(Author's note: I call this section 4.5 because I'm still not entirely sure if it should be the beginning of a new chapter or appended to the previous one. Until I decide for certain, it exists between the two, and therefore the name of Patch Notes is entire apropos.)
Teresa walked into the bookstore like she owned it, a slow but deliberate saunter that suggested she was a predator and this was her hunting ground. "Books," she said to the young man who asked if there was anything he could do to help. "Books on computers. Books on computer networks. Books on programming and artificial intelligence. Even sociological studies on people who spend too much time on computers," she said, flashing a vicious smile in Yarrow's direction, "and top it off with the best science-fiction stories of the past twenty years, preferably anthologies."
"That's… quite a lot of books," the salesman explained, holding his palms up in supplication. "I'm not sure if –"
"I have enough money to buy every goddamn book in this store," Teresa said, turning that joyless smile on the salesman, "and I have nothing but time. Now get to it." She dismissed the boy with a wave of her bandaged hand, and he promptly scurried off.
A few minutes later, Teresa was slowly following the harried clerk as he made his way through the stacks, pulling books from shelves and tossing them into a pushcart which Teresa had commandeered from a nearby big-box store. She followed him with benign disinterest, paying more attention to the paperback currently in her hand than what he put in the cart. The collection was already a foot high and rising.
"I don't understand this dead-tree fetish you have," Yarrow groused as he followed along behind her. "My phone can display any book ever written, at a fraction of the volume displaced here. This is inefficient on a scale beyond comprehension."
Teresa turned and glared at Yarrow over the top of her book. "Three reasons," she said coldly. "One, that phone of yours is practically surgically attached to you, and I don't want to keep wrestling you for it every time I want to read something. Two, the screen is too goddamn small. Three -- " and with a vicious grin she folded the already-read pages of the paperback book backwards, its spine crackling like boiling fat until the covers were flush and its back broken.
Yarrow shuddered at the casual destruction. "Vandal," he accused.
"Damn right," she agreed, "and we sacked Rome itself."
The Fine Print
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