Molly and Case arrive in Istanbul. They fly separately from Armitage, whose identity Case has not yet revealed to Molly. They meet the Finn in the Hilton lobby. He’s upset that he’s been called away from home and forced to wear a suit.
The Finn, who spends much of his time indoors in New York City, looks out of place and unlike himself while forced to wear a suit in Turkey. His identity is closely tied to his home.
The next morning, Armitage calls Case, telling him to expect a visitor named Terzibashjian. Case tries to ask Armitage for more information about their mission, but Armitage refuses to engage or disclose. Terzibashjian arrives soon after, he tells them about the man they’re after—Riviera—who has implants that allow him to create life-like holograms.
Riviera’s implants allow him to manipulate other’s perception of reality. Riviera’s identity is closely tied to this ability, although Molly will later discuss his file, the key details of his identity are his body modifications.
Case, the Finn, and Terzibashjian take a car to the grand bazaar. Terzibashjian gives more backstory on Riviera—one of his lungs has been replaced with implants that allow him to create illusions and hallucinations in others. Riviera is also on cocaine and meperidine. Case jokes they’ll get him a new pancreas, too.
Like Case, Riviera has an extreme drug addiction, and like Case, Riviera is heavily reliant on technology as well, having modified his body in a way that hurt his health (removing a lung) in order to be able to create these illusions.
The three men enter the market, and the Finn points out a taxidermy horse. Case has never seen a horse before. The Finn says he saw one once in Maryland, and notes that scientists in the Middle East have been trying (unsuccessfully) to use horse DNA to bring them back.
Although technology is more advanced in Neuromancer than it is in the “real world” for the reader, there are sacrifices—even as technology has improved, it has been unable to save some elements of the natural world, and perhaps even contributed to their extinction.
Riviera is in the bazar to buy his favorite drug cocktail. Molly is watching from a rooftop, and Case, Terzibashjian, and the Finn make their way through the alley until they spot him. Terzibashjian gives an order, and a floodlight pins Riviera against a wall. Riviera collapses, and from his back erupts a long armed, headless monster, which turns its eyeless face towards Case and his team. Terzibashjian rushes the monster, diving right through the hologram, and grabbing Riviera, who had created the creature as a smokescreen. Riviera is knocked out, and the monster disappears. However, Terzibashjian has lost his middle finger in the scuffle.
Riviera’s drug addiction makes his behavior predictable, and compromises him. Therefore, the team is able to find him in the bazar easily. Because of his implants, Riviera is able to create confusing illusions that look to Case like real monsters. In the text, it is at first unclear whether the creature bursting from Riviera’s jacket is real or a hologram, because, to Case, it looks like a flesh and blood monster until Terzibashjian runs straight through it.
The Finn and a hired hand transport Riviera to the hotel where Case and Molly are staying. Terzibashjian takes off, but only after Molly chastises him for getting in her way when she tried to shoot at Riviera. She dislikes him on principle, describing him as “grade-A scum,” and an easily purchased member of the secret police.
Molly often makes flash judgments of people, and, although she has no loyalty to her colleagues beyond wanting to do a good job, she resents those whom she sees as disloyal or easily purchased. As someone who takes pride in her work, she sees these turncoats as shameful.
Molly and Case drive to a museum, walk around, and talk. Case begins to tell her about Armitage’s true identity. Molly wonders if Armitage knows he was formerly Corto. Both Molly and Case suspect Wintermute “built him up,” helping Corto create the mask of Armitage. Molly has observed Armitage has no private or internal life. When he’s alone, he just “sits and stares at the wall,” only activating when Wintermute gives him a task.
Although Armitage and Corto inhabit the same body (or roughly the same, Armitage’s having been built up through extensive surgeries), Corto is buried in Armitage’s subconscious. Meanwhile, Armitage is not a full personality, only conscious enough to follow Wintermute’s orders, but not enough to have an internal life.
Molly and Case approach a pond. Molly kicks a rock into it and says that Wintermute is like the rock, while she and Case are way out on the edge only feeling the ripples. She tells Case she wants him to talk to Wintermute. Case says it’s impossible, but she tells him to get the Flatline to help.
Molly has begun to understand that Wintermute is a powerful entity capable of manipulating her, Case, and Armitage. Case, meanwhile, doesn’t fully believe in Wintermute’s power yet.
Case tries to change the subject and asks Molly about Riviera. She’s read his profile and hates him. He’s a sadist—a “compulsive Judas,” who “can’t get off sexually unless he knows he’s betraying the object of desire,” often physically hurting the women he’d tricked into loving him. Molly decides to go find breakfast. After, she’ll return to the bazar and buy more drugs for Riviera, since he needs them to function.
Just as Molly read Case’s profile before meeting him, she brushed up on Riviera before their mission. Without having spent any time talking to him, she knows, based on a profile, who he is, what he enjoys, and what kind of psychological compulsions he deals with. Based on the profile alone, Molly suspects Riviera is someone she’ll hate in person.
Back at the Hilton, Armitage instructs Case to pack for Freeside. Case examines Armitage’s face for hints of Corto, but finds nothing; Armitage is totally blank.
Case wants to understand the relationship between Corto and Armitage but is unable to. He believes Armitage might not even know he once was Corto.
In the hotel lobby, waiting to leave, Case examines Riviera. His face is beautiful, and Case suspects Chiba surgeons sculpted it. He resentfully wonders if Riviera is high at this very moment. Case goes to buy cigarettes, as he does, a payphone next to him rings. He picks it up, and a voice says “Hello, Case…Wintermute, Case. It’s time to talk.” Case hangs up.
Case misses his ability to get high, and resents Riviera for still taking drugs. Like Armitage, Riviera has also modified his face, but he has done it to look beautiful instead of to blend in generically. For the first time, Case realizes Wintermute might not be a puppet of the Tessier-Ashpool family, but instead an entity all its own.