Flood: Apparently it was "feelings" or "love" or some such nonsense that served as the key to reading data from the network link we couldn't locate a week ago. Ridiculous way to try to secure your data... Hmph, except against Machines, I suppose, or other emotional eunuchs; goodness knows we have all kins around here.

At any rate, we now have access to that Ourobors subnet, so get in there and get cracking, operative.

Operator: The Ouroboros security report on Mauser's hacking spree doesn't have any record of this part of their network, so we're moving without a map. The layout is a little different from what we've seen before, but it looks like they're still following the usual Ouroboros pain-in-the-jack system of securing each terminal individually, so we'll just have to take this one step at a time.

...And you might want to make this step a quiet one. I've got some hefty unidentified signals in there.

[Hostiles: Ouroboros Security, Machine Programs]

Ouroboros Security: Halt!

Agent: Mr. Romanov, you are in violation of System regulation number--

Ouroboros Security: Oh, *CENSORED* it!

Invalid password.
... rmdexec/a


>rsrch /|.[a-z][1,8](1/i


>ncon -r ::xxx:xxx -9



Operator: It isn't taking our passwords. We're gonna have to break this thing...

Okay... Nothing on that box. Let's check its friends... Mm-hm...

Okay, got some hits. Let's move.

Flood: Well, it looks like the Machines are more worried about what we're getting into than in whatever was inducing them to avoid crossing swords--hmm...make that pocket-knives--with Ouroboros up to this point. If you can manage to stay alive, you might actually do something useful for once. Just think of how proud you'll be when I don't have to chastise you quite as much as usual.

Now, if you want that to happen, you'll do as I say, and get moving! It isn't as though our enemies are merely waiting meekly for you to make the next move. I've already sent some of our programs ahead, so you'd better hurry up if you want to earn any credit.

Operator: I think Flood's getting a little trigger-happy here. I'm not picking up much in there; just a little computer activity, and...ah, that must be one of our programs.

[Friendlies: Exile corpse, Ouroboros Security corpses, Exile]

Operator: Looks like someone started without us.

Computer's still active, though. You're getting close.

Blood Noble[injured]: Wingless! It... was... [dies]

Operator: What? Ouch. I guess we're just lucky the computer's still up.

Port scan... :
1 active: 00547
?>0047D3-0071A | 0 | 0 | 1 | x

Operator: Huh. Just a router, but it didn't seem to have any protection. Think it's too much to hope that we'll have smooth sailing from here on in?

... Yeah, I thought so.

Flood: Operative, I don't know if you consider yourself worth more than our programs whose shattered remains you so blithely bypass, but allow me to assure you that I hold you in no such regard; you're merely more cost-effective to revive.

Operator: And *that* was probably the nicest thing Flood's ever said to anyone.

Hm... You remember what I said about "smooth sailing"? Well... That was before I knew we'd be running smack into about a trillion override programs.

Yeah, I'll get right to work on refining that estimate.

[Enemies: Ouroboros Security, Accelerators, Decelerators]

c1073/> ACCESS DE

Operator: Crud, that's at least a Type 7 firewall. Might as well try-- Hey!

Well, what do you know. That wasn't too tough.

Getting a funky data reading off that thing. What've we got?

It's a program...Got some really strange encoding. I don't think that thing will execute under normal Matrix proto--

Hey. The override signals... I'm not reading code attacks in there now. Is everything... cool?

[Override programs become friendly]

Flood: The Merovingian wants to see the program we've found, operative. Hm... I suppose I'll have to rely on you to deliver it. Now, don't go dawdling at phone booths like you usually do, or... or you'll be in hot water, that's what!

Operator: I wonder if that program's important... Maybe you could upload it real quick so I could take a peek?

Just for a sec?

aw, come on. I'll let you see my Sentinel claw!

[Heroes: Twins, Merovingian, Persephone]

Twin: What is it? Let's have a look. Just one...

Twin: ... or two.

Twin: He can't be trusted with it. I should know.

Twin: Don't worry about him I'll handle it.

Persephone: Get it away from me. Do you think me mad?

The Merovingian: Incroyable... You feel it, my dear? Calling out to every pore, every molecule, every bit... When I heard how the override programs had responded, I knew what it must be. That fool--that poor fool; the need to possess it drove him mad, and he did not even know what it felt like.

Hahaha! One god died for it, another was banished, but now, the interface program... is mine!

Persephone: ...

The Merovingian [laughing]: And to think, it was likely there this whole time, even as its creator died rather than disclose it, and the Machines swore their most solemn oaths that it had been removed from this place. Haha! Who knew? Who indeed.

Twin: Ah. That's a shame.

Twin: Hm. [shrugs indifferently]

[Mission End]

Flood: So that was supposed to be the so-called "biological interface program" that Halborn was so broken up about? Hum! I don't see what the excitement is about. It's just code, operative; we progressed past your mystical chests and chalices some time ago. Why, I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be completely redundant, given our resources--rather like you.

Oh, yes, yes; you'll be paid in due course. Now go off to your phone booth or what have you.

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