Out of Toronto 4.0
Get a Job! Pt 3
A few days later I had spent a little more time with Viper and <!—, apparently they’d been worried about me. But Viper was out looking to see if he could find a resonance well in the city, Meg hadn’t been responding to me at all and I was getting a little worried about how she was since I knew that the escape had been difficult for her as well. I’d given Jer an anon icon to contact me at directly rather than waiting for me to show up on his commlink. He’d only asked for a couple minor clarifications to the information.
I got a very different kind of message. We think they’ve changed their target. Apparently there is a technomancer in the area. I sunk deeper into the matrix, wanting to hide back in the resonance, but I kept reading. We are still on for the job, but we need to know if the technomancer will be a problem. Do you think you could contact her? Here’s the info we have that we captured from the Ares team: 5’2” slender pale skinned human female, blue eyes, dirty blonde hair, current alias unknown; assume heavily armed, drones, and IC, has extensive magical knowledge, has no regard for meta-human life, take alive.
Viper slithered up my leg and wrapped himself around my neck licking my face. This was really bad. It was clearly me. I wasn’t heavily armed, didn’t have drones or IC or magical knowledge. But I was a short, skinny, pale blonde. They got plenty wrong, but they were out for me.
I stared at the message the words searing into my mind and running through me deep through the resonance. I had to respond. I wasn’t sure if Jer knew it was me, but I didn’t want to give it away if he didn’t.
I will try to track her down. I’ve known a couple technomancers. Most of them are just on the run from corps and don’t have a lot of interest in interfering in jobs. If I had to guess, I’d say she wouldn’t be a problem. I paused before I sent the message off. I wanted to say, “Please don’t look for me.” “You can’t find me.” “She’ll leave.” Anything. Instead I finished I’ll get you information as soon as I have it. Thanks for the heads up.
I didn’t let out the breath. Viper was winding tighter around me until I finally gasped and pulled him off to wrap around my arm. “Do we have to leave?”
“I don’t know. Do you think Jer knows that I’m her?” I jammed my finger at the text and let it swirl around me.
Viper looked at the words. “Can we get drones?!”
I felt the fear surge through me and took a deep breath. “We might need them so we can be dangerous enough warrant an entire Ares hit squad.” It wasn’t funny. I laughed anyway.
I had looked around to see if I could find another technomancer who met that description, but my heart wasn’t in it. I knew it was me. I’d parsed the entire description over and over.
The heavily armed was just a scare tactic. I’d never even been shown how to use a weapon when I was being held and have never touched one in my life before. And I didn’t exactly plan on picking this up.
The drone comment I imagined came from my time at the facility. Viper would wander and take over everything he could, and they would think it was me taking their drones. They never understood that Viper has his own desires or even considered Viper as real.
IC well I wasn’t sure, they might list it for every technomancer to make us sound scarier. I wasn’t very good. The one other person who’d survived with me and was still inside Ares was incredible. He couldn’t make a friend at all, but he could kill you with his brain.
I imagined the extensive magical knowledge came from my parents. I hadn’t actually learned any magic or much about it. Most of what I knew was less than you could get from casually watching any trid flick. Magic existed, my parents wanted me to be magic, I wasn’t so they threw me away. Magic knowledge null.
No regard for meta human life. I’d read that a thousand times. I didn’t know what it meant. I didn’t know if it was standard, a piece of fear mongering pulling on the images from Hong Kong and even the Renraku Arcology to make it seem like we, like I, was not the same. I wasn’t out there slicing technomancer a open. I wasn’t beating them until they were nearly dead just to see how they functioned. I wasn’t sticking people in isolation cells completely and totally cut off from the world for months. I had never thrown my child away because they weren’t what I wanted. I’d never killed anyone. Never shot anyone. I’d barely even fought back for my own life. The only reason they wanted me was to continue torturing me but somehow the way they wrote it I was the evil villain.
I wanted to shout to the world, I’m just a person, not a demon. I wanted to hide from the world, I’m just a person, not a political statement. But I knew I’d always be a demon and a political statement first and a person last.
I sent another message to Jer. Unable to locate anyone in the area. Likely got wind and left the area. May want to move up timeline before Ares squad leaves to follow.
