Current Transmissions:



“Imagine the second time you watch an episode of your favourite show. There is the version that the writer had in their mind sitting in front of their laptop, the version that the director had surrounded by the production crew. There is the version that the actor had reading the script, and during rehearsal, and the one that they performed on the day of filming. The version that got recorded. There is the version you experience as you watch it for the first time, with all your own reactions and feelings added to the mix. The version of it that you remember afterwards. The reviews and fan responses online. Then the version you watch the second time, where nothing about the recorded version changes except that your memories of it, the time you've had to reflect on it, the knowledge of what already happens, changes it all. 

“And now there's also the version of you imagining all this. So it can get complicated pretty fast. 

“Or to put it another way... Trying to follow the relationship between David Bowie and Ziggy Stardust while trying to follow the relationship between Bowie and Stardust and Johnathan Rhys Meyers' character Brian Slade (a version of Bowie) in Velvet Goldmine, and his relationship to Maxwell Demon (a version of Stardust) in that film, and their relationship to Slade's fan and later investigator Arthur Stuart in that movie, and Stuart's relationship to the actor who portrayed him, Christian Bale, and Bale's relationship to Bruce Wayne, and Bruce Wayne's relationship to Batman. All at once. 

“And trying to have a conversation with one person who is constantly becoming all of these people and back again. 

“Would be one way to describe plureality, I guess.”


Mr. Clean's Team - Endnote


Washington, RC

Office of the Director                                                                              December 27th, 1999 AX



We sent a second cell team to investigate what happened to the first cell team.  

Pilot had inserted prime Clean team at coordinates 44 - 33 - 23. The prime Clean team hadn't returned to extraction point at the appointed time. When second team arrived at the coordinates there was no sign of the prime team ever being there.

Second team then went to the chateau to locate target. Target was never there. This is according to eyewitness reports from people in the chateau and waitstaff.

Either some ajfdjofijwoeiojeofjoejowjoijoijefojoeiohwoeiohfiopwjiojiowjfowejofjwioejwoejfewf 
ddjkfjdofjioejojfijejoeifjeifs  or it could result of  fsdklfjkfjasklfjsldjfklsjdfkljsdklfjklfjkl dkfjdkjfklsdjkljdkfjdkfjksdjfdjfldjflsjdfljsdklfjsdklfjsdklfjklsdlfjsdklfsdklfjsdkljfklsdfjkldlsjfdklj


Agust Blooom
Mr. Clean's Agency


Mr. Cube's Team

The door to the chalet opened up, letting in a flurry of snowflakes in the blizzard winds. Maggie glanced at the door to see two men walking in laughing up a storm, followed by a young lad who should have been skiing with his frat brothers and a very stunning North American native following behind with a strange look on her face.

"Mags!" Max shouted.

"What the hell?" Maggie asked. "I said I was going away for a few days to rest - how did you find me?"

"You can't keep secrets from Control," Max told her. "He's like your boss..."

Control could be her Boss, she thought. Though she didn't know how he was able to tap into streams and send a team to control them, to make sure they didn't unweave...

"I'd like you to meet Grimm, Percy and that sourpuss over there is Alannah X. I guess the X stands for X," Max said. Maggie could see that they had the markings of a cell team but here they were in the middle of a chalet and apparently socializing.

"Each scenario ended with death," Max told her as if she understood, but at the moment she was as lost as the trio he had walked in with. "I gambled and won!"

Max stood beaming like a snake in the grass. Maggie saw the look of a man comfortable in knowing what his soul purpose in these worlds was. A recognition of sorts.

She smiled as it finally kicked in with what he done.

Vactionius Interuptius

Maggie raised her feet and placed them on the ottoman; stretching out some in the chair she could hear her bones creak and pop showing their age.

"Where's the snap?" Colleen inquired with a chuckle.

Maggie let a laugh escape from her lips. She hadn't felt this relaxed in a long while and was glad to be amongst the company of strangers. Beings with no idea that their lives hung on a thread intertwined with other threads that could unravel.

Colleen got up from the chair. "Be right back, just got to powder my nose."

Maggie nodded as Colleen walked towards the dining area. She reached for the novel that she had been reading and flipped it open to the page she was reading when suddenly...


Mr. Clean's Team VI

Fists were flung and blocked; Max stood there looking bored rather than a fighter. It reminded Grimm of the movie where the hero had woken up in a dream world made by computers and the hero was unlocking fighting techniques. The fight was going on longer than Grimm had anticipated, much like a cat playing with its prey before coming in for the final blow.

"What the hell are you?" Grimm grunted.

"Your worst nightmare," Max replied and then a wry smile crossed his lips. "Or a new friend."

Spa Day

She really didn't know when was the last time she had a day to herself. Three or four decades to say least and she was glad to have a respite. Away from the hustle and bustle of the worlds around her and just take some me-time.

