Tales of the Ela-pocalypse – The Clone Saga : Anon

I thought at first that Tiger made the right call by sending Ferret to make contact with Neil in person but I changed my mind.  Mantis would have been a better.  She would have just dragged Neil’s ass to safety. That’s what we needed.  You can’t talk sense to someone who’s in shock.  What’s happening was too big a shift in perspective to expect Neil to do anything but lock up like an unpatched link.  A swift kick in the balls would have worked better than a soothing voice.   

Maybe if Mantis had gone down there Otter would still be alive.   

A Hachiman drone fired a missile cluster at the park which I was able to scramble with ECM, but there’s nothing I can do about those little Kettering bastards and their rail guns.  As far as we can tell they’re completely wireless but there’s no way the corps would let autonomous kill machines roam around their streets.   Even signal jammers don’t stop them.  We need to figure out how they’re controlling them. 

It won’t be in time for Otter though, a railgun round at 800 meters?  There wasn’t enough left of her to even scrape up for a departed gathering.  Goat got tagged too, he’ll need a new leg but he’s still alive. Shrimp was able to get him into the tunnel right behind Ferret and Neil.  I think the drone fire is what finally got Neil moving.  Maybe he thought they were going to kill him too.  Maybe he just needed a loud noise to shake him out of his daze.   

Once we got underway in the maintenance vehicle he was still zoned out hard.  I’ve seen burned-out chipheads that were more aware of their surroundings than Neil.  I’ve seen my share of people blue screening before but this guy was taking it to another level.   

Mantis hit him in the chest like she was doing a martial arts demonstration and he was a board she was trying to break in half “Neil we need the location of the node.”   

He looked up at her, his eyes soggy with tears “Are we underground again?  I’m very clever, I know when I’m underground, she said so” and then laughed hysterically.   

Coyle looked back at us from his position plugged in up front “This is the guy?  He’s fucking derezzing.” 

Mantis made like she was going to slam him in the chest again but I caught her arm.  She gave me a death glare but I politely asked her to let me handle him.  She slammed back against her seat like she was trying to direct the force into my face.   

“We are underground Neil, we’re in the maintenance tunnels, they go all over the housing complexes and some of them go between different complexes.  There are even a few that go to other citadels.  Did you know that Neil?” 

“No” he said quietly, chin hovering near his chest. 

“Drones do most of the work down here but sometimes they need people to fix something in the tunnels so we borrowed one of the vehicles  they use to get around down here, can’t have drones do everything right Neil?  Like programming, that’s why they need people like you right Neil?”     

He raised his head and looked at Mantis for a moment “Where is she?  The woman from the link?  Can I talk to her?” 

“She’s somewhere safe Neil, I can get you on link with her as soon as we get somewhere safe.  Before that though can you tell me the node where you found clone farm?  The sooner we get that information the sooner we can help Ela.” 

A strange look came over him that I couldn’t decipher “I don’t know if I remember it.” 

Mantis snorted but I gave Neil a little smile “Sure you do Neil, you have it burned into your memory I just bet.  I don’t think you’re going to forget anything about Ela Neil.” 

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