“Dwight, get behind them.  Jesus get ready to pin them down.  Shrike keep Jesus’s gun filled with ammo and be ready to keep shooting if Jesus gets hit.  Choirboy help me push this in front of the door.”  Necrobump said.

Choirboy ran over to Necro and they pushed on a stack of boxes marked “2140-2142 Paperwork” until they fell in front of the door.  It was a mess. Half of the boxes didn’t land exactly where they were supposed to, but they did create a kind of barricade.  Odd bits of paper fluttered in the breeze.  

Dwight ran over to one of the walls in the hallway, and instead of stopping at the obvious barrier the wall presented, he began to climb quickly and assuredly up the side of the walls.  He was almost spider-like in his ability to adhere himself to the surface.  And when Dwight reached the ceiling, instead of letting that surface stop him, he simply hung by his hands, feet and knees as he scuttled down the hall across the ceiling.  Then he faded into invisibility as his stealth skill took hold.  That was one of his secrets.  Nobody ever looked up.

Jesus Wept now lay on the ground.  His minigun had been placed on a tripod, and he looked down the hall, over the paperwork barricade.  Shrike lay beside him with a couple of box of ammo at the ready.  

Jesus’ second head was watching Dwight. It said, “Awesome.”

“Seeing that always freaks me out,” Shrike said looking at the ceiling.  “I don’t like spiders, and that’s all I can think of when I see him do that.”

“Dwight’s your boy-toy now so when he gets back tell him how beautiful he is.  He gets the job done,” said Necro, then turning to Lauren he shouted, “What’s the ETA on the incoming forces.”

“They are less than a minute out.”

“Everyone get behind cover.  This is going be messy.  We’re rolling with a lot of ass, so it’s all on you now, Jesus.  And if you fuck up Jesus, then this is all on you Shrike. And Shrike if you fuck up, I guess its all on me then.”

The rest of the raid party got down low and got behind things that might be heavy enough to provide cover.  

“ETA on the incoming is 10 seconds, they’re coming in like a real bad shit. Hot and running down your leg,” Shouted Lauren.

“Jesus, remember to hold off, on shooting until they’ve completely entered the kill zone.” said Necrobump.

“This ain’t my first rodeo, Necro.” Jesus said. His second head nodded, muttering “Rodeo.”

“Five seconds,” Said Lauren.

“Hold.” Said Necro.

Shrike took hold of a smoke grenade, and made ready to throw it.

“Hold” Whispered Necro to the entire group in party chat.  

The incoming force, slowed down as they rounded the corner.  They must have at first seen the devastation in the hallway.  Jesus’ minigun had ripped holes through the drywall and there were bodies of NPCs strewn everywhere.  A lingering trace of smoke from the flash bang they’d used earlier still hung to the ground.  Light poured out the office spaces through the bullet holes on either side of the hallway.  

Someone had completely destroyed the photocopy machine and fax.  

The troops slowed down.  Some of them hung back around the corner.  Their leader motioned two forward, and the rest of them took cover behind the curve in the hallway.  Moving behind the dubious cover that was the broken photocopy machine and the bullet riddled watercooler the two NPC security guards moved cautiously forward.  In their hands, like all the other NPC security forces in the building they clutched FN P90 sub machine guns.

When the first guard saw the mussel of Jesus’ minigun sitting on its tripod above the piles of records and paperwork the guard could not stop himself and opened fire.  The second guard started to fire too.

“Now Dwight,” said Necro over the party chat.

Six explosions rang out behind the security guard force.  Dwight gotten behind the incoming guards and mined the ceiling with explosives, shrapnel and smoke grenades.  

The hallway was filled with smoke and the guards started to panic.  Explosions behind a person can cause instincts that they never knew were programmed into their brain matrix to turn on. Causing involuntary movement forward. This was the Chaos that Dwight was hoping to exploit.

 Many of the security team had been seriously wounded from Dwight's explosions overhead.  And as Dwight started to fire his M-16 into the crowd of security guards, one of the brighter NPCs yelled “It’s a trap, they’re behind us.”