"So, where you from?" Colleen asked.

"Oh, from around here and there. I rarely stay in one place these days," she replied. She didn't want to go into details since if she told the truth Colleen might consider her 'unstable' and would end their brief friendship. But considering that Colleen read Kaye-Silence books her mind might have been open. "I'm not accustomed to relaxing like this, it feels nice to be doing so."

Colleen nodded.

"I say we crack open a bottle of wine and let our hair down for the evening," Maggie said. "Let's give these March Break kids a run for their money."


Mr Clean's Team V

Grimm had been around long enough to know that this fellow was as good as they get. They were rounding each other off, doing an informal square dance, sizing each other up. He didn't know how Max knew where they'd be and what their objective was.

One thing for sure was that his employer had a mole in his organization and he was going to get to the bottom of it, that's for sure.

Grimm feinted and Max wouldn't take the bait; it seemed he knew what Grimm was going to do and when.

"We've been through this dance many times before," Max said.

"What the hell does that mean?" Grimm said. He presumed Max was using some kind of psychological crap on him.  "I've never met you before."

"We've been here many, many times," Max told him. "Each time it ends the same."


A shiver ran down Maggie's spine. Much like a Jedi she sensed that there might be a disturbance in the force, or that she was just getting colder.

"Brrrrrrr," Colleen said as a bunch of frat boys entered the lodge, leaving the door wide open. Snow was drifting in and she brought the shawl she wore tighter around her neck.

That's what I felt, Maggie thought. A bunch of morons enjoying too much beer and not enough senses. A waiting staff rushed to the door and shut it.


Mr. Clean's Team IV

When Grimm hit the snow the first thing he saw was Percy and Alannah lying on the ground. Both were stunned and pretty well incapacitated.

"What the hell?" he muttered. Did his employer send them here to be ambushed?

He glanced around the area to see another fellow standing there, dressed in white winter gear, a tuft of blonde hair from the hood. Grimm's mind kicked over the bio of Maggie and her known associates. Max Cube, but he was supposed to be dead.

"Maggie deserves this rest," Max stated. "There's no way in HELL I'm going to let you guys interrupt that!"

Savor The Moment

Colleen put down the coffee on the end table; the coffee hit the spot.

"You know a girl can get used to living like this," she replied. "Being waited on hand and foot with everything that you could possibly want delivered to you."

Maggie stood up and stretched; it'd been a long while since she was able to relax and let her guard down. To her it felt like ages of traveling to and fro from one battle to another. This was her time away from the spotlight.

"Don't tell me I'm boring you," Colleen inquired.

"Oh, no," Maggie replied. "Just needed a stretch or else I'll take root to the chair."

"These are the most comfiest in the universe, that's for sure," Colleen said.


Mr. Clean's Team III

The door of the chopper opened up onto the bitter cold, snow entered inventively, almost blinding the landscape below. The red light was on and the trio snapped into secured lines.

"Shit," Grimm said as he checked his gloves to make sure they were secured. "Why couldn't this hit take place in Bermuda?"

"Quit your bitchin'," Alannah X scolded him. "That's why you get paid the big bucks!"

"See you losers on the ground," Percy said as he hooked up a clip from his belt to the rope and disappeared into the snow like an illusionist in Vegas.

"Damn punk, always showing off," Grimm growled. 

The Book Club

".... and so on that note he seems to think that he is a person made up of thousands, possibly millions, of the same soul," Maggie said. "Like one person made up of a colony of organisms."

"...orgasms?" Colleen questioned.

Both Maggie and Colleen stopped and then they shared a chuckle.

A common bond of reading seem to weave a friendship as they chatted about ideology and what Kaye-Silence was really up to. The cover of Fables of an Invisible Being showed a city and what looked like a homeless guy leaning up against a building; the city scene reminded Maggie of New York City. She missed New Amsterdam, having been there since the beginning and...


Colleen ordered a coffee, black, from a passing waiter. He smiled and nodded and went off to the dining room.

"Do you mind if I borrow the book once you're finished?" Colleen inquired. She had seen a bookmark toward the end of the novel.

"Once I'm finished with it, it's yours," Maggie replied.


Mr. Clean's Team II

Grimm looked at the hologram face of the target. A woman who seemed to be in her late 20's or early 30's with a very angelic looking face. He was wondering why a huge team was needed for such a fragile looking woman.

"Pretty," Percy spoke. "Too bad we got to put her down."

Alannah X glanced at the hologram; she had seen it a few times before. She loved to study the face of her targets. Alannah was thorough and had read the bio of their target. "She's extremely dangerous, she has a kill list of 3,000+ confirmed."

"Sweet Jesus, that many?" Percy inquired. 

"15 minutes til contact," the pilot interjected.

