0sl0: Employment

The trap was simple, as all the best traps are in the end. Too much complexity just means more things to go wrong, more people involved who could talk, and more weak points for the enemy to attack.

Simplicity was key, because 0sl0 thought complexly. While she was busy looking for the complex play at hand, some military grade hunter program roaming the club wifi or billion dollar nanites in the drinks coded to her DNA, the plan was to just surround her and arrest her at gunpoint with twelve well armed company security men. This was exactly the sort of thing that she would overlook.

At least, this was the thinking at headquarters.

Hando knew better.

At his insistence, there was still a military grade hunter program roaming the club’s wifi (though it had gone to a lowest bidder) and there were still nanites in the drinks (but not billion dollar ones, just multimillions).

Hando knew 0sl0 would be on the lookout for such things. She would expect to see them, even if this was a legitimate job offer. Hando didn’t think she’d respect anyone who didn’t go to the trouble, even if they were allegedly on her side.

He was hopeful about this grab. It was to be a traditional grab job. A ‘Gentleman’s Job Offer’ they used to call it. Abduct the target, put them in a dark Faraday cage somewhere, then offer them a job working for the company. He would love to work with 0sl0, but there was, of course, horrible counterpoint to that offered job. A tight black bag and a very short missing persons case.

Still, he was happy to have talked the Board down from flat out murder, as was so often the go-to plan with meddlesome black-hats these days.

So it was the Gentlemanly approach. A fake job offer in a ‘public’ place. Owned by the company of course.

Hando sat in the mobile command center. A glorified van with four company deckers stuffed in the back and stellar data service parked in the alley around the corner from their target. With nanties swimming in the veins of half the patrons already, he and his companions already had near total coverage of the club from every conceivable angle, since brain augments were as common as bachelor degrees these days.

One of the tactical team reported something unusual over the radio, and Hando and his fellow van-dwellers zeroed in. A woman was entering the club. Tall and with long blond hair braided down her back, which was exposed by her evening dress. Hando knew her on sight. He’d seen that golden head, riding atop a winged horse, crushing his ICE in cyberspace. The computer took a moment to analyze the video. Looking at the way she walked, eye movement, even breathing patterns, and determined that it was indeed a human woman and not a decoy drone.

“That’s her,” he confirmed to the team.

They watched her carefully as she entered, both in the physical world and in the net. She was feeling out the club’s network. She spotted the Hunter program, but it didn’t seem to recognize her. One of her tricks no doubt. She dealt it a swift lethal blow, crashing it and frying the hardware, before she was even fully past the bouncer. Her stride had never changed.

“She’s a good multitasker,” One of the company deckers noted. Even now there was evaluation. Addendums to the file, bolstering her resume.

She went to the bar and ordered a drink. Hando thought that was sloppy, but then he wondered if maybe this wasn’t her showing off.

She got a Nevada Sunrise, and leaned on the bar, seemingly lost in the swing the club was playing.

The van decker in charge of the nanites was furiously looking through a series of errors. Hando nodded. She must have figured out how to stop the little bugs from getting at her augments.

He smiled. She was clever. He just hoped she took the job when the company offered it.

The tactical team was already moving in. A dozen trained soldiers with full metal combat bods, the best you could buy and still blend into a crowd. All muted, of course, so she wouldn’t be able to hit them from cyberspace. They had her surrounded.

“Hando, help me with this,” the nanite jockey was still trying to get at her brain, “If we can disable her the better her chances of getting out of this alive.”

Hando frowned, but he linked into the nanite feed. They were trying their damnedest but 0sl0 had invested in some ICE of her own it seemed. Hando recognized it though. Jasmine VII. Cutting edge out of the Emirates last year. Expensive, but not on Hando’s level. He got to cracking it, just as the Tac team was closing ranks around her, and the other patrons were being ushered out.

“Miss 0sl0?” the squad leader asked politely.

“I beg your pardon?” she answered.

“We’d like you to come with us.”

Hando got through the ICE at that moment and triumphantly took a look around his greatest rival’s brain.

But this couldn’t be right.

There were no brain augment. It was a full metal unit. How could that be when all the behavioural analysis came back organic. Was 0sl0 a dataform? It hadn’t felt like a dataform when he’d last faced her. Too bold, too creative, too organic. Perhaps a bio-mapped dataform? No, something else was going on here.

“Mobile to Tac!” Hando shouted into the radio, “Back away! It’s a Mary. Repeat! It’s not 0sl0. Back away!”

Too late.

The marionette snapped its fingers with a dramatic flourish, and the emp lodged in its guts went off.

It was small, not big enough to hit the whole block, but enough that the whole club went dark. The tac team was mostly shielded from the blast, but even they experienced a momentary lapse in function and lost a fair amount of their memory. Hando and his team might have been able to help from the van, but the team was muted to keep 0sl0 out of their heads. All the nanites and cameras they’d been watching through were dark, and Hando could only throw up his hands in defeat as his colleagues scrambled to get eyes back inside the club.

Of course 0sl0 wouldn’t show up herself. They’d been naive to assume otherwise. That was some impressive micromanagement of the marionette though, to make it look so human. Still; outright attacking company men like that was…Hando couldn’t decided if it was stupid or magnificent.

A little blurb popped up at Hando’s terminal. A small little text box with a winged golden horse icon in the corner.

Hando read it and smiled.

Thank you for the offer, but I’m not currently seeking new employment.

Better luck next time Hando 😉


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