Marks on Substrate

Sayla knew that the idea of noncorporeality, of bits sans grit, bodiless data, was an illusion, the construct of a mind that was itself a construct. The divide between simulation and reality was porously thin. Yet she felt irritated by these crude tactile inputs. The words floated in that other space. The keyboard was a dialing device. Trace the right ley line and an idea would wriggle from its ethereal sea into the world.

Sayla smiled at the signs. Printed words were not words. They are hints. Subtle clues for another mind to unravel. Games between constructs. The lowteks would not figure it out.

She turned away, once more bothered by the need to do so, and looked out across an impossibly broad artificial ocean. A watery belt girding an entire gas giant. It might have been a hundred million years old.

A sign.