After a delightful meal at Mizu's, you all head back to the office to log into VR. A quick walk out of the lobby, and then you're moving to the concert. DJ geocities is a pretty trendy "individual". Geo, as the DJ prefers to be called, wants to only be known for the music. No single look, no single gender, just the music. There are entire shows where geocities is logged in remote. That's rare, since fans have requested at least the feeling of the DJ's presence.
Being West Coast, the night's party has already started. There are sims and VR jockeys all throughout the club. What's this club look like, Raleigh? Did you set this one up? Who are you expecting will already be here?
I mean, who would want to spend more than a few minutes in a room that is explicitly designed to break your brain?
This club has a neat construction, very much like a lot of electronica concerts you might attend in real life — crowds of people, exuberant decorations, an energy in the room. This one is small, largely because Geo doesn't really want to be about the spectacle — just about the music. The room has a retro vibe. I'd imagine today's set will likely be inspired by some older classics. Most VR architects try to pair the visual/tactile experience of their shows. Most rooms have walls, and are in an enclosed space. This one is no different. The acoustics of this room even sound almost right — this is going to be an amazing show.
Sounds a bit like this:
To show of Geo's skills, there are "actual" turntables up on the suspended platform. Geo appears like an androgynous person in a yellow jumpsuit. Slightly olive skin, dark hair, very "easy to lose in a crowd". But the smile on Geo's face, not faked, pure. This is what the DJ lives for. And the mix, it is good.
People are hoping and bopping, most of them on the dancefloor. Of course, a certain percent of the denizens are pseudos, aka sims, used to fill out the crowd. How much AI do the sims have, Raleigh?
Jenni is showing her alt avatar, which is an adorable Japanese schoolgirl, like a younger, skinnier version of herself, complete with plaid shirt and red necktie. It isn't "sexied up", just seems to be one of her favorite skins.
Beatriz appears as she does IRL, nice black dress, makeup and all. She looks around at everyone (Jenni is appearing IRL to Beatriz, just not to you), and asks, "Should I, ah... change, Raleigh?"
You're spotted by BrokeNL, a lanky guy in a crazy white kung fu get-up, like a Shaw Brothers movie, with big cuffs and buttons and lots of gold flair. He's all smiles as he heads your way through the crowd.
How do you appear? Are you known as Raleigh here? How do you know BrokeNL?
What do you do?
I'm always a little surprised to see Jenni's avatar — I mean, I've seen it before, and it's not shocking, but Jenni doesn't strike me as the kind of woman to hide her true self... I'm not one to judge though — it's her avatar. "Don't worry about it," I assure Beatriz, "I took the liberty of setting your account here's public default avatar to "scene appropriate random" — like mine — so we probably look like random rich white kids at a party to most people here... Unless you want to change, of course. I think you look great, though."
BrokeNL is an older member of my online circles — we started hanging out because of a similar taste in music, and it turned out we had similar beliefs about privacy, VR, and life too. I wave over to him and smirk at his outfit as he approaches.
BrokeNL comes up to you, parting through the crowd deftly, a smile wide on his face. "Rall! Jenn!" He calls and does a few mock kung-fu moves.
Jenni grins, "Hello, Broken-el. This is an associate of ours..."
Beatrz interrupts, pushing a hand forward to shake BrokeNL's, "Call me Bea. This is my first time here!" She's raising her voice over the music, since she doesn't have selective audio filters.
When you ask how the show is treating BrokeNL, he raises an eyebrow dramatically, "It treats me like the fine dandy that I am, of course!" He's head bobbing to the music. The guy loves music, moving to the music, like this is the soundtrack to his life.
Beatriz is enjoying the music, too. She's smiling, dancing in place gently, more like moving to the beat. When BrokeNL catches her eye, she suddenly says, "Dance with me, Broken-El!" It's a pleasant demand, not in a diva tone, more like an enthusiastic
youth, really. He shrugs, then takes her hand and they gravitate to the center of the floor where others are dancing, normally in pairs, sometimes in small friend-circles.
Jenni laughs, "Wow, that's crazy! Hey, Raleigh, you want a drink?"
You know... stuff you couldn't necessarily do in real life. We're big on selling personal happiness in the VR.
I wave to Beatriz as she goes off to dance with BrokeNL, and nod to Jenni when she asks if I want a drink, "I don't know what the hell a venture capitalist would want for, but I have a feeling we're about to find out..."
Alone in the sea of dancing people, you see that BrokeNL is dancing and showing off for Bea, who is taking it in stride, and trying some of his odd gravity defying antics.
You spot endy, clad in grey and beige, distinct in his attempts to blend in. He hasn't seen you yet. He's currently sitting at a booth, watching people. Like he does.
