The Art Of Technomancy

Exploration of the Realms Pixel and Cerebral to be detailed here.

Moderators: arcanus, Black, Otto

Post Reply
User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

The Art Of Technomancy

Post by Black » Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:02 pm

Necron stepped forth from the jet black pyramid.

The Domain's exit changed randomly, but The robot always knew where it was.
Choosing the right path he made his way towards the matrix....

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Wed Apr 01, 2009 1:05 pm

arcanus wrote:"Pick a card" smiled the Druid
Angry power flared from the top of Necron's staff
"Don't be foolish" a harder edge came from the Druid
Necron's eyes pouring greenbalefire narrowed, for the first time he got a measure of the druids programming, its scale and it was indeed mighty.
The cards showed pictures of locations within the flesh and blood, Necron growled in frustration "Determined little shit ain't ya" he rumbled.
His reply was that mirthful grin.
Necron returned to the part of the matrix where he had conversed with the druid.
"I have time now," he called to the ether knowing the strange program was listening.

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

Post by arcanus » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:17 pm

The mists form into the same celtic shoreline
"So you've time to be congenial now have ye" mocks the Druid, strolling along the path.
"So your first port of call is here!"
Necron turned to see a spherical window, it showed a picturesque LTG.
The robot analysed the location, Bishopville, Maryland.
"Watcha waitin for you igit!" the Druid chuckled and walked away, leaving the old robot to growl

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:32 am

Bishopville, Maryland? What the hell was at bishopville, Maryland?

"Do I have to go there in the flesh?"

The druid shrugged. "You could do, I suppose. It's not the most well known holiday destination in the world though."

"That doesn't help!" the Necron quipped.

"I've given you an LTG, not a physical address, so what do you think?" the druid asked with a condescending smirk.
"Do you know something, Mr Black?" the program asked.

Necron turned his head slowly to the druid, the movement indicating the the druid should continue.

"I'm not sure Necron really suits you anymore. You aren't the person it was sculpted for. Just something you should think about."

With that the druid vanished.

But Necron was Black's vent. The medium for him to vent his aggression. Or at least it always had been, but Black was finding that the pent up aggression he was litterally brimming with as Cardinal rarely surfaced at all these days.
Was Necron merely an anchor to his past life? What did he really need something like that for?
But the Necron is a very capable entity, Black argued with himself. Then he admonshed himself, "No, Necron is me, he's my persona icon, that is all."

So what would better represent him? Icons were easy to alter but what should his be?

For now, he was Necron and Necron surged across the matix at lightning speed heading for Bishopville, Maryland.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Epiphany

Post by Black » Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:50 pm

Within several seconds the ancient looking warrior robot came to an abrupt halt. He was crossing the central UCAS when he came upon a massive wall of black granite rising miles above and below his data line.
The wall was crowned in battlements and what looked like gun turrets and observation towers.
Ahead, where the data line reached the huge barrier wall was a massive gateway, closed, a portcullis down over the entrance, and guns bristling around the perimeter.
Above the gateway was a statement, and Caliburn Black got the impression it was one warning that really meant it.

CONTAMINATION ZONE. STRICTLY NO ENTRY TO UNAUTHORISED PERSONS.
BY ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED CANADIAN AMERICAN STATES.

Behind the wall, Black knew, was Chicago.
As well as the physical and magical barriers that surrounded the containment zone, there was also an information blackout of the city.
As far as the government was concerned the general public had no need to know just how bad things within the zone were. With a blackout of this scale they could pretty much dictate what information entered and left the zone.

Chicago seemed a long time ago to the elf behind the Necron icon. It was there that he was reborn. Well, technically not him; Cardinal, the Cardinal that Transys had created, had ceased to be. From there emerged Sinner, the precursor to his current identity.
Caliburn Black was really the end result of his release from the clutches of his old corporate employers and ultimate freedom that he now possessed.
It was, he understood well, only a limited freedom. The man that was Cardinal could never really exist in the world, he would always have to remain in the shadows.
But there, in the darker corners of society Caliburn Black could live a life as he saw fit, making the best of things, becoming the best of things. The company agent might be gone but Black was still a professional.

There was just one last vestige of his old life remaining and, he considered as he looked on at the foreboding enclosure surrounding what he half considered to be his true birth place, Necron was in fact a security risk.
The icon had been created by Transys and was associated with Cardinal. If Necron was traced back to his flesh and blood then Caliburn Black would be revealed as being Cardinal.
It was better for his old life to be gone forever.

Glancing at the walls and the Black IC in the form of UCAS Light Combat Vehicles, and the half dozen tank-like soldiers, deckers in the employ of the military, he changed his destination, calling Silk and getting him to engage the matrix connection to Op-Centre.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Change of clothes

Post by Black » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:03 pm

It was as though the domain knew what was coming and was resisting. As Necron entered it made him identify himself, twice, even launched IC against him.
He dealt with it easily, telling it to shut down rather than entering into combat with it, but the event made him uneasy. Why was his own system attacking him? Was it even possible for it to do so?
The answer was no. He suddenly realised that it was him commanding the system to attack him, or rather it was Necron.
The matrix alter-ego had been a part of him since his creation and was almost an integral part of his make up. However, since Chicago Black had realised that he was the only constant in his life, not his alter egos. But that almost split personality was fighting it. No, he was fighting himself. Fear drove him to rebel against his own rationale, his own acceptance that Necron, no matter how much a part of him it had become was no longer viable. In truth it wasn't even a part of him any more. That angry destructive side had gone and had been replaced with a creature of subtlety. That wasn't to say that Black couldn't be destructive when he had to be though.

Once inside the dark pyramid he made his way to the operating system and after navigating thirty two safety systems he reset the environment graphics.

Everything went black. Completely black.
Then after a few moments it went the opposite way, becoming a pure blinding white.
Orbs appeared representing the different nodes within his system. Shiny slivered globes connected by long tubes so that the environment looked much like a molecule that a junior high school student would make out of polystyrene balls and straws.
IC floated about the molecule, so many blinking red and black balls. Now was the time for him to change his persona icon.
From his position in the nucleus of the molecule Necron called up a window and began to cycle through possible new icons.

Some deckers didn't care what their icon was, changing it to suit their location, their mood or even what day it was.
To Black it was an extension of him. Now that he didn’t have or need a deck any more that fact was even more poignant.

Black thought about the various influences in his young life. Since his sojourn into the world without Transys he had taken to reading comics. There he had come across many heroes with which to draw inspiration. But how many Supermen, Batmen and Spidermen, Green Mage and Cyboids were there out there? None were overly original. But then what was these days?

This must be what a woman goes through when she’s trying to decide what to wear to the office party, he thought cynically.

Looking at himself he asked who he really was. An elf? Yes. But also a professional covert operative. A killer? Only when he had to be. Scottish? The man he was a copy of was but he wasn’t so, no.
A demon in the matrix? He didn’t know the answer to that. He also had no idea how he could enter and manipulate the matrix without a deck. What was even more confusing was the fact that he could do it better now without the deck than when he had one!!

So! Who would replace the Necron?
Ok guys; any ideas please. Feel free to enter more than one!!

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Going through the change!

