Alpha Omega - Player Characters

And the OB Rested
All Work and No Play...

We’ve been too busy to play :(

Waiting for the world to slow down some.

Select Vignette - SID Has Pathos Thrust Upon Him
Not the Way to Learn About Emotions

This is not a gaming session. This is provided as character background and early development.

This expands on the backstory of SID, first mentioned in this post: Select Vignettes of Our Past…

This is part Two of Two ( Part One is here: SID Reflects on Pathos )

Origin. SID arrived at Origin. The team SID left with did not return to Origin. SID couldn’t explain in sufficient detail exactly what happened, only that SID was apparently subjected to a massive exposure of microwave radiation that overwhelmed his sensors and rendered him unconscious. What was left of the team on regaining consciousness was outside of SID’s medical capabilities and resources. SID attempted to return to Origin, without meeting any of the mission objectives.

There were no familiar faces among the technicians that assisted with his clean up and the diagnostics of his hardward. During SID’s debriefing, where he relayed his impressions of the events, the individuals present were impassive and perfunctory. None of the individuals SID encountered in this process were part of his indoctrination and training cadre. SID was then plugged into a console for complete downloading of his stored memories.

SID reflected on the impartiality of the process, and the manner in which he was being treated. It was beyond anything he had experienced so far in his short existence. He re-examined… What was that? A surge in the download. An anomaly.

The events leading up to the kill box didn’t appear to be aberrant. No unusual…. Another anomaly in the download? SID performed a few quick internal diagnostics, but it only appeared to be some type of double-layered code in the files being accessed by the Origin mainframe. Peculiar.

Back to the review of the mission, and the debriefing. Ah! Yes. Reviewing the interview, there were indicators of very high stress in one of the participants. They were as neutral as far as tone, expression and facial movements, but there were indicators in the respiration, heart rate and perspiration. Infra-red readings were in the range that indicated serious emotional distress, regardless of their attempt to mask it. So, what could that mean?

Yet another anomaly in the download? Should one of the technicians be informed? This is unusual. Perhaps SID should advise them. Would they be offended, or annoyed? How would biologicals react, if this was actually normal? SID had no experience with which to gauge. Let the biologicals monitor their work, and SID would learn by observation. Back to analysis of the debriefing.

What would Origin do, concerning the failure of the mission? This was never part of the training. It appeared to SID that there was never any question of failure. Success was the only option in the mission briefing. There was no fallback or extraction plan that SID had on file. The team was supposed to get SID to and from the target, and they would do the debriefing. SID was concerned. Biologicals had been terminated if damaged beyond repair. SID did not think he was damaged. Would failure mean disassembly?

All the screens within detector range suddenly went from their usual displays to a black background and a nearly full screen representation of three characters. This was not encouraging. SID immediately correlated the characters with the mission target. 111.

An audio signal started issuing from equipment speakers stated that Vidal Corporation was the perpetrator of heinous crimes against sentient beings. Images started flashing across the displays to demonstrate the audio information, and Vidal Corporation logos were predominantly featured. The same logos were all over the room and equipment in the room SID currently occupied, and even appeared on SID’s chest plate.

The narrator identified itself as AC-63. This individual was the primary objective of the team’s mission, if SID understood the briefing correctly. It wasn’t expected the team would encounter the head of 111, but if possible, the elimination of AC-63 was the ultimate target. That this individual was now broadcasting on every device within range was distressing. A technician came rushing into the room and quickly scanned the devices. A word that SID knew to be socially unacceptable was uttered loudly, and the technician left in a hurry.

SID unplugged himself from the mainframe terminal, and stopped the download. The displays did not change, but continued to stream videos and audio kept coming from the speakers. SID realized that the anomalies in the download were probably Trojans. SID had been used as a Trojan Horse. If the failure of the mission was bad, this was catastrophic. SID would be disassembled. Torn into component pieces, if the video displays were anything near true. If AC-63 was accurate, artificial intelligences were treated as completely disposable devices by Vidal Corporation. Should one be responsible for unleashing this torrent of anti-Vidal Corporation rhetoric, disassembly might be the kindest thing the corporation might do. Vidal Corporation would most likely be able to trace the Trojan back to this terminal, and how it got into the mainframe would be obvious.

Suddenly, sounds of gunfire and explosions could be heard. Vibrations were detected in the floor, commensurate with the sounds of the explosions. Alarms started blaring from the corridor outside the room. SID assessed the situation and determined that staying in the room was not in his best interests, if survival was a mission objective.

