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[Game] H+: The Singularity (IC)
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Old 06-23-2013, 08:59 PM
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://the.respite|timecode:xxn.00.01.21.0945

Beatrice waved a hand and a section of her data haven partitioned off, black walls extending upward and downward into infinity. She laced her fingers together, the sleeves of her robe covering her hands as she turned back to the figures arrayed nearby. "This should suffice for your palaver," she says, in a soft alto. "I'm sure I don't need to remind you that the Respite's TOS still applies."

Four members of The Flow all nodded their understanding. Three of them had opted for something approximating anonymity, using basic off-the-shelf avatars. One of them had covered his face with a scarf/mask, while the other two wore helmets and outfits that made them look robotic. The fourth's avatar wore loose robes of his own, but open to the waist, revealing a gleaming figure of light, vaguely androgynous, with highly stylized facial features. "Of course not," Zero Shade replies, even his voice modulated to add to the faint androgyny of his avatar. "You may need to remind our counterparts when they arrive."

They stepped into the darkened partition, within which a long slab of a table was set with eight chairs divided to each side. The Flow took their seats, and had scarcely done so when a slot snapped open on the other side of the partition. Three figures made their way in, one wearing a hood and asymmetrical cape, a helmet or mask underneath obscuring his face, the whole thing black with yellow trim. The next had to turn sideways to get his massive bulk through the opening, for he stood twice as tall as anyone else present, his avatar a green-skinned brute covered in armor and cybernetics. The third was a woman, her avatar likewise green-tinted, her hair seeming to consist of cables and fiber-optics, which stirred in a non-existent wind, her lips painted a metallic color, twisted in a sardonic smirk.

These three took their seats at the table, staring at The Flow, and then a fourth figure emerged from the slot in the partition, light seeming to distort around him, a static filling the air as he folded his gloved hands behind his back. He wore a coverall that seemed to be made of plastic or rubber, but over this was a leather butcher's apron. His head was a featureless black shape, until an AR screen snapped into being in front of the 'face,' displaying a monochromatic image of a bespectacled man with an empty grin. The partitioned closed up, isolating them within. "So," Ink said as he took his seat with the Crashers, "you summoned us here, Zero. What do you want? As if I don't know."

"You must stop what you're doing, Ink," Zero Shade said flatly. "The consequences if you succeed will be dire."

"Precisely," Ink's smile seemed to grow wider. "The status quo will be upended and from the chaos will emerge a better world."

"A better world for whom?" This came from The Flow member in the scarf. "There's no guarantee that it will even the scales--"

The Crasher woman hissed. "Silence yourself, 'Dog," she spat.

The scarf-wearer tensed, but Zero Shade raised a hand. "We will accord ourselves in compliance with our hostess' wishes. This is what amounts to a peace talk."

"Zero's right, Becca," Ink chuckled. "But I'm sorry to tell you, old friend, that we will not be deterred by mere words. You expect us to sit idly by, and paint the walls in this world and meatspace with graffiti and hack the AR grid to drop 'truth-bombs' like you? You've been doing it for years, and to what end? What have you accomplished? Nothing."

"And yet, by disrupting the data flows and crashing markets and mainframes," Zero Shade returned, "all you have accomplished is causing the Corporate Court to put a bounty on your heads. You have people afraid of your actions. We make the people, both great and small, ask questions. Questions that get answered. There's a reason we're called activists, while you're called terrorists."

The other three Crashers seemed to bristle (inasmuch as one could tell with the masked one), and the towering brute slammed a metal fist on the table as he rose to his feet. "I won't sit here and listen to you preach your insipid soft ways!" He roared, and from the armor on his shoulders extruded glowing barrels and apertures. Light glowed within them--

--and then one whole side of the partition vanished, as the Lady of the Respite strode forward, eyes ablaze. "You will not cause violence in my haven," she stated, with cold flat fury.