Grimm shut down the hologram. Alannah reached behind her and flicked on the red light as the normal lighting went off. Time to get their game faces on. 

Fables Of An Invisible Being

Maggie placed the book down that she was reading. Fables of an Invisible Being: The Life and Times of Daniel Kaye-Silence. It was an intriguing read and something that hit home with her. This was the third novel in the series; the first was Invisibility Zero which discussed the realities around us that had been fractured to a point where nothing was what it seemed and that our mind processes into something that we can comprehend. It reminded her of a 'Star Trek: Voyager' episode when Q explained the Continuum to Capt. Janeway.

She let out a little chuckle on that note. She took a sip of her tea and glanced around the room; the lodge itself was quiet this time of night, many of the others here were either in bed early to hit the slopes or at Snicker's Shack dancing to the funky groove by the house DJ there.

The second book by Kaye-Silence was Rooms Within A Room: Paradoxical Viewing which explained in detail how trace elements of other realities can be anchored in all versions of itself. The author went on into minute details of how water was the element of life and immersing completely opened the pores on the body and created new awarenesses.

"Is that any good?" Colleen Anikos asked as she approached from the desk and took a seat across from Maggie. "I'm reading Invisibility Zero now."

Maggie smiled and nodded. "It's interesting to say the least."


Mr. Clean's Team

"Canada," Grimm said. "What a shithole."

Grimm had been looking out the window and all he could see was the white fury of mother nature. He hated coming here because it always seemed like it was winter. Like permanent winter and he hated the cold.

Percy laughed and then added, "Say, didn't you date a girl from here?"

Percy looked like he still should be in high school with his boyish good looks. To Grimm he looked like that actor on that 90210 show that was on decades back. 

Alannah X chimed in. "Yeah, what was her name.... Minnow?"

Alannah X was extremely beautiful; she was Cree and her long raven hair was tied up in a pony tail with a feather hanging from it. Her green eyes were a rare feature for a native american.

"Mignon," Grimm barked. "It was Mignon you morons."

Break Time

 Maggie was happy to be sitting by the hearth letting the warmth cascade over her body, chasing the coldness away. Outside the north wind picked up some, blowing snow against the window. She really disliked this time of year but beggars couldn't be choosers and she lived with the hand that she was dealt.

She brought up a mug of tea to her lips, let the aroma entice her nose, unlocking codes of pleasant peaceful thoughts to her brain like a safe-cracker at an old bank vault.

She was tired and sore and needed a good long bath but at this particular moment in time she was simply content to sip tea and listen to the wind howl. She brought her feet up and placed them on the foot stool before her, then she sipped the herbal tea: green tea with a hint of peppermint. She let out a simple ah, since the tea seemed to dance over her taste buds.

Maggie closed her eyes and thought about the events that had led her here.

She smiled.

"A penny for your thoughts," a young gentleman on the make said.

"Silly boy," she said without opening her eyes. "Don't you know there's no such things as pennies here."


Defrag: Bring Two


Half an hour later he was finishing the first donut with a smile. “Thanks, Cal.” 

“You're welcome,” Callan said. “I feel more than a little responsible for you being stuck here.” 

“Don't be ridiculous. You needed back-up to stop whatever the hell that was, and I told you to call me anytime. It's not your fault the – what did you call them?” 


“That they set the building on fire.” 

“If you hadn't intervened with the police, the truth may have come out. Which would have had further undesirable consequences.” 

“Like us being sent to the looney bin.” Dex smiled again, bit into the second donut. “Callan, I don't pretend to have clue what is going on with all this weird, mystical stuff. Between your Guàiwù and Darius' Undead I am way outta my depth these days. But I figure I became a cop to stop bad things from happening to people and this qualifies.” 

Callan nodded. “There has been an alarming rise in manifestations of ancient evils lately... However, if I may speak honestly, my real concern is not with the return of forces from the past but with the arrival of... even stranger forces from the future.” 

Dex had been a detective for years now. He had the instincts. “You're talking about Max.”

Defrag: Like Watching Air Move


By sunrise Wraith had stopped three random muggings, prevented a gang of drunken frat boys from assaulting two women, interrupted a corner-store robbery and scared off four street cops who were laying a beating on a young hood. She hadn't killed anyone. 

There was an ache in her muscles from all the combat – not that any of her opponents had been close to her equal – but there was a calm inside her. A stillness that even her deepest meditations hadn't achieved. She was tired but for some reason she swung by the Diner rather than heading home. Mask off now, nunchakus hidden, walking on the street like a normal citizen. 

Wraith wondered if any of the others would be there at this time of day. The monk made her uncomfortable – he had clearly studied in one of the ancient traditions, which meant that he was dangerous and that he may know more about her origins than she would like. They would have to have a conversation at some point. The cop was nice enough, tough as nails, not corrupt like a lot of his comrades. If she was being honest with herself, she thought he was pretty cute. The strange one was, well, strange – he was quiet, decent with a pistol, but he had a look on his face sometimes like he wasn't entirely here. 

