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Eclipse Phase "Desperate Measures," IC Thread

SolarSolar Registered User regular
Encrypted Data Package incoming from: Unknown Sender

{Open Package}

Message reads: Okay then guys, this is the wake-up call. You've been working in the back room for months now but we need field agents ASAP and since I've got way more problems than I have hands, you're the solution. Sorry about the short notice but it is how it is, just be glad that you're getting the chance for some fun and frolics. There's a chinese restuarant by the name of The Monkey King in Little Shanghai in VNS City. You have two hours to meet me there. Come alone and take security precautions. Don't bother replying to this message, I'm told that it won't even have a sender address after I post it off. Also I hope you remembered that address since...

ERROR ERROR ERROR Message self-deleted. Message self-deleted. No data trail.

{Plan route: VNS City, Little Shanghai, The Monkey King}

Planning route now. Tickets booked for martian flyway train in 27 minutes.

---

Orange Martian dusklight took on a deeper, redder tinge in the depths of Little Shanghai, a close collection of slum housing, narco dens and criminal hide-outs that crisscrossed the gap between the New Shanghai and Valles Centre Domes. Occasional gangs of Triads sleeved in pods, synths and even the odd biomorph hung around the street corners eying up passers by, keeping a look out for those defaulting on their protection payments or even just someone to take their boredom out on, while the other inhabitants of the ramshackle hive hurried about on whatever errands they had. Despite the somewhat foreboding air, Little Shanghai also exuded a somewhat cosmopolitan feel, the shouting street food vendors and nimble courier bikes giving a sense of hustle and bustle, even if business around here was almost certainly rather dubious.

The Monkey King restaurant was a small, steamy, ramshackle joint constructed from scrounged bits of pre-fab, glowing red paper lanterns in the old-earth style hanging above the door. It was lacking the usual gang of local toughs hanging around, though from the sound of light and laughter coming from within it was definitely open. The message had definitely sent you here, and it was pretty obvious who had made the call. Only one organization would summon it's agents in such a manner, and to such a place. Despite the normality of the little bar restaurant, it was within that whatever nightmare mission Firewall had planned would be revealed to it's newest active agents...
Right then guys, feel free to post your feelings on being activated, opinions on the local area, Firewall, whatever you like really, as you approach the meet. Order of arrival is order of posts so get stuck in whenever! Good luck to all my players and thanks for taking part!

Posts

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    Charlie looked down at the restaurant from above, making slow circles as he gradually descended. He was confident his rep would keep him safe from any of the local triads, but it also presented a danger if any VNSPM thugs were around. An all clear message from below interrupted his thoughts, a triad member assuring him that there were no law enforcement or ego hunters in the restaurant. He had made the necessary contacts to assure his protection and security if anything should happen, so long as they were people who were going to be in the area anyways he felt it did not violate the spirit or word of the message.
    Firewall and paid him before, on time and with no complications like attempting to murder him or erase his memories. That was better treatment then a fair number of his jobs. They were true believers in...something. Anti-corp anarchist types which was fine by him. He would do whatever they had called him for, after all, the worst that could happen would be that he would die again. He finally landed and walked through the open door, hopped over to the bar tender and ordered a gin and tonic.

  • RainfallRainfall Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    New Olympus, Zhonguanncun district

    The little neon sign above the shop flickered precisely once, a tiny spark falling from the 't' in 'Biosculpting done here.'

    Xinqiao Jin didn't stop her careful work as the message opened, reading it as she continued to carefully design a new set of teeth for the gang member that had contracted her. Shark teeth in a human mouth... a ridiculous looking conceit, but that was the sort of work she was being paid to do since selling out her employers to Firewall.

    Fuxin, clear my appointments. Firewall is finally calling in their favor. I'm just surprised it took them so long.
    Done. Your tickets are already booked, you leave in twenty minutes.
    

