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Case and Molly head to Freeside aboard Maelcum's tug, the Marcus Garvey. Case informs Molly that Wintermute tried contact him at the airport. Molly emasculates Case before suggesting that he talk to Dixie about it.
Dixie tells Case the story about how he tried to hack an AI once when he was still alive. It didn't go well as Dixie's brain activity stopped for a few minutes. Case is less than thrilled at the news.
So he decides to have a look at an AI for himself. They find Wintermute in the matrix. Wintermute's ICE (Intrusion Countermeasures Electronics) kicks in and blasts Case, who wakes up in a pile of consoles near the arcade.
He heads into the arcade where he finds Linda Lee playing Wizard's Castle. He kisses her. They talk, but when she invites to take him to coffee, the world freezes. We are officially through the rabbit hole now.
Ninsei Street is empty. At his feet are a pack of cigarettes and a book of matches. The matches are labeled Julius Deane Import Export. Case takes the hint.
Case gets to Deane's office first and gets the magnum out of the desk. He takes a shot and the thing packs a punch.
Deane steps out of the shadows and tells Case he's sorry he couldn't get the Linda Lee working right.
Case reveals that he knows Deane is really Wintermute and that he's still in the matrix.
Wintermute and Case talk. Wintermute explains who he is—you'll have to read it in the book because it's just too cool to spoil here—and hints that there's another like him. He also admits to being the one pulling Armitage's strings and warns Case that Armitage and/or Corto is breaking down mentally.
Case thanks Wintermute by going all Dirty Harry with the magnum.
Maelcum wakes up Case and tells him his EEG went flat. Case has officially flatlined.