[ESC] Good Morning, Raleigh

edited March 2014 in ESC
Hello Raleigh. It is your appointed alarm time on a Monday morning. When is your alarm setting? What do you use for an alarm?

You awake alone. It is work time. What is your favorite part of your morning routine?

There is another meeting for Venture Capital funding on your newest venture this morning. Why haven't you backed this project with your own money?

Do you have a pet?


  • "Good morning Ada," I groggily moan as I slowly bring myself out of bed, "this 6 AM wake-time isn't working. Switch it back to 6:30 AM starting tomorrow. Hit me with the emails." Ada is an invention of mine — something of a VR personal assistant that I programmed to take care of my day-to-day, and handle non-vital communications for me. She's plugged into my home-box, and tunnels to the work network through my phone.

    I'm a creature of habit. Every day I wake up, shit, shower, shave, feed Ray, eat a bowl of Frosted Flakes (they're grrrreat!) while I go through my emails and feeds, take Ray out to shit, then head to the office. I've noticed recently that I was half way to work by the time Ada finished my feeds though, so I've started getting up earlier. That, as it turns out, was a mistake. Sleep = important. Especially with meetings for those Venture Capitalists...

    Speaking of, have you ever backed something with Venture Capital? Those guys play for keeps... An old college friend of mine had this idea for a distributed-computing health-tracker VR app that would have kicked some serious ass if they could have worked out the bugs before their 8th quarter — we're talking big-name buyers chomping at the bit for it... But VC lost faith, and recouped their losses... Now she's some product designer at Apple, or ... No wait, I think Google sniped her. Yeah. She's working on that 10th gen Glass project I think.

    Anyway, I let Ray out of his cage for the morning, and scratch behind his ears... He's a cutie, isn't he?

    "That's a good boy! You hungry? C'mon."
  • Ada sifts through your messages, from emails to social media. Updates on the flight times for the VCs, on time. Updates on the latest build of your, what do you call it? Your online community? VR World? Hitesh estimates he's seventy eight percent done compiling. Then QC before moving on through the pipeline. Some updates to the latest banner ads that Jenni whipped up at two AM and just had to show off. A few requests for interviews, one with Fast Company, another with a Maker Blog.

    Ray's elated to see you, of course. After licking you and jumping around excitedly, he scampers over to his bowl, practically knocking it over in his excitement. He scarfs down his food while you munch on your Frosted Flakes

    Ada says, "Raleigh, there is one voice mail message on your phone. Shall I play it for you?"

    Who do you hope it will be? Who is it probably?
  • edited March 2014
    I sort through things pretty systematically: the nightly build went through with no errors, Hitesh needs a new computer if his build is taking that long. We haven't got an official product launch title yet – that usually comes once you've got something to show to people – but we have been unofficially tossing the name project freedom. VR world is likely what the media will call it. It's a concept I've been working on with some friends – an idea I pitched that they've helped refine. It wouldn't be possible if not for Hitesh's emergent mesh algorithm.

    Anyway... Approve the banner ads, decline to the requests for interviews until after SXSW ... Though maybe I'll say yes to that journalist for the Maker Blog... She was pretty nice last time, if a little eager.

    I have a voice mail? I hope it's Qing with the updated contract and approval for payment for the integration of his new headset into our flagship product, but It's probably Jenni – the woman is sweeter than honey, but she needs to learn to sleep! "Play it through, Ada."
  • "Hello, uhm, Raleigh," a female voice begins. It isn't Jenni. It seems familiar, but you can't place it. "Not sure if you remember me? It's Erin. Erin Copely. We, ah... we had chem two-oh-three together? The lab, not the lecture." There's a pause, like she put the phone away from her mouth or something. "I'm sorry, it's really late. I don't even know why I'm leaving you this message and.... shit. I mean, whoops! Sorry! Okay, I ran into your mom at the grocery store like yesterday, and we started talking, and then... and then she gave me your number and said I should call you. So... well, hi. My number's on your phone, since I called you and you're a tech guru and... yeah, so if you want to get some coffee or something... you should probably just text me or I will die of embarrassment for leaving you a completely random message. So, uhm, good night. And, sorry for the. You know, random...ness."

    Do you remember Erin? What was it that stood out about her? Has your mom ever pawned numbers off to women before?
  • Erin... Erin Copely... I think I remember her. Was she the Bio-Chem with a minor in English Lit? She had a beautiful smile, if I remember right – just a mouthful of teeth that make you want to smile back. Hmm...

    I walk over to my lounge and sit down in my chair, then dim the lights to fire up my VR. I really shouldn't, because I know I'm going to have messages out the wazoo, but I'll avoid the usual networks and stay on task: time to do a little social network stalking, and send a message to Erin.

    I wouldn't want her to die of embarrassment after all, and my Mom did go or of her way to give her my phone number after I explicitly told her to do a little quality control.
  • Well, Raleigh. It turns out Erin has protected her profile on both of her preferred social media outlets. Isn't that interesting? Now, of course, a savvy techie like you can probably work your way around such things. If you're interested in prying into her account, just for a look-see, it would be a moderately difficult action (difficulty of 2).

    This will be a simple Overcome Action. If you wish to determine your approach, you can make a 4dF roll plus that Approach benefit. You currently have 3 Fate points. If, after the roll, you want to use an Aspect, you can do that. But let's see how you roll first.
  • Well, it's not like I'm trying to glean her credit history or anything — I just want to see where she is, and what she's up to right now... Uh, well, business wise. You know... A quick glimpse into the stuff she's been up to lately. A lot of people protect their personal information, but they use their social networking accounts as passkeys to all the other services they use — and those services request and store their personal data too, usually nowhere near as securely as the social media moguls that took a beating in the late 2000's. You'd be surprised how much information those people store that you don't even consent to... IP addresses, usage statistics, friend lists... Then you just see if any of her friends happen to have a picture or two at a work function, or something.

