[PILOT] Chapter 1: Message in a bottle [ALL]

edited June 2013 in ANN_pilot
You make it to Emily's Graffiti hovel in no time at all. Henry worked furiously on Alex's wounds, and Alex started looking at the server's hardware to get a leg up on the hacking. By the time you arrive, and find a place to examine the server quietly, Alex already has the HDD extracted, and the encryption cracked.

Emily, who did you meet here that immediately offered to make sure you got some privacy?

Utseo, you got a good look at the hardware as Alex was dissecting it. Why are you absolutely certain this is Josine's work?


  • [Emily]

    I've get my hair twisted into a few dozen small braids by the time we arrive. Before we go in, I change into a pinstripe bustle corset in metallic rainbow over an asymmetrical cream colored skirt. Knee-high lace up stiletto boots, sky blue, and white leather driving gloves. A few swipes of hair mascara in rainbow colors over some of my braids, and I'm ready.

    As I step out, I catch the eyes of a young man smoking an eCig. I smile slightly, nod, and he races off to fetch Thrift. The boy is her latest plaything. I gesture for everyone to wait in the vehicle while I move forward to greet her.

    She claims to be a pupil of Banksy's, but I'm one of the few who know it to be absolutely true. I bought her a chunk of Bristol debris once, used to be part of a Pizza Express. Had most of one of Banksy's pieces on it. The first time I ever saw her smile was when I gave it to her. I explain quickly and quietly that my friends and I need some deep privacy, screaming fast.
  • [Utseo]

    I took a couple snaps of the HDD and sent it off to Daimyo to confirm. The evidence I have that it is Josine is that it looks completely unremarkable, bog standard, bought right out of the box, not even custom-built. But it has been souped up something fierce, lower power usage, three times the output. He has a certain magic.
  • Thrift comes out to meet you all in a pretty big hurry. She smirks when she sees Emily standing in front of the hideaway, and she runs up to give her a hug. Thrift looks way younger than she actually is — there are a few rumors running around about body swaps, and different treatments she had done, but none of them are anything more than heresay.

    She orders her boy-toy to stay put outside, and brings you all into one of the back rooms in the hovel. There are a few painters getting stoned, which she swiftly throws out. When the room is quiet, she pulls you aside Emily, "come see me before you leave, yeah? It's been too long!"

    Emily: Hit your key of the Traveler for pulling in Thrift. What does she look like?

    Utseo, Tank is carying the server's main hardware and you set everything up in a corner. Alex plugs it in, and jacks the system up to an ad-hoc LAN for the group. Yoshi never strays far, but Henry is looking through messages on his HUD.

    Alex is frantically scanning documents, and you can see him flipping through things. Yoshi is helping out, but there's so much data they couldn't hope to parse it all in time. Even Tank is slowly working her way through a couple of files while you wait. I imagine you have a better way of handling this though...

    How did you find the first fragment of Josine's memory?
  • edited June 2013

    I sigh. Some things never change, even though they should. "Hey... why are we parsing through all of this by our lonesomes? Alex, share this through a peer-group server and I'll get some of my people to dig in with us. Hell, we can even offer up some Daizu-creds for the latest VMMO to whoever cracks the most code."

    I found the first fragment during an early sweep. Alex chucked it as junk data thrown in as a key code, he just spliced it and moved it out of the main feed. But I recognized Josine as a child at a birthday party. I think he was ten. It looked very boring. Is it an actual memory or a code on its own. "Yosh. This is Josine, right? Right there," I stop the video when he's standing by a window and you can see him in profile. It's a trick I've found in brain-records.
  • Utseo, hit your key of the Ronin for executing your plan.

    All, looking through the records you find a few fragments of Josine's memories within the server. Some of them contain old childhood memories, others contain memories of the operations he's sent you on over the years. One of them was a memory of a conversation with three other people over the net — specifically, it was the memory where Josine decided he would back up his memories in preparation for something he referred to as "the waiting game". The location of the backup: in the Hoefler cloud.

