暴力的过往寻找新的方向。凭他们对我的阿姨和叔叔做的事,我和你一样想让他们死。”
“那么闭嘴!你的理由自己留着——我关心的是杀掉这些压迫者、让人民获得自由。”
利用基恩伪造的全球沙暴ID,扬弃走向通往153层的电梯。回来干这种他的接入点同僚常做的狂奔行动,他觉得有点怪。
“好了全体,我进入无线电静默。”
“收到,”玛拉的声音。
“了解,”基恩回答。
劇透 -   :
The doors opened onto the 153rd floor. This is exactly why things need to change, he thought. Everyone here was male and human and, if they were consistent with their backward society’s institutional bigotry, un-Awakened as well. He felt his anger welling at the oppressive regime that kept this nation stuck in the Middle Ages.
Thankfully, the salarymen all ignored him when he came in, so he began wandering around the floor, making visual contact with the air ducts that held the chemicals to mix the bomb. This was one area common to all corporate culture in the Sixth World; everyone was so busy securing their own status they had no time for people they didn’t recognize.
“Jinn, I have eyes on the Caliph’s personal guard making their way to the elevator,” Mara said. “I tried astrally perceiving them, but it looks like the Caliph himself is masked with a spell, so he could be any one of the entourage. Two tribal leaders on the Shura just exited their vehicles as well. Wesley Saade from Jamil Islamyah is in the lobby lighting up the Astral like it’s Chanukkah. That’s our Net of Marduk, I’m sure. Aziz and the others are already upstairs, so these guys should be it.”
Aufheben decided to walk through the floor once last time to maintain visual contact. He kept his peripheral vision on the ducts, but his mind raced back to what Mara had said to him in anger the week before. Almost all of his life had now been spent in dangerous circumstances of one sort or another. Most notably, the last decade he’d spent fighting Aztlán for the city of Bogota. Of course, his team, whether Bright Star, or the Anarchist Black Star before it, was no match for Aztlán in a straight fight, but Aufheben never gave them a straight fight. He’d gathered the disgruntled people of Bogota, and trained them into a fighting force. They’d led a rebellion to fight tyranny.
He had done the same thing, here in Dubai over twenty years ago. He had gathered the oppressed, many of them Sufi like Jinn, and had taken to the streets in a guerilla war to prevent the Caliphate from coalescing. Like those from Black Star who had fought with him in Bogota, almost all of them had died. Yet he had lived. Why him, and not the Arab woman who had died in his arms? Juhaina Awan. She wanted a better life for her children, but never saw it. He could still remember her face—
“Mein Gott…” Aufheben whispered. “It was her face.”
 She was their mother. The girl I killed last week. And her brother the day before. Their mother fought with me. They were there when she died in my arms. They blamed me for their mother’s death. But her cousin fought with me in Bogota. He knew I was coming. No! This is not how things should be!
The realization shattered decades of righteous confidence, and Aufheben’s knees nearly gave way. Mein Gott…
通往153楼的门打开。这正是需要改变的事物,他想。这里的每个人都是男性、人类,如果他们遵循他们落后的社会机制性歧视,他们还都是非觉醒者。对这个将国家卡在中世纪的高压政权,他怒火中烧。
幸运的是,上班族们都无视了他的到来,于是他在这层楼四处走动,用眼睛寻找装着炸弹化学部件的通风口。这是第六纪所有公司环境里的寻常区域,每个人都忙于保住自己的位置,没时间辨别不认识的人。
“基恩,我目视到了哈里发的私人护卫走向电梯,”马拉说。“我试图灵视他们,但看起来哈里发本人被法术伪装了,他可能是任何一个随从。苏拉的两位酋长刚刚走出他们的载具。贾米勒·伊斯拉雅的代表韦斯利· 萨斯在休息室,他把星界照得像是光明节。那就是我们的马尔杜克之网。阿齐兹和其他人已经在楼上了,这些家伙就是全部。”
扬弃觉得最后走一遍楼层,保证视觉联系。他把外围视野放在通风管上,但思维回到了几周前马拉在愤怒中对他说的话。他的生活几乎都花在了这样或那样的危险状况。最出名的,是最近十年他为了波哥大与阿兹特兰作战。当然,他的队伍,无论是明星,还是之前的无政府主义黑星,都无法正面与阿兹特兰匹敌,但扬弃从不正面冲突。他会聚集波哥大的不满民众,将他们训练成为战斗力量。他们将带领一场反对独裁的抗争。
在这里,二十年前,他做过同样的事情。他号召了被压迫者,其中大部分是像基恩一样的苏菲派,进行了街头游记战争,以阻止哈里发帝国合并。和那些在波哥大与他并肩作战的黑星一样,他们大部分都死了。可他还活着。为什么是他,而不是那个死在他怀中的阿拉伯女人?朱海娜· 阿万。她想为孩子赢得更好的未来,但她没能看见。他还记得她的脸——
我的天……”扬弃低声自语。“是她的脸。”
她是他们的母亲。上周我杀掉的那个女孩。还有前一天她的兄弟。他们的母亲是我的战友。
她死在我怀里时他们在场。他们将母亲的死归罪于我。但她的堂兄和我在波哥大一同战斗。他知道我要来。不!不该这样!
这一领悟击碎了他几十年来自认的正义,扬弃几乎要跪倒在地。我的天……