    ... I swear this is less creepy than it sounds...
  • edited March 2014
    OOC: Rolling Quick (Fair, +1).
    (Rolled: 4dF. Rolls: +, -, -, 0)
  • Perhaps Erin is more savvy than the average user, perhaps she's been burned before? Whatever the deal is, you come up blank with just a simple hunt like this. Of course, it's an untraceable and perfectly legal bit of snooping, so your conscience can rest easy.

    Do you text her?

    Anything else in the morning?
  • edited March 2014
    Huh. Well, I can respect a woman who wants her privacy and knows how to get it. I guess that's probably why I texted her...

    Erin, Looks like you caught me just after I hit the hay — bad luck, I guess — but no worries about the hour. I drink far more coffee than is healthy for me, so you've got your pick of times and dates. Let me know when you're free and I'll squeeze you in! -R P.S. Please don't die on my account — there are far better things to be embarrassed about. ;)

    I bat wildly at the air to dissolve the VR, and bring back up the lights. I take a second to relax in the chair before whistling for Ray. I don't have anything else to do at home before the office. "C'mon boy, let's get to the office."
  • edited March 2014
    Ray barks his agreement. He scampers to his lead and wags his tail like it would fall off as you clip it and take off for the short walk to work.

    Weather's pretty wonderful this morning, but Ada informs you it will be quite hot until 6. You're dressed to impress for the VC meeting, of course.

    Tell me a bit about the office itself. What's the vibe? What are you most proud of? What still needs to be done, and what's preventing you from doing it?

    Why do you even have an office, anyways? Why not have staff telecommute? You do run a VR, right?

    You know Jenni will be there. Hitesh will be there about the same time as you, right? How many employees are there in the office?
  • Ray's entirely too enthusiastic for a Basset Hound. I guess that's what drew me to him. I remember being at Emma's place out in the Okanagan valley when he was just a pup — she and her husband bought some farm land out there, and she's taken a shining to breeding Bassets. He loved sneaking out of the pen she set up for the litter, and setting up little private nests all over the barn. Call me sentimental, but I couldn't help but drop the cash for him when I found him curled up in the driver's seat of my rental Honda Civic... I still have no idea how he got in there, and he seemed too comfy to move. I think he needed the change of scenery, and he knew I'd give it to him.

    The office is very minimalist chic — it's a rented space out of a larger complex for small businesses in downtown Vancouver. It's a bit big for the five of us, but I'm expecting a bit of expansion in the next couple of years, so it'll even out. The vibe around the office is very casual. On the rare occasions I slap a blazer on over my t-shirt, I get teased. I'm particularly proud of the corporate culture we've cultivated — the people here love what they do, and they get along like extended family. I've been meaning to install a proper VR projector in the conference room forever, but it just doesn't make sense to drop the cash for it until we've got a product to test on it. Headsets work better for development anyway...

    The only reason we don't do telecommuting because of ISP contract limitations. Residential units have a lot of limitations placed on them about bandwidth and traffic types. Not to mention that VR shell providers have bullshit rules about owning the data you store on their shells, so I needed to host my own shell for the business, or risk them denying us access to our data at some crucial moment.

    I could circumvent the protections, but I want this business to be above board — so I leased the commercial space, installed and leased a commercial connection to the backbone, paid out the ass for a commercial VR shell, and set up shop about a block away from the Starbucks we used to hold our daily meetings at. The office was so nice, we just started hanging out there.

    Go figure. ISPs are a pain in my ass, but at least they're helping the commercial office space market.
  • It's something like this, if I recall:

    Ray leads you out of the elevator, eager to get into the office, which is open. Jenni's here already.
    Here she is:

    You smell fresh baked pastries. Does Jenni actually bake, or does someone pick them up at the ground level bakery you pass each morning?

    As you take off Ray's lead and let him run through the office free, checking for, I dunno, burglars or new smells or something, Jenni closes her Macbook Air and gives you a good morning hello, "Hi Raleigh, thanks for approving those banner ads, I sent them off this morning, should be up in an hour. VCs are en route. Are you handling this one?" Has Jenni ever taken over a presentation before?

    Hitesh is here, you see him at the big table, three empty recycled paper cups nearby, beside that a half pot of black coffee on a pot-holder. He's got his back to you, he likes to work facing the sun.
  • Mmm, pastries... Jenni is really good about bringing some form of food for us in the mornings – usually from some local shop nearby – and we love her for it. I grab a pain au chocolat, pat Hitesh on the shoulder, and dock my tablet at the head of the conference table.

    Jenni runs lots of presentations, but they're mostly related to public relations. The VCs like talking to the man in charge – they like feeling important – so I spearhead those presentations, and Jenni sits in as my second. She knows the top level details of the business as well as I do, but I know more about the guts, and what our technology is capable of.

    "I've got this one Jenni – thanks though. Are we treating them to lunch after?"
  • "Yes, I need your order from that soup and salad bistro... or are you going with the usual?" Jenni answers, always mindful of what each person in the office likes.

    "Raleigh, good morning," Hitesh says distractedly. He's working things out on paper, which means he's frustrated and wants to "get in the code" for a bit.

    Five employees? Jenni is PR, Hitesh is your main architect, well, partnered with you. What other niches have you filled?
  • "Ooh! Absolutely the duck and mushroom congee again — that stuff was fantastic" I'm a big foodie... Shamelessly so, actually. One day, someone's going to invent VR olfaction and I'm going to starve to death. I start swiping through my slides, and checking the status of the source code checklist.

