Enter the Matrix

Serving as Hidden Leaf's master security matrix, The Cube was a four-walled, utterly transparent 'room' situated in the very heart of a monstrous computer bank. Needless to say, The Cube was Tenten's favorite place on earth.

Its almost invisible, four-foot-wide retractable drawbridge alone was enough to fend most visitors off, but the technopath found she rather liked it. Only moments before, she had stormed in unperturbed by the 'perilous' crossing required to reach her haven and had set to work. The technology loving teen had immersed herself in her element within moments, piqued mood calming with each moment.

She was perched within its plexiglass confines, the whir of more servos and processors than many cared to count echoing in her ears. Green, red and yellow read outs winked from a million points on the mega computer's massive structure. The vast system of interconnected machines extended for several floors above and below the sterile deck where the technopath was seated, its transparent surfaces creating the illusion that the teen was simply suspended mid-air among the thicket of wires and hovering screens.

Seated comfortably in a plexiglass, cocoon-shaped surf lounger, Tenten worked diligently. Her nimble fingers flitted over a crystalline slab hovering before her, neon light rippling from where they made contact on the keyboard to reveal inscribed symbols and characters. A cybersurf helm complete with a holographic visor projecting various main frame status reports and security footage in front of her electric green irises was tucked behind her ear.

Tenten was monitoring the Hidden Village's defense system with a level of skill that only a technopath could claim. A soft hum issued from the girl's lips as her flitting hands froze and gripped a dial to her left, jerking it in a counter clockwise motion.

Anomaly activated eyes narrowed, their literally shocking color flaring a bit brighter with the reflected light of the screen streaming before them. A quick blur of movement and few beeps sounded as the mystified female looped the scene she was inspecting to a larger resolution. Faint frown lines formed in her brow as she drew up the raw version of the data in question to a nearby tablet server.

Pale green strands of coding and logistics scrolled through the crystal clear display, their persistent pattern only serving to worry their reader more. With one last desperate measure, Tenten reached out, shoving the keyboard away from her workspace and routing her genetic ability into her hand until it glowed the same blue green as her eyes. Pressing the charged palm onto the tablet, the technopath internally reviewed the information one last time.

Her startled gasp echoed through The Cube as she reached a shaky hand up to the cybersurf helm at her temple. Jabbing a communication link, she desperately scrolled to the Hokage's frequency and overrode protocol to speak directly from the wall mounted screen in Tsunade's office without waiting for clearance. Tenten jerked a teleportal frame to hover in front of her and patched it through to the link she'd just prepared.

Her still glowing gaze scanned the interior of her superior's office for a moment, checking to be sure only high ranking personnel were within earshot before beginning. Finding only Tsunade and Jiraiya, she announced, "I'm sorry to intrude, Hokage-sama, but I think we have a serious problem."

When the Hokage motioned for her to clarify, Tenten pressed a series of keys and sent the video feed she'd been reviewing to a pane-screen next to the one her image was broadcasting from in Tsunade's suite. As the audio-less footage looped, she grabbed a stylus and highlighted the portion of the display she wanted them to focus on with a bright red outline. Tapping the tablet she was modifying the picture with on her end, Tenten explained, "This is from camera SD A-3.49'7 east, taken about forty-eight hours ago."

Gathering a keyboard back toward her reclined position, the technopath called up a three dimensional map, splicing it into the display on the office's end until it divided the pane streaming the suspicious scene in half. She took up the stylus and tablet once more to circle a sector of the Scraper District in red, toggling it until the bird's eye view was slanted to become even with the tops of the high rise buildings before dropping finally to street level.

"This is the general area that the feed came from." Tapping a few keys in quick secession, Tenten zoomed in until she had found the precise block, then storefront she wanted. "The figures you see for a few frames on the screen above somehow tampered with the security cameras in the area. It would have worked if I hadn't become a little...irritated last night."

