New Reader Guide

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A Girl is surprised and horrified to discover she’s been added to a government watchlist and is considered a potential terrorist threat. The agent assigned to watch her is far more surprised to learn she is haunted by the ghost of Benjamin Franklin and that both the Girl and Ben are able to interact with an invisible personal data assistant installed directly into his brain. After a drinking bout ends badly, the Girl and the Fed angrily go their separate ways. (NOTE: The first 300 strips are being redrawn). Several months following the events of the Introduction, the Girl is sent to cover the supposed suicide of a senator’s aide for her newspaper. When Ben gets her thrown out of the police station, she sends him away. Later, she is arrested for trespassing at the aide’s home, and is released into the custody of the Fed. He confesses that his implant, a device called the “Pocket President,” never functions as intended and he has struggled with it for the past five years at the expense of his personal life and his career. He has become suspicious of the Pocket President program with good cause – the dead aide was also a participant in the same program and had a similar implant, and many of the other participants had likewise died from suspicious suicides or accidents. The Fed enlists the Girl’s assistance because he is able to control the implant when either she or Ben are present. Later, the Girl is almost stabbed by a prostitute and is again arrested; when the Fed bails her out, she reminds him she has extensive training in judo, a fact he has missed in spite of eighteen months of active surveillance. At the close of the chapter, the Girl resolves her relationship with Ben. The Fed and the Girl make plans to investigate the supposed suicide of the senator’s aide. They take an encoded message she found at the aide’s home to a freelance consultant with excellent language skills. The consultant, a hyper-intelligent koala named Speedy, is able to partially decode the message and suggests that the aide had an affair with an unknown woman who was now their best lead for additional information on the Pocket President program. The Fed, who has been suffering from persistent headaches, uses the Pocket President to contact his supervisor. His boss, Assistant Director Smithback, orders him to associate closely with the Girl and recommends they travel together to collect more information about her activities as a terrorist. While the Fed recognizes this is not standard policy and is immediately suspicious, he is not aware that Smithback has a separate agenda. The Fed asks Ben to reach inside his head and physically check to see if his implant allows Smithback to spy on him. Ben confirms that it does not. The Fed tells Speedy that he has problems working with a civilian because he is intentionally putting her in harm’s way; Speedy reminds him that he's not thinking clearly and he isn't the type of person who would endanger someone, intentionally or otherwise. The Fed and the Girl pack up her car and get on the road towards Las Vegas, with the hopes that Speedy can pick up the trail of the unknown woman once they are there. After some light conversation, the Fed tells the Girl what the past five years of his life were like and why it has been difficult for him to recover from the effects of the implant. When he leaves the car, Speedy tells her that the Fed does not fully recognize the extent of the damage that was done to him; Speedy also points out that when the Fed recovers, he will become enraged at the people who hurt him. Once they reach Las Vegas, the Girl leaves to catch up on some sleep while Ben discovers how the Pocket President functions and reprograms it; doing so enables the Fed to have total control over the implant and its abilities. Then, Ben leaves to confess a secret to the Girl. While Speedy gets to work, the Fed and the Girl come to a mutual agreement about their underwear and make plans to remove it at a later point in the day. In the meantime, they head off to explore the city. When the Fed activates his implant, he learns that Ben blocked the full sensory impact that occurs from immersion in a constantly changing digital environment and is instantly overwhelmed. The Girl takes him to safety and gets him to turn off the implant when it threatens his health; she suggests that the implant draws power from the Fed’s body and throws off heat as a byproduct, thus overusing it could damage his brain. Meanwhile, Speedy takes Ben up to the roof of their hotel and they discuss Ben’s time-traveling skills and how ghosts might fit into the grand scheme of things. Another agent in the Pocket President program, Rudy, arrives and Speedy asks him questions about Smithback and a very nasty fellow agent referred to as Agent 146. When the Girl and the Fed return to the hotel, they spend some time in bed; the Fed finally recognizes what was done to him over the past five years while he was under the influence of the implant. The Girl manages to calm him down. The Fed finally learns the true purpose of the chip. While Ben helps him learn how to master the chip's abilities, the Girl leaves to meet Mike, a friend of hers who can also see ghosts. The Fed recognizes that the chip has great potential for both good and bad, and becomes concerned that he might misuse it. Several days pass, during which the Girl and the Fed meet the senator's wife to discuss the chip, and Mike talks to them about what is known and is unknown about ghosts. Back in the city, Smithback greenlights their capture and sends Agent 146 to bring them in, but sends warning to the Fed before she is successful. The Girl, the Fed, Ben, and Speedy escape and leave Las Vegas. Currently ongoing. No synopsis as of yet.