    That's right, we're five employees — Jenni in PR, Hitesh is our lead programmer. Greg is our graphics and layout artist. He's been in the industry forever, and keeps getting shuffled around by being "too experienced" — it's the industry's way of saying he's too old fashioned. I don't mind paying extra to have a skilled designer on hand. We've also got Mindy, who's our entry level programmer, and of course myself. I've been thinking of hiring on an intern to try our hand at some hardware development, but we just don't have the capital right now.

    Oh, and there's Ray of course... He's something of the company mascot, but really he just keeps laps warm.

    "Good morning Hitesh," I call back, getting comfortable, "are we on track for internal alpha next week?"
  • edited April 2014
    Hitesh looks up from his pages, nods, then he's back down to them. Loose leaf stuff, lots of code, hand-written originally in neat lines, then scratched out and erased and over-written. Several times.

    This is Hitesh, by the by:

    He looks back up, and gives a fuller answer, "Alpha on schedule, but it isn't a full run-through. There's some code on the transactional db that isn't smooth enough. Too many steps. We need a GUI expert, you know. Someone who has done this type of work before. We're reinventing the wheel on these secondary and tertiary systems, Raleigh."
  • I smile and shake my head, "I told you that going with that cross-platform system was going to bite us in the ass... Fine. If the VCs are pleased with what they see, I'll tack on another salary to the proposal – so you'd better bring the wow like you did last week, OK?"
  • Hitesh doesn't fight you on the cross-platform optimization problems. When you offer up another salary, he nods vigorously, "Yes, ok. I'll bring the wow, you get me someone who takes over interfaces outside the VR experience. Win-win."

    A few minutes pass as you sift through any remaining emails, messages, the like. Hitesh is back to his notes, Jenni is tapping away on her iPad.

    "Good morning, all," Greg says as he enters the office with his bike and moves it to his little designated spot. He grabs a little pastry, a coffee cup, then comes over to the table with his messenger bag, un-slings it and brings out his oversized laptop. The thing is insanely big, but he insists on using "something with enough horsepower to push real polygons", and yeah, he's proud of the damn thing.

    This is Greg:

    As he tethers it to the hi-speed and plugs it in, he starts chatting about sports, his favorite subject outside of work. He's got a couple kids, they're more into sports than coding, or even video games. He's eaten up with it. He coaches their teeball team and he's assitant coach for their soccer team, too. One of his favorite parts of the job, he tells you, is the flex time. Being able to take off early for games, putting in the hours later at night, or coming back to the office, if needed. His work's good, too, right?

    How did you snare him? Did he up and apply, did you get a head-hunter or did you know him somehow?
  • Mindy comes in minutes after Greg has settled. Despite the relaxed dress code, she's still dressing for some big office job. What did she tell you about that when you asked her? Or, have you just let her dress up and not mentioned it?

    Mindy rattles off everyone's name, like normal, "Hey Raleigh, hey Hitesh. Hi Jenni. Hi Greg."She heads over to the small office cabinet in the corner, unlocks it, and pulls out her work laptop, which isn't hers, and brings it to the conference table to plug in and get to work.

    This is Mindy.

    Hitesh gives her a few of his notes, detailing the changes to the code. She's nodding vigorously as she takes it in, trying to keep up with Hitesh's marks and his notes. How's she doing, Raleigh? Is she keeping up? What caught your eye about her an an intern?
  • edited March 2014
    I smile back to Hitesh, and wave a hand over my head when Greg comes in. "Morning, Greg!" You may have noticed that I've hired people who work more hours in a day than they should — Greg as a father, Hitesh as a programmer, Jenni as ... Everything. Greg got his job because he had an insane tech demo that he coded up for his portfolio. I was so majorly impressed with what he could achieve with just 30 lines of shader code that passing him up — "experienced" or no — would have been a huge mistake. That he was between jobs at the time, and was having a hard time finding work because of his age, made the slightly lower salary worth it. Once we launch this next product, we should have enough revenue to up his salary to a more competitive number.

    I smile up at Mindy and kick a chair out for her. "Hey Mindy — thanks for out-dressing me." Mindy is of the opinion that dressing for the job you want, rather than the job you have, is a good way to get ahead in the world... I like to tease her, because if she wants a job where she looks that good every day, then she's clearly not after my job. She is really devoted though, and a quick learner. I'm sure someone will come in one day and scoop her up out of my clutches with a higher paying job and some good benefits — that's the nature of being a small business: we train them, big business steals them.

    "Thanks for getting in early today guys — are you ready to run through the demos before the VIPs get in?"
  • Everyone closes whatever file they're working in, and cues up the demo files.

    Let's make this a challenge here. Let the dice decide how "ready for primetime" this demo is.

    First, you need to review the presentation to work out the kinks, check data accuracy, see how the slides flow into each other, are they consistent, do they tell the same story? This is an Easy Task (diff 0), since you've been through this demo numerous times.

    Let's see the results of the first step before you proceed. Don't forget that you can create an Aspect here to fill out an empty slot if it feels appropriate. Same for a stunt, if you want Raleigh to be an awesome public speaker, or a great eye for detail.
  • I've always been one to make big flashy presentations — it's a signature thing that I do — and that's spilled into my products, even in the early phase. I like letting the product speak for itself, and the only way you can really get people's attentions these days are when your product stands out: polished, simple UIs, big promises, and a big sticker that says still in development.

    The idea here is that I'm not just a good businessman, but rather a Visionary leading us through uncharted territory. We aren't there yet, but I know how to get there, and we're going to look good doing it. I've convinced a fair number of people to do some amazing things in the years since I've left university, and this mesh networking product is one of them... Ulterior motives aside.
  • OOC: Rolling Flashy (fair, +1), and tagging Visionary for 1 FP.
    (Rolled: 4dF. Rolls: +, +, -, 0)
  • OOC: Sorry, forgot that I can spend FP after a roll. Please scratch that.
  • edited March 2014

    You run through the demo, sell the team on the inspiration for the unnamed VR world. It's impressive, you see it in their eyes, their reactions. Hitesh hits you with some probing questions, and you redirect to the vision. Jenni pokes with some market data, and you rattle off trends and analysis.

