Introduction

There are three sections of the web. One is made up of servers and LANs, the second is the net, and the third is the gaming world. This story takes place in all three of these worlds, each one holding its own side of the story behind the events that changed the web, and the world, forever.

Jack ran his fingers through his hair. Five purges in three clicks. He knew when he signed up for force captain that the job was going to be hard, but he never imagined this.

Three Trojans and two Adas had popped up in the city over the last few clicks. The Trojans had been corrupting the outgoing commerce for weeks undetected.

Jack snorted. That's what happens when your City Security is full of spies and minions of the gangs. Jack and maybe five others were the only men on the force left that weren't under the influence of the gangs in one way or the other. Jack was roused from his thoughts by a wrap on the door of his office.

"Jack, Chief Helinger is here to see you." Jack looked up at his secretary, Denise. She had short brown hair and deep blue eyes, but this lead most to false assumptions. Behind those calm blue eyes was an icy cold interior. Perfect secretary material.

"Thanks, Denise, send him in…" Jack straightened up his desk, absentmindedly shoving files into doers. He quickly checked himself in the mirror. His tie was undone to the point of being held up by sheer will power, his short black hair was a mess, and he needed to shave, but other than that…

"Sorry for the mess…" Started Jack as the chief- a balding man; either late forties or early fifties, nobody dared to ask; and never seen without a cigar in mouth and an old Kelo revolver holstered at the waist- entered his office.

"Don't say sorry, it's a…"

"…Sign of weakness, I know." Jack shook his head, smiling despite himself. The chief had been a close family friend for many years and Jack had heard the lecture before.

"Exactly. Sayin' sorry is like surrendering. Never surrender unless the enemy's got you beat, or yer dead. Why, I remember when I was just a Lieutenant like yourself. I was stuck in an alley, two Trojans closing in on me…"

"Sam, why did you want to see me?" He knew if Sam got started he would never stop.

"Right, just getting to that. Came to congratulate you on a good cycle. Three clicks of non-stop purging can be hard for a beginning Lieutenant."

"Thanks Sam. You are right, it has been a hard cycle. Anything else?" Jack wasn't in the mood for a chat.

"Aren't we the fussy one?" Said Sam defensively, then sat back in the chair opposite Jack's desk. "I was just coming down to tell you the new recruit has arrived."

"New recruit? Why wasn't I informed?"

"We tried, but your phone wasn't working." Sam crossed his arms.

"Yeah, sorry about that. Unplugged the phone so I could get some sleep."

"No worries. So did I. Just remember to tell Denise that before you doze off next time, ok?"

"Right, next time. So this new guy, what he like?" Jack leaned back and let the swivel chair take his full weight.

"Typical newbie. Cocky, overconfident, way to smart for his own good, the usual."

"Sounds familiar."

"I'll say. And get this, he's from the net."

"The net? Is that safe, what with all the slips in the walls lately?"

"Headquarters gave him the clear, so…" Jack nodded.

"So don't trust him for a second, got it." Sam gave him a pat on the shoulder then lumbered out of the room. Jack waited until he heard the door close, then turned back to the window and looked out. Beneath the window he watched as the trains passed by below and the freighter ships floated in and out of the glowing red firewall in the distance.

After finishing up his shift, Jack walked amongst the masses. It was that time of cycle again, the tourists were pouring in from the net. You could tell which ones were locals, they all dressed normally. The net women all wore skimpy outfits that defied basic probability programming to keep on and the men were all buff or incredibly good looking. Jack paid them all no attention. He himself wasn't so hard on the eyes, but he preferred to stay out of relationships. They formed a weakness that could be exploited by the unlawful types. Not that he was totally heartless, he did have a plasma hound back at his apartment that he loved dearly. Helped keep him sane.

"Scuse me sir, could you spare a credit or two?" Coughed a shrewd voice from behind him. Jack casually spun around and looked down to see a beggar sitting at the edge of an alleyway.

"Sorry, but I only have a dime."

"In that case, could you spare me the time?"

"Let us not break into senseless rhyme."

"I cannot help it, I am covered in slime."

"And you smell like a lime." Said Jack, finishing the code. The beggar stood up tall and his tatty clothes transformed into a slick black pinstripe suit. He was bald, wore red shades, and had deep blue skin.

"What a pleasant surprise running into you here, Mobius. I was hoping I would get to see you while I was here." The man's name was Heathrow. Him and Jack had served in the Spybot legion for several years during the Y2K epidemic. Mobius was Jack's call name.

"Heathrow, my old friend. How's life treating you?"

"Not so well, I'm afraid." He spoke with a deep and commanding voice that made passers by detour around them. "A nasty virus has been stalking the net lately. Although I'm here on business, I wanted to warn you."

"I'm sure the big guys up at My Computer will be able to bribe it off."

"Nah, not this one. This one opens the flood gates and lets in hundreds of viruses. The city will be in chaos. Server port 11038435970 has been corrupted already. Keep an eye on incoming files for me, ok?"

"Yeah, thanks for the tip. I'll do that."

"Make sure of it. I don't want my favorite vacation spot overrun by viruses."

"To late for that. The top goons have at least a hundred of the buggers working for them."

"Yeah, but you guys still have the best beaches and babes that this side of the LAN can offer." Heathrow chuckled, the chuckle emanating from deep inside of him. Jack patted him on the back, as hard as it was to pat a giant like him.

"I hear you." He laughed, "Wanna go catch an AMV or something? We could stop by my place, Hoover (Jack's dog) misses you."

"Sorry, tell Hoover my visit will have to wait. I'm here on a job, can't loose the target."

