Dub wakes Case the next morning. Case feels like he’s on drugs, although he hasn’t taken anything in this world. He asks Linda who told her he would come, and she explains it was a boy she met on the beach. She tells Case the boy looked Mexican, but Case suspects he’s Brazilian and from Rio. Case gets up to find the child. As Case walks, he notices hieroglyphs across the sand, and even on the back of his hand. He realizes the Kuang is eating through the world. Linda follows Case down the beach, and suddenly she’s next to him, along with the young boy. Case recognizes him as the other AI, Rio.
Case will later realize that the dub and the feeling of being on drugs are from his body in the real world, where Maelcum has placed headphones on Case and put derms in an effort to wake him up. Case knows the second AI has trapped him in cyberspace, and so suspects the child Linda saw is a physical representation of the Brazil-based intelligence.
Case asks the AI its true name; Rio is just its Turing code. The AI says its name is Neuromancer—“the lane to the land of the dead.” He laughs and says, “I am the dead, and their land.” He urges Case to stay with Linda, and to forget they’re both ghosts.
While Wintermute’s name refers only to its location, Neuromancer has deeply considered the etymology of its name, which also references Necromancer—the famed book of the dead. As an entity who traps the spirits of the dead (Linda) or nearly dead (Case), Neuromancer’s name is extremely apt.
Case doesn’t want to stay; Neuromancer tells him it’s his choice. Linda touches Case’s shoulder and asks him to stay, but Case walks away, towards the music, which he recognizes as Maelcum’s dub.
Case loved Linda, but he feels she is not real enough to be worth staying for. He also knows he has a mission in the real world that he must finish.
Case travels through a gray place, through voices, and finally, he’s back in the Straylight library. Maelcum takes the headphones off his ears, and tells Case he was out for five minutes. Maelcum tells Case he also put both of his derms on him. Case realizes he’s overdosing on betaphenethylamine, but Maelcum pulls him up. They have to continue their mission.
Maelcum’s music saved Case. In this moment, music is built around community, and it emphasizes the importance of other people and social networks. Case, a loner for so long, is lucky to have formed this tenuous friendship.