    The biosculptor finished quickly, a crude mess of deadly crushing teeth, supported by a reinforced jaw and facial musculature set to grow into the gangbangers face. Crude, not biologically useful, but it would at least be intimidating.

    "All done. It'll hold, but no warranty. You should see growth starting within two days. Credits, please."

    After he had left, Xinqiao packed quickly. Armbands, suitcase, smartclothes shifting into a hood that covered her finely honed Chinese features and glittering, although the wings of her morph were impossible to hide. The rich, deep red stood out even when they were folded against her back, striated with patterns of iridescence that flashed brilliantly when extended.

    They usually quelled any questions of her skill, at least. Not entirely useless, even in the higher gravity of Mars.

    Little Shanghai
    Xinqiao stood out like a sore thumb in the dirty criminal district, her high-class morph earning a few catcalls, stares, and growls even underneath the hood and clothes. She was used to it, back in New Olympus, but it still made her uneasy.
    Just one post to the mesh and Skinaesthesia can find me. Firewall had better be on the ball here.
    Calm down. They've protected you so far. There's no reason that should chang- ah! There's the bar.
    
    Xinqiao stepped inside quickly, glancing around at the other occupants before taking a seat in the back, waiting for Firewall to appear.
    I promise not all my posts will be this long.

    Rainfall on
  • Void SlayerVoid Slayer Very Suspicious Registered User regular
    Lower Marsian Orbit

    He plummeted down towards the surface, suit sensors screaming at the pressure and heat hitting them. It was so exciting and insane, the martian planet scape stretching out before him. Everything came together, they finally got here. Just a few more minutes and he would be at terminal velocity, then the real fun would start.

    Charles, the transport has almost arrived

    Shuttle Approaching Little Shanghai

    The XP faded quickly, emotional high dropping, the slight dread creeping back in. They just had to have shown him those pictures, those terrble charts. The filters had gotten to him too, narrow information, too little time and too much to learn. He might be just as ignorant as those he tried to reach out to.

    Anderson looked into the mirrored smart-glass, this pod had an average look, a lean Arabic man with thin androgynous features and short wavy silver hair. He stretched and got out of his seat, moving to the door.

    Jessi, Remember to remind me when we have downtime to adjust your filters.

    Yes Charles, I have placed a path to the restaurant on your AR.

    Okay, keep focusing on media sources in the immediate area..


    He paused, looking into the mirrored glass, his calm demeanor shifting to one of determination and power. It said, I know where I am and don't mess with me if you know whats good for you. The simple neon green jumpsuit with brown gloves, a high collar and a blue swirling pattern would draw few eyes. These looks had gotten him past more impressive barricades then the ones down there.

    The Monkey King

    He hesitated outside the door, what sort of people would be employed for something like this? "People like myself," he whispered under his breath "Everyone can be understood." As an afterthought he mentioned "Source mode Jessi."

    Canceling automatic identity and rep searches.

    He put on a relaxed stance, a sly smile and walked in like he had been there a thousand times, the dread beating in the back of his mind almost in time to the beats of his heart.
    Just an introduction as well, that came out longer then I thought.

    He's a shy overambitious dog-catcher on the wrong side of the law. She's an orphaned psychic mercenary with the power to bend men's minds. They fight crime!
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    the bar was empty other than the three agents and the staff, which consisted of a couple of Pod morphs (one hispanic looking male, and one chinese looking female) and someone who was clearly the bar owner doubling up as chef, a big chinese guy wearing a stained apron with a glittering multi-tool for slicing and dicing the subjects of his work. Though he was friendly enough, it was clear that if he needed too, he would slice and dice anyone who fucked with him as well. You didn't get to keep your establishment around here without a little willingness to put in the work.

