The boy didn't appear any older than eleven or twelve, though his behavior was closer to that of a wise old man. He conducted himself with a universal, durable leisure. The look in his eyes seemed soft and intense all at once, revealing a sense of value and peace that cut to my core. I welcomed the emotion, enough to know I wanted to know it better, but beyond that it seemed to run out of tune, and in some bizarre way that made me feel like I was the one out of tune with it.
"I didn't know people could still buy un-amped coffee," I said.
"There is no need to build on what is already found in nature."
Sallie returned with our orders, much faster than I'd expected. I noticed a red band on her wrist, with a silver marking embedded in its fibers.
"What brought you here, Brandon?" Raskob asked, sipping his coffee.
"The wind," I replied, looking toward the windows. "I think."
"It's amazing. The wind could level this city in a single blast, but it chooses to display itself as a gentle breeze."
"The wind chose?"
"The wind is even here in Dynamic Reality. It blows as surely as it does in the real world. Even the scent of coffee and the sound of music are here."
"So then, we're not pretending this is real life?" I said, opening my slampak and witnessing its familiar startup sequence.
Raskob shook his head slightly. "No. No pretending here."
I saw a black and red object appear in the corner of my eye. The descender had returned to my wrist.
"It's something built by man on top of real life... modeled after it. It's a more controllable version of it."