An antihero, Case is introduced as a drug addict and cyberspace hacker. Prior to the start of the book, he has attempted to steal from some of his partners in crime; in retaliation they used a Russian mycotoxin to damage his nervous system and make him unable to jack into cyberspace. When Armitage offers to cure him in exchange for Case's hacking abilities, he warily accepts the offer. Along the way he has his liver and pancreas modified to biochemically nullify his ability to get high; meets the leatherclad Razorgirl, Molly; hangs out with the drug-infused space-rastas; frees an artificial intelligence (Wintermute), and changes the landscape of the Matrix.
Despite his significant role in the first book, Case does not appear in any of the following installments of the Sprawl Trilogy. However, the character does get a mention in the final book, Mona Lisa Overdrive, when Molly and The Finn's construct discuss the events of Neuromancer.
Events Before Neuromancer: Edit
Prior to the events of Neuromancer, Case was a "console cowboy," a hacker who navigated the Matrix, stealing information for criminals who paid him. He was trained by McCoy Pauley and Bobby Quine, widely considered two of the best hackers who'd ever lived. Case's career came to an end when he made the mistake of trying to steal money from his employers; in retaliation, they infected him with a Russian mycotoxin to damage his nervous system and make him unable to jack into cyberspace. After this, Case wound up an impoverished and depressed drug addict, living in Chiba City, spending most of his time at the Chatsubo bar.
Life in Chiba City: Edit
In Chiba, Case was addicted to drugs and suffering from depression. He was a regular at the Chatsubo bar, often confiding in the robot-armed bartender Ratz. His only other close relationship was with Linda Lee, his on-and-off girlfriend who he introduced to his drugs, and inadvertently turned into an addict like himself. Others Case socialized with included the pimp Lonny Zone; his boss in the drug business, Wage; and Julius Deane, a wizened old criminal over a hundred years old.
Case's life in Chiba comes to an end when Molly shows up with a job offer from Armitage. Around the same time, Linda Lee is killed at an arcade, by an unknown murderer and for unclear reasons. (It's implied that Julius Deane was involved in her death, but seems to have no clear motive.) Realizing he has nothing left in Chiba, Case accepts the job offer, and begins a new life as a hacker once again.
The Straylight Run: Edit
After being hired by Armitage, Case is given a new liver and pancreas, curing him of his drug addiction but also nullifying his ability to experience a high. Armitage also reveals that the treatment given to Case's brain is temporary; unless given an antidote that only Armitage can provide, Case's brain will soon revert back to the state it was in when he was unable to enter cyberspace.
Armitage continuously withholds information about the mission from Case and Molly, and at Molly's insistence, the two team up to investigate their mysterious employer. Molly introduces case to her old friend the Finn, who helps them discover the truth; Armatige (and in turn Molly and Case) is working for an A.I. named Wintermute. Since Wintermute is capable of killing humans who disobey him, and since they're getting paid anyway, Molly and Case go along with the mission, but try to remain one step ahead of their dangerous employer.
Wintermute eventually reveals himself to both Molly and Case, though separately, taking the form of people from their memories to speak with them. To Molly he appears as the Finn; to Case he appears as both the Finn and Julius Deane. The mission winds up involving one more dubious character, the psychotic holo-artist Peter Riviera, who Molly and Case assist in kidnapping and "recruiting." Their mission eventually takes them off-world to the Freeside space colony, where Wintermute plans to merge with another A.I. called Neuromancer.
Throughout the mission, Case's view of the world and himself change tremendously, as he forms new relationships with other characters, particularly Molly. Case eventually visits a beach construct, where he meets the A.I. recreation of Linda Lee, and speaks to Wintermute's "other half," Neuromancer , who takes the form of a little boy.
Despite several unexpected obstacles, the mission is a success, with Wintermute merging with Neuromancer. Although Armitage is killed before he is able to give Case the antidote for his condition, the Zionites are able to help Case, ensuring that he can continue to "jack." By the end of the book, Case decides that he no longer drugs, or even cyberspace (at least not as desperately as before), and begins a new life, free of addictions of any kind. He parts ways with Molly, and never sees her again.
Ultimate Fate: Edit
Though Case doesn't appear in any other books, his ultimate fate can be inferred from lines at the end of Neuromancer, and his mention in Mona Lisa Overdrive. By the end of Neuromancer, Case has left Chiba City, and "found a girl who called herself Michael." The last line of the book is, "He never saw Molly again" In Mona Lisa Overdrive, the Finn states that, last he heard anyway, Case was married with four children. It's plausible that "Michael" is the woman Case married (given that she was important enough to be mentioned by name when Gibson hinted at Case's future at the end of Neuromancer).
Case's most closely-examined relationship in the story is with Molly, who becomes something of a "friend with benefits" to him. Though they have at least one sexual encounter, their relationship never seems to become "romantic," instead playing out like that of two platonic friends. Case and Molly develop a close bond despite--or perhaps because of--the fact that both are self-serving antiheroes who rarely "open up" to or show concern for other people. Molly ultimately reveals that she was drawn to Case because he reminded her of a dead lover, Johnny Mnemonic. After the Straylight run however, Molly leaves without telling Case goodbye in person, instead leaving a note asking him not to take her actions personally, to to accept that "it's just the way I'm wired." Case seems to accept that their relationship is over, and finds a new girl named Michael. The last line of the book states that he never saw Molly again.
Case's relationship with Linda Lee is fairly similar to the one he has with Molly; though he once was romantically involved with Linda, they are just friends by the start of Neuromancer, and his experience with her in the beach construct seems to offer him much-needed closure. Unlike his relationship with Molly however, Case's friendship with Linda comes with a strong sense of guilt, not only for her death, but for introducing her to the drugs that she wound up becoming addicted to.
Case gets along well with most of the other characters in the book, but never seems to develop any close relationships with any of them.
After the events of Neuromancer, Case marries and has four children, presumably leading a normal life (or as normal as anyone in the Sprawl can have).