劇透 -   :
“Okay, Jinn, they should have all arrived now,” Mara said. “Do your thing.”
“Sure thing, doll face.” With that, Jinn entered the Global Sandstorm grid. He had neither the time nor inclination for stealth. He knew he was good enough to get his will done with raw power. He slammed lightning bolts and fierce winds at every obstacle, and finally reached the fire control panel.
Zap! One lightning bolt mark. Slam! Two down, one to go…and three. “Success! I’m in.”
“Great, Jinn!” Mara said over the comm. “Start the evac on the 153rd, then the floors above, then below. Go now.”
Jinn spun his hands into miniature versions of the twister underneath him and plunged them into the climate controls.
“好了,基恩,他们现在都该到了,”马拉说。“干你的活。”
“当然,娃娃脸。”说完,基恩进入了全球沙暴网域。他没时间隐匿行动,也没这个意愿。他知道自己有能力凭存粹的暴力达到目的。他将闪电和狂风甩向每个障碍物,最后终于到达了火灾控制面板。
啪!一个闪电mark。砰!两个,还有一个……三个。“成功了!我进去了。”
“好极了,基恩。”马拉在通讯链里说。“开始清空153层,然后先上面的楼层,再下面的。去吧。”
基恩将他的手扭成身下风暴的缩小版,将它们插入天气控制器。


劇透 -   :
Chaos erupted on the 153rd floor. As the fire sprinkler system engaged, white-collar employees scrambled to salvage essentials and run for the stairs.
Aufheben headed to the air duct on the far side of the floor. Kneeling, he unscrewed the faceplate and removed the package. He found it hard to focus, his mind sluggish. Even so, less than a minute later, he had grabbed the package from the second duct as well. Jogging toward the third duct, he lifted his head to see if anyone had spotted him.
Same as always, he thought. Too absorbed in their own lives to think about others.
Unable to force the irony of that statement from his mind, the face of Juhaina Awan flashed into his thoughts again. Had he ever thought about her life, or was she just another asset to throw at his mission? And what did it get her? Her kids? They’d grown up in the Caliphate anyway. Without a mother.
153楼混乱爆发。灭火系统启动,白领雇员们争着抢救重要财务、奔向楼梯。
扬弃朝这层楼最远的通风管走去。他跪着拧开盖板,取出包裹。他感到难以集中注意力,思维迟钝。但即使这样,他还是用了不到一分钟就抓出了第二个通风管里的包裹。他小跑着奔向第三个通风管,一边抬头观察是否有人注意到他。
和之前一样,他想。太专心自己的生活,从不考虑其他人。
他没能将讽刺从脑子里赶走,朱海娜· 阿万的脸再次闪现。他有想过她的生活吗,抑或她也只是另一件自己用来完成任务的工具?这给她带来了什么?还有她的孩子?他们还是在哈里发帝国长大。没了母亲。


劇透 -   :
In the Global Sandstorm Matrix, Jinn reached to engage the fire suppression system on the floors beyond the 153rd. As he plunged his hand into the system again, searing pain shot through his skull. The angry genie spun around to see two Global Sandstorm sphinxes flanking a smaller sphinx with black oil covering its feet and dripping out toward him. Behind them, a golden dragon approached.
Four against one and a tarpit? Subhan’Allahm. I’m in trouble.
全球沙暴的矩阵里,基恩开始操作153层以上楼层的防火系统。但当他再次将手插入系统时,烧灼的剧痛刺穿了他的头颅。愤怒的魔灵扭身看到两只全球沙暴的斯芬克斯,侧面则是一只较小的斯芬克斯,脚上覆盖着黑色焦油,正朝他滴来。它们后面一只金龙正在靠近。
四对一,还有一个焦油团?赞美真主。我有麻烦了。