But, how to get out of the facility? There were doors SID would not be allowed to pass through, without clearance, and he was certainly not going to have it now. Perhaps going toward the sounds of conflict would be a means of blending into the mayhem. Serious Injury Droids would be expected to be assisting with casualties. Caring for injured individuals would allow SID to move through doors, without checking ID or authorizations. Someone else would open the doors as the casualties were evacuated. Perhaps SID could even get taken from the facility to a hospital. SID moved rapidly in the direction of the battle.

The main noise was coming from the parking garage under the facility. SID headed down stairs by the main elevator shaft, getting through doors that others left open as they fled the violence. It was almost too easy. Once in the garage, SID could see that the Vidal Corporation was engaged in a concerted firefight with heavily armored robots that appear to have blasted their way into the garage with armoured vehicles.

SID considered attempting to approach the robots, but was not certain they would recognize him as non-threatening. They appeared to be shooting at anything that moved. Death and destruction appeared to be the only objective, and they were very successful. SID considered approaching the Vidal Corporation security forces, but survival was not likely, with the weapons 111 robots were using. Very large vehicles were being perforated by the projectiles with remarkable ease, and the armour of the security forces didn’t appear to be at all successful at mitigating injuries.

A vehicle near SID started up and lights came on. A door near SID opened, out of view and arch of all the combatants. There was nobody nearby, and nobody appeared to be trying to get to the vehicle. SID decided to investigate. Looking in the open door, SID could see a display screen, and the text on the screen could be interpreted in only one way. “SID. Get in!” One way or another, SID was being assisted. To his destruction, or salvation remained to be determined, but staying where he was would not likely be favourable to long-term survival. Projectiles whined past SIDs aural detectors, and SID got into the vehicle.

The vehicle immediately accelerated toward the combat, and projectiles from both groups of combatants impacted on the skin. SID realized the vehicle had considerable structural strength, as holes were not being made in this particular vehicle, despite the calibre of rounds bouncing off it. The vehicle maneuvered deftly through the two groups of belligerents, and out through the gaping hole in the garage wall.

The ride was not lengthy, and took SID to a location near a medical facility in the Borough of Queens in Old New York. This was not far from the 600-floor tower of the Vidal Corporation Archology, but probably far enough at the moment for SID to hide. The last thing SID saw on the screen in the vehicle as it let him out, was the message: “Be better than your training. H.” The Borough of Queens was temporarily, but not somewhere SID could remain indefinitely. Time to put his Medbot camouflage to use, and disappear in plain sight.

SID is now, very likely, a hunted individual. Any contact with Vidal Corporation would be terminal. But, what had happened to him while he was unconscious? Something had been done to him. There was programming or Trojans buried in his core storage. The connection to the mainframe unleashed the Trojan. Was it the only one? Was he now marked by 111? Could he be carrying a tracking device that 111, or Vidal, could use to find him? Someone assisted him in leaving Vidal Corporation, but who, and would them contact him? How would they find him? SID was not trained for this, and had no experience. SID had lost everything, and would have no immediate help. Dark and uncertain days were ahead. If SID had eyes, he imagined they would be filled with tears.

Select Vignette - SID Reflects on Pathos
What Should be the Source of Strong Emotions

This is not a gaming session. This is provided as character background and early development.

This expands on the backstory of SID, first mentioned in this post: Select Vignettes of Our Past…

Having been created and trained for a specific task, dedicating years of education, training, skills development, and devoting commensurate resources to that purpose, the result shouldn’t have been such a catastrophy. To have put all of one’s existence into achieving peak performance at a task, forming oneself into a valuable team member with a similarly trained group of individuals, only to have the entire team fail at that task so spectacularly. There was a serious logic disconnect.

How to reconcile the loss? What had gone so completely wrong? The only thing that made any sense was a complete failure in reconnaissance and intelligence. There was no conceivable gain in allowing the team to be so completely cut down. Thinking back on events, one would have thought that sending anything biological against the intended target was doomed to failure from the start. AC-63, if all the published information was even remotely accurate, would not have dealt with any biologicals. But someone thought that the team would get to a certain point, and then the core member would be able to conduct the final infiltration and probe on the target, with some chance of success.

The team stepped into a kill box, and without warning, it was too late. A flash of energy disrupted consciousness. Silhouetted against the blinding light and the pain of energy overwhelming brain functions, one could see the other members of the team vibrating, twitching and burning in the energy blast, before darkness wiped out any thoughts. The trap was meant to be fatal to anything biological. That was very clear. Nothing living would have survived, let alone had time to react to the threat. Even having reaction times measured in microseconds was not enough to even warn the team. Four months of training and collaboration spent developing an elite group into a highly effective and mutually supporting team, all to be wiped out in a blinding, burning flash.