The kid was there, in a booth near the back. He waved her over when she entered. Wraith decided as she sat down across from him that she wouldn't share what she had been up to all night. Not yet.

“You're up early, Darius.” 

“Shelter was full last night,” he said. “They let me stay here sometimes as long as I don't fall asleep or bother the other customers. Payback for chasing off the gangs, I guess.” 

“You don't have a home?” Wraith asked. 

Darius shook his head. 

“Come crash on my couch,” she said, like an order, that peacefulness inside her.


Defrag: The Going Getting Good


Maggie pointed to the two poster ads on either side of the steps leading up. On the left one a large green cross was prominently featured, some sort of environmental initiative, and the right was a car ad, a picture of a sun-lit country road. Frank nodded and drew his cell phone as they made for the stairs. Tapped open an app that performed localized location searches. He had a bit of trouble getting a signal at first until he tinkered with the hacked LEGACY code that his phone used for wireless access. 

“I've got a hit on a bar called 'The Crossroads' about two blocks from here.” He tapped open the satellite map. “This looks like a pretty standard downtown neighbourhood...” He glanced at the prominently displayed weapons of his companions. 

Max shrugged. “The pic Akimoto sent was clearly of a monster.” He fished out his cell, started tapping the screen. 

“Does he even know how to use a cell phone?” Frank had his doubts about the barbarian; he was weird even by Plex measures. Frank preferred it when things stayed military, corporate, and he could even handle a little supernatural, but cross-cultural time-travelling holy warriors who may have originated from somewhere in outer-space stretched his comfort-zone. Truth be told, the entire magical subway creeped him out. But Maggie trusted Akimoto, and if Frank started questioning her judgement he would end up doubting his own place here... 

Max showed him the pic. It was definitely a giant, horrifying monster. “Alright then,” Frank said. “Stealth mode off.” And he slipped his SMG out from under his coat.


Defrag: Manor of Speaking


There was a faint creaking sound from somewhere on the second floor. They paused, listened, but it did not repeat. They continued up the spiraling staircase. Max slipped Joy and Pain out of the shoulder holsters under his jacket. 

“When will I get a signature weapon?” Angst asked quietly. Max had his pistols, Maggie had her sword, Suki had her weird gun (and Dexter had his bat, Wraith her nunchakus and Darius his bible, but Angst hadn't met them yet [and Aqua had her gauntlets and Akimoto his sword, but Max hadn't met them yet]). 

Max paused again, turned to face her and sat down on the stairs. He seemed thoughtful. Angst wasn't sure exactly how long she had known Max – time had gotten very strange ever since she had met Maggie and the others – but she recognized this look. 

“Max,” she said. “Now's not the time to get all theoretical. If you don't know just say so.” 

...the variables that transfer between variations in the performance of or possibly confinement to Continuity become the triggers for us to recognize and remember our relationships to each other and to ourselves as primary externalized factors of our intentions and reactions towards the prevalence of hostile interactions with plureality as manifested by the recurrence of weaponry throughout versions as we become in effect distribution systems for directed violence and become weapons ourselves except that i'm also usually wearing a t-shirt with some kind of tagline, and suki often retains her school uniform, dexleatherjacket, dariustrenchcoat andnowangstthecheerleader maybeourfashionisanothermediumanothermessagewecarryaswebecome...

“Max...” Angst repeated, mimicking a stern tone she had heard Maggie use before. 

“I don't know,” he said. “Do you want one?” 

Angst shrugged, looked at the pistol she carried. “I'm not sure...” 

Max asked, “Do you want to go shopping for new clothes, next time we have a chance?” 

Angst looked down at her outfit. She had been wearing it, or a version of it, almost the entire time that she had been traveling with Maggie and the others. It always re-set whenever they shifted, stayed clean and whole. Same went for her pom-poms, tucked away in her satchel. 

“I'm not sure...” she said again. 

“That's okay, you don't have to be.” 

Angst looked back to Max. “And you don't always have to know the answers. I'm not saying that you're a know-it-all, I just mean that... If you're unsure about stuff, or worried, or scared, you can let me know. You can always be honest with me.” 

Max smiled. “Thank you.” 

Angst nodded. “Alright, let's go find out if this place is really infested with ghosts.”

Defrag: God Complex


Dexter's voice came in on Max's comm. “Hold position, we're almost there.” 

“Yeah, about that...” Max said as he made his way quietly down the stairs. 

“Max.” This time it was Callan. “If this is really a yaoguai then your bullets will likely have little effect.” 

Max stopped at the doorway that led from the stairwell into the hardware store. He steadied his breathing. 

