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The melodic ringing of a vidphone was the only thing that could be heard from within the dingy, cluttered apartment. The four people in the room just let it ring. All of their focus was on the graying man in the center of the room. Green Winters. The man who had arranged the Shadowrun that had cost Monika her life and had nearly cost the rest of the team theirs was dead. It wasn’t the fact of the death that had left the veterans in stunned silence, but the method of which he had died. Winters’s body was frozen in an unnatural position. Despite the goggles on his face, the way the man’s facial muscles had contorted were enough. His cheeks permanently concave, while his lips had been drawn into an abnormal position. The right side slightly raised, but the bottom was pulled into a bizarrely lowered position. So much so that Stealth could see his filings amid a sea of yellow enamel. Dietrich stood next to the elven rigger as he too took in the site.
Dietrich took stock of the situation his face a mix of inquisitiveness and outright fear.
“What the hell does this”, was what he asked out loud as much a question to his companions as it was him trying to make sense of the body in front of them. Winter’s blue Hawaiian shirt had been ripped, undoubtedly by the hands that were stock still. The right hand had all of its fingers elongated, but the left was clutching a piece of blue fabric so hard that the nails had dug into flesh, a few blood drops had found their way out of his now pale body.
“Seizure.” Was what glory said to break the silence. She had adopted a slightly different approach from the other runners. The medic had crouched near the body taking in all of the symptoms. The razor girl’s long metallic fingers hovered over the most shocking part of the scene in front of them. His convulsions had been so severe that he had broken his own spine. His gut bulged out long since popping the buttons of his shirt off. It wasn’t a straight break, however. It looked slightly like he had been trying to pull his body to the left, but his spine had moved right. The human woman moved from one obvious injury to another. The still smoking datajack linked to the man’s head. The scent of ozone and burnt plastic slightly hid the smell of the decaying body and pyramid of half eaten take out food.
With her analysis finished the medic got up and turned to face her team. Looking directly into Stealth’s eyes she gave her report with the emotionless tone one would expect from a street samurai with too much cyberware.
“It’s the same way that Monika died. We pulled the datajack out which I think aided in lessening the severity of her seizure.”
Dietrich seemed like he had had enough. One tattooed hand reached into his jacket and pulled out his flask.
“Good to know love, but that still doesn’t answer the question. Something’s fragging deckers and I’d like to know what it is.”
He took a long drink before he continued. “Is it a program. Monika talked about Black Ice like it was the devil itself. His gaze fell upon Stealth as he offered a swig to the rigger. The de facto leader gently waved it off before speaking.
“I’m not a decker, but I know tech. To my knowledge, there is no Black Ice that could cause this. Bleeding, minor spasms and headaches are normal, but that..” His slender hand pointed towards the body and continued. “Whatever it is is bleeding edge….Eiger”, the Elf switched the focus of his speech the former KSK soldier. He spoke with the candor of a drill instructor and, sure enough, the troll’s training betrayed her. Her already stiff posture stiffened. “What’s your opinion on this? Military technology?”
By the time Eiger had realized that she had given Stealth a modicum of respect it had already been too late. A slight sigh or perhaps a grunt of frustration issued from her, but she dutifully reported her opinion.
“There is nothing like this in the KSK or other armies. There was a decker who had programmed a Black Hammer. The results were deadly, but nothing like this. If a group that had the backing of a government I’d expect a few of the other deckers in the Kiez to get hit. But, that’s the military…” Just as she was about to continue Stealth cut in.
“However, a corporation would make use of new matrix defense or a new version of Black Hammer. ”
“A dragon, a scientist, a corp, and a new cyber weapon,” Dietrich said before he drained the rest of his flask. Stealth just sighed.