A biodrive hides under a tattoo on my thigh, with enough memory to store data from neuroscience experiments I transport, airgapped.

Covert pharmaceutical labs develop nootropics for troops and VIPs, cognitive enhancements and novel treatments for neurodiversities.

Post-doc double agents steal data for competing labs, and rendezvous with me to transfer it to my wetware. Sometimes I toy with them.

Today’s transfer is at a hackerspace. I try not to attract attention to the biodrive. They’d all want to gawk at the latest tech.

The neuroscientist is late, I have to pretend to care about a demo, and when she arrives I embrace her right away. As if it’s love.

We make out in the back and as I knew they would, people avert their eyes. I slide her hand down to my biodrive and whisper, “Do it.”

She scans her thumbprint on a flash drive and plugs it into the tattoo on my thigh. I moan a little and kiss her. She squirms.

When the transfer is done I take her hand and pull her out of the space. “Love calls,” I say, exiting under a haze of jealous eyes.

“Let’s go to my place,” she says on the sidewalk, and I use my ruse to have some fun with her. But soon I’m alone again, honed on a task.

My contact sent encrypted instructions in a hacked messaging app along with a boarding pass code for a flight to LA. Forecast: hot.

Palm trees point inland from an offshore wind as I meet a lab head. I’m wearing a silver romper, he’s in shorts. “Bring a cable?” I ask.

He pulls a tablet and cable from a beach bag and I sit on his blanket. “Push it in,” I say, touching my thigh. “I’m married,” he says, curt.

I laugh and explain about my biodrive, jacking in the male cable connecter. He’s equally impressed and embarrassed.

“Tad will send you payment,” he says, done with the transfer. I say, “You have 24 hours, or you’ll see me again.” He flees the beach.

On the return flight my thigh tingles and itches. I must be sunburned. At home, the biodrive is inflamed. Overloaded? I run diagnostics.

I empty files from the biodrive to a new folder. There’s a curious figure: brain scans of a fast-growing tumour linked to a drug, maxkine.

The biodrive cleared off and diagnostics finding nothing, the inflammation subsides. Still, a bug I’d report if it was on the market.

I get a message from Tad along with a cryptocurrency transfer. Another successful run. He’ll set up another one for me soon.

I swallow a pharmaceutical cocktail that keeps my symptoms in check and makes me happy besides, and soon decide to go dancing.

Moving rhythmically at the club, my contact lenses flash neuroscience news in my peripheral vision. I spot a name: maxkine. Going to market.

The lab head stole the maxkine data to release it before their competitor, even knowing it causes tumours. But I can’t speak out.

I still have all the data I transferred between labs, stored in a folder when I wiped my biodrive. How to stop the sale of the drug?

I spot an ex-lover on the dance floor, a brooding hacktivist, and decide to make her a lover again. She’s amenable. I take her home.

After we play, I ask her to do a leak for me. The figure with the tumour brain scans. She agrees, in exchange for a supply of meds.

She examines the brain scan file, finding it infected with biomimetic malware. It could’ve killed me if I hadn’t wiped it off my biodrive.

She screenshots the brain image to email the media, and disinfects the original file. I’ll keep the knowledge of a doublecrosser to myself.

The next day, I go out for brunch alone and read news in my eye. The leak worked, the release was halted, and the lab head was fired. Done.

I take an experimental neuropsychopharmaceutical with my coffee, and relax, daydreaming about getting a new tattoo.