Callan continued, the sound of screeching tires in the background. “I have a waidan elixir prepared that will imbue your weapon with the necessary-” 

A scream came from the store, loud enough to be heard over the comm. 

“Damn it!” shouted Dex. “Alright Max, get in there!” 

Max kicked in the door.


Defrag: Phenomenonialistic


Maggie slipped into the passenger seat and winced in pain. “Did they tag you?” Max asked as he started to accelerate the car. 

“No. I'm feeling pain from doing all those acrobatics on the way down.” 

Max nodded. That meant that they had shifted into a version with different bio-physical parameters. Luckily it had happened after Mags had made her escape from the building or otherwise, athletic or not, she wouldn't have survived the fall. “Do you need any first aid?” 

Maggie shook her head. “Let's do an orientation.” It was their standard ritual for trying to identify what version they were in. 

“Yes please,” Goner said from the back seat. Maggie spun around, startled, and Max made a yelping noise. 

“How long have you been here?” Max shouted. 

Goner explained that in his version, he and Max had been driving down a long country road, on the way to meet a farmer who was advertising some firearms for sale. They had found the ad online at a public library. Next they had hot-wired a car, scoped out some corner drug dealers and rolled them for their cash. It was nasty, but the last shift had left them without cell phones, money, or weapons. The geography had changed enough that none of their storage caches were available. And none of the standard contact protocols were in effect; the Professor wasn't answering, Pretty George wasn't answering, the other Dragons weren't answering. There was no subway system. They couldn't find a local version of the Diner or the Bookstore. Max had tried a few of his rituals, his trances, but hadn't gotten any clear directions. Goner had reminded himself that it wasn't all that different than being stranded behind enemy lines in a war zone; you did what you had to. 

“So I was grabbing a nap and woke up when I heard Max talking to someone just now.” Goner leaned forward and offered his hand. “They call me Goner, ma'am. And who might you be?” 

“I'm Maggie. Nice to meet you.” She smirked. “Again.”

Defrag: Only Death Can Save You Now/Cube Hype


And previously... 

The troll roared, Max felt dizzy. 

“And what do you think the troll symbolizes?” Madison asked him. 

Max ducked a swipe from a massive fist. 

“You don't think the running-out-of-ammo is the more revealing metaphor, Susan?” another voice asked. 

Max tried to roll inside the creature's reach but he ended up just laying down. He was exhausted. 

“I told you, my name is Madison Hall. Dr. Longfellow does not work at this facility.” 

“Max,” the other voice said. “You have to get up.” 

The troll raised its fist again. 

“I really don't want to.” 

The troll smashed him. 

The room on the other side of the glass was empty suddenly. 

“Damn,” Madison said. “He's disappeared again. This is never going to work.” 

“He's probably just going to finish off the troll. He'll be back,” the voice said. 

Madison sighed. “Okay... Let's boot up the Angst program in the meantime and see if we can't decode some more of the cheerleader symbolism.”


Defrag: At the Billboard of Broken Dreams


(takes a sip, then his attention is caught by the billboard) 

Silence is a nice soundtrack, Frankie. 

MAX closes his eyes. 

This image... It changed. 

MAGS springs to her feet, katana in her hand, quickly kissing MAX on the top of his head, turning and raising her blade as the strange beings emerge from the billboard. MAX flicks his cigarette and snatches up his pistols, leaping off the platform and turning in the air to fire back at the invaders.

(drops his beer and draws a pistol from his jacket) 
It was nice while it lasted. 

MAGS being swarmed, her katana slashing. MAX falling backwards, firing, his cigarette falling beside him. The beer can dropping through the air, FRANK sighting on the head of the bizarre alien beast.

Defrag: Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting


Suddenly the light of the Godhammer flickered out. 

“Shit,” Max said. 

“Max, what's going on?” Suki asked, her voice uncharacteristically nervous. It reminded him just how young she was. 

A hundred calculations bloomed and decayed in Max's mind, there was a silvery, fluid feeling in his stomach. He knew that meant that his chakras were fluctuating. What was negating her weapon? Was it related to Mode's warehouse? What would reassure her? Should they abort the raid against Mode? Would Goner actually relax more without the weird weapon working? Would Suki be safe without the gun? The mission objectives were changing. 

Everything is going to change, Cube, but not enough to keep you safe. 

“Okay guys, Ariadne Protocol. Tell him how you found the Godhammer, Suki. I'm going in by myself, stealthy like.” 

No one knew how Suki found the gun; it was one of the dozens of lost or forgotten truths that they all lived with. The story she chose to tell, however, would keep her and Goner linked, bound up in the tale and the telling, like a spell, in case there was some kind of shift, and hopefully they wouldn't be separated. And Max would use any synchronicities about weapons to follow like breadcrumbs leading him back to her (the last time they had used a version of the Godhammer story Max had reunited with Suki at the Excalibur Cafe). 

