Alpha Omega - Player Characters

Do You Have Anything to Declare
How Customs Turns a Blind Eye. Or Did They?

Once the meeting with Methusa was over, and the shock of meeting Lucescu, the Founder of Sanctuarium, and defacto “King” of Sanctuarium wore off for Aberforth, the team had a few hours to rest and prep for the mission to Divinus. By this time, the team had practiced their team wielding efforts and melding tech with magic in some sessions together. The use of Smart Glasses would help SID to integrate his abilities with the wielders, and they could get a more complete view of their ‘Battlespace’, or tactical picture, through SID’s C5I Situational Imaging (C5I: Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Collaboration and Intelligence). Should SID wish to assist with joint deception efforts, the Smart Glasses would enable a seamless blending of electromagnetic spoofing and visual illusions. The sparring using wielding would also give SID some insight into what was required for wielding, and perhaps be able to anticipate what opponent wielders were attempting to do. That wouldn’t necessarily be very accurate, but it would be better than the complete ignorance SID was operating under now.

After collecting their kit and gathering at the launch pad, the team started boarding. That was when Lavi suddenly had a very bad attack of nerves. She outright refused to enter the aircraft. Aberforth attempted the Zen approach, and as he did the calm, soft chat, he tagged Lavi with a sedative patch. Just as he was going through this, Amrith wielded up some courage for Lavi. Along with the sedative, this was enough to get Lavi into the craft. As before, as people sat in their chairs, clamps came down over limbs. SID remembering the previous occurance kept his feet well clear of the base of the seat, and his arms crossed on his chest. This turned out to be unnecessary, as clamps did not deploy on his seat. The passengers were advised that they could, if they desired, participate in the Necrosi ritual, but that they had to individually initiate any pain. Only Lavi, Reithered and Aberforth took part in the pain ritual. As SID scanned the participants, he saw very interesting reactions develop in Aberforth. Very hightened pulse, short shallow breathing, twitching and muscle spasms were detected. However, Aberforth appeared to be very reposed, despite SID detecting what he could only surmise was a mild epileptic seizure. Aberforth continued to self-administer shocks, so SID remained in his seat and continued to monitor for any seriously adverse changes in his condition.

Divinus Island:
DivinusIsland-1.png

South American World Map
UTC/GMT: -3 Hours

The long aircraft ride to Divinus traveling from North to South America took a few hours. Then, the fun with Reception Security ensued. The team presented the Arrival Security team with some new identities, including Jaz’la, a winged Evolutionary, and William Smith, a bodyguard for Jaz’la. The individual doing the scan and introductory interview with Jaz’la gave her the ‘eye’ on reading the presented PID. Hmmm…. Well, there are more than a few individuals that show up at a place like Divinus that would like some privacy, so it isn’t like Divinus Security wouldn’t allow some discretion, despite potential illegalities. SID may, or may not, have passed Security undetected. However, there was a symbol on SID’s left chest plate that caused a flurry of unsucessful searches for information (Right-click on character image, and ‘view image’ for a closer look). It was not recognized by any available database. Some new sub-group coming into power in Sanctuarium?

It remains to be seen what Divinus intends to do about the group. They allowed them all through onto the island, without any apparent restrictions. As they were boarding the provided transportation to their Sanctuarium residence, SID noticed the Security staff speaking into a comm device. It could have been related to the team, or not. SID attempted to link into the Divinus EMS network, but it was somewhat protected, and SID declined to attempt a strong hack, for the moment. SID did full passive sweeps on a frequent basis for any electronic signatures as standard operating procedure.

33197_1196917200Purple.pngTwo vehicles were provided, and Amrith, Eve, and the medbot took the first vehicle, as Jaz’la, William and Reithered got into the second. Most passengers noted that the drivers of their respective vehicles were definitely Bio-engineered Manipulation individuals. The drivers began with pleasant conversation, pointing out sights and asking some informational questions. Reithered started responding with a bit more information than was wise, but both Jaz’la and William physically persuaded him to stop talking. They then turn the tables on the driver, and pumped him for information. They got a very good overview of the “Who’s Who” on the island in the process. It was a differnt situation in the first vehicle, Eve completely succumbed to the driver’s charms and unloaded the entirety of the team’s adventures since she met them at Crater Lake. SID was unable to comprehend this, and had no way to intervene. Amrith was not inclined to stop the spectacle, as he was getting a full rundown on the team before it’s appearance at Lake Point, Utah. Amrith realized that all this information was not meant for all ears, and wields a memory wipe on the driver. He was so successful the driver couldn’t remember what he was supposed to be doing for the day, let alone who had just been in his car and what he had heard. As to whether this would deprive Island Security of the information? Well, SID considered that anything said or done on the island would be recorded in several media, and he didn’t attempt to jam anything, to maintain appearances, and not interfere with the vehicle’s electronics.

