Gotta get some information somewhere. I drive over to the Prostheticore building and park in a space near the middle of the parking lot. Now I need a plan. I canít just go in guns blazing Ė metaphorically Ė I have to play this cool. Then it hits me. I know exactly what I need.
I open up my glove compartment and start fumbling through it. Címon, itís got to be here. What self-respecting private eye doesnít have a . . . ah! Here it is. I pull out my laminated press pass, forged of course, identifying me as Jack Case, reporter for AllNews.Com. It still shimmers in the sunlight, even though itís well worn from serving me many times in the past.
I step out of the car, brushing my tangled hair back and smoothing the wrinkles in my trench coat. A second later I affix the pass to my lapel, and Iím ready. Play this right, and the world is mine.
The girl at the front desk could be a caretaker AI in the Metascape if she tried hard enough Ė she has the bland prettiness and the vapid look down pat. ďCan I help you?Ē she asks with that perfectly measured blend of flirtatiousness, nonchalance, and utter boredom.
ďYeah, as a matter of fact. Iím Jack Case, reporter for AllNews.Com, and Iím co-writing a story on Prostheticore and its contributions to the future of cybernetic medical and enhancement technology.
ďOh, well, isnít that exciting. Would you like to arrange some interviews?Ē
ďOh no thank you, another reporter will be contacting you for interviews. However, I did speak to a . . .Ē
Damn, whoís a higher-up here that I could have spoken to. My eyes quickly scan of the room and find exactly what I need Ė a listing of offices. Hrm, higher floors probably mean higher positions so someone on floor . . . twenty out of thirty should do nicely.
ď. . . a Mr. Ishigawa about looking into reading some of the more technical files on Prostheticoreís processes. However, he said that I would need to come to the physical building, as company policy forbids him from simply sending those documents to a non-employee. So if possible, Iíd like to use a computer terminal. It shouldnít take more than an hour at most, and holographic technology isnít necessary.Ē
Her vapid gaze shifts to itís other preset emotion, bewilderment. ďWell . . .Ē she says, ďIf you spoke to someone here I suppose itís alright if I let you use a computer.Ē Then she adds ďI mean, all the confidential files are secured even on our own networks,Ē probably to reassure herself. Looks like Iím home free. ďIíll have to supervise your usage though.Ē Maybe not.
She leads me to a room containing a few computers, all in relatively new condition, and she types in a password to log me onto the system. Then she sits down at the terminal next to me and proceeds to type in a long string of text. I have to get her out of here. I have an idea.
Thereís a phone on the back wall of this room. Hoping she wonít notice, I activate my implant and enter the Metascape. I download a conversation AI, and then refocus so that Iím only seeing the Interweb text command for the Prostheticore phone system. A little tampering and the AI is uploaded to the phone network. Now I just have to make that phone ring, and . . . shit. Nothing happens. Why didnít that phone ring, it should be Ė the phone at the front desk starts ringing.
ďOh, I guess Iíd better get that. Iíll be right back.Ē she says. That works too.
I only have a few minutes, so I jack back into the Interweb, this time uplinking to the Prostheticore computer servers. I wish I were better at this, but Iíll just have to make do. Iíve got a limited time frame here. I do some amateurish hacking, and discover what I hope is the password to mid-level classified documents, but I canít actually access the documents from the Interweb. I jack out and resume typing on the machine in front of me. From the front desk, the receptionist is still trying to have a conversation with the AI. Iíve got a few more minutes at least.
I enter what I hope is the right password and search for Drake Collins. Luckily, the first document that shows up has a midlevel classified ranking Ė guess the password worked. I open the document, which says: ďDrake Collins was the first recruit in Prostheticore biotech experiment 101C, an experiment with three basic parameters:
1. To enhance the human muscle tissue and organs to a point of superhuman strength, endurance, toughness, and resistance (all known diseases, including the nanovirus).
2. To facilitate synaptic communication in order to shorten reaction time to the minimum possible amount.
3. To provide a means of monitoring, and if necessary mental override of the subject.
The purpose of experiment 101C is to develop a series of protectors that would be resistant to normal riot and/or combat situations, and if necessary could be remote controlled by in the event of a possible revolt or mutiny.Ē
So heís a mind-controlled super-soldier, basically. That pretty much makes my day.
I click the link to another file, and in it I find an image of the contract Drake signed and the waiver form releasing Prostheticore from any liability to his person. Then I transfer to the file on experiment 101C.
The first document is a copy of the budget for the project. Itís over 100 pages long so I skip to the last page and thatís where I find the real bomb. Itís signed by Gregory Frickson, CEO of Prostheticore, and thatís no surprise. But itís also signed by Henry LeCerc, one of the CyberCorp board of directors, and right next to the Prostheticore logo is the CyberCorp logo.
Itís all so clear now. Cybercorp, the largest cybernetic corporation on the planet, is building an army of mind controlled super enforcers. Because, obviously, they need more power. Assholes.
At this point, I realize that the beeping coming from the room isnít a paging system, itís an alarm. Someoneís figured me out. Time to go.
I rush out of the building, flying past the receptionist, knocking her on her ass in the process. I have to get out of here before the authorities come.