    Charlie looked around and was somewhat surprised to see no evidence of local gang involvement, the walls were free of scrawls, the mesh empty of signatures and the tables, while somewhat heavily worn, were entirely lacking in gang-based graffitti, though some of their suggestions about the local food, constabulary and so on were surely anatomically impossible for all but the most unusual morphs. Either whoever ran the show around here was very subtle about it, or this bar was not under any sort of organized crime racket. To Charlie, there was more chance of a Jovian getting married to a Seed AI than that happening, but it seemed how it seemed. Charles' somewhat expensive looking suit and Xinqiao's high-end morph did, as both had noticed, draw attention, but nobody here remarked on it.

    Despite the laughing banter between the owner and his staff, there was a tense air between the three new arrivals, none of which had met the others before. Stealing covert looks at each other, the three quietly sized each other up. It had started raining gently outside, and there was the distant rumble of low martian thunder. Melodramatic to some, decidedly ominous to those summoned here by one of the most shadowy groups around. After an awkward silence lasting a few minutes, there was the sound of heavy footsteps mixed with a metallic clattering sound at the door.

    Trotting through the door on all four metallic paws came first something that could only be described as a large breed of hunting dog crossed with some sort of seal. A tall, smooth humped back gave the impression of a half-formed dorsal fin and the creatures fur was sleek and dark, almost glassy with rainwater that flowed off with unusual ease. Around four feet tall at the shoulder, the Smart Dog was muscular with a curved head and powerful lower jaws filled with gleaming teeth, as well as shining green eyes. Shaking itself vigorously, the Smart Dog sprayed water across a small area, catching the Neo-Avian and the bar staff with a bit of spray. Xinqiao immediately recognized that this Smart Dog was heavily modified and seemed to be displaying a number of odd bio-enhancements, especially for something living on mars. It's eyes blinked with a second membrane. Is that Vac Sealing? She thought, someone incredulously.

    Behind the dog bustled a tall man, built in the same kind of way as what was presumably his companion. A closely cut mop of black hair, reddish skin not unlike a Ruster morph, and wide, friendly looking features topped off a figure wrapped in an outback survival suit made of tough canvas, padded with light armour and various pouches, and with a broad, brightly patterend red and white scarf similar to the types worn by the Nomad groups who crossed the Martian wastes. Charles knew this type well, hardy and tough, capable of surviving in the worse of outback conditions. He had a number of contact and past clients this man would fit right in with. The man carried a couple of big cargo bags filled with a whole variety of bulky objects

    He grinned sheepishly at Charlie and the waitress. "Sorry about that, for some reason for all he loves to swim he never liked to get wet. Reg, you got my order?" The owner/chef nodded and reached down behind the bar, bringing up what could only be described as an excessively large bag of chinese food, that the man added to his collection. "Haha, you're a good lad Reg." He looked around. "Okay then! We all seem to be here so we might as well get started, I'm bloody hungry. There's a little private room upstairs, let's head up and talk there."

    ---

    Upstairs, the man paused in his wolfing down of a box of sweet and sour chicken, tossed a bit to the dog, which leapt to catch it nearly in his mouth. "Right. I've left you hanging a bit and that's not good so we'll get to business. Today, not six hours ago, there was a double assassination of various Cognite and Somatek personnel. I say double, because it was a two site operation. One job here in the city, another a few hundred miles down the valley. Last I checked, there were three dead at each sight. "

    "Now I know what you're thinking, everyone knows physical assassination is useless these days right? Back-ups coming out your arse, these types have. Course it is, except at the exact same time those two attacks were committed, there was a simultaneous mesh offensive launched against both Cognite and Somatek's secure back-up servers. Suicide forks, I understand. Long story short, they deleted the back-ups. Six real deaths in about two minutes real time. Research on psychosurgical and new uplift development-" the man stopped talking and gestured a hand at Charlie "-like your man here, proper smart dogs and cats and whathaveyou, set back a year at least." He leaned back and stretched a little, grinning again.

    "So that's a big fucking deal. You guys are going to figure out who did it and why."

    Solar on
  • Void SlayerVoid Slayer Very Suspicious Registered User regular
    "Wicked" gasps Charles, his body language changing to one of anger and disgust "We can discuss the value of further uplift research to the larger community but this is monstrous." Despair masked with anger, an old trick, 6 more souls lost forever.

