Following the Maps

“Unlock those maps, Paris.”

He’s white as a sheet. “Christ, Jack, I helped you as best I could. I tamper with CyberCorp technology like that, it’s my ass!”

I sheath the card with the server code for his porn ring like a poisoned blade—I’ll let this scumbag alone for now. He’ll keep his marriage, unless his wife finds out about the porn ring from his boss, who at this moment is getting pinged with an anonymous message labeled JARED PARIS, hyperlinked directly to the server. Almost feel sorry for the bastard.

I flip up the MetaScape and start scrolling through the maps in real-time. Damn, Paris was right—things are detailed as hell. Even with the current rendering levels, when I fly down to the parking lot of the virtual laboratory where I’m actually standing in real life, the place looks identical. Lighting’s controlled by an atomic clock somewhere in the guts of the chip, so when it’s 3:12 AM in the real world, it’s 3:12 AM in this Scape.

I flip off textures and slash the complexity level; I’m met with a world of blocky orange polygons. I zoom up, fast, and do a MetaSearch on the CyberCorp headquarters. The map scrolls to the northern quadrant of the city and centers on a structure—some kind of pyramid. I crank the detail, enable textures and zoom. The pyramid suddenly shines black chrome beneath me, and I soar directly through its pointed summit and inside, holding my breath.

The room I’m in is vast, one wall set with some sort of cyberorganic implantation chairs; wires and synthetic flesh hanging in a mass. There’re machines everywhere—huge data storage devices, hardwired terminals the size of a car, and a thousand things I don’t even begin to understand. It’s all motionless as a grave—looks like the only dynamic thing in this Scape so far is the lighting.

Well damn, with these maps I can find a way straight into CyberCorp, make my way to that room at the top, and get the answers I need. Tomorrow morning, first thing, after I get some sleep. Then I notice a blinking number at the bottom of my field of vision in the verse:

And it’s counting down. Whatever this TRUScape phenomenon is, I don’t trust it farther than I can take a crap. Better act now.

But how am I going to get into CyberCorp alone? They’ve got enough security to hold off an army. I’ll need some help. I wrack my brains… no one useful, unless…

      I give Tess a call—a femme fatale is exactly what I need to bust me into CyberCorp, plus she seems to know a lot.

      I don’t need her—I’ll use my maps to get me there.

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