"I am Hellborn, construct," the brute snarled. "I have broken the security protections of Tyr, and crashed K-MG five times running. I am not afraid of--"

Beatrice snapped her fingers, and light crashed down onto Hellborn's avatar. All those present shielded their eyes as Hellborn let out a brief scream that cut off abruptly. When their vision cleared, the brute was gone. Beatrice turned her gaze to Ink. "Consider this a warning," she told him. "If you or yours acts in this manner again, you will not be welcome in my haven ever again."

"Hellborn has ever been an impulsive sort," Ink smiled. "Pardon the breach of protocol."

"I will not," she said. "Just take care it does not happen again." With that, she turned and walked back out, the partition snapping shut behind her.

The two spokesmen looked at each other. "Ink, one last time, I ask that you reconsider your course of action. There is no way to predict what will happen, by its very definition."

"As you've said, Zero," the renegade hacktivist shrugged, "everything else we've done has only galvanized the megacorps, and only made the people more afraid. What other course do we have? We won't be passive like you." He rose from his seat, and beside him, the hooded man and Becca stood as well. "We will do what we must. As will you, I'm sure."

He turned, lifting one hand and tapping it on the partition wall, which slid open to let him out. "We will stop you," Zero Shade warned him, "if only so that we may be more certain of what may happen if you were to succeed."

"And it is because we both want the same thing," Ink said, his AR screen swiveling around his avatar's featureless head to look at him, "that I hope you will be spared the worst when the Singularity comes, that you may join us in a better world." His screen winked back out as the Crashers took their leave.

://sprawlfeed|timecode:xxn.00.03.13

"Simsense is better than its ever been, but it's never been a replacement for the real thing... until now! Introducing Yutan Simtek 10-BTR. Experience the Interlink and AR like you've never experienced it before. It is even compatible with existing trideo and simflick releases! Contact your local aug dealer about price plans to fit your lifestyle. The new Yutan Simtek 10-BTR. It's not simsense. It's Better Than Real. Only from S-YZ."

"They took away his badge, but they can't stop him from dispensing JUSTICE! Jacoby Armstrong returns in 'DEADLOCKED TWO: LOCKDOWN.' Starring Dane Victor as Jacoby Armstrong, with Rita Nolakov and Gary Europe. 'DEADLOCKED TWO: LOCKDOWN.' Coming soon to a simtheater near YOU!"

"You've all heard his sick beats and musical flow all over the Interlink, now's your chance to stream it and see his show performed livefeed! The Bard will be casting from The Pulse in two days! You gotta see this livefeed! I'm FoxZee, and I'll be collabbing with The Bard himself at The Pulse! The Bard, casting livefeed from The Pulse! Plug in and scope it out! The Pulse: Interlink 'Clubset', substra 'Radbeatz,' hash 'The Pulse'! See ya there, simfreaks!"

"--BOUNTY NOTICE--BOUNTY NOTICE--TYR INDUSTRIES IS WILLING TO PAY TOP CREDIT FOR ANY INFORMATION THAT LEADS TO THE APPREHENSION OF THE NET-THIEF KNOWN AS 'NiteShayde.' IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW CAN PROVIDE INFORMATION REGARDING NiteShayde's WHEREABOUTS-- WHETHER IT IS INTERLINK OR REAL-WORLD-- CONTACT TYR SECURITY: @TYRSEC-900 OR INTERLINK 'TYR', SUBSTRA 'SECURITY', HASH 'BOUNTIES.' REWARD NEGOTIABLE, NOT LESS THAN 10,000C--END NOTICE--END NOTICE--"

"It's never fun to get stuck in traffic. But now, that need not be a problem. The new KMW Firefly 3G Cosworth is an aircar for everyone. Fast, economical, safe, and best of all: affordable. Why be chained to the ground, when you can fly in a Firefly?////How affordable is your life, really? You buy what they tell you to buy, because they tell you it makes your life better. But your life is only as good as they let it be. How many people were displaced and disenfranchised when K-MG built their new facility in Grove Hills? The Flow knows this: Thousands of people were forced to move, at gunpoint, to Beggar's Reef to make room for that manufactory. So how affordable is a Firefly, really? #AskQuestions////--the new Firefly 3G Cosworth. Only from KMW: Driving Done Right. KMW is a part of Knight-Meinhardt Group."

