Read part 7 first.
The entire web erupted into chaos. The moment I sent that Dog out, I felt something wasn’t sitting right but at this point, hey, we’re all invested, right? My hands are shaking and it’s partly because I was wired up and the orange juice is sitting just out of reach but it’s also because I have eight Black Brass in my face screaming about another breach and why didn’t anyone see it coming and heads will roll. Not making sense? Give me that glass and I’ll recap.
That fucking Tyler, aka shaman61 led the Dog off somewhere, god knows where, but it wasn’t following any fucking Rabbit, that’s for damn sure, though at first I was sure of it. We watched his movements through the Web; he’d hop down one hole and pop out way the fuck somewhere else and I am more convinced than ever that these Dreamers have more than VR capabilities. They can move outside the code and time itself. There’s just no other way… and I just know I will never get that goddamn bonus now. Okay. Okay. So this Dreamer is leading us on, and in the beginning hours it looks real promising. He’s looking over his shoulder, doubling back, classic moves when someone is sure they’re being Traced. Damn right you’re being Traced, motherfucker, you just don’t realize that Dog is attached with a sneaky backdoor coding right into your jack.
He’s running right back Home for sure, and I know he’ll wait it out a spell and then call in to whoever he works for. Surprisingly, as I read the code on the screen, his whole Pathway becomes laughably predictable. I’m a little worried I may have fried him a bit too far in the Glare after all. Once he gets back to where he feels comfortable, he stops and, I almost dropped my kava when I see he’s already calling in. Untraceable IP, VPN, the works. I sat up. Only, nothing happens. Nothing. No answer. No message back. Hell it doesn’t even show as read. Then he’s into some porn room and I know that’s where he’ll hide for a while. I’ll let the dog sit outside the café and wait.
I went back to searching the ‘scapes for the one I want, and hopefully his boss. He’s out there. I know he is. I keep seeing the Shadows. Here. There. Every time I think I’m starting to see a pattern, it shifts. What’s this guy’s game? What’s the next step? Hours of gritty eyes and then the shit blows up in my face as I’m pulled off the wire unceremoniously. Blinking my eyes in the suddenly too bright light, my implants burning and the dark headache from improper sign-out already pulsing behind my eyes. Black Brass screaming they got Hacked and everything is gone. Everything. Not copied. Wiped. Assumedly stolen and the backout code threw a bomb in the Nets. We are all quite literally fucked. It’s a Virus like we’ve never seen.
“Check the Nets!… Look at them!!… The fuck?!” Screens are flickering. Images of some masked figure taking over all the News Casts. Covering over face cream verts and erectile dysfunction pills. Away go the talking heads and late night shows and children’s programming. The masked figure is just staring out. Then he holds up his hands as if silencing a crowd. The office is intensely quiet. Every person is looking at a screen. He lifts his hands in a gesture that is vaguely familiar but when he drops his hands suddenly and raises them back up, I remember what a conductor does in front of an orchestra and it all becomes clear that we were set up.
This is an on-going collaboration series that I’m working on with A.P. over at constant VARIABLE. He’s doing the odd-numbered parts and I’m doing the even-numbered ones. I hope you enjoy!