Una's mind was working furiously, but her body wouldn't respond. She'd been without it for so long, the muscles had severely atrophied, despite the protein bath incubator. On top of which, she wasn't even sure she knew how to send instructions to them any more.

She couldn't even work out how to turn her eyes upward to look at the wires still trailing down from the ceiling and into various sockets in her skull. A tear burst over her eyelid, merging with the dregs of protein bath that still covered her skin. Had she done that deliberately? Was it from the strain of trying to operate her muscles correctly, or from the knowledge that she was suddenly, hopelessly powerless?

She stared at the wall.

Garek was enjoying an altogether too expensive cocktail and watching other people gamble ludicrous sums of money in one of the painfully brightly lit casinos on B deck when the shit hit the fan.

[+Becky Annison +Nick Golding What was the shit, and what form did its hitting the fan take? ]

Una: Ha. Enjoy your new computer, Captain Cocky.

Next up. Melissa Henderson. Hopefully, right where I left her...

Una walked into the room, presenting as a tall, dark-haired and exceptionally slender woman. Gangly, almost. Dressed in dark red, top and trousers, with brown leather boots.

"Sorry to keep you waiting; other business, you know how it is. Well, maybe you don't."

[Someone wanna play Melissa?]

Zeta lay on her bunk for a few moments, testing her muscles and listening to the sounds of the ship. This was going to head fuck her for a while.

Moksha is trapped somewhere on Nexus One. Probably. If I'm not in a VR still.

She swung off the bunk and onto her feet. Started grabbing her things to head out.

If anyone is going to mess with that bitch, it's going to be me.

[+Nick Golding +Becky Annison How can Zeta best find Moksha?]

Moksha Awakes

Getting an emergency boot out of VR was never fun, always a shock to the system and damn disorientating. But Moksha had been in VR for 10 years normal time and as far as her body knew 6 months of actual time.

Moksha's mouth was dry and the nasal feeding tube chafed and grated up her nose and down her throat.  For a second she panicked fearing she'd gone blind until she realised her eyes were tapes shut.  She gingerly raised her hand (cannular tugging at the back of her wrist) and peeled back the tape from her eyes blinking in the brightly lit room.  She gently started flexing a few muscles and remembering how to use her body.

The Hive Safehouse

Whatever you might be expecting from a secret Hacker safehouse, 7968A Paradise Tower wasn't it.  It wasn't a cool graffiti covered basement room, not even a smoky flophouse. It was a neat if shabby office space.  It was filled with cubicles and the cubicles were filled with office workers, office equipment and even standard corporate issue green plants to humanise an otherwise grey and boring environment.  It was most people's cliche of corporate hell.  It was as far away from a secret Hacker safehouse as you can imagine which made it as safe as could be.

[+Nick Golding FYI]

The Porcupine

The Porcupine is a lunar class freighter, originally designed for hauling asteroid ore. It has a substantial storage area in the belly area, with a rather cramped bunk area squashed above. Frankly the bridge is more spacious than the bunk area and about as comfortable, but on a long trip the variety is worth it, not to mention the horizontality. The flanks of the ship conceal gubbins like air processing, fuel tanks and so on, and in the case of Porcupine these are modified to include hidden compartments of various kinds.

Porcupine is designed for short haul (interplanetary, not interstellar) trips. Powered by twin plasma dives, it can make 10m kph at top speed, fast enough to move between planets in a matter of weeks. It is not especially manoeuvrable and slow to accelerate and decelerate, being designed for straight line journeys. It has an on-board laser cannon for dealing with medium size asteroids and a microwave field for taking micro meteors.

Porcupine is nearing the end of its theoretical operational life. It is creaking at the edges. In practice Garek will probably bodge, patch and pray his way to many more years of use.

Una: Well. The disk is copied, disconnected and erased. I've wiped the machine just in case. Sorry, sweetheart, hope you didn't have your favourite porn on there. Guess it's time to call that nice lady at the GA and see what she wants doing with it. And then back to the little girl in the- wait, what?

A message:

"To the joker at this network address. I have detected your little VR stunt. I don't know why you decided to dick around with my ship and I don't really care. Get off my turf now before I kick you off. Thank you, and good night!"

Hmm. Interesting. I guess I could move the VR, but I like having it untraceable to Nexus One staff. Let's test Captain Garek a little.

Sending message:

"Suggest you don't. Difficult to shut it down without screwing with your onboard computers. Security measure, you know. Also some people in there you might care about."

Your move, Captain.

[+Joshua Fox, what's Garek's response?]

Deep in the heart of Nexus One, a spider was spinning its web. It started from the personal computer of an anonymous passenger, and spread quickly into the public information and leisure network of the craft. From there, it took a little longer to inveigle itself into more secure systems; navigation, life support systems, waste management, and on, and on.

[What are the consequences of the super-spy AI infiltrating Nexus One's systems? Post here when you know one. Feel free to then post to other threads showing how they are perturbed by these events. +Nick Golding +Becky Annison ]

Garek returned to the Porcupine, eating the roasted flesh of a rather odd beast from the Sequoia galaxy, the name of which he never could remember, served on a bed of fried potatoes in a plastic container. He had located his bunk room on Nexus One, as well as one or two promising watering holes. Time to pick up his stuff and move it into the bunk room - might as well make use of the comfier quarters.

But wait. Something was not right here.

[+Nick Golding what evidence does Garek find of Una's former presence on the Porcupine?]
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