    Everyone agrees that the pitch is excellent.

    Now, the pudding. You know the core data isn't fully ready, but you need to show off enough. You have to prove this isn't vaporware. The VCs aren't nearly as technical as you, but they've been down this road before. They've made and lost fortunes on products not too dissimilar to yours.

    Let's see you show off the specs. Take this team into VR, show them around. It's a moderately difficult task to do this successfully. That's a Fair success required, or a +2.

    Good luck.
  • I'm actually rather proud of this next bit... It's kind of a cheat, but also not. I reach under the table and pull out a box of headsets to distribute to the group — nothing flashy, just current-gen tech. Then I pull out my phone, swipe in a few commands on my home server to patch Ada in, and lean back in my chair smugly.

    "Ada, can you start up the mesh VR in debug mode please?" You may be asking yourself why I patched Ada in... Well, because she has twice the processing power of any computer in the office for one — but mostly because she can invisibly execute and debug hiccups faster than I ever could. Pretty Clever, no?
  • OOC: Rolling+Clever (Good, +2)
    (Rolled: 4dF. Rolls: -, +, 0, +)
  • Hitesh makes a "Hmn" noise when you bring in Ada. Not reproachful, more like "good idea, we need to think about that more".

    The team slips on their headsets. Who's the slowest? Who is the most eager?

    You bring up the VR World, broadcast it through the mesh. Everyone sees it. Where did you bring them in, what sector? What's the background framework?
  • edited March 2014
    Somewhat paradoxically, Hitesh is the last person with his headset on. He's something of a naturalist when it comes to VR Tech. I think he likes the feel of sunlight on his skin, and the wind blowing through his hair — VRs can't offer that just yet. Jenni, on the other hand, had her headset on before it even hit the table. She spends a great deal of time in VR — more than I do, actually.

    So you may be familiar with VR technology — the fully immersive experience — when you first enter a VR network, you're placed in a staging room. It's kind of like the loading screen of the VR world. You enter your user information (unless the network is anonymous) and program your gate to go where you want to go. Our office staging room is designed to be a point of quick reference for pretty much anything we may need in our day-to-day here.


    The books are information we've collected off the network, we've got favored entertainment storage, and personal sections off to the side, and the front door is our gateway out into the network proper. Our software isn't the rendering, so much as the connectivity and networking means. We're the backbone that makes this possible. We're an emergent network from a sea of people broadcasting to the world.

    I've pre-programmed a script that takes us through a circuit of publicly accessible spaces on the network — the market stream, the entertainment streams, the social streams, and then finally to our mesh stream — the stream unique to our application, which renders all previous mesh networking apps obsolete. It's the visualization center each user has for controlling their connectivity to the network. There, we'll run through a few tests to see how well the network can handle spontaneous disconnects, and other unexpected problems.
  • Hitesh is the first to comment, "Fresh coat of paint? This looks good. Where to?"

    Jenni answers quickly, "If we put our VC hats on, then they'll ask about the markets."

    "But, if we want to wow them," Mindy interjects, "We corral them to the mesh, and show them something truly unique. Visual representation of the data is outdated already. That's not our bread and butter."

    Greg chuckles, "Hah, Mindy. You just want to see if my response relay will handle a five person strain... to be honest, so do I." He cracks his knuckles, in real-life, it echoes slightly here. In the lobby, things can be odd, with both sets of experiences overlapping.

    Once you step through those doors, you're fully immersed.

    It's your train, Raleigh. Where are you taking them?
  • "Children!" I joke, "come. We've got work to do! I want to see the network strain with five users in a busy place first, then we'll tackle Greg's visualizations." Jenni's got to hit the market to order lunch anyway — and besides, I promised a friend I'd make an appearance in the market stream before the demo to the VCs... Call him an independent contractor.
  • Jenni giggles when you admonish them, she gets your humor. The rest fall in line, and you exit the lobby into the market.

    That swirling moment where the meat-space falls away, it happens. It's getting smoother every time. Easier.

    Market is currently a series of "streets" with big signs and billboards equivalent to the banners and popularity of online e-tailers. "Current visuals on Market are very gaudy, Raleigh." Hitesh says, like an apology.

    Mindy comments, "Proximity is a problem, too. Is it valuable to highlight stores that are nearby when you're online?"

    "Guys, just let the man show off the goods!" Jenni admonishes as she strolls over to a kiosk and pulls up the online menu for the nearby bistro and puts in the order with swipes of her virtual hand.

    Does everyone look the same here as they do IRL?

    Who are you looking for here, Raleigh?
  • I hold my hands up to the group and shake my head, "guys, this is all a work-in-progress. The funds we're looking to secure here today will help us hire on a dedicated UI designer, and that'll spice up the look and feel. For now, it's retro-shaders and boxes." I wait for Jenni to finish her ordering, pointing out the various features of the environment, and explaining how the load of rendering them is distributed across the various nodes of the mesh, then point out how the facial expressions on our avatars are so expressive — "a feature Greg implemented, might I add! That's not something you can get with someone fresh out of college! It takes years of experience to code something like that!" I fist-bump him, give him props where they're due.

