Today we have part 3 of The Nothing’s Child. Nothing ever really goes the way we plan. If you are new to the series you can catch up by following the link below. As the story progresses the links will show in individual sections (or something).
The Nothing’s Child
Easy Peasy Hit
Old Man Murphy
Life is a Dumpster Dive
Behind the Bookcase
Interrogation with no Egg to Stand On
Old Man Murphy
Pretty standard, that’s the best way I can describe it. The team came in, hit their target, then left. My work through the security system worked right on the money. Like I said, I have some skills. They never told me the target, plausible deniability. I mean, sure, I’m on my own if this goes bad. What I don’t know I don’t have to deny.
Yeah, pretty standard, that is exactly how I wanted to say it happened. Wouldn’t you know something always goes wrong. Ol’ Man Murphey gets his pay every time.
I cut my feed and returned it all too normal. Left the node and walked through security. You ever hear that getting into a place is easy? Getting out is the hard part. I used the same app on the way out as the way in. Their security scans required a different exit password than the entrance password. The algorithms of my app glitched.
That’s the best way to describe it. It came back to me a smoking husk. The app was fried. The goon security guards changed. You ever see a tornado? See how the sky looked when it was about to hit? Just like that only uglier.
I was made.
This new guy they brought on to head up security, he knew a few things. He also didn’t play fair. The security apps switched to black ice. This is the stuff used to snuff runners. I don’t mean like kick us off the net. I mean kick us out of life.
They whipped out Tommy guns. I pulled out my Desert Eagle. Play time was over. I kicked off a few shots to force them under cover, then dropped a smoke bomb to cover my escape. They blocked the exit.
Not the first time I have been trapped, but never how you want to end a run. If the security goons catch me it won’t matter how well I covered my trace. I’m as good as dead back at the source.
Shields up, Desert Eagle at the ready, time to break out of this joint. They used the screen to move around. One on the left and one on the right as they closed the gap.
Not without tricks of my own I ran my dupe script. Images of myself popped up around me. As far as the goons could tell everyone an exact copy. Only way to tell the difference was to attack them. The dupes would disperse with the attack. Not great but it bought me some time.
I dropped and rolled. When I came up I pulled the trigger on the desert eagle. The round hit the left goon straight between the eyes. The goon on the right fought against the dupes. One clean shot into the forehead brought that one down as well.
The cleared node bought me some more time. With security on high alert, every node I entered would be as much of a fight if not more. Screens aren’t enough to get through when the place is exploding around you.
The alert can be stopped in the master node. I didn’t have time for that. My other option, break through the three nodes between me and the street. A back door would be nice, but you know that one isn’t happening.
“I know you’re in my system.” Shit, they brought in an admin. “We have your group in custody. Trace bots are on their way to your link.”
This can’t be happening. All or nothing, I should make a bumper sticker. I’m blowing holes out of this place. I switch to my attack scripts and break through the door into the next node. Clear, but I hear the dogs in the distance. With my luck, blood hounds, trackers that kill.
I didn’t stick around to find out. I smashed my way through the last two nodes to the street. With a mad dash to my ride I’d be a distant memory.
I know what you’re thinking. How do I keep them from following me back to my source? Just like the physical world, these dogs lock on to your scent. I need to send out false pings and get them chasing their tails. In the confusion, I can safely drop out and get away.
I broke free. Took a few hours but I did it. What the hell happened? I’ve never had a run go that wrong before. The admin said they caught the crew. Can’t be right, I saw it all happen. The crew made it out with their prize.
The coffee shop was deserted, just me and the clerk at the counter. He gave me a dirty look, but I tipped him a fiver anyway when I bought a fresh cup. I gathered my stuff and left, no looking back. Time to find a new shop, well later, after I find a place to crash.
Call it a hunch, I didn’t head back to my place. I admit it, the run shook me up. Shit like that doesn’t happen to me. Hell, the damage to my deck alone, damn, damn, double damn.
I could crash at my friend Jen’s place. We used to run together. It’s been a while, but the ties are there. She owed me a couple favors anyway.
Jen lived on the other side of the city, corporate housing. She quit the life some time ago. She went mainstream, corporate runner. Told me it’s like working freelance but regulated. Steady pay, benefits, fewer people trying to outright kill you, what’s not to love, right? I still can’t see doing it.
I grabbed a cab, no sense risking the subway this time of night. The doorman scowled at me but let me in anyway.
She answered her door in her skivvies. Who does that? “It’s late, why are you here?”
“I need a place to crash,” I said. “Nothing serious, just need to lay low for a night.”
“Dumbass.” She let me in anyway. No questions after those first ones. Jen’s a doll. Threw a couple pillows on the couch and handed me a blanket. “I have to be to work by nine,” she said. “If I’m not here when you get up, clean up your mess.”
“You got it.” I was out when my head hit the pillow.
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