May 13, 2019 at 5:46 pm #18724
Radiant Shadow replied after a few seconds: <<Hi stranger, how’s it hanging? Can’t say I ran across them in my… professional capacity. But a friend of mine in the community was approached by them. As far as I understood those guys aren’t particular crazy – or rather they are crazy of a specific kind. The kind that has a business plan, long term strategy and big money behind them.
There is supposed to be a South America connection too, but that might just be a rumor.
Anyway, sorry, can’t help you there. Have fun, you know where to find me if you need me.>>May 14, 2019 at 1:36 am #18728
Rebbeca browsed the public data about scheduled transit to figure out if the kidnappers had an opportunity to smuggle Alex to the airfield by air yet. Or if the next scheduled flight was their opportunity to do so. Clearly, the airfield was a good location to hide a hostage being inaccessible, and out of reach for most people.Spoiler:
She thought for a moment about what to do next and then said ”Basically, I think we need information. We can get to the airfield – but what then? We takeover by force and look for Alex? Perhaps we can do the recruitment thing first, and try to get me recruited… It is a dwarf thing and none of us is a dwarf, but we can hack the guest list, or something similar. If we can get me recruited than raiding the airfield becomes safer as we may have a person on the inside.”
May 14, 2019 at 2:13 pm #18734
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Gilga.
As it turned out, there was a weekly supply drop which just so happened to coincide with the night of the abduction.May 14, 2019 at 2:15 pm #18735
“Well there it is – looks like he’s probably already there. But anyhoo. yer takin’ a page from my book, Precious. Like I said, main thrust is talkin’ our way in, but someone stays outside as back-up. Info I got says this recruitment show’s open ta ever’one. Could be they jist prefers keebs an’ halfers but still recognize the need fer humans to git things done. An’ like I said, Lily here’s gotta be they wet dream. Hell, I say we all apply – more chance o’ more of us gittin’ in. Them as don’t can be the back-up squad, an’ if’n they’s caught lurkin’ around outside, they’s already on file as wannabes – ready-made story.”
Al stubbed out his cigarette.
“Trickiest part is, doubt anyone can git the Gaz across that ground ‘ceptin’ fer Al. Which is ironical since, with my masterful Thespian skills, I’m by far the most likely ta convince ’em ta let me join up. An’ even I can’t be in two places at once.”May 14, 2019 at 3:18 pm #18737
* Oleg: Much of the time Al doesn’t look like he’d survive a trip to the top of a mountain, forget about to Mars.
* Eliza: But he does have something about him, they could be attracted to it too.
“Let’s see how things go tonight before we worry too much about the Gaz. If nothing else, I know a mechanic who is a pretty good physical driver — he has a beef with what he calls ‘the surveillance state’ and doesn’t like doing anything more than he has to with the matrix. Maybe I could convince him to drive — and he’s a dwarf, so maybe that would even help a bit? But like I said, let’s wait and see. ”
* Oleg: I’ve got teammates who are good at computer research, which is a nice change.
* Gama: But each person has their own interests and biases that guide their research. Al looked at geography and transport.
* Eliza: The others will all attract attention tonight in their own ways. I need to be ready to just keep people talking, and to learn as much as possible.
* Coleman: I need to let them know about my breathing problems, before I get distracted by research.
“One thing I should mention, my lungs are crap. Scared from eating a home-brew tear gas grenade. Not by choice obviously. One of these days I’ll set aside money and time for a replacement, but for now, well they get irritated pretty easily. Mostly it is a problem if I’m exerting myself for too long, but around sulphur gas and maybe thinner air I may be prone to problems. That could lead them to reject me, maybe. And might limit my activity if/when we get up to their training base.”
With that unpleasant confession out of the way, Preston hit the matrix for writings, pics, trid recordings, or first person accounts that would give him an idea of what to expect from the recruiters, particular phrases that seemed to matter to the group, style statements encompassed in their hair and clothes, and all those other little factoids that might help him blend in and pull people into conversation.May 14, 2019 at 5:34 pm #18738
As no one had called any preferences on destination, Al figured he’d just drive up to Snohomish right away. It was a lot more pleasant on the highway without the daytime traffic, and the air felt good with the window down. He’d find a truck stop to get some rest, if not sleep, before they hit this recruiting drive the next day.
