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Chapter 1 II.
"No need to say anything." Giff placed a firm palm on Rab's shoulder, the thumb rising to neck. Rab sat staring 1000 miles into the wall. A wee drink was passed along to him, a few nods from the older men; the younger unsure where to look or what to do. Bondinio kept fiddling with the shoe lace on his pristine Nike Airs, looking like they'd never walked down an actual street.

Jack broke the silence, slicing his words like a sushi chef; "So, Rab, you see, Paul... he was found in his hut. But he wasnae recognised as the the people that found the... found Paul's body didn't know him, so the polis kept him... hopin' somone would know who he was." He continued after a considered pause, "Eventually, the lady that ran the ferry terminal came by. Four or five weeks later. She'd seen him pass once a month or so. And she knew Jack by sight. She identified him by picture. He'd been on his own for a few months. Nothing unusual. Died of old age. Who dies of old age any more?"
Rab sniffed, "Da' did. On his own".

"When did ye last see him?" Bondininio chimed in. Giff stared daggers. 
"I dunno - must have been after the last fight... when he'd teld me that what I had created what was... was... just... just horrible ken?"
"Now, now, come on" said Jack, "Let's not go down this path again... there's nae good to come frae any o' this. We've talked this through... we have... you had your differences. But you were both story tellers, hey? Men of words..."

"The Murder Simulator. That's what he called it. Tha's wha' he called it."

The words hung heavy in the room. Every single thing in the room , every item of designer clothing, every drug,  every accessory, every electronic device, every credit card, every bundle of cash, every credit card, house, car had been from the profit of that murder simulator.

"Look" said Jack, "we all agreed, our interests are in simulation - recreating the world in digitial format. Artificial intelligence. Ken? Aye... aye?"

It had started as a joke. Two decades back. The development team, largely working in bedrooms, had managed to find a minor hit with a game about aliens who each had certain special powers - a kinda puzzle game with a time dimension. Simple, but brilliant and addictive. This led to their acquisition by an American publisher - they didn't care if people wanted to give them money for what they would be doing anyway, so they took the money and signed the contracts without thinking about it. The publisher had a sponsorship deal with the CIA to create anti-drugs games, and it was this limp, off-season fish that fell its way into the offices of Reprobate Software Dundee, Level 4 Flat 7. That morning in the office, had been the closest the team had ever been. As they rolled up joints and considered ways to get the  most money with the least possible expenditure of effort and time, the jokes got better and better. Within a few hours they knocked up a clone of an old Atari diving game with a difference - you could get out the car and mow down criminals and pedestrians as a policeman.  
And killing civilians was the fun part.

Then they had the thought - supposing you were the bad guy? You were supposed to kill,  be rewarded for stealing school buses, selling drugs - stealing cars... and even running over people. It was a mediocre game. But it was fun.

And that was to be that.

Only, it sold millions. Because running over pedestrians became a global hobby. And  so they hired physisists to make it more real. The dynamics of a body breaking up after being hit by a projectile of a certain angle. And this was fine for the player who spent fifty hours a year playing this facade; this escape. But for the men in that room, they knew what they had created. They lived this, they improved this, made it more real every day. After two decades of being the world's leading expert at murder simulation, the loss of his father had taken something from him; something he could not grasp.

He fumbled drunkenly for the reset button, but there was no controller. Giff came up behind him, lent down low and whispered, "He didnae hae much left, as if it would make a difference. But he asked that you got this book like."

Rab looked at the tattered manuscript, on the front cover, it read, The Last Book.

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