Commander Lock concludes that the Merovingian must be destroyed because of his previous involvement with the Assassin. Zion realizes the Merovingian is too powerful to be directly approached and that he must first be weakened by exploiting any weaknesses in his organization, so they decide to investigate “constructs” outside the Matrix simulation that the Merovingian frequently uses to conduct his business outside of Machine surveillance.
Operatives arrive at a construct entrance and quickly defeat the guards. Operatives are told to use extreme caution when entering the portal door since the construct can be coded completely to the author’s will and anything and everything could wait beyond a construct portal. Unfortunately, the portal is a dud - the exile guards were able to pull the plug and re-route the portal signal to another location. Accessing one of the on-site computers allows the operative to learn of the new location of the portal feed. Tyndall sees the re-route as further proof of the portals’ importance to the Merovingian.
The new portal is also a dud and is re-routed, but a new breed of exile was guarding the portal: a Dire Lupine. Tyndall believes this new exile is somehow related to the constructs and asks the operative to upload data on its body. It turns out they are simply modified versions of lupines with added subroutines for stealth and infiltration, allowing them to encrypt their RSI so that they are difficult to detect. The uploaded data also allows Zion to add the dire lupine code signature to their database, enabling Matrix scans for dire lupine hotspots.
An operative is sent to a hotspot and fights off several dire lupines. The last remaining lupine says, “You can’t touch the Effectuator”, which is believed to refer to something inside of the constructs. Zion tracks down a control terminal for one of the construct portals, and they believe there is no danger of this portal being prematurely shut down. After clearing the portal site of dire lupines, the operative enters the construct and comes face to face with the eccentric and oddly-dressed Effectuator. He leads the operative into a new room where the Effectuator somehow clones himself and explains that his programming makes him incorporeal within the Matrix, meaning he can’t be harmed and can flit around wherever he pleases. He also confirms that he is in charge of dire lupines and constructs, in employment for the Merovingian. He suddenly disappears, leaving the operative to fight off more dire lupines, one of which drops a data disk. After uploading the disk, the operative hears that it was actually a virus that began deleting the mainframe data concerning dire lupines, the Effectuator and constructs. Apparently, Anome didn’t remember to security check the data.
Commander Lock decides to stop wasting time with dire lupines and instead orders an operative to infiltrate a circle of Club Hel guards in hopes that they have had dealings with the Effectuator, which turns out to be true. The Effectuator has been requesting information on the shifting of the Matrix code and appears to need more power. Tyndall assumes this is due to the toll recent activities has taken on the Effectuator’s forces. A dire lupine interferes and ruins the operation just as the operative is about to find out the arrangements of the deal. So, the operative kills the lupine and exiles and obtains information to upload for analysis. This information allows Zion to track the Effectuator’s network movements, and they focus on determining where his base of operations is.
Zion creates a virus disk designed to lead an operative to the Effectuator’s base of operations and destroy his personal network. The operative successfully finds the Effectuator, who is heavily guarded by dire lupines. After the lupines are destroyed, the Effectuator appears to the operative as several copies of himself. The Effectuator says it will take more than that to destroy him and that they have been wasting their time. He also tells the operative that Zion will never get to the Merovingian through him before the operative finally leaves.
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