    It is clear that these memories are just a partial redundancy of the main Hoefler cloud storage — it would be impossible to locate Josine based on this information alone — but his user profile on the server seems to indicate that he had a major memory dump 7 years ago.

    This information troubles Tank a considerable amount. "đụ," she curses beneath her breath, "the cái tháng chó đẻ Hoefler brothers are in the process of selling their company to the Technocracy and Nanotech — like the final stages. If either of them get a hold of Josine's memories, they could find him..."

    Yoshi shakes his head, "No. I can't let that happen... The Hoefler cloud's master controls are in Free City Atlantica and Mumbai. If we can hit one of those access points now, then we could swipe and wipe the data before the Technocracy, or Nanotech can get their grubby paws on it."

    Henry doesn't seem amused by the direction this conversation is taking, "Guys, look... I said I'd help out this one time, but I have to get back to my clinic. It was fun playing soldier again, but we aren't seriously considering going on a wild goose chase for Jo, are we?"

    Alex looks at Henry skeptically, and crosses his arms defensively, "Man, what have you got to do that's so damn important, huh?"

    Henry doesn't dignify him with an answer.

    Alex looks to you, Utseo and Emily, and says, "I didn't really have anything better to do, and I'm always up for a little breaking and entering. What about you two?"
  • [Utseo]

    I say with slight irritation, "Alex, please shut up. There's a reason why you work alone now, and Tank is the only girl who is attracted to you. Stick to your gadgets and let the people talking to Em and I."

    I turn my attention to Doc Moon, "Give us at least a little longer. We all owe it to him, don't you think? I can call in some favors to get your clinic covered. Not as well as you could do it, but it should suffice. Please."
  • "Not to mention, Cutter, that Jujube has memories of us. All of us. And what we've done." I shake my head. "This won't be about hunting down the ghost. This will be about protecting the life I've built. And helping you protect yours.

    I turn to Yoshi. "Which site would you recommend?"
  • Yoshi scratches his head, and searches a few things on his HUD while Henry hums and haws.

    Tank looks mortified that you would out her attraction to Alex so blatantly, and use it so trivially. "đi ăn cứt, lỗ đít. Screw you, Utseo! You think just because you run your little business that you're in charge here?"

    Alex raises his hand to Tank and shakes his head, "Girl, it's alright. Let it slide... We're supposed to be all on the same side here." You probably catch Alex's gaze out of the corner of his eye — he's hiding a smirk that he got under your skin. Then he rubs Tank's shoulder and adds, "No sense in getting worked up."

    Tank's face is red with rage, and you can tell she wants to tear into someone — but she shuts up at Alex's request. She gets up and starts pacing to clear her head.

    Henry takes a deep breath with things quieted down a bit, "I've got a clinic filled with people who can't afford corporate hospital treatment. I run the clinic, and currently I'm the only doctor of the five on staff who can afford to put in more than five hours a day. I need to get back there."

    Alex shakes his head, "Emily's right man... If the Technocracy or Nanotech get a hold of Jo's memories, they're going to come after you and your clinic pretty hard."

    Henry doesn't seem convinced, "After all we've done — you really think that they'd come after us now?"

    Let's call it difficulty 2 to convince Henry to stay.
  • [Emily]

    "They have essentially endless resources, and never let go of grudges. I'm sure they'd love to know who was responsible for releasing Graham Wynter, or who created a five-year setback on the Mars mining project."

  • edited June 2013

    I am a Culture Jammer+, Plugged In to Henri, who is beingCleverly and Artfully Persuaded.

    (Rolled: 5d6. Rolls: 4, 4, 4, 3, 2. Total: 17)
  • Henry looks over to you Em, and adjusts his glasses. "To be fair, those setbacks were only partially my fault... But I can see your point..." He sighs loudly, and leans back against the wall to contemplate his navel — it's pretty obvious you've taken the wind out of his sails though.

    "Alright... Let's get this done," he says with a nod, "I guess I can call in a few markers to keep the place running."

