It's 2074, and governments no longer existed after the brutal and terrifying Resource Wars devastated the world. Corporations filled in the power vacuum the Wars left behind, ruling the world with brutal efficiency.
The four major power blocs are the Sankaku Corporation, FTM Security, Kelfried & Odin (K&O) Security and Plastech Cybermedical.
Each corporation rules their section of the world with their unique technologies and designs. From Sankaku with their robots and drone security to K&O with military-grade hardware. They are locked in a "Cold War" ever since emerging from the Resource Wars.
Other smaller companies are paid by the leaders of these corporations to spy on each other, from fund stealing to data theft. This created an entire underground industry in the art of espionage.
And one such company that were leaders in this art was an organisation known as Invisible Incorporated.
However, the secretive HQ of Invisible had been located by the Corporations and their leadership went into hiding. Several agents were captured in the raid and their infiltration AI, Incognita was thrown into emergency power.
They had 72 hours to find her a new power source before the AI would go completely dead. The clock was ticking for Invisible and the Corporations were ruthless. For Olivia Gladstone and her agents, these were the tensest 72 hours of her long life.
"Congratulations Employee [Steve] on your recovery. It has been [UNKNOWN] since you were last conscious" the medical computer said.
"What?" a young man said, falling out of his bed in shock. He rubbed his eyes to wake himself up fully and felt warm, soft organic flesh.
"As per standard protocol, your employment with Plastech Cybermedical has now been terminated due to insufficient leave hours" the computer dutifully informed him while a drone helped him to his feet.
"WHAT!?" Steve asked in a much louder, more surprised tone. He then realised couldn't feel any links to his cybernetic implants. Former employees of Plastech had them removed to prevent the other corporations from acquiring free tech; low employee retention rates were rampant across the world.
"Terminated. Fired. Sacked. Removed. Next time, do not be inadequate at your job" the computer said before moving on to the next patient to deliver the same speech about how they were terminated as well.
Steve wondered how it came to this. He couldn't believe he was getting fired for obeying orders. It's that woman, she caused it! He thought to himself in anger as he recalled the incident that led to his hospitalisation.
Steve was on duty at a Plastech Sever Farm facility running security when he caught sight of someone unauthorised in the area. The alarm level was low so he didn't see a need to wander too far from his post to investigate the area.
As soon as he got there though, he caught another glimpse of the same unauthorised contact further up ahead. "Definitely not being jumpy today" he muttered, following after it.
His pursuit was slow as he made sure to watch the corners before proceeding ahead and paid careful attention to the sounds of footsteps and doors opening.
Then he found himself inside the main server room. Two guards were lying unconscious nearby. His cybernetic eyes identified them as "Bruce" and "Evets." But before he could shout "Guard down!" and then report it via SecNet he spotted the intruder standing at the server farm's main console.
It was a woman, probably just as old as Steve was. She wore a large dark green trenchcoat and a short skirt. Several words flashed up on Steve's eyes as he recalled the database entries on known intruders "Jolie Murphy… a.k.a Banks. Known for her embezzlement crimes against K&O."
So now she's after Plastech as well, he thought as Banks took out a long cable from inside her trenchcoat and attached one end to the back of her skull while searching for the input socket on the console.
Steve wondered what Banks was up to; he had seen the main server a few times and knew it was almost impregnable. The terminal itself was wired with many levels of firewalls and at least 13 security Daemons nested within. They were also enhanced by several amplifiers built into the room.
And Banks was attempting to interface directly with the terminal. She's going to fry her noggin if she does that! Steve thought to himself.
"Steve, you are ordered to subdue the intruder and submit her for interrogation! Do not let her interface with the main server!" came the orders from above. Backup was on the way.
"Come on, it can't be that hard. Where's the neural interface?" Banks was muttering to herself "I'm going to crack this beast and I can't be stopped by something as silly as this!"
"Stop right there!" Steve shouted, drawing out his pistol at Banks "Step away from the console and come with…"
He found himself instantly on the ground as Banks had casually drawn a pistol with one hand and shot him with a neuro-dart. His consciousness was immediately uploaded to a nearby camera as a "Daemon" which gave him a good view of Banks dragging his unconscious body to the console.
That's when things went dark and he found himself waking up in the hospital.
As he pondered his predicament, Steve found himself outside the hospital with a credit chit in hand and a taxi waiting for him. "At least they gave me cab fare."
The automated transport took him to the city centre where the denizens were packed tightly into tall skyscrapers. He took the transport beam at the base of the tower to his floor and entered the apartment assigned to him.
"At least my wife will be happy to see me. She must be worried sick..." he commented cheerfully "I can make up for lost time. Maybe even see my kids…"
As soon as he took one step in however, he tripped on a set of suitcases and tumbled to the floor, knocking over a cardboard box. Several framed certificates of marksmanship tumbled out. "What the?" he said, jumping back to his feet and looking around the room.
He saw a very blurred figure standing in front of him.
"Honey, I'm home?" Steve said nervously.
"Steve you lazy bastard! I've had it up to here with your incompetence!" his wife shouted at him, raising an augmented arm over her head "You get yourself hospitalised and fired from your job! Don't you care about your family!? Oh but who cares about Honey. No, it's all about security contracts with you."
"But Honey dear, I…"
"No excuses Steve! You're no longer welcome here! What you just tripped over is all of your junk!" Honey said "Pick it up and get out!"
"Can I at least see Junior?"
"Hell no! You're not his father anymore!" Honey replied, kicking one of the suitcases at Steve. The former guard tried to grab it only to be knocked to his feet from the impact.
He quickly retreated from the apartment as the rest of his stuff was kicked out. The door then slid shut and locked itself with a red light. "What the hell?" Steve asked himself. My whole world is crashing down… and all I did was obey orders, he thought to himself.
His pocket started to buzz and he retrieved his phone. He had two new messages; the first one indicated a large sum of "incentive money" had been deposited in his main account while the second came from K&O Security.
"Hey Steve! We just heard about your unfair dismissal from Plastech on SecNet! Don't worry though, because Kelfried & Odin has your back! How about you head on over to our executive terminal in Paris for a security job we've got lined up for you? Here's a little bit of a cash incentive to get you started! Hope to see you soon!"
Steve shrugged and said "I must be imagining things…"