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The Gallaghers, Scooter, Phaeton, and Wilson have gathered in Sook's basement to await the Flames. The Phaeton-AI and Sook-AI, as well as Nero, are on powered-down hardware in another room. An emergency does, in fact, occur. There are lights in the sky, and then the emergency radio says that people are dying. Emergency services, as well as things like the phone system, are completely overloaded.

Phaeton, Wilson, and Sook start playing keep-the-net-up, while Gallagher does pretty well at identifying systems that are getting overloaded and in trouble. Scooter camps on the 911 subnet trying to make sure that nobody else tampers with it and it doesn't crash due to overwork.

This little group isn't the only set of hackers out there - there are some causing damage to the network, and one trying to remotely steal a FedEx truck. Sook starts booting up the AI mainframes, to bring in reinforcements.

The slash-and-burn hackers are driven off; Sook deliberately sets off some alarms trying to tamper with the FedEx truck, so it gets pulled in, and doesn't deliver the copies of Perry Hopper and the Phoenix Prince to the bad guys.

The group hunkers down in Sook's basement for about another day, before venturing forth to watch society pull itself back together. Once Omninet gets back to work, though, they have only the final prototype stress test for their FastNet. And Gallagher has an idea...

A good extra-stressy test would be to send a really large and complicated set of data over the new communication channel - like an AI! Seeing where this is going, Sook-AI volunteers - breakdown into subpackets and reassembly is not as hard as might be expected, and she succeeds with only the smallest of error correction needed.

FastNet is a go! Or course, since the war, OmniNet has been a defense contractor, so the first thing that it'll be used for is military traffic. But it'll likely be opened up to civilian traffic (in Red, at least) soon.

About a month after the Flames, our heroes hear that the Hippocrates has reappeared on Gateway. Shortly thereafter, Sook, Wilson, and Nero are informed that there will be a memorial service for Eva on Riden, and they (including Sook-AI) travel there and catch up on news.

Meanwhile, all the drones that had been instructed to upload AI-Sook copies back to the network have begun to do so; it proves difficult to have two AI Sooks in the same network, however, as they tend to immediately merge.

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