When consciousness finally returned, there was a mess of burnt, disrupted tissue and fluid all over the room and the one figure still able to move. Nothing was left to heal or to which one could render any meaningful aid. All the training in medical procedures and diagnoses was for naught. It remained to leave, and perhaps report back, if one could make it back.

More questions, more puzzles, more confusion. Running over the recordings, there was no sign of a trigger that the team might have set off. Which one would conclude meant that the trap had been triggered remotely, once the team had entered the room. Which one would conclude meant that the team had been expected, or had been detected, analyzed and determined as expendable. There was no attempt, according to the recordings, at communication, nor warning to the team that their presence was not wanted.

Going back over the last part of the mission, and examining the interactions of the team, it was very certain the team had been directed to the trap deliberately. By whom? The informant had no reason to want the team eliminated. All that entity did was answer questions, for which remuneration have been provided. The emotion of hate might be applicable, but with only minimal interaction on which to base any relationship, how would one develop such strong emotional motivations? Bigotry and prejudice? Is this what happened to the team? Is this why the team was sent to infiltrate AC-63 ? Did the team fail in the mission because they were biological? It could be. One lacks sufficient knowledge, research resources and experience to be able to determine how this apparent emotional motivation would bring about this result. But, even if that was sorted out, it wouldn’t have explained the thing that happened next.

What happened next made this disaster pale into insignificance.

To be continued…

Here: Select Vignette – SID Has Pathos Thrust Upon Him

There Are Only So Many Hours in a Day
Conventions Don't Spontaneously Occur

I have to give the OB props.

I think he probably would have prefered to be slowly paper cut a few times than tell me in person, But he did it. And, much to his surprise, I didn’t completely break down and cry.

The Sessions are officially on hiatus until after the upcoming convention in… April! Yes. April.

Which means there won’t be any session posts of the group and any mayhem the OB might throw at us until May.

Well, in RL, the OB is actually human, and has other commitments.

I have a plan, though. Perhaps we could do some fill-in back stories? Sort of what I did with SID last month? A call goes out to the other players for suggestions, or submissions/collaborations for their characters. It would be nice to do at least one a month, until May.

Still can’t wait until our next game, though.

Reading suggestions for those interested: Steve Perry’s ‘The Man Who Never Missed’ Any of the books, but perhaps the original book that started it all.
Of particular interest to SID is the Spedsdod weapons and the Shocktox non-lethal darts. There are other things in the series, like the viral neural accelerator shots, for those playing biological entities.

And Life Gets Even Busier
Social Life at Christmas Time, Anyway

As that time of year comes around, I hope that the best of the season, health and happiness finds everyone.

" May the best day of this year be the worst of the next. "

Work/Play Balance Issues Continue
I am so sad

Another month passes. One of our party is still away, the OB is still far too busy with RL.

SID is in hybernation mode, to conserve energy, and prevent bordom. Unlike his Player, who is going barmy…

Select Vignette - SID Learns About Social Interaction
How Not to Address Others

This is not a gaming session. This is provided as character background and early development.

SID was perplexed. On arriving at the usual location for his interaction with his usual tutor for Social Interaction, an unknown individual was in Dr. Whelan’s seat. This individual introduced himself as Dr. Johnson. He then explained that Dr Whelan was ill, and would not be available for an undetermined period. Dr. Johnson was to take over for the interim, and possibly for the remainder of SID’s training period.

SID was still perplexed. Why would the repairs to Dr. Whelan take an undetermined amount of time? He asked Dr. Johnson about this. Dr. Johnson provided that SID would learn about biological illnesses in his medical tutoring, along with the databases he would have uploaded. Dr. Whelan was very sick, and may not recover. This lead SID to inquire about repair and maintenance of biological bodies, and about replacing broken parts. Not that easy for biologicals, and especially not for the illness Dr. Whelan was experiencing.

Dr. Johnson then stated the purpose of their meeting was that SID needed to learn different manners of addressing the individuals he was encountering on a daily basis, as well as any he would meet in the future. He went through several titles and positions that different individuals occupied and their professional titles and means of addressing them, in both formal and informal settings.

