A 24 chips’ ring

He hadn’t stolen the project yet. He took a syringe, broke its plexiglas point and made himself an injection of a dose of ticker, then he wore gloves and helmet, put the pin into the split at the base of his wrist and turned the computer on. He had been experienced in virtual reality ever since he was a child but he still got exited whenever he entered the net.

Jack  typed the TREXXEN URL: It was easy to visit the pages dedicated to the users, a bit more complicated to visit the secret ones. He got to the first wall and entered the first key, which he knew very well since he had beenworking there for a period of four years: he typed STRESS and the wall was reduced to hundreds of conglomerates of red, brown and black pixels. Only one was missing , but it could be easily discovered by a cracker like him. He opened his site, copied some files in the Trexxen one and waited a couple of minutes, the wall got eventually destroyed, he went inside where he could search the secret files till he found the one he was looking for, copying this he then went out with only eight seconds remaining before the emergency defences would become activated.

He called an airtaxi and asked to be transported to the spaceport. Controls were strict, as usual; nothing could be taken outside the island, but Jack Willis managed to. He went on board, first destination Sasso City, on the Earth.

Some hours later at the Trexxen’s:-" Hey boss, someone has entered the secret area!"- -"Jack?"- -"He is missing"-. Panic attacked Area 4 at the Trexxen’s, which was the first producer of  ICE in the galaxy. Detective Hiro Forrester, the only biointegrated man on the island, was immediately called, perhaps he was the only man able to solve such a case.

In room 405 of the Syncopate Hotel in Sasso City Jack was meeting a short man , whose hair was noticeable due to a long blonde pony-tail, they were exchanging a briefcase full of credits with a simple chip, like a gem, that Jack slipped out of a ring he was wearing. He was in a great hurry because they had probably discovered everything, he had to fly away as soon as possible but the short man didn’t trust him and therefore wanted to check the content of the chip by inserting it in the "jumper" at the nape of the neck.

Everything was ok, He could enter Jack’s site so he could now eliminate him. Denji pulled out a Walker PPK with a silencer and killed him shooting him in the throat. A slow trickle of blood flowed out from the the right side of his mouth producing a cold sneer on the victim’s face who, with eyes wideopen still stared accusingly at his murderer. Immediately after Denji plunged into Willis’ data bank.

In the meanwhile, on the island, Hiro too is searching Jack’s site. -" I knew that the tricks taught to me by that crazy man would prove to be useful, but...oh, my God, they are erasing all the data!- He typed hurridily at the keys in a vain attempt to save some files, but these were not intellegible to him. -"I am eager to see what the wizards at Trexxen’s will be able to do"- he said.

Denji had finished, he could go back to Pexi, assured that they would be satisfied with his work, as usual. He left the room and almost collided with the swaying robot who was employed for cleaning, but he didn’t mind. The robot’s olfactory sensors smelled blood and triggered the satellite alarm which was linked to the TransPlaNet.

-Jack Willis has been killed in a hotel in Sasso City- the cyber viewer showed him. For Hiro the investigation had reached a tragic conclusion...Now a killer and a motive had to be found. It was more pressing and more urgent to know the contents of the files, thwe director had to speak now. First of all he had to leave for Sasso City, scene of the crime. He arrived at the spaceport just in time to take the last cargo, he sat next to the pilot, one of his old friends.

The journey wasn’t good; as soon as he arrived, Hiro went to the bar of the hotel, the most suitable place where to acquire information. The barman noticed the cyber viewer on the right eye of the newly arrived, it reminded him of somebody.

-"Have you ever seen this man?"- Hiro slid Jack’s photo in front of his eyes. The barman, with a bent head, continued to dry the cup he held in his hands.

-"I’ll ask again. Have you ever seen this man?"- he repeated leaning over the counter this time holding him firmly by the neck with his left claw.-"He has been killed in one of the filthy rooms of this hotel, maybe he was with someone, can you recall who it might have been if it’s not too much trouble?"

-"Keep calm old friend"-he groaned-"Yes, I remember now, but he didn’t stop here, he went directly to the lift".

-"And then?"-he pulled the barman towards him , whose face grew contorted with pain.

-"He was following a guy..-,someone with a long blonde pony-tail".

He let go, now it became clear, if it was Denji. Yes, it had to be Denji, nobody else would have risked being identified.

He phoned Treexen’s and the manager of Area 4, even if unwillingly, spoke to him. "Jack worked with my team on the Project, the damaged files were part of it. Strange, they hadn’t to be in Jack’s site, at least not all of them, it’s only me that can gain access to the complete project and I change the password every day. Noone but me and the Supreme Manager could possibly know it". But Hiro knew that Jack would open any door and he was also very greedy for information. It was easy now to reconscruct the whole business,more difficult to capture the killer, he was certainly in a safe hiding place somewhere in the agglomerate. As for the instigators, they could only formulate hypotesis. His job was complete. And what about Trexxen’s? He would waste months of hard work but the project would have to be made public before any Pexi could possibly take advantage of it, there was no other choice.

Hiro returned to the counter after all the barman wasn’t too bad.

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