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Little Breakers, Part I

I came to in the usual way: Zorch was yelling at me. Sometimes I wonder if the money is worth it. I thought about this while lighting my first cigarette of the day.
I booted the system and glanced at all the cool stuff I'd use later to do my "job". Zorch sensed the electrons flowing into the screen and reported the news, Fritz had called in with the location of yet another wannabe with goals of ruling the world. I need to recall Fritz for some reprogramming but it's a finicky AI and it does find the new systems better than any other agent out there. Besides, sometimes the false hits are interesting, and the non-profits never have the black ICE -- nothing wrong with a milk run now and then.
But I could tell by the region that this wouldn't be a walk in the park. I jacked in and took a quick look, sure enough this wonk wasn't giving any free rides. They can only do so much in a day but my opponent was playing it safe. Looked like he spent his first efforts protecting his R&D and HQ forts with a little bit of ICE and spent the rest of the day making a few hundred eurobucks.
The math comes easy to me (with all this MRAM in my head that is, Zorch only takes a few thousandths of a unit, I've got a ton of utilites sitting beside it). As I jacked out I calculated his worth as no more than 3 million eurobucks.
I like to hit the corps early, especially before they've iced up their assets. It bothered me some that he'd gotten some protection installed but this wasn't going to stop me from running on him immediately. Likely as not I'd find a wimpy wall or perhaps find a password to crack, which would be a bother but wouldn't get me killed. I decided to cover my ass by making some eurobucks of my own and installing a sentry breaker, then making a run. I'd leave time enough in the day to wipe a trace, just in case... last week I stumbled into a Data Raven and it made my life hell (not to mention what the bastards did to poor Neal, heh heh).
Being a veteran with some good data resources, I stopped and took a survey of what the corp could rez up on me at this stage of our conflict. I broke the list into two columns, ICE that would ruin my day and the stuff I really didn't care about:

Ball and Chain Asp

Canis Major Banpei

Canis Minor D'Arc Knight

Crystal Wall Data Darts

Data Wall Data Raven

Data Wall 2.0 Fang

Endless CorridorFang 2.0

Fatal Attractor Fetch 4.0.1

Filter Fragmentation Storm

Fire Wall Hunter

Keeper Ice Pick Willie

Mazer Jack Attack

PI in the 'Face Neural Blade

Quandary Rex

Rock is Strong Viral 15




Too Many Doors


Vacuum Link


Wall of Static

My subconcious reminded me of Laser and Razor Wire and the ghastly Nerve Labyrinth; I thanked it and continued to focus on my problem. Lately things have been going my way, in fact I was hoping to hit a big score or perhaps put a meeting together with Livewire so I wouldn't have to work my stupid day job -- though I was thankful I could make a few hundred eurobucks with just a couple hours work. Besides, the big nasty stuff is hard to locate, odds were good this guy wouldn't have any of the three.
The first column is no problem, I'll be wasting some time but I'll force him to empty his coffers. My main concerns revolve around trashing my stuff, or more importantly, me. I like handling things quickly but I'm more fond of my hardware, software and wetware. With this in mind I again considered my choices, tossing asside those sweet specialized breakers that really require some intel to use safely. I also had to skip some great stuff based on the installation cost, as I'd be running on a limited budget initially.
I briefly considered Dropp but figured this was an all-or-nothing endeavor. Comparing the strength of most of the stuff in the killer column, I decided Krash wouldn't get the job done either. My choices quickly narrowed to just four, I considered the install cost, bits left for breaking (assuming I'd have just 6 available) and the strength of the ICE I could handle:

Install Break Strength

Loony Goon 4 1

Wild Card 0 2

Shaka 4 2

Raptor 1 4

I reached for the Raptor but then started wondering if I was making the right decision. I went ahead and made a grid, comparing each candidate breaker against all target ICE:

Raptor Loony Goon Shaka Wild Card

Asp 0 fail fail fail

Banpei 1 0 0 6

D'Arc Knight 0 fail 0 0

Data Darts 1 fail fail fail

Data Raven fail fail fail fail

Fang 0 fail fail fail

Fang 2.0 fail fail fail fail

Fetch 4.0.1 1 fail fail fail

Fragmentation Storm 0 fail fail fail

Hunter fail fail fail fail

Ice Pick Willie 1 fail 0 3

Jack Attack 1 fail fail fail

Neural Blade 0 fail fail fail

Rex 1 fail fail fail

Viral 15 1 fail fail fail

The bad news, Raptor wouldn't get me through three of the killers. The good news, I'd have a bit left over after the job was done if I ran into most of the others. Somehow knowing the odds wasn't making me feel better but at least I'd be using the right tools. I headed out to the Short Circuit to check the pulse of the city...

To Be Continued!

  Tag me Updated 4 July 96.