Case (Henry Dorsett Case) is the protagonist of Neuromancer, William Gibson's first novel, and first installment of the Sprawl Trilogy. An antihero, Case is introduced as a drug addict and a former cyberspace hacker.
When Armitage offers to cure him in exchange for Case's hacking abilities, he warily accepts the offer. Along the way he has his liver and pancreas modified to biochemically nullify his ability to get high; meets the leatherclad Razorgirl, Molly; hangs out with the drug-infused space-rastas; frees an artificial intelligence (Wintermute), and changes the landscape of the Matrix.
- 1 Description
- 2 Background
- 3 Neuromancer
He has a Mitsubishi Bank chip that gave his name as Charles Derek May, which he preferred over Truman Starr his name in a fake passport. He is seen with nylon running shoes.
He smokes Yeheyuans. He was addicted to extremely powerful central nervous system stimulants, seen specifically to use a potent variety of Brazilian dex in the form of a flat pink octagon pill. Neuromancer is narrated from his point of view, describing his blurry perception and fragmentary memory, suggesting that his cognition is affected by his drug use or addiction.
Case hails from the Sprawl. Case had a street boy's sense of style and could not tell apart a pine from an oak. He was irritated by "naturalistic" style, when objects weren't produced from synthetics or machine-made.
In his early life Case was emotionally numb, even during his most tenuous hacker and hustler years. Even when the agents maimed his nervous system he felt only some bafflement. He was numb during his drug deals even the murders. Same with his relationship with Linda, and when he witnessed her death he he felt only a slack sickness and loathing. It was Wintermute who stirred rage first time in him: first when the simstim ghost of Linda promised him a bed and food and then disappeared, leaving him alone, and then when he appeared again as a holo-construct of Lonny Zone.
In order to prevent a pancreas failure, Armitage got him a new pancreas, and plugs in his liver, designed to bypass amphetamine or cocaine, making him biochemically incapable of getting off, and freeing him from his previous dangerous dependency. However it seems that he could metabolize betaphenethylamine.
Case hails from the Sprawl, perhaps its northern part. Memories of his childhood included moonscapes with slabs of freeway concrete, broken slag and rusting refineries.
In his teens, he saw a "dreaming real" salsa street performance by Puerto Ricans in the East Side.
When he was 15 he was dating Marlene. That summer they spent a month in the 5th floor of an almost abandoned weekly rates hotel. He missed the first wasp and soon the nest became fist-sized. One afternoon after they each had a dozen beers, a wasp stung Marlene and ordered him to kill and burn them. Drunk, Case found Rollo's "dragon" (flamethrower) in the closet, checked the batteries and fuel and started frying the hive. The fuel was pumped up to 100 psi and spat a 5m spray of white fire, knocking the hive down to the alley, causing someone to cheer across. Marlene's complaining voice sawed at his nerves and while imagining about burning her, he went down the alley. The nest was blackened, broken open, and singed wasps moving on the asphalt. Behind the shell of gray paper he saw the larvae and unborn wasps in various stages, like the biological equivalent of a machine gun. He clumsily pulled the trigger, forgetting to press the ignition, hissing fuel over it. When he remembered to hit the ignition, it exploded with a thump, singeing an eyebrow. Marlene laughing from the open window above.
When he was 17 he engaged in a fight on a rooftop, while the dawn geodesics glowed rose around him.
He never traveled much, only for business. At some point of his life he visited Istanbul once.
When he was 19 years old, he had never touched a cyberspace deck yet but knew it was what he wanted. He was one of the 20 young hopefuls who haunted the Gentleman Loser that summer, watching the older cowboys over expensive beers, hoping they would become a joeboy. Case bought one of them a beer to learn more about Dixie Flatline who was sitting across the bar, learning his feats and breaindeath. Indeed he became Dixie's joeboy and months later they were in Miami; Dixie would remember that he was a "quick study". The legendary Bobby Quine was also his mentor.
At 22, he'd been one of the best hackers in the Sprawl; in his youth he was a rustler always in high adrenaline living for the bodiless exultation of cyberspace. He frequented in the bars as a cowboy hotshot, where the elite stance involved contempt for the meatspace. Operating as a console cowboy from a custom deck, he worked for employers who provided software to penetrate the ICE of corporate systems and steal their data, and swore to never make the classic mistake to steal from his employers.
But one time he did exactly that, kept something for himself and tried to move it through a fence in Amsterdam. He met his employers in a Memphis hotel, they paid him, but with ways he never learned, they lerned his moves and punished him. They tied him on a hotel bed, hallucinating for 30 hours, as a wartime Russian mycotoxin subtly burned his nervous system micron by micron. Unable to jack into cyberspace any more, it was the end of his career and the bodiless exultation of cyberspace, trapping him forever in the flesh.
Life in Chiba
- "Guess you're kinda like he was. Think you're born to run. Figure what you were into back in Chiba, that was a stripped down version of what you'd be doing anywhere. Bad luck, it'll do that sometimes, get you down to basics."
When he was 23 he converted all of his assets to a fat sheaf of illegal New Yen, hoping that he would find a cure, in the registered, or illegal, clinics of Chiba City. He spent his first 2 months in Chiba in examinations and consultations, exhausting all his money. The black clinics didn't do anything either, other than admiring the expertise of what afflicted him.