劇透 -   :
Uncharacteristic guilt was making Aufheben’s every move heavy. As he reached the final air duct, he let his rage propel him as it so often had before, empowering him to complete his mission. But his anger had somehow shifted, from all of the oppressors he has always hated, to himself.
Corporations, nations, dragons, and empires, great or small, were all singular personalities, controlling others and shedding others’ blood to further their own ends. And now, at this very moment, Aufheben realized that in practical terms, he was no different. He used others for his own ends, as noble as his goals may have been, and they died. And nothing changed.
How many husbands, mothers, sons had he led to their deaths for nothing other than ideology? And how many wives, fathers, and daughters had he killed in order to resist what he decided was tyranny? And Mara. Had he given up the best thing he’d ever had for a lost cause?
While he fought through the maelstrom in his mind, Aufheben’s body was on autopilot, assembling the bomb that would bring about an instant, lasting change. This time, at least, things would be different.
不符合扬弃性格的愧疚让他的每一步愈发沉重。到达最后一个通风口时,他如往常一般让自己被怒火驱动,让愤怒给予他完成任务的力量。但他的愤怒转移了,从那些他一直痛恨的压迫者,转到了他自身。
公司、国家、龙、帝国,大或小,都是单一的意志,都是为了自己的目的操纵他人、以他人的鲜血铺路。而现在,在这个时刻,扬弃意识到,事实上他也并无差别。他利用他人实现自己的目的,或许他的目的是崇高的,但他们依然死了。并且没有任何改变。
他将多少丈夫、母亲、儿子引入死亡,仅仅是为了单纯的理念?又有多少妻子、父亲、女儿为了反抗他认为的暴政而死?还有玛拉。他是否为了一项注定失败的事业放弃了最美好的东西?
脑中天人交战的同时,他的身体如同自驾一般组合起了这颗将带来迅速而持久变革的炸弹。至少,这次事情会有所不同。


劇透 -   :
Elsewhere, a golden dragon clawed the arm off an angry genie. The two sphinxes continued their fiery barrage on Jinn’s icon as well. The programs they used caused him to feel all of this in his physical body as well.
Panicking, Jinn’s only thought was to destroy the Sphinx with the black oil on its feet. If I can just geek that tar pit, I just might make it out alive.
He felt the dragon bearing down again as he flung one last bolt of lightning at the oily sphinx…
某处,一只金龙抓掉了愤怒魔灵的一条手臂。两只斯芬克斯继续轰炸基恩的图标。他们用的程序让他的肉体也感到了同样的痛苦。
基恩惊慌失措,他唯一的念头是摧毁那只脚下有黑油的斯芬克斯。要是能弄死那只焦油团,我或许能活着离开。
察觉到龙再次逼近的同时他朝焦油斯芬克斯挥出最后一道闪电……



劇透 -   :
Scanning the floor, Aufheben could see everyone had evacuated. He switched his comm back on to tell Mara that the bomb had been armed and that he was activating the amulet.
“—eben! Aufheben! Answer me, damn it!” Mara shouted.
“I’m here. What’s happened?” he replied, now fully present in the moment.
“Something happened to Jinn. He didn’t set the alarms off on the other floors. There are still hundreds of people up there!” Mara’s voice was pleading.
“That…is unfortunate.” Aufheben kept his voice calm, centered.  This was one last chance to really make a difference, to make all that blood matter, to make those sacrifices count. “Mara, we can’t let that stop us. This is the only chance we’ll ever get like this. We have to take it, no matter what the cost.”
“I thought you would say that. So I came up to be with them.” Mara’s voice was resolute. “You were right. When you said I only save the lives of people like me, you were right. It’s all I’ve thought about since then. I know the bomb is active, and I know I can’t save them, but I’m going to stand with them. Like I never had the courage to do before.”
“Mara! No! Get out!” He switched on the image link to see through her goggles. There she was, a Jew standing among citizens of the Caliphate, many of whom would want her dead if they knew who she was. Yet she stood with them now.
He cursed at the god he had never believed in. He finally had a chance to bring about real change, taking out all of the major players at once, but now this! In thirty seconds, it would all be over. He looked through Mara’s eyes at the people in the building. It made him even angrier at the tyrants who oppressed them. But they weren’t the ones who would kill these people.
He would.
Aufheben stared at the amulet that would save his life when the bomb went off, but wouldn’t save theirs. If history is any indication, another ruler or rulers would take the place of the oligarchs upstairs, and nothing would have changed except more people would be dead.
He took another look at the bomb, and closed his finger around the amulet, his determination growing stronger.
In a world built on greed and domination, perhaps the only true revolutionary act is a selfless one.
Clutching the amulet, he ran to the bomb and held it to his chest. As the time ran out, Aufbehen spoke the Name. His last rebellion against the powers was complete.
扬弃检查这层楼,他能看到所有人都被清空了。他重新打开通讯链告诉玛拉炸弹已经设置好,他正要激活护身符。
——弃!扬弃!回答我,该死!”玛拉大喊。
“我在。怎么了?”他回答,这次完全回过神。
“基恩出事了。他没能触发其它楼层的警报。上面还有好几百人!”玛拉的声音在乞求。
“这……很不巧。”扬弃让声音保持镇定、集中。这是能带来真正变革、让流血牺牲不被白费的最后机会。“玛拉,不能让他们阻止我们。这样的机会仅有一次。我们必须行动,无论代价是什么。”
“我猜到你会这么说。所以我和他们一起上来了。”玛拉的声音坚定。“你是对的。你说我只会救那些和我一样的人,你是对的。之后我一直在思考。我知道炸弹已经激活了,我知道我救不了他们,但我要和他们一起。凭我从前没有的勇气。”
“玛拉!不!出去!”他打开图像链从她的护目镜向外看。她在那,一个犹太人站在哈里发帝国居民中间。只要知道她的身份,大部分都会想要她死。可她现在和他们站在一起。
他诅咒从未信仰过的上帝。他终于有机会带来真正的变革了,他能够一次除掉全部大玩家,可现在!三十秒后,一切就将结束。透过玛拉的眼睛,他看见了建筑内的人。这让他更加痛恨压迫他们的独裁者。可他们不会杀掉这些人。他会。
扬弃盯着这枚将在炸弹爆炸时拯救他的护身符,但它救不了其他人。若历史能为鉴,另一个统治者或几个统治者会占据楼上那些寡头的地位,什么也改变不了,除了会死更多人。
他又看了一眼炸弹,手指包覆护身符,他的决心愈发坚定。
贪婪与支配构造的世界,或许唯一真实的革命便是自我牺牲。
扬弃抓紧护身符,奔向炸弹,将它抱在胸前。时间到,扬弃说出名字。他最后的反抗完成了。