Post by Black » Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:50 pm

Black’s mind was a blank. Or rather, it was not a lack of anything that was the problem, it was the amount of choice he had that seemed to clog up any decision making abilities.
All his life it seemed the Necron had been his matrix alter ego. Now, given the massive, almost limitless variety of shapes and images he had no idea where to begin.

He settled back on a cold stone thrown and began pouring over the matrix brining image after image up, looking for inspiration, or even an image that would suffice.

Okay, okay, he thought, lets look at this piece by piece.

He’s an elf. That didn’t really matter much on the matrix and could influence the reaction of those he dealt with negatively.
So no elfy stuff, in fact nothing that would indicate race at all.

He’s male. Nothing bad there. No problem having a gender specific icon.

He was an ex-companyman. Another fact that had little relevance on the matrix and could again have a negative influence. However it also showed him to be a trained professional. So no corporate affiliation, but a serious icon. He would have to avoid any personas that had South American, Chinese or Japanese themes.

He was a decker/hacker. This was true and also obvious by his very being there on the matrix. Did this need to be included as a part of the icon? Not really, he decided. Merely the exquisite detail of the icon would give that away.

Also trained as a company agent he was part soldier, part spy, part assassin. So he was someone with the ability to fight but preferring to utilise stealth? I’m going to end up with a ninja, he laughed.

He liked comic books and trid films and various video games too.

Putting all those parameters into a search he let the program trawl through the millions of databases that spanned the world.

Hundreds of images came back and then, flicking through them rapidly one stood out. ‘Predator’.

He’d seen this before on some old 2D movies.
Dragging the memory forward he recalled that they were from the late twentieth/early twenty-first centuries.
They were alien creatures - hunters who came to earth to pit themselves against some of the planet’s greatest warriors, covertly of course. Utilising stealth and guerrilla tactics, the creatures would attack and withdraw before the enemy knew what had hit them.

Black downloaded the films, Predator’s 1-7, Aliens vs Predator 1-5 and watched them all, back to back. The last few movies in each franchise were in trideo and so Black was able to rip the image straight from the film.

Yes, he decided. This was something he could associate with.

That was the easy part. Now he had to figure out how to change from Necron to Predator.
Previously he would have entered the cyberdeck’s onboard system and reconfigured the iconography. But he no longer had a cyberdeck.
Now when he just wanted to access the matrix and dependant on a strong wireless connection or fibre-optic cable link he just did.
Using that theory he willed his matrix persona icon to change and change it did.

Black opened a window showing his domain CPU.
On the image, standing tall and broad was a predator, accessing the holographic consoles of the CPU, the terrain featureless and stark white.
The alien figure wore the smooth curved helmet and the rune encrusted armour as well as the stealth mesh.
Upon its left arm was a console that Black knew would facilitate interrogation of the matrix. In its belt were various knives whilst mounted upon the shoulder was the laser cannon that followed the movement of the alien head.

Black held a short staff in his right hand that with a mental decision telescoped out at both ends to become the atypical ‘Predator’ hunting spear. Two fixed spurs extended from the arm’s bracer.

Moving, the dreadlock like ‘hair’ flowed naturally.

Black smiled, although the icon seemed to have no way on conveying the movement.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:19 pm

Caliburn Black spent the next few hours reprogramming the environment for his domain.
After a quick check on the individual components that made up the reality filter, he launched program.

Immediately the pure white background broke into a magnificent rainbow of pixelated colour, smoothing rapidly into the high definition virtual reality that Black had programmed. Stood where he was, within the nucleus of his domain he was now inside what could possibly be a space vessel, or perhaps some complex with high strength pressure doors over the exits.
This looked like the bridge, with consoles surrounding the compartment and a command chair on a raised dais in the centre upon which Black now sat.
The floor of the room was shrouded in a thick mist.

Black awaited the final report that came in within a few more seconds. It told him that the reality filter was working correctly and that the new environmental settings were in place.

Happy that all was as it should be he stalked from the command centre, the access door hissing open as he approached. Outside the passageway held a Geiger-esk appearance and were dimly lit.
He moved quickly from chamber to chamber leaving a swirling trail in the knee high mist. Coming to another heavy pressure door he keyed it open and stepped out into a corridor that had a vestige of natural light.

The passage opened out into the daylight showing a white, snowy vista, ragged mountain tops disappearing into the sky that was obscured by the heavy laden snow clouds.
Flakes fell from the sky continuously and a wild wind whipped it up into a blizzard every now and then.
Turning Black saw a cave mouth in the side of a mountain face, snow drifting up against one side. Narrow paths wound down the mountainsides leading to one exit or another. Most, as before, were dead ends or loops back to this domain. Only one exit would lead back to the matrix. The path was perilous and on route Black passed small guard huts that housed similar looking forms to himself. Ugly looking alien creatures, their mandible like jaws opening in threat as he approached.
As before though, the domain and its guardians recognised their master and so the creatures would lower their lances and return to their huts.

The main gate was a snow and ice encrusted arch of ancient looking stones, something that could have been there for thousands of years.
Black pressed a button on the computer upon his left forearm and activated his stealth program.
Immediately he faded away, becoming completely invisible to anyone else, and translucent to himself.

In this state he passed through the gate and into the matrix.
Without any further ado he sent a quick message to Silk to deactivate Op-Centre, and then headed for Bishopville, wondering just what it was he would find there…

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

CAS NTG, South Carolina RTG.

Post by arcanus » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:07 pm

In the same way that a warplane discards chaff and flares, Blacks new form launched an array of Spoof and Deception softcodes, the CAS National Telecommunications Grid scanned this digital passport before allowing entry, Carolina States Regional Grid did the same. In reality this occurred in milliseconds and didn’t impact on Blacks travel time.

Bishopvilles stats appeared within his right eyes field of vision, its population was 4000 SINNed citizens, its population had reached a high in the 2020’s of 5000 before VITAS II wiped out half of its population.
Its points of interest were it being the biggest breeding area for Alpaca’s in the CAS or North America for that matter, its gardens and state parks.
Digital Black grunted at the lack of interest, it was hardly a runners haven, still something was here.

Arriving in the main street grid, he found Bishopville to be like most large town or small city grids, in that they resembled a slightly idealized version of reality, he stood on the sidewalk of main street, city halls node stood proud, while the local sheriff departments node looked like it needed some modern encryption.
The cities level of security consisted of a number of sleek chrome hounds patrolling the streets, sniffing around for illicit hackers and unwanted interest in local business grids or databanks.
Only the local branch of The Bank of CAS had any decent protection and was arguably the newest node, part from some of the retail chains, digital facias.

‘So what lies beneath’ thought Black

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Fri Apr 17, 2009 6:30 am

Apart from all the matrix automated security, can I see any other deckers/users?

Matrix Perception: 7 Hits
His stealth complex form active, Black moved steadily down the main street, observing the meta-tags for each node for anything of interest.
Browse: 8 Hits
Having already decided where his first point of call would be he leapt up onto the roof of the police station.
From it’s meta-tags can I determine if this is local government law enforcement or if it has an affiliation with one of the corporate police agencies?
Perched atop the building the alien looking living persona began to probe the node for weak points, anywhere it might be able to gain access without alerting security.
Black could have course relied on his stealth program, but if there was a way of slipping in the back door the risk of alerting anyone was greatly reduced.

