June 7, 2019 at 5:37 pm #19577
<<We’s sittin’ tight here, Presto baby. We got a good hide, an’ nothin’ you do in virtualand’s gon’ change that. If’n ya find somethin’ makes us want ta move in a precipitous manner, then we’s inna right spot. An’ if’n it were our wish ta git clear, we’d wanna do that after yer play, so’s if we was spotted it don’t put ’em on alert fer you.>>
Al congratulated himself on his excellent rationalization for sitting comfortably and doing nothing. Now if he could just figure out a way to smoke without removing his respirator or giving away their position….June 8, 2019 at 12:49 pm #19607
* AAAA: Scary!
* Coleman: This is not guaranteed success. I’m going to be up against the limits of my deck.
* Gamma: I could have afforded a better deck by now if I had not replaced my arm
* Eliza: It was worth it to replace the arm. The new one feels much more like part of me.
* Monkey: I need to stop futtering around and just do it!
Preston checked all his configurations a last time, then let his ghosted out cartoon ‘mountie’ avatar saunter up to the host and give it an imperious flick with his riding crop — while behind the scenes he threw his best hack, incorporating all the latest exploits in a staggered- parallel stream of trickery. When he saw his mark take hold on the host his bio-monitor reported that he had let out a breath that he’d been holding for 8 seconds, and that his pulse rate dropped 20%.
* Gamma: my confidence in dealing with this host is not high.
* Monkey: I should have brought some cerepax.
He used the mark to give himself permission to enter the host, then slipped in, still running hidden. Once on the inside he opened his matrix ‘eyes’ as wide as he could and took in what the host looked like from the inside.June 8, 2019 at 1:02 pm #19609
The offline host appeared to be a very pleasant tropical island, surrounded by endless blue ocean. The middle of the island consistet of an impossible high mountain, rimmed by glaziers.
One of the beaches seemed to contain a few bungalows where a bunch of user icons dwelled. They all looked like tourists.
Preston recognized a patrol IC flying above in the form of a seagul. Thanks to the vastness of the host, it had a hard time to watch every spot at once. Preston guessed he had between 6 and 30 seconds between every sweep.
Looking around further, he identified a data repository in the form of an ancient temple, controls for the habitat looking like a crash landed airplane as well as an AI controling everything in the form of a very tall and broadshouldered Maori warrior whose tatoos glowed in neon red.
Further out on a long green patch of gras that looked much more at home on some cliffs in Ireland, he found a flock of exotic birds, representing the drone controls.June 10, 2019 at 11:23 am #19638
[Saturday September 10, 2078; Ash wastes at the ‘Mars Base’, Mt St Helens]
Lily waited with nervous excitement, although she was careful to keep any signs out of her voice, the buzz was better than kaf! The few runs she’d done for Feather before this had been comparatively simple and hadn’t involved squatting in ash waiting to be sprung by an unknown foe. She liked the direct approach but conceded that this was much better for attuning the senses… she felt truly alive. Her escape from Below had been similar but without the grinding fear and panic coursing through her. She was confident in herself, but not so much that she wanted to follow Al into a blind charge. If Preston could locate their target she was more than ready to start running!
#17June 12, 2019 at 9:51 pm #19680
Preston quickly adapted his iconography. Even if he was running silent, it couldn’t hurt. Then he contacted the team
<<quite an elaborate host with a lot of use going on. I think I’m seeing drone controls, environmental controls, and what seems to be an AI running the whole show. If you have something you really want done then let me know, but as I mentioned earlier I suspect that as soon as I draw attention I’ll be off-line fairly quickly, so whatever I do needs to be what you need done, and timed together.>>June 13, 2019 at 4:47 am #19682
<<Find Seljanov an’ assess security. From there we decide whether we can snatch him quick now, in which case ya stay with us hot, or if need ta pull back fer more prep, in which case keep gatherin’ other intel as long as it’s safe.>>June 13, 2019 at 5:24 am #19687
The weather had worsened while they waited. The drizzling rain had turned to real, heavy drops and temperatures had fallen considerably. All in all it was not a particular likeness to the dry Mars, but then for the people inside the tents it didn’t really make a difference – beyond the loud drumming the rain must have been causing.June 13, 2019 at 11:40 am #19694
Squatting in the pouring rain, Al rapidly double-checked his weapons and load-out as he waited for Preston’s assessment. If it looked like a quick snatch was doable, the sudden deluge had come at the perfect time to lower visibility, not to mention the way it would muffle and confuse sounds.June 13, 2019 at 10:50 pm #19703
Doing his best to stay unseen, Preston crept around to the temple. Peering inside he checked for any other occupants before studying the contents for some sort of tracking system for the inhabitants — surely in Mars habitat they’d been monitoring who was where, in case of an air leak or something?Spoiler:June 14, 2019 at 4:16 am #19712
Moving through the offline host was easier than expected. The architecture made hard for the patrol IC to get a good line of sight and the general activity level was high enough for Preston to not stand out.
The metaphor of the old temple contained quite a lot of log files. Searching for Veljanov didn’t bring any results – it didn’t seem like they had made official records of abducting a star.
But a search for the last arrival showed, that one person had been taken into the secure quarantain station in the central habitat.
Thanks to consciencous security design, the evacuation plan for the whole structure contained a very detailed map, easily and readily accessible by everyone. Within seconds, Preston had plotted a course that would lead them through the airlock and toward the central structure.
There were cameras slaved to the host, but preston would have to actively tamper with them if he wanted to gain access to their footage…June 15, 2019 at 10:33 pm #19741
<<All right, looks like I’m playing decker in the van today, if you all are ready to rock. The most recent arrival is in the ‘quarantine station’ in the central habitat. Here’s your route. Get ready to move in a few seconds –I’ll send the message ‘launch’>>
<<I’ll be trying to loop cameras to minimize your exposure, and call for anything else you need … if I’m jacking out due to attack, I’ll send you a message saying ‘boojum’>>
Preston queued up the messages so that it would be only a thought to send that warning.
* Coleman: Moving to the habitat controls will risk exposure, but I need to give them as much cover as I can
* Monkey: I don’t want Becky sent to Mars!
Preston checked the status of the patrol IC, and judged when it was best to move to the ‘crashed airplane’ where he could access the habitate controls. When he thought he was safest, he made his move.
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