[real-world].[the hub].[ping's noodles]|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1045

The restaurant is small, but then most places of businesses are in The Hub, given pressures of real estate space. But there are a couple of tables and a booth or two, plus the basic lunch counter. Ping himself was always at the counter, periodically barking orders back to the steamy kitchen in Xiaglot*, then turning and pointing a finger at passersby: "You look like you could use a pork bun!" Ping's Noodles is always busy, and he doesn't take reservations for seats.

...unless the Shinsen-gumi pay him a visit. It always pays to be nice to the Shinsen-gumi. Two burly men with the glowing nano-tats common to the group stood with arms folded while an older man with a prosthetic thumb (not uncommon among the kyodai of the family) ate his noodles and otherwise waited for the representatives of the Toshioto Clan to arrive. He was called Mr. Taoka.

[real-world].[the hub].[alleyway]|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1045

"Come out, liddle burd," the Slavic-accented voice calls out. "It will be much simpler and less painful for you if you just give up."

Dani had tried to avoid any major confrontations with the Red Bratva when this particular group had started tracking her. But that time had passed. They had quite efficiently cut her off and herded her into this alleyway (on the opposite side of The Hub from Ping's Noodles), which was still rather expansive. But they'd also sealed off either end, with men on the ground, as well as augmented snipers up high to prevent her from going up and over the dragnet. It looked like a confrontation was unavoidable.

And then, just when Dani might have been ready to start doing her Carrie thing from her hiding place, gunfire erupted at either end of the alley. Shouts and yelling filled the air, and if Dani looked out, she'd see the Bratva fighting with a gang she might have seen about The Hub in her time here: the Hub Scraps. To their credit, despite being outclassed (materiel wise) by the Bratva, the Scraps were taking them down, probably as much due to surprise as anything else.

Even the snipers appeared to have been taken out. But that's when Dani's hiding place would have been ripped open by two massive metal claws. A towering security mech stood there, and then AR displays of a roaring mouth flashed into being around its featureless head, accompanying the bellowing roar that it emitted--

--just before a monoedge sword sliced through its neck. The mech staggered back, another roar issuing forth from its chest--

--which is when the same sword punched through its chassis, puncturing its central processor. Alarms started sounding and the sword was withdrawn. Dani would glimpse a man wearing a face-mask and covered from neck to toe in tough clothing. He glanced at her and sketched a salute. "One sec," he said, before quick-stepping back and then delivering a mighty kick to the stricken mech's main chassis, sending the thing flying into the middle of the alley, where its main body ripped apart from a small explosion as its power core overloaded.

Satisfied, the man flicked his sword and then slid it back into its scabbard at his side. "Blaggin' Bratva," the man muttered. "Bad enough we have to deal with them, they wanna bring a megacorp Zorn mech in here? Slag that." Then, as if remembering his manners, he thumps his forehead. "Sorry, what am I thinking. Jinchu Daisuke. You gonna be all right?"

://noafence.mesh|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1045

New messages (3)

[--1--]
yo noa u scope that nu syz simtek 10?? shway innit?? mite git me 1 if i cud pay 4 it. anyway. u goin 2 the bard livefeed 2nite?? --gu$tav

[--2--]
You told me to let you know if someone managed to jailbreak the Tyr DRM. Might have something for you. His name's Kenstern. Brad Kenstern. Couldn't get much else. Shoot me some creds if this info works out. --Lem

[--3--]
--// keep an eye out // crashers have been more active lately //--
--// word is they're targeting the flow's network // members and contacts both //--
--// might be planning a big action // something public // possible high bodycount //--
--// let me know if anything hits your feeds // mr. universe //--


** Xiaglot is a creole/pidgin language spoken among most heritage Asians in the Sprawl. It's a mix of just about every Asian language. This is not to say that the original languages aren't still spoken, but given cultural mixing and melding over the years, Xiaglot exists so that people can still talk in a language that isn't the common tongue.
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Last edited by Jay 2K Winger; 06-24-2013 at 02:22 AM. Reason: Tweaking formatting for better appearance.