    Avatars in a VR are very fluid things... You can project whatever avatar you like, to whoever you like, at any point in time according to your user preferences. There are default avatars that are ghost-like apparitions (with expressive faces, thanks to Greg's new tech), there are "acquaintance" level permissions that default to your real-life appearance (if you want to have a 3D model of yourself made by one of the scan-shops), as well as completely custom avatars... I could be a buxom, scantily clad, 45 kilo japanese girl to Hitesh, and a muscled lifeguard to Jenni. Hell, for all I know Greg might have hacked our Avatar IDs to render as dragons for him. It's all immensely personal.

    For business purposes though, I've put an override in place to default to our IRL appearances — this is also to avoid confusion.

    While giving the tour, I'm keeping an eye out for one of my acquaintances online. They're all immensely interested in privacy, and I let drop that our company was going to be testing the product live this morning. I want him to try and hack the security protocols. If he succeeds, then I'll pay him out for his services in identifying loopholes — if he fails, then we've got a rock-solid platform to protect our little community from the prying eyes of the telecom companies.
  • The team is chatting quietly, making observations. Mindy smiles when you compliment Greg's work and looks his way. He nods, like it struck home. Hitesh is taking mental notes, he can't help it. He only sees VC as another tool, a way to get to the goal of fully realizing this world.

    As you're finishing up with Marketplace, you feel a tickle at the back of your neck. Argon is here. Your mobile phone rings, which it isn't set to ring on the outside, since it's an avatar. He must be contacting you, being cute.

    Jenni looks over from the kiosk at you, surprised by the phone.

    What do you do?
  • I double-tap my phone in my pocket to bring up the comm console, and go into private chat with Argon. "Hey, glad you could make it."
  • "I thought I'd wait for Jenni to finish her order before the fun began," Archon responds. His voice is modulated. "I'm thinking that an Avatar-jacking would be a good test of your vulnerabilities, right? That sound fair?"

    Hitesh is moving close, trying to eavesdrop without looking like he is. The rest of the team is pretending this isn't something weird. Well, Jenni figures this is some flair you've added.
  • I nod, "just remember your NDA — some of our IP is novel, and patent pending." I motion over to Hitesh, and point up at my eyes — that means watch your console, for those of us in the know. "Once Jenni's back, you're green to go."

    Time to see if Hitesh's defenses are all he's cracked them up to be.
  • edited March 2014
    Cool. Let's call this a contest between you and Argon. We'll play out the contest until one side gets three victories.
  • edited March 2014
    In a contest, you'll pit your character against Argon. I'll describe how Argon is attacking the security of your VR, and you'll describe how you're defending. Then we roll dice, spend Fate and modify the die rolls.
    If you got the highest result, you win the exchange—you score a victory (which you can represent with a note in the post) and describe how you take the lead. If you succeed with style, you mark two victories.
    Whichever side gets three victories wins.
  • Argon is going to Forecefully attack the security on Jenni's profile. It's a modified brute attack, like a DDOS with hundreds of thousands of queries on her avatar to try and beat down the security.

    Argon is Average (+1) Forceful.
    He has a stunt called L33t hacker, that gives him a +2 to Forcefully overcome when he is attacking a program.
    That means he's +3 on the roll.
  • Argon's roll (+3)
    (Rolled: 4df. Rolls: +, +, -, 0)
  • Argon got a Great Success (+4) so far. You'll need five successes to beat him, four to tie. If you tie, neither side gets a victory but there is a complication.
  • One of the great things about DDOS attacks on a mesh network is that they only bring down one node — so we should only lag a little bit if Hitesh's distributed load algorithms hold, and we should be OK... The trick is to keep our head above water, and use the access logs to suss out the attack's request, then shut them down. I would consider it a victory if the rest of the network didn't collapse under the added strain to Jenni's node — and a raging success if we could put out a DDOS on the attacker.
  • OOC: I think it's fair to say we've been Careful (0) here.
    (Rolled: 4dF. Rolls: +, 0, +, +)
  • OOC: I'd like to burn a FP to use my "Internet Trailblazer" aspect.

    I mean, a DDOS attack? Please. It's the hacking equivalent of a toddler throwing a tantrum. We just need to keep it together long enough so we can find him, and shut him down. "Ada, get ready to trace Jenni's logs."
  • edited March 2014
    "Ooh, nice one," Argon replies over the phone after you repel his DDOS attack.

    "Of course, sir," Ada replies to your command.

    You won the first victory in this contest. Great job! Why don't you make the next move here, Raleigh? A counterattack that Argon will have to defend against.
  • edited March 2014
    "You'll have to bring out the big guns buddy," I tease. Then I double tap my phone to bring up my VR shell, and start sifting through my custom scripts for my proxy masker so he'll have to start looking for us again... This is software that won't be distributed with our product — just something I plan on distributing to the community for free that can keep telecom hunters at bay.
  • OOC: I'm trying to be Sneaky (-1) here.
    (Rolled: 4dF-1. Total: 2. Rolls: 0, +, +, +)
  • Argon is going to be Quick (+1) in his search for a hole in your VR shell.

    "Where arrre youuuu??" Argon calls through the phone.

    Jenni looks over at you, Raleigh. She must have noticed some of what just happened, and now Argon is saying weird stuff on your phone.
  • Argon's search:
    (Rolled: 4dF+1. Total: 0. Rolls: 0, -, -, +)
  • "Oh, you are a tricky one, Raleigh!" Argon says through the phone.

    (you gain one more Victory, that's two out of three. One more, and you're the victor.)

    Jenni asks curiously, "Raleigh? Is something wrong?"

    Hitesh is watching you closely.
  • I smile at Jenni's question, "not yet... I'm dealing with a contractor — just a second." Then to Hitesh, "nice job on the distributed load code — it's holding up nicely." It's time to put this to bed though — we've got that meeting shortly, and I need our defenses to be spotless. "Ada, have you found the source of that DDOS yet? I want to spike him so we can move on."
  • Let's see how good Argon's defenses are against Ada.