    Do a quick scan of the stock values for those companies Jessi.

    He leans forward, casually pushing some food around his plate and asks "Do we know their names? I can pull up some quick general research on them." he looks a little embarrassed suddenly "Uh, if everyone here can access the mesh I mean."

    "It's going to take time for me to get access to facilities and information of this level, if you two need to make up identities to work with the system or barsooms you might want to do so. Should I work on the more extreme bioconservative groups first or would it be useful to get access to the corp team investigation this?"

    He pulls up a piece of orange chicken and is about to plop it in his mouth when he mentions almost offhand "Could this be a trial run for a larger planet or system wide attack? If they can hit a high security facility and a backup site with slaved forks, really no one on mars is safe."

    He's a shy overambitious dog-catcher on the wrong side of the law. She's an orphaned psychic mercenary with the power to bend men's minds. They fight crime!
  • RainfallRainfall Registered User regular
    "It sounds like a Hypercorp move to me. It's a threat and a blow to the competition at the same time. There's no way Exsurgents would have pulled off something like this. Give me a moment, I'll see if there's any obvious connections on a corporate level. That will narrow it down, at least."
    Fuxin, run me a check on all hypercorps working on uplift developments. Someone profited from this, accidentally or on purpose.
    Xingqiao steepled her fingers, closing her eyes as she focused for a moment, flipping through the Mesh for reports on the murders while directing her Muse.
    Investigation! (1d100=52) That's a pass, barely. Phew.

  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    The man shrugged. "Hypercorp involvement? Could be. I don't really know, the only information I have it what we managed to pick up from the police chatter and a couple of contacts in the media who let some info slip to us but have had the pressure put on them to not make any releases. There has been a bit of press but it's a quiet line about intruders being arrested, nothing else. They haven't even done death releases yet, though we do have the names."

    "As for the motive behind it, trial run, bio-conservatives, whatever, I can't really tell you."

    The message file icon blinked on the screens of the three agents and they popped it open. Inside was some sketchy data on the COGNITE research lab. Looked like three were dead, a Dr Johann Nielson, a Dr Ariana Basetti, her husband Frances Basetti (project admin), and something about a Dr Priadha Chaudri, who wasn't dead but was apparently "traumatized to all hell."

    The facility had been in a high rise complex containing various secure labs, design studious and even a small weapons testing facility. It was owned by Jacques Fontaine, a specialised property magnate operating in VNS and a few other places, with security apparently run by a Direct Action subsidiary, Eaglex.

    The Somatek staff from the second facility were not named, in fact there was nothing there about the Somatek facility at all. Whatever had happened there, it had been seriously locked down. A quick mesh check showed ranger cordons blocking off some of the highways, flyways and maglev trains in a certain area for "routine security purposes."

    Their contact leant forward and rested that open, handsome face on his un-gloved hands. "This is big, obviously. You guys are going to need to get some way to pick up more specific information that the stuff we've managed to get in the last few hours. If your fella here can get a line on some cops the Militia are running this operation, from what I heard."

    Charles

    Stock values for both Cognite and Somatek have dropped somewhat off severely in the last few hours, Charles. It seems that whatever the regular people in the street don't know, the boardroom executives and investors do. Direct Action is also taking a rather rough tumble as well. The only other stock which is up with time frames matching the others is Solaris.

    Charles frowned. Somatek and Cognite taking hits made sense, their personnel were dead. And Direct Action made sense as well, since they were providing security and this would damage their reputation. Solaris' involvement seemed late but also odd, the connection between it and the other three companies was tenous. Possibly legal services? Solaris was making waves these days as a hypercorp legal entity engaging in contract law skirmishes.