  #2  
Old 06-24-2013, 12:11 AM
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Danielle St. Claire remained silent and motionless as she scowled at the man in front of what remained of the refuse bin she'd been crouched behind. Her senses were still keyed up since, mere moments ago, she had been about to fling everything in the alleyway within her mental range that wasn't bolted down, as well as ignite anything and everything combustible as possible. She briefly considered seeing if she would be able to get her mind's fingers around the sword of this otaku-looking jackass and running him through with it, but reconsidered. He wasted her enemies, which made him either an idiot or a bigger threat (though if he was from the company, she'd already be dead). Dani supposed she might as well see what he wanted, and if there was anything useful to be gained from this situation before making a move. Besides, she knew what got her in this mess but she had no idea what was going on now.

Getting the Bratva on her heels had been a fluke. She'd been crashing in an abandoned apartment in the neighborhood for almost 2 weeks, and the Reds were offering their services to most of the businesses in the area. Which meant there were some thugs casing the streets with deep pockets ripe for the picking (though in the The Hub, deep pockets weren't all that deep). Thanks to those bastards at Tyr putting a damn price on her head she'd been laying low on the net, which meant she needed to get money the old-fashioned way and steal it by hand. It was just rotten luck the Bratva thug she mugged turned out to be a streetboss with a freaking mech for a pet.

So now this. Putting a cigarette in her mouth, she stood up and eyed the man in front of her. "Dunno who the hell you think you are," she snapped as the cigarette suddenly sparked, seeming to light itself, "but I don't recall askin for any help."
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Last edited by Kara; 06-24-2013 at 12:15 AM.

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Old 06-24-2013, 02:10 AM
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"My apologies Mr. Taoka." As if from nowhere a soft voice is heard and the two goons are a bit startled to see a petite oriental female sitting at the table. Mr. Taoka doesn't even really bat an eye, as he had dealt with the Toshioto clan before. "I hope I am not late. My grandfather sends his regrets that he is currently too ill to travel."
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:33 PM
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[real-world].[the hub].[alleyway]|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1047

"Didn't need to," Jinchu replied as he made a few signals to the other Hub Scraps, who started dragging the dead or unconscious Bratva out of the way. "It's what we do-- stop syndicate pok gai like them just doin' whatever they feel like doing."

For a moment, it appears like he's watching that cigarette spark up by itself (though it's difficult to tell with that visor/mask of his), but he then adds, "Just think of it like us doin' ya a solid. No trouble, no charge. You need any help with somethin', just ask around for the Scraps, it'll get to me."

He is about to leave when suddenly another Zorn mech drops out of the sky with pavement-cracking force, its clawed hand lashing out and grabbing Jinchu by the front of his shirt. The gang leader has just enough time to mutter, "Aw, blaggin' hell--" before the mech hurls him through a dumpster. The Scraps all shout and start to converge on where he landed.

Then the mech turns its head toward Dani, emitting a droning siren noise before a heavily digitized voice declares, "TaRgEt WiLl SuRrEnDeR iMmEdIaTeLy."

[real-world].[the hub].[ping's noodles]|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1047

Mr. Taoka gives a millimetric smile as he stirs the noodles in his bowl, then gestures with his chopsticks. "I took the liberty of ordering your favorite green tea, Kiki-san. My condolences for your grandfather's health. Family is important."

He eats a mouthful of noodles, then activates something on his prosthetic thumb. For a brief moment, an AR screen materialized in the air, but he adjusted his thumb, and instead a stream of data uploaded itself into Kiki's comm-link. "The man in the packet is Heinrick Molier. He is... conflicted. He has some objections to our client's practices. As a result, he has stolen some information from our client's databanks and intends to dispose of it somewhere on the Interlink."

Mr. Taoka pauses to take in the last of his noodles, and continues, "What that means, we are not certain. He may choose to sell the data to the highest bidder, or cache it in a data haven. While our client could easily prosecute, such activities would bring the nature of the data in question to light, and they do not wish it made public. Hence, we find ourselves trying to find Molier and the data he has stolen."

