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"To Thine Own Self Be True", Part One

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Week Five

April 4th, 1996
Avg. Rating: 3.0 out of 5

Saturday May 6th, 2043

Rook woke up in a hospital bed, in a locked, gray room. Occasionally a strange Japanese doctor would open a slot in the door, or come in and speak with him briefly. Rook had stitches and bandages along both forearms, and was sore in numerous places. The doctor referred to him as Drew Johansen, and suggested that the "grafts seem to have taken and are healing nicely".

Monday May 8th, 2043

For two days, Rook played along and recovered his strength. Just before being released (and after his possessions were returned), he left his G3K on an open channel and hid it under the bed's mattress. The doctor drugged him one last time, and next thing he knew he was back in his coffin downtown. He immediately made his way to a nearby chop shop and paid for a full examination. This doctor told him that he had no new cyberwear, and no new grafts- in fact, the "stitches" on his forearms were real, but there were no incisions made.

Rook then checked all news, crime reports, missing persons reports and obituaries for "Drew Johansen", but could find nothing except two entries in the Seattle Metroplex Vidphone Directory. When he traced the open channel on his G3K, he found it to be in a building at 34 West Holyoke in Seattle.

Tuesday May 9th, 2043

Rook went to Jennifer Drake's apartment and let her know where he'd been and what had happened; likewise, she filled him in on what he had missed. By this time, Drake had already called her fixer, Bill, and asked him to find out what he could about the tall black man with the tattoo they had seen leaving Chad Ferguson's apartment building.

When the team returned to the Lewiston Apartments they found red NERCC trucks and NERCC agents going over the building. They were cleaning up after the explosion, but they were also examining the rear fire escape for possible signs of recent use. After interrogating the guard, they arrested him for "deserting his post in a crisis". They all left shortly after that.

Once all the nerks were gone, Derek went back into the Lewiston Apartments lobby, got the guard's keys from his desk, and retrieved all the video surveillance disks from the lobby's camera. The team then returned to Derek's apartment and began watching the disks.

Two things on the disks seemed particularly worthy of note, all on the day of the team's attempted operation.

* at 1115 two Indian men, both wearing a long thick braid of hair from their left temple, entered the lobby, stopped at the guard's desk, then proceeded to the elevator. They were not recorded leaving the building before the end of the disk (1800 hours).

* the large man the team saw leaving the building walked out just around noontime, but they could not find him either coming or going on any of the disks. The guard, who the team witnessed get up just after the man left, was recorded leaving his desk, going to the window and looking out, and shaking his head, just around noon. The lobby doors did not open prior to this. Just afterwards, Drake could be seen walking past the lobby window.

After working all night on the partially-intact hard drive from Ferguson's computer, Alex Larson managed to recover four files still mostly complete; all four were encrypted. Larson managed to decrypt one, but it was still in nonsensical characters and unreadable. Also, analysis of the G3K film of the remains of the monkey/cyborg showed that it contained numerous DSU's (data storage units), far more than would be required for a cyborg of that size.

The team then conducted a computer search for what the crossroads of the picture in Ferguson's apartment might possibly symbolize. The search uncovered a number of possible interpretations:

* Early Christian art often used crossroads to symbolize different things: the meeting of God and man, the joining together of heaven and earth, the many paths of free will, etc.

* In the Voodoo religion, the crossroads were sometimes used as a symbol for Legba, the god of magic.

* After 2015, many "skinheads" and white supremacists from the southern United States began using the crossroads to symbolize that the time for "the white race to choose its path: strength or defeat" was imminent.

* The Freemasons have used the crossroads in their cryptic "members only" language for decades; its exact meaning is unknown (except to the Freemasons, of course).

* The alleged "Bavarian Illuminati", said by some to control the world from behind the scenes, were occasionally reported to use the crossroads as their symbol.

Derek and BUG decided to return to Ferguson's apartment to see if they had overlooked anything- when entering, however, they set off some kind of silent alarm just inside the doorway. After a few minutes, when no one showed up to investigate, they returned inside and poked around, but found nothing new. They did, however, overhear a couple (from room #711) talking about "how strange it was" that the man fell asleep yesterday, and that the exact same thing had happened to "Bob, in #723".

Finally, just before returning home, Derek stopped by The Hole, an illegal "boxing" arena, and made a deal with one of the fixers there- two Friday night fights for information about the black man with the red tattoo on his head.

As Tuesday night ended, Drake, Rook, and Derek were all still at Derek's apartment, Alex was home at his own apartment, and BUG was out, still checking around the Lewiston Apartment Building.

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The best things in life aren't things.
-- Art Buchwald