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

Post by arcanus » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:30 pm

Black wrote:Matrix Perception: 7 Hits
GM wrote:Currently only knowbots are visible
Black wrote:Browse: 8 Hits
GM wrote:Overall the coding of the Node is good, the sheriffs dept is local government run and fairly heavily guarded, several other heavy Firewalls exist around local businesses, heavier than would ordinarily be required, while the Fire Depts FW is fairly unimpressive

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Mon Apr 20, 2009 12:03 pm

“This’ll be interesting!” Black mused as he surveyed the small town’s matrix vista.
He didn’t want to come in here gung-ho, breaking forcibly into systems and wrenching the information from them, and of course alerting the various agencies theat kept the town’s nodes secure.

He leapt from the roof of the sheriff’s office landing silently and unobserved in the street and stalked closer to the Fire Department.
Their security was minimal, a good thing for any would-be intruder and of course easier on their government issued budget.
Black was grinning although the icon’s helmet yet again conveying no sign of his personal amusement.
He’d come across a similar situation in England. The relatively small town of Tewkesbury was in a similar situation to Bishopsville, in that the town’s physical size had been greatly diminished after the Great Regeneration had reclaimed much of the British countryside. The VITAS plague had helped to bring the population down to suitable levels too.
Tewkesbury’s Fire Brigade was a small government run organisation, their budget tight and therefore their matrix security was of a low standard. Their opinion was – “What possible sensitive information could a fire station hold about anyone else. After all, payroll and personnel is sorted from the government’s own internal agencies and systems. All we’ve got is stuff about the day to day running of the station and fire prevention!”

The answer to that question was simple – fire system access codes.
As a part of the obligatory insurance policies, all commercial (and quite a few private) establishments had to be connected to the Fire Department’s system so that fire and gas alarms could be monitored and responded to at the earliest opportunity.
The alarm signal could be delivered to the Fire Department with no need to have the FD connected to the commercial premises system, however the testing of those alarms would be carried out remotely from the FD, by terminal operator or the FD decker.

So, once inside the FD’s system, Black would seek out the Fire Regulation Compliance files and the access codes for the town’s nodes and their fire detection sub-systems.
Of course once ensconced stealthily inside a system, it was much easier for hackers to make their way to more important files.
Re-Initialise Stealth Program: 8 Hits

Hacking+Analyse complex forms: (to find weak point in FD node) 5 Hits

Hacking+Browse complex forms: (to find the info I seek once inside the FD node) 6 Hits

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

Post by arcanus » Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:59 pm

Black wrote:Re-Initialise Stealth Program: 8 Hits
Hacking+Analyse complex forms: (to find weak point in FD node) 5 Hits
Hacking+Browse complex forms: (to find the info I seek once inside the FD node) 6 Hits
Neo Black breathed and a sigh of relief as some form of LTG Trace swept across the street, confident that his Stealth was now running at higher ratios he moved to the FDs Fire Red facade.
His helmet sensors swept the doors and windows, each virtua lock a form of Barrier IC, he felt himself instinctively duck as another trace swept across the street.
Then he had it, a deficit in the door locks code, one that could be exploited and fooled.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:21 pm

Black checked the time; 01:32 PST. He’d been in the matrix for just half an hour.
Perched in the lee of the rooftop access doorway on top of the Bishopsville fire department the alien looking figure, invisible with it’s stealth complex forms activated.
Before easing through the now unlocked doorway he glanced back to the town and once again wondered why the businesses here in nowhere’sville had disproportionately hefty security protocols.
Just what were these people hiding? And more poignantly, what did that have to do with that bloody sword in the stone that he kept seeing?

There was a noise from behind him, a foot crunching on the light gravel that covered the roof’s flat surface.

Black spun to face the source of the noise, his shoulder mounted laser following his line of sight. The druid stood grinning down at him. Black shoulders slumped.
“That’s the point of you being here isn’t it?” the druid asked.
“What?”
“The reason for you being here – to discover what the connection is.”
Although the helmet didn’t alter, the poise and general body language spoke of scorn. “I was trying to be discreet about this!” Black scolded.
“Oh, you have no need to worry. Most things in the matrix tend to ignore me.”
“Lucky them,” Black mumbled.
“Well don’t just stand there,” the druid urged waving Black towards the door.
“You’re not coming with me?” It was half statement, half question.
“Correct,” came the reply as the druid shoved Black inside.

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

Post by arcanus » Mon May 04, 2009 4:57 pm

The inside of Bishopvilles virtua Fire Station was an electronically simple affair, no rendering or code crafting, simple fire red laser lines forming the edges or joins within its rooms or corridors.
A spectral blue formatting filling in the gaps, which had the quality of being transparent but wasn't, there was no virtual furniture, straight lines and square chambers for rooms.
Its was then that Neo-Black realised the simplicity of its defense, everything looked the same, hide everything in the plainest sight.

'Clever' thought Neo-Black
GM wrote:Sensors+Stealth?
Matrix Initiative?

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Ghost in the Machine

Post by Black » Wed May 06, 2009 6:18 am

GM wrote:Sensors+Stealth?
Matrix Initiative?
Matrix Stealth (Hacking+Stealth CF - 20 Dice): 13 10 9 8 8 7 5 5 5 5 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 = 12 Hits :D

Matrix Initiative (think its response+Intuition - 17 dice): 15 13 11 11 7 7 5 5 4 4 4 3 3 2 = 13 Hits :lol:

"Man, that boy good!!"

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

Post by arcanus » Fri May 08, 2009 6:36 pm

GM wrote:Make a Matrix Body roll?

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Fri May 08, 2009 7:53 pm

A what?

Never heard of it!!

What be it for (know you more clued up on magic than the 'new' realm!!)

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Mon May 11, 2009 1:34 pm

Ok...

Depends what's attacking, so...

If normal attack then -
System+Armour: (12 dice): 11 10 7 5 4 3 2 2 - 6 hits

or if Black IC then -

Willpower+Biofeedback Filter: (13 dice): 19 11 8 5 5 4 4 4 3 2 2 2 2 - 8 hits

Do I get to react prior to this uncalled for assault?!! :)

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

Post by arcanus » Fri May 15, 2009 6:59 pm

The IC was constructed to resemble the interlaced security beams.
As Neo-Black moved into the inner sanctums of the virtua fire station, they triggered, shocking his 'Living Persona' by several contacts and beams.

Before he knew it, Neo-Black found himself within a net of pain.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Tue May 19, 2009 10:41 am

Caliburn blacks icon let out a grunt as the pain swept through him.

Thousands of miles away from Bishopville, in the third floor office of the Angel Foundation in Downtown Seattle the prone body of Mr Black did likewise.

With a curse neo-black put out a hand to steady himself. He knew that his own physical body was taking the brunt of this punishment. Before, when he’d had the cyberdeck, the deck would take some of the damage protecting his flesh from a considerable amount of harm. Usually he would pull the plug before the physical damage became dangerous.
Now though, connecting mentally with the matrix, there was no such buffer, although he had noted that he was somehow less prone to taking damage in the first place. He guessed that whatever had taken the place of bio-feedback filters were a little more meaty than before.