During his first month there, he hustled intensely all fresh capital in Ninsei. He managed to find a position in the criminal ecology of Night City through lies and betrayal, occupiynig the dubious position of a middleman, a necessary evil between the buyer and the seller. He ran the fastest and loosest deals on the street, and built a reputation for getting whatever his clients wanted. Wage was his primary supplier. He killed 2 men and a woman over ridiculous sums to defend his dealing interests.
He had sent a brick of Wage's ketamine to Yokohama and was paid. Feeling high that rainy night, he went to an arcade (the Namban?) and met Linda Lee playing. They ended up together in a portside capsule hotel. Together they bought tickets at the hoverport and made a first trip to Tokyo and Harajuku, ending up in a pachinko parlor. Within a month, the combination of his drugs and intense lifestyle, was toxic to her, and she became addicted too.
Within a year after his arrival, there was no improvement. He was a depressed, drug-addicted and impoverished hustler, trying to make it through, slept in capsule hotels, took turns and cut corners in Night City; but even then saw the matrix in his sleep, and crying he reaches for a console, grasping temperfoam from his bedslab instead. He entered a self-destructing arc, even no longer carrying a weapon as a basic precaution, a phase obvious to his, ever fewer, customers. Furthermore he almost destroyed his pancreas.
Once he'd delayed transfer of a synthetic glandular extract, retailing it for a wider margin than usual. He knew Wage hadn't liked that. A week later he visits Jarre de Thé and Linda Lee tells him that Wage wants him dead. Seeing her troubled, he offers her 50 New Yen, lying that he can get more anytime.
He saw a figure stalking him, and thinking that it was an assassin paid by Wage, he tried to avoid it and defend himself. When he was finally caught, she introduced as Molly Millions with a job offer from Armitage. Armitage offered him to correct his neural damage. For this he gave the neurologists of an unnamed clinic an ultra-advanced program of the procedure, so that they will do it to Case for free. They replaced his blood in order to receive a new pancreas, as well as the fluid in his back; a new tissue was patched into his liver and a series of injections restored his neural system. The new pancreas cures him of his drug addiction but also nullifying his ability to experience a high.
Case lied to Molly that he must talk to Deane in order to maintain his connections in Singapore, Shinjuku and Asakuza. Actually he wanted Deane to search on Armitage and Screaming Fist but he couldn't help him. After Deane he went to Namban, and paid Wage with Armitage's New Yen. Then returned to Chat.
Around the same time, he sees Linda Lee killed at Sammi's. Case accepts the job offer, and begins a new life as a hacker once again.
Return to the Sprawl
They left Chiba on a hovercraft, then hopped along airports at Narita, Schiphol, Orly. They stayed in the Old City cestion of the Amsterdam-Centrum; Armitage again was off on some business, and walked with Molly past Dam Square and a bar on a Damrak thoroughfare. In Paris she took him shopping. Molly bought him books, tapes, a SimStim deck, French and Italian clothing and a 9-pointed shuriken because she noticed him always looking at them. Before dawn he bought a flat plastic flask of Danish vodka at some kiosk.
They ended up in a loft of an abandoned factory where Armitage provides them equipment for their "mission": An Ono-Sendai Cyberspace VII (Molly noted that he hows significant intimacy when he saw the console), an advanced Hosaka computer with a Sony monitor, disks of corporate-grade ICE, a Braun coffee maker; Armitage wanted Case's approval of each piece. He complained that the augmentations didn'tallow him to get high any more; it was then when Armitage reveals that the treatment given to Case's system is temporary: 15 slowly dissolving mycotoxin sacs were bonded to the lining of main arteries, threatening to undo the repair and revert him to his previous state; an enzyme that only he can provide will dissolve the bond, and the sacs will be cleared with a blood change; thus forcing his loyalty to him.
Armitage continuously withholds information about the mission from Case and Molly, and at Molly's insistence, the two team up to investigate their mysterious employer. After unpacking he went to a hotel and the pair sat by a concrete fountain discussing about whether Armitage's story with the toxin is true. Then took a tube to Manhattan for breafast. Molly led him through a dozen bars and clubs he'd never seen before. Then took him to Metro Holografix. Afterwards Case had his first use of cyberspace after a long time, and enjoyed it for 5 hours.
Molly introduces Case to her old friend the Finn and the Panther Moderns who help them on their mission; Case felt a certain "generation gap" with the youths. Within several weeks Case manages to map the ICE of Sense/Net in order to steal the construct of his former mentor, Dixie Flatline, and to reach Peter Riviera.
Armitage asked to cut the ice of Sense/Net within a week. Case was absorbed in its patterns, tracing them and probing for gaps, skirting traps and mapping the route he'd take. Its rainbow pixel maze was the first thing he saw when he woke; he went straight to the deck still naked. Once he remembered Linda Lee, he jacked in and worked for 9 hours. He lost the counting of days but in a total of 9 he provided Armitage with his plan. Unable to hide his satisfaction, he complained that it took longer than he asked.
He wrote a custom icebreaker/intrusion program that would link with the Sense/Net systems when Molly needed. Connected with "Brood", the link man of the Moderns between him ("Cutter") and Molly, he jacked in on the appropriate time. The Moderns prepared a diversion for the Sense/Net Pyramid security as he plunged through the ice.
