I think I read this back in the late '90s or early 2000s. I don't remember the plot at all, but there are a few bits and pieces that stick in my mind:

  • Part of the book takes place in the real world, and the other part is in a VR simulation. You need a special suit or some sort of equipment to enter the simulation.
  • A young girl has the ability to enter the simulation without any equipment, whenever she wishes. This is a big deal and some bad guys want to kidnap her. An older man (the protagonist) discovers her, looks after her and keeps her away from the bad guys.
  • The man has a friend in the simulation who is an AI. The AI is named Prometheus, and he wants to understand enlightenment and what it means to be human. He often tries to catch a fish in a small bottle or cup. I think he also listens to classical music.
  • The simulation is full of advertisements, which I believe the man complains about at some point.
  • Some characters use a drug that glows either green or blue.

1 Answer 1


This is Rebecca K. Rowe's Forbidden Cargo.

Set in 22nd Century Earth, this is the story of two young women caught in the middle of a power struggle regarding the future of human evolution.

The Order has set up a research facility on Mars, where they have created a race of nano-DNA hybrids called imagofas, thought by many to be the next step in human evolution. The Council, on Earth, considers imagofas to be a crime against humanity. The idea is hatched to bring back evidence from Mars of the order’s activities, to put them out of business, once and for all. The two women, Sashimu and Thesni, are kidnapped from Mars and brought to Earth as "evidence", after which their life spans will be short and very unpleasant.

Something goes wrong at the Earth spaceport, and the two manage to escape, though separated from each other. In the meantime, Creid Xerkler is the inventor of a virtual reality system called Molecular Advantage Machine, or MAM. It allows instant access to all of Earth's knowledge, but the connection is made through the wearing of a special suit. Another reason why Sashimu and Thesni are considered evil is that they can access MAM without the suit. Xerkler is very implicated in this anti-Order plan, but he spends much of the book in an artificially-induced coma (someone wants him out of the way).

While staying away from the Council, the two meet some interesting individuals. The Cadet is an expert gamer and finder of information, and Prometheus is a MAM meta-intelligence looking for sentience. It becomes clear that Xerkler is the key, but the only way to reach him, and fix whatever is wrong with him, is from the inside, through MAM.

Found with a search for novel "virtual reality" "named prometheus"

  • Yeah that's it. Now I feel stupid for never trying that particular combination of search terms >.> Thanks! Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 0:07
  • You never know. Your search history determines some aspects of what you get. But using quotation marks does help.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 15, 2019 at 0:10

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