The two guards by the photocopy and water cooler had stopped firing forward and turned to look backwards.  The rest of the guards who weren’t too wounded from the bullets coming from Dwight and the explosions that had gone off, overhead were backing into what appeared to be the only safe space which was the hallway in front of Jesus.  

“Now Jesus.”  Yelled Necro.

Jesus Wept’s minigun rang out.  Depleted uranium shells ripped through walls and guards alike.  Dwight’s M-16 shots, hanging from the ceiling still in stealth, created a crossfire to which he happily added to the chaos by tossing in the occasional grenade and smoke grenade.  Shrike kept feeding bullets into Jesus’ gun.  

As soon as it had started it was over.  It was a slaughter.

“Everyone.  We don’t have much time.  I am sure back up is on its way.  Lauren, is the path between here and the primary target open.”

“According to the video feed I am seeing it is. I’m scanning the right now and I don’t see any other obstructions right yet.”

“Okay everyone.  Good job.  Let’s get up, Jesus you’re point.  Let’s go-go-go!”

Everyone in the raid group knew the route to the lab. They’d each and every one of them seen it on the cat cam, and they Mr. Sulla’s memories about the best route to take to the primary target.  And even if they didn’t, each and every step they needed to take, was displayed on their mini map.  Every once in a while they would come across a lost looking employee wandering the hall.  Some of them were NPC’s some of them were Civs.  If they offered any resistance Jesus dealt with them quickly with a couple of bullets.  

Jesus’s second head was getting annoying. It kept yelling “Crotch Shot!” even when Jesus didn’t shoot the fleeing wage slaves in the crotch.

Necro seriously considered blasting the annoying little polyp, but the last time Necrobump had killed mini-Jesus, he’d sent Jesus Wept off to respawn. That had wasted precious time and mana because Choirboy had then needed to revive him.

Jesus Wept’s minigun was strapped across his back.  The gun bumped into his back as he ran.  But Jesus was better served right now running with an automatic handgun in each hand.  Shrike had her sword in one hand and a hand gun in her other hand, and Dwight brought up the rear still carrying his M-16.

The group ran down one hall after the next.  Turned a corner.  Opened a door, and they stood in front of the laboratory door that represented the primary target.

“Lauren, what’s the ETA on the next wave of security?”  Necro demanded.

“They aren’t even organized yet.  We took out their main force.”  Lauren said.

Big-Mike spoke in Party Chat, "I've been blocking calls out here from your building to hire mercenaries.  But I can't guarantee they won't be coming through the Intra Server Gate."

“Good.  Dwight mine the ceiling like you did before.  Set up some traps on any routes coming here, if you have time.  Jesus set up a barricade that you can shoot behind, hopefully you won’t need it, but better safe than sorry.   Lauren, we need to get through that door.”

“Working on hacking it, Necro.” Said Lauren

On closer inspection the door and the window into the lab were not standard construction.   Necro used his identify skill and saw that instead of the usual steel, glass, concrete, and drywall, the entire lab had been constructed out of a super-hard amorphous glassy carbon allotrope and graphene, resulting in a barrier that was thousands of times more durable than diamonds.  

“The fuck?” said Necro.  “Overkill on the security to get into that room.”

Lauren, “You have no idea.  The security protocols on the door is beyond international military grade.  It will take me hours to get through this.”

“Shrike, what about blowing a hole in that wall?”  Necro said, “We need to get in now.”

Shrike looked slowly looked the room over, “Necro-poop, that room could withstand being at ground zero from a 10 mega ton nuclear warhead and still be standing.  The protection on that room is insane.”

“I’m beginning to think that the primary target is not the diversion that we all thought it was.” Necrobump said.  “Choirboy, I guess this means you’re up.”

Choirboy walked over to the door.  He raised his arms.  “I pray to the great physic engine AI.  I pray to the AI of physical structures.  I pray to the great AI of atomic and chemical bonds within the gaming environment.  Listen to my request oh great AIs for we are in dire need of your help.”