劇透 -   :
Outside the city, Mara looked toward downtown Dubai. It looked peaceful from the shore, with the rising sun casting half the buildings in shadow, but bringing a sort of angelic illumination to the parts of the city facing the dawn. Mara knew she couldn’t stay in this moment forever.
As if in response to her thoughts, her commlink rang. Allowing herself a sliver of hope, she answered it,
“Mara? They just confirmed it. Aufheben is dead. I’m sorry. And I’m sorry that no one else died.”
“I’m not,” she said. “Jinn…I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Thanks, hon. If you ever need me again, I’d like a chance to redeem myself.”
“It wasn’t your fault. We couldn’t have known Saeder-Krupp was attending the meeting as well, and had bolstered Global’s defenses. It wasn’t your fault.”
“If you say so. Many thanks.”
“You too,” she said as she ended the call. Aufheben had failed. She had failed. And soon, they would come looking for her.
As she lingered, considering her bleak future, a bellowing roar came from above. She looked up to see the distinct form of the Great Dragon Aden soar overhead, flying so quickly she could barely track her. She seemed to enter the Burj Khalifa, near the spire where the bomb should have exploded. Mara shuddered as she imagined the dragon finding the Net. Would she kill them all? Just take the artifact? Would they try to trap her?
Minutes later, the dragon launched itself out over the Persian Gulf, hovering just long enough to cast a backward glance at the city before resuming its terrible speed and flying off toward the Northwest.
A revolutionary is dead, she thought. But the sight of the dragon reminded her: revolution can’t die. Someone has to stand with the people.
And she vowed that as long as there was even one tyrant left, someone always would.
城外,玛拉看向迪拜市中心。从海岸看去,那里十分和平,太阳升起,让一半建筑物落入阴影,但也给迎着朝阳的城区罩上天使般的光晕。玛拉知道她不能永远活在这个瞬间。
仿佛回应她的思绪,通讯链响了。抱着一丝希望,她接通了。
“玛拉?他们刚刚确认了,扬弃死了。我很抱歉。我还很遗憾没有别人死了。”
“我不遗憾,”她说。“基恩……我很高兴你没事。”
“谢了,甜心。如果还需要我,我很希望有机会挽回。”
“不是你的错。我们不可能知道赛德-克虏伯也参加这次会议,还增强了全球的防御。不是你的错。”
“如果你这么说。一万次感谢。”
“你也一样,”她说完结束通话。扬弃失败了。她失败了。很快,他们就会来找她。
她依然停留,思索黯淡的未来,这时上空传来怒吼。她抬头看见巨龙亚丁独特的身形从头顶飞过,速度之快几乎难以察觉。她似乎进了哈里发塔,就在炸弹本该爆炸的螺旋附近。想象到巨龙发现了那张网,玛拉不禁浑身颤抖。她会把他们全都杀了吗?只是取走那件奇物?他们会试图捕获她吗?
几分钟后,巨龙飞向波斯湾,她盘旋了足够时间,回头望了一眼这座城市,然后继续以可怕的速度飞向西北方。
革命已死,她想。但巨龙的身影提醒了她:革命不能死。需要有人和人民站在一起。
她发誓,只要还有一个独裁者存在,就会有人站出来。
« 上次编辑: 2018-06-13, 周三 19:03:25 由 NewAlbionDrone »
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably an Andrik