пятница, 28 июня 2013 г.

DISINTEGRATION

Chapter XX

The Day the Boy Got Disintegrated

When Microsoft entered the training room he could hardly recognize it. The refined high-tech working space had turned into a junkyard. There were tall metal cylinders standing in the corners, boxes and gadgets lying around, wires hanging everywhere. It had been a long time since Microsoft saw wires. They connected the cylinders to some strange containers floating in water-like liquid inside glass boxes. The containers gave off a bright fluorescent blue light. The familiar 'shower cabin' he'd spent hours in during the training sessions was there too. IR, Augustine and WiFi hovered to and fro among the cylinders like bees among flowers.
"Are we ready?" asked Matrix. He made his way towards the tube and flipped a hoverchair off the wall. He sat down, buckled up, and a display unfolded from his SC over his lap.
"All we need the last check," said IR and floated towards Microsoft. "Give me your wrist."
Microsoft stretched out his hand and IR slipped Microsoft's SC on it. The SC pulsated red.
Microsoft's arm started itching just above the SC. The skin where Celestro had inserted the jammer turned reddish. Microsoft pressed his wrist to his side, but IR was too occupied to notice.
"Done," said IR. "Now you need to get into the tube. Wi, fix him up, would you? I'll check the connection."
Microsoft stepped into the tube. His legs felt weak, the room blurred into fog around him. He hardly registered WiFi sticking sensors to him, but for some reason his mind started couning them. One to each temple, six along the hairline on his forehead, two on his neck - one to the left and right carotid arteries, two pairs on his chest and his nape. So many numbers, yet so few minutes to live. The clips tugged lightly on his skin making him aware of every one of them. WiFi examined him head to foot.
"That's it. Now, lean back and relax," she said.
"That's what she said," muttered Microsoft and bit his tongue. His last joke before he died, and he managed to make even that crappy. WiFi didn't seem to hear him speaking.
Microsoft leaned back against a soft and warm wall of the tube and the moment WiFi sealed the tube, air pressed him harder against the wall paralyzing him. In panic he started gasping for air, the clips on his body and the SC lit up green. Microsoft struggled to free himself when he heard Matrix's voice in his head.
"Mike, calm down and breathe. It's just air-pressure, it holds you and the sensors in place."
Microsoft took a deep breath and the load eased. He could breathe freely but still couldn't move or calm down.
"Mike, can you hear me?" there was Matrix's voice again.
"Yeah," he whispered hoarsely, then cleared his throat. "Yes, I hear you."
Mat looked around the room - WiFi, IR and Augustine put their thumbs up. The three of them looked a bit creepy hovering around the room like they did and scrolling through codes and schemes on the displays that enveloped each of them. Yet, Microsoft smiled.
"Good, now that we all hear each other, let's go through everything again. Augustine?"
"So." Augustine raised his dark eyes at Microsoft. "Once again. The most important thing for you is to concentrate on the anchor, because there'll be thousands of scenarios in your head. Find the one where Diod Medina drops the license when you bump into him and you say "Old Danny". Keep the words in mind and don't look too far ahead, it'll confuse you. Find this in your head and concentrate, you'll know what to do afterwards. There'll be 5 combinations of codes in your mind." 
Numbers and letters appeared in front of Microsoft in red. 
"Before pulling the actual stunt," continued Augustine, "Open the 5-dimension port on your SC, connect to the corporate network, the first combination is your password. Once you're in, go to license reprogramming, put in the rest four, increase sensibility and speed to maximum, you'll need less than a second of contact to reprogram the card."
"One more thing," said Matrix, Microsoft turned to him and realized he didn't remember a word Augustine had just said. "Microsoft, this is important. Diod mustn't remember anything that has to do with you. So, when you're done with license reprogramming, go to my personal slot, the password is the first code backwards, order a memory blocker, set the clock to 00:04:25:834." The numbers popped up before Microsoft's eyes again, now in acid green. "Teleport the blocker to your SC, then erase the recent action. You'll just have to put it to the boy's nape, it'll be inserted automatically."
"Okay." Microsoft felt suffocated again.
"Only your mind is set back in time, the body stays here. The algorithm of the actions will be transmitted into your head, all you'll have to do is concentrate. Don't worry, you'll remember all the codes and everything that's just been said, clear as day," said IR with a reassuring smile. "And we'll see you soon."
Matrix hovered towards the tube and put his hand against its wall. Microsoft wanted to put his hand against Mat's, but remembered that he couldn't move, so he just nodded.
"Good luck," mouthed Matrix, and as he pushed himself away from the tubes and there was the familiar crackle of the sensors, Microsoft was so close to the brink of a breakdown that his toes went numb.
"On three," he heard Matrix say.
"One."
"Um.." said Microsoft, licking his lips.
"Two."
"Mat.."
"Three."
"Mat, I can't do th--" 
It was too late. 