I set out to try to create a series of probable hits leaving town and appearing to create a trail to another city. Then I made a list of places I could never go.
We are going in tonight. 2100.
I opened the back door to his commlink, which he still hadn’t closed and found some plans for the location. It was just a few blocks from me. Apparently Ares had been getting closer that I realized. A new, unfamiliar application was running, and heavily taxing his systems.
I had no clue what to do, run, stay, try to fight? I whispered into the resonance for Meg but she was still silent. A fearful thought ran through me, what if they’d captured or destroyed her. I sunk into the resonance and looked at all the threads connected to me. Most thick strong ropes, and the a nano thin filament I could only feel whispered to me of hiding and silence. I let out a tumultuous breath full of relief and trepidation. I pushed myself back up to the surface, and opened the feed from Jer. Curious, I tapped into this new application, and at once could perceive meatspace from several different perspectives.
I was careful to ensure that I was hidden, my signature undetectable. They’d be looking for me afterall. I watched silently as the scene played out, or what I could see of it. The creepy guy was a magic user, he was full of wind and water. The woman might have had a little magic, but mostly she used guns. Jer had jumped into a drone, and was commanding the others. It was an impressive sight, but they weren’t doing well. The woman was no longer shooting anything. The mage didn’t seem to be doing so much. The drones were able to keep watching the area, but their guns seemed ineffectual against the heavy Ares hit squad. There were 4 remaining members of the Ares team and Jer was having trouble commanding all the drones.
I screwed up, I didn’t know it then, but I screwed up. I sent Jer a message to let Viper take over one of the drones Jer couldn’t quite seem to hold onto anymore. In order to let Viper out, I stepped through Jer’s commlink into the system node while calling up Viper. Jer quickly flagged Viper with access, he jumped in and immediately dove into the fray. Viper-drone dodged faster and more accurately than any dog-brain and immediately took out one Ares member.
The 3 remaining members of the Ares squad turned on him immediately. I realized they thought they were turning on me… They knew I was here, they were going to find me. Three members of an elite Ares squad was turning to look right at me. Well not physically of course, but they now were completely certain I was there even if they didn’t know where there was.
Jer took the opening and managed to bring their numbers down to 2. I didn’t breathe I just dove for one of the other two. He was full of cybernetics. Why someone thought it was a good idea to send this guy after me I had no idea. Viper showed up next to me, “The scrawny creepy guy shot me with water…” He sounded as completely confused as I was. But I reached into the resonance and pulled up Crash and <!— and we all started tearing down the defenses and Viper got ahold of his legs.
I couldn’t see what was happening in meat space, but I could see the IC coming out looking for me. There was a lot of it. I wrapped myself in all the armor I could muster and tried to hold firm. If I could keep them distracted, occupied then Jer could take the last two out. They couldn’t report back on me if they couldn’t report at all. A slice ran deep through my back, the pain made me scream. The two Ares men and Jer heard me.
I could hear the mage through Jer’s comm, “It’s that demon woman they are after, she’s coming for us now.” I didn’t know what part of his idiocy to be more bothered by. The man Viper had control of the legs on went down. But as he fell the other moved quickly he had to be coming to my physical location. I had to hide better. They were expecting me. I whispered to my sprites to hide, deep.
I peeled myself from the real world, alone and hunted in meat space.
I had no idea what to do, how to run, and less idea how to do it without being connected. The only time I’d done it Meg had been with me the whole way. Now I was alone, I wanted to be back in the real world. I shouldn’t have to stay disconnected for long, but they’d be looking for me as long as they were able to. I hoped Jer had managed to take the last of them down. And take them all down for good.
I scrambled out of the room in the cramped coffin motel and promptly slammed into the wall. Things were supposed to tell you they were there. I whimpered at the added level of pain. I was tired, my nose was bleeding, I hurt everywhere, and I had to move. I grabbed the bag I’d been carrying with, I hadn’t accumulated much stuff here, or at all, it should always be that way, one bag. I shouldn’t ever have anything I couldn’t leave behind or fit in the bag.
I walked out the front and turned, I had no idea where anything in this city was. Hell without AR I wasn’t even entirely sure which city I was in. I had to run.