    Xingqiao

    "...Intruder to a Valles New Shangai Lab Complex in Valles Center was apprehended by hypercorp employee and local hero Ben Sanderson, whose brave actions saved many lives. The terrorist attacker has not been identified but Detective Faizi Al-Assad of the VNSPM, who is running the investigation, has stated that she is confident their investigations will uncover whoever is responsible. Tharsis League spokesperson Jing Sun-Fa has also made a statement, declaring that 'terrorist attacks made by violent and seditious martian groups opposed to the peace and prosperity of our martian culture will not go unanswered.' More on this as we receive it."

    Certainly a breezed over subject then, with Experia clearly towing some sort of party line. Xingqiao knew how this kind of thing worked. The hypercorps were rivals until something popped up that threatened them all, at which point somebody made sure that the threat was removed and business could resume as usual. From the way this was being dealt with by the PC-related media, could even oversight be involved? It seemed distincly possible...

    Other than Somatek, both Skinthetic and our old friends in Skinesthesia have in the past run uplift research and development programs. Terragenesis also has a number of subsidiaries doing similar research with an aim towards terraforming and so on. As far as Cognite's research goes, psychosurgical techniques are a widely studied area as you know. However again, Skinethetic and Skinesthesia also display advanced psychsurgical research as part of their re-sleeving operations.

    Solar on
  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    "If we are going to talk with the fucking biocon monkeys then I think that needs to be someone else's job. My vote is we check out the Cognite lab first, try to at least have some idea what is going on before we look into Somatek. I also am personally going to go backup someplace private before we start asking around, no use getting wiped out like they did." While speaking Charlie privately makes contact with his muse, asking her to begin making inquiries with the triads to see if anyone has heard about the assaults.

  • Void SlayerVoid Slayer Very Suspicious Registered User regular
    "Okay that sounds like a good plan then, I'll start making inquiries into the official investigation as representative of a concerned anonymous investor. It might take me a couple hours to make an inquiry of this nature, lets say five hours? I also need some time to slip into something more appropriate anyway."

    He paused a moment. "Here are a few one use encryption keys, do you want me to set us up a meeting place near the cognite facility or will this place do?"

    Arrange a trip to the cryo facility, I think Aditya will be more appropriate for this work.

    You have been switching morphs quite a lot lately, you should think about settling down for a bit for your mental health.

    This is important, I need that extra edge.

    Yes, that is what you always say, setting up the rout.

    "Well, if that is all, I am afraid I have not been quite as hospitable as normal, given the circumstances. Once this is all over let's get to know each other, always good to have competent friends" he says with a winning smile as he gets up out of his seat.
    Make a half dozen encryption keys for each of us, don't know if that would take a test.

    Resleeve into my sylphmorph and then start asking around about a moderate favor from the Militia, take 3 hours.

    Rolls where needed for resleeving.

    Integration: 45+20(adaptable)+10(used before)-10(sex change to female)= 65 17
    Alienation: 30+20(adaptable)+10(used before)-10(sex change to female)=50 4

    He's a shy overambitious dog-catcher on the wrong side of the law. She's an orphaned psychic mercenary with the power to bend men's minds. They fight crime!
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited November 2012
    Checking my books, there's no ill effects from the Integration or Alienation tests with those degrees of success, so you're in there fine. Making encryption keys will be fine without a roll but if you want to customize your levels of security then you can take infosec checks to increase them. Standard encryption in EP is very potent though so if you want to rely on that go ahead.

    The man smiled and clapped his hands. "Well, it seems like you lot have things well in hands here, glad to hear some confidence. There's some more info in the files I sent you, whatever I could grab from around and about. Not much but it could help, you never know." He stood up, and started sorting out his bags, his rust hound sitting up and shaking itself.