As he drove, he called Silky. He didn’t mention their job’s objective, but did share with her his interest in the Wafarers, explaining the elf/dwarf connection, and about the base on Mt St. Helens. Filled it out with mentions of possible connections to immortal elves, monads, corp backing, self-aware anthroforms (a real hook for Silk), and South America. Asked her if she knew anything about these people, or if she could find anything out.May 14, 2019 at 5:46 pm #18740
Once they’d driven around Snohomish enough to get a feel for the place, Preston called his car. Given traffic and all he had time to have that fine truck stop supper before it arrived, but at least he got home in time to sleep in his own bed. Although before sleeping he put together a preliminary list of key words and images based on his research. With some luck his subconscious would achieve some sort of gestalt from the scattered bits of data.May 15, 2019 at 7:46 am #18746
[Wednesday September 7, 2078; Al’s Truck Heading Somewhere, Seattle Metroplex]
“I don’t have anything as strong as a moral code, I don’t think, yet anyway. Al’s right… I’ll just have to do what feels right at the time and hope I can live with it afterwards. I’m not yet cynical enough to think that I will have to do a terrible thing, I believe there will always be a choice… perhaps you will all prove me wrong. Your world is a dark one, I prefer to see the glimmer of light, maybe that will be enough, maybe not. What we are doing is criminal, I get that, but it doesn’t have to be the same as bad…” She smiled sadly “Right now we are going to rescue a trid star, what could be better?”
After Preston’s warnings about his lungs she said “I ought to warn you too that the people who gave me this body want it back rather badly, whether I’m in it at the time might or might not matter to them, I don’t know. I’d rather not get paraded around as a transhumanist figure head… heh, I made a joke… I’ve been hiding out with the Mechanicals for a reason and sneaking about in the shadows is ok but if these Wayfarers start using me on their poster campaign that could bring some unwanted attention. Becky will be better handling the talking stuff, I’ll only end up putting my foot in it…”
#10May 15, 2019 at 7:53 am #18747
“Roger that, kid. Hell, you look like you could handle sleepin’ rough. Maybe you’re the best person fer the outside back-up role, if yer shy o’ the spotlight.”May 15, 2019 at 3:42 pm #18757
Having a whole day to kill before the event, Preston dived into the whole Wayfarer business. It turned out that the group had been active for almost two years now, getting mentioned in forums and discussion boards across the globe. Humanis can’t decide if they support the idea of shuffling off the subhumans to the red planet or if its another case of priviledged individuals causing trouble and than taking the easy way out, leaving honest, hardworking humans in the dirt behind.
As for style, there doesn’t seem to be anything standing out except for the aura of respectability the group tries to expose – suits and ties and black leather shoes seem to be a common feature among them. But their recruitment efforts go for all kinds of trades – engineers, farmers, soldiers, administrators, athletes and entertainers are all fair game within their purview.
During this research, Preston also found a commcode through which he could contact one of their spokesmen.May 15, 2019 at 5:21 pm #18759
Silk had listened to Al but said she needed some time and promised to get back to him. Which was fine – the whole research thing was feeling a lot like deskwork, and thus wholly unacceptable.
They ended up at a big truck stop in Snohomish, where Al enjoyed his chicken-fried steak mightily. When Preston had left to go home, Al had stayed, renting one of their tiny rooms. After going in and out a few times, however, he left a lamp on and squeezed out the tiny bathroom window, then slunk through the shadows back to the Gov, which was parked just a short distance from the door. Once inside, he locked up and told its sensors to let him know if anyone approached the room’s door. It was an uncharacteristic precaution, but he’d seen Sukie Redflower do it in her latest outing, so figured it was worth a shot.
Once spread out on the red velvet cushions in the back of the van, he stared into the eyes of his haloed Red Samurai until he fell into a rare, deep sleep. He dreamt of running across a field of red sand, but his feet kept sinking and the tentacled black monstrosity behind him was closing in….he knew that he was on Mars because he’d failed at some job or another with Shrike and Sian and had to leave Earth when it was overrun, but now they’d followed the last of humanity to Mars…..May 16, 2019 at 8:15 am #18768
[Thursday September 8, 2078; Al’s Truck, Snohomish Truck Stop, Seattle Metroplex]
When Al woke in the morning he was somewhat surprised to find Lily still sitting in the front of the Governor…damn, maybe there was some truth to her effect on him, he’d forgotten all about her! And apparently robo girls didn’t need to eat or piss because as far as he could tell she hadn’t moved from the spot since they’d arrived at the truck stop. Her wide grey eyes were open and watching him with interest…just what had he been muttering in his sleep? All in all most disconcerting!
#11May 16, 2019 at 5:31 pm #18794
Al woke with a scratch and a groan. Craning his neck, he looked through to the windshield to see a heavy coating of dew. Autumn was giving way to winter here in the northern reaches of the metroplex, and a chilly morning it would be. Bright rays of sunlight were making forays over the shoulders of the Cascades, enough to blind but not to warm. Shuddering at the thought of the bracing country air, Al stood up, grabbed an empty beer can, and unlimbered The Elephant. Within moments he was relieving himself while working the kinks out of his shoulders, and it was in this pose that he noticed the completely motionless figure of a half-metal girl gazing implacably at him.