During the infiltration he was communicating with Brood and flipped into Molly's sensorium as she strolled the Sense/Net Pyramid. In the matrix, his icebreaker strobed and shifted in front of him, with his hands coding real-time minor adjustments. It reached the 5th gate of the ICE and faked to be a routine transfer from the Los Angeles complex. As he entered, viral subprograms peeled off from the icebreaker, meshing with the gate's code to deflect the upcoming real data. It surged through the gates of the subsystem that controlled security for the research library under the Pyramid.
As Molly reached the basement, Case triggered his second program, a carefully engineered virus that attacked the code fabric screening primary custodial commands for the sub-basement that housed the research materials. 6 mins after midnight, it bored a window through the library's command ice. Inside it was an infinite blue space ranged with color-coded spheres strung on a tight grid of pale blue neon. Case began to key a sequence the Finn gave him. He began to glide through the spheres as if he were on invisible tracks and reached the right sphere, punching his way into it. Inside was a chill blue neon vault starless and smooth as frosted glass; he triggered a subprogram that effected certain alterations in the core custodial commands.
Then he reversed smoothly, letting the cycling virus to re-knit the window with a hair-fine thread of crimson neon still penetrating the wall. He flipped to Molly and felt agony; she had broken her leg, and notified Brood. Molly temporarily restored herself with dermadiscs, and entered the library. Case exited the matrix drenched in sweat; he wiped himself, drank water and checked the map of the library on the screen to see how far Molly is from the construct; 5 more and 10 to her left and said so to Brood. Once Molly stood before the right cabinet, Case sent a command through the crimson thread that fooled 5 separate alarm systems and the 3 locks of the door; he planted in the memory of the central bank the information that the item was removed a month ago per executive order and erasing the records so that the "authorisation" would not be found.
Once finished, the crimson line was withrawn into the icebreaker and the system was reversed, the subprograms whirled back into the core of the program as the ICE gates were closing behind. Then he watched Molly's escape reaching the Moderns outside.
Later he was joined by Armitage and the leader of Moderns Lupus Yonderboy who said that Molly is in good hands. Case insisted to Armitage that he should pay him now. When they left, at dawn he exited the loft deep in thoughts, pondering on the toxic sacs and the people who killed in Chiba. A battered tricycle-truck with mirrored windows bounced past him, with empty plastic cylinders in its bed. Then Lupus showed up saying he has a message, "Wintermute", before disappearing in his chameleon suit.
He went to Baltimore and joined Molly who had healed, not wanting to listen anything. Then they went to the Finn where they found out that Wintermute is an A.I. belonging to Tessier-Ashpool and Molly handed him a paper with coordnates given to her by the Moderns, which Case identified as London. Molly left for the loft and Case was drinking steadily. The he took a trans-BAMA local. Inside the car he noticed a pair of predatory Christian Scientists approaching a trio of 2 young office tech girls. Stepping out, he noticed an advertisement for Freeside, and first time he noticed a little logo of T-A.
Back in the loft, he connected Dixie's construct and reunited with dixie in the matrix. He guided him to Copenhagen, the fringes of the university section where they found the entry code of Bell Europa. Case tapped his way into Bell Europa and switched to a standard phone code, connecting with Armitage's database in London. His Hosaka sifted for owner's personal history, and learned the history of Colonel Willis Corto during and after the War.
The team met the Finn in Istanbul Hilton; next morning he was waken by Armitage After apprehending Peter Riviera, Molly took him to Topkapi museum. There Case told her about his finding in the London database. They speculated that the computer and/or Wintermute, through the computer in the French hospital, pulled him out of it and built his persona probably without knowing his past identity. Molly tasked Case with talking directly to Wintermute, and, since Case thought it was impossible to hack an Artificial Intelligence, to ask Flatline's help. After that they went to Beyoglu for breakfast.
Back in Hilton, Case found Armitage in their room, telling him to get ready for another voyage and handing him a brochure for Freeside to read. He reminded him that the sacs are already wearing out. As they were waiting to leave in the lobby, he smiled to an Italian matron and shouldered his bag. He needed cigarettes for the flight and not wanting to talk with Armitage or Riviera in the gift-shop, he entered an alcove with pay phones and a vending console. As he was slotting lira-coins, the phone next to him rang, which he instinctively answered. After a series of faint harmonics, tiny voices across an orbital link and a windy sound, he heard a chip voice identifying as Wintermute. Forgetting his cigarettes, hung up and walked back to the lobby, while each payphone rang once as he walked by them.
In the THY liner, while flying above Greece, he drank bourbon but Riviera made a trick, causing a giant sperm to appear in his glass. After threatened by Molly and Armitage, he made appear a rose for him.
Case got into the deep temperfoam couch of the JAL shuttle, perparing for his first trip to space; as the steward was attaching readout trodes to his wrist and left ear, Molly explained to him the effects of SAS, panicking him. He closed his eyes and tried to calm down that the shuttle is no different than an airplane. The SAS was worse than he thought but passed quickly and could sleep.
