I’m impressed. The runners Pandora set me up with are professionals. They did a lot of prep work before starting the run. Flit and Zig Zag took diving lessons so they could get into and out of Aquacology with ease. When we met up again, they already had two wet suits and a water scooter. Ruin called a demolitionist to provide us with a shaped charge that could crack the glass domes of the underwater rooms. Good grid! I hope that is only used as a last resort.
Not surprisingly, we were attacked by Ancients on the way to pick up the explosive. I was almost useless, but then combat is not my forté. Anyway, the fight was over before I had a chance to take a 2nd shot. Zig Zag launched a flash bang to break their focus before shooting them down. Flit used her monofilament to slice them up. At one point a neatly amputated arm was flying through the air. Best of all, Ruin called his fire spirit, who fried a few of the Ancients. Those guys never had a chance.
Bam Bam, a dwarf with intriguing burn scars, provided us with the dome-cracker. Then we bought two more suits and a 2nd water scooter, so that we all had transport underwater.
Upon reaching the waterfront, we started looking for a boat to “borrow.” The easiest one to procure had two passionate dwarves in flagrante delicto. Not wanting to break up the lovers, we sought a different vessel. Zig Zag managed to hot wire a fishing boat.
Ruin conjured Trident, a water spirit. We launched, leaving the waterfront and set off to Aquacology. Trident created a wispy fog that concealed our approach. Once we reached the research center, Flit, Ruin and Zig Zag dropped quietly into the water. Staying in the boat, I curled up into a ball and dove into Hot-Sim.
Their host was locked up tight. With help from Lemon Lime Sprite, I got a mark and silently entered the host. Looking around, I found their security. It included sensors that would detect pressure changes when doors opened between chambers.
The others dove to the lowest level and came up through the moon pool. I didn’t see them on the security cameras. They were invisible, duh. Nice magic. Before they left that room, I tricked the pressure readout to think there was no pressure change when they opened the door. So far, so good.
They were able to reach the elevator undetected. Then some security guards patrolled through with a hellhound. The beast sniffed the air, turned its head to Zig Zag and growled.
Searching through the Aquacology host, I found the paydata. This is where you really need to be careful. I’m sure my meat body sighed with relief once I felt certain there was no data bomb. However, that file was huge. It would take forever to download.
One of the overpaid security guards tried to calm the hellhound. By the time he realized he should have respected the paranormal beast, he was already on the floor, bleeding out. Ruin used his mind control magic to prevent the other guard from raising an alert. He made a run for it, and Zig Zag chased him down. They finished the hapless guard in seconds.
I browsed through personal logs until the download was complete. Paydata in hand, I left the data bank and went searching for the orca. I’ve never encountered an animal on the matrix before. But then, not everything on the matrix is human, and sometimes it’s hard to tell humans from other entities. There was indeed a marine persona. It was mute, but I could sense it was distressed. It was captive and wanted escape. I told it, “We’re here to rescue you.”
Zig Zag, Flit, and Ruin entered the pool chamber where they saw a whale in a harness. Two researchers turned from their consoles but they saw no one. Zig Zag yells, “Release the killer whale.”
Personally, at this point I’m always hoping the target surrenders and promises not to cause any trouble. Of course, that rarely happens. Instead, one of the researchers replies, “You’ll never get out of here alive…”