“Have a seat,” I said, gesturing Harriman to the beat-up chair that comprised my office’s lavish guest quarters. “What brings the OET to my doorstep?”

Harriman sat. “The Office of Extranet Technology is, as you may know, involved in an ongoing investigation of a rather serious security breach.”

“I wasn’t aware of that, actually,” I said. “Haven’t been following the evening news much. Nothing serious, I hope.”

“Very serious,” said Harriman, steepling his fingers. “A rogue program has made its way into our network from the unregulated sphere outside, and has begun enslaving–some of the boys call it ‘zombifying’–our secure systems to run unauthorized processes without user input.”

“I’m not quite sure I understand…technology was never my strong suit, aside from what I need to know for my job,” I said. That wasn’t entirely true, as I knew the workings of the game net like a master sensei, but now didn’t seem to be an opportune time for such a confession.

“Suffice it to say that our systems are being used, illicitly, in an attempt to bring down the network through the mass distribution of malicious code,” said Harriman. “You can see why the OET is involved, especially since we have been unable to perfect a software solution to the problem, and the hardware solution is…inelegant.”

“Inelegant how?”

Harriman removed a pistol from his jacket and pressed it to my temple. “Like this,” he said. “Your cranial rig has been compromised, and an immediate shutdown is authorized, so long as you are advised of the circumstance beforehand.