Kellerika put her goggles on their charger. “Jesus.” She grabbed her cell and speed dialed Deke.
His line clicked up. “How the hell is this even possible? It’s a damn game.”
“Whoa, whoa.” She took a seat on her couch. “Slow down. How’s what possible?”
“He cut my damn arm, Kell.” He huffed into his phone. “That looney samurai dude literally cut my arm,” Deke said. “Hope it doesn’t need stitches.”
Kell was vibrating so much she couldn’t set still. “Listen to me, Deke. I need you to promise me that you won’t go back in until someone figures this thing out.”
“Ah! Shit.” A sharp inhalation from Deke. “You got it. I’ll talk to ya after while. I’ve gotta go clean this up.”
“Fair enough,” she said. “Later.”
Once the line cleared, Kell made a call to her boss and conveyed their gaming experiences.
Stazia came to the same conclusion. “This sounds like one of the Nine has taken over the code. I doubt that it got into something that sophisticated on its own, though.”
Kellerika sank into the couch. “I contacted the game’s developer, TycoSoft. Their CEO told me that he okayed the cheat code from one of their programmers, Reid James. I’ve already tried to reach out to him, but got no reply.”
Stazia hummed. “What code?”
“BABY-X,” Kell said. “It was meant to make the game harder to beat and add in extras for the die hard fans.”
“Sounds like Mr. James put in more than just game extras,” Stazia said. “I think we should pay a visit to Reid James and seek out the truth.”
Kell massaged the bruise on her neck. “He’s likely on the run. How many more will it kill before we found him?” Kell sat up. “No. I need to go in there on his turf, where the King lives, and banish it from the inside.”
The stress blew out of Stazia’s lungs. “This sort of thing has never been attempted. We have no way of knowing if our rites will work on lines of binary code or not.”
Kellerika got up and got herself a drink. “The rites are designed for the Nine no matter where they are, so long as they’re on our plane, right?”
“That’s the gray area,” her boss said. “Is virtual digital space still considered a part of our physical plane? If you go in, make sure you’re ready with a few options and have an escape plan.”
Kell chugged her tea and put the cup in the sink. “I will.”
“Be safe, Kellerika.” With that her phone fell silent.