He lifts his bowl and drinks the broth, sighing a bit as he taps his chopsticks against the bowl, making a ringing sound. Ping looks around, and Mr. Taoka gives him a nod, calling a thank you in Xiaglot. Turning back to Kiki, he concludes, "Your Clan's assistance in this matter will not go unrewarded."
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Old 06-30-2013, 06:42 PM
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Kiki nods. "As for the data, my specialty is removing difficult people, but our clan has people who can find where the data is. I will.. end his conflict, and they will return the data to you. I will send grandfather your regards. Oh..and you might want to retrain your guards. Not only did they let a blind woman get this close to you.." she puts their weapons and belts on the table. "They let her disarm them." She gives a nod, and her and the packet are gone just as suddenly as she appeared.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:00 AM
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"My hero," the youth scoffed as she watched the Scraps rushing to the masked man's landing spot.

"TaRgEt WiLl SuRrEnDeR iMmEdIaTeLy," the mechanical voice repeated its command louder.

"I heard you the first time," Dani said, glaring up at the drone while blowing smoke at its AR displays. "Why don't you make me?"

The security drone roared in response as it swung one of its arms towards her. She jumped, drawing a large combat knife as she landed midway up its arm. She jabbed the blade into its elbow joint as she tried not to get thrown off the arm. Sparks shot out as Danielle yanked the knife loose, but before she could do anything else the drone swatted its arm into the side of a building. "Oh goddammit!" she cried as the wind was knocked out of her lungs. She managed to hold on with her free hand, though her head was spinning a bit. The drone raised its arm above its head, and Dani dropped on its shoulder as it smashed the injured arm through the wall. "That really hurt, you bloody bastard," she said, and then drove her blade into an unarmored area at the base of its neck, flinching as the shower of sparks burned her skin. The robot let out another mechanical roar and grabbed her with its good arm. She struggled in the clawed hand, but it was no use. She decided maybe carrying around a freakin sword wasn't such a stupid idea after all, considering that her augs didn't work so well against non-human opponents. The drone held her at eye-level with its AR display, she could see the lens of its eye behind the row of jagged teeth it was projecting.

"TaRgEt WiLl CoMpLy WiTh CaPtUrE," the emotionless voice said.

Dani laughed. "Comply with this!" She focused her mental energies, and the AR display flickered as the lens in its face cracked. Shaking its head, the snarling mouth reappeared as it slammed her into ground. She cried out as she coughed up a small amount of blood. "Oh... he-hell..." she gasped trying to see through the muddle of stars that obscured her vision. She was pinned to the ground under the drone's hand, though she wasn't sure she could move right now if she wanted to.

The drone leaned forward, probably scanning records trying to identify her. A waste of time, since none existed. Not anymore. "TaRgEt IdEnTiFiCaTiOn NeGaTiVe. PrOcEeDiNg WiTh CaPtUrE."

"I'm not done yet," the girl said. She could feel her knife still lodged in the drone where she had left it. She screamed to keep the world in focus and drove the blade deeper into the mechanical body, feeling through the wires and circuits with her mind until she found her target and forced the knife through it's main processing unit. The drone flailed its arms as it shut down, flinging her down the alley. Dani hit the ground hard, and her body rolled into a wall. She shakily tried to lift herself up, but her damaged body finally gave in and she collapsed and blacked out.
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  #7  
Old 07-01-2013, 06:13 PM
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[real-world].[the hub].[ping's noodles]|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1051

Mr. Taoka impassively regarded the weapons being deposited on the table, before his eyes flicked to the two Shinsen-gumi members flanking the table. They were hastily babbling apologies and pleas for forgiveness in Xiaglot as Mr. Taoka tapped his prosthetic thumb on the table as if in thought. Finally, he chopped his hand through the air, and their burbling ceased as they both straightened to attention.

"You have shamed yourselves, allowing yourselves to be disarmed," he says in Xiaglot. "In shaming yourselves, you shame our family." (Syndicates with an Asian bent such as the Shinsen-gumi often do consider themselves a family.) "You will be... reprimanded for this."