A whirlpool of events sucked Microsoft in and he tried to catch his breath and concentrate. It wasn't like the training at all - there were thousands, maybe even millions of different scenario developments around him. 
"Old Danny, old Danny, old Danny..." he chanted in his head and there it was - the sequence of events he was looking for got marked red on his mind map like a route on a car HUD. A second later the chaos was gone, and he was standing on the street near a shopping port. The streets were empty, bluish-dark - the sun was just about to rise. He struggled to remember what he was doing there at this hour, but his mind refused to react.
"Old Danny, old Danny..." continued to play in his head. He turned to the shopping port and ordered a bottle of Jack Daniels. When the bottle popped out, he hid it in inside of his jacket and heard voices behind him. 
He looked around. Three teenage boys walked in his direction. He recognized Diod Medina right away - a blonde good-looking boy, taller than his friends, a charming wry smile, exactly like his vids showed. His two companions were short, but tough. One of them was very quiet. He didn't talk, just smiled. The other was hyper. He jumped around, ran ahead and walked backwards in front of them while talking loudly and waving his hands. Microsoft spotted his car and dived into it just in time to remain unnoticed.
"Shite, D! Is pure brilliant shite! Where'd you gank it?" One of the guys snatched something from Diod. Microsoft guessed they were the licenses.
"Shut it, herd! Keep your voice down, jee!" Diod stopped and spun around on his heels checking the area. Microsoft ducked. "Come on, the T/R's round the corner."
As the boys walked across the street, Microsoft unblocked his SC and got into the corporate system almost mechanically. He typed in 43 symbols of the password code without thinking.
"Wow, impressive!" he thought to himself. The next four combinations popped up in his head, but the figures and letters started mixing up. "F-fuck... which is it, now, four or six?.. h... no, capital 'H'... Concentrate!"
He closed his eyes letting the codes arrange themself in his head. 
"Got it!" He typed the codes in and closed the port on his SC. As he jumped out of the car, the boys were standing on the other side of the street at a shopping port with their backs towards him. 
Microsoft got into the corporate network again, found Matrix's personal slot and followed the instructions given to him in the training room. After a second a small transparent square of a wafer slid out of his SC.
"Weird." Microsoft examined the object that looked painfully familiar. 
It got strangely quiet. Microsoft looked up just in time to see the group of the teenagers disappear around the corner. He cursed and ran across the street after them. When he reached the corner he stopped and peeped around it. The boys were standing at the T/R and apparently discussed who would go first.
"Old Danny..." said Microsoft to himself. He took the Jack Daniels out of his pocket, downed it in a few gulps and threw it into the nearest trasherizer. As Microsoft was approaching them, he could make out what they were talking about.
"We must tag it! Tag it, D. I got a spray app, we laser our names right on!" The hyper guy slapped Diod on the back.
"You wanna get us rapped or shite? Jee, Teslo, don't you get it? Just shut it!" said Diod.
"You're missing it, 'migo! We're pioneers! We fucking fucked into the sys and we're gonna fucking teleport to Vegas, baby!"
"WE did nothing, I curb-traded it from a dude-knows-a-dude." Diod tapped himself against the chest.
"C-can I g-go first?" stuttered the third guy.
"No way! It's my B-day, 'migo! Move!" The hyper guy stepped onto the platform. "See ya on the other side, lamers!"
He disappeared into thin air.
"C-craze!" The stuttering guy stepped onto the platform in awe and vanished too.
"Fucktards." Diod spat aside and took out his license at the very moment when Microsoft approached and tripped over him as if by accident. The license slipped through Diod's fingers as he put his hands up to catch the falling man.
"Phew, narrow escape," said Microsoft, gaining his balance.
"Yuk, dude, you reek." Diod searched the pavement for the dropped lisence.
"Old Danny, you know," mumbled Microsoft. "Hardly keeps me on my feet. Looking for this?"
Microsoft picked the glistening card up with his right hand, keeping the transparent wafer between the fingers of his left one.
"Yeah," said Diod, his voice getting anxious.
"Sorry, I've messed it up..."
"It's fine, I--"
"I'll wipe it for you." Microsoft wiped the license against his SC several times, taking extra time to make sure the license would be properly reprogrammed. "Here."
Diod took the license carefully. Microsoft grabbed the boy by the nape with his left hand and breathed the hot whiskey odor right into his startled face.
"You're a nice fella, ain't you?"
"I g-guess." Diod widened his eyes, too shocked to move.
"Don't ever do this again till it's legal!" Microsoft said, and the moment he let Diod go, the boy jumped onto the platform and disappeared. "I wish you could remember that," Microsoft said with a sigh and rubbed his empty fingers together; the wafer was gone. The next moment everything went black and his legs gave way. Microsoft realized he was collapsing on the ground.
"This is it," was his last thought before he slipped into the swallowing darkness.

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