Hoss Shaman rode into Io late one Tuesday afternoon. No one knew where he came from, but he wasn’t easy to miss. His jangling, chip-filled saddlebags were audible for miles. His trusty Clydesdale, Bandwidth, stood 19 hands at the withers, and Hoss could nearly meet him eye to eye. His holsters, packed with soldering guns, drill bits and mechanical pencils sat comfortably on his ample hips. A slipstick jutted out of his back pocket. His fingers twitched, ready to code. Through his bandoliers were threaded silver CD-ROMs, little shikuren poised to slice and dice.
He was ready for the worst.
BANDWIDTH SAVES THE DAY, by Bobby Warner
And the worst is what he got. When Hoss mounted the steps of the Hang-Nail Saloon, gargantuan Flat-Faced Floyd thrust open the swinging doors and spat a smoldering stream of Old Dead Man Tobacco juice on Hoss's new snakeskin/alligator/salamander boots, scorching them beyond repair.
"Git him, Bandwidth!" Hoss whispered out of the side of his mouth.
The trusty Clydesdale snorted ominously and swung his twenty-foot, mace-tipped tail over Hoss's head and whacked Flat-Faced Floyd plumb over to Boots-Up Hill, where he lies to this day.
"Good boy, Bandy," grunted Hoss, proceeding on into the saloon to buy everyone a drink.
Hoss headed to the saloon and threw open the doors.
The dark interior reeked of stale root beer, moldy socks, French fries, sour ice cream and taco chips. Chipslingers were corrupting motherboards and mounting hard drives, and bouncing freshly bugged laptops with glee. Microchips clattered across tabletops as cards were thrown down. Pens, pencils, chips, tiny tools and minuscule screws were strewn everywhere.
Hoss shook his head. Dang. Hack Killfile’s ugly mark was everywhere. Hoss didn’t like ugly. Especially when every eye was upon him, and he didn’t have backup.
But he knew he had to forge ahead.
“I’m lookin’ fer a Dot Matrix,” Hoss said.