Pepe doesn't know his true identity but his existence poses a national security threat. He lives in an abandoned construction site with Po, his "sister". President Don Juan Clemente, a quadriplegic, brain linked to massive computer system including killer robots, is poised to destroy any threat to his power, and the hunt is on. Help comes from a young computer hacker named Raul, and an aged mystic named Atsuko, and a few others. But will that be enough to save Pepe?Exerpt: "...The program had run all Thursday night, and by morning Raul had the password. He didn't want to steal anything, he just wanted to say he'd done it. At 13 years old, that means a lot. He logged on to the security installation, or surveillance hub, whatever it was, using his friend's password. Then he tried the portal again, with the one provided by the code cracker, and got through. It went somewhere else altogether. At first, he couldn't figure out what it did. There were so many devices. He read the script with his text editor. It was similar to the device that ran his VR mask. He tried plugging his VR mask in, but it didn't work. Maybe he wasn't configured properly. He spent all morning trying to work the program, redirecting this circuit, then that one and almost had it... ...Now, he was making the last adjustment. When he put on the VR mask, it showed him he was inside a building somewhere, and the the scene was moving about. It was smooth, like looking out of a robot on wheels. It took him into a room, and a robot arm went out and picked up a paper from a desk. It turned around and went into another room, where someone was sitting at another desk. He opened his mouth and spoke, but there was no sound. Raul worked for the rest of the afternoon to get the sound configured properly. By supper time, the sound was working. After they had eaten, Raul took it for a spin. He tried it on a couple of different devices, and they all worked perfectly. The last one was a much cooler robot than the rest, Raul could tell. It could go fast if it needed to, but usually it was moving slowly down the corridors -- as though the one controlling it had style. He was in a different building from where the other robot was. It was full of Victorian furniture, old paintings and fancy mirrors. It entered a room. Raul got a shock. There, sitting on a soft chair was Uncle Rodrigo! Uncle Rodrigo immediately stood up. 'Hello Mr. President.' Uncle Rodrigo liked to tell jokes, but he'd never addressed Raul as 'Mr. President' before. Obviously, he wasn't addressing Raul. 'Mr. Portali,' came a more metallic sounding voice. 'Once again, it is good to see you. I wish to show you my gratitude for the valuable service you've given me.' 'I take it everything is in working order?' 'Yes, Mr. Portali. Everything is working as designed. The maintenance robots work perfectly. There is no longer any need for human interaction apart from my own.' 'So, Mr. President, we could say that the test phase of the project is complete.' 'Yes, your services have been of utmost value... and I'm sure they would come in handy again some day, except -- unfortunately...' A look of terror spread across Uncle Rodrigo's face. '...you're just not good at maintaining secrecy.' There was a click, click, click, as bullet holes appeared on Uncle Rodrigo's chest, and he slumped to the ground. At first, Raul had the sensation of having shot an enemy in Black Ops. But this was no computer game! He ripped off the VR mask, and hit the computer's power switch without bothering to log off. Then, he sat, breathing heavily. Suddenly, he got up and ran out of the room and down the corridor to the toilet. There, he vomited. Then he went upstairs to bed. He was sick for a week..."
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April 05, 2011
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