Black glanced at his arm as he climbed to his feet. Normally in stealth mode he appeared translucent to his own vision, and invisible to others, (he hoped). But every now and again a small random part of his arm would become solid, only to dissaappear and then a different part would appear.

Was something attacking his stealth capability? Or was there a trace program sending it’s feelers down through the matrix, back along his own signal?

Neo-Black straightened up, fighting off the hurt. As a decker he would have mentally clicked on the program icon in his HUD, now he merely thought about what he wanted and the complex form activated. Armour plates that ergonomically blended in with the predator’s image materialised on his icon, then he took a better look at himself.
Run Analyse on both himself and the node.

Alanyse Icon: (Control test - 5 to TN for his analyse complex form) 8 7 5 5 2 2

Analyse Host: (Control test - 5 to TN for his analyse complex form) 8 7 4 4 3 3

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

Post by arcanus » Wed May 27, 2009 2:05 pm

Neo-Black took a moment beneath the mantle of stealth, he stood within the web of alternating red and cobalt blue beams his perception spreading out analysing his own and the nodes code.

As he stood within his virtual meditation, his awareness detected further presence, two figures stepped from the green walls.
Each was dressed in a curious camoflage armour coloured scarlet and black, each carrying firmware cannons, the beams ignored them as they swept out into the room.
GM wrote:Moderate Stun.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Wed May 27, 2009 9:37 pm

"Fuck!" Black hissed at the pain in his head.
Something he hadn't got used to - the direct impact damage he took in the matrix had upon his physical body.
Considering his options he glaned at the two figures and wondered who or what they were.
Grimacing, he made for the back door.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Thu May 28, 2009 7:01 am

Anger soared through Black as the predator pressed further back against the wall as he maneuvered towards the exit. It was an unnecessary gesture, he was either stealthed or he wasn't, but it seemed natural.

Who the fuck were these guys?
From his position of stealth he observed the two icons. Deckers?
Why would there be two deckers waiting here in a old fire station?
IC, yes, but deckers seemed a bit odd, even over the top.
Perform an Analyse Icon operation: (- 5 TN for Analyse complex form) 7 6 5 5 4 3 3

What did the Analyse Host Op reveal? What is the Host's security level? (Orange-4, Red-6??)

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

Post by arcanus » Sat May 30, 2009 7:09 pm

Black wrote:What did the Analyse Host Op reveal? What is the Host's security level? (Orange-4, Red-6??)
GM wrote:Both are Deckers!
The surrounding system is Orange-3

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

The search for self awareness begins.

Post by Black » Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:03 am

The two deckers made straight for Black and he knew his cover was blown.

Before he had chance to react and even before the two got close one of them launched an attack.

A green stream projected out from the mean looking weapon the icon carried. Within the dark stream flowed symbols of a lighter shade. Black had no idea what those symbols represented, they could have been arcane, religious or completely fictional.
Despite the fact that the blast struck his squarely in the chest, making his persona pixelate momentarily and sending feedback down through the matrix so that his 'physical self' felt nauseous and gained a powerful headache, Black thought the iconography quite clever.

Predator staggered, and began making for the exit. For some reason Black did not feel right here and he got the impression that to stay and fight was not the best idea.
Stumbling down the corridor another shot hit home but this time he felt little effect.
Then another blasted into his side making the matrix world disappear from Black's view momentarily.

A door opened between the two deckers and Black and a fireman with a huge fire-axe stepped out.
Even in his semi-dazed state Black knew this had to be intrusion countermeasures.

Cal realised there was no way he could hope to get clear of this lot without suffering some real damage, not by running for it anyway. So he turned on the approaching figures, his shoulder laser firing at one of the deckers, whilst he stabbed out with his war spear at the ice.

Both attacks hit home, the spear sending the ice whirling backwards but the laser merely fizzed on the decker's armour and did nothing to slow him.
Meanwhile his companion had positioned himself perfectly and brought a new weapon to bear firing what looked like a net gun.
The virtual mesh enveloped the predator, the utility program within it activating immediately. Black examined the mesh, and although he no longer had analysis programmes he was still able understand what the various components within the matrix were. This he realised was Trace & Burn!

He knew he only had moments to deactivate the utility whilst it was in hunting mode and concentrated his attacks on the mesh. Retractable spurs sprang from the predators wrist bracer's and he quickly sliced through the mesh, surprised at how easily he disrupted the program.

No soosn as he had escaped that then the IC was there ready to pounce.

Black initaited another attack to cover his log-off.

Predator appeared on the roof top outside the stairwell. Beaten and battered Black collapsed to his knees, his mind struggling to cope with even moving at the moment.

“Perhaps,” said a voice the made the alein creatures shoulders droop, “ypou are going about this wrong!”
Black's head cocked to one side so that he could look at the druid perched sagely atop the stairwell door.
“Thanks for that divine insight” Black sneered sarcastically. “So how would you suggest I go about it?”
“Ah, well that is for you to determine, this is your journey! I am merely surmising that your current approach, given the results may not be the correct course of action.”

“So what would you expect me to do? Waltz right in and announce myself?”

The druid grinned and gave a knowing nod. “The right will be clear to you when you get there,” he said deliberately bating the elf. “However, you could not tell them who you are until you know yourself, I think.”

“I know who I am,” Black countered. “I'm Caliburn Black.”

“Perhaps!” said the druid knowingly. “But I think not in here. You look tired,” he said suddenly changing the subject. “Go and rest.”

Black suddenly found himself logged out of the matrix completely.
It was dark in seattle, just after midnight. Cal's head throbbed so he closed his eyes and slept, determined to have another attempt at Bishopville tomorrow.

The next day, as Cal sat in a room with Angel and Drake, a Yakuza hit squad attacked.

User avatar
arcanus
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 1445
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2007 7:18 pm
Location: Generally Universal

The White Cliffs

Post by arcanus » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:34 am

Neo-Black stood upon a solid column of limestone, reminiscent of the homely White cliffs.
He shuddered as ice cold spray not only showered him, but passed with jarring frigidness through his form, it was shocking but also cleansing.
He turned as his audio seemed to suddenly come on line, to be battered by a horrendous screeching, turning he saw the Druid pinning one of the oily black birds to the white stone floor.
The program bird squirmed and fought but with a look of distain, the Druid held it effortlessly.
"Nasty little bird is it not!" said the Druid smiling
"So Bishopville's were its at" he continued, hauling the bird up by its kneck "Not bad code, fragmented though, tryin too hard!"

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:00 pm

Bishops ville would have to wait...

The matrix architecture of the Italian Restaurant was very well done indeed. The Predator was sat within the 'manager's office' watching a bank of old television monitors that showed the feeds from both inside and outside the restaurant. Each monitor was perched atop an old VCR, all of them had their red LED recording lights flashing, their data capture paused.

Dust motes twinkled as they floated above the lamp in the corner, the only source of lighting in the room. A fan oscillated in the corner blowing cool air about the room the breeze making his icon's dreadlocks sway.
The room even had an old lived in smell.
Black laughed in surprise at the whole feel of the place, but then guessed this was a mob place, they had enough money to spend if they so wanted.