    He's trying to hide his attacks and probes behind several layers of identity, and he's very good at being Careful (+3). He is, as you know, a l33t hacker.

    (Rolled: 4dF+3. Total: 3. Rolls: +, +, -, -)
  • OOC: I suppose I'm being Forceful (0) here, since Ada is brute-forcing through all of the various known bot-nets, and running traces on blacklisted backbone IPs...
    (Rolled: 4dF. Total: 0. Rolls: -, +, 0, 0)
  • OOC: Edit — my forceful is actually at +1, but I still don't want to spend a FP to tie, so I'll let this victory slide.
  • Ada responds after milliseconds, "I have found thirty-five possible sources, and cannot reliably narrow the field any further, Raleigh." Her voice is the same pleasant, slightly dispassionate tone, but you swear there was a slight hitch of disappointment in there. Probably your imagination.

    (score one victory for Argon)

    Jenni nods, but she seems wary, sensing Argon's tone.

    "I am tired of looking for a side door, my friend," Argon says over the communicator. "I'm going to knock really loud instead, see what falls out. Maybe one of your team is more vulnerable than the others? Let's see who doesn't cover their tracks."

    Hitesh responds to your compliment with, "Good. That code took twice as long as the original or the source."
  • Argon's dipping back into the same well. Sure, he's using some different code, and going after someone else, not Jenni, but he's going to hammer your systems.

    This time, though, he's trying to beat on a weakness in your system, one that one of your team members brought through.

    Argon is Average (+1) Forceful.
    He has a stunt called L33t hacker, that gives him a +2 to Forcefully overcome when he is attacking a program.
    That means he's +3 on the roll.
  • Argon's attack:
    (Rolled: 4dF+3. Total: 6. Rolls: +, +, 0, +)
  • Fucker... He's even pissing off Ada, which is a real accomplishment. "Alright, here's what we're going to do... Let's give him whichever network node he hits next, and use the others to redirect all incoming traffic out at those targets. It's one thing to lose a node, it's another to compromise the whole network's connectivity — and since mesh networks don't rely on a single bottleneck, my network can do something your network can't, damn it!"

    ... I hope he's not piggybacking off of an ISP's blacklisted backbone, because this could set off some major red flags...
  • OOC: Rolling Clever (+3).
    (Rolled: 4dF+3. Total: 1. Rolls: +, -, -, -)
  • OOC: He's got me here.
  • edited March 2014
    Argon cackles, "Ah hahahaha! Got you, man! Your graphic artist left a back door open. VPN tunnel with a wack-ass password. Tsk Tsk! Here I come into your base. I'm gonna whack yer doods!"

    (Argon got a second victory in this contest. It's tied. Whoever wins this next round wins the contest!)

    He's found a hole, or what looks like one, in your defenses. Why don't you let me know how you're going toclose the door in his face?
  • It's his daughter's name and birthdate, isn't it? Well, our encryption algorithms are industry standard — unless he's got a quantum computer hidden somewhere that I don't know about, cracking that would take an exceptional amount of luck...

    Presuming, of course, that there are no holes in our software — and we've been extra Careful about checksuming the shit out of that portion of the software — after all, I'm using this software to spearhead a grassroots campaign against major telecom companies.
  • OOC: Rolling Careful (+1).
    (Rolled: 4dF+1. Total: 3. Rolls: 0, 0, +, +)
  • It was his daughter's name and birthdate, with a key. But yeah, the same key, only four digits, broken.

    Argon is attempting to quickly slide in on that rail and get in.
  • Argon's Quick roll:
    (Rolled: 4dF+1. Total: 2. Rolls: -, +, +, 0)
  • Ada reports (with a hint of pride), "The node has been successfully shunted. The node was also firewalled. He's stuck there, and will have to terminate session to regain control, Raleigh."

    "Oh man! Nice trick, Raleigh." Argon calls, a bit irritated at "losing", but overall a good sport. "You got me this time, man."
  • That's a relief — it's good to know our security efforts weren't in vain. It was a little too close for my liking, so I'll definitely be taking some extra security efforts against hacked nodes. I double tap my phone with a grin and continue the chat, "thanks for your help Argon, I'll have your funds forwarded to the usual account. If you have any additional suggestions for patching up securities, I'll be glad to hear them — and pay you appropriately."

    I look to the group and nod, "looks like we're in one piece. Good work everyone!" Then to Greg, "change your password. Something that takes a computer longer than 10 microseconds to crack would be nice."
  • Greg looks embarrassed, but to his credit, he simply nods, "Sorry, Raleigh.".

    Jenni cuts in, not letting that uncomfortable moment linger, "That was an interesting exchange! Raleigh, how are you feeling about the VC presentation now?"

    Hitesh is watching your reaction, and he's also searching along the code that was recently under attack. Mindy's just keeping track of what's what.
  • I smile over at Greg and nod, "no harm no foul. We should talk about getting biometrics for everyone's accounts anyway." Then to Jenni, "we're in good shape! Let's shut down and get some coffee before the VCs show up — on me."
  • We skip ahead to everyone logging out, removing headsets and heading and chatting. Hitesh is taking notes, quite a few. Jenni's up first, heading over to the nice coffee machine, pouring cups into everyone's special mug, adding sweetener or milk or cream, she makes a point to know how every person likes it.

    Greg chats with Mindy for a bit, like they're comparing notes on the code. You're rather sure he's asked her for advice on better passwords, maybe too embarrassed to ask you or Hitesh.