    Yoshi smiles and pulls up some documents on his HUD, then shares them with the rest of the group. The first one is on a Hoefler owned airship currently circling Mumbai. The other is on a relatively secret facility in the lower levels of Free City Atlantica. Yoshi begins, "So the two spots we have to pick between are Dougray Hoefler’s personal zepplin in Mumbai, and Edgar Hoefler's lawless, floating party central the Atlantica."

    He switches between the documents for effect:

    Dougray's airship is a wide, squared-off zepplin dotted with maneuvering props, lined with wide fins, and equipped with an aft row of three main engines. The residence hanging from the bottom resembles a Frank Lloyd Wright house (example pictured below) affixed upside-down to the airship’s belly. It looks more more like a five-story penthouse than a yacht, and the top two floors are up inside the ship’s frame. It's sleek, unibody shell, and minimalist design are a nod to old Apple products.


    "Dougray's home is highly secured, and monitored by MumbaiSec. Access is highly controlled, and would likely require some aerial acrobatics to get in." That's his pleasant way of saying skydiving. "It would be a tricky, high-altitude drop where we keyhole through a bunch of blind spots in the MumbaiSec laser grid, and infiltrate the ship's secured access points."

    Alex grins widely and looks around the group, "You guys know how I love a good sky dive!" Tank chuckles.

    Yoshi continues, "Edgar's 'Free City' is — as you probably know, Em — pretty much a private party. Edgar convinced his dad to buy him the city when he was still alive, under the guise that he would turn it into a secure server-farm." He pauses, pursing his lips dubiously, "Which he technically did... But again, like I said, it's like an eternal "after-dark" Vegas. We'd need to sneak our way into Edgar's inner sanctum, then break away from the party, go into the lower levels, swipe the data, and hire someone to get us out on the other end."

    Tank adds, "I know someone who can set us up with a sub. Easiest extraction I can think of."

    Yoshi nods, "That's what I was thinking too... To answer your question, Emily, I think Atlantica is probably more your scene — but there would be fewer witnesses in Mumbai... I'm amenable to both, or even hedging our bets and splitting up. What do you think?"
  • edited June 2013

    Yosh was addressing Emily, but I'm not sure why. I'll throw in with, "Splitting up is the best option. Lets us cover more ground faster. Em, who do you want on your Free City team?" I'm implying that I'm in for MumbaiSec, but if she wants me with her, that's fine. I assume she'll pick Alex and Doc, leaving me with Yosh and Tank. Tank doesn't fit in at parties. Seriously.
  • [Emily]

    I wince. Last time I was in Free City, I ended up in someone else's crumpled (although otherwise mag) suit, a two-day hangover, and missing one of my retinal duplication contacts. Not to mention for some reason I had shaped my tattoo into an approximation of Mount Rushmore, but for the fact that it depicted a row of the opposite ends of the presidents. Ugh. Oh, well, I already committed myself.
    "I want Sexyness and you." I throw my best smirk, just the right balance of sex and mischief. "My two favorite dress up dolls."
  • edited June 2013

    A point to point nano-driven HALO jump. It was good thing that I added that reactive synthetic to my spider harness. Might be the only thing keeping us from being detected or splatted on impact from the dive. It's like riding a hurricane, but more fun.

    "I leave myself in your very capable hands," I respond to Em. "Be gentle." I ask with a mock shyness failing to cover anticipation.
  • [Emily]

    My smirk spreads into a shark's smile. "Capable indeed."

    I turn to Yoshi. "You'll be all right if I snag these two?"
  • Yoshi nods, "Not a problem. From what I can see, security on Hoefler's airship is a joke. Where should we meet up after the fact?"

    Tank flips through a few things on her HUD, and says, "I'll hook us up with the transport. Give me a few minutes." She walks over to the far side of the room and starts chatting with someone on her phone — yeah it's not as secure, but Tank feels more comfortable with that stuff.

    Utseo, you get a ping as you wait.

    Daimyo, 5:10 AM UTC
    Got it. Sending to the serfs for analysis. I'm idling — have any side projects for me?

    Alex, "Free City" Atlantica is something of a lawless zone, out there in the Atlantic ocean — being something of a cat burlgar, I'd imagine it's a place you're not unfamiliar with. What's the biggest score on that floating party-boat?