    "This is all a bit hasty and I know you'er backroom operatives usually but we're a little short right now and you're the lucky ones who are getting pulled in. Not to dump you in it too much but I'm not even a proxy, I'm just a Sentinel with too many jobs on my plate and you guys are taking some of the heat. Can't exactly investigate some murders where I'm going." He slung his kit over his shoulders, and grinned sheepishly. "Well, there's nothing like the deep end for starting swimming. Good luck, all of you." He smiled, winked at Xingqiao, and then disappeared, the sound of heavy footsteps and the clattering of the transgenic dog's metallic feet fading away. The agents all looked at each other for a moment, processing what their contact had said before he left. No support, not even a number to contact with goings on, this was definitely very different from their previous dealings with Firewall...
    If people want to make networking checks to investigate goings on, then they can do so now. Level two or three check, your choice, obviously a level 3 favour will provide more useful info but it takes them longer to refresh.

    Solar on
  • RainfallRainfall Registered User regular
    "Whatever happened at Cognite, there's a lot more fuss about it than the Somatek incident. In fact, the Somatek attack isn't even on the news grids at all, which sounds like they're dropping a lot of credit and rep to keep casual onlookers away from their buildings. Are you sure we shouldn't head there first, Charles? It might be a lot more productive than a crime scene that the cops are already crawling over."

    Fuxin, arrange a fresh backup, the Uplift is right. A bit of extra precaution wouldn't hurt.
    Networking: Scientists (1d100=43)
    Xingqiao is going to see if she can cash in a Level 3 favor with her other scientist contacts to find out who was killed at Somatek, and/or if she can get some specifics on what they were working on, that would be great as well.

  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Arranging now. And for the record, I agree. In this new line of business you seem to have taken up, precaution seems to be the watchword.

    After a little searching, Xingqiao came across someone she had worked with before on a minor bit of consultation work, a man by the name of Dr Tyrone Caraveo. He ran a small business maintaining and modifying licensed implants specifically on uplift and transgenic morphs in Elysium and she knew Caraveo maintained a healthy amount of contacts in the uplift business to ensure that were any more species to be granted full sapient rights, he would be up to date with their biological and mental needs to stay ahead in the cut-throat business of flesh cutting and gene therapy. Tyrone was a notorious workaholic and had modified his own body to ensure he only needed the smallest amount of sleep, despite the hour he'd certainly be able to call.

    "Xingqiao! What a pleasure to hear from you. The modifications you consulted on last time we worked together are doing an absolute treat, by the way." He took on a mock tone of hurt indignation. "Of course, since you never call me any more, I never got around to sending you the data. You're a tease my dear, you really are." She smiled back across the mesh link. Tyone was a pompous windbag but he was a decent fellow all the same. "I need some information, Tyone. I know you keep your ear to the ground, was wondering whether you'd heard anything about an incident with Somatek?" She expected him to smile conspiratorially, to take on one of the melodramatic airs that he loved so much. It was with some worrying surprise that she realised he looked honestly nervous at the mention of Somatek.

    "I, well, I've heard some things. Keep myself informed, as you say. And since we're such good friends I'll pass on the information to you in respond for treatment likewise sometime in the future. But it's bad business, Xingqiao. I won't be so foolish as to ask you why you're after what I know but I'll wanr you now, I don't think you want to poke your nose in this."

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    "I'll see if anyone in the triads got contracted out for anything to do with this, grab my pets and tools, and then lets meet back up someplace. I would prefer not to meet up at the same location a second time, anyone have a secure spot for next time? No offense but you guys would stick out like a sore thumb in the rookery where I live."

  • Void SlayerVoid Slayer Very Suspicious Registered User regular
    "Okay, I'll set up a meeting place, lets get some information then we can sit back and share some insights."

    See if you can arrange a private studio for us to use for a few hours, if you come to any roadblocks I'll try and smooth it over.

