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By Stefan Posthuma

A story written while reading the books by William Gibson. It's
inspired upon Gibson's style and uses some things from the world
he's created, and can be seen as a warming-up for his books, if
you like this, then you'll surely like his stuff. It's

Wilson froze as he felt the cold pain of the needle just above
his waist. "Chinese", a voice behind him said. "cooked up in
some underground lab, pop your nerves in 45 minutes."
"Who are you?", Wilson turned around and faced a lean, slik
looking man in a black coat, some grey jeans and Nikes. "Never
mind, you'd better come with me. Got some shit down at the
office that'll fix you up."
"Why do you want me?", Wilson asked and started after the man,
who walked away. "Don't ask too many questions", the man snapped
and quickened his pace. Wilson caught up with him and saw the
tension in his face. "He must know who I am", he tought, "the
shithead's scared." The man led him off the main road, the
alleys darkening as they went on. "Why the chem job?", asked
Wilson. "They figured you wouldn't come otherwise", the man
responded. "They're damn right", said Wilson as he pulled the
trigger on the short-range stomper he drew from his long
overcoat. The man's body went into convulsions as the subsonic
shockwaves crushed his organs. The body slumped onto the ground
and Wilson checked it out. He found an ID card and some credit
chips. He stuffed the goods in a pocket and checked his watch.
Still 35 minutes to go. He turned and saw a lowlife staring at
him. "Fuck off", he said. The bum, a young man dressed in
stained, greased rags of clothing shrugged. "Hey man, I ain't
seen nothin'", and dissapeared into the dark structures that
lined the alley.

Wilson hurried back to the main street and found a comm box. He
punched the ID of Andy. The screen flickered for a while and the
face of Andy appeared. "Hey Wil, what's up?"
"Some shithead injected me with some black chem", Wilson said.
Andy's face clouded. "I iced him, got his ID card and credit
"Stay put, I got the ID of the box you're in. Got somebody with
you in 5 minutes."
"You'd better hurry, the stuff's supposed to hit in 30
Wilson started to feel a bit anxious. Who wanted him so bad
that they would fill him up with shit like this? Andy'd better
live up to his rep. Always said he'd master any chem. Well, this
was for real. Goddamn it.
Precisely six minutes later, a black Mercedes stopped in front
of the comm box. A door opened and a young woman leaned out.
"You Wilson?", she asked in a low voice. Wilson stepped into the
car, a soft ultrasuede seat embracing him. The door slammed shut
and the car slid onto the road, rapidly accelerating. "I'm
Tracy", the girl said. Wilson looked at her. She was wearing a
black, shiny sweater and bleached jeans with some holograms of
flowers on them. She had long, blonde hair and a very girlish
and beautiful face. She punched some coords into the panel of
the car and faced him. "So you're in trouble."
"You Andy's girl?", Wilson asked. "No, I'm one of his
watchdogs", she said. "Got my senses amped in Japan." She turned
her head and held her hair up so he noticed the fine lining of
implants around her right ear. "Can hear a gnat take a shit at a
hundred yards."
"Impressive", Wilson said. "Nice car."
The Mercedes stopped in front of an old building. The front was
made out of darkened stone, and the only entrance was a black,
steel door. Tracy got out of the car and pressed a button on a
little box she got out of her pocket. The door opened and she
led him up the stairs, into a brightly lit lab full of hi-tech
equipment. He made out the tall figure of Andy hunched over some
panel, fumbling with the controls.
Andy was a drug designer. Anybody rich enough could buy drugs
with any desired effect. He'd design the molecules on one of his
decks and cook them up in his lab. Real fancy stuff, made him
lots of money.