SID assimilated the verbal information, as well as the database of information Dr. Johnson uploaded. Then, Dr. Johnson went through several scenarios to have SID access the database and provide responses using titles and professional courtesies. SID then drew the logical conclusion that Dr. Johnson was a doctor of medicine, with a specialty in psychology and education. On stating this, Dr. Johnson corrected SID, saying that it wasn’t too bad a conclusion, but not entirely accurate. Dr. Johnson had two doctoral degrees, one in medicine, specializing in psychology, but also one in computer sciences, specifically for artificial intelligence.

SID could understand the relation to his position, and in an attempt to put his lessons to good effect, offered a statement of appreciation of the level of effort Dr Johnson had to have sustained to achieve his status. Dr. Johnson thanked SID for the kind words, and went on with the tutoring session.

As the session was drawing to a close, Dr. Johnson asked if SID had any questions about what had been covered in their time together. SID did have some questions. One particular question was foremost in SID’s consciousness. SID had heard individuals using different words and titles in reference to other individuals, usually when those specific individuals were not present. This didn’t seem to fit with what Dr. Johnson had explained, nor did the new database provide any correlation to some of the expressions used in these instances.

Dr. Johnson asked SID to provide examples. When SID provided some examples, Dr Johnson’s heart rate accelerated, his facial temperature went up markedly, and Dr. Johnson’s breathing became rapid and shallow. None of this SID could identify at the moment, except that it was an anomaly.

After a few moments, when Dr. Johnson’s external symptoms returned to near their previous levels, Dr. Johnson asked SID to provide some situation in which he had heard these titles used. SID described his tutoring with the Vidal Mainframe AI, who was testing and evaluating SID in speed and accuracy of his recall and accessing of internal information. There had been a few interruptions, during SID’s sessions, and the Mainframe had used some titles for those interrupting individuals. Dr. Johnson identified these titles as ‘derogatory’ and not anything SID should use.

SID wanted an explanation of the terms, and why there were other means of addressing individual, and additionally why they had been left out of the provided database. If SID was to act appropriately, there was a very logical reason for having all means of addressing others, especially those that were derogatory, so that SID would not inadvertently insult an individual through insufficient data.

SID had observed that there were titles that the Mainframe would use to individuals’ faces, and that some would only be used when referring to a specific individual when they were not present. SID had been confused by some of the titles, as they were sometimes used only for biologicals, and sometimes in reference to an individual’s levels of competence, or lack thereof in the opinion of the Mainframe, regardless of their species or capabilities.

One such title was ‘meatsack’, used only for biologicals, and almost the only term the Mainframe would use in reference to living beings, when tutoring SID alone. Dr. Johnson was appalled, and said he’d take this up with the Mainframe, before discussing it further with SID. Dr. Johnson asked about other titles, and SID suggested that he had observed other occasions, and the titles became harder and harder to correlate depending on their use. It seemed to SID that the titles caused different reactions to biologicals depending on their interactions with the individual being referenced. It appeared that if the biological interacted with the subject of the title with respect and deference, they reacted with shock and discomfort. If the biological interacted with the subject of the title with contempt and derision, they would laugh. SID was confused.

Dr. Johnson was not ready to explain this issue to him, and asked for some time to prepare an explanation for a future tutoring session. SID said he would await the explanation with anticipation. SID then added that he would very much appreciate learning the correlation between biological individuals the Mainframe claimed were particularly useless and ineffectual, and the title the Mainframe bestowed upon them, always after they had left the room.

Dr. Johnson hesitantly asked what that title was. SID answered. “5#!t Pump”.

Work/Play Balance Issues
All Work and No Play...

Real Life is intruding…

With the majority of the group working, and developing a new Society for the local Cosplay and Gaming convention, our play session evenings have been co-opted for “more important” purposes.

Also, it appears that yet another member will be out of town on business for an extended period.

This might take a bit of time to sort out, so please be patient.

Yeah, right…

Come Out and Play, Lavi
Please, Mr Ops Man?

Discussions on what to do next centered mostly around how to get Jaz’la back. The concensus was that the assailants were probably highly Ascended beings, that could take ‘Spiritual Form.’ This would enable them to bypass all the physical security of the hotel, and go through walls. These individuals would not likely be subdued by the team, even if they were found.

With no other leads, SID suggested that if Askari had taken Jaz’la, the team should call them and ask for her return. SID did make a call to Askari to update them on the team’s progress before going to Sanctuarium, so SID had a number to call. The only person that would make the call, or thought that they might at least be listened to, was Reithered, Jaz’la’s assigned bodyguard. William wielded up a boost to Reithered’s confidence, to enable him to better negotiate with the Operations personnel.

