Razer paced the lobby anxious; his group should’ve been online an hour ago. His real name wasn’t Razer, it was Tobias Reynolds. Razer was his username for the Wire. He glanced around the lobby; there were crowds of people flocking towards the newly installed game. Razer threw it a quick glance, the queue was over one thousand players so he decided to go to one of his all-time favourite mini-games, Extreme Off-roader. He signed in and selected his car. It was a raised four-wheel drive with a massive plough on the front. The aim of the game was to drive as far you could through the zombie-infested streets without them destroying your vehicle. Razer’s notifications beeped, someone wanted to challenge him to a race. Perfect, he thought, no better way to earn credits than to smash some newbies in Extreme Off-roader. He accepted the invite and braced himself as the countdown begun. 5…. he took a glance at his opponent’s car; it was a small sedan with extra iron plating to protect it from zombies. 4…. He purchased ammo for his weapons. 3… the challenger made a gesture through the reinforced window of his car. 2… Razer gestured back. 1… the challenger revved his car, flames forking out the exhaust pipe. GO! Razer slammed his foot to the pedal and they were off. Flying down the cracked bitumen, buildings were crumpling to the ground around them. Suddenly a hunter zombie leapt onto the hood of Razer’s car, it fists pounded on the windscreen. Razer took out his shotgun and aimed it at the zombie through the hatch in the roof. BOOM! The hunter flew off, spraying the windscreen with yellow goo. He glanced at his opponent; he was struggling to dislodge a zombie from in-between the iron plating. Razer grinned and pushed the boost button on his dashboard. The virtual G-force pushed him back into his seat; he loved this part of the Wire, because sometimes it really did feel real. Razer’s visor blinked, he had a missile locked onto his vehicle. That was one the rules of this game, there weren’t any rules once you started racing. Razer frantically searched for another particular button. He found it and pressed it’ a large sentry-gun rose from the tray of his car and fired the missile out of the sky. Razer grinned as he crossed the finish line, his opponent cursing crazily in his headset. Razer took his rewards and headed back to the lobby. Razer checked his friend’s list, Neo and Xara were online, their location was at Gus’s Cyber-Café. He headed over in the direction of the café, stopping at an ATM to withdraw some credits from his account. When he got the café he greeted Gus, who offered Razer a free thick-shake. Razer checked his hunger bar and took it gratefully. That last game had taken down almost half of his hunger. He walked over to the table where Neo and Xara sat.
“How you guys going?” he asked.
Xara flicked her blonde hair behind her back, Razer had to admit that she’d done a great job creating her avatar.
“I’m great now that you’re here,” She said, flirtatiously. “Neo was boring me to death with his lecture on how to get quick XP on Knights of the Dungeon.”
Neo shrugged defensively, “It’s the game everyone’s talking about, so I thought I’d share my knowledge on the subject.”
Razer grinned, “You’re such a nerd Neo. You know chicks aren’t as interested in games as us.”
This time Xara get defensive, “Excuse me, but I love games, just not creepy little dungeon explorer games. I prefer to test my skills in other stuff, like racing games.”
Razer was growing impatient, “Are we gonna test out the new game? It’s not the dungeon one, I was snooping around the background datastreams and I came across a new game, kinda like Knights of the Dungeon except that it’s not based in dungeons, its open world, got customizable characters and everything and, here’s the best part, we’ll be the first ones in the world to play it, so u guys wanna do it?” Neo eagerly nodded his head.
Xara wasn’t so sure, “Will we get in trouble?” she asked.
Razer shook his head, “I’ll run an anonymiser program and we’ll be untraceable.”
Xara sighed, “All right then let’s do this.”
The Wire, when you really thought about it, was just a giant net linking all the system’s users together in a virtual community. Like in any community, there is a lot of money spent, which flows in out of the net, all it takes is someone to tap into the money flow and direct it to a real life bank account and there is your money. That is the basic principle all member of the VNI (Virtual Network Infiltrators) are taught when they are recruited. They are also given codenames because knowing someone’s real name is a weakness. The VNI had some of the brightest minds on the planet in their ranks. Some are even rumoured to be smarter than those that came up with The Wire. Tyron is among these, he had been involved with the making of a top secret project that would earn the VNI billions of dollars. It was a game that the VNI had inserted into the Wire that required players to buy items in the game with real money, this would maximise their revenue, but the only problem is that it’s illegal. Tyron had been with the VNI almost since it had been founded. The Recruiter had singled him out for his unique ability to hack into the Indo-American government network and successfully steal a large sum of money. The VNI had refused to tell him how they had tracked him down but he hadn’t ever wanted or needed to know.
Tyron was in the programming room monitoring the new game that he had coded into the Wire. He was almost about to fall asleep when an alert lit up his screen, someone had infiltrated into the background datastreams and launched the game. He quickly opened up a live video stream that would allow him to the view that game in the same way as the three intruders. He was curious to see how the VNI had produced his code into a Wired game. But then he froze; what if they were from the government and had somehow caught wind of the illegal nature the game would be covering up? He decided it would be best to load up his VNI Wire account so he could stop the intruders or prevent them from uncovering the truth about the game.