Andy walked up to him, and produced a short metal rod from his
pocket. He held it against Wilson's wrist and it made a short,
hissing sound. Wilson felt the sort prick as some of his blood
was taken. "Just hold on, will check it out", Andy said and
inserted the rod in a plain, black-chromed machine. A hologram
flickered and became steady above the dull surface of a
projector. It was full of swirling shapes, multicolored and
nervously moving around. But more and more shapes disappeared as
the computer identified the molecular structures, and ruled out
the regular ones. After a short while, three objects were left,
slowly revolving around each other.
"Hhhmmm..., let's have a look", Andy said and approached the
hologram, studying the molecules. A smile formed on his lips and
he pressed some buttons on a little remote. "You've been on some
expensive trips", he said while two of them dissapeared.
"Yeah, had some fun last week", Wilson mumbled, impressed by
Andy's little show.
"Well, this is what he injected", Andy said.
"Great, but what the fuck is it?".
"Hold on, the computer's on it already. It looks kinda kinky, a
skin of dissolving proteins covering the nasty stuff", Andy said
while the sphere slowly rotated, little red balls dissolving on
it's surface. Wilson checked his watch. Ten minutes to go. That
damn computer better hurry.
The sphere froze, and large amounts of data was displayed under
it, the computer spilling its guts.
"Got it", Andy said. He sat down and turned on a plasma. He
started punching keys and data appeared in fluorescent orange.
"Jesus, that's some heavy shit you've got coursing your veins."
Wilson became nervous now.
"Sure. Why don't you just fix me up huh? Get that shit out of
my system will you? What are you doing with that old-fashioned
plasma display anyway?"
"Yeah, it's old for sure. Custom-built and still the best.
Don't worry about it. Now shut up and let me crack this sucker."
Andy was busy for a while, punching the board. The hologram
changed sometimes, the sphere started rotating, stopped, changed
Wilson looked at his watch. Five minutes. Damn it.
"Jesus Andy, it's only five minutes to go man."
"Allright, I think I got something that'll stop the dissolving
of the protective layer."
He got up and inserted another rod in the black machine. A
short hum and the rod slid out again. Andy took it. "Arm

Wilson was shit scared when the little timer on his watch
reached zero. "Don't worry man, it's fixed", Andy kept saying,
but he was still scared. Four zeroes. Nothing happened.

He wiped some sweat off his forehead and stood up.
"Thanks man."
"Don't thank me yet, it's still around, only it's not active
anymore. I'll work on it, while you check out that ID card.
There is a deck you can use."
Wilson slotted the card and punched up the data. Jason Dorne.
No current employer. No fixed address. Credit line with unmarked
orbital bank. Further information not available.
"Fuck it", Wilson said and pulled out the card. "Blanked
Andy looked up from his deck.
"Got a boy downtown who will be able to crack it. Claims to be
a hotshot cowboy. Owes me a few, I'll organize him."
He touched a button on the wristband he had on and Tracy took
off her sim trodes immediately.
"Go and collect Richie for me will you? Tell him to bring his
"Got it."

Twenty minutes later Tracy returned with a spotty young man,
nineteen or twenty years old. He was wearing shoddy clothes, but
Wilson could see that he was used to money. He looked clean, and
the antique Rolex on his wrist sure didn't look cheap.
"What you want from me Andy, I've been keeping a low profile
since I hit that Taris ice. A few of their security are still on
my ass."
"Have a job for you, trace a blank ID card."
"Yeah right, just like I ain't got better things to do.",
Richie protested.
"Don't piss me off Rick, remember who put you back up again
when you were in deep."
"Allright, allright, just get me the damn card."
Richie slotted the card in his deck, and put the trodes on his
"I'll access it from cyberspace," he said and jacked in.

Richie was riding the matrix, accessing the massive amounts of
data stored there represented by all sorts of shapes. From the
little cubes and pyramids of small companies and offices to the
massive, dense structures of large corporations. Data was
flowing around and between it all, making the infinite reaches
of cyberspace an ever changing, fascinating world. Most of the
regular console operators worked in their own bit of the matrix,
behind the walls of ice that formed the protection from unwanted
eyes. Most people obeyed the rules, but some of them roamed
around, breaking ice, stealing data and selling it to the
highest bidder. Richie was one of them, a software cowboy.

Can Richie shed some light on all this? Can he be of help - and
help at all?
Find out in the next episode (maybe) of this new and
brainbafflingly exciting new series of Cyberpunkish Babble.

To be continued (maybe).

The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.