Docking to JAL terminal, they took a taxi to Zion. He lost track of Armitage and Riviera in the wake of a second wave of SAS vertigo. Molly and the Zionite Aerol guided him to clumsily enter a hatchway and climb the rungs "backward" into gravity. After his stomach churned, he thanked the return of the partial gravity again and lay flat on the deck. Then Molly told him to assemble a plastic maze with cables. Armitage and Riviera returned, and Case attacked Riviera for not being helping, further enraged by his smartass replies, and Molly stepepd between them. Aerol from the hatch and Armitage told him to go the cargo bay and get his gear. Guiding the foam-bundled Hosaka along the central corridor, Aerol noted he was pale and invited him to lunch.
A few hours later Armitage sent him into the yellow maze to call Riviera out for a meal but found him sleeping naked on a temperfoam. He went back and told Armitage and Molly said he is stoned and let him be. Armitage worried that zero-g would affect operation in the matrix; and because of his adrenaline levels and SAS, and told him to learn working with it as they won't wear off soon.
Case jacked in, near the Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority's Aztec pyramid to talk with Dixie. He figured out he was dead and Case asked how it felt and if it bothered him. Dixie as an explanation told him about the phantom itch of Elroy's amputated thumb, and Dixie's laughter came as a stab of cold doing Case's spine. He asked him a favor, to erase him when their business is over.
Case had a hard time understanding the Zionites, who always touched him when talking, and Aerol telling him about his ganja hallucinations like facts, until Molly explained that it is a form of art for them. One time as he prepared for a practice run in the freefall corridor, he called Aerol to show him the matrix, handing him the trodes. Case turned the deck on and seeing Aerol shuddering he jacked him back out. Aerol said that he saw Babylon and left.
Sometime later he watched Riviera on his foam pad, as she was taking his dose, making a holographic show out of it; the elastic tubing around his arm being transformed into a snake, and the needle as a scorpion. He explained to Case that it is more fun that way, and that pain is a part of it. He called Case "pedestrian" when he said he'd prefer to use dermadisks. Asked if he gets high himself, Case said that he had to give it up.
Later Armitage briefed them on Freeside; Case asked what is a "velodrome" and Molly explained to him. That night (sleeping period) he woke on his foam confused, seeing Molly alert, and with startling speed she ran towards an intruder. Seeing through the ripped plastic, saw it was a Zionite, Maelcum, who came to say that the Elders of Zion wished to talk to "Cateye" and the "cowboy". Case said that if they open the hatch, the light will wake up the bossman. Maelcum said to make it dark and follow him.
The 2 surviving Elders told them that before their arrival, a voice, called Winter Mute, spoke to them playing a mighty dub. Case felt goosebumps, asked if they knew that voice and when it talked to them. Case said that it is an AI, and probably tapped their banks and generated the music for them, but they cut him while talking. They said that Winter Mute said to help them and Maelcum will bring them to Freeside. Case asked if they work for Armitage, but they said they serve only the will of Jah.
Boarding the Marcus Garvey he sat in the elastic g-web behind Maelcum. He took scopolamine to prevent nausea, but his system neutralized the stimulants, and Case felt only the haze. Molly asked if he ever contacted Wintermute all that time he spent plugged moving his lips. Then he said about what happened in Hilton and she scolded for hanging up; he lied that it could have been anybody, but she realised that he had been scared. She ordered him to try now and ask Flatline for help, and despite he was doped, he jacked in. He asked Dixie if he ever tried to crack an AI, and he told him about the cube in Rio that fried his brain. Terrified, he jacked out to tell Molly that buzzing an AI was how Dixie got flatlined and earned his nickname; Molly insisted that they two can make it.
Case asked Dix about looking at an AI in Berne and Dix said they could do if he isn't afraid to die. Case took them to the Swiss banking sector, and Berne. Dix guided him upwards above levels of lattices of light, and he saw a blue flicker above. They reached a simple cube of white light, and Dix warned him that touching it would be lethal. Nonetheles Case approached 4 grid points forward and its towering surface started seething with faint internal shadows, meaning that it sensed their presence. As Case punched 1 grid point forward, a gray circle formed on its face and Dix ordered Case to back off fast. Still, the circle detached as a sphere after them. Case slapped MAX REVERSE on the deck; even as they plunged down a twilit shaft of Swiss banks it gained on Case. Dix ordered him to jack out but it was too late.
A cold steel odor caressed his spine, faces from the Ninsei crowd among neon lights under a polluted sky, and heard a sentence said by Wage days ago, when he confronted him in the Chat, and felt a pain pusling at his spine. A slow drizzling rain woke him up; he was in an alley at the rear of the Arcade, tangled in coils of fiberoptics; nearby a broken damp chipboard, and a chassis of a ruined game console. All light came from a service hatch from the arcade, whose sounds came faintly, and a faint fluorescent glow from a sooty plastic window above. His jacket, money, cigarettes were nowhere. He decided it was Friday and attempted to edge through the crows to the arcade's entrance to find Linda inside.
She was playing Wizard's Castle, and he approached ruining her game. She passed him a cigarette. He was confused and asked when they last met, explained that he had a blackout, perhaps mugged. She handed him money and invited him to coffee and food and her home. As she squeezed his hand, everything froze and vibrated and all persons, and his cigarette, disappeared, leaving a scent of burned meat. Then he remembered where he was and realised it was Wintermute's creation. He shouted complaining that he had a cigarette, a girl and place to sleep. He went outside to the now-empty street; across was a vendor's pushcart with boiled vegetables. A sealed pack of Yeheyuans were at his feet and a book of matches with Julius Deane's name, understanding it was a sign from Wintermute.
