September 5, 2019 at 11:01 am #21331
Al eyed the doubled array of sensor towers doubtfully. Still…. “Well, harder ta git past they sensors on autopilot. But reckon yer toy’s got a damned sight better shot at slippin’ by unseen than any of us’n. An Precious’s zoom-zoom plan won’t do her no good if’n she don’t know where she’s goin’. So what the hell – I say send yer drone in.”September 5, 2019 at 3:35 pm #21334
“Looks like a pretty dense sensor net. But they must still have to deal with nature giving them false positives. They might respond to everything right now because of the drone reporting it was under attack. But anything we can do to pass it off as a bird or wind-blown leaf or something might help. I guess not many birds out at night, but perhaps at least come in from up-wind? And take a guess at the pattern of the wind over the lip of the crater, follow about the right course … I wonder if there are any field modifications we could do the drone’s appearance to make it match the environment better?”
For the first time since arriving on the island, Preston started paying attention to the natural environment in detail. besides trying to kill him with pollen and torture him with insects, what did the place offer that they could take advantage of?September 5, 2019 at 3:52 pm #21335
The volcanic island didn’t have much to offer: Sharp stones, coarse sand, some lichen and moss as well as the usual dross that the sea washed ashore each day. As things went, it was quite a good approximation of a barren planet, if you ignored the fact that the climate here was pretty mild.
As he looked around, Preston realized that the spy drone would have the highest chance by going straight up and coming at the compound from directly above.
The aerial eye from above revealed that getting close to the air lock would require a lengthy and very careful spiral movement to use the terrain and environmental effects as a screen against the sensorsSpoiler:September 6, 2019 at 12:38 pm #21339
On his belly next to Preston, Al rasped in a low voice, “Birds don’t fly at night, but bats do, an’ I seen several already. But up an’ straight down, that’s the ticket. Anyhoo, I doubt mightily that the drone Precious skewered sent a message ta anyone. Worst case is they tip to us when it don’t jack in fer a recharge at a designated interval. This whole place is wireless dark. Sheee-it, look how them drones yonder is tethered to fiberoptic lines. An’ us with a nifty data tap….One thing, though, y’all – jist cuz they ain’t usin’ wifi don’t mean they can’t scan fer it, so any signals we send out may stand out like a damn disco ball out here. Or not. I reckon go with the drone while takin’ a stab at they system. Then, if we find where our targets are, we can try slippin’ down along them rock screens there fer that air lock – them of us with the requisite ninja-know-how, that is – them sensors got sharp eyes….”September 8, 2019 at 5:43 am #21345
Rebbeca agrees with Al and says: ”I am entirely wifi-dark, which means that my devices can only connect at a short physical distance. Nothing is perfect, but this is reasonable security for me. I suggest we all do that.”
Then she looks for Preston and says, ”Preston, we need you to provide camera feed intelligence. I am aware of their high-tech security, but our best chances are to utilize the brilliant decker we brought with us… Sneaking in with a clear target is preferable than randomly searching the place.”Spoiler:
September 10, 2019 at 6:51 am #21366AriaParticipant
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Gilga.
[Saturday September 10, 2078; Volcanic Atoll off the coast of Panama]
Lily delicately fished out one of her two flying eyeball drones and held it out to Preston
“Here, any complicated pre-written instructions are probably better coming from you, I’ll transfer ownership to you if that helps? It’s got a single shot looper round and a stealth ‘soft to help it avoid detection. If you can program the best route to get down through that sensor grid then hopefully it can either find a way inside or better yet find our target from the outside…”
#35September 10, 2019 at 10:26 pm #21377
Preston slogs back to the shore as carefully as he can, desperately trying to avoid patrolling drones since he doesn’t have Becky to pick them off for him. Then again, given the improbable range to her bow, he isn’t sure that arrows from heaven might not save him if it came to that. But still, he tries to avoid the need for any help from above (up the slope of the volcano, that is) by avoiding trouble. Along the way he finds a couple of good sized stones to take along with him.