Dancing with "her" lightshow and sim entourage is HakuneMizul33t, a vocaloid from decades ago that's been "claimed" by a VR enthusiast. You're rather sure, from the way Mizu acts aggressively and sexually, that "she" is actually controlled by some guy. But the handler has deep pockets, and hacks non-stop, adding in lots of flair to the world and spaces, so most folks put up with Mizu.
Doing anything before Jenni returns?
I'm just going to relax a minute before Jenni comes back... Just enjoy this moment.
Your HUD gets a message from Bloo
Raleigh, it's Bloo. Encroachment tonight. Some Corp hackers trying to crash the party. Keep eyes peeled for new blood.
I double tap my phone to bring up a console and twitch-type up a quick response.
I've got eyes on some business partners right now. Have you got a clue about entry points?
Yes, got their insertion access, they piggy backed Mizu. Not sure if it was consensual. You can check their feed trails, I marked them.
I'm adding a free aspect of "Marked Trail" to the pair of hackers here at the club.
You can tag that Aspect for a roll once the first time without paying a FP.
I smile back at Jenni and turn my attention to the crowd. "Ada," I call in a private chat, "can you hide all non-AI entities in the room, and flag anyone in my trusted list? I want to do a sweep for anyone using Proxies or known corporate IP addresses."
I'll have you go first, since you have the heads up on them.
(Rolled: 4dF+2. Total: 4. Rolls: 0, 0, +, +)
There are your hackers. One appears as a male, in the crowd, dancing with sims, probably, but they're invisible to you. The other is watching endy, a table away, appears as female. They blend in rather well.
What do you do?
I cross the distance to the lady hacker, playing it cool... It's time to bring down the ban-hammer.
She notices your approach eventually, but her pose is still relaxed. She doesn't seem to have an idea that you're onto her. She looks up with a languid expression, confidant, like she's the prettiest girl in the room. "Hello there."
You feel her gently reaching out for information on you, searching through the feed and the matrix and whatnot for your details.
What do you do?
I kid. What she's going to find is my business IP, which will lead her to my media profile — a huge display of "entrepreneur of the year" and "hottest start-up kingpin" awards. I'm hoping the flashy profile will keep her distracted long enough to let me do my thing... "My, my miss... You certainly do know how to put on a show. Can I buy you a drink?" I'm flashing her my best smile. Anything to get her to touch me so I can spring my trap.
She winks once, "Come here often?"
When you ask about Mizu, BIT-r answers simply, smoothly, "Similar interests. I was building my own vocaloid and heavy on the fan communities. I chatted with Mizu, and, uh, they mentioned this place. I know, sort of weird to go from "we both like this one thing" to "hey, come out to this club with me", but I don't get out much. I'm a private person normally." The last bit of her cover story seems a bit more revelatory that you probably anticipated.
I smile back at her and nod along, "well you came to the right place for a private party — I don't suppose you'd care to dance?" I offer her my hand. Take the bait you stupid pencil-pusher.
Let's see how well you keep BIT-r out of your network, Raleigh. I'd like to see this as a simple roll, with you and BIT-r pitting your hacking skills against each other.
Her ongoing intrusion attempts will count as her "attack" (Overcome action) on your secret identity.
Since taking her hand serves as your intrusion, we can count that as your attack (Overcome action) on her defenses.
Let's see some dice!
(Rolled: 4dF+2. Total: 4. Rolls: +, -, +, +)
(Rolled: 4dF+2. Total: 3. Rolls: +, 0, 0, 0)
Regardless, you beat her .
At least she's trying to dance with you, which is still better than BrokeNL. He's doing some serious acrobatics. You catch Bea's eye as she's dancing. Her body moves well, natural movement to the music, not some hyper-active gyrations. She smiles at you, looks to BIT-r, raises her brows in a silent question. More curious than anything.
You're in a very sleek-looking corporate lobby. There are suits and execs here, all moving in and out of an intranet. A very confused, woman is standing in front of you. She's in her thirties, thin, not unattractive, but definitely not the hotness from the club. "You...? You booted me?"
In fact, I'm going to pull up a terminal and do just that!
Patricia Tern Age - 34 Employment - Samsung-Comcast Zaibatsu Position - Security Consultant
"It was a job, to scope the private VR sites. Mizu is such a dumbass, he leaves big trails easy to follow, so I did."
Why don't we make this into a simple roll against a Fair Difficulty (+2). It isn't so much if you get intel out of Patricia, as much as "do you get that intel before her partner does some real damage?"
Well... Before misguided and corrupt politicians had their way with us.
"Look," I offer, "I need this information now, and I'm happy not to report this little screw up to your superiors if you cooperate. I'm going to go digging through your corporate files for an answer – and as a security consultant, I would imagine that would constitute a breach you could capitalize on... Right?"
I'm not above dealing with her. I'm even reasonable to the human beings that get dragged into this nonsense.
OOC: I'm trying to be clever here...
