Baa, baa, black sheep. Chapter 3


We came out of the room. I went first, Johnny was behind me. I still had the stunner ready, but there was nobody in the corridor. The corridor was lighter than the room. It was short and ended with a door. I tried it. It opened, and there was the yard with the same chickens and all. And the black sheep. It was the same, and I didn’t like it. It looked different, as any black sheep should look. But this one felt strange, alien, not belonging. In other words, it was not from here. Like Johnny and me, it was from somewhere else.
In my job you have to feel bots. Bots are small computer programs, on the one hand. On the other hand, when you are inside a game, you see them just like other characters of the game. But they are different, and they are usually more powerful and can do unusual things. If you are not careful, some of them can kill you. And when you die, it is not inside the game where you die. You die in reality. You die in the real world.
It all started with first computer games a long long time ago. At first the pictures on the screen were bad and shaky. Then computers got more and more powerful, and the pictures got better and better. They became better and more real than films. People stopped going to the cinema, or to the movies, as the Americans say. They all played computer games.
Then computer games became C-games. It happened when they invented a C-suit. It was a special suit for new era computer games, very expensive. The name C-suit was just a word, but it meant that people started to live in them. Right inside the game. It was possible not only to see, but to feel and smell everything. You could touch anything you liked, feel pleasure and pain. In many games pain was small, but there were games which were absolutely real. Everything was possible in a game. And then people started to disappear and sometimes die. Of course, the real body was still there, wearing a C-suit and connected to the computer. But the body was dead all right. Very dead.
Then people like us came to life. Of course, there is a big Digital Police Department, which is now independent. Just Digital Police. But, as always, they are slow and very often they are not effective.
And then first digital private detectives appeared. That was about fifty years before I was born. When I was ten I decided to become a digital detective. So that was it. That was what I was doing at that very moment. Digitally detecting a bot. If it was a bot in the first place. So, the question stood like that: was that damned black sheep a bot?