    Ada speaks up, "Raleigh, GPS locator on the Uber service shuttling the VCs arrives in ten minutes."
  • Damn... I was hoping for a little bit more relaxing than that, but it'll have to do. "Thanks Ada," I whisper, "remind me in 8 minutes." Then I'll chat with the group for a while before going to meet the VCs at the door. I prefer they have a more candid view of our company. I do, however, eye Jenni and show her ten fingers — so she has a heads up.
  • You're able to get them a bit wound down before long. Jenni pitches in, asking everyone where they want to eat tonight, since it's a group dinner night. Greg actually doesn't beg off this time, since you know VCs are a big thing.

    The VCs arrive, both of them quick-rising VPs in FutureForth, a international venture capitalist firm. Have you worked with them before?

    Luke Wright:

    Beatriz Camino Arribas

    Jenni lets everyone know the Uber car has pulled up to the curb, then she rushes over to wait near the door.

    What do you do?
  • This is my first time working with FutureForth — largely because they've recently come under new management, and I wasn't overly sold on the views of their former CEO. I was a little skeptical of their sudden change of heart before, but some of my other friends who are starting companies swear by them now... So I figured I'd give them a shot. We've been in contact over the net, but this is our first official meeting.

    I slip into my fancy blazer, and step outside to meet them at the curb. When they step out of the shuttle I offer them both a friendly handshake. "Mr. Wright, Mrs. Arribas, good to finally meet you both!"
  • Luke Wright shakes your hand firmly, making direct eye contact. With his smooth British accent, he responds, "Please, call me Luke."

    Beatriz Camino Arribas also shakes your hand, her grip is soft, almost imperceptible. She steps into a hug, her smile warm. With her thick Colombian accent, she purrs, "Beatriz, only Beatriz, my friend. May I call you Raleigh?" She steps back, letting go of your hand.
  • You walk them in, Jenni joining you. You bring them up, give them a quick tour, then run them through the demo. They are blown away. Without a doubt, Raleigh, you've got them eating out of your hand.

    Lunch is delivered, and everyone sits around the conference table, chatting and eating. Well, Hitesh has his laptop out, even though Mindy is staring at him to put it away. Turns out Beatriz is Colombian, quite gregarious. She's a very touchy person, meaning she likes to touch people while talking, not sensitive feelings. She's chatty, too, mixing personal life and work talk in the same conversation.

    How are you handling things?
  • I smile and nod when we get down to a first name basis — I figured from our emails that was probably fine, but it never hurts to be safe. Then I walk them through the demo, like you said. Today is turning out to be a pretty decent day, in spite of its odd start...

    Sitting around at lunch, chatting with Luke and Beatriz has been very lively. These venture capitalists are always interesting people — though I guess pretty much anyone who can utter the phrase, "Will 15 million get the job done? Good. Then let's get it done," has likely led more than their share of an interesting life. Luke sounds like the kind of man you could go for pints with — only the very best pints, of course — and Beatriz' energy is enthralling.

    After a while of ignoring my soup, I've finally gotten through enough to come up for air and more conversation. "So how long are you two in town?"
  • "We're here for two days, Raleigh." Beatriz answers with a grin. "Just a few meetings with clients in Europe, so it will completely wreck my sleeping. Lucky Luke here," She pats his arm, "Gets to drive around town and check in on a few entrepeneurs. Me? I'll be stuck in my hotel room." She gives a mock pouty lip.

    "Beatriz, don't be silly, you know we can entertain you!" Jenni offers, looking to you for backup.
  • My eyebrows perk up, and smile over at Beatriz, "If Jenni's going to be doing something other than working after 7 PM, then I'm definitely down. This is something you only get to see once or twice a year."
  • That elicits a giggle from Mindy. Greg says, "Yeah, Beatriz, promise you'll go out with them. Jenni needs to get out tonight."

    Beatriz shakes her head, "Yes, this is good. We will all go out then, for food and drinks. My expense account needs some action!" She laughs a full, throaty laugh, and Luke chuckles at her reaction, but doesn't object at all.

    Luke and Beatriz finish up their lunch while Jenni calls another Uber shuttle to get them to their hotel. Beatriz smiles as they leave, "Come to my lobby at 7, yes?"
  • Sweet! "I know a few places that are worth eating at, and a few bars that are worth drinking at. Where have they put you up? I'll be there with bells on."
  • edited March 2014
    "At the plaza, of course," Beatriz replies with a smirk, as if FutureForth would set her up at anything other than one of the poshest, most modern hotels downtown. Luke heads for the shuttle with a wave, while Beatriz hugs Jenni, then moves over to hug you. Her hug is warm, a kiss on the cheek, leaving a tiny bit of lipstick, you're sure. Then, she's off with a grin, ducking into the cab.

    Jenni waits for the shuttle, a nice, clean white van, drives off before she says, "That went really well! What do you think?"
  • edited March 2014
    These venture capitalist types. So personable, so touchy-feely. I hug Beatriz back warmly, and wait for her to get in the cab before wiping off her lipstick from my cheek – then I turn to Jenni and put an arm around her shoulder, "it went really well! I think we'll be getting what we asked for."

    I start walking back towards the office, my arm still around Jenni in a playful way, "so you're really going to take the night off?" I'm teasing. She knows that.
  • "Technically, no." Jenni chirps back as she looks up at you, "I'll be asking a VC exec lots of questions about her job, and helping you make sure we rock her socks off. I really like FutureForth, they could go more than one round if we need it."

    Do you normally put your arm around, Jenni like this? I'm curious if this is the type of comfortable friendship you have, or if Beatriz has gotten everyone a little more touchy feely.
  • I'm a little touchy feely with my friends, but mostly just with Jenni. She's like my second-in-command, my copilot, my Edith Bunker, if you're into sitcoms set in the early 1970's – not that I ever really understood the premise of that show.