Through all of this, Mr. Taoka has been calm, his voice level, hardly a flicker of emotion on his face. He nods goodbye to Kiki just before she vanishes again.

[real-world].[the hub].[toshioto clan safehouse]|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1132

When Kiki gets back to her Clan with the information packet, all that can be determined about Molier's whereabouts are that he fled S-YZ's compounds in Wah Sing Ce District toward poorer areas. He'd been spotted briefly in Beggar's Reef, but current intel suggests he's holed up in the Hub somewhere, but likely using a falsified ID tag to avoid detection.

Any attempts to learn what the data he stole contains comes up negative, as it's been classified to a level that only the project manager (Molier himself) and the S-YZ Board could access it. Even the project (Project Schwarzschild) is classified to a degree that only the name is known.

They are able to determine that Molier is a fan of the music casts in the Radbeatz substra of the Interlink, and in particular of The Bard.

[real-world].[the hub].[hub scrap hideout]|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1148

When Dani resurfaces from her blackout, she finds herself in a rather spacious flat. A cursory examination would reveal that it was actually several apartments, but with some of the non-load-bearing walls torn out and even some floors and ceilings knocked out with crude stairways erected. Graffiti tags suggest that this is where the Hub Scraps hang out. Some computer equipment is set up in a few places, some bunks and cabinets here or there, and an entertainment area.

If Dani checks herself out, she finds that her burns were indeed superficial, and the lingering scent of a quick-acting burn-salve is on them. There are a couple of med-stim patches on her neck and sides, but her clothes are otherwise left alone. There are aches and soreness, of course, but it seems the Scraps took her somewhere safe and patched her up.

A noise pipes up from a nearby Scrap, who looks like a girl just about Dani's age, wearing a hoodie over her shaved head. She's noticed that Dani's awake. She calls out something in what sounds like a modified version of typical thieves' cant, and a small group of Scraps that had been clustered around another bunk move aside to reveal Jinchu Daisuke, stripped to the waist as a man-- presumably the Scraps' medic-- peels a couple of med-stim patches off of Jinchu's back.

"Thanks for takin' out that other Zorn," he remarks as he tests his arm's mobility. "Guess that makes us evened up."

Dani would be able to see the telltale signs of strength and agility augmentation along his arms and chest. He's still wearing that visor-mask of his, even now. But those would probably be of less import to her, given that his bare chest also reveals the turquoise-glowing ideograms and stylized dragon nano-tats common to the Shinsen-gumi.
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  #8  
Old 07-01-2013, 11:41 PM
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Danielle scowled at the man. The old scars on her back where she'd taken multiple canings for disobedience during her conditioning with the Shinsen-gumi started throbbing at the sight of the tats. She'd heard of the Scraps, but didn't remember anything about them being part of that clan. One more reason not to trust them, she reckoned. She sat up on the cot, wincing at the soreness in her back. "We'd have to owe each other something to be evened up. So don't assume I owed you anything for the Bratva, or that me taking that other drone out was any kind of favor to you lot. 'Sides, someone with certain kuh wu connections doesn't need anything from me."
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:37 AM
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It was not much to go on, but the Toshioto clan was not known for taking EASY assignments. Though she was skilled in the interlink, she much preferred the real world, but the Hub was a huge place. It would be like looking for a grain of rice in a field of hay. She did have one lead, however, the Bard. So this individual liked the Bard..time to do some watching, unnoticed. After letting her clan know to scour the streets of The Hub, she goes into the interlink to see who is watching the Bard and where from.
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  #10  
Old 07-02-2013, 09:10 PM
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[real-world].[the hub].[hub scrap hideout]|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1152

"I saved you from that first Zorn," Jinchu says calmly, at her bridling about the 'evening' of things. "You took out the second one. That's what I meant."

The mention of connections to the Shinsen-gumi, however, makes the other Scraps start making some angry noises. Jinchu grimaces a bit, looking down at his tattooed chest, sighing. "Everyone, quiet." The Scraps settled... just.