    Emily, So these parties in Atlantica have always been a bit of a "Rich kid" scene — who do you know in Edgar Hoefler's inner circle that could get you in to one of his parties?
  • [Utseo]

    Utseo, 5:13 AM UTC
    Dr. Henry Qamar. I want deets. He works at a clinic, I want to know which one. Here's the data spool I have on him, not much, but enough for someone like you.
  • [Emily]
    I start composing a text.

    Emily, 5:14 AM UTC
    Hey, Ludo! Got a couple of crazy hot boys you need to meet. Creamed coffee and some seriously enhanced take-out.

    Ludoviko Miĥaelo, family lineage unclear, but his first language is Esperanto. He's new money, an engineer, and has a history of being extremely lucky by patenting the next big kitschy thing about five minutes before it gets hot. It's made him incredibly popular with the young and wealthy in their competition to out-Jones one another.

    Oh, and he's also the most subtly flaming man I have ever had the pleasure to package-watch with.
  • [Alex]
    Best thing about party palaces in the lawless zones is variety. You've got the fist sized gemstones that the idle rich use to tempt with. You've also got huge drug trafficking all over the place. Where do you think Mikel's girls get all the party favors?

    The biggest score is the tech. Carmen Petrova smuggles high-end tech prints out of Technocracy hands to sell or leverage for herself. There was a rumor that a quantum processing unit's schematic ended up there. That's the prize.
  • Utseo, It takes him a second, but a reply comes.
    Daimyo, 5:15 AM UTC
    Guy hides his tracks pretty well, but I'll find him. I'm getting a few hits in South Africa — most look medical, some definitely don't.

    Then a moment later,

    Daimyo, 5:21 AM UTC
    Found him! Small underground clinic outside of Port Elizabeth. They offer free services to people without health insurance. Owned and operated by one H. Qamar, MD. I'm getting a ton of hits on the Technocracy's DB. Want me to pull a report for you?

    Emily, You get a similar ping,
    LDM, 5:14 AM UTC
    My dear, you have piqued my interest! Tell me you're in my vicinity soon — there simply isn't enough good music in my life at present.

    All, Tank hangs up the phone a few minutes later, and announces, "I've got us a flight, and a sub. We should be in the air in a few hours. Now if you thụt rửa túi don't mind, I'm going to go get some beauty sleep until then."

    Henry sits down next to Yoshi, and they start discussing details on how to get past the laser grid surrounding Dougray's airship home. The topic of fuel to hit Atlantica, and Mumbai, which are largely on opposite sides of the world, comes up, and Yoshi asks you all, "So, we will be landing in Atlantica, right? This isn't a covert infiltration where we drop you with a raft into the atlantic at night, right?"

    It's a general question, addressed to the group.
  • [Emily]
    "Actually, I think we'll be getting a lift there on my friend's ride. Let me just verify."

    Emily, 5:16 AM UTC
    We're in Iceland right now. An aerial to Milan is nothing. Then, a weekend at Free City. We can use the ride there to catch up. And maybe with the joy juice flowing, we can suade my magmas to put on a little show."
  • edited June 2013

    "A raft would ruin Em's grand entrance. I assume Alex is your arm candy, and I'm your meat shield, right?" I'm half listening, busy trying to get things situated with Qamar. I'll reach out to Daimyo first, then to Sohei, my code-name for my Fixer.

    Utseo, 5:26 AM UTC
    Report away, Daimyo. You continue to amaze me.