    Anyway, I smile down at her and open the office door for her – slipping my arm off her as I do. "So long as they don't demand us to sell off for ROI, I'm good. I'd like to keep the software side of this project to a minimum for now, and market that hardware project to them later. One step at a time, right?"
  • Jenni nods, she knows the deal, she's bought in. "Indeedly do, boss." She waits for the elevator, your arm still around her, and asks quietly, "Raleigh? ... do you think Beatriz was, ah, a little extra touchy with you? Or was that just me?"
  • Was she? I squint, and look contemplatively off into the distance for a minute, "uh... Maybe? I wasn't really paying attention. She seemed pretty "touchy-feely" in general... She is Colombian." Not that it's bad that she is... Just saying. "Why do you ask?"
  • The elevator arrives, a stern-looking woman with poofy white hair gets off, giving a brisk smile to you both, and you step onto the elevator. Jenni looks up, a sort of half-smile, "Dunno, just seemed a little extra. Probably nothing. But if it isn't, how do you want to play it, Raleigh?"

    Maybe she didn't notice anything and she's checking in with you about this? Have you two wined and dined VCs before? Any reason she'd be questioning things? Or is she being thorough?
  • I smile back at Linda as she gets off the elevator — she inherited her husband's real estate business. Last I heard, she stood to make a few million over the empire's holdings. I shake my head at all this strategic thinking Jenni's doing. "Hadn't thought about it — not really my style — I'll probably play it by ear. Probably not the best idea to literally get in bed with a venture capitalist, though." Not that I wouldn't... Or haven't... Or probably won't again... Every VC brings you out for wining and dining it seems — so yeah, we've done this a few times — but if Jenni's on the money about that, then I've got to be careful about it. Mixing business and pleasure can be problematic.

    I am a little amused by Jenni's interest in the subject though. She doesn't really prod me about this kind of stuff, so I don't know what her motives are. If this is emergent jealousy, deeply routed in sexual attraction, then we've both been blissfully ignorant to it until now. I am her meal ticket, though... So there's that. "Do I need to wear my blazer tonight?"
  • edited March 2014
    Jenni cracks up at that one. She giggles, and pats your chest lightly, since your arm is still around her, "It's going to be twenty three out tonight, I wouldn't recommend it. But it does bring out your eyes. Your call, bossman." She grins, then very effortlessly extricates herself from your arm before the elevator door opens on your floor, and briskly walks back to the office. She briskly walks most everywhere when she's working.

    How does the rest of the day go?
  • I chuckle to myself as Jenni walks out towards the office, and make my way over to my desk. I guess what I do with my personal life is my call. I just hope things don't get complicated. I spend the rest of the day tweaking the proposal for the new GUI expert I promised Hitesh, and cancelling a "meeting" I was supposed to have with some friends in my online community. It wasn't overly important, just a get together.

    I'd say things went pretty well this afternoon. That I snuck in a walk with Ray was just icing on the cake. I'm actually looking forward to shutting down, and getting out for some food. Maybe I can convince the group to catch a VR concert...
  • Let's skip ahead then, to the meet-up with Beatriz. It's a quarter past six.

    Jenni meets you at your house, and you drive in her car to the hotel. She's got a nice little four-door hybrid. She's dressed nice, stylish, but as usual, not at all revealing. How are you dressed, blazer or no?

    "You look nice, Raleigh!" She chirps regardless of what you're wearing. "Have you picked a restaurant? I've got six reservations on Open Table ready to go if you had trouble."
  • Well, I'm not in a tux or anything — and I can't own nice clothes with Ray — so I opted for my work blazer, and a nice dress shirt. Vancouver has a shitload of amazing restaurants downtown, and the moderate success of our company lets me eat at some of the better ones from time to time. "Thanks Jenni," I say with a smile as I hop into the passenger seat, "I got us a reservation at Miku — seemed like a bad idea to bring her all the way to Vancouver and not serve her some fresh fish."
  • Jenni rolls her eyes, "What a surprise. So, Miku-man, where did you get reservations? General seating, or captain's table?" She grins, pulling up her iPhone to show her Open Table reservations for the choice seats.
  • "You're too good," I say with a grin, and double tapping my phone, "Ada, cancel the reservations for Miku — Jenni got us the private room." I have no idea how she does that... Once Ada beeps compliantly, I buckle up and relax. "One of these days I'm going to have to pay you what you deserve, you know, and I can't afford that."
  • Jenni grins as she starts up the vehicle, "That right there, it's pretty darn good for me, Raleigh." The car purrs along quietly, running on battery in mid-city. She turns on the radio, right to your favorite local station. What's it playing?
  • edited March 2014
    I don't really listen to music radio unless I'm in a taxi or something — the music on the airwaves is so cookie-cutter it's almost painful. I get a good deal of my music from indie distributor services online. The music I listen to is mostly stuff you've never heard of...

    I'm kidding... Unless you're from the past, in which case you probably haven't, because most of my favorite bands didn't exist then. It's a healthy variety of electronica, folk music, and various other genres that are heavily influenced by a bunch of other genres. The subscriptions I have on cost a little more, but it's worth it. What I do listen to, though, is the CBC — specifically Radio1 — with a variety of decent talk shows. Mostly educational. Completely public — no advertisements. Quirks and Quarks is on. A show about science and engineering. It's all very interesting.
  • The radio is satellite, Jenni is playing some up-beat folk tunes, a band you like, of course. She likes them, too. Genuinely, not because you like them. She has a talent for finding crossover, things that most people like that aren't "things that everyone likes".

    She hums along to the tune as you weave in and out of traffic. As you come upon The Plaza, Jenni looks over, "Raleigh, do you want to drive when we pick her up? I can ride in the back, it's really comfy. Better than Beatriz back there, I think."
  • "I guess that's a good idea... You don't mind?"
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