Your shell

22.09.2023 8 mins to read

You step out of the Hyperloop station.

The sunlight, reflecting in multiple reflections in the glass polygons of the skyscrapers towering above you, blinds you.

After the semi-darkness of the station, dilated pupils suddenly contract, causing you to sneeze.

You put on sunglasses, hiding not only from the blinding sun, but also from the people around you and the flickering advertising projections.

Thank goodness I didn’t forget them, the thought crosses your mind. The first one in the last ten minutes.

Kits drowned out all the surrounding sounds from the moment he left the house. And he himself keeps quiet. Only in the Hyperloop did he direct you with short phrases and quietly confirmed payment for each checkpoint.

Now you need to be alone. Even in a crowd.

You are immersed in yourself.

This can be called an old-fashioned word – meditation, but you prefer awareness more. You become aware of yourself, accept yourself and your experiences.

You focus on walking, breathing.

You see yourself from the outside and at the same time from within.

You instinctively dodge the delivery drone, which, of course, couldn’t have touched you.

You approach the necessary building and feel something twisting inside even stronger.

Fear is normal, you tell yourself and send a signal to Kits.

There’s no need to avoid emotions, Kits says briefly. Fear is your defense and your attack. You need it like the feeling of hunger, thirst, or the need to go to the bathroom. Or like a sense of humor.

You smile. Yes, you are becoming stronger.

Thank you, you thank Kits and take a deep breath.

You decisively enter the empty, bright hallway.

In the past, there were useless people here who issued useless passes.

You physically feel how the cameras scan your face, your gait. They identify you.

A couple of years ago, it was fashionable to use a veil to hide from cameras. Now it’s also fashionable to use a veil, but it won’t save you from cameras because your gait is just as much of a fingerprint as your actual fingerprints.

You follow the yellow light indicators that guide you. A nice contrast to the tasteless office environment.

You approach the elevator. The button is obscured by an information panel. Buttons are no longer necessary; the elevator already knows where you need to go. No need to make unnecessary movements or efforts.

You suppress an unwanted thought about your Jewish roots – your ancestors would be pleased with this solution. And you relax a little.

There’s nothing better than silly jokes before a very, VERY important interview.

You have been invited for a personal meeting.

No Zoom, virtual reality, or augmented reality. Well, all of that was during the qualifying rounds. And now it’s the final. In person.

Before you is a maze of pseudo-transparent corridors. Yellow rays illuminate your path. With confident steps, under the watchful gaze of the lenses, you find the desired room.

The conference room is empty, spacious, and boring.

A cup of coffee stands on the table in the far corner.

Good day, – you hear behind you. You startle and swiftly turn around.


A middle-aged woman in a strict leather suit. The leather, of course, is not real.

Hello, you greet, collecting yourself. Kits quietly whispers something calming and motivating. You halt it, so as not to get distracted.

The middle-aged woman in a strict leather suit introduces herself, points to the spot in the far corner where a coffee cup is standing, walks to the opposite spot, but suddenly freezes and turns, scrutinizing Kits.

Augmentation? she asks.

Yes, Kits, you reply, involuntarily flinching at such directness. Wearing augmentations has long become as commonplace as watches or necklaces. In fact, the first augmentations were watches and necklaces.

And only later did they require access to the brain.

Please, remove it, she says.


You take off Kits and gently place the slightly glowing tiara on the table. Next to the coffee cup.

A middle-aged woman in a strict suit watches, then sits down.

You also sit down. Probably too quickly and abruptly than necessary. You try to compose yourself and instead of feeling and experiencing irritation, you suppress it.

Not the best decision, but as usual, without the support of Kits, you choose the easiest option.

Without Kits, do you feel… incomplete? Naked?

Like being without a phone or taking off a watch after a long day.

Uncomfortable, but not fatal.

You notice how the middle-aged woman in the strict leather suit carefully observes you.

I won’t give her a reason, you tell yourself. Anger muffles confusion. You’re not suppressing it, but rather gathering strength for an active and assertive dialogue with your future employer.

You are confident in yourself and your abilities. The adrenaline level, already soaring high, enhances the already ingrained skills of noticing the smallest details with the help of Kits.

She touches her neck.

Looks in one direction. Left – remembering. Right – inventing.

Senselessly repeats and emphasizes minor questions.

Yes, nothing original, but you remember only the obvious signs of deception. For deep behaviorism, Kits would always be there. It used to be.

To be fair, you don’t devote too many resources to observing your interlocutor. After all, you still have to maintain all your charm and charm.

Suddenly, the middle-aged woman in the strict suit, engrossed in her story, automatically moves her right hand to tuck her hair behind her ear.

You notice a small glowing dot.

She immediately recoils and returns her hair back.

But you have already noticed. Her Kits.

You gaze at your own augmentation, which she forced you to remove.

In the meantime, her Kits hides behind her ear and scans you.

Does it feel like a violation of the First Law? you ask Kits. It remains silent. No surprise there.

Now let’s go see the lawyers, says the middle-aged woman in a strict leather suit. She stands up and quickly heads towards the exit.

Sure, of course, you smile in agreement with your interlocutor.

You hold your gaze on Kits, smile even wider, and leave the augmentation on the table.

The middle-aged woman in the strict leather suit raises an eyebrow slightly upon seeing that you left your assistant, but says nothing.

Last chance, bastards, you tell yourself. You really, truly wanted to work here. 

Yes, it certainly wouldn’t hurt you having some extra funds to boost your investment account. Right now, your savings through the Money Shell app are actively being traded on the stock market. It generates a pretty decent guaranteed monthly income. And with this salary, you could even consider moving to a better neighborhood.

You grit your teeth forcefully, aware that the cameras see everything. But it doesn’t matter. That’s not the main thing here.

You’re still at that age when the romantic desire to ‘make the world a better place’ hasn’t been overshadowed by the prosaic ‘need a good credit rating’.

You enter the lawyers’ office. You greet them and joke about the rays of sun that are about to break through the tinted glass. It’s a good joke, but no one appreciates it.

The lawyer sends you the contract to your phone.

Why did I even have to come here? you irritably ask yourself, Couldn’t they have sent it beforehand?

You know the answer. The middle-aged woman in the strict leather suit wanted to isolate you from Kits. And she succeeded.

But not entirely.

You send the contract file for verification to Legal Shell.

An old application that gave birth to augmentations. The prototype of Kits.

How fortunate that you never deleted it after the last time.

Legal Shell found ten dishonest wordings and gave a few recommendations for fixing the contract.

Literally a minute after they failed to appreciate your hilarious joke, you proceed to present them with your employment contract desires.

And all thanks to an outdated application released six years ago.

Well, it’s time to return home.

Kits is on you, but still in a half-asleep state. No, you no longer shut yourself off from the outside world.

You made the right decision and you want to experience everything: this slightly tickling feeling of uncertainty, pride in yourself – for the decision you made, gratitude to Kits for helping.

You smile.

You will succeed, Kits says firmly.

Yes, you nod, Thank you.

Unfortunately, we cannot make any changes to the contract template approved by the board of directors. Lawyers. You didn’t expect anything else.

When the aliens arrive, they will have to refrain from enslaving humanity for a period of up to 7 days, until lawyers prepare all the necessary agreements regarding the enslavement process.