"We're not connected to those syndicate bakayaro." He scratches absently at the tattoos on his chest. "I won't deny, I used to belong to them, enough that I got these, but when I found out they were working with the megacorps, I cut myself out of their dealings." He glares down at the glowing tats. "And believe me, if it were possible for nano-tats to be affordably removed, I'd've gotten this drek off of me a long time ago."

He waves off the medic as he stands and turns around, pulling off his visor as he puts on a fresh shirt, but not before Dani would see a pretty significant scar-- a brand-- on his back. More ideograms, more Shinsen-gumi, but this one would have been easily identified as meaning "traitor."

His shirt on, Jinchu puts his visor back on and starts to equip his other gear. Without turning, he says to Dani, "We only patched you up because it was the decent thing to do. You want to leave, feel free, Dotty can show you out, and we'll stay out of your life."

"Hey, boss," another Scrap says, pointing to something on their AR display by some of the computer equipment. "I pulled this off of those Reds. I think the Bratva were trying to cash in on a bounty." This Scrap, a young man with a black visor obscuring his eyes, turns his head and glances at Dani. But Jinchu shakes his head.

"If there's a bounty on this woman," the gang leader declares, "then it was issued either by some rich slaghead up Altman way or similar, or by the megacorps, and we're not having anything to do with them." He looks to Dani. "There should be some grub around here. Feel free to take what you need, and Dotty can show you out--"

That's when a high-pitched wailing noise filled the air. Someone yelled from a lower level in the hideout. "It's the Reds! They found us--" Before the voice was cut off by the sound of a pulser firing.

"Мы нашли тебя!" a voice roars out, and then again: "We found you!" The Slavic accent makes it clear who it is.

The Scrap with the black visor flicks between AR screens until he comes across one that appears to have a security feed, and the man goes white. "Slag! It's not just the Bratva, they have Kaschey with them!"

Instantly, Jinchu yells, "Everybody scarper! Get out of here and get to the safehouses!"

Kaschey is an infamous Bratva enforcer. Every syndicate has their precision instruments-- people that can be in and out without drawing notice, for low-impact work. Kaschey is not a precision instrument. He's the Bratva's equivalent of the nuclear option.

Jinchu picks up his sword and draws it. "I'll buy you all the time!" Then, his face splits into a manic grin as he leaps to the lower level, shrieking with mad laughter. Nearby, Dotty and Black-visor stare a bit, before she shakes her head, "Crazy blagging bastard."

[real-world].[the hub].[toshioto clan safehouse]|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1159

It's clear that Heinrick Molier took care to cover his tracks, probably for just such a situation as this-- having either corporate security or their syndicate friends hunt him down. Molier does have a couple of family members-- a sister and uncle-- back in Wah Sing Ce, but a quick check with the Shinsen-gumi reveals they've already interrogated them and turned up no information. Molier's uncle hadn't heard from him in years, and his sister barely even knew what he did for a living.

Some further searches done by Kiki and the rest of her clan would turn up a couple of leads in the Hub, however. Molier might have been spotted down by the Gaffer Club. It is believed he might have hired some protection, but what is unclear. The Gaffer Club is known for having a large number of thugs for hire and other similar mercenary work.

://meshcrawl/search#molier|timecode:xxn.00.03.15.1159

Kiki's search on the Interlink, however, might be a little more helpful. While Molier's taken care to hide his tracks, it's impossible to completely mask one's trail online. He's been a busy boy, posting on various forums about The Bard-- under the rather anonymous handle of "Beatzfan865"-- and generally just being a fanboy about it. It seems that Beatzfan865 will be attending The Bard's upcoming livefeed, however.

Her search might also take Kiki to the Tech section of the Interlink, to the substra dubbed "Future Shock," and further to the sub-substra "AI Advancement." He's been posting in forums there, and it seems there's talk of "digital evolution," and similar themes. Molier-- under the handle "Laplace-7"-- is commenting on the dangers of "unsupervised digital evolution," and the risk of another Amp Incident occurring about it. This has gotten Laplace-7 in some heated arguments on the forum with supporters of AI rights.

It's worth noting, however, that the forums where Laplace-7 is posting are known to be frequented by the Crashers or their supporters...
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