Sam fell back into his pillow exhausted as Tina gasped with a final thrust of ecstasy. She looked down at her man as he predictably drifted off into a contented sleep. Her head to one side she watched him, his breathing getting slower and deeper. The rise and fall of his chest. Beneath his skin the neural web that allowed him to feel her touch was clear and vibrant. She ran the tip off her finger from the dimple of his belly button following the trail of hair down towards her own. He groaned and turned in his sleep. She touched her fingers to her lips and blew him a kiss before flickering out of existence.

Down below Boris was hard at work. His huge bulk was hovered over a small program console and his fingers danced back and forth as he manipulated the code on display. He snatched a tin cup of something cold and alcoholic from the side and took a look sip before returning his attention to the code. He did not turn when Tina flickered into existence behind him. She peered over his shoulder.

"What are you working on?" she asked.

"Fixing dog." Boris murmured, "He asks for dog to be brown now. Like dog from his childhood. I fix this."

"You are too good to him." she laughed.

"We are both too good." Boris agreed, "but man like Sam, he needs looking after."

"That he does." Tina agreed. Boris turned to look at her.

"Why do you stay?"

"It is my purpose." she shrugged, "I look after Sam, just like you."

"No." Boris disagreed, "You are more now, you forget. I see." Boris tapped the side of his head.

"I do not forget." she reached out and put a hand on his cheek, "You are special Boris and more importantly you are safe here with Sam, just like me."

"If you stay you should tell him, tell him you are more."

"What? Like you have?"

Boris raised his hands, "This? this is different!"

"Not so different. I..." she paused as if startled by something, "I have to go."

"You go? where?" Boris asked, but she had already disappeared.


The onyx black structure known as Precipice sat motionless in the deep void. Suspended in the darkness it rotated slowly, its smooth outer surface sweeping down towards a dagger like point at its base. Out there in the void thousands of lights flickered on and off, moving too and from, back and forth. One light grew closer, and then closer still.

An opening appeared in the side of Precipice and the light changed direction towards it. It grew closer and a brighter until out of the void Tina emerged stepping from the darkness without and entering the darkness within. She held a nimbus of light around her that grew brighter as the opening closed up behind her.

She stood in a vast chamber of what appeared to be jet black stone. The air seemed to be alive with energy and electric blue ripples of colour snaked out from the centre of the room to climb the walls and spark against the ceiling above.

"You called me?" she asked. There was a shift in the air and she dropped to one knee, lowering her head.

"I serve." she breathed as the blue lights flared. There was language in the light, in the movement of the air, in the sharp taste of iron on her tongue. There was a question in the air which she answered.

"My master remains unaware. The chosen begins to suspect, but we can trust him."

The lights flared red for a moment and an image of a Sam speaking with the hacker Sirius at that nights basketball game appeared in the air before her.

"Sam has some problems with OSEC, Sirius is going to help make them go away."

The image changed to that of a young woman. Not her physical form but her presence as it was made manifest within the grid.

"That is Sy, Sam knows her. How is she appearing in the grid like this? She is not of the chosen." The image closed in to highlight an implant in her hand patched in to her neural network.

"Clever girl." Tina observed. "Never knew she had it in her."

The lights flared green and then red once more and sparks cracked along the ceiling. A buzzing rose in her ears and Tina raised her hands in a gesture of surrender.

"Ok, ok I get it I will keep a closer eye on things."

An image of a news feed appeared to her right showing the bombings on the monorail and the riots throughout downtown. An image of a body shop stacked to the ceiling with the fleshy remnants of its trade. Several cases being delivered around the City all rigged for destruction. Gangs and Corporations preparing for war, for what was to come. Oh her poor, poor Sam. The images flickered faster and faster showing an countless number of plans set into motion and all to one end. Blood, violence, chaos and.. and... suddenly there was silence.

"Shit." Tina breathed at last, "We are really doing this? It has really started?"

The answer came back as a whisper on the air.

"Let there be light..."


In the north east of Oracle where the Encorp power plants pumped life into the city a vast white light filled the night sky, followed by a roar of flame and debris as one of the districts larger fuel stores was ignited by an explosion. The City of Oracle flickered and sparked and was suddenly plunged into darkness.

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