The scientist pulled her chair over to the flickering monitor. It was an old model, only 300 DPI with several polystrands disconnected, giving a grainy ancient television like appearance to the left hand side of the screen. The chair creaked as she reached across the screen to the inhalers, breathing in to counteract the ever thickening air.

The cables formed an vine-like web across the floor, blocking several of the air-conditioning vents. But that was OK, the air-conditioning was too expensive to run for more than a few minutes a day on her research grant. Each cable split in two at one metre intervals, eventually becoming hair-like cillia as they reached the table. At the root of the cables stood an old Eazel/Mandrake supercomputer, lights pulsing softly.

Each thin end of the cable terminated at a black sphere about 40 centimetres in diameter. The sphere was standing on a table about waist height, with all the cables spaced around it equally, looking like a huge black tarantula with legs trailing weakly.

The screen stutters into life, momentarily startling the tired, slumped girl. She pushes back her hair to reveal a thin, almost emaciated face with mismatched ocular implants; one green, the other striking ice blue. Her teeth glitter at the edges as replacement 'ites repair coke damage.

"OK, you stubborn bastard, one more time" Her voice sounds like an 80 year old smoker's and she wheezes as if each breath is her last.

The screen displays:

Transferring kernel into secondary cortex:   OK
Uploading new version maps:                  OK
Refreshing cache and storage space:          OK
Uploading Memory maps:                       1 of 17 FAILED
Building idea model:                         FAILED

"Oh fuck. what the hell went wrong this time?"

The Nodeshell Rescue Team