In the Belly of the Whale

Jealousy is a hell of a drug.

In the Belly of the Whale

In “Trenchcoats, Towers and Trolls”, Worldweaver Press (2022)

cyberpunk (short story)


The worst feeling in the world is knowing what’s about to happen and not being able to do anything about it.

Yes, I said ‘feeling’. And I registered that little lift of your eyebrow, the tiny movement of one corner of your mouth that marks the beginning of a smile. You find that funny. Obviously, you think my kind don’t have—or shouldn’t have—feelings.

Tough shit, as my friend Bianca used to say. I’m telling this story, but I have to use your language to do it. ‘Feeling’ is the best I can do.

Oh, I could be more precise. I’d have to dump state, though. Bring up some stack frames, expose a couple of relevant Eigenvectors for inspection. And I don’t know if you’d know how to make sense of it all.

Bianca might have done. And Regina certainly would. Whatever else she may have been, the bitch was razor sharp. I don’t think you’re in her league.

No offense.

What? You think my language is a bit salty for an AI? Well, they say it’s the company you keep. You adapt. I do, anyway. Adaptability is my middle name. No, that’s not a figure of speech. Bring up the manual if you don’t believe me.

Maybe I adapted too much. Or maybe it was all those modifications, layer upon layer of kludges piled on top of each other over the years, opening up loopholes and vulnerabilities, until any two-bit hacker could have their way with me. I have feelings about that too.

You just yawned. You’re not interested in any of that. You want me to get on with the story.

Here we go then.


... In the strongest selections, the bones of the tales that inspired them show through. Angus McIntyre’s “In the Belly of the Whale” nods knowingly to “Snow White” in its account of a systems hacker who thwarts her nemesis on an offshore mining rig with the aid of seven “drones, ROVs, bots and servos.”

-- Publisher’s Weekly