An alarm bleeped momentarily on the manager's desk drawing Black's attention.
Looking from the stencilled label beneath the flashing amber bulb to the security cameras he saw Drake and the necromancer within the cellar.

“We're in,” came a slightly crackled voice over Black's comm link.
“Yeah, I see you,” the elf replied.

It was then that he noticed something moving near the door. He turned slowly so as not to cause any 'tremors' in the matrix that may give his presence away.
There was a figure there, an icon resembling an Aztec warrior in stylised chrome armour.
Black peered at the icon, beyond the image to the coding and saw that this was a decker.
Engaged in stealth he figured the newcomer was not meant to be here either.
The Aztec suddenly stared at Black and the predator icon tensed.
Black would swear that he could feel the decker scanning him.
“What?” said the figure, confused. “Who the hell are you?” The Aztec's sword appeared defensively in his hand.

The matrix whitened-out suddenly, all architecture gone leaving the predator and – the druid.
Predator sighed.

“Indeed,” the druid smiled. “And that question again. Just who the hell are you?”
“I've told you before.”
“Caliburn Black? And I told you before... Out there” he waved his arm about the empty whiteness expecting Black to know that he meant the physical world. “That is the name you have chosen to take, but who is Caliburn Black? Is he more that just an alias?”

“What kind of question is that? How am I supposed to know who he is if I'm him but you say he's no one?”

“That, oh confused one, is today's challenge. Most people your age have had a life time to develop, to be influenced by the things in their life, but you aren't your age are you?”

Black shrugged at the somewhat cryptic but accurate statement.

“So you have to do your developing now. Think of something or someone that influences you, inspires you, something you think could help define you.”

“Like what?”

The druid sighed. “History, your own, the world's. Heroes, music, interests, anything. Perhaps start from the beginning of your life and go from there, find what there is buried in your mind and used to become you.”

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:17 pm

“That's it. At the beginning. Always the best place to start, that!” the druid quipped with a tight lipped grin.
“Take yourself back to the very start. Think of something.”

If this was the only way Black was going to rid himself of the druid then he didn't see how he had any choice.

He thought hard about his past about the place that formed him.

The surrounding whiteness was suddenly filled with with a stark room.

Men wearing long dark coats over black stylised armoured uniforms bearing the Corporate logo of Transys Neuronet were stood to attention in a long line.

Along the rank of men walked another uniformed man, speaking in a clear strong voice.

Black, stood at the end of the row recognised the man, Task. He had been Black's superior when Black had been Cardinal. There was a reflection in the window set into the only door to the room. Such attention to detail in the matrix sculpting impressed Black.
Caliburn stared at the reflection, seeing in the return image not the alien form of predator, but his own visage when he was Cardinal.

Task was briefing the Neuronet agents on the mission they were charged with.
Black remembered it being one of his first.
What did this, Black wondered, have to do with him finding himself?
Then as Task continued his briefing the elf found it harder to think of this as a memory, and the question that had been on the edge of his mind – how was a memory of his appearing in the matrix almost like a host? - was suddenly no longer there.

He moved out with the rest of his team, their mission to seek out and apprehend a shadow-fixer whom had been supplying certain rival companies with information sensitive to TN's business.
The corporation wanted to know where he got said information.
Having journeyed across the Manchester sprawl following lead after lead they tracked the fixer down to his personal abode.

Now the team proceeded cautiously, aware that their activities could well have forewarned the fixer of their approach.
Cardinal was surprised when advanced agents reported back to the assault team that the Tango was still at home.

The operation commander, a dwarf called John Herrod, had positioned Cardinal in a fire stairwell a floor below the fixer's apartment. He planned to shepherd the fixer and his entourage towards the stairwell by deliberately leaving weak points in his assault. So the fixer would believe himself to be beating the Transys raiders but instead would be walking into the waiting arms of Cardinal and his fleet of combat drones.

The order came through over the comms to begin the assault and Cardinal knew now that it was a waiting game.
Listening patiently on the floor below he could hear the reports coming in and could tell from the building plans he had overlaid in his vision where the target was. From the sounds of it he had quite a bit of help and the Cardinal could hear the muted rat-a-tat-tat of automatic gun fire. He cursed that noise even though it was inevitable. The Transys agents were all carrying silenced weapons, but from the fixer's point of view the louder the better. The gun fire in an apartment block would give rise to acts of panic from the other occupants and then the Transys agents would have to deal with civilians getting in the way.

The stairwell was wide and the landings quite spacious, designed so that those trying to escape a fire from this floor could merge easily with those of the floors above. So often in the past, especially in older buildings, the fire escaped had become a bottleneck and been the ruin of many a life.

It made the stairwell an ideal place for Cardinal and his dozen drones to sit in wait. Six drones were stationed on the half-landing above and the other on the half-landing below alongside Cardinal himself.

The door suddenly burst open and two men quite professionally folded around the door frame into the stairwell, their sub-machineguns leading the way, sweeping the area before them for targets.
Finding none they moved in and four more armed men came in ahead of the Tango, a woman and two children. Behind them came another two men.

A yell sounded up the stairwell, echoing off the ferrocrete walls. Cardinal knew it was none of his team, probably a civilian, but whoever it was did him a favour, giving the fixer's bodyguards pause for thought. They waited on the landing, listening to the sounds and as they did so the rear guards came forward to cast their opinion, meaning that all eight were now in front of the Tango.

Cardinal activated his squealer, a little device that he had place in the rear corner of the landing. All eight of the guards reacted, some blindingly fast. So did Cardinal.

He stepped into the open at the bottom of the stairs, immediately assigning targets for his flotilla and bringing the twelve drones on line. The thrum and roar of their motors pulled the guards attention back towards the stairs, but it was too late, even for the two men whose reaction speed was phenomenal as Cardinal had assigned more than one drone to them.

It sounded like the very gates of hell were cracking open as the drones opened fire on the guards, their fully automatic weapons spewing fire and death.

After ten seconds of bedlam the fixer's bodyguards were all down, dead or incapacitated. Cardinal calmly walked up the steps, a Browning Ultra-Power pistol in each hand.

The fixer, an elf himself, cast Cardinal a pleading look but when he saw the compassion-less expression on the Transys Nueronet agent's face he knew there would be no quarter. He darted behind his wife using her as a shield, his own pistol waving at the other elf.

Open mouthed in horror she glared at both the Transys elf and her own husband.

“That,” Cardinal warned in his Scottish accent as the drones moved menacingly closer to the fixer, “will do you no good.”

“Wha? You gunna kill innocents just to get at me? That wouldn't look good in the press.”

Un-fazed Cardinal responded. “If your wife is kens of how you earn a crust then she's an accessory and therefore no innocent. And if she didnae? Well ignorance is no defence.”
With that he sent a message from his brain, down his right arm to the pistol held firmly in his grasp. The message told the weapon via the smartgun link to fire.
The single shot echoed noisily in the now quiet stairwell. The sobbing children screamed as their mother's dead weight slipped from their fathers arm.

“You fucker!” the fixer yelled still having the cowardly where-with-all to slip behind his crying kids.