First things first, though. Put a stop to Angus Mode's latest transaction in corrupt psychic weapons systems.


Defrag: Relax, Don't Do It


Her cell rang. Lorde ringtone, Baby be the class clown, I'll be the beauty queen in tears

“Hello? Oh, hiya... Not too bad, how about you?... Actually, well... To be honest, maybe not so good... No, I know, I'm not judging it... I think I was just having an episode... Yeah, fighting demons, it felt like hours but I'm pretty sure I just got home about twenty minutes ago... And the cat, he was here... Yeah, the talking cat... Jesus, I'm shaking now... I'm pretty sure it's over, unless I'm hallucinating this phone call... haha... No, I'm glad you called... No, I'm going to keep going, if this is what it's like for Max then I want to know... Holy, I just had major deja vu!... Ok, listen, I'm going to have a shower... Yeah, I'm safe... I will... Or you call me back if you don't hear from me by ten... Great, thanks again... Bye.” 

Maggie looked down to see if there was a cat at her feet...

Defrag: Nexus Force


They stuffed their pockets with batteries and headed out. It was matter of walking and listening; they let Aqua carry the stereo. Their path zig-zagged as the faint voice appeared and disappeared in the static, like a shadow in a blizzard. Goner and Max had reconned most of the town in the two days since they had arrived here in the motel by the highway, so they kept up a good pace. By evening they had passed beyond the city limits, tracking the flickering signal along a country road. Enough moonlight that they didn't need to break out the flashlights yet. 

Max had been in a gunfight, took a bullet, came to in the shower of the motel room (with a new scar on his abdomen). Goner had been sleeping in a hotel with Frank and Max before waking up in the new room (he was worried about Frank). Aqua had stepped through the subway doors into the room (seconds after Akimoto, but where was he?); these kind of sudden shifts were pretty common on the subway so Aqua had taken it in stride. Dexter had been reluctantly practicing a meditation exercise with Callan; he hadn't recognized Goner or Aqua and was pretty sure that he was in some form of deep trance, his body still in half-lotus on the floor of Callan's apartment. 

It was morning before the signal cleared up enough that they could make out the voice. It was repeating a recorded warning about a radiation leak, insisting that everyone turn back. 

“Doesn't explain why there's no people,” Aqua said. 

“Unless they-” Goner started. 

“There'd be corpses,” Dexter interjected. He looked at Max and sighed; Dex had seen a lot of strange things in his days but things always got that much weirder when Cube showed up. “Alright, let's keep going.” He shook his head. 

Max grinned.


Defrag: The Awakening Moment


He decided on the direct approach and exited the motel room with both pistols raised, marching steadily towards the car. A coffee truck was parked at the corner and the driver shouted at the sight of an armed man in the street, as the sedan doors opened and three more armed men appeared, wearing the latest datacore clubwear, sleek and shiny like their computer-modded SMGs. 

And then a kid on a skateboard suddenly skidded to a stop between Max and the triggermen. Everything paused and the kid shouted, “Sufrir mi furia justiciera!” Suddenly the gunmen collapsed, shaking, blood running from their eyes and ears. 

“Morning Darius,” Max said, holstering Joy and Pain. “That's new.” 

Darius smiled. “I was getting tired of Latin, so I started learning Spanish.” 

“Cool. Any idea who?” He gestured at the defeated mooks. 

“The Manticore Crew. One of the new Legend gangs. They hired a freelance sorceress, which is probably how they tracked you down. But I had a vision during my morning prayer, tipping me off.”

Max nodded. “Well then, coffee's on me.”

Defrag: Black Magick


A few minutes passed. Nothing changed in the city. Someone was on the balcony of the apartment to the left, one storey up. It looked like they were talking on a cell phone. 

Something made a shattering sound from the kitchen. Max dashed inside to the bedside table, scrambling for his gun. There was no gun. 

Why would you own a gun? 

Max ran into the kitchen. It was empty. 

Why would there be someone here? 

Max sighed. He sat down on the couch, flipped open the laptop. Typed. 

Your love is a pareidolia. 

There was a loud sound outside, a huge sound. Max dashed back onto the balcony. He was starting to feel dizzy. There were explosions in the city. The figure on the other balcony was pointing into the sky, shouting something. 

Max watched the explosions getting closer, screams and sirens rising like a choir.


Defrag: Just Like Me, Maybe...


Angst raised the gun and squeezed the trigger. It was easier this time, more of the bullets went where she wanted them to. Maggie stood beside her, her foot braced against Angst's, like an anchor, all of her bullets going exactly where she wanted them to. 

Heads exploded, arms tore off, chests exploded. But they kept coming and kept getting closer. 

“Come on, Angst!” Maggie shouted. “Gimmie a K! I said give me a K!” 

