Diaz ran his fingers across the immaculately maintained minidrives mounted in their velvet cases along Levan’s bedroom wall. “Dude, I am so green that you have this many drives. That’s so rad. You’ve got, like, everything. I bet you have a Modus Dei, don’t you?”
Not even looking up from his screen, Levan threw a finger in the direction of a single, framed minidrive. Its golden luster made Diaz’s mouth water.
“Dude, is that unhacked? Like, this is generation one sanctionware?”
To this Levan looked up. “I can’t believe you’d even imply that I would use a hack. These are all one hundred percent sanctioned. Even the few that I wrote have been officially recognized by s@elite.”
“I didn’t know you coded, too! That’s rad, man. I bet you built some of these drives too, man. Am I right?”
Levan rolled his eyes, landing them back on his screen. “Yup.”
“I’m mega green, man. My rentals wouldn’t even let me get a jack, dude. I gotta wait till I’m eighteen to sign the papers on my own. How many you got, Lev? You gotta have, like, four, right? That would be so extreme, man!”
“Seventeen,” Levan said.
“Seventeen,” Levan repeated. “One on each hand, forearm, bicep, pec, trap, quad, calf, and foot. Then the granddaddy of them all right here.” He swiveled in his chair, lifting the shaggy hair off the nape of his neck to reveal a minidrive jack.
One of Diaz’s hands began to move toward the metal embedded into his cousin’s flesh, but he thought better of the impulse before touching it. “Isn’t that many, like, mega dangerous? They say you’re not supposed to jack that much into a nervous system, or it gets fried or whatever. It’ll screw you up for life.”
“diesfere is my life,” Levan said without a hint of irony. “The only reason I do anything is so that I can be the best when I’m logged on. It should be your goal to have focus like that someday, Diaz. It will take you far in life.”
Levan’s cousin decided to head back to their parents, rather than debate further what was and wasn’t actual life.