Following the clue, he slowly climbed to Julius's office. No answer came and he crossed the office door. It was empty and Julie was nowhere. In the office room he found Julie's .357 Magnum. He complained for the shit that Wintermute was playing wasting his time, and shot the gun at the center of the desk, almost breaking his wrist and ringing his ears, noticing that the bullets are explosive. Then Julie showed up, and Case aimed at him. Julie said he was right thinking that it is Wintermute who cut him off before Case was able to jack out, and used his memories thanks to the simstim unit. He sat and told him they needed to talk since he called him in Istanbul, because time is running short. Case sat, always aiming at him and heard Julie explaining about Wintermute, being behind Corto, but Case complained that he doesn't make more sense. Wintermute said that his aim is to form a potential entity with other AIs and recruited Corto for this, but he is unstable and will have to count on Case. With that Case shot him in the mouth, spilling brains and blood.
In the meantime Molly and Maelcum noticed that Case was dead for 40 seconds.
When he recovered, still numb, they boarded Freeside and Molly passed them through customs. She tried to advise him on how to counter the weird perspective but it made no sense to his body, and he said that SAS was better. He asked to go somewhere and lie down, and asked about what happened when he flatlined, he wasn't able to explain. Taking his hand she led him across Rue Jules Verne to find a cab to their way to the Intercontinental.
Case went out onto their balcony and watched a trio of tanned French teenagers ride hang gliders above artificial water rapids. Molly stood beside and said that "they" were planning to come there once, but didn't want to say more about "they", and reminded Case that he wanted to hit the bed, and he agreed, rubbing his cheekbones. Still, he had difficulty sleeping, and his dreams were segmented, waking up repeatedly, specifically the moment of killing Deane's analog, and also the bloody bag of ginger near Linda's murder spot; and the possibility that Deane had killed her; and the possibility that Deane followed Wintermute's orders. He lit a cigarette but stubbed it after 3 puffs discarding such concerns. His next dream was a flashback of his summer with Marlene and the burning of the wasp hive; in the dream he saw the T-A logo ambossed into its side. He woke in the darkness, with the sky displaying the start of a recorded dawn.
They had breakfast on the roof garden of the hotel, where he was durprised by the "cute" shapes of the natural trees, and the smell of the freshly-cut grass. He said about the attempt to buzz Wintermute. The whole question of bugging seemed to have become academic. They were joined by Armitage and Riviera as they finished their coffee. Riviera asked his dose because he had a mission that afternoon, and Case was told by Armitage that he also had one; to get fitted for a vac suit at the pro shop, get checked out and go to the Marcus Gravey within 3 hours. Deliberately avoiding his eyes, Case complained why they came in that "shitcan" while those two hired a JAL taxi. Finally meeting his pale stare, Case asked how soon they will get to business, and Armitage said "soon", dismissing him.
Back to Garvey
According to Armitage's instructions, he took a red Sanyo vacuum suit. He took the train to the docks; he thought that somewhere above him were the mountains where Molly climbed with the sporting center. He reached one of the sporting docks at the end of the spindle, near the weightless axis were Aerol waited him in a skeletal scooter frame, and ferried him out to the Marcus Garvey.
Maelcum helped him out saying he was doing fine. As he fumbled into the straps of the web near the computer, Maelcum produced a white lump of foam, brought to him by a Japanese man, opened it with his switchblade, and handed him a rectangular steel cassette. Asked if it part of a gun, Case explained it was a virus, panicking Maelcum, reaching for it, but Case said it is a virus program, which works on his deck. According to the Japanese man's instructions to Maelcum, Case asked the Hosaka about the parcel, being a Kuang Grade Mark Eleven from Bockris Systems. Hearing it was Chinese, he closed the computer, and fastened the cassette to the side of the computer with silver tape. Changing his mind, he turned it on again to inquire about Bockris, coding the interorbital transmission in standard commercial code. He learned that it was owned by Reinhold Scientific, and 3 steps above, by Tessier-Ashpool.
Jacking in, he asked Dixie about Chinese virus programs, who didn't know much. He said to Dixie about Armitage wanting to run on an AI of T-A via Straylight, using the Chinese icebreaker; this would mean that Wintermute is burning itself, while trying to get on his good side to replace Armitage. Dixie couldn't guess the AI's motive; in the process Case wondered if Dixie is still sentient. Dixie concluded that Wintermute wanted Case to cut the hardwired Turing mechanism that prevents it to become smarter. While waiting for Dixie's answers Case randomly punched the deck nervously, blurring and resolving the matrix, transported near a Sikkim steel combine. Case also slotted the virus so that Dixie could scan it. Dixie said that they can run it if they aren't afraid of dying, and Case noticed that he repeats himself.