Back at the beach he finds where they had cached their diving gear and gets his tank and mask and fins he wades out to near the limit of the data cable before using the stones to help sink him to the sandy ground beneath the waves — it is not too rough, and down a meter and a half if it a little less hostile. Now he just prays that he can breath well enough while in hot sim. He resolves to drop into AR regularly to make sure he isn’t drowning.
* Oleg: This is the stupidest place I’ve ever gone into hot sim
* Gamma: Beats waking up dead from an assault drone
* Oleg: Assuming something doesn’t bite some limbs off
* Coleman: Time to stop stalling and start hacking.
With a mental sigh, he jumped in.September 11, 2019 at 7:23 am #21380
Al hunkered down behind a curtain of volcanic rock to wait for the hacking and drone scouting to get done. With the geological formation between him and the sensor towers, he figured he could risk a cigarette.
He’d caught up some with his old acquaintance Thorn over drinks before setting off on this trip, but he still had some questions. “So I’m assumin’ that, like ol’ Al, ya got yerself out’n Seattle fer a spell after the Eye-ties tipped ta our shenanigans. I spent most o’ my time since then in London. Most of it. Ya been down here south o’ the border the whole time?”September 11, 2019 at 5:18 pm #21389
Preston found himself staring at the form of an old fashioned offline-host, entirely separate from the global matrix. The VR was crude and lacked the usual high definition of current state of the art, but even so the form of the host was impressive in its own right. Among a vast black, starless sky above red sand he faced a glittering half sphere with a city inside whose buildings seemed too tall and spindly. All it needed was some white confetti inside to look like the largest snow globe ever created.Spoiler:
Thorn replied with a shrug: “To be honest, it was a rather involved journey – I just moved south howsoever I could: Hitchhiking, bitch riding, in niches hiding and once I even had to do some witch fighting. For a while I worked for a group of smugglers while crossing Azlan. And about half a year ago I arrived here in Panama. After my last delivery to Vasco he offered me a job as his bodyguard and errant boy. Definitely beats trudging through jungles and getting sucked out by insects.
How about you? What did you do in London of all places?”September 12, 2019 at 8:04 am #21393
“Mostly stayed drunk as much as possible. But I did some work. Much of it, sad ta say, inna Mole Kingdom.”
Mask or not, he could sense the quizzical expression on Thorn’s face.
“Yeah, believe it or not, they got this whole fucked up realm underneath London. Not yer usual collection o’ hard-workin’ tuskers an’ halfers tryin’ ta make ends meet fer they families. Nah, they got this whole set up down there with nobility an’ castes an’ commerce an’ tribes. An’ every iota of it bent ta evil an’ degeneracy. Make all they coin pushin’ designer drugs an’ sex slaves on the world above. Test the shit on they own kids afore sellin’ ’em – they own kin – ta decadent overworlders fer a lifetime o’ sexual subjugation. Tellin’ ya, Thorny baby, this is a place ya never want ta see. All the folk down there, they eyes is double-sized fer seein’ in the eternal dark, an’ they nails toughened fer diggin’ an’ burrowin’. An’ all manner o’ crazy death cults – which ever’one down there’s a member of – bent on slayin’ them as contests they evil enterprises, wieldin’ a right cornu-fuckin’-copia o’ poisons an’ witch-curses. An’ the whole society controlled by the upper castes throught subliminal messagin’ transmitted through the flicker o’ the lights.”September 12, 2019 at 3:00 pm #21396
“Damn, that sounds slightly worse than what happens in Seattle above ground. Although the bloodspirits in Azlan aren’t particularly pleasant either. One of the reasons I live in Panama City now.
