You finish supper and take care of Ray, then log into VR, heading for the Usenets.
Ada advises as you log-in, walking into the Lobby and forward into the VR room:
Bloo is ONLINE
BrokeNL is ONLINE
DJ Geocities is HIDDEN
endy is ONLINE
Mizu is OFFLINE
Anyone else on your "roll call"?
Tonight, the Usenet room is set up as a set of comfy couches with a huge 3-D screen. BrokeNL and endy have small game controllers in their hands and it appears they're playing a heavily modded Streetfighter.
Bloo is watching, looking at their wrist-screen, appears to be waiting for something. Maybe bored. Fighting games, not Bloo's bag.
Anonymouse is ONLINE
"Me, natch!" BrokeNL says with a grin. endy shrugs his agreement. BrokeNL is playing as Chun-Li, endy is Ryu.
Out of the backroom walks both Anony and Fiery.
"Hey there, MrE!" Fiery calls a greeting. She's dressed in a nice pair of jeans and a t-shirt that randomly displays funny messages. Right now it says: "SITH ACADEMY". She's got red hair, hence the nick. She's a bit older than you. Her avatar is pretty much exactly how she looks IRL. She gives you "the point", which is her guyish greeting of pointing at you to say hello. She's not much on touching, even in VR.
Anonymouse heads over to hug you, squealing, "MrEeeeeeeeeeee!" She kisses your cheek, then steps back, "Bloo said you booted some corps last night? Good job."
"Tell us about it, MrE." Fiery asks. She's bored of the fighting game action. Not because she doesn't like it. She's way better than endy and BrokeNL. Their skills bore her.
I bring up a console to turn on some light music for myself, and continue with the story. "Apparently she and her "partner" were hired on as consultants to "find loopholes" in their security... I told her she could come looking for me out here — not here here, but on the usenets here — in exchange for not romping her work files. She seemed to take offense when I called her a suit though — ISPs must be getting desperate if they're hiring on people who don't believe in the work."
endy replies quietly, "Wrong game, mang."
"I should have the together," Anony comments wryly. "Like a Virtua meets Streefighter meets Soul Blade meets... I dunno, what else?"
"Throw in Mortal Kombat, natch!" BrokeNL says excitedly.
Fiery raises a hand, "Quiet, game junkies! MrE's talking about real stuff here." They hush a little, because Fiery. She gives you a nod, "Cool. Glad we blocked that. But giving one of them usenet access? You gonna mole her?"
"Or mooooore!" BrokeNL says with a laugh, suggesting you have "ulterior motives" with his tone.
I'm a little amuzed by how much of a cult following these retro videogames have... We have rooms where you can go delving in a real dungeon, or beat yourself into oblivion if you really want, and walk out unharmed – but these guys still want to play the oldies... I guess some things are just classics, in spite of their flaws.
Fiery looks over at Bloo, and you can see she's tapping into the feed. She says, half to herself, half to you. "She's... hunh, interesting. This Patty." She looks at you, Raleigh, "What was she like?"
Bloo nods, "Me, too. And, she's headed towards a usenet on movies right now."