Meeting Bruce and Cath
He returned to the hotel to find Molly sleeping, sat on the balcony watching a microlight flying, longing the feeling of drugs, and how to trick Armitage's modifications. He rode the elevator up with an Italian sporty girl. From a machine he ordered sushi, and thought the taste of his raw tuna would drive him nuts. He was approached by Cath, a girl who inquired if he was a gangster. After a pause Case introduced to her as "Lupus", explaining that it's a Greek name, and that he is not a gangster but a drug addict who needs to be up. The girl suggested betaphenethylamine, and took her to her apartment and her boyfriend Bruce, to whom he said about his Chiba pancreas. Bruce asked if he could sue them, and while Case started telling him about "tissue matching and all that" he noticed his boredom.
There he noticed Cath's cibachrome transparencies, shot at the S/N Pyramid, a day after the "Christ the King terrorists" made a attack; feeling uneasy, knowing that he was involved in it, he agreed that it was a "terrible thing". Bruce passed him a bright blue dermadisk, saying that the first time is on the house if his pancreas passed on it. He returned to their room and when Molly woke up, noticed that he was affected. Case wasn't able to pronounce what he took, just showed her the derms, saying that it is exactly what he needed. He was ecstatic when she reminded him about their dinner at the Vingtième Siècle to see Riviera. He complained hearing Molly's warnings about the after effects. He undressed and showed his erection, saying that she should take advantage of this state.
At the restaurant, Armitage noticed that something was wrong with Case, and he lied that it was something he ate, a hystamine reaction when he travels and eats different stuff. He cut his steak into bite-sized pieces that he pushed around in the sauce without eating. Molly scolded him, reminding that it was from a real animal, and ate a mouthful. He was surprised to see the lights dimming and lighting of candles, an his uneasiness increased seeing Riviera coming into a stage to present his show. It was a dreaming real performance like one he had seen in his teens. It was erotic and grotesque, dedicated to Lady 3Jane and Molly; he felt disgust and went outside, vomiting over the railing in the lake. He felt better and applause indicated the end of the show. Molly was gone and Case asked Armitage where she is, and if she went after him. Armitage said no and unwillingly broke his wine glass; Case took the broken stem and put it in a water glass. Armitage just said that she went to prepare herself and he won't see her before the run. Armitage ignored his other questions, why Riviera did that to her and if the run was tomorrow. Before leaving, he took a glimpse of 3Jane sitting at the balcony, and the young French tourists.
He returned to their room that was empty and silent, with no trace of her. He noticed that the scene through the window had changed into a view of Desiderata Street, and noticed first time a holographic panel, which he turned off, and exited to the balcony. He phoned to the desk and asked the number to Garvey, registered out of Zion (and was corrected that its registration was Panamanian). He called Maelcum and asked him to connect a modem to his Hosaka. He ordered ICE, but the computer advised that he was speaking from a heavily monitored location, and he cancelled the order; he asked for Dixie, and asked him to access the hotel records and get Molly's registered name (Rose Kolodny) and locate her.
As the phone whined and clicked, Case brushed his teeth; stepping out, the Braun audiovisual complex monitor lit up, showing an interview. Then it was jagged and he heard a familiar voice; the glass wall became the interior of the Jarre, and Wintermute appeared, in the figure of Lonny Zone, and his voice coming through the speakers. We asked about Molly but Wintermute just said he is screwing up, doing something unpredictable for him such as having Flatline search for her. He demanded to say where she is to call him off, but Wintermute just said that he can'tkeep track of his women. Case threatened to "bring this thing down around" his ears, but Wintermute said that he isn't of that kind; it commented that Case suspected that it made Deane kill Linda, enraging Case. Wintermute said that it didn't, but it wouldn't matter to Case anyway; Linda tried to rip Case off because she wanted his attention, she loved him, but Case couldn't handle it. Case started punching the glass, and it told him to keep his hands to use the deck. The system was shut off. Case returned to the phone and Dixie told him where Molly was, a Freeside nightclub. Case sat on the bed for a while, feeling rage first time after a long time.
Looking for Molly
He ran to Bruce and Cath, who were having shower and were surprised to see him. Stepping into their room, he pointed out they are his friends and asked to go to that address (making Cath happy to realise he is a gangster after all). Bruce took them there with his Honda trike. On their way Bruce asked him to repeat the address 8 times; Case ordered them to wait outside. He showed his Freeside chip to a waiter (perhaps to bribe him) to tell him where to for downstairs, and then to a desk employee asking for a cubicle. She directed him to #35 and he rode an elevator to the lower level. Looking at random, he forgot he was looking for Molly and entered #35, where a meat puppet waited, speaking in German. He ignored her and found door #43. Initially he thought pointless to try the chip and knocked but there was no sound; he changed his mind and tried the chip. Before the door opened, she kicked him on the chest and extended her blades, before realising it was him. She shoved him inside and he fell across the bed, surprised that there is no meat puppet. She explained she was briefed by Wintermute as the run will be tomorrow. She also explained that she had left the restaurant to not kill Riviera; the show was a sensitive topic for her, as, she explained to Case, had worked as a meat puppet to pay for her augmentations with dire experiences, and perhaps Wintermute manipulates them to hate Riviera in order to follow him. She revealed that Riviera is in Straylight invited by Lady 3Jane (the woman Case saw in the restaurant). Case also said about his experience and they realised that Wintermute wants Case to hate himself.