Jiraiya's bushy eyebrows raised a little at the flustered blush that adorned Tenten's cheeks as she mumbled a half-hearted explanation. The technopath gathered herself and enunciated, "As you know, my Anomaly manifests itself as a close interconnection with technology. When I experience high levels of stress or discomfort, I discharge energy into nearby devices. This, in the simplest terms possible, causes them to malfunction...or, well, in this case function correctly."

The young woman bit her lip as she noted the vaguely comprehending expressions of her superiors. They were beginning to understand, but she needed to present it a little more plainly. After all, they couldn't feel the harsh irregularities in the smooth pattern of the coding where a bug had been implanted the way she could.

Grazing a fingertip over the tablet balanced in her lap to reactivate it from hibernation and tapping through its interface, Tenten pulled up a new display to further divide the screen next to her image. The sector displaying the three dimensional model of the Scrapers shrunk as its surface area was cleaved in half to make room for the new addition.

A timeline blinked into existence, complete with small screens attached to specific minutes and events. Scrolling her stylus over her monitor, Tenten indicated the first note attached to the line. "This is footage from oh one hundred hours at the 'Claddagh Firm's' main lobby." She clicked the corresponding video box and a stylishly decorated foyer appeared as the camera panned. "As you can see, not a lot happening aside from a couple of guards making rounds."

A soft tone sounded as the video darkened and the timeline reappeared. Tenten selected the next event and explained, "This was taken thirty minutes later."

Again the chic lobby appeared, its marble surfaces gleaming and its sleepy watchmen lounging behind a high counter in the foreground. Tsunade's sharp eyes thinned to slits as she spoke at last, "Stop. Rewind the feed about ten seconds."

Tenten's head bobbed approvingly. "You noticed what I did." She obligingly reversed the display and allowed it to play through once more, this time using a virtual pointer to gesture at the suspicious guardsman. "There is a tiny blip in the footage right...there! And this man's height changes by a fraction."

Cutting the feed and enlarging the original video to fill the entire pane once more, the technopath clarified, "I stumbled upon this all accidentally while I was surfing. One of the streams of influx data felt a little...rough so I decided to take a look."

Pointing toward the pane that streamed the footage in Tsunade's office, she added, "But this is what convinced me. This was shot by a street side camera across from the lobby you just saw. When I noticed the inconsistency, I ferreted out a few lines of coding that didn't belong. It seems that someone tried to bug my system."

Tenten was silent for a moment as Jiraiya and Tsunade watched the feed with new eyes. Four or five shadowed figures in business attire slipped from the grand building and into the night...well past conceivable service hours. The figures, who may have been considered little more than late working employees, were beginning to look shady. At last, Jiraiya asked, "How many floors does this...Claddagh Firm have?"

Caught off guard, the technopath stuttered for a moment before her fingers began to fly over the slab keyboard hovering before her. As she pulled up the appropriate blueprint and cross referenced twice for conformation, she supplied, "Umm, the highest level is the CEO's suite on the eightieth floor, sir." Affixing her eyes upon the Hokage and her confidant, she ventured, "Why, may I ask, does that interest you?"

The tall man sighed deeply, rubbing his chin in agitation as he sat back. He looked to Tsunade as he replied at length, "I had reservations about allowing the construction of a few of the buildings in the Scraper District." His dark, harried gaze levelled with Tenten's as he continued, "As you know, this isn't a normal city by any means. We are completely underground. That means that the high rises of that particular section of our Village are far closer to the pseudo-sky...and underbelly of Surface side."

Tenten's static shock irises rounded as the implications of what he was saying sunk in. Her voice was uneven as she sought to clarify, "S-sir? Do..do you mean to say that surface dwellers are inside Leaf?"

Heaving in a deep breath, Jiraiya nodded gravely. "It appears that it may be the case."

Haven't written in this !verse in ages, but the inspiration struck. I think I'm still a little rusty, but this is just a lead up to the continuation of the original Cyberpunk!verse. Hope you enjoyed :)