Chapter 2.2 - Virtual Reality: Mikhail's Trap
Jan and the others move to the area of the trap.
Jan: What are the coordinates of our current location?
Mikhail: Point B-254-301. The dummy logout point is at an isolated location about three kilometers to the north.
Lactis: …Was this horrible color scheme your idea?
Mikhail: If you can’t say anything nice… It’s supposed to distract the suspect as I draw him to our false exit. It’s an Oriental motif from the era of Lost Jerusalem.
Melisse: Where did you get such old-fashioned data? Ugh, he’s sure to give up once he gets a whiff of this moldy smell.
Mikhail: Very cute. I’m so happy you understand me.
Jan: …Three kilometers to the north. It won’t be long before he notices the trap. We don’t have time to mess around!
Melisse: Yes sir!
Jan: Mikhail! Can you clearly see the path to the dummy point?
Mikhail: Sir Mikhail’s machinations are perfect! …At least, I wish I could say that…
Jan: Is there a problem?
Mikhail: We have very little information on Voyager's abilities. I said we had 40 minutes, but if he’s already realized that this is a trap…
Jan: What do you think he would do?
Mikhail: If he had prepared an ambush attack, you’d already be in trouble. Worst case scenario, you’d have to fight a large-scale macrophage. You should always be prepared for the worst.
Jan: I agree. Bugs! Take the lead. Set your program disruption sensors for a 500-meter sweep. Lactis will secure an escape route. Beware of a program rewrite. Let’s go!
Mikhail: …Captain! Can you hear me!?
Jan: What’s wrong?
Mikhail: Perimeter surveillance around the dummy point has detected the suspect’s access! The plan is going well so far.
Jan: …I see. Continue monitoring the situation.
Bugs: What? What the??
Jan: What is it?
Bugs: My sensors have detected a program rewrite!
Jan: It’s coming! Mikhail, confirm the rewrite!
Mikhail: Hang on, something weird is…
Erich: What the hell…!?
Jan: What’s wrong, Erich!
Erich: Interference in the virtual space!
Mikhail: What are you saying!?
Erich: The program is being rewritten at a very high speed!
Mikhail: That’s impossible! There’s nothing we can do from here!?
Erich: It’s no use, I can’t patch it fast enough! Large quantities of macrophages are emerging. Captain, get ready to fight!
Jan: Erich! The connection is lagging…
Mikhail: …Captain. I… believe the delay… is caused by someone intercepting… the communication. Try connecting… from the computer terminal… inside the perimeter wall.
Jan: Understood. …So we have to get to the perimeter without assistance. Make up a vaccine to keep the macrophages at bay!
Mikhail: Yes sir! I'll do it while… you get to… the peri… meter wall.
Jan: How long until the vaccine is complete?
Mikhail: For the completed vaccine to be ready, about 20 minutes… In 20 minutes… I’ll be able to release it…
Jan: Do it in 15.
Mikhail: That’s… impossible.
Jan: Are you saying even you can’t do it?
Mikhail: Of course not! I’ll release it in 14 minutes, 59 seconds!
Jan: Do it!
Jan arrives at the perimeter and sits down at the terminal.
Jan: Mikhail, can you hear me?
Mikhail: You made it to the perimeter! Good work.
Jan: How’s the vaccine?
Mikhail: Ready to release in three minutes. It’s just enough to hold them off of you for a while, so don’t expect too much. If he attempts another large-scale rewrite…
Jan: It’ll be enough, you did well. What’s the current status of the macrophages?
Mikhail: I lost sight of them briefly, but I was able to pick up the trace again.
Jan: I see. Can you confirm their heading?
Mikhail: Erich is working on it. Erich, what’s going on with those units?
Erich: Captain, they’re being extremely quiet.
Jan: I don’t like the sound of that. Find out if there are any concealed in our vicinity.
Erich: Roger. Currently, I can’t see any enemies in your area. They’re scattering and moving at a very high speed…
Melisse: Wait just a minute, does that mean …
Bugs: If we follow the macrophages, we’ll find the suspect?
Lactis: …Captain, take a look at this.
A sensor flickers in the distance.
Jan: Mikhail. One of the sensors on the perimeter wall is reacting. The target must be nearby.
Melisse: It’s like Hansel and Gretel’s breadcrumbs.
Mikhail: Even if he knows that area is a trap, he has to withdraw from the logout point we used. He’s in our hands nows!
Mikhail: I restored the communication signal. I should be able to connect to you even if you leave that terminal. I’ll report if there’s any change.
Jan: Don’t you think there’s something strange about this?
Lactis: This is too sloppy for Voyager?
Jan: …Yeah. He released security units, but they left sensor footprints. Seems more like the work of an amateur.
Lactis: You don’t think the criminal here is Voyager?
Jan: Or maybe Voyager is baiting us.