Going out, Bruce asked Case how was it, and he pretended to suggest it to him. He asked them to drop him where the bars are. He entered Emergency being the most crowded place. Standing against the wall drinking Carlsberg, he felt rage returned to him; he remembered the construct of him killing Deane and realised that, after years of cold numbness, he first felt rage in his life when Wintermute made Linda's simstim ghost disappear; and first noticed it when Wintermute appeared as Lonny. This waked for him a chip of murder, but his hacker self told him to ignore the "meat" talking. He was surprised when he was greeted by Cath. He was joined by Cath who was very intimate, offering him more beta, and inviting him to a villa behind the Paradise. Attempting to approach him, she told about her friendship with 3Jane, and her family retainer Hideo. Hearing that she keeps some "class company", he put his arm around her and asked more things, and learned that 3Jane gets bored in Straylight that is like a castle. Cath opened her purse to get Case a derm, and he picked up from the floor something that fell off: an origami crane, which Cath said was given to her by Hideo. Case confirmed that 3Jane is the girl he saw in the restaurant, as Cath put the derm on his wrist; he felt the anger rush inside him, and became erected. He pulled his hand from hers and ran to the door shoving out of the way, under Cath's insults.
Numb, tense and cold, he walked under the hologram sky looking the nightclub constellations; the artificial stars formed the face of Linda in his mind, until he was able to look away. He went on walking during midnight and until morning, the beta effect wearing off. At dawn he forced himself to eat an omelette in a Desiderata cafe, drink water, and smoke his last cigarette. He entered his room prepared to sleep, only to find the 3 French tourists waiting for him.
They introduced as Turing Police agents and he was arrested. He was stripped naked and searched thoroughly. Case revealed that he was hired to make a run somewhere, but not knowing the nature of a target. He was told that Armitage was arrested, and Case instinctively called out his real name, revealing that he knows it. He said that he is drugged and tired, and has no information about Armitage's plans or where is the razorgirl. Pierre was interested as to how he knew Corto's name, and Case regretted the slip, saying that he perhaps had mentioned it sometime. Pierre (who was playing "bad cop") said he was delighted when they traced them to Intercontinental and Case joked that they could work on their tan. Michele told him that if he pretends ignorance would be no good for him, as they will extradict him either to Switzerland or the Sprawl (where he would be condemned for the invasion in Sense/Net. Pierre lit him a cigarette, and Case, blowing the smoke up to him, questioned their jurisdiction without Freeside security, after which he expected a blow from him. Roland (who until then played the "good cop") said that their arm operates under treaties that provides them with flexibility. Michele said that aiding an AI gainindependence is selling out the human race. Under the threat of a pistol, she ordered him to dress up and follow them to Geneva to testify against Wintermute.
Still numb, he stumbled clumsily to dress up; he heard that they planned to erase Dixie's construct (and all the evidence in the computer would be erased too). He didn't feel anger any more, and accepted his fate that the matrix was over for him. They left for their standby ship, Michelle always pointing at him as they crossed the meadow and came to a bridge over Desiderata. Michele prodded him with the muzzle, As they were on the bridge, a microlight controled by Wintermute killed Pierre, feeling his blood spraying the back of his neck. Michele threw him down. Then he run away, Roland pursuing him as the microlight threw Michele down to her death. Roland was next, thanks to a gardening robot.
Seeing Pierre's body Case threw up. He had a shower and felt better. It was time to leave.
He took a train to the dock where Aerol was waiting. He was told that the Garvey was captive by the yaucht sent by Armitage. With his scooter he flew him to Garvey, which was engulfed by the yacht Haniwa. He boarded the tug through the forward lock, removed his suit. Maelcum, busy with the radio, told him to jack in as the "ghost" wants to talk to him.
Dixie was worried about the Turings, although they were killed, and told him that Armitage wants the run to be done now. Dixie made some coordinate movements that made Case jealous of his techniques, and brought him to the Freeside coordinates. Dixie explained to him the dangerous ICE around the Tessier-Ashpool S.A. core data. Case thought it wasn't worth the trouble as the Turings are on it, and they should rather bail out. Dixie reminded him that he should be curious to see what Kuang Eleven could do, and changed his mind. He jacked out and told Maelcum that he will be connected maybe for 8 hours, and the Zionite brought to him what he called a "Texas catheter", which he didn't like at all. He warned him that if there is trouble, he can grab his left wrist, which he will feel, or follow the computer's instructions. Before jacking back in, he told him to turn the scrubber up, as his fumes would tangle with his already troubled neurotransmitters.
Both Case and Dixie were awed by the unfolding Chinese virus. He flipped the SimStim and briefly felt Molly as she was freefalling in a tube, on her way to the Villa. Dixie told him that the virus made them invisible to the ICE, like they aren't there, and explained that it is actually a slow virus. Freaked out by Dixie-construct's laughter, he checked again on Molly, and was once more trapped in a simulated sensorium by Wintermute.
He found himself in a construct like Metro Holografix, and fell through tangled metal and old magazines, the smell full of dust and old print paper. Wintermute appeared as the Finn and Case complained that appearing like people he knows gets on his nerves. He wondered whether "outside" of the construct is New York, or whether is stops somewhere, and Wintermute replied that there are portions of it that he remembers, as all this is fed through his own memory; Case doubted that his memory is that good, and looked at the lines on the palms of his constructs, trying to remember them. Explaining the nature of human memory, Wintermute said that it tries to help Case because they need each other. Case interrupted it, asking if it can read his mind, and accusing it for killing the Turings, which Wintermute dismissed.
