The screen is fuzzy, filled with nothing but white-noise and scaling black and white frames. It comes into focus, and Photo’s image appears. He appears quite drunk, and has a glass of vodka in hand. He starts speaking in Russian.
“I thought, after I left the Motherland… that I might be a bit more tough. I blew all the mobs money on enhancing myself… to running… to making a new self. I figured… if I could rip off the Russian Mob, I could… I could take on anything with ease. Well, not everything. I still curl up like a dog thinking of taking on another AAA.
Still though… I’ve done my best at being… the best. Being tough. Being smart. Being one step ahead in the game. I don’t know why I let myself get attached to this… it was so ignorant and stupid. The Wired Man… he was just… a dumb kid. A dumb stupid kid, born in a test-tube, raised in the matrix, and bound to servitude. Didn’t even know what Phase Ball was…
We got a crap job… fucking Johnson… should of told us upfront it was AAA. He knew it was AAA, for fuck sake… HE was AAA. Then… then I met Wired Man, and he blew my mind. The things he did… Icon-reconfiguring, Stream-jacking… he has irrevocably changed how I view the matrix, he has shattered the laws I thought defined that world. He… destroyed my confidence.
I wanted to pull one good thing out of this world. One good thing. This place… these people… everything. It’s dirty, it’s vile, it’s without culture and barren of civility. The world is mean, and cruel, and without any mercy. I thought… maybe if I could get him out, I could save him. I could free him. I would be his savior. The he had to go and get shot in the fucking brainpan. And I know it’s not Grayfeathers fault… he was taxed, we were all stretched on nerves and worry. Grayfeather more then any of us probably… I don’t know how magic works exactly… but that many spells running is like me running 24 screens. Possible… but fuck is it hard.
The Wired Man could run fifty, and still have enough faculty to tell me to leave him alone.
I don’t know what to do now. I don’t know if I want to keep doing this. I mean… I know I do. We hit a AAA. We’re in the big leagues, we got a card… we got an in. We’ve made our names worth something about that Gradius-fiasco. But… what’s it worth? What’s the point? What’s the end goal? What’s the long-game objective?
I’m not fighting for world-peace… or equal rights… or the earth, or anything. I don’t stand for anything. Am I doing it for the money? For the hardware? Hell, even if was glory and fame… it would still be something. Yet… it’s nothing.
Maybe I was hoping if I could save Wired Man, it would bring meaning to my life. Just a little bit. Dasvidaniya comrade.
Where’d I put that bottle….”
With that, the screen shivers and unfocuses back to white noise and static.