Talking Down Death

“Let’s talk about this, Drake. I don’t want to fight you!” I yell up the side of the building.

He stands there for a few seconds, silent and motionless. Processing. “Alright,” he finally replies, and jumps off the ledge, landing with a crash in the middle of the pavement, chips of asphalt flying everywhere. “I’ve been wanting to talk to you anyways,”

“Oh really,” I reply, taking a step back. This guy’s a little too close. “About what?”

“I want your help,” he replies. What the hell? What happened to this guy?

“What?” I say. “What happened to you? Are you still being mind-controlled by CyberCorp?

“Not anymore,” he replies. It seems genuine; his voice has lost a lot of the artificiality that made it so jarringly harsh before. Still, better be safe before I rush into anything.

“How’d that happen?”

“I’m still not completely sure,” he says, and his hawk-like eyes reflexively scan the street for any incoming threats. “But I believe it had to do with a flaw in the experiment. 101C was just that, an experiment, so it used a lot of unproven or cutting-edge techniques and technology. The mind-control implant they gave me was the height of cutting edge technology. Hell, as far as I know, I was the first human ever to be implanted with a device like that, but nevermind. Point is, it didn’t work quite as well as they wished it did, so sometimes it’d just turn off and it’d be like I came out of dream, completely unsure of where I was waking up. Eventually, I caught on, though, and at one point when the control of the device was at its lowest point, I carried out some . . . auto-surgery.” He turns his head to the side to show me a deep nasty scab just behind his left ear.

“Waitasec,” I say. “You did that to yourself? Today?”

“Yeah,” he says. “The way they fixed my metabolism, it’s already healing up, so it’s nothing to worry about. Important part is, the chip is gone. They can’t control me anymore.” His eyes dart to the left and right almost imperceptibly. He couldn’t even have known that he had done it.

“So why come to me then?”

After I removed the control chip, I realized I knew a lot of things people weren’t supposed to know, simply because they thought they could control me utterly. For example, I know the purpose of the 101C experiment.

“What, to give CyberCorp an army of mindless super-soldiers? Yeah, I think that part’s pretty obvious.”

“Yes, but these soldiers, enforcers, were to have a greater purpose. They were meant to be CyberCorp’s agents in the coming of the Awakening.”

“You know, I’ve been hearing that word a lot lately, but no one’s bothered to explain to me just what the hell it means, exactly. It has to do with the launch of VR5 TRUscape, right?”

“It is the launch of TRUscape. It’s the plan by which CyberCorp will do away with the failing and weak “meat world” completely and bring everyone into a higher plane of existence within the Metascape itself. Rumor has it, the CyberCorp board of directors is all one big techno-cult. They all worship the simulacra god of unreality or some bullshit like that. You know, I would go so far as to say CyberCorp probably invented the whole nanovirus scare in order to package the cure with the VR5 chips and sell more of them. Far as I know, they want every person on earth to ascend with them into the new world, and leave everyone’s real bodies in states of catatonic bliss. A bunch of creepy sickos, if you ask me.

“So where do I come into all of this?” A lot of things seem to be fitting together now.

“It’s because of CyberCorp that my sister is dead. I want revenge, and I want justice. I want your help to stop the Awakening before they control every last freethinking mind on the planet. I want you to let me disable your VR5 chip and bring you with me to destroy CyberCorp.

”But I’ve just opened up this mapping system, it’s really useful. It’ll show us the best way to get in. Would I really have to disable the chip?”

“Unless you have a big desire to be tracked by CyberCorp everywhere you go, then yeah. The chip’s gotta go. I know my own ways in.”

Damn. “You just dumped a lot of stuff on me at once, there. I don’t know, I’m beginning to doubt whether you and I could really take down CyberCorp on our own.

“Look,” he says, and his eyes shine with the fire of justice. “I don’t know if we can do it alone, but with or without you, I will do it or die trying. Are you in or not?”

      Let him disable the chip and go with him to take on CyberCorp.

      I can’t lose the maps. I’ll make my own way in.

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