Lactis: Either way, there isn’t time for hesitation. Right now we should hurry.
Jan and the others come across a large macrophage.
Battle with Garm.
Bugs: That unit sure was huge~
Jan: This is too slow for Voyager. As I thought, it's…
The shadow of a person emerges from the crumbling form of Garm.
Melisse: Captain, a shadow!
Lactis: Is it Voyager?
Jan: Mikhail. A figure just appeared here, confirm!
Jan: Mikhail! Can you hear me!?
Melisse: Captain, let’s follow it! It’s getting away…
Jan: Melisse, wait. Mikhail! Mikhail!!
Mikhail: Ah! Captain, I’m so sorry!
Jan: What the hell is going on! The target is on the move! Report!
Mikhail: S-Sir! Something big just happened here!
Mikhail: According to correspondence from the Archon police, they’ve located the suspect!
Jan: Is it Voyager!?
Mikhail: Whether or not he’s actually Voyager is under investigation, but we have confirmed the man’s identity!
Jan: Who is it?
Jan: What? Answer me!
Mikhail: The man’s name is Klaus Torres.
Jan: Torres? As in the Torres Foundation?
Mikhail: He’s the son of Irene Torres, the woman who was attacked earlier!
Jan: Are you serious!?
Mikhail: Klaus Torres, 24 years old. It seems he’s currently working as a system programmer in a Torres Foundation surrogate birthing facility…
Jan: Surrogate birthing? Is it related to the Draper facility?
Mikhail: That's also under investigation. It's very likely. Anyway, he’s committed numerous misdemeanors and minor offenses. As a teenager he was caught several times and finally exiled from the family at the age of fifteen. In the process he forged a relationship with the Descendants of Nestorius.
Jan: The Descendants of Nestorius? Why would an Abraxian be involved with a right-wing Federation organization…?
Mikhail: It is strange... he doesn’t seem like the fanatic type. There are too many random, unplanned petty crimes. At any rate, the Foundation had no choice but to expel Klaus. Maybe he was an obstacle to Irene Torres’s political agenda.
Jan: So this was all about a personal grudge?
Mikhail: Turning to crime where love is lacking… it’s a common pattern. Oh! I’m getting a visual feed of Klaus’s room from the Archon police. Patching it through to you.
Jan: This is…
Mikhail: Captain, can you see it?
Jan: Ah, that’s Klaus’s room?
Jan: Anything to connect him to Voyager?
Mikhail: The writing on the wall is in a language from the era of Lost Jerusalem. It’s a very barren room. Looks like hypodermics are scattered around the bed.
Jan: What do the words say?
Mikhail: “The bowl was poured on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood.” [Revelation 16:4]
Jan: That phrase…
Jan: Irene said that same phrase at the party.
Mikhail: So this guy is the real Voyager after all?
Jan: No, I’m not convinced of that yet. But the same message was left at the Goodwill Ambassador incident and the Draper facility. I’m certain that there’s some connection between Voyager and Klaus. But one thing is bothering me.
Mikhail: What’s that?
Jan: No matter what the circumstances, the message always comes from the victim.
Melisse: That’s… That’s true. Usually, leaving the message is the victim’s…
Jan: Is Erich there!?
Erich: …What is it?
Jan: The Goodwill Ambassadors and the embryos from the nursing plant… and now Klaus. Look for a common denominator.
In the operating room, Erich gets up from his monitor.
Jan: Mikhail, reply on a secure connection.
Mikhail: What’s going on?
Jan: Earlier you said there were hypodermics scattered around Klaus’s bed. Can you zoom in on them?
Mikhail: Sure, one moment… how’s this? That’s the highest magnification I can get.
The same medicine that Erich used in the locker room appears on the screen.
Mikhail: What’s wrong?
Jan: No, it’s nothing. Complete the compulsory logout and bring him in.
Mikhail: Well, there are some problems…
Back in virtual reality.
Jan: What kind of problems?
Mikhail: Problems with the compulsory logout…
Jan: What exactly?
Mikhail: I can’t salvage his consciousness. He’s refusing the logout. With some special program or chemicals… However he’s doing it, all feedback to his body is being blocked.
Jan: He’s staying here of his own accord?
Melisse: Captain. The consciousness lock… it’s the same as with the ambassadors!
Jan: Is there a possibility Klaus will delete himself? He… might not be Voyager.
Lactis: Voyager’s scapegoat?
Jan: If so, then the real Voyager has escaped to someplace entirely unknown to us…
Mikhail: Captain, what should we do?
Jan: Seal the dummy logout point. We’ll go looking for Klaus while his consciousness is here.
Mikhail: Dead-end tactics? While the real logout point is sealed, you guys won’t be able to get out either.
Jan: It’s not so he can’t escape. It’s so no one can get to him. We won’t have to worry about any outside influence.
Mikhail: Understood. Temporarily closing off all external access routes.