[Technoir] New Day, New Cell [Mo 1.1]

edited August 2013 in In-Game

Even the cheapest room at the KRC Four Seasons is magnificent, isn't it?

But your sleeping is still off. Irregular. How long has it been, now, since you got out?

Willhelm hasn't said exactly what it is they want you to do. Something to do with your original code, you gather, but they've been light on the specifics so far. Meanwhile you have your new equipment to play with and the changes in the world to figure out. I imagine in prison your access to the Interface was pretty limited. Especially for you. Now you are seriously plugged in in a way that's probably a little overwhelming, right? Not only is there a constant virtual overlay, but it's display and control are wired directly into your brain. You can deal with interface-augmented reality, or in a flash, reroute all your sensory perceptions and go 'deep' into completely virtual spaces that seem as real as meatspace. Possibly more so. And of course, you've discovered Eclipsicle or just "the Game" as most of it's adherents call it.

They assigned you a 'helper.' She's a mid-level programmer who's been coming by to help you acclimatize to the way things are now. What do you think of her? What is it about the 'new way' that's giving you the most trouble?

They assigned you a babysitter too, Marius, though he seems to have wandered off for the moment.

You've been noodling around, right? Looking things up. Tracking things down. Who's on the Ring that you'd most like to see? Who are you defiantly going to avoid?


  • edited August 2013
    The room is not entirely to my taste. The hotel architect has embraced a moddish neo-Rococo fad, and the shell-patterned scrollwork is speckled with gilt and vat-pearl inlay, like some kind of glittering dry-rot. Intended to convey a sense of playful elegance, I'm sure, but I find that I don't correctly appreciate the effect.

    I spent the last ten years in detention, five of those years as solitary confinement in the Shoe - the Security Housing Unit. If it weren't for statutes restricting time in solitary to the one-to-one time-in-time-out ratio, Ring security would certainly have kept me locked down for much more of my incarceration.

    Normally, I would have been integrated with the other detainees into work-release indentured servitude, signed over to Steiner Technology and singing the company song each morning before going to work in orbit via Interface telepresence. But I wrote the firmware for the zero-gee construction swarms up there, and I suppose that they imagined horror scenarios in which I would find a way to override safeguards and ... well, sabotage the Beanstalk, I suppose, or bring a swarm burning down out of low-earth orbit to cut me out of my cell with free-electron lasers.

    (I was considered a flight risk, you see.)

    So I spent five years in a grey cube; five years interlaced with another five years of carefully-monitored interaction with my fellow criminals in the communal detention facility. Now I am out, surrounded by playful elegance, looking out through the directional glass wall into the Walter Johannes Stein Public Greenspace Network atrium, and while the view is striking, there's a certain ... I am wondering if it is possible that I am flirting with agoraphobia.
  • edited August 2013
    But the room the changes the years have worked. It has been difficult to slot into life. Some of it is the place, this new world arcology, a city-state that did not even exist when I was put away. And the technology. I'm beginning to acclimate, but ten years ... it makes a difference. The world has moved on so quickly, while I was locked away like a fly in amber.

    My new assistant, little Meriem Key, has certainly been a great help in orienting me to the new way - the augmented realities and the mind-machine interface. I do not think I can trust her, but she has been patient and thorough, and for that I'm grateful. I must find my feet quickly, or I am sure that Wilhelm will make a puppet of me.

    But this new generation, it is so caught up in these augmented realities and virtual spaces, so distant from structure and hardware behind their code. When I began, I was teaching myself theory on hand-built machines, but today programming seems to be done wholly in the Interface, and the hardware - the server stacks or what have you that all of this must run on - is barely an afterthought. Ironically, I see in this the influence of my own distributed computing protocol. Dig down deep enough, squint a little, and you can still recognize it in the ebb and flow of the digital ocean.

    I've been looking. I spoke to Faizah soon after landing here, and I got away to see Cranston last week, in order to pick up a few things and put out some feelers. I want to find someone to run a go-to on Wilhelm, to tell me who he is.

    The man is a puzzle to me, and I am not entirely convinced that the role he envisions for me is either legal or approved by the board. He wasn't here a decade ago, and my connections in the company are quite dried up by now. I could go digging myself, but I know he must have his records flagged. Cranston mentioned a kid named Kesh0, who might be willing to run the go-to, or who might know who else would.

