Gookin’s Journal

In-character Subject: Assigned
Submitted: 2007-3-20 12.28

Gookin had been in the room for over an hour now.
Agent Brown had told him that he would be receiving his assignment personally from Agent Gray. Very rarely was an operative, ever, allowed to meet the head honcho of the Agents.
Gray was late! So much for mechanical efficiency, apparently he was supervising the team who were scanning all the old constructs for any ‘unusual’ activity. It seemed that the young first mate had caused quite a stir within the higher echelons of the Machinist society.

“He’s coming in. Secure the area!”

Gookin stood up as if to help with the scan.

“Stay seated Mr Isbell; no one is to know about this meeting. We have kill codes loaded for that specific reason.”

Kill codes! What the hell was going on that it required the Agents to be carrying kill codes just in case. Gookin fell back down into the seat, stunned, confused and downright bored.
Agent Gray said nothing to the others as he walked into the room, but they seemed to understand where they were needed anyway. Interesting. Gookin didn’t know what he should do. Stand? Sit? Salute? Shake hands? Why is it that most of those suggestions began with an‘s’? Gookin had a brief stray thought, which just proved how bored he really was at that moment in time.

“Greetings Operative. It is good to see you functioning fully and efficiently.”

Gookin nodded

“Erm, yes sir! It was an ordeal but I am recovering.”
“Well we have a special task for you that requires you to be at optimum efficiency so you must, how you say, ‘recover’ soon.”
“Yeah, I’ve been here for over an hour now. What is this special task?”
“All will be told in time. The random nature of your ability to separate your mind from body and enter a construct that most Agents cannot access was very disturbing to us Mr Isbell. We were very curious as to how it was managed. The code that worked alongside the kill code inbuilt into the shotgun pellets is the key.”
“What do you mean is the key? Are you telling me the shotgun still exists?”
“The code was extracted from your RSI before you ‘jacked out’ of the construct. But the shotgun does still exist, we believe. Its signature did not leave the system once it had disappeared from the construct. It weakened slightly but is still here and we have no information regarding its whereabouts. The potential for catastrophe is still within the Matrix, Operative.”
“I’m guessing my assignment has something to do with the shotgun and, therefore, some exiles? From the nature of this meeting I can also deduct that the exiles are pretty fucking tough and that I have a very high chance of not returning from the assignment. Tell me I’m wrong.”
“You are not totally incorrect, no. But you will return. We have been working on a special program; a program that we can upload to an RSI and enhance certain abilities, while inhibiting other functions.”
“Like the cheat code vials? No way. I’m not turning into some Unlimit version 2.”
“Yes. But they are not the same. This program will enhance the Operatives RSI without the risk to other functions. We want you to test it for us.”
“Test it?!? You mean it hasn’t even been tested yet, and you want to send me into a hornets nest of the most badass Exiles around?”

Gookin was scared, confused, angry and amazed all at the same time. The Agents, in all their mechanical wisdom, wanted to use him as a guinea pig for their latest development program. After all that had happened with Anome, the Agents had just gone straight out and developed the ‘beta version’ of an apparently ‘better’ program.

“Yes Operative, but it is clear in the way your code fluctuates that you doubt us because of the recent Unlimit fiasco. I assure you, this program does not work to the extent of the vials. It is very weak compared to the extent at which they changed the RSI of an operative. The changes this program will temporarily make will be small but noticeable.”
“I don’t suppose I have the option of saying no do I?”
“You achieved something that not many before you have achieved. This shows great potential within the unreachable areas of your mind. We wish to… use this to our advantage.”

Gookin thought for a moment. If that shotgun still existed, then the potential for another to experience what he did existed too. He could not let that happen. This all started because of him, and he would damn sure end it.

“All right, I’ll do it but only because this started because of me.”
“Very well, Operative. We shall be in contact soon. Then we shall implement the program. You may leave now.”
“Another thing, hasn’t the General been trying to perfect the cheat codes? If I get captured by the commandos, he’ll have it! Then what are you going to do? We know the Merv and Beats are close to an alliance but you’re prepared to let me roam the system pumped full of enhanced code!”
“The program has measures built into it that will prevent that from happening.”
“What sort of measures?”
“If you are captured at all, the code will rewrite itself to resemble a small bomb. You’re RSI should survive.”
“Should survive? Fuck! If I die, I’m haunting your ass Gray!”
“Remember your place Operative!”
“We work with you, not for you!”

With that, Gookin simply stood and left the building. He was pissed off. This whole assignment seemed far too naïve for the machines. As he walked out onto the oversized balcony of the Machine building he noticed a small fragment of metal on the floor. He picked it up, not because he chose to but because it felt familiar to him. As soon as the fragment was out of sight, Gookin’s thoughts returned to the Assignment as he wondered whether to tell the others or not. He should, he thought, at least tell his wife…


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