    Utseo, 5:27 AM UTC
    Sohei, sorry for the early message. Need to get some volunteer docs to cover a clinic, the doctor is away. No questions asked, will work on getting them pay, but need bodies there first. LMK when complete.
  • [Emily]

    "Half right. You're both arm candy. Dangerous arm candy." I consider this. "You'll be my Red Hots. And it's completely fine if you play hard to get. Ludo loves trying to turn straight boys."
  • edited June 2013

    I give Em a raised eyebrow at being classified as arm candy. Wait, she said something about turning straight boys? "Ludo is... a friend, right? I would be very hard to get."
  • [Emily]

    "You don't have to get got. In fact, as long as you ease into it, the harder you run, the more fun he'll have. It doesn't matter anyway, he'll get distracted quickly once we reach Free City. But, if you two arrive with Ludo, no one will look twice at you - he's territorial and everyone knows it. As soon as we get there, I'll be under cover. My publicist would rocket launch off the handle if DJ Synth made an appearance in as hot of a spot as FC is without warning her - especially while I'm supposed to be cutting my new album."
  • [Utseo]

    I know it isn't popular in Em's circles to be judgmental, but as a gutter shogun, I have a rep to protect. This isn't some role I can slide into and out of like her chameleon self. I give Alex a glance, how is he handling this?
  • OOC: Starting about a post ago, I've started adding translations for the foreign languages I'm dumping in posts (to save you translation runs). Scroll over foreign text to see their translated meanings!

    Emily, Yoshi nods and continues his conversation with Henry. You get another text:

    LDM, 5:15 AM UTC
    Köstliche, my dear! I shall bring my swooning fan.

    Utseo, a few minutes later you get a string of messages:
    Daimyo, 5:22 AM UTC
    Will put a report up in the usual place shortly. May take a while.

    Sohei, 5:23 AM UTC
    On it. Should I focus on GP's? or do they need specialists?

    Followed by...
    Sohei, 5:24 AM UTC
    You know what? I'll just get both.

    And finally...
    Sohei, 5:31 AM UTC
    3 Meds inbound, expected to touch down in 5 hours. Have 4 more on reserve. Will keep you posted.
  • edited June 2013

    I answer Em, "I trust your judgment on these matters, of course." And that's that, I'll do my best to play what role she thinks suits me. She wouldn't put the mission at risk.
  • [Alex]

    I slap Utseo on the back. "Come on man. You're not afraid of a little... role play, are you? Besides, I'm sure Ludo will go wild over you, you man-hunk." I look back and forth between the two of them, grinning the entire time.

    This is a perfect opportunity to assist as well as pick up a few souvenirs. I can do both. It wouldn't be the first time I had to pull double duty. I activate my arm computer to start sub routines on the likeliest places to hold the goodies. A schematic of the facility was the first thing I picked up. It's sure to be heavily modified from original manufacture, but if one checks the heat signatures, they can find the places of excess power. (i.e. security or engines)

    I look over at Em, "So... you going to play dress up with us?"
  • OOC: A stunt die to each of you for your deliciously opposite reactions.
  • [Emily]

    A surprisingly business-like look crosses her face.
    "Yes. I am." I meet the eyes of my teammates. "I have a very nice set of rooms at the R Blu 2. We can go there, fuel up, rest up. It should be safe enough now that we've secured the data on the server. I'll place an order for what I need with the front desk, and we'll be ready to go by 11am tomorrow. Sound good?"
  • [Alex]

    "It does. Come along, man meat." I say to Utseo. Absently I start searching my contacts for anyone who might have some intel on that tech stored on the Atlantica. While that's going on, I start running calibrations on my spider harness, as well as to equip it with the new synchronization algorithm I'd been cooking up.

  • [Utseo]

    I don't respond to Alex's snide comment. I am not letting him think he can get under my skin. Again. I respond to Em, "That works for me. Anyone up for some dancing?"

    As we're settling on actions and I've got my last message from Sohei, I walk over to Doc Moon, show him the messages, and with a smile, "I've got you covered, Doc. Hopefully three can keep up with the work you do."
  • edited June 2013
    Utseo, Henry looks up at you, squinting dubiously, but he gets a few pings on his HUD and reads through them. There's a respect in his eyes, as he mouths, "Thank you." Take a stunt die for your humanitarian efforts!

    Alex, we'll get to that intel a little later, but now it looks like people are ready to crash.

    Emily, take a stunt die for that little exposition.

    All, Yoshi seems excited. He stands up and stretches. It's been a long day, and it looks like it will soon be over. "Great! This plan might actually work!"

    == END SCENE ==
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