    I would like to see Faizah. We spoke through the Interface, but it isn't the same. I'll avoid her brother - he still works for Steiner, doesn't he? And as far as I know, said nothing in my defense, ten years ago. I'd rather not speak with him, so I suppose it is fortunate that Wilhelm seems to have no intention of putting me in contact with regular Steiner Technologies personnel, aside from Key and Van de Merwe.
  • Yes, David Noyondo is still with Steiner. You can imagine it as a never ending source of tension with Faizah as he is management proper, though she's the union foreman now.

    I think you mentioned before that you and Faizah were 'friends.' Before you were boxed. is there more to that? Just who was your last intimate relationship and what happened to it? Prior to prison I mean.

    For all that she's helping you, Meriem seems quite impressed with your depth of knowledge and your ability to acclimate. You've even taught her a few things just by the way you think through them. You've been pretty closed down to her otherwise I think? Polite but perhaps not excessively friendly.

    Speaking of the metaphorical devil, the ping for your door sounds in your ear. A gesture gives you the door camera feed, (how many pings does it take you to remember that?) showing you an unusually casually-dressed Meriem. Even girlish, compared to her normal pants and tunic set that you've seen her in during your tutoring. Her hair is loose too. The interface gives you her normal public profile feed. She certainly wasn't scheduled to see you today.
  • edited August 2013
    My last intimate relationship? David Nyondo. Faizah and I are friends, yes. Close friends, perhaps (well, ten years ago), but only friends. I knew her before I met David. In Key's case, I see no reason for Wilhelm to have involved someone that he did not judge to be loyal to him, and I do not trust Wilhelm. Therefore, while I have no reason to be anything but polite to Key, it would be unwise to confide in her.

    The door feed comes up as soon as I turn away from the windows. Anticipatory programming is a specialty of mine, and the Hosaka is capable of complete cerebral input - it doesn't need prompting to know to handshake with the apartment and bring up the door's feed and functions.

    I ping Key through the interface: "Ms. Key, hello. I'm sorry - did we have an appointment?"
  • Oh, pardon me. I forgot how advanced your rig was.

    So right, the door feed comes up automatically and she's there. She's shifting a little from foot to foot, glancing around her. Fidgeting.

    "Hi, Mr. Moses. No, no we didn't have an appointment today. I... um... just thought you might like to get out of there for a bit. Would you like to have lunch? I know a great place."
  • "Oh, of course - I would love to; please come in."

    I cue the Hosaka unlock the door, and I cross the room to adjust my collar in the mirror by the bathroom. As she opens the door, I'm turning to take my shoes from the rack, and when I see her there I repeat, face-to-face, "Come in, come in. How are you this afternoon?"
  • edited August 2013
    She steps in. You can see the nervousness on her face even more clearly .

    "I'm well, thanks. Sorry for not calling ahead." She glances around the room, eyes pausing on the view. "Shall we go?"

    Something is definitely wrong.
  • edited August 2013
    "Yes. One moment."

    I'm sitting, putting on my chukkas - gleaming black leather and crepe rubber soles. I use the hotel's synthetic ivory shoehorn, tighten the laces through the eyes ...

    "Are you sure you're alright? I would be glad to listen, if anything is the matter. I have few acquaintances these days, so of course you can be sure that anything you say won't go far. And security here -"

    I am looking up from sitting, catch her eye.

    "- is excellent. Entirely independent of Ring security, and - as I understand - entirely state-of-the-art. Look, see; if you examine them closely, you can see the anti-snooping circuitry in the windows, can't you?"

    I gesture, and it's true. The directional glass is etched with a network of superfine lines, orbital nanowire operating in subtle interactions to defeat laser microphones, as well as various techniques of electromagnetic snooping. That is the other reason that I moved in here, borrowing from Faizah ... independent corporate security. It is too easy for Wilhelm to keep tabs on me otherwise, considering his position.
  • And I'll throw dice at this, why not? I want her to trust me, and to talk to me. Coax is 4 dice, and I'll add a Push die for my building security tag. No Hurt dice.