"Right, gotcha, good luck." He said, shaking Heathrow's massive leathery hand. Heathrow walked back into the alley and reverted to his beggar Skin. Although Jack had joined the force after he left the army, Heathrow had gone into business for himself as a bounty hunter. And he was one of the best out there to.

Jack continued on down the streets, a dazed and tired look in his eyes, but seeing Heathrow again cheered him up a bit. As he finally reached his one bedroom apartment on the fifth floor corner apartment overlooking the junction of 4th and 3rd, Hoover barreled out the barely open door, throwing Jack to the ground, and slimed him with a few good layers of saliva.

Jack was woken at 3:00 am by the sound of his phone. Hoover snorted at Jack for getting up, in doing so disturbing his domain(a pile of stolen sheets at the foot of Jack's bed).

Jack shuffled out into the living/dining room and removed the wall phone from its cradle.

"This better be worth it…" He grumbled into the mouthpiece of his decrepit old phone. He didn't care who it was, 3 am was 3 am.

"Jack," It was Sam, "Get out your bug spray, we got worms."

Jack came tumbling through the police barricade. It had taken him a while to get ready and time was of the essence. Worms, although in most cases harmless, can be dangerous. They find flaws in security systems and take advantage of them to duplicate and overrun systems. This is a rare situation, but it happens. It was happening now.

"Chief, what's the situation?" He called, sliding to a stop next to Sam. He was smoking a cigar like always and didn't look happy. They were at the container port, and Jack suspected that the worm must have gotten in.

"Worm infestation in one of the incoming shipments. They're big buggers this time. They got teeth."

"Damnit I hate the ones with teeth!" He snarled. The ones with teeth could take off a limb easily, and the residual pattern burn would prevent regeneration for several clicks.

"How many men do we have on scene so far?"

"Just ten riot guards, but we got the new guy in there already." He grunted. Jack looked about the area. They were in a gap, about the size of a soccer field, between two recent shipments. The riot guards were standing by a little distance away.

"Is he alone?!" Jack cried in astonishment.

"He's intense, the real deal. Not even a gun, just his little sword thing."

"A real Anti Virus?" Sam nodded. Jack whistled. He heard a smashing noise and watched as a group of containers crumbled to the ground. He ran over to a nearby police car and retrieved a Tommy-gun from the back trunk. It was standard issue to keep one in the trunk just in case. He ran towards the sound of slimy sloshing, the barrel and round clip leading the way. He rounded a few containers and finally caught sight of the new guy. He was wearing tailored black pants and a brown vest, over a white button up shirt and finished off with a black coat. He looked right out of the Victorian Cycle. But what really caught the eye was the sword. A classic swashbuckling sword like in the old AMV's. And then there was the worm. It towered at least ten feet tall reared up like a snake and had a hundred rows of spinning barbed teeth. There was another worm lying dead on the ground nearby.

The man was distracted by Jack for a moment and lost his concentration. The worm, doing as worms do, took advantage of the situation and swallowed the guy whole. Jack didn't stop to think, he emptied his entire clip into the head of the worm. By the time he was done it was pumped so full of lead it wouldn't be able to move.

Jack waited for the slime to settle before walking over to the dead worm. As he approached it a shining blade emerged from the belly of the beast. Behind it followed the new guy, looking as clean and proper as the day he was programmed.

The press, already aware of the drop in danger (it was like a sixth sense for them), came charging into the clearing, their flash bulbs shattering all over the ground. Jack lowered his gun and hid it behind his back. The new guy strode forwards into the onrush of reporters. He answered their questions like some glorious warrior, back from saving the day. And to Jack's annoyance, he took all the credit.

"Sir, how many worms were there?" Called one reporter, elbowing neighboring reporters to get a question in.

"Oh, at least ten. Those two were just the youngsters." He chuckled.

'That's not true, those two were the only ones, and they were huge!' Jack thought, his face flushing red.

"Is it true that you deleted them both alone?"

"I never fight alone. I have the support of my colleagues in the AMF (Anti Malware Force) in every situation."

"So they were fighting with you?" Asked a pretty lady reporter.

"In spirit, yes." He smiled at her and she blushed. He was very dashing. Jack cursed him under his breath and trudged back to the others back at the barricade.

"Sir, what is your name?" He heard before rounding the corner.

"Quake, Quakespy." He replied with a smile.

"Did you see this crap?" Jack roared, slamming the newspaper onto the Chief's desk. Sam looked up at Jack with calm eyes.

"The guy did do it alone."

"Like hell he did, I saved his ass!" He snorted, crashing back into a chair opposite the Chief's desk.

"Maybe so, but this guy is good. It took you an entire clip to waste one of those buggers even when it was distracted. The guy has skill."

"I'm not denying that, but he's got some nerve to say something like that. Makes us look like idiots!"

"Calm down. We didn't sign up for the force for the glory. The public knows that we do our jobs as best we can. They will talk about this guy for a few clicks, then it will all just blow over."

"Maybe so," He sighed, "Hey, I saw Heathrow yesterday."

"Yeh? What'd he say?"

"Said that there's a nasty virus traveling from system to system. Its already wiped out an entire server." Said Jack, "It gets into the system looking like an anti virus but lets in tons of other viruses. Hey, maybe this Quake guy is it. Wouldn't that be great?"

"Doubt it, we haven't had an increase in viral activities since his arrival."

"He hasn't been here long, could still happen."

"I'll keep an eye on him for ya, happy?" Jack snorted something and the Chief glared at him.

"Yes sir."

'Jack can really be just like a kid sometimes,' thought the Chief, shaking his head as Jack walked out of his office.