Guest of Honor

He goes on: "...‘Might makes right’ and all that, eh? You see, ever since the invention of the computer in the twentieth century, corporations have been gaining power at an alarming rate. In the twentieth century, most significant scientific advancements fell under the control of governments. But the computer was different. Corporations, not governments, took control of the computer. And unlike any other invention in the history of man, the computer has essentially boundless potential, and as such has created such entities – modern technology corporations – that have the ability to tap into that potential. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, it was Microsoft that grew to dominate the technological landscape. But Microsoft made mistakes, huge mistakes, and when they eventually collapsed, others were there to take its place. CyberCorp, as you may or may not know, was the foremost of these. And where Microsoft failed, we have succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, except perhaps those of our board of directors. For we at CyberCorp do not make mistakes. We dominate the world economy because we provide things no one else can. As such, we have . . . a special relationship with the governments, including that of the United States, that require both our business and our fulfillment of various contracts in order to continue to survive. It’s become a symbiotic relationship, of sorts. The governments need CyberCorp, and therefore are unable to prevent CyberCorp from doing, well whatever we want. And while it may be symbiotic, CyberCorp is clearly on top of the heap here. We can exist just fine without the United States, but sadly they are unable to say the same thing. Which, of course, brings us back to you, and why you’re here.”

“Glad you found your way back.” What a prick.

“Hah, aren’t you? Now, Cybercorp has accomplished, and continues to accomplish, truly wondrous things in its time. Take our newest and most successful product, for example, the TRUscape-VR5 wireless Metascape chip, one of which I see you have already purchased.” He taps the slight bulge on the side of my skull where they implanted the chip on me. “Now, I’m sure you realize that you are not sick, unlike the majority of the faceless masses. With the “plague,” this new nanovirus going around? This, of course, is due to the chip you have implanted in your head, which we at CyberCorp are proud to say is the only proven way to disable the nanobots that cause such a devastating virus. Now, you have to agree, CyberCorp is doing a huge service to humanity in developing such a product, at no small cost I might add.”

“And making a hefty profit on chip implants in the process, I’d assume.”

“You say it like it’s a crime. Regardless, we at CyberCorp are always striving to improve the human condition by defying the limitations and weaknesses – including disease – that come with the meat self. We value the human spirit, and TRUscape will allow us to bring that to the forefront once and for all. Now, I am going to tell you something confidential. Drake Collins was part of Prostheticore experiment 101C, which was sponsored by CyberCorp, and designed to revolutionize cyborg technology. Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in these cases, the experiment went awry and Mr. Collins obviously lost his mind. We could not allow you to compromise this experiment, therefore we were left with no choice but to bring you here. We fully expect to be able to release you at some point in the near future, so please, do not worry, you will be taken care of until that time.” He glances down at his watch. “Well, it appears I must depart now, meetings, you know, so I’m sure I’ll be seeing you soon, Jack. Good Day.”

“Whatever.” He gives a barely open slit of a smile and slinks out of the room like the wolf he is. The enforcer follows. I’m alone again. I wait.

And wait.

After some ungodly amount of time, I’m distracted from my paranoia by the sound of footsteps in the hall, the first since Bill left. I look out to see Mandy accompanied by an enforcer. The tension in her stride betrays her anxiety. She looks at me as she passes and I know something terrible is going to happen. And it does. At the end of the cellblock hallway, she slams the close button on the sliding door, trapping her outside the cells and the enforcer in. He slams the open button almost immediately, but she’s already off running around the corner, far in front of him. She could make it. It’s possible.

A few seconds later some muffled gunfire echoes from down the hallway. Then everything is quiet.

Again I wait. Not for too long this time though, because at some point I realize my implant is operative again. I jack into the Interweb and find that the command for opening cell doors is surprisingly easy to hack. It didn’t work for Mandy, but then again, I don’t want to rot for the rest of my life in a white cell either. Damn. A dilemma.

      Open the cell door and make a break for it

      Play it safe and wait in the cell

I couldn't take it anymore. I called it off.