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Phosporescent hexadecimal scrolls through Ashlock’s dreams.

When she wakes, the chronometer pulses 3:44. Cold water on her face, her boots, her jacket. She’s out pacing the mist-wreathed docks by a sliver of moon.

Nobody nice is out at this hour, but they don’t hassle Ashlock (she does kung fu). Down a wharf, she kicks splinters into jetsam.

This was an easy job: they should have come out with cash, not data. They’re lazy sometimes, arrogant, but not stupid.

Somebody dumbed it up for them.

Styrofoam hunks bob around the pylon, striped with broken barcodes. Hexadecimal teases Ashlock, just out of reach.