The Freak knocked over a cart of archaic looking computer equipment angrily. It didn’t make her feel any better. All of the hard work training with The Hacker, and The N Team still schooled her like it was her first day inside. An old keyboard clattered across the floor and stopped at the sneakered foot of Gary Grant, The Jock.
“Frustrating, isn’t it?”
The Freak glowered at him. “At least you had a chance. They destroyed Virus 001”
“Technically they corrupted it for their own use. Its only a beta anyway. It makes no change to The Programmer’s plans.”
The Freak grinned darkly and lit up a clove cigarette. “Listen to you, you sound like The Nerd. But you didn’t fare much better in your last battle with them.”
The Jock matched her grim expression. “The Captain has grown faster than anticipated. Which is why it’s actually advantageous you’ve returned. The Hacker can handle them at Tetris. The Programmer is sure of it.”
“And what is so… ‘advantageous’ in my return?” She took a long drag, holding the smoke in her lungs for a moment, then exhaling slowly.
The Jock’s grin faded a little. “We are to exploit the Captain’s weaknesses. In Video Land he is unstoppable. But out here, his flaws are right out in the open for us to prey on. And the Programmer has a task for us along that vein.”
“Don’t be coy with me, Grant. Just cut to the chase.”
“Believe me, you probably don’t want to know, but we will need your help when its time.”
Gary turned to leave. She twisted her mouth to say something but let to words fade into the acrid smoke. She snuffed the ember on the side of a computer monitor and turned the other way. She would have to clean the mess she made before The Programmer returned, if he was going to return today. She could hear The Jock open the double doors at the end of the hall and his descent down the stairs, two at a time.
She spoke into the room, to the hollow green monitors staring coldly back at her. “Best watch your step, Captain N. The Masters aren’t ‘all talk’, as you say. And you’ve stepped on his toes one too many times.”