    Anderson begins looking up his contacts in the corp private military contractors, dropping a few comments on co-worker jokes and updating three scrawalls. Once he switched he could begin navigating the lines of obligation, trust and secrets he had built up to influence where money was a dying currency.
    Looking for a Low media favor from a production company to borrow a private studio (while on my way to getting the sylph morph). networking media against a 45 57, can't find a studio

    Looking for a medium favor from Militia to get information on the investigation for a "concerned investor", taking 2 extra hours to find the right people. networking hypercorp against a 60 (40 base + 20)07, but a foot in the door

    He's a shy overambitious dog-catcher on the wrong side of the law. She's an orphaned psychic mercenary with the power to bend men's minds. They fight crime!
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Charlie

    Charlie poked around a bit online, hitting up his usual contacts, drinking buddies and fellow hoods, and eventually came to the conclusion that either everyone was lying to him or whoever did this had covered their tracks well. Only one thing came up to him as interesting, a semi-regular poster on a deep mesh hacker forum Charles occasionally checked out had gone missing, it seemed. The guy, whose moniker was MeshMan, had few friends and a reputation for solid, quietly competent work, but hadn't been active for a while, and nobody knew why.

    Could have just dropped off the net, certainly, but Charlie felt his suspicions rise. Nothing seemed off before the disappearance, MeshMan had spoken with some buddies only a few days back and he hadn't picked up any big jobs to lie low after completing, but within the last week, he'd just dropped out of sight. And another thing, MeshMan had a solid amount of experience when it came to busting hypercorp mesh security and launching direct hacks without probing the systems first.

    Anderson

    Detective Faizi Al-Assad was not a name that Anderson had heard before, but he did maintain contact with parts of the militia more sympathetic to the Barsoomian cause, and had done so for a while as a way to get info on investigations targeting various clients and allies of his. Talking to an old acquaintance off the record, Sergeant Alicia Cassaday, Anderson soon got the lowdown on the good Detective. A skilled political operator, the Al-Assad was liked by her superiors because she played the game and kept an eye on the repercussions of her team's investigations. In other words, a perfect choice for such a detail. Getting Al-Assad's contact details wasn't hard, it seemed she hired an indentured infomorph to run a little PR set-up for her, making sure that she kept her relationship with the public nice and sweet.

    A little insinuation on the part of Anderson, and some polite promises of indiscretion, and he'd managed to get a little more of a picture. Seemed that whoever had committed the break-in had done so alone, and had somehow managed to overcome Direct Action's physical and electronic security, persuading the on site consultant that he was actually Ashok Banker, one of the co-owners of the private high-rise. How he had done this was entirely unknown and Anderson had to admit it stumped him too. Once inside the security room, he had easily disabled the guard and gone up to the 7th floor lab, where his attack began. Also, and this was perhaps even more critical, there had been a survivor. One of the Doctors, he couldn't get the name, working in the lab had suffered morph death, apparently in a particularly unpleasant way, but the intrusion of a weapons tester heading to the lab to ask Dr Basetti if she wanted coffee from down the street had stopped him before he had shattered the cortical stack. The Doctor was seemingly of a wealthy background and it seemed that she was currently undergoing psychotherapy at some kind of distinguished practise in New Shanghai. If he could find out where, and who she was, then an XP playback of her last moments might give them some serious info...

  • RainfallRainfall Registered User regular
    Xingqiao frowned as Dr. Caraveo tried to warn her off. It wasn't like him at all, to get so serious so fast. It was the sort of thing that would have sent her scurrying back to her research before she had poked her nose into things back at Skinaesthesia. Now, though... now it was something that she needed to know.
    "I thought as much. I wish I didn't have to, but whatever's going on might be dangerous enough to endanger me even without investigating this mess. You know I wouldn't ask you unless I really meant it."
    She smiled, trying to shrug it off as though it were a bit less serious than it really was, and both of them knew it. When a researcher died, it meant that someone didn't just want to get rid of the knowledge they had, but also all of the thoughts, ideas, and improvements to transhumanity that they might have in the future. Death. It was terrifying to think it was close now, closer than she had ever really thought it was.

  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    "Very well then. I don't have any idea who killed those poor people and I don't know how it happened, either. The Martian Rangers have cordoned off the area and jammed all radio signals, it's mesh and person inactive other than their investigators, I assume. What I do know is that they were working on advanced uplift protocols. Not genetic re-engineering, moer... how do I put it. Psychosurgical techniques?