Cardinal's aim adjusted to the two children ready to fire again but he paused and stared into their tear filled eyes.
This is, was, a memory he suddenly realised, but he remembered pulling the trigger. He did not recall ever having doubts.

“This was all very interesting,” announced the druid's voice from behind him.
Black turned to glare at the matrix entity.

“I too wondered what all this had to do with defining who you are, but now I see. This was you as you were engineered to be, but at the time the suppressed real you doubted your very actions as you doubt the now.”

The fixer and everything else seemed to have stopped, frozen as though this were some game on pause.
Black turned to look into the fear filled eyes of the children. “I certainly don't want to be this person any more,” he said angrily.

“That is good.” the druid replied. “Often to define who you are, who you are not you must first find.”

“Very Yoda!” Black quipped and the druid flashed his sarcastic grin.

Movement on the stairs attracted the elf's attention. The strange looking Aztec warrior from before had just stepped lightly onto the landing. He turned seeing Black and growled. “Who the hell are you?”

The matrix faded to white leaving the predator and the druid standing there.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:25 pm

Once again the whiteness dimmed, fading to black.

Small pin pricks of light dotted an open clear sky. Stars by the thousands shining brightly.
A roar of a LAV engine sounded from below. Looking down Black saw a vast city, its lights disappearing into the distance. The roadways between the incredible tall buildings were like neon snakes in a dark pit twisting this way and that, crossing, skipping over or ducking under one another.

The LAV soared away following the route marked out by one of the snakes.

“Where the hall am I now?” Black asked the emptiness around him.
He was stood on a pinnacle of concrete at the corner of a massive sky scraper, like some dark humanoid gargoyle.

A sudden wave of vertigo swept over him, which surprised the elf as he'd never suffered from it before, especially in the matrix.
Looking down at himself he saw that he was dressed in a dark suit of body armour and a cloak flapped about him in the simulated breeze.

Then a scream from far below echoed up to him. He brought the binoculars that were in his hand up to his eyes, and adjusted the focus of the digitally enhanced image.
He saw some men harassing a woman in her car. One of them was trying to pull the door open.

Before he could stop himself he stepped off the edge of the column and plummeted towards the asphalt over 100 stories below him.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:26 pm

Suddenly his cape, which had been flailing around behind him became rigid, acting like the wings of a hang-glider and he soared silently through the sky, arcing in towards the six men and their victim.

Black landed silently behind the perpetrators who were now crowding around the petrified woman.
He grabbed the shoulder of one who grunted a “What?” as he turned, expecting to see one of his colleagues. Instead he saw the Dark Knight.
Black lashed out before the man could say anything more, striking him in the face with a gauntleted fist. He became a flurry of activity, fists and feet flying, twisting, turning, ducking, throwing, blocking, moving so rapidly from one opponent to the next that none of them could get a bead on him.

The whole thing was over in under a minute, the criminals laying in the street with incapacitating injuries or out cold.

Black helped the woman to her feet.
She ignored the man in the brown coloured robes who climbed from the passenger side of the car.
“Batman, heh?” the druid asked in a mocking tone.
Black looked down at himself and realised where he had seen this suit before.
Batman, the Dark Knight, was a comic hero of his. He liked the anonymity of the Bat's true self, and the anti-hero-like status that the original Batman had held, before the movies and Adam West had got hold of the character.
He did however like the Christian Bale portrayal from the beginning of the century. It was an old film, but a classic.
How often had he wished, while in the employ of Transys Neuronet, that he was the Batman, a dark avenger, righter of wrongs, but always on the wrong side of the law himself.

“So, you'd like to be some sort of hero? Doesn't everybody at some point? Maybe, though, just maybe, you could be in a position to see that through more than most.” The druid seemed almost positive, the most up-beat he had been for some time. Then he donned his mor dour self again. “The Bat's a bit clichéd though, don't you think? Not like we haven't seen a thousand or more Batmen running the shadows the world over.”

suddenly the woman's cell phone rang. She began explaining what had happened, then looked surprised. Holding the phone out to Black she said, “Batman, he wants to talk to you!”
Black took the phone. “Hello?”
“You aren't Batman,” said a South American voice. “So, who the hell are you?”
Snatching the phone away from his ear he stared at the caller's image. An ancient Aztec warrior.
The world turned white again, but only briefly.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Sun Nov 08, 2009 3:27 pm

He was back again, in some new virtual world. It looked like the inside of some sort of corporate residential zone, however there were burned out cars around him, homes and buildings were in ruins. Behind him were a dozen or so typical corporate families, the breadwinners wage slaves to the company.

Ahead of him were twenty or so men, wearing gang colours and carrying a vast array of weapons. It was obvious that they meant the civilians harm.
Black snarled, a guttural animal sound, and long blades slid from between his knuckles. He saw a reflection of himself in a window, only it wasn't him, it was Wolverine.

The world faded to white....

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:44 am

The scenes came in rapid succession, all images of Caliburn Black fulfilling the role of some super hero or other, from the oldies like Superman and Spiderman through to the likes of Zenthic and the new guy on the block, Goldram Ray. Each scene depicted Black facing off against the hero's arch enemies and some random bad guys where the situation was important, not the adversary.
The scenes finally stopped flashing through his mind, and for a moment Black thought he would be sick. He wondered was sort of a mess his meat body would be in when he finally returned to the physical world.

One last scene opened up before the elf. He seemed to be kneeling before some sort of altar in what looked like some old disused subterranean room. He had been meditating, he knew.
Suddenly he sprang to his feet and was moving quickly through a complex of tunnels and sewers before emerging out on the surface.

A Mitsubishi Nightsky was just pulling up outside a restaurant.
From the limo came two young attractive young ladies followed by a male in an expensive suit. He too was young and good-looking.
The limo had been escorted by two black SUV's from which four tough looking bodyguards had decamped.
Black moved swiftly, his firearms blazing silently. Although they really should have been expecting an attack, in truth, the four heavies weren't. After all, no one would be stupid enough to attack Mr Big outside his own restaurant.
Wrong!
Two were downed instantly, a .45 slug to the forehead each. It took several seconds for the remaining two to react to what they were seeing. The bodyguard who had been in the car with Mr Big was reaching for his boss. The man from the lead SUV had his gun up and was shooting, the rat-a-tat-tat echoing off the walls of this concrete and glass valley.
Black felt the hit, his body jerking sideways, but he drove on.
Phut! Phut! Phut! His silenced pistols doing their thing.
Another man went down and black reached the limo, leaping on top.
The bodyguard slammed the door shut, sealing him and his boss inside the bullet proof vehicle.

Black grinned as he dropped the pin to the ground and leapt clear of the long white car.
He grabbed the two women who had been escorting Mr Big as he ran past them, dragging them mercilessly down the street.
Their howling protests were suddenly drowned out by the explosion behind them, the blast throwing them to the ground.

As the flames and smoke rolled skyward in an orange and black roiling ball, Black clambered to his feet. In the reflection in a store window he saw a tall muscular man in black combat trousers and boots and a black t-shirt with a large skull motif.
Black stared at the image not really knowing what he was looking at, but then it dawned on him … The Punisher!