Then it got to the point, producing the charred wasp nest from Case's recent dream and memory, startling him, making him to stumble back against some junk; it admitted that it brought to him the dream with the holo rig in the window; it did so because Tessier-Ashpool is the human equivalent of that nest. It knows that Case is starting to hate it, and tells him to hate the T-As instead, who created it. Then the Finn motioned him to the corridor leading to the back part of the "shop" and Case reluctantly came.
The Finn took him by the elbow. The dirty blanket covering the corridor let a puff of dust, which turned into a freefall in the cylindrical corridor where Case had seen Molly earlier. Wintermute said it is the front entrance to the Villa, low on detail as Case doesn't have the memories. Case managed to straighten out, but began to corkscrew in a long spiral. Wintermute fast-forwarded them through a blur and dizzying sensation, whipping around corners and corridors, even through dark walls. They reached a perfectly square room, and in its center was the talking head, standing on a pedestal. It then started narrating 3Jane's essay she wrote 12 years old, describing the Villa. Wintermute explained that Molly must come here at the right time, knowing a certain secret password to talk to the head, something that they can't do from the matrix; Wintermute itself is hardwired to not record or be aware of the word. After that, Wintermute will cease to exist. Before disconnecting Case, Wintermute warned him to watch out for Neuromancer, and that "Armitage is starting to go".
Dixie told him that he was braindead for 5 seconds. He returned to Molly's SimStim.
Molly broke into a village through a service hatch and while finding her way, she whispered to him about her past, about meeting Johnny and his assassination, telling him that she never cared about anyone else after him, and Case reminds her of him. She reached a door, and started picking its mechanical lock, Case noticed how silent was the environment, much unlike how Cath claimed to be "a castle with pools and lilies", without any activity. Molly telling about her past, and Johnny, made Case feel uneasy as it was very rare she talked about herself. She broke into a closet room where Wintermute guided her to find a key. As she exited, Case flipped back to the matrix to see how the virus was growing, and Dixie moved them up through its shifting strata. Case noticed the unfocusable core of the program, creating anomalies in the matrix-space due to its dense information; Dixie said that it is its sting; Case confirmed that Wintermute's hardwiring has some code override, and their objective to speak it to the head. Dixie said that it can be a while until the virus unfolds itself and Case briefly jacked out.
Maelcum told him that he was dead for a while, and that he is tampering with the darkness, before returning to his radio module. Case said that this is the only think he can do, and he is getting used to it.
Wintermute plans to merge with another A.I. called Neuromancer.
Throughout the mission, Case's view of the world and himself change tremendously, as he forms new relationships with other characters, particularly Molly. Case eventually visits a beach construct, where he meets the A.I. recreation of Linda Lee, and speaks to Wintermute's "other half," Neuromancer , who takes the form of a little boy.
Despite several unexpected obstacles, the mission is a success, with Wintermute merging with Neuromancer. Although Armitage is killed before he is able to give Case the antidote for his condition, the Zionites are able to help Case, ensuring that he can continue to "jack." By the end of the book, Case decides that he no longer drugs, or even cyberspace (at least not as desperately as before), and begins a new life, free of addictions of any kind. He parts ways with Molly, and never sees her again.
Though Case doesn't appear in any other books, his ultimate fate can be inferred from lines at the end of Neuromancer, and his mention in Mona Lisa Overdrive. By the end of Neuromancer, Case has left Chiba City, and "found a girl who called herself Michael." The last line of the book is, "He never saw Molly again" In Mona Lisa Overdrive, the Finn states that, last he heard anyway, Case was married with four children. It's plausible that "Michael" is the woman Case married (given that she was important enough to be mentioned by name when Gibson hinted at Case's future at the end of Neuromancer).
Case's most closely-examined relationship in the story is with Molly, who becomes something of a "friend with benefits" to him. Though they have at least one sexual encounter, their relationship never seems to become "romantic," instead playing out like that of two platonic friends. Case and Molly develop a close bond despite--or perhaps because of--the fact that both are self-serving antiheroes who rarely "open up" to or show concern for other people. Molly ultimately reveals that she was drawn to Case because he reminded her of a dead lover, Johnny Mnemonic. After the Straylight run however, Molly leaves without telling Case goodbye in person, instead leaving a note asking him not to take her actions personally, to to accept that "it's just the way I'm wired." Case seems to accept that their relationship is over, and finds a new girl named Michael. The last line of the book states that he never saw Molly again.
Case's relationship with Linda Lee is fairly similar to the one he has with Molly; though he once was romantically involved with Linda, they are just friends by the start of Neuromancer, and his experience with her in the beach construct seems to offer him much-needed closure. Unlike his relationship with Molly however, Case's friendship with Linda comes with a strong sense of guilt, not only for her death, but for introducing her to the drugs that she wound up becoming addicted to.
Case gets along well with most of the other characters in the book, but never seems to develop any close relationships with any of them.
After the events of Neuromancer, Case marries and has four children, presumably leading a normal life (or as normal as anyone in the Sprawl can have).