Distress Call

I was halfway into a stupor when everything shut off. The lights, the vid Jet was watching, all the little whirs and hums you get used to in a place like this. The emergency lights kicked in shortly after. They were off-net and battery-driven. Of course, with all the weirdness lately I would have only been halfway surprised if they managed to go down, too.

“I don’t think that’s a good sign,” Jet said as he walked in from the guest room.

“I am sure I felt safer not knowing that this net had infiltrated the building control grid,” I replied. “Even if it is Delilah.”

“So you really think she’s telling the truth?” Jet asked. “That it’s not just some hoax with somebody controlling your assistant program?”

“You saw what I saw when we started probing the server,” I said. “And it falls in line with what sense I’ve been able to make of Dad’s notes. He spent most of his life experimenting with advanced neural nets. The only thing I still don’t get is why Dee wound up like she did.”

“How’s that?”

“She was created as a sort of worm to get to the heart of the Raid sim and the associated community. Figure out everything that makes it tick. Eventually with the goal of defeating it for good. Right? So why is she now running Raids, apparently assisting the recent uptick in successful attacks on Central? And why is it so important that she run on herself?”

“So you’re saying you don’t actually know why she’s doing this and you still decided to help her?”

I shrugged. “The CSO was on my back. I figured it would be a good way to throw them for a loop.”

“Your realize that-”

Bzzt.

Just a single buzz this time. It sounded warbly and soft, but that may have just been my imagination. My terminal – yes, the one I’d locked earlier – lit up with a simple console.

Need help, it said.

I sighed and set the whiskey bottle aside. Something told me I’d need to sober up fast.

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