Shell: Reach, it’s me.Are you busy? Reach: No. The boys are cleaning up the serval scumbags… …I’m just sitting here doing some contract work. Shell: I’ve completed deciphering the data we retrieved Reach: you did? What’ve we got? Shell: 98 terabytes of CBI and field data concerning the brain hacks in South America. Reach: Yeah. Give me the abridged version. Shell: Both the NSU and the government forces experienced hacks which slowly increased in effectiveness. Have you ever heard of Rainbow? Reach: Rainbow? Yeah.They’re one of Corporate’s largest rivals. Shell: From what I’ve uncovered in the data logs, Rainbow had several employees working closely with NSU analysts. There’s a location I found listed in here as well. I have no indication of what it could be, but the land is owned by Rainbow. It could be a place to start. Reach: Order me something covert from that weapons dealer we talked to last week and book me a flight. I gotta make a phone call. *phone ringing* Corporate Liason: Reach. You’re in hot water with the Execs. They know you went off the books in South America and they aren’t happy. Reach: Yeah, well… Tell him to loosen their ties. I just had my AI unpack some data that I picked up during my little escapade. I think I may have a solution to our brain hack problem. Corporate Liason: As in the attack at new Tanegashima… Reach: The very same. How have those been going by the way? You taking care of ’em? Corporate Liason: You know for a fact they’ve been getting worse.Our modified assets have been succumbing to hacks in six different conflict zones. Reach: Yeah… Seems like a bunch of brain-dead cyborgs aren’t turning over premium dividends, huh? Yeah. I’ve got a location in a probable payload– And get this! It’s at a town in Sector 8, which I believe is controlled by Rainbow. Huh. A connection between some hacks that have been wrecking your mercs and your biggest competitor. Sounds juicy! I can be there in 24 hours.Corporate Liason: Send us what you have. We’ll provide support. Reach: Yeah, keep your pants on, chief. It’s gonna cost you. I want a finder’s fee on top of my usual rate. *static* Corporate Liason: Done. Reach: Pleasure doing business! Corporate Liason: Asshole… Reach: You ordered an XM8? Shell: It’s a reliable weapon that’s been modified to fire high-velocity rounds. The arms dealer laundered it to make sure no one will trace it back to Corporate if you happen to
drop it. Reach: Hmph. It’s for the best. Using a laundered weapon is a must when operating in another company’s territory. They can’t sue if they can’t prove it was us…I don’t think it’s going to matter anyways. This place is a ghost town. Reach: It looks like they might have been testing something here, but any hardware they had laying around is long gone. Check the logs and see if anything nearby is connected to the server for this sector. If not, I think we should pull out before one of their drones spots us. Corporate’s not gonna be happy. Sent out a whole strike force for a bunch of empty shacks. Shell: There’s one active connection. It’s another user designated Shogun. Reach: Pull up the profile. Rech: Sheesh! From the looks of it, this Shogun guy is using some heavy upgrades. That’s probably why he’s connected to the server. His loadout might be too heavy to run locally. Hm. Rainbow employee. That must be why he’s here. *explosion* Shell: Our reinforcements are being attacked Reach: Patch me through! CSF Commander: This is CSF-01! Rainbow Mercenaries have us pinned down on the far side of the village! We need support now! Reach: Rainbow Mercenaries…This was a set up! Just hang on! This is what they pay us for.Moving to support. Rainbow PA: This area is under the jurisdiction of the Rainbow Corporation. Surrender your weapons immediately and you will not be shot. Reach: Clear. We’ve got friendly CSF moving in. There’s one across on the far side of the back building over there. It’s right in front of the compound Reach: Gah! Shell! Run a diagnostic can. I keep having these audio-visual glitches. Shell: Scanning… Foreign entity detected. Reach: I don’t like that Shell. Give me some details! Shell: Your CBI is working properly, but something is accessing it through our comms connection. I’ve got it. The other cyborg is accessing the broadcasting component of your CBI. Reach: This Shogun guy is trying to hack us? Reboot comms to disconnect him. Shell: Sure. Rebooting in Three. Two. One. *bird call* Reach: That sound… It’s the same one from New Tanegashima. It usually comes before a brain hack.But… everyone’s okay. Did that… stop it? I’ve got one. He’s alone. They’re falling back. We need to push into the forest when we can. Reach: Wait. The NSU had Rainbow employees working for them that stole test data. Rainbow could have secretly used NSU cyborgs to test
the hacks. Shell: It’s possible. Given the timeline of events. It’s likely that rainbow was connected to the rebellion in new Tanegashima that happened the day after.They own shares in the Krios Manufacturing Company. Reach: …And the attack at the facility a couple of months back… It was operated by a Rainbow subsidiary. They could’ve implanted something that let’s them access our network through our brain without us knowing… We’re not being followed by the attacks. We could be causing them! Shell, we need to get out of here. Shogun is trying to use us to hack the other mercs on our comms connection. That’s why the hack didn’t effect us in New Tanegashima. Rainbow needs us alive to infect the other cyborgs! They used us to wipe out the rebels, and now they’re trying to hit the CSF! Shell: I’m contacting Corporate. Head for the exfiltration zone. I’m disconnecting all communal systems. We’ll be in the dark Reach: Copy… I’m on it. Shogun: *garbled communication* Shell: It’s him. 80 meters. Shell: He has us pinned down. Bad news is he’s using our connection to the Corporate satellite to track us. The good news is he’s doing it through an open network so his CBI is vulnerable to infiltration if we use a complex malignant program.Reach: All right. Can you prep an ocular hack? Shell: To knock out his eyes? Done. However, he’s likely running software that will filter it out pretty quickly. Reach: Uh… Overclock the leg muscles. How fast do you think I can run a hundred meters? Shell: With your current modifications? Around nine seconds. Sending it now… *technobabble* Reach: Hey! Reach: Piece of cake! Shell: Be advised: that’s Class IV combat armor.His hand-to-hand protocol is more advanced than yours. Reach: I can take him. Shell: Get away from him! Reach: Hold on! *screams* Shell: Warning: Critical CBI damage detected. Primary systems offline. Onboard AI entering shut down mode. The Rainbow Corporation: Smarter Solutions for the 22nd century. .