I got a few hours of sleep and a wakeup call at 6am: Kimba, one of our cyber prostitutes, had been plugged in overnight and they couldn’t wake her. I’m frankly crap at anything involving the Matrix, so I needed help. Our local hackers were almost all out on business, except Splash and Han Solo and once we had kicked the door to his container down, it turned out Han didn’t look much better than Kimba.
We brought Han and Kimba to the clinic and plugged in to find out what went wrong with them. We got help from Caidian, who hangs around with the hackers and managed to trace Kimba and Han. What we found was…sick. Take a look, if you want. You’ve been warned.
FYI, the hippogrif is Splash, Neon Man is Caidian, Michelin Man Blaster and the dragon tank is a program of Splash’s.
A room resembling a cross between an emergency room and a night club, with a stage where a band of surgical instruments plays Klezmer, Nippon sytle. Across the room, two people are having sex on a huge bed that looks like an autopsy table, while a masked surgeon is performing brain surgery on them. He removes slips of paper from their open heads and puts in new ones, while directing their movements with strings, like puppets.
Entering the room are a huge hippogriff, a stick figure with a lab coat and a medical bag and another figure, shining in neon colours, along with something that looks like the lovechild of a dragon and a tank. They are met by a masked geisha and the hippogriff produces invitation cards, which the geisha accepts with a smile, a bow and a cheery Masel Tov!
For a moment, they just stand and stare at the scene, then Neon Man produces a machine gun and shoots at the surgeon, missing completely. The surgeon turns, showing his face to be a Kabuki Guy Fawkes, but he continues his surgery, ignoring the intruders – who have been joined by Michelin Man.
Lab Coat Man moves over to the bed and starts to cut through the strings attached to the pair. Menawhile, the hippogriff and the tank dragon attack the surgeon, while Michelin Man gets into a fight with the surgical instruments who have turned on the group…all the while still playing Klezmer.
The surgeon is very much unimpressed, but he does flinch when Michelin Man grabs a clarinet from the band and starts first to play counter to the rhythm of the band and then to play into the surgeon’s ear. Neon Man gets attacked by more surgical instruments and disappears, while the surgeon is apparently done and begins to close the heads of the pair on the bed.
The continuing attacks on the surgeon by the hippogriff and the tank dragon finally show an effect: the surgeon’s shape grows grotesquely distorted until he is sucked out of the room.
Lab Coat man opens up the heads of the pair again and starts to sift through the paper, removing the notes the surgeon put in and restoring the original contents of their heads.
Brain surgery is not my strong suit, but both Kimba and Han Solo woke up and seemed fine. They didn’t remember anything except meeting online and a very pleasant feeling. Kimba had a strong craving for vanilla icecream, though, and Han said that he had some words stuck in his head in a language he didn’t know. On a whim, I said vanilla ice cream in Japanese and they both flinched, the word was enough to cause a reaction. So I either missed something or the black ice program had already made changes that are beyond repair. We’re thinking that it was an attempt at brainwashing them, who knows for what purpose.
And speaking of missed something: Faye`s meat puppet program was activated remotely while we were busy operating. She grabbed a syringe and would have injected me with it if Blaster, who had gone offline already, hadn’t grabbed her. She claims she cannot remember anything and I believe her. The syringe was filled with a stimulant and it would have been unpleasant, but not lethal, so that seems like a fairly desperate attempt…considering that there are much nastier things here to use.
The committee decided to upgrade Matrix security as much as possible and to keep everyone off the Matrix for tonight. We still have the code that the ice tried to implant into Kimba and Han, but none of use can make any sense of it. A psychology softskill would help and I can get my hands on one, but it will take a few days. Which is actually a good thing because we need some time to get our hands on that kind of money. Kerry suggested a raid on the gang that has been making trouble around here anyway (the ones that Blaster encountered), that would kill two birds with one stone. Although I can’t say I feel very confident about being a part of this. It’s not that I can’t hold my own in a fight, but this is different, planning it like that.