Sunday, November 23, 2008

Leif's Cyberpunk Novel - Part 3 of 4

Chapter Two Intro

Logan was making his rounds. He mused that he was probably the only doctor on the planet that still made house calls. But of course he was not a doctor anymore. At least not outside of the Non Enforcement Zone. Still, no matter what the law said he had always known what he was born to do. But today there was less healing to do than usual in Chi-town so he thought he would drop in on a few patients.

Sabrina’s baby was doing well and due any day now. Melinda was getting over her flu. Caesar’s gunshot had abscessed but the surgery would be minor to remove the bullet from his leg. And old Galen’s liver was still holding out despite his continuing friendship with Jack Daniels. All in all a pretty good day.

But as he approached the pitiful hovel in which Ramac had hidden himself he feared that his good spirits would be ruined. Ramac was in poor shape physically. He had no disease or ailments other that his paralysis but he seemed to spend every waking moment immersed in the net. In fact, Logan had suspicions that he even slept in full cyber-immersion from time to time. No telling what dreams he might have while his brain is plugged directly into cyberspace. Logan feared his patient was going mad.

Ramac had made arrangements with the local gang lord for protection, the closest thing to security here in the NEZ. He even had a local boy that brought him groceries. But what could have so obsessed him that he would not venture out? Ever.

From what Logan had learned over the years Ramac was a man to be feared. A “company” man before the revolution, an accomplished martial artist and a formidable soldier. He had been one of the most feared and respected freelancers in the international game. Whether it was acquisitions or assassinations, he was ruthless, brutal, and unstoppable. He was the best of the best. No matter what the cost he had never failed. Never until last October when Logan pulled him out of that alley, shot to pieces. But now he was a different man. Something was driving him but Logan could not guess what.

Logan opened the door and entered. The room was dark except for the window that looked up at the street. Its light cast dreadful shadows through the dim. Logan could barely make out Ramac’s silhouette against the backlighting of the window, but he knew what he was doing and knew that it would not bother him if he turned on the light.

The single bulb warmed the room with its light but the decor it revealed gave no comfort. This was not a home. Ramac lay were he always lay. Limp as if comatose. His beard had grown long. His muscles atrophied. As usual he was deep in the net. Only the slow rise and fall of his chest and the net dive monitor on his computer gave any sign that he was alive. Some say that the freedom of the net is like a drug to the disabled. In the net they are whole. Their virtual body or Icon may not be corporeal but its only limits were that of the mind that controls it. But there was more to this than just freedom of movement for Ramac. Logan knew that. There was something else.

There was no way to reach Ramac directly during a net dive. His brain was effectively disconnected from his body. So Logan pulled out his PDA and sent him an email.

{Hephaestus! Medicine man. Time for a check up.}

{Busy. Can’t extract for at least 2 hours}

{No need to. I am standing right next to you}

{Ah. Do what you must then. I must concentrate. I am almost there.}

{What are you looking for Ramac?}

{Please Isaac! I can’t now. I am close. I have almost found her!

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