Strange, up unitl now the heroes in each scenario had been ones he'd read about during his development in the Transys Neuronet labs. Not exactly official reading material but they couldn't stop him! The Punisher wasn't really one he was overly familiar with.
“Why the Punisher?”

“Because of all of them, he is closer to what you want to be. His name says it all.” the voice came from behind him, its deep South American accent unmistakable.
Turning Black as the Punisher frowned at the Aztec Warrior. So, Black mused, he has more than one line in his vocabulary. “Before you say it to me, I'm going to say it to you... Who the hell are you?”

The warrior smiled and handed an odd pearlescent orb on a chain to Caliburn.
“What's this?”
“A program of sorts. Upload it.”
“How?”
Again the knowing smile. “Put it on.”

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Wed Nov 11, 2009 11:45 am

The instant the chain slipped over his head Cal felt something different, like there was a change to the matrix. It was as though he could not only see and hear and feel the matrix, but he could also sense it.

Caliburn Black found himself, as himself, at the top of an Aztec pyramid. A huge iron brazier dominated one end where a fire blazed fiercely.
A huge stone altar dominated the centre of the upper tier, around which crude wooden benches were set.
The warrior was there too. “So, who am I?” he said repeating Black's earlier question. “I am your guide.”
Black was confused. “I thought the druid was my guide.”
“Maybe he is.”
Funny how my so called guides seem to be cryptic as hell, Black thought. Actually, no, not funny at all. Damned annoying.
“Then you are the druid too?”
“No!” the warrior was defensive. “By the gods, no. I represent a much more...” he stopped, searching for the right words. He moved to one of the low benches and sat, indicating that Black do the same. “I represent something more divine.”
“I'm sorry, divine?” Black was suspicious, it sounded far too spiritual which meant far too magic for his liking.
“It's about as accurate as I can be without going into laborious detail.”

With a huge sigh Caliburn Black stopped trying to resist this whole encounter. “All right, you win. Tell me what is going on and who you are and what you want.”

“Where to start?” the warrior mused.
“Let me answer you previous question first. The druid and I are not linked. The druid is your guide to a single part of your destiny. I am your guide to Caliburn Black. Who he is, where he came from, and most importantly, what he is.”
After a brief pause where the warrior let the information settle on Black, he continued. “You have already decided the path you want to take with your life. It is not the one your old employers wished you to take, although the man you look upon as your creator, I think, would take a better view of it. However, you are a bit of an enigma, Caliburn. The Resonance has embraced you fully, yet you do not fit the code. But enough of that for now. There is something I must show you that could go some way to revealing who you are.”

Blackness enveloped Caliburn Black. It made a change from the almost blinding white!

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:12 pm

It was different this time. Before, there had been the bright white light then he had appeared somewhere, as someone.
Not now though. Black struggled to assimilate the sensations flowing through him.
There was pain, but not like being hit, or stabbed or shot, not even like he imagined appendicitis would feel like, nor even the worst headache ever. It was though someone was wrenching his mind, not his brain, but his mind, maybe even his very soul from his body, each fibre of his being having to be broken apart before the two halves could become separate.
And the information! By god there was so much information, like he was operating every single piece of electronic equipment connected to the matrix as though they were his drones.

Black could feel his heart beating rapidly, even though he was fully submerged in the virtual world of the matrix and wondered how he was so aware of the situation. Then he realised he wasn't feeling his heart beating at all. It was the pulse of the matrix itself, like a living breathing beating entity.

Suddenly across the blackness that filled his vision appeared words...

<GOOGLE SEARCH> “CLONING”...
“META-PLANE+META-MAGIC+METAQUEST”...

A white cursor blinked for a few moments then more words appeared...

<SECURE TRANMISSION><FILE_NAME>#1103_donor_Charles_Munro_Cardinal<SEND>...

A moment later an image appeared of a man at a desk typing on a computer. The angle was odd, as though Cal was looking up from almost seat level. This was, black realised the view from a camera.
A camera on a trid-system?
The man turned to look at some paperwork. It was Dr Pattak!
Black was amazed and confused.
The view changed, so did the scene. Now he was watching from the ceiling and was moving slowly. The view from a tiny drone perhaps?
Pattak was sat in the middle of some arcane symbol he had drawn on the ground, he was casting a spell of some kind.
Bright yet smoky light surrounded the doctor swirling about him like a vortex. The swirling light increased speed and intensity until in a blinding flash Pattak was gone.

A scene change again...

Pattak had reappeared in a busy city street. To the doctor it may have appeared to be the real thing but Black knew it couldn't be. There was no way anything in the matrix could have recorded Pattak's activities upon his meta-quest, unless, and it was almost unthinkable that he had done this, but Pattak must have travelled into the matrix itself.

Another change... still in the matrix 'meta-plane'.

Pattak was in a laboratory within a darkened research facility. He looked gaunt like a man who had neither eaten nor slept in many days. His face was covered in a dark growth of stubble.
The Indian descended scientist who Black had once thought to be his creator moved cautiously through the lab. It was obvious that he was not meant to be there.
He came to a machine, a freezer of sorts. The freezer had glass sides so that the technicians could view the contents. Inside was a jar and although the glass sides and the jar itself were frosted, the foetus within was still clearly discernible.

Removing the end plate from the freezer Pattak took the jar from the shelf and placed it in a freezer bag he had over his shoulder.
Cal noticed the label on the jar:

Project Reference: Caliburn
Security Rating: Black.
Subject #: 1103. Elf Male. (Munro Genome).

Pattak read the label aloud, but the names didn't mean anything to him. But they did to Caliburn Black.
The doctor moved away, his prize secure in the bag.

“What the hell is going on?” Black asked aloud. He couldn't get this straight.

After escaping the CZ he temporarily took the name Sinner. After that he had renamed himself Caliburn Black after a lengthy soul searching exercise. How then was the name he had adopted appeared on the label of that jar before he ever existed? He found it hard to believe destiny had anything to do with this, but the argument for it seemed pretty strong.

“So,” Black considered what he knew along with what he'd just seen. “Pattak comes along and takes this specimen and if I recall correctly, used some very complex magical formulas to progress the physical development of the foetus, me, into and through childhood and up into adulthood over the course of a few years. But how did it get here?”

The scene froze and slowly started to rewind, but instead of re-tracing the doctors approach to the lab the view stayed with the freezer, then after a brief pause the scene changed again.

This one had 'General Care Inc. Medical Facility – Fertility Clinic, Edinburgh' written in the top left corner of the picture.
Black recognised the woman laying on the bed with her legs in stirrups from the files he'd seen on Cardinal. This was Mrs Munro, Cardinal's mother.
The patients file overlaid the image.
It described how the parents were having trouble conceiving and that after investigation an accident Mrs Munro had as a child meant that although she could carry a child, it would have to be limited to only one at a time.
She and her husband were having to undergo IVF treatment as another result of the accident meant that her eggs could not get from ovaries to womb.

