The cafe was more crowded than normal, but Jayden had a regular booth. The flame wars had begun again. Such a waste of time. He ordered a beer.
"Hey, you exchanging reps tonight?"
"I got plenty," replied the bartender.
"Then make it a cheep beer, " replied Jayden.
Reputation was the only thing of value in a digital world. Jayden worked alone and avoided most flame wars. He earned less, but lost less as well. In front GlobalHell launched an attack. Most do it for rep but Jayden knew this was cover for a "log run." A digital attack on the analog world. Jayden waited and sipped his beer. He watched his favorite tube and chated with some friends about the show. Ella broadcast her latest episode. Jayden's rep gets him into the live chat.
A ping came from his sniffer. The log run had finished. Jayden walked over to Caleb.
"I'm lookin to sell a few reps," confides Jayden.
"Sorry, man I need the cheese."
Caleb saw Jayden's disappointment.
"Hey look. You've always been solid with me. I gotta cheese head lookin to score some rep. I'll put you in."
Cheese heads are the analog businessmen and financiers. They make their money in the digits, but they make analog money. A cheese head needing to impress will pay good money for rep. It would destroy the value of rep if it weren't for the fact they are largely spoiled rich guys used to getting whatever they want. They don't understand the new world and lose reputation faster than they can buy it. When someone is suspected of paying for rep someone will ask aren't you Aubrey or some other cheese derived name.
"Yeah that would be great." replied Jayden.
"Saw your tut on back end UIKit. That was fresh. You know I could always use more digits."
"Thanks, " Jayden beamed.
Rep is more than a way to keep score, it is its own reward. The beards in the lecture halls don't understand it so they pretend it doesn't exist.
"but I'm OK alone," he continued.
"You're never alone. Just remember that."
Caleb turned to his gang and Jayden went back to his booth to wait for the suit. Jayden prefered making his cash picking up gigs on the net, but his latest vid took more time than expected. Jayden hoped this suit wasn't 5-0. Nobody has yet figured out what the crime is, but the government and the corporations can't get a piece of it so it must be illegal. They trump up charges and try to flake a digizen. Luckily Digizens United is very good at making evidence disappear.
$200 haircut and a Movado on his wrist. The cheese head wasn't fooling anybody.
"Time to make some cash." thought Jayden.