An interesting little twist just happened in the Netwalker Uprising rewrite…..
“No word from Nik yet,” Angela said grimly, scowling at Melanie through the screen. “It’s been four hours. And our strike force isn’t picking up anything unusual on their scanners. If it wasn’t a Courts operation, I’d send them in closer at least to get more info. I’m afraid they’ve been picked up. Can you get any information?”
Melanie sighed and shook her head. “I’m embargoed from any data on this op, Ange.” Makes me crazy. But no options, no choices.
“Wait a minute.” Angela raised one hand. “Some sort of action. Finally! Our skimmer’s just taken off from Southern California, under pursuit. Action at last! Sending our team in to watch their backs!”
URGENT. URGENT. URGENT, her screen flashed, ID blocked.
“I’ve got a blocked ID message,” she told Angela, quickly tracing the ID. “Andrew.”
“The shit has well and truly hit the fan,” Angela said.
“I’ll link you in.” Melanie popped it open.
“What the fuck are you doing, Melanie?” Andrew shrieked, hair dishevelled, eyes wild. “Jesus God, WHAT THE GODDAMN FUCK ARE YOU DOING!”
“Slow down, Drew! What are you talking about?”
“YOU KNOW DAMNED GOOD AND WELL WHAT YOUR PET ASSASSIN IS DOING! I WANT CELINA BACK! NOW!”
“Take a deep breath and calm down, Andrew! It’s not my operation, it’s fucking Zoë Wright’s operation! The Courts are in charge!”
“And it’s your goddamned hit man leading it,” Andrew hissed. “I’m filing Contract, precious sister of mine, I’M FILING CONTRACT UNLESS I GET HER BACK! NOW!”
“I CAN’T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!” Melanie screamed back, doing her best to project an Enforcer tone. It was enough to startle Andrew into silence. She took a deep breath, watching Andrew closely as he swallowed hard, shaking his head. “Andrew,” she said in her lowest voice that would still carry through the feed. “The Courts conscripted Nik on this operation. It’s a Courts operation. It’s connected to Seattle. She’s the host of the Netwalker enabling these attacks.“
“Mel, she can’t be a Netwalker host.” Andrew’s voice cracked. “She’s my consort now, not my Security. And she’s pregnant.”
Holy Mother of God, no wonder he’s so angry. “Drew, I’m sorry. We’ve got the evidence showing that she’s been involved with the highest circles of the Freedom Army for some time now.”
“Why–what–that can’t be,” Andrew spluttered.
“Direct from Deirdre Conley. Celina was Tim Conley’s comfort woman and now she’s his host.”
Silence. Andrew stared at Melanie.
“The–thing–is involved, Andrew. Somehow, they’ve managed to link into the gadget. I don’t know how bad this is, Drew, but it’s bad. I don’t think I’m being told just how bad it is.” How much dare I tell him of what I know? From the sick look on Andrew’s face, it was clear he understood the implications. He deserves to know it. He’s on the Exec too. She looked down, chewing on her lower lip, thinking it through. He’s her lover, though. And she’s carrying his child. Holy crap, how much more does that add to Gizmo being compromised?
“I just got a complete file from the Courts,” Andrew said in a very small voice. “Mel. Please. Tell me before I look. How bad is this? I know it’s bad from the coding, there’s sanctions in it against me, but how bad is this? Another one.“
She knew the feeling well, too damned well. He deserves to know.
“She’s linked to a virus that took Sarah down. We’re trying to patch things together now. From Deirdre Conley’s information, Tim Conley was the other lead Netwalk developer for the Freedom Army, along with Gina Jeffreys. Conley’s dead, apparently voluntarily uploaded as a Netwalker. And somehow he, Liam and Stewart have found a way to access a level in–it–called the Shadow Chamber.”
“Oh Jesus God,” Andrew groaned, resting his forehead on his hand, shaking it back and forth slowly. “Oh Jesus God.” He looked up. “Mel. I had no idea. Honestly. I had no idea.“
“I didn’t know about Liam either.”
Andrew swallowed. “Point taken. Thank you. I don’t know if anyone else would have bothered.” He slammed his hand down hard on the arm of his chair. “What the fuck do I do now? What the fuck do I do, Mel! She’s pregnant and–well–I love her. Or at least I thought I loved her. If it’s real and not a manipulation. But this–connection. That’s not something to play with. What the fuck do I do?“
Think. This gives you a chance to mend things with Drew. Melanie tapped her fingertips on her chair arm.
“Nik’s taking her to the Mountain,” Angela interposed. “Just got a private. Not here, there.”
“Diana. Her orders.”
“What kind of game is Mom playing?” Andrew asked.
“I don’t know, but–” Melanie sucked in her lower lip. “It’s not with Sarah’s advice. Not this soon after I sent her in the chip to recuperate. Ange. How fast can you get us moved there with a full working lab staff? Not Corporate staff, that’ll take too long and we don’t need it immediately. That can be a standard transfer.”
“Six hours. That’s bare bones and it includes your mother.”
“Who’s controlling the Mountain, my staff or hers?”
Angela half-grinned. “Right now it looks like her staff. But that can change in twenty minutes.”
“Make it happen.”
And I’d like to do more, but the Day Jobbe calleth.