    #DiceRoller( 5d6 )

    And since there are no Hurt dice, I'll just say in advance that if this is effective, I'll go ahead and spend that Push die to apply a sticky trusting adjective.
  • [ 2 dice charged; 1 die either discharged or spent ]
  • Her Coax is 3 and I have no dice to spend. So you succeed, and I'll gain the push die from you making that sticky.

    So she hesitates for a moment, glancing at the circuitry on the windows. And maybe now she hears something in your voice that she didn't before. Her lips thin and she bows her head for a moment.

    She takes a deep breath.

    "I don't know what to do. There are some men... they... they kidnapped my father. They say they'll kill him if I don't bring you to see them right now."
  • [ 2 dice charged; 0 dice discharged ]

    I brush my hands across my knees as I rise, straightening my pant legs.

    "Hm. Men? Did you see them? Do you have an interface ID?"
  • "Not real ones. They've been altered, probably entirely fake." She says, slumping against the wall. "But they're locals, not Euros. And I've only seen two of them so far."
  • "Show me."

    A second's hesitation, and then social niceties. I go to the sideboard, take a glass and a bottle, pour her a finger's worth of warm amber spirits.

    "Please, sit for a moment, and give me what you have. We'll have this sorted this out, you have my word."
  • "I only have a small clip of one of them." She moves shakily to sit down. "The other one grabbed me from behind and took my specs." She makes some gestures and the head, chest and some of an arm projected over a wireframe materialize in the room. The man is taller than she by a head and looks Tanzanian. Mid to late 20's Lean and wiry with a scar on one cheek. He's wearing a maintenence uniform of some kind.
  • I let the glass clink as I set it by her, on the sideboard. I tell the Hosaka to pull her model and let me know if it's facial recognition system sees a match. I'll have it run back through and start checking against everyone I've seen since the Hosaka was installed (I doubt there will be a match), and I'll have it keep an eye out for him, going forward.

    "Walk me through it, Ms. Key. Where were you when this happened?"

    I will follow up with further questions as appropriate, assembling an outline of their encounter, piece-by-piece.
  • "I was at home..." She begins.

    With you leading her through it you get that she arrived home to check on her father. Came through a locked door into her home and was assaulted. One man grabbed her from behind while the other pointed a weapon at her from the front and laid out the deal. They also had disabled most of the remotes inside the apartment without alerting the larger system. Either they had a very good hacker or the setup took some time, or some combination of those two. The man in front of her told her that they knew she was working with you and if she wished to see her father alive again, and stay alive herself, she would cooperate in luring you out of the hotel so they could pick you up. She thinks they were both wearing maintenance uniforms. They're expecting to see you soon.

    Are there any other particular details you wanted?

    The Hosaka cannot match the image to anyone it's seen since you had it installed. I suppose if you wanted to take the time you could crack the local security databases.
  • edited September 2013

    I indicate for the Hosaka to additionally flag Ring maintenance officers through the optical splice, and I obtain from Key a visual of her father. What sort of weapon did the scarred man have?

    "Well. I will look into this, but I think you should remain here. Is that alright? If you have not heard from me in thirty minutes, contact Ring security. I doubt that it will come to that, but if it does, I imagine that Wilhelm respond quickly. Hopefully quickly enough to ensure the safety of your father, as well."
  • It looked like a Stinger pistol, or a knockoff of one. Small, easily concealable, but lethal.

    She nods, her face a mask of worry. "I'm so sorry." She whispers. "I've never... I didn't..." She shakes her head. "Can I help... somehow?"
  • "Mm. Remember who I am, Ms. Key ... I'm acquainted with some bad people. Whatever this is, it isn't necessarily detrimental to me, and if it is, I'm sure it's my own fault. I am only sorry that you've been involved in this. The best thing you can do is to stay here, where you are safe and where you can report to the authorities if this doesn't go well."

    I open a drawer and take out a thick paper envelope the size of a book. Inside, the layers of bubble wrap and electrostatic shielding foil crinkle around the shape of the stolen pistol I'm renting from Cranston. I'll take it with me, just in case.
  • "Will you let me... ride? Maybe... maybe I'll see something. Or if you get into trouble I can call security."
  • edited September 2013
    Absently, I check the silver tape across the envelope's flap, tearing it up for about an inch on one end and folding the loose bit over on itself for an easy tear-away, later.