    Whenever we uplift a new species we always tend to curb their more unique mental preferences in order to make them more human, so they can live socially with transhumanity. What Somatek were trying to do in that facility was the opposite. They were trying to isolate specific animal psychological traits they deem to be positive, and see if humans could be modified to have them. Some animals display cognitive and intuitive leaps that transhumans can hardly imagine, but whenever they go through the uplift procedures those aspects are often lost, and we don't know why.

    Essentially, Xingqiao, they were trying to develop new ways of thinking for modern transhumans that would adapt them to our new life in the stars. Heady stuff, and complex as well. Three researchers working there, all of them true believers that they were making a better future, all of them geniuses. And all of them dead."

  • NeadenNeaden Registered User regular
    A missing hacker sounded good to Charlie. Especially if his home was still around. He would have to find it first though. First things first though, a flight back home to pick up his things, feed the rats and make sure they were good to go. He hated to go on any sort of job alone.
    Investigation role to find Meshman's place of residence, 12

  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    Meshman was, as far as Charlie could tell from a few of the forum's denizens worried enough to give out the info, the alter-ego of a certain Victor Almanez, a techie who until recently worked on the old Olympus Mons space elevator making sure the place was maintained properly (he handed in his notice a couple of weeks ago). He also seemed to sideline a little in the smuggling of goods up and down the elevator, and using his mesh skills to cover up various indiscretions. A few criminal contacts outside the mesh, but his main line was in system assaults and so on. Given the dangers of working the elevator and harsh environment of Olympus Mons, Charlie wasn't surprised to find out that Almanez was sleeved in an Arachnoid Synth, as were many of the elevators engineers and techies.

    His place of residence was more a privately owned small workshop and warehouse situated on the outskirts of the city's inhabited areas, closer to the ghost town. A quick mesh search showed it was still owned by him and there seemed to be no suspicions about him going missing, the place had been closed up for days. His neighbors claimed that Victor was a quietly but friendly sort who wasn't very active in the community but had never caused any trouble either.

    {Seems like this guy would be the perfect choice for a black bag mission, Charlie. Nobody to really notice he's gone, at least not for a while, enough time to lie low before alarms are raised. Though it does seem odd he'd not let his hacker buddies to know not to talk}

  • Void SlayerVoid Slayer Very Suspicious Registered User regular
    Anderson sent a quick encrypted message to his newest co-workers:

    [One stack survived, we can positively ID the perpetrator from it but will need to break in, virtually or physically, into a high security hospital... who's location I have yet to find. The corps are taking this seriously, they actually put a competent person in charge. A single, impressive agent did the job solo. I am looking it up right now, can any of you pose as a psycho-surgeon? Full data drop can be given in person.]

    The kind of morph, and implants, that could do this would not have been grown in a controlled vat then lost so easily. He reluctantly opened a few letters intended for his friends in the movement.

    God I hope they did not do this, we do not need this kind of press after last month.

    He was going to get the truth, if this had come from his allies on mars or people they knew there was a contagion in HIS network. He sent his first message to VR designer DJ Malfunction, might as well start with a moderate who was mostly self interested, besides he could always be bought with a good story or new VR model.

    It would be a bit before he would get a response so he reviewed the data he had learned to see if he had missed anything about where the good doctor was and began cross referencing it against public hyper corp contracts and the social networks of prominent psychosurgeons. Whoever was seeing to her had to be fully engrossed in the activity, a drop or lack of communication could be just as important.
    Investigation roll for where the cortical stack or a copy are receiving treatment 97
    I will then work to get top secret information from the barsoomians, I want to know about any operations being run about either of the hit hypercorps. It might take 3 days to do this.. so I can pause my search if anything else comes up.

    He's a shy overambitious dog-catcher on the wrong side of the law. She's an orphaned psychic mercenary with the power to bend men's minds. They fight crime!
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