Tyndall: Operative, we've found that the virtual blueprint of Ouroboros' internal network layout is held by an employee named Sheldon Brewer. If we can obtain this map from Brewer, we should be able to scan their substructure, check through the access logs, and fairly quicklly determine which system or systems within their network were hacked by Mauser's unique encrypted attack.
Operator: Brewer wasn't hard to track down--he's listed right in their corporate directory. I'm picking up just a few coppertops in there... Might be one security guard.
Strange, I'd have expected something a little tougher.
[Friendlies: Bluepills, Ouroboros Security] [Heroes: Sheldon Brewer]
Ouroboros Security: Yo.
Ruby Sheldon: No, the testing for our new self-moisturizing electric body razor is on the other floor.
That is what you're here for, isn't it?
Well, maybe you should go anyway.
Operator: There's Brewer. I'll run a scan for a data reposi...tory. ...
Uh. It's Brewer... I... He's reading like his signal is coming out of the pod system like a standard coppertop, but there's something...
Hey, do me a favor and get him to talk. I gotta see how this guy's neuros respond.
Sheldon Brewer: Hello. You must be new. I'm Sheldon.
Um... So... Can I help you? Did you lose your temporary password? That happens a lot. If you just give me your user name, I can reset it for you.
Er... Something else?
Operator: Ho-ly... I don't believe this. There's a carrier wave on his signal... it's a complete second data channel. The dude's been hacked. No, that isn't the right way to put it. He's been modified. This isn't a hack on his RSI; it's coming from him--from his brain in the pod. Someone went in there and physically... Jesus, they must have hardwired the network schema into his brain tissue. Who could-- Who would--
We gotta let Tyndall know about this. This sin't something I can solve through software. This is wetware.
Sheldon Brewer: Um... If you remember what the trouble was, just come back and we'll get it taken care of. Or shoot me an email if your access is working. Or call! That's fine too. It's really not a problem. I'm almost off, but I'll be back bright and early tomorrow!
Ouroboros Security: Have a good one.
Tyndall: Operative, there's something I should warn you about. The Ouroboros systems we're seeing--the firewall server you accessed last week, and now this man Brewer--they appear to be independant components--self-contained designs, rather than coordinated parts of a top-down hierarchical system. This is a highly unusual organization method for any group entity, and especially for a corporation of Ouroboros' size. It's already complicating intel's analysis, and there's some concern that the blueprint we're after might not even cover enough of their network to be useful.
About Brewer: there's only one thing we can do, which is to run a pill trace through him, find his pod, and surgically access the data. I'm uploading a modified pill to you now that will run only the trace, without triggering the mechanism that would dump him from his pod. Awakening at his age would be too traumatic, even if it turned out to be compatible with the modification's he's undergone.
Operator: That's his apartment. Yes, we are definitely stalking him. You're gonna have to get him to take that tracking pill. Slip it in a sandwich--whatever you gotta do.
[Heroes: Sheldon Brewer]
Sheldon Brewer: Oh! Oh, it's you. Wow, you kind of spooked me there. Uh... Well, this is after my usual hours. There's a 24-hour help desk you can call to-- Let me get you the number...
What? A pill? Thank you, but I really don't think... I... Just let me find my phone, and I'll get you that number...
Operator: I'm picking up incoming signals. I think we're almost out of time here... No time to be cute about this: jus take him down. Once he's out, you can force the tracker down his throat, and get him to swallow by gag reflex.
Hey, I'm getting this from Tyndall! You think I've done this before? Now come on, hurry up.
Sheldon Brewer: Nothing's wrong! Um... I just... You just wait here while I find the phone...
Operator: Good fight. Okay, get that pill in him. You can wash your hands later.
Operator: Looks good... Trace is running.
- CENSORED*, just as company arrives! There's nothing more you can do there, so get out fast. No, don't worry about the guards--there's no way those bootjacks can stop the trace.
Ouroboros Security: Control, I think Brewer is down. Repeat, Brewer is down.
Tyndall: Fortunately, Brewer's pod is in the superclust just outside the Machine city. We'll have a ship there in just a few minutes, Warrior. We'll need you to move quickly, because the tracker is also showing us a location inside the Matrix. We think this must be the outlet for the data wired into Brewer's head. The retrieval crew is going to try to trigger a data dump from his brain. We'll need you standing by to receive.
Operator: God, if anyone's ever probing my brain to trigger a data dump, please jus tshoot me. Seriously. Not that I'm saying we're doing the wrong thing here--it was whoever messed with Brewer in the first place. And it must've been someone doing it for Ouroboros, right?
Speaking of, I'm pretty sure they're onto us. I've got a lot of activity in there, and somehow I don't think it's an office cocktail party.
[Hostiles: Ouroboros Security, bluepill]
Scot Hunter: Hold your horses. I've almost got it disabled. Just a few-- Aaa!
Operator: That's the terminal. It looks like our team's already got the dump coming down. Get that data and hit the road; I *am* picking up more bogies headed your way.
Tyndall: Operative, we've received the data, and we're parsing through it now. It appears to be what we had hoped for.
There's just one more thing for now: I think we should check on Brewer. The retrieval team returned him to his pod. We think we were able to leave him without any additional damage...but with someone who's been tampered with so much already, it's hard to say. I wish there had been some other way to get the infromation we needed. It was such a fiendish way to hide their data!
We've tracked Brewer to a full-care facility. It seems that Ouroboros is at least concerned about keeping their subject alive.
Operator: If you think about it, it was the perfect way to protect the information from anyone in the simulation who might want it, because you pretty much *had* to go outside the Matrix to get at it. I guess it must have been Ouroboros who did it, which means they--well, someone there--knows about the Real...And what about the Machines? It's their pod system. Bet you they knew about it, too. Hell, maybe they did it for them. Only...Did you hear that they're saying the Machines raided Ouroboros themselves not too long ago? And the Merv's been trying to get information about the intruders out of them for a while now. Sheesh, what a mess.
[Friendlies: Ouroboros Security]
Operator: Uh-oh. We can't just start a war outside his hospital bed. Maybe you can talk your way past them.
Ouroboros Security: Where d'you think you're going? Friends and family only, and you aren't on the list.
Ouroboros Security: No admittance!
Operator: Yeah, not one of my better ideas, I guess. Hell, we'll have some flowers sent or something.
Tyndall: We can safely say there are devious minds behind Ouroboros, Warrior, and we consider who might be complicit in this--Mauser, the intruders, the Machines--and it doesn't take much imagination to expand that list even further--well, it doesn't leave a pretty picture. Direct tissue modification of humans in the pods in order to manipulate data in the simulation... We have to find out what Mauser's involvement was. I'm just worried now that it was something very sinister indeed.