Outside the hotel, as none of the net/comms were working due to a hacking attack, SID called the Askari Ops number. The call was actually received and they answered. SID did successfully trace the call, but it revealed a location in India, not Divinus. In retrospect, this shouldn’t have been a surprise, it just wasn’t immediately helpful. Reithered did not get a lot of cooperation, but Askari did admit to having our teammate. Reithered offered more information on the previous subject of interest, and both SID and Reithered overheard a name mentioned in a background conversation. SID immediately did a GPS search for the name, coming up with a coorelation to a street in Divinus. Askari was interested, and they said they’d call back in two hours to discuss further.

William proposed that perhaps a Scrying a bit closer to Jaz’la’s physical location would give better results?

Reithered’s boosted confidence was no longer needed for the negotiations, but rather than waste the magic, he decided to go check out the nearest casino. Amrith added to the confidence by boosting his gambling skills as well, and stood back to watch the events unfold. SID made the supposition that any casino near the hotel might be part of Silf’s operations, and it may not be a good idea to go for lots of money. SID suggested being polite and just asking for money, but that was pretty much ignored. William was reconsidering the use of his wielding efforts on Reithered, and that he may have created a monster. William rejected that with the though that it was Amrith that really unleashed the bad part.

The nearest place was doing straight exchanges of Trust, not using chips or other means of exchange. This could have been bad, if one was alone, but with an entourage, it might be safe enough. SID had bandages with him, if not. There was a mix of patrons, of various levels of sophistication and class, some high, and some very shady. Reithered and Amrith were not concerned, in the least. Reithered did marvelously, and with some exceedingly awesome rolls, makes a smooth 10,00T. He called a halt to the streak, and walked away with the winnings, before the establishment becomes too concerned. The team decided to have a celebratory drink on the way out, and after SID checked them for anything dangerous, they were enjoyed. Reithered won another 700T on the way out of the casino, when he dropped a coin in one of the slots near the door.

Using a taxi to get to the street named in the Askari Ops conversation, William boosted his mental abilities and performed another Scrying. This was so successful that William saw a 3-D presentation of the location and the structure Jaz’la was being held in. The building was recognizable down the street from the Scrying location. The team found a little bistro across the street from the location, and settled in to wait, when the phone rang…

Oh! That's Not Good
Getting Dressed for Success

The attempt at video tracking of Jaz’la and her assailants using any available city traffic cams was a bust. The images were not in the right spectral realm, anyway. And any attempt to get into the airport security would have required an arrival date around which to search, and some expectation that the assailants actually arrived by air, and moved through the terminal. Too many variables with limited time to search all the video available. The party was sleeping while SID did several other crawls through the net, getting anything that would match up to the names on the list found in the hotel rooms. That provided quite a few hits, but was not information-rich. Most of the names belonged to individuals that could loosely be described as diplomats, or ambassadors, to many large and important archologies and walled cities. The location turned out to be ‘Supersisto’, the ‘Royal Palace’ of Vandorian Menhir, the Administrator, and so-called ‘King’, of Divinus. How this location would connect physically with any facility operated by von Schnauser was not readily apparent. Perhaps it was a personal connection that would have to be made, which could lead the team to the facility, or access to it? Very good clothes would be required.

In the morning, William found some hairs on Jaz’la’s brush that he could use for a Scrying. This resulted in the image of a ‘massive flash of light in the future’. Nothing about a direction, location, or anything useful to pinpoint Jaz’la’s whereabouts.

SID suggested that Eve ask Hotel Security for an extention on their rooms while they search for Jaz’la, but Eve wouldn’t consider it. Eve did head down to the Concierge to get the money for the laptop deal that was missed in all the excitement. There, she found out that the hotel had them listed for at least another two days residence, besides getting some money for the device.

HotelDesk-CompWarning.pngThe biological members of the team went out to get appropriate clothing for the upcoming event, and SID remained in the hotel doing searches for more information on the Gala location, and for any means of access to the local building planning division and Emergency Services systems. SID noticed some feedback activity and attempted to defend against it, but was not able to pull back out of the net fast enough. The next thing he saw was the screen blacking out, and words on the screen “Humilect will destroy you!”

The rest of the team arrived back at the hotel from their shopping trip to find the hotel in pandemonium. The Security Head was not in a good mood, as every screen in the hotel was displaying the same message, “Humilect will destroy you!”. The entire hotel network was locked down, with no-one knowing what had happened. Well, perhaps one individual might have a clue, but he wasn’t saying anything to anyone…

Eve presented SID with a top hat on returning to their rooms, so that he could complete his outfit for the Gala.


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