    "You want to remote in? Yes, I could set up a feed ... though I might cut it off if there's risk of someone hacking my implant."

    I'm already instructing the Hosaka, although in fact I tell it to dummy itself and route Key's feed through the dummy system, taking feed from the optical and cochlear splices. I also instruct it to gradually slide the output to a five-second delay once I have left the room. I send her an invite to the doctored feed.

    I am attaching the fleeting adjective dummied to the Hosaka, unless Key contests that by trying to nose around in there. No Push spent.

    And my hand is on the door as I send the invite: "... But I think I'll be back soon, Ms. Key. Try to remain calm."
  • Where are you headed exactly?
  • Anywhere, I suppose. Key said that they wanted her to get me out of the hotel, so anywhere off the premises should do. I'll have the Hosaka draw a map of nearby bars, and find a place to get a drink if I am not immediately interfered with.
  • Sure, plenty of upscale bars in the neighborhood, of all flavors. What kind of place do you pick?

    You head in the direction of the bar. It's not long before you're being followed. You pick it up easily enough. One of them is in a maintenance uniform, a toolbox dangling from his hand. Another one is in slightly shabby leisure clothing. They're moving up on you quickly.

    What do you do?
  • I pick a destination that takes me out into the open, out into the atrium park and across it toward a watering hole selected purely by having the Hosaka by popularity and predicted occupancy. The top hit on the list is some kind of a sports bar, I think, though I haven't examined its profile in any depth.

    Yes, I stick to a populated route, and head for a busy locale. But casually, as if I have not noticed them. In fact, if I may, I will attempt to give myself the fleeting adjective, public. I'm testing their intentions, watching to see how they react ... do they contest?

    (If they do, I'm not sure what verb I'm using. Move? Prowl?)

    If they don't attempt to cut me off, I am perfectly happy settling into a comfortably public place and waiting to see if they approach me.
  • I don't think they want you going there. The Hosaka is also finding the Interface around you seems to be being tampered with.

    You spot a third man coming towards you from the front.

    So... your vector for public is it just sticking to the populated route? You're not at the busy area yet but I think I'll accept that you are public for now. I could use the interference option I suppose.

    Instead I'm going to say that they are going to try to tightly surround you in the flow of people, setting them up to grab you and probably inject you with something to knock you silly.

    That would be Move on their part, I think. Technically the other two are assisting the one I'm using for this, giving him free adjectives of 'reinforced', but I only have one push die, so I've got 3 dice and using reinforced for the push die... I'm ready to roll unless you want to challenge my vector.
  • My intention was that getting to the bar would be my vector for putting myself in a public situation, forcing the issue by trying to slip their noose if they care to contest that. Is that valid?

    Why do I believe they intend to drug me? Do I see that one of them has something in hand? I'm having the Hosaka snatch video from my peripherals, feeding shots of the men back along the feed to Key while also attempted to determine what kind of interface devices they are using. Are they wearing specs? If no, I zoom and image-stabilize their eyes - are their irises bar-coded?
  • It is... it's just kind of a weird case.

    We can play it as you trying to give yourself the adjective and them resisting by interfering. The main body of the rules emphasizes putting negative adjectives on others.

    Okay... so nix what I said before. Build a dice pool targeting yourself and roll and they'll be the resistance. Still move vs move.

    You picked up the glint of something in the hands of the one coming at you. It's metallic looking but not a regular gun. Probably an injection gun you think. The ones you see all have specs.
  • That is true. How about I put the public adjective on the man with the injector, then? So that if he does anything, he is hindered by having to do it in public. It would be the same effect, essentially, and I suppose that by the rules that might in fact be more advantageous to me.

    In any case, I see that they mean to head me off. I don't break into a run - that would be too obvious - but when a young family briefly screens me from those behind me, I change course to cut around the side of this pulsing sculptural fountain in the center of the atrium.

    They can't know where I am going (and, indeed, I'm immediately plotting second and third candidate destinations from the Hosaka's list), so that gives me an advantage. If I can block one of them with the fountain for a moment, I may be able to get ahead of them, putting them all behind me and giving me a chance to slip the noose. The atrium is ringed with shops and simulated boardwalk, so if I can just escape the quieter center, I should be able to duck into some monitored business or another, even if it isn't my planned destination.
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