A golden yellow light from above rained down into the room, and a glowing vaguely human shape appeared within that light, in accordance to Choirboy’s prayers.

And like a million angels opening their wings a clear voice rung out filling the room.  “Yo! Choirboy Dude! What’s happening!”

“Oh divine voice of the algorithmic guidance of chemical and molecular bonds, thank you for listening to my prayers, we have need of getting past this door.  Could you please assist us,” prayed Choirboy.

“No prob, little dude.  Just between you and me, watching over the chemical properties of molecules is somewhat boring.  I mean chemicals either react or don’t react according to their properties.  I haven’t had much to do since this world was programmed.  Why the other day I was talking to the AI in control of physics and he said…”

“The door sir…” Choirboy insisted.

“Oh, yeah right.  Just a second.  Oooooh, this door is totally awesome.”

“Oh great divine AI of chemical bonds can you get us past it.”

“You know you don’t have to go through all that elaborate mumbo jumbo with me.  Oh, I know some of the other great governing AI require genuflecting to get their attention, but I’m not like them.  You can just call me Bob.  I like the name Bob.  I really should create an avatar and get out more.  What do you think Choirboy?  I’ve always wanted to go bowling.  It looks like so much fun.  Wanna hang out one evening for bowling and a few brewskies?  Maybe meet some babes?  Do you think ‘Hey baby I’m not just a God, but I’m godlike in bed’ would work as a pick-up line?”

“Sir!  Bob!  The door!” said Choirboy.

“Oh, about that Choirboy.  I’ve looked it over and all I need to do is add an electron, neutron, and a proton to all the Carbon atoms in the door, and the whole thing will go up in a poof of Nitrogen.  I've just set up a script to handle it.  But a couple of my brothers want to talk to you first.”

Streams of YinMn blue light fell from the ceiling into the room and streams of vermillion red light fell in another spot.  Two more glowing vaguely human shape.

“Choirboy,” the blue glowing shapes said, “long time.”

“Oh great AI of storyline continuity, to what do I owe this great honor?” said Choir.

“If you step further forward on this path, you will shift the destiny of this world,” said the red glowing light.

“How so, oh great and divine AI of quests.” Choirboy addressed the red light.

“That cannot be revealed. We are simply artificial intelligences. We do not see the future, merely probabilities to be calculated.  Just know Choirboy that stepping through that stepping through that door will bring death and destruction.  Permanent death in some cases.”

“Permanent death,” said Choirboy, “how is that possible.  Every digitalized person, player, civ, AI or NPC has a back-up stored off site.  Some have multiple copies.  I do not understand.”

“And more cannot be revealed.   Just know that if you go forward with your plans, the risks are great for everyone you know.  It is my duty as the AI in charge of Quest lines, to assign random loot, evaluate levels of quests, and put Heroes on the one true path, and I have to say that this one is a doozy.  An S++ rank quest if not higher.”  Said the red light.

“And as the AI in charge of story line continuity, all I can say is that there are great gaps in the continuity of this one.  Even I don’t know how it will turn out, and there are forces acting against my helping you reach the end.  You all may die, the narrative might end, the fourth wall may even be broken, Choirboy.  Consider carefully going forward.” Said the YinMn blue light representing story continuity.

The lights flashed, and then there was darkness and only the original golden yellow light of the AI of chemical reactions remained.    

“So what da’ ya think Choir.  Gonna risk it, or gonna call this whole thing off?” Said the golden light.  

“I must discuss this with my compatriots oh great light.  Can you please remove the door?  Whether we go forward or head backwards, your work here is done.  Many thanks.  And maybe bowling next Tuesday oh glorious Divine power of Chemical Reactions.  Eight PM-ish.  I hear it is 80’s night in the bowling alley.”

“Done.”  The door went poof, and where highly strengthened carbon molecules once were organized was now an invisible and rapidly dissipating cloud of nitrogen.

“Oh, and maybe oh Divine AI of Molecules and Ions, maybe try something like ‘Baby, wanna know why I know there’s chemistry between us…” Shouted Choirboy at the receding light.

About the author


  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • The enima of my enemy is my friend


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