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Tyler was falling in and out of sleep at the keyboard.  He was tracking 17 targets and had laid traps for 5 of them, but the usual adrenalin wasn’t there.  Eight hours earlier his house was bombed by his enemies.  He was spared from having to witness the head and limbs being separated from the UPS driver’s torso because first the flash blinded his video feed and then the blast blew apart the camera.  But the drama had left him drained.

After the blast he crawled out the egress window of his basement office and called his Console Sergeant.  The Console Sergeant immediately contacted the rest of the unit working from home and they successfully diffused additional bomb attempts.  So Tyler was now working at the home office of Cyberman First Class, Carl Weaver.  Carl’s unit called him I/O because the guy could hook stuff up.   Remember the movie Independence Day when David (played by Jeff Goldblum)  jacked his Apple laptop into the console port of an alien space ship – apparently with a universal serial bus cable?  Well in the real world, I/O was the guy who could probably actually do that.

I/O called over to Tyler to wake him, “Dude, you watching your dashboards?”

“Hmm, yeah, yeah.  I’m tired man.”

“Go lie down in my guest room, I got your dash.”  I/O paused but knew Tyler wasn’t moving and wasn’t likely to reply either so he struck up a line of conversation to see if he could stimulate him.  “You hear about the drone pilot?”

“No man, I just saw them carry a stretcher into their war room.  What happened?”

“Well they follow the same protocol as us but one of them was beta testing some new VR gear.  He’s brain dead.”

“What!  Are you fucking shitting me?  Holy shit!”  Tyler was alert again.

“I shit you not.  And here’s the deal.  Those drone pilots are Air Force man.  That theoretically  pulls NATO into this.  The  articles of NATO don’t cover cyber war – not that the President has ever acknowledged this as a war – but attacking the Air Force constitutes an attack on a recognized NATO member.  Up ’till now, NATO considered this a U.S. / China trade war.  The shit has hit the fan.”