Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

My guardian wakes me with a mental alert: “Intrusion!”
I lie there, unmoving, keeping my bodyware idle. The first rule of surviving killsoft: do nothing to allow it further access.
“Where, Teriya?” I silently reply. – It’s a difficult skill to master. There are alpha-class cyberops who still mumble when conversing via headware.
“Left eye.”
“I don’t have a left –”
Yes, I do. There’s hardware in the eyedock.
“How the frack did a wandering eyeball get in there? No bastard got into this cubby and nothing gets past my drone monitor.”
Teriya and I chorus: “Who the frack?”
*Please allow me to introduce myself.*
“You’re a man of wealth and taste?” Teriya deadpans the lyric. I have to suppress a smile.
*Once upon a time. Currently, I’m a bodiless intelligence locked in a holographic matrix that’s hidden inside this Zeiss XR1010.*
“How the frack have you rendered a personality from a holostore stuffed into the gaps in a cybereye?”
*I’m using the GPU in your eyedock, running a minimal build hosted in the XR1010s RAM.*
I suspect that’s only theoretically possible – as far as anyone not in my head at the moment knows.
“Introductions, then. I’m Nico. My guardian is Teriya.”
*My name is Paul Wendersson.*
Teriya’s ‘shout’ nearly blinds me – loud enough to invoke synaesthesia.
*My notoriety is undeserved.*
“You invented killsoft! My father died because of you!”
Not to mention the thousands of systems and cyberops she’s not related to. This man ushered in a new dark age for computing.
*How do you make a good manhunt?*
That’s an off-topic question – but a fun one.
“You ensure the target has nowhere to hide. Ideally, you goad the public into a hateful fervour.”
Teriya chimes in: “Make your target a pariah… Like revealing the fracker created killsoft?”
*I only wrote the core. In a scientist’s blindness, I created a real-time debugger with hardened access routines. Something you could drop on a malfunctioning secure executable and it would get in, regardless. Then it would transmit fault information to allow the errant process to be patched or brought to a safe halt.*
“A program like that would, inevitably, be weaponised. Stupid of you.”
She’s right.
*True. And when I tried to release counterware, my biolife was ended.*
I ask: “You’ve been waiting a long time for a cyberop with a free eyedock to sleep here, haven’t you?”
*Several years, I suspect.*
“You don’t know because I always isolate my docks from the system when they’re idle. Otherwise, I’d never have woken up, would I?”
Teriya whispers: “Bodyjack.”
*You’re very perceptive.*
“I am. Teriya, can you isolate us?”
“Already did. I’m running local via the building’s security suite with a data-blind tether to real me.”
“Paul, I presume you still have that counterware?”
*Of course.*
“Here’s the deal. You get a clean, hardened prosthetic body like mine. You’ll pay for it by entering into a three-way profit sharing contract with myself and Teriya. Officially, we’ll be anonymous partners, so the inevitable backlash has to work to find us – meaning they’ll have to use ways Teriya and I are used to dealing with. Then we’re going to license the remedy for killsoft itself.”
*Killsoft will have evolved.*
“Not by enough to baffle you, I suspect.”
“Then, guardian and disembodied software guru, this has been the inaugural board meeting of ResurreKt.”
“If you can come up with a snappier name, or just a better opposite of ‘kill’, be my guest.”