What do you do?
"Well, Patricia, that is disappointing as hell... I'm pretty sure the start-up in question wouldn't appreciate a big corporation using intimidation tactics to get them out of their turf — let alone the venture capitalists who are hoping for ROIs." I take a step closer to her, "I'll tell you what — you get Will out of there before I have a chance to kick him out, and don't step foot in that club again, and I won't blacklist your name... It's not even our main hangout. If you get particularly bored, have a peek around the exnets for me. Some of the members out there love trash-talking corporations."
She shrugs, "Just saying. I mean, if there's nothing going on, you could just bore us to death and we'll move on."
"I'll tell you what," I answer, "keep Will off the trail, and you can stay."
Plus, I'm not so big into cyber-vandalism — it's more what these corporate assholes do — so instead I just drop out to the club, switching back to my work profile, and grab the blue drink Jenni got for me to go join the party.
Beatriz is still dancing with BrokeNL, but she sees you, with the blue drink, and gives you a look like "save me".
How do you butt in?
I spot Beatriz' request for rescue, and slowly start making my way through the crowd. I put a hand on BrokeNL's shoulder and whisper, "boy you're dancing like the Energizer Bunny out here..." I look over to Beatriz and smile, "have you ever tried a digital cocktail? The bartender here's can whip up some pretty fantastic stuff. C'mon! I'll introduce you!"
Beatriz moves closer to you, answering, "Never had one, it sounds interesting. Thanks, BrokeNL." She walks off with you towards the bar. Along the way, she asks, "Do the cocktails actually physically stimulate anything through the headgear, or is it visual only?"
You know... Sexual ones.
"What's your poison?"
"I like vodka, actually," Beatrix answers as she looks behind the bar at the items on display. She admits, "Cheap stuff, since that's what I craved as a teenager."
I may have added a Goosebump to Bea's drink... Just something to give her a little chill, tickle, and a flush when she takes a sip. Nothing overly uncomfortable — and way easier than my first time prank. "I think you'll enjoy this one."
"This is a cool place, Raleigh," Beatriz says. "Is this where you normally go?" She turns to you sideways, an elbow on the bar. She's got like, no sense of personal space, she's inches away, but for her, it seems natural.
When you ask why she's asking, she smirks again, "Curiosity. Like me, at home with my TV. Hundreds of channels, but I only surf maybe ten of them, if that. So, VR is maybe like that, I wonder. Lots of possible entertainment, but really, there's only the good stuff in certain places. Si?"
I eye her up and down, and give her hand a quick squeeze, "some of us more willing than others."
"Well," I answer, slickly wrapping an arm around her and showing her the console, "I've always been partial to a quick five-star getaway... Miss home? I could go for a few drinks in a beach-house near Santa Marta — once the setting is picked, we'll be able to pull up any assets we need to spice it up..."
She stands there for a few moments, staring at the reflection of the mountain in the water, her fingers lightly touching your arm around her waist, fingers in yours as you touch her flat tummy.
Suddenly, she playfully elbows you, then runs towards the shore. With quick movements, she strips off her clothes, down to her matching bra and panties, and screams out a "Whoop!" as she runs into the water, slashing it up around her legs. She squeals, "Fucking cold!" and looks back, but keeps moving deeper, then dips her head backwards, getting her hair wet.
I swim up alongside her, and pull her in down into the water. "I could turn up the temperature of the water, but what would be the fun in that?"
Then she's right beside you, looking into your eyes, the sun dancing off the water around her. She cranes her head up towards yours, sliding fingers into your hair and kissing you. Like her exuberant run into the water, she's kissing you fiercely. Just a kiss, but a fiery one indeed.
When we finally pull back for air, I whisper, "You're wearing one of my headsets, Bea — I could do a lot of things to you."
Unrestricted access to debug mode of our headsets.
So long as I ease her into things, so I don't break the illusion, I could make her whole body shake ... Not that I need access to debug mode in a VR headset to do that, but it certainly helps. It's q shortcut. I do a quick terrain mod to put a comfortable little island underneath us, and put a warm sunbeam on top of us. "Then you're with the right guy."
Good thing these NSFW functions are all software... I just won't tell Jenni... Hopefully she's enjoying herself.
After a little, she stops, wavers a little and laughs, "Oh, I feel dizzy. I didn't know if that would..." She looks over at you, "Can we fly?" She asks the question like a little girl, her goes high at the end in an expectant, hopeful tone.
I reach a hand out to her, "c'mon up!"
Of course, she bends her knees, all dramatic, which looks odd in her dress. Then, she jumps, getting good air, more than she expected from her little gasp. At the apex, she stabs her feet downwards, in some weird attempt at a jump. And promptly stops. In mid air.
Her eyes wild, she looks at you, mouth agape.
Seems like she got her childhood wish after all.