Author’s Note: Set during episode 59, when the Knights of Hanoi stage a jailbreak to retrieve Baira. Inspired by the anime’s second opening, “go forward” by KIMERU, particularly the line “I feel your flame”. Enjoy the story and R&R.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to or of the Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS series.
Where did Taki Kyoko end, and Baira begin? The feared hacker muses her role as Hanoi’s doomsayer while awaiting liberation from prison.
Taki Kyoko, now better known by her screen name Baira, sat solemnly, alone, in the shadow of her sins. SOL Technologies had incarcerated her within the walls of this supermax, dressed her in a prison-tendered orange jumpsuit, isolated her in the middle of a vast ocean patrolled by stygian seagulls, and interred her beneath criminal charges multitudinous enough to cover decades. Alas, her stoic bearing was more impervious than their sturdiest bars or firewalls. Her captors could not perceive the future’s circuit ahead of them. Inveigled by their predictable, insatiable want for money, the arrows confirming humanity’s link to the true course of the species were lost to them. The underestimating fools. They did not suspect the disease she’d implanted already taking control. The data gale blew in her favour toward a decisive teleological endpoint.
The Knights of Hanoi were among the most ruthless and sophisticated hackers, earning them obloquy befitting cyber terrorists, in no small part due to SOL’s smear campaigns and dissemination of damaging doctrine. Even so, Hanoi’s membership continued to swell, absorbing the dissidents and the downtrodden of society. Their influence spanned the networks of the world and transcended the virtual reality framework of LINK VRAINS to the phosphorescent Stardust Road beyond. They had eyes and ears everywhere. It was only a matter of time before she escaped this place.
The Another phenomenon and the originating virus for which Baira became infamous were principled on simple instructions based in nature. Though flesh was indeed outmoded, as Dr. Kogami warned, the resilience of natural evolution – its potential for variation and acute ability to adapt to ever-volatile physiological pressures and climates – was something ersatz life, like that of the Ignis Hanoi rightly abhorred, could not replicate, and thus proved valuable in the construction of a hardier malady. Like every living organism, her creation took steps to propagate itself. There were four rules. Four stages to the contagion.
First, the virus must INFECT a host. SOL Technologies irresponsibly introduced a foreign pathogen into their midst when they detained Baira, dafter than accepting a piece of skull-crossed spam mail across the internet. An aphotic syringe, the Tower of Hanoi had pierced SOL’s dermis, infusing the company’s bloodstream with a macro viral strain that would spread like cilia throughout the corporate entity’s vulnerable system, corroding to the nucleus. The draught was poison, an assuredly slow, delirious, and unquiet illness painfully administered via foxglove footfalls that would cut the conglomerate off at its knees.
Second, the malware must INFILTRATE. The ailment trickled down a louse-infested maypole to the root of the gold-steeped pharaonic empire SOL built for itself. Wrapped in subterfuge and sabotage, it envenomed staff and befouled resources through hushed, heterodox whispers. It subtly stitched and re-stitched. Combined and uncombined. Released and unreleased. Such was the skilled forbidden surgical operation enacted upon a moldering body without choice, vivisected in three, and put back together in an eerier form.
The tertiary phase for the rogue software was to INCUBATE. An anomalous, grafted, beating heart, the sonde in SOL’s belly pulsed. It was a jianshi, a hopping reanimated corpse, raking an acupuncturist’s needle-thin nail-probes against the sutured machine beast’s cardiopulmonary fabric, transmitting SOL’s encrypted data to Hanoi’s hidden mirror-pool servers.
And last, the Gumblar script must INCAPACITATE. This black dust plague would sap the syndicate’s strength and corrupt its affiliates until its faculties lay infirm, no more threatening than a skulk of defanged goblins wasting away to pestilence. Though SOL would undoubtedly redirect its finances and personnel to contain the digital outbreak, its business dealings would be mummified from the inside-out. Plum drake murder for the Knights. And when the hemorrhaging was at its most profuse, gangrenous and rendering all gauze and bandages useless and unsanitary, Hanoi’s forceps would clamp down around SOL like a screaming banshee, and deliver a surgical coup de grâce to forcibly expire their defenses. Hanoi’s ghosts could then traverse unseen through the sanctum of institutionalized felons.
There was Genome, the overconfident eugenicist. Master of the Hellix. Experimenter of gothic clones and proselytizer of necro-Darwinism.
Spectre, the Lost Incident’s deviant. Son of dryads. Ward of Avalon and extension of Daphne.
Faust, the Devil’s advocate. Gerent of motorized worms. Director of entozoan gates and clutch of metamorphosis.
And Revolver, the reclusive prodigal son. Dragon’s gunfire. Bomber of topology and steward of his father’s vorticular abyss.
SOL naively believed they wielded the necessary leverage to ransom her existence, to hack her way of thinking in order to expose Hanoi’s well-guarded, recondite, mobile whereabouts. How perfectly droll. The patient diagnosing the physician. She was the one holding the vaccine to their deteriorating condition, and Hanoi possessed the immunity SOL did not.
The reinforced steel door to her cell in solitary confinement slid open, its auto-lock function disabled.
“I’ve been waiting for you. Ryoken-sama.”
“Sorry to have kept you waiting, Dr. Taki.”
She went with him.
The five programmers casually retired from the North Western State Penitentiary. Till Hanoi visited, it was reputed for its titanic, unrivalled security. Now it burned. The hour for the revival of the Knights of Hanoi had dawned.
“Into the VRAINS!”
Taki Kyoko left the exploding jailhouse a convict, and re-emerged under the glimmering laser lights and floating architecture of New LINK VRAINS, once again garbed in her avatar’s mask and mantle. SOL had overhauled the simulation since her imprisonment and Hanoi’s prior attack, it would seem.
Unimpressed, she marched forward toward destiny’s next battleground with her fellow templars in formation alongside her, Revolver leading the crusade.
She was Baira, the queen of viruses. Embalmer of dark mummies. Measurer of lethal doses and practitioner of prohibited medical arcana.