But tell me, what exactly is up with this place? You want to get back an abductee if I understand you correctly. Last time they evacuated him before you could get to him. Maybe you’d sabotage their rides beforehand to avoid that. Not to mention that if we succeed we don’t want them following us either…”
Thorn replied thoughtfully.September 13, 2019 at 7:05 am #21398
“Man with a Plan, that’s you, Thorny baby. We’ll have ta be eyes-sharp, though, cuz the last time they cut out on us they used a damned small little transport drone – itsy bitsy thing – they could have ’em anywhere. But let’s see what the watchers see….” at which Al promptly messaged Preston. <<Yo amigo – long as yer hackin’ an’ dronin’ an’ so forth, couldn’t hurt if ya bookmarked any sign o’ where they’s keepin’ they transport assets. Thanks.>>September 13, 2019 at 10:22 am #21402
The drone had delivered an aerial overview over the structure – which as basically the same as at Mt. Helens: On the opposite site of their position was a small runway where the long range drones likely had to start. Unlike at Mt. Helens, there were no parked drones visible outside.September 13, 2019 at 2:31 pm #21410
Rebbeca keeps silent and hidden from sight. Her eyes gently move to directions to see a coming attack. She is not calm enough to make small talk, and admire the guys for doing it. (while simultaneously cursing them for not taking the infiltration effort seriously enough.) Then again, as much as she tired she was never the lay back and relax kind of runner.September 15, 2019 at 6:22 pm #21423
Preston found the host not as difficult as it’s Seattle cousin. There was dreadful potential damage here, but less matrix awareness. Getting into the host made him anxious but it went OK, then the search for the sensor data went as easily as could be hoped.
He took a break at that point to make sure he wasn’t drowning, but it wasn’t long before he was swimming in hot sim and hoping his body was still anchored in place.
The files were easy enough to check for security, but the sheer volume of data made looking for patterns a challenge. Still, in due course he thought he had a handle on the coverage, and started looking for blind spots.September 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm #21439Spoiler:
The inside of the host was even less polished than the one before. It seemed as if it lacked the processing power of Mt. Helens. And without access to the matrix and its foundation it had to do the work all alone.
That also meant, there was no real overwatch score to worry about and the patrol IC was pretty hampered in its recognition abilities. All that worked in Preston’s favor. So it was only a short while until he found the sensor files.
They created a 3D environment with barely a blind spot.
Yet he saw a way to get to the base – all it required to loop two of the sensor arrays.
A casual look at the logfiles showed also that a transport drone had been unloaded about one day before and it’s cargo brought straight to the med bay.
September 17, 2019 at 10:28 pm #21460
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Jack_Spade.
Preston popped up to AR for a couple of dozen long seconds, crawling his way up closer to the beach. As soon as he got this done he was going to need to pop above the water to notify the team.
Then back into hot-sim for some surprisingly intense hacking. The host wasn’t all thatstrong, nor optimized for file protection, but all the same it was a near thing on the first sensor.
* Gamma: my hack was good, but it was barely enough
* Coleman: Good is good, but sometimes you also just have to be lucky
On the second he was almost done when he remembered recent security upgrades that focused on recognizing the small imperfections in timing of commands sequences coming from hackers, and made sure to clean up the consistency of hack before applying it. Again it felt like the sensor only grudgingly agreed to keep repeating its footage.
Preston returned to AR, and the odd sensation of sweating while in sea water. He dropped the rocks he’d brought with him and scrambled to his feet. He fired off a quick ARO to the team with the safe path through the compromised sensor array makred. <<Here’s your path. Go quickly. I’ll send Becky’s drone to you if there is trouble.>>September 18, 2019 at 7:09 am #21463
“Go time, muchachos,” Al declared, stubbing out his cigarette. Unlimbering his rifle, he started carefully down the path they’d chosen.September 19, 2019 at 6:51 am #21486
”Indeed… Pay close attention to your equipment, and to me, and be silent” she speaks and then follows Al quietly.
She will correct any minor mistakes she encounters in the others with a quiet gesture.Spoiler:
September 19, 2019 at 10:21 am #21488AriaParticipant
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Gilga.
[Saturday September 10, 2078; Volcanic Atoll off the coast of Panama]
Lily ghosted after the other two wriggling through the dark silica and pumice, just one more shadow as they approached the blocky structures below them. Once again she mentally played back the various sim flicks she’d studied as part of her education in preparation for this strange life…
She subvocalized in to her transceiver, hoping that they were monitoring matrix frequencies rather than the higher bandwidths used by the small devices…
> Preston, can we approach the landing strip under the looped sensors? Might be a good idea if Al mined the strip to prevent anyone leaving in a hurry if we get made…nice distraction too. Then let’s locate our mark and bug out
There, she was even starting to sound like one
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