Bullets and gore, flashing and stinking in the dark. 

“K!” she shouted. 

By the time Mags got her through K, I, L, L, T, H, and E the horde had stopped. Angst was crying and shaking, but she was reloading. “Now... Now you give me a why...” 

Maggie smirked but her eyes were soft. “This one is pretty simple. Those things were bad and they needed to be stopped. It won't always be this clear or straightforward.” She placed a hand on the younger woman's shoulder. “Or this violent.” 

Angst sniffed and nodded.

Defrag: Hunters Stance


We decide to hit the pub instead. Settled in at Rob Roy's, I order us four pints. Maggie corrects me; only three please. The beer is good, the atmosphere is cozy, and we feel good about the win.

Something's troubling me, though. By the time we part and I start walking home my mood has darkened. I'm distracted and don't notice how strange it is that I have an apartment in the very town we came to today for the mission.

As I enter the Brownstone and head up the stairs to apartment 23, I realize what's bugging me. It's Max. The way he handles himself, the way he confronted the demon, the way he went to work on the zombies, guns blazing. I'll never be like Max. No matter how many missions they let me tag along on, I'll just never really be like him.

I'm too nervous, I'm not in good enough shape. I always doubt what I'm saying. I don't know enough, I'm not that cool under pressure.

I turn on the TV, start cooking up a can of noodles. I feel edgy, unsettled. I almost feel mad at Max. Like he's a cocky show-off, like he thinks he's so much better. Truth is he wouldn't even be that special without Maggie and Angst. I know that I'm being pathetic, and that just makes me feel worse.

There's a movie on the TV I've seen before but I can't remember the name or the plot. 

A knock at the door. As I open it I realize I'm in a motel room. The smell of noodles is coming from a bag of take-out on the bed.

It's Angst and Maggie. Angst says, "The police scanner picked up chatter - sounds like there's still something weird back at the cemetery."

Mags smiles. "Gear up, Max. We must have missed one."


v.Cyber Max

Little is known about the Horsebreeder Corporation except that it disappeared shortly after the fall of Legacy. One of the only remnants of its secretive existence is the Omega Cortex, a unique bit of neuro-tech that runs a Polysonae identity mod that allows users to select from a catalogue of pre-coded personalities. 

Max was an old friend of Pretty's and when Plureality managed to steal the Omega during the chaos of the MacroCorps War, Pretty bought it from them and convinced his pal to have it implanted. Depending on the Contract, Max selects from 'Simon' – a tactics and espionage expert, 'Marshal' – a hacker with an internal database of rare Meshes nicknamed the Spellbook, and 'Mick' – a brash and sometimes violent investigator. There are likely other polysonae versions in the Cortex that Max has yet to unlock.

The one time that Max tried Plex after the Omega was implanted he disappeared, literally vanished, for three days. He claims that he remembers nothing that occurred during his absence. 

v.Cyber Tatterdemalion

Every Contract intersects with the Grid because the Grid is everywhere. Forged identifications, masked interfaces, cloaked communications, disabled security systems, counter-surveillance, hijacked transportation, decryption, downloading, uploading, viral warfare. For any Contract to be completed someone at some point will need to run at least one Mesh on the Grid. Tatterdemalion is the Van Gogh of Mesh-work. On a dose of Plex she's Van Gogh, Picasso, and Magritte all at once. Whatever augments she is using are hidden away in a Black Box Cortex; any attempt to hack or even just scan her neuro-tech will only cause a sound file to play on all interface channels – 'Also Sprach Zarathustra'.

v.Cyber Trump

Although Pretty would likely never admit it, the one Meta he knows who could out-charm him would be Trump. Black-belt level social-engineering, enhanced by an Aphrodite Cortex that regulates pheromone output and manages subliminal physiological responses, in addition to running Lunar and Medallion perception mods. He also has a solid stealth game due to a custom genetic augment using hybridized cat cells. For negotiations, interrogations or infiltrations, Trump is worth his price.


v.Cyber Aqua

Pretty's favourite bruiser, Aqua is the perfect Meta for when a building needs broken into, or out of, because Aqua can actually punch through walls. The Arcanium-alloy gauntlets that she has grafted onto her hands are powered by Hyper-Gravity micro-batteries and are outfitted with contact-activated Nova Burst generators as well as short-range counter-security EMP emitters. Aqua's designer Hermes Cortex runs Resilience immune boosts, Throne pain-regulation stimuli, and comes with an echolocation field that translates environmental data into dance music, which may explain her somewhat unique freestyle fighting technique.

