Relatively Painless #cyberpunk

Welcome to the 15th installment to The Nothing’s Child. The world is nothing like we know anymore. Or something…

If you are new to how the links work, each section shows all the links for the specific section. Otherwise there is a link for the start of each section. It is easy to catch up to where we are now.

Section 1
The Nothing’s Child
Section 2
Life is a Dumpster Dive
Section 3
Bleuthor Encryption
Section 4
Behind the Bookcase
Section 5
Interrogation with no Egg to Stand On
Eggsistential Confusion
Relatively Painless
Section 6
Mental Warfare
Section 7
Cracked Eggs

Relatively Painless

You might think a black sedan would stand out. I am always surprised at how well they blend in. It’s like painting them black places a spell over them that they are somebody else’s problem or something like that. This might be why they were everywhere in the old spy stories. They were never scary or intimidating, simply easy to forget.

We took the sedan to the new location. Michelle burned her electronics and any chance of trace from the warehouse location. I don’t know about you but losing my base of operations tends to cut deep, cutting the anchor that keeps you from drifting away.

The trip to the new location was uneventful at best. Felt like the heat was dying down a bit from the run a few days ago. Business as usual around here anyway. Runs on corps happen all the time. Secrets are stolen and then stolen back. It’s like a big game of corporate chicken. Who is going to stop first?

Of course when you throw in the private teams it can throw a monkey wrench into the entire dynamic. But that is just par for the course. It’s been the story of my life for some time now. Corps will use the freelance runners when they want to keep their own names out of it.

You might have noticed at one point over these past few days. The cops have been corporate owned. That happened a while ago when the corporations took over the government. Wasn’t just the United States, they bought out the governments throughout the world. Huge power move, some people still think it was a bad thing. I’ll say this for all of it, sure has livened things up since the change.

With Michelle at the wheel, Jen and I had time in the back seat to ignore each other. I was still pissed. The games she played with me, how do you come back from that? She was riding a line, one foot in the corps and one foot in the independents. Tough game to play, I could see it biting her in the ass at some point.

I didn’t want to be there when it happened. I didn’t want to be the one to pick up those pieces. But then, she’s been picking up my pieces for some time now.

Relatively Painless

Flickr Creative Commons via Dave Parker

Already I didn’t like the guy, Shade. Just a single name like he was some kinda rock star or something, prick. Treated Jen like he owned her. You ever been in a situation, or should I say just outside a situation like you are watching it happen, that made you uncomfortable. It was like that, but closer to just pissing me off.

Sure Jen was an old lover, now we were more like old friends, I didn’t have a claim on her life. But this guy, this guy was a prick. Never mind that he ran the lab that was going to be pulling the egg from my head. In a perfect world I might have looked to the guy as a savior, but right now I saw him for what he was, a first class douche.

I know you are probably thinking we went to some top secret super safe lab underground or something. But this isn’t the movies. We were in a local tech lab. Aside from the power of the corps, these places were a class all their own. Imagine old world pirates, these guys worked their magic as they saw fit. From a runner’s viewpoint, they were buyers of the tech and such that could be pilfered.

In the end they were essentially information brokers. Selling what they can get to the highest bidders. Michelle mentioned that this lab was the buyer for the egg. Drake never made it, and now the egg was imprinted on my brain. Don’t I feel lucky?

They gave me a handler, a tech named Josh. A little soft in the middle but seemed about right for a tech. Listen to me sounding all tough, I play on the Net for a living. I may not be feasting on donuts in a lab but I have my moments where I don’t get out in the physical world enough.

I walked with Josh into a private room toward the back of the building. Jen and Michelle were off doing god knows what in another area of the lab.

“This process is relatively painless,” Josh said.

I considered showing him the “painless” end of a rifle but that would be unneighborly. “Done this a few times, have you?”

“You’ll be the first.” He didn’t look at me, just kept working a control panel. He twisted a few dials then pulled a few electrical wires from a bin next to the instruments.

“Excuse me,” I said. “Are you using me as a guinea pig?” He didn’t even bother to look at me as he all but said I was about to die.

He set the wires down. With a heavy sigh he looked at me like he was seeing me for the first time. “The theory is sound. I have tested this on rats to great success.”

“Tested it on rats…” The words sort of drifted through the space between us. I had what could very well be a ticking bomb in my head and he expected rat testing to make me feel better. “Are you insane?”

“Look the system is designed like your Net jack. I plug you in and download the information directly from your brain. You already have the internal wiring for the process.”

I never really thought about it like this before. Thinking along these lines it would be easy for a creative tech to develop mind control through a Net jack. Worst case scenario, they already have but no one knows about it yet.

“The way this works, I will be going into the Net of your mind. I will find the egg to get the information. Once I do that you will be freed of it and able to go on your way.”

“So what you are saying is, you are going to do a run in my head?”

“I know it sounds crazy but theoretically it is possible.”


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