He jumped a full eight inches off the floor, wetting his hands and dropping the open, half-full can on a toe before pinching off the stream and scrambling to turn away and cover his shame. “SHIT girl! Where the hell did you come from, how long ya been there, an’ how’d ya git in?” But he knew the answer. She’d been sitting there all night. Because aside from turning to watch him, she’d been in exactly the same position when he’d gotten out the night before for dinner. How had he not noticed her not joining them? How the hell had he slept without noticing someone close enough to reach out and throttle him?
Maybe there was something to what Silky had said about her.
“Aw, never mind. The fuck, little….girl? Do you eat? Or sleep?”
He had other questions. Trickier ones. But them seemed rude even to him, so he started with these.May 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm #18800
“Sometimes” was all she said… “I have bad dreams…”
“You should clean that up or it will smell like a urinal in a couple of hours…”May 16, 2019 at 7:43 pm #18801
She was right about that. Al picked up the beer can – not all of its contents had spilled out – opened the back of the van and tossed it out. Then he wiped his hands on the jeans he’d slept in.
“There. Ya happy? Sorry ta hear about yer bad dreams. Hope they ain’t about electric sheep. We got work today. An’ that means beer. An’ breakfast.” He sat down to pull on his boots. “Ya comin’ in like civilized folk, or ya gon’ keep lurkin’ out here?”May 17, 2019 at 2:25 am #18812
Rebbeca sighed at the conclusion of the moral discussion, she was not far from that. Aside from the need to live with it afterward, she was completely morally detached. It did not mean that she just killed people for no reason, but on the other hand, she did kill people when they were in the way, and no it never felt wrong or right. Aside from that run when they were saving the ‘world’ but she was emotionally compromised. It was a moment of weakness. Morality had no place in the life of necessity.
The drive was eventless, and Rebbeca spent the time in AR researching the organization they were going to infiltrate, researching the mars conditions, the current spacesuit and launch technology, as well as common astronaut requirements from other space agencies. By the time they’ll crush the party, Rebbeca will know enough to pass as a space fanatic. Or so she hoped, at any case, she had to admit that it was refreshing to be active in the matrix instead of driving – and that autopilots were not stupid despite the boring way they drove. When they camp to sleep, she does not have to do much, she sets the rear seat down and places her matrice on it. Changes to Pyjamas, brush her teeth and sleep. She opens the morning by making Turkish coffee on a small gas stove and then offers the team in small glasses.May 17, 2019 at 4:39 am #18814
Al emerged from the Gov to find that Becky had managed a rendezvous with her beloved Armadillo and was passing out free coffee. He accepted it courteously, though inwardly he wished that the cup was larger and the coffee more American.
“Reckon I’m headed in fer some chow. Gotta eat right afore a hard day of astronautin’.”May 17, 2019 at 8:05 am #18815
[Thursday September 8, 2078; Al’s Truck, Snohomish Truck Stop, Seattle Metroplex]
Lily pulled the hoody up over her head again with the sleeves pulled down to conceal her hands as much as possible. Then she followed Al inside like ‘civilised folk’. Pretty soon she was sitting beside him with a stack of soy pancakes liberally drizzled with maple syrup, tucking in to them with a surprising amount of relish that didn’t stop her texting the team
>So is Preston going in to the meet with Becky? I suspect Al doesn’t meet their physical perfection requirements, at least at first glance
#13May 17, 2019 at 11:00 am #18820
The next day had arrived and the team was ready to crash the assembly to get recruited themselves.
The dwarven farmer’s association had a nice restored, pseudo-colonial building with a lot of white marble around. The doors stood open and a bold AR billboard told every onlooker that the Wayfarer’s Guild was in today with presentations, coffee and donuts, as well as a real life demonstration of the latest research simulation on how life on Mars would eventually be.
A surprising number of yound dwarves had shown up, milling around inside and outside the open doors. Most of them looked like barely out of highschool from good, suburban middle class households.
A well groomed, pretty elven girl sat behind a folding table, taking names and handing out badges. She wore a fine fitting suit with a tiny pin, depicting the Wayfarer’s Guild logo: Two clasping hands under a red sphere.May 17, 2019 at 11:29 am #18825
Al dispensed with the texting, simply speaking out load around his food: “Well I am glad ya added the ‘at first glance’ bit, missy. Shee-it, them Mars freaks don’t yet ken ta the catch they gon’ have once ol’ Al walks through they door. Reckon I’m as prime a specimen o’ rugged vitality, not ta mention unadulterated masculinity, as the great state of Arkansas ever did produce. An’ if that don’t do it, my Thespian skills is sure ta put me over the top.”
And so it was that an hour later he strode up to the elven hottie at the desk, stuck out a brutally scarred hand to shake, and said, “Hezekiah Malachi, at yer service. Reckon I might be innerested in a little change o’ scenery. That is, as long as you’re gon’ be on the rocket, foxy elfy lady.”
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.