[…] He kicked at something lying in the hallway and sent it flying towards us. Soundlessly, it rolled and flopped to a stop near my feet. It quivered in a faintly gelatinous way. It was silvery white with sparks of color like an opal.
“What the hell is that?” I asked no one in particular. It seemed stunned; its blob-ish body lurched uncertainly one way and then the other.
“That’s a castie,” Pike said. He knelt down next to it and put his hand out. Like mercury beads pooling together, his fingertips seemed to merge with the surface of it. “They’re formed from nanite castoff. A few strays from smart appliances, a lingering cloud of enhanced perfume, that sort of thing. Sometimes enough of them gather together and their programming pools to make a castie.” I couldn’t tell if Pike was petting the thing or being eaten by it.
“Should it be here?” I asked. The pristine hallway didn’t seem to offer much by way of sustenance for any kind of stray.
“They’re the ubiquitous pests of buildings like this. They feed on static electricity and are hell on the power grids.” He took his hand away and the castie stretched up to follow him, like a cat.
from Incognito: the Vertical Street
I’ve given up the pretense of numbering these scenes. I finally remembered (how can one forget these things?) that I a) do not write in strict chronological order and b) leap over vast chunks of plot as I go, rendering any numbering process obsolete. I’m not going to post anything that gives away major plot developments, so being out of order should not cause too much confusion. I hope.