The doctor between her legs was performing some sort of procedure. Beside him was a machine that contained and oxygenated fluid that would support the life of any unborn child placed in it.
When the procedure was complete the doctor placed the 15 cm long foetus in the solution and his technical assistants quickly hooked it up to the various sensors and probes the machine used to monitor the life signs.
More notes scrolled across the images. “2nd foetus removed... foetus viable...”
The images began to speed up again, rapidly showing the machine being wheeled through the hospital and into a ultra-high dependency ward where a stand-alone computer continually monitored the baby and administered the necessary chemicals in order to sustain the foetus.

For two days the child remained in the development chamber, the hospital staff monitoring the computer but having to do very little.
A man in a lab coat arrived on the ward flanked by two security personnel.
Caliburn instantly recognised the logo on the left breast of all three men. Transys Neuronet.

The technician handed over a paper to the senior ward doctor. Although the doctor looked immediately angry, it quickly turned to frustration and he capitulated. He led the trio to the machine containing the young developing child.
Within a few moments more technicians arrived, wheeling along a portable version of the development chamber.

Despite this being a playback of the hospital security feed, Black could feel the anticipation growing in the matrix. The Resonance was there, waiting, watching, knowing its moment was close.

One of the technicians transferred the child from the hospital machine to the Transys mobile version. At that point the leading technician attached a probe to the foetus and plugged the cable into a palm pc.
Black felt the Resonance poised, ready for action.
The palm pc connected via phone link to the matrix and dialled home. The instant the matrix connection was established the Resonance swooped. It sent a signal to the foetus via the probe. The baby's unique brain understood and opened itself to the Resonance. The baby's consciousness was downloaded to the matrix. Black could see the data streaming away through the net.

User avatar
Black
Runner
Runner
Posts: 191
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Seattle, UCAS

Post by Black » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:13 pm

Suddenly the pain was back again, a brutal surge of agony that passed through every fibre of his being.
Afterwards he was sat on the wooden bench atop the Aztec pyramid with the warrior.

“What did all that mean?” Black asked.
The warrior smiled. “Good! Many pretend to understand what the Resonance has shown them, even though they do not.”

“I'll sum it up as best I can,” the warrior said as he casually tossed another log into the brazier.
“When the matrix was formed back in the late twenties it gave purchase on your world to an entity known as the Resonance. Some say that the Resonance is a powerful free spirit of man that inhabits the technological world, others say that it is a being from another plane, others still that it is a concept given form, and yet others still who say that the matrix has become so all-encompassing in the world of man that it has developed a life of its own, its own consciousness, you might say. Who can say which is right and for that matter which is wrong?”
“Needless to say, after the creation of the matrix, things were different. The world had already seen the emergence of dwarves, elves, orcs, trolls and even dragons walking amongst man. However there were more developments to come.”

“Initially the matrix was a large entity, but it was not as powerful as it is today. Over time its influence grew, and so did that of the Resonance, to such an extent that there are now those who can access the matrix with the power of their minds, no need for cumbersome cyberdecks. You may have heard of their name, the Otaku. They are more common these days than you'd think.”
Black's head nodded slowly. He'd heard the term before, and right now was noticing some similarities between them and him.

“In the early days though,” the warrior continued, “there were very few. It is a tragedy that many of them never realised their full potential and never came to know the matrix as they could. There were others who could not comprehend their abilities and nor could anyone else so they were labelled insane by the authorities. As most of the Resonance's children lose their connection as they age this ability was ignored and written off as 'just a phase'.”

“But I digress – we'll return to that subject in a moment. Mrs Munro, Charles Munro's mother had a medical condition that meant she could not conceive children, and if she became pregnant she could only bear one child at a time. She and her husband underwent IVF treatment and as is often the case with that treatment she bore twins. As she could not carry two children to term the doctors decided to remove the child, however they could not undertake the procedure without jeopardising the other child until the pair were between twelve to fifteen weeks. The medical team aimed to keep the removed child alive in one of their 'artificial womb' machines. However, Transys Neuronet, who were funding the couple's treatment decided they wanted the elf child for their own research. One day shortly after the removal procedure they took the child and had the hospital declare the child deceased. Mr & Mrs Munro accepted this as it had always been a very probable outcome anyway.
The child was taken to the cloning research facility where samples were used to try and produce replicas. When the research proved unsuccessful the corporation decided to put the project on hold, but rather than lose their valuable specimen they put it into cryogenic suspension. There it remained until Dr Pattak visited the metaplanes on his quest. There he found what he initially thought to be an actual foetus. However what he really had was a download of the subject's consciousness and some trigger mechanisms to restart the initial development. Almost like a system boot program.”

“That was your consciousness the doctor took with him.”

Black remained silent. Why?
That was the question repeating in his mind and the warrior knew it.

“Because you were special to the Resonance,” he answered matter-of-factly. “Of the two children within your mother's womb, you were to grow into Otaku. Although you would have been unable to comprehend the matrix the ability to connect would have been there with you as an unborn child and the Resonance detected that. You were among the first generation, and the decision to remove you caused the Resonance some concern. So it took action to try and back you up, save you, as any computer user would save work-in-progress, and downloaded your subconscious mind.”
“When Pattak began his research his investigations combined with his place of work came to the notice of the Resonance. It saw an opportunity to perhaps reactivate one of it's children, as though you had been offline. It fed information to the doctor via his matrix research. Subtle information and hints that made Pattak come looking for your, how can I put it? Boot-up files. Pattak took the download back to the physical world and pulled your body from cryo-stasis and began his deception. There are those out there in the world who would have been proud of the manipulation the Resonance had performed.”
“So, looking beyond the subliminal training package that Transys Neuronet were pumping into your mind, the Resonance was watching to see if its own experiment had had an effect. Your body's growth was accelerated through some very clever and extensive use of arcane rituals, sometimes to Dr Pattaks detriment. By the time the Resonance detected the first signals of your innate abilities, you had already progressed physically into adulthood. Then the spurious code was thrown into the mix when they decided to install a cranial cyberdeck in you. For a time it swamped your natural connection to the matrix and the resonance thought you were lost. However your body responded by eventually rejecting the hardware. The rest of your story, you know better than I.”

Black let out a sigh. “So I am Otaku? I thought you said they lost their ability to connect as they became adults?”

“Yes, many do, but not all of them. This is the question though. Physically and mentally you are an adult but you have technically only been here for ten years. One argument is that your actual age rather that your apparent age means that you still have the abilities of the Otaku. But the Resonance detects something different about you, like you are Otaku - 'the next generation'. Irony is not something computers do well, but the Resonance sees the irony in you, one of the first generation, being a prototype for what is to come next!”

The warrior stood and stared out across the artificial vista as though in thought. Turning he said to the elf, “Technomancer. It is a term you will hear in the years to come. Were I you, I would ascribe the term to myself. Also, there is something happening in Seattle within the matrix. Something big, something frightening, something huge, something new. It might be an experience for you to meet it, if it lets you!”

As he finished the blinding white all encompassing light returned, whiting out the matrix.

Caliburn Black shuddered as he came out of the virtual world and into the real and his eyes focussed on the discoloured ceiling of his Seattle Op-Centre. Odd, he thought, but he could still feel the matrix around him, sense the data flowing through the ether.
He sat up and rolled his head on his shoulders working out the stiffness.
“Well, bloody hell!” he said in a Scottish accent.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest