The Trouble With Tribals

Doris, leaning alluringly against a pillar, scanned the room. Glimming over the coms and non-coms alike, she automatically homed in on her fellow tribals. One caught her eye, a thick-set lady with a creeping moustache. “Hey”, she hollered “have you tried the new Ving Rames? What do you think of the new riffs?” The lady swung round, her face a mass of hypertags between which Doris could just make out a face and a large floating nametag ‘Marla’. Marla glanced at Doris’ tags and growled.
Doris moued, disappointed and lounged back against the column. The ballroom was full of people, mingling, laughing, but all the ones emblazoned with attractive tags were deep in conversation with their peers. If only you could choose your personality and your cross-over, thought Doris, maybe she’d meet more interesting people. She’d just been too introverted as a youth and had ended with some strange tastes. Why should anyone give her a second look after they’d seen these tags?
A tap on the shoulder made her jump. Looking round, at first she couldn’t see anything; no tags, no glowing nameplace, then her eyes adjusted. There was a man standing in the shadows, a tall man in a loose black suit, kinda handsome in an undernourished way. However, he was nearly invisible behind her filters without the tags and she was disconcerted, not knowing how to approach him.
“I can hardly see you there. Could you turn your tags on, so I can tell who you are?” His unenhanced voice whispered to her, below her hearing. “What?”
“I said, I don’t have any.”
“don’t have any?” Doris was perplexed.
“I’m Boyce, I’m a Gabriel.”
Instantly Doris’ infotap popped up a range of options, flashed by relevancy and the man;s characteristics. Top of the list was the Gabriels, a secularist organisation. The filters detected her gaze resting on it and brought it up. “The Gabriels” it said “a denomination of secularists noted for their restrictions on the use of modern devices such as tagnodes and other physically intergrated technologies founded by former singer and anti-technology guru Peter Gabriel. Their difficulties at communicating mean that they are sect in decline, with their numbers worldwide approximating…”
“…I said ‘are you okay?’” Boyce was shaking her arm. “You zoned out on me there.”

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