Soran ran down what felt like the hundredth corridor that night. The facility was huge and he knew that he wasn't going to find a place to hide; there were security cameras everywhere.
That's okay, Soran thought to himself. I'm not looking for a way out.
A dead end. Soran turned around and watched as three security guards came running around the corner and closed in on him.
"You've got nowhere left to run! It's over!"
"I guess you're right." Soran held his arms out in front of him, his limp hands palm-down. "I surrender."
"Wise decision," said one of the guards as he pulled out a pair of handcuffs.
The guards never stood a chance. Soran closed his hands into fists and two long, prehensile, braided cords shot out from under the sleeves of his shirt. They wrapped themselves around the approaching guard and slammed him against the wall. As the other two guards removed their sidearms from their holsters, they found them wrenched from their grip before they even had a chance to fire a round. Before they could react they had their legs whipped out from underneath them. One of the guards hit his head on the floor and passed out immediately. The remaining one stood up and poised himself, ready for a fist fight.
"Poor decision," Soran said. He lashed out a cord, winding it around his victim's neck and raising him several inches off the floor. "My reach is far greater."
The guard wheezed and tugged at the cord, desperately trying to free himself before he was strangled to death. "Who.... are.... you?"
Soran's other cord snaked up around the man until the USB-tipped end was staring him straight in the face. "Names are overrated. Especially for those people who will never need to utter it again." At that, the guard finally slipped into unconsciousness and Soran tossed him rather unceremoniously into a pile with his colleagues.
The server room was a veritable gold mine for anyone looking to find the company's dirty little secrets and today Soran was going to strike it rich. He hid in the darkness of the rafters, studying the patterns of the guards patrolling below. When he finally decided upon his angle of approach, he wasted no time.
The brawl was short and decisive. Soran swung down on braided cord and kicked a guard straight through a third story window, scoring an easy incapacitation. The second guard was dispatched easily as well. Soran snagged the rifle from his hands and swung it in a huge arc, hitting the guard square in the head causing him too to pass out. By the time the other four guards showed up, Soran was ready for them. With one cord he rounded the guards up into a tight bundle, pinning their arms to the sides and leaving them unable to fire their weapons . The other cord he sent across the room, plugging the USB tip into it's appropriate port on a computer tower. Soran then pulled a surge of electricity from the machine and sent it coursing through the guards' bodies. Screams of agonizing pain filled the room until the last of them had finally fainted. Soran retrieved his cord, letting the guards slump to the floor.
Now then, time to get what I came here for.
Soran turned his attention to the cord still plugged into the computer. He closed his eyes and focused all his willpower down that single cord. In a few moments, he began to glow a brilliant blue color. Then, with a blinding flash, he disappeared.
On the surface, a psychic interacting with its subject is just a couple of brains emitting patterns through nodes and synapses. But for the psychic, once their astral form has been projected into the other's mind, it's as though the psychic has entered a whole new world, both wonderful and terrifying. So too it was with Soran as he coursed through the computer's inner workings.
Everywhere Soran traveled were bright blue hallways covered in ever-changing white text. He was attempting to navigate his way to the database. There he would find everything he needed to send this company down the tubes once and for all. No more extortion. No more blackmail. No more bribes. Just one less corrupt entity in the industry.
It is said that there is strength in numbers. Soran knew how true this was; he was especially fond of ones and zeros. All along the way Soran kept running into anti-virus software blips, but ones were his sword and zeros his shield. Soran had yet to meet a system that could best him.
Finally, Soran reached the hard drive. It was obvious that the operator never ran a defragmentation on it. Information was scattered everywhere, broken and in total disorganization.
Looks like I've got my work cut out for me. Guess I better start looking...
Soran ran as fast as he could. He had a whole suite of protection software on his tail and they were quickly closing the distance. He ducked his head and wove back and forth, trying to dodge the onslaught of fire bearing down on him. He slowed only for a moment, unable to resist tossing a timed charge into the system32 block.
With one last desperate leap, Soran dove into the output port, narrowly escaping with his life.
The server room lit up with a flash again as Soran rematerialized in front of the computer.
"I should develop some kind of stealth software," Soran said as he reached over and unplugged himself from the USB port. He tapped a couple icons on a display screen that was grafted into his lower right arm. The data packet was secured and Soran allowed himself the slightest grin of accomplishment.
"That was quite an impressive display."
Soran jumped to his feet, startled by the sudden voice, and prepared to defend himself. "Where are you? Come on out, I dare you!"
A dark figure emerged from the shadows. He wore light armor, dark silver in color with an eerie red glow that danced slowly amongst the details. Every movement of his limbs was trailed with wisps of black smoke and his eyes glowed red.
"So tell me, what's your name? Dataman? Hax Walker? Or how about The USB Dongle Goblin?"
Soran was not amused by the attempted humor. "I set foot where no man has set before, where no man could even dream of setting foot. I have discovered a new frontier within that which we are all already familiar with. I wield this power and use it to expose corruption and tear down the reputation of any money-grabbing and power-hungry organization that has ever wronged those I care for." Soran whipped his USB cords through the air menacingly before poising them for a possible strike. "I have taken the next giant leap for mankind. I am The Cybernaut."
The shadowy figure looked unimpressed. "Touching monologue. You almost had me convinced."
"Yeah, well, you still haven't told me who you are," Soran countered, still not letting his guard down.
"My name is Xaeraz, if it really matters. I've come to make you an offer."
"What kind of offer?"
Xaeraz strode forward, undaunted by Soran's intimidating stance. "You say you fight corruption. So do I and others. Join us."
"I work alone."
"Because alone is all you've ever been since you were touched by The Void."
Soran eased up ever so slightly. "What do you know about that?"
"I know you're not the only one. I'm living proof of that, if you can even call it a life anymore."
"If you have answers, I want them," Soran demanded.
Xaeraz grunted. "Come with me and my master can entertain your inquisition. In the meantime..." Xaeraz produced what looked like a couple of blank dogtags. He placed them around Soran's neck and, as he did so, small flames appeared and burned Soran's name and title into the black metal.
Soran fingered the dog tags and looked them over, intrigued by the deep purple glow they emitted. What purpose they served, Soran wasn't sure. But when they were placed around his neck he had felt a surge of power. "Where can I meet this master of yours?"
Xaeraz walked past Soran and looked over the computers lining the wall. "It's quite an impressive power you wield, I'll give you that. Tell me, have you ever traveled wirelessly to another system?"
"It can't be done," Soran replied. "I've tried it before, but I don't have that kind of power."
"Now you do," Xaeraz said. "And I must say, I'm looking forward to experiencing it first-hand."
Soran shook his head. "You wish. I can only project myself into a system, no visitors."
"Oh, I beg to differ," Xaeraz said with a devilish grin. He walked over to Soran and placed a hand on his shoulder. Slowly Xaeraz's form melted into the fabric of Soran's hoodie until the shadowy messenger had completely disappeared from view.
Come, Cybernaut. Let's find out what it's really like to 'surf the web'. We just might find my Lord along the way...
Well, there you have it. Two down and some unknown number left to go. I'm actually surprised at how much shorter this one is than The Bodyguard.
Anyways, I wouldn't expect the next one to be out quite as quickly. I have yet to figure out what the next one will be and I may take a break anyways so that I can enter the Library Summer Olympics.
As always, criticism is much appreciated. I do my best to respond to each and every post I get.
You can find out more about this series here. (I have no idea why a six year old blog entry is showing in the results for that tag.)