v.Cyber Akimoto

If Pretty knows that a Contract is likely to get violent, Akimoto gets the call. Full-spectrum muscle, bone, and epidermal augments. Military-grade Ares Cortex implants, running Altar and Retribution nervous system boosts. Multiple Regen chemical nano-factories. Besides being a terrifying warrior, Akimoto is famous for playing Barbarians & Basilisks sim-feeds in realtime while in combat, superimposing the epic fantasy gameplay over the real world action. On a dose of Plex Aki can't really tell the difference between the two, but he becomes an even better fighter...

v.Cyber Pretty George

When the Legacy Corporation finally collapses – due in large part to the leak of top secret research by the underground hacker group Plureality – a war begins. It is a war of information, of data, of money, and just as often a war of bombs and bullets. Omegatropolis – the vast city that covers most of North America, including the 13 artificial islands along the Atlantic coast – descends into chaos as Legacy falls apart and the ravenous horde of MacroCorps begins fighting over consumers, resources, profits and power. The soldiers in this war, beyond the private security companies and in-house agents, are the Metas.

Metas are hackers, gunslingers, thieves, smugglers, and spies for hire. They use the latest bio-mech enhancements and neuro-tech upgrades to out-sneak, out-fight and out-think the competition. The bravest and craziest use a drug called Plex that can boost their capabilities to borderline paranormal levels.

Whatever their talents, motives, or personal demons, Metas need Contracts to work. And Contracts come through Fixers. And the best Fixer in Omegatropolis is Pretty George.


v.Space Lt. Max Cube

Justice-class vessels were outfitted with a compliment of ten Fighters (a combination of single-pilot Hangman and Devil-class craft and co-piloted Reaper-class ships). Fighters were essential for space combat, ship defence and planet-side actions. After Magenta's decision to go rogue, only four pilots remained onboard. Commander Washington and Lt. Comm. Wraith were also trained pilots but the Wing squad needed support. The Captain decided that one of their first anti-Legacy missions would be to break former Lt. Cube out of prison and return him to service onboard The Dragon.

No one was certain how exactly Cube and Magenta knew each other, or why he was in jail. There were rumours that they had been romantically involved, but they seemed to fight a lot. Cube was the archetypal cocky pilot with the skills to back it up, but his dedication to taking down Legacy was never in doubt.


v.Space Lt. Darius Angellus

When Captain Magenta decided that she was going to fight back against the Legacy Project she gave the crew of The Dragon a choice: they could remain onboard and join the resistance or they could be dropped off at a nearby Temple Base in the Haven Zone. Many of the crew had families, many were afraid, and some – even after seeing the evidence – still believed in Legacy. Of the initial 107 only 23 stayed. Some had served with Magenta before, some were motivated by the evidence, but Ensign Angellus' reason was perhaps the strangest – he had dreamed of the Captain and had foresaw the coming war against Legacy... 

Angellus didn't told anyone else about his visions, but he started keeping a dream log.

Only three other members of the Engineering Team, all of them Ensigns, chose to stay – Angellus was promoted to Lieutenant and became acting Chief of Engineering. He worked tirelessly to maintain the ship's Plexdrive, the only thing keeping them flying and fighting.

v.Space Lt. Callan Lokk

Callan Lokk served briefly as an Ensign under (then) Lt. Comm. Magenta at the Oracle Outpost Wind where he assisted in running the Metawave transmissions that allowed for interplanetary travel and communication within the Haven Zone. Lokk was always a more talented Meta-tech than his rank or posting suggested, and when his curiousity led him to conduct some off-book scans he discovered encrypted clues to Legacy's many conspiracies. 

Lokk kept the knowledge secret for years until he was re-assigned to The Dragon. His trust in Capt. Magenta finally prompted him to reveal what he had learned. He brought his expertise to the fight against Legacy as the acting Chief of Science.


v.Space Lt. Comm. Wednesday Wraith

Wednesday Wraith was the acting Chief of Tactical aboard The Dragon when Magenta took command. The two did not always get along personally but they challenged each other professionally in a way that inspired both of them to do better. When the evidence started to accumulate that the Legacy Project had ulterior motives, it was Wraith that pushed her Captain to dig deeper. And finally, when it was necessary, to go rogue. 

Wraith's tactical skills were unmatched and she was instrumental in helping The Dragon evade capture by the Project. She led a squad of five soldiers – known as her Shadows.

v.Space Comm. Dexter Washington

Dexter Washington was the Commander-in-Charge of Fortress Base Haskins when it came under attack by Cryo-type Exos. When (then) Commander Magenta arrived with a tactical squad Washington immediately recognized her to be a powerful and capable ally. Their teamwork saved the Fortress and thwarted a large-scale Cryo invasion. 

Years later, when Captain Magenta was discovering the corruption of the Legacy Project, she knew that she would need to surround herself with a crew that she could trust. She requested that Comm. Washington be re-assigned as her First Officer. When he began learning the truth behind Legacy's lies he followed Magenta without question. His loyalty was to the people he served, not the Project.