Dill rubbed at the grime on one of the windows. "I think we're safe," he said. "There aren't any government officials out there yet, just some old geezer at the bus stop."
"If we had our own router," said Sam, "I could configure it to show an IP address somewhere foreign. Russia, maybe, or Basingstoke."
"I told you, we're not paying for our own connection when there's a perfectly good unsecured one we can piggyback onto. I'm more concerned about that doctor. Why was he so keen on a home visit? I reckon we're the victims of a military grade virus and you know what that means."
"Yeah," said Sam. "Compensation."
"No! Well, actually, yeah but I was thinking more like this was some serious shit going down."
"You should have seen the toilet."
"I did." Dill sniggered. "Are we out of weed?"
"Pretty sure we are."
"Damn." He rubbed his eyes. "Where was I?"
"Military grade shit."
"Right. We should stay inside so they don't find us."
"Or leave as quickly as possible in case they have found us and are converging on the house right now." He picked up the game controller and sent his virtual soldier weaving through the streets of a virtual city.
Dill sat on the arm of the sofa for a minute, the shifting colours from Sam's video game reflecting off his pale skin. Sam's virtual self was firing off a laser rifle at a flood of blue-skinned cat people armed with spears and bows. "Out," he said.
"Out. We leave the house. There's only a 17% chance they traced our IP address to our physical one but it's not worth the risk." He lifted his foot to the coffee table to tie his shoelace, scattering an ashtray in the process. He tied the second before using the box for Sam's game to sweep the nub ends back into the bowl. "Come on."
"Just a minute." Sam waggled the joystick furiously, his tongue sticking out to one side. "I just have to get through this next bit."
Dill looked over his shoulder. "I've done this bit. When you go around the next corner there's a—"
Sam's character rounded the corner and fell into a pit lines with spikes. As he struggled to extricate himself a pack of midnight-black six-legged dogs attacked. The arc of fire available from his prone figure was limited and he was forced to watch the life-point counter decrease faster than a salesman's speedometer when he sees a police car.
Dill winced as the virtual soldier reached zero hit points and exploded. He put on his best persuasive smile. "Come on, we'll get some weed and baccy while we're out. Besides, where better to hide than in plain sight?"
Sam glanced at the red screen and the body parts of his dead character. "A bunker?"