LasTerrazasDeAbama-1.pngThe team’s two vehicles eventually arrived at the Sanctuarium residence, within a gated community. The place was very well appointed, with many amenities, and over 20 separate bedrooms for the team. The team was advised that their local contact would see them in the morning, and to get some rest. SID set up in the servant’s quarters, in the house security center. Another attempt at a soft link-up with the EMS network was not successful, so SID opens up scanning neighboring residences, looking for the arrival of an additional occupant to use as sock puppet for a re-routed and more aggressive hack.

Next session soon…

Vehicle image source: Matthew Bradbury, Artist
Residence image source: Futuristic Homes – Villas & Apartments

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Mission Planning Pt I

The group will not be getting together for a session for a few weeks, as the OB is out of the country. In the interim, the team starts planning for their second mission…

NOTE: This is patched together without OB input, so it is sketchy. Should the OB decide to edit, the information will likely change, hopefully with more pertinent details.

Mission Operation Order

FROM: Sanctuarium Covert Mission Control
TO: Infitration Team Naqmat1
Askari Agent Control, Sanctuarium Agent Control
INFO: Sanctuarium Transport-Global
SECRET
Sanctuarium Mission Number: 2280-0082-A
SUBJ: Operation Order – Sanctuarium Council-2280-108 – OP HARVEST I
REFS: A. Sanctuarium Council Minutes 22800526
B. Annex A – Wielding Effects Experienced at Crater Lake Facility2

1. SITUATION. A facility was discovered in the wilds of Oregon, near Crater Lake, in the Klamerath district. This facility had no registration, did not respond to any communications, and appeared isolated and well guarded. A team attempted to infiltrate the facility, and came away with significant information the synopsis of which revealed the capability of the controlling agency for the facility to generate wielding bio-engineered individuals. As the controlling agency is an unknown entity with unknown allegiances, and therefore unknown intentions, it is imperative that the intentions of the agency be ascertained.
Analysis of the information from the Crater Lake facility provides that there are several other facilities around the world working towards the same goal. One of which may be on the island of Divinus. As a means of determining the controlling agency, and gathering more complete information on the research, Divinus will be explored for any intelligence that can be gleaned. Located close to Divinus, within Sao Paulo, is the Rictor Beniton Research Centre, a cutting-edge genetic research establishment. Any connection between this agency and the bio-engineering research agency should be determined.
A. ENEMY: Numbers of personnel is not known, as the presence of a facility at Divinus is not known for certain. Should a facility be found, it will most likely be multi-spectrally shielded. All supplies and reinforcements at the Crater Lake facility arrived by dropships, using random travel routes with variable response times, therefore numbers of personnel and reinforcements may be available with little to no notice. Should any bio-engineered test subjects by conscious and under direction by facility staff, they may pose a significant wielding threat.
B. FRIENDLIES: The facility may be known to indigenous residents. You will be the only team on the ground, and we have no support arrangements with any local agencies nor communities.

2. MISSION. Gather information on the controlling agency as to the purpose of the wielding bio-engineered, and should a facility be found, gather any information on the current status of research and progress past known information.

3. EXECUTION. You are to infiltrate the Divinus faction of this agency, discover its purpose and controlling entities. Should a facility be discovered, destroy it, if possible. Appropriate means must consider restricting collateral damage, as it may be in a populated area of Divinus.
3.A. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS. This mission will be carried out in three phases. The team will be airlifted to Divinus. The team will gather information about the controlling agency and if possible any local facility, destroying the local facility, if possible. The team will then be extracted.
3.B. TASKS. Aberforth is team lead, unless incapacitated, in which case Content Not Found: null assumes command. Amrith, Eve and Reithered are the team defence. SID-422 will provide electronic infiltration capability as well as electronic surveillance and countermeasures. Additionally, SID-422 will provide the on-mission medical support. Both Lavien’ka and Aberforth are to use any means available to gather information on the purpose of the facility, determine manning, defenses, communications, support. Once any and all information is collected, determine a method of destruction using available materials and destroy the facility.
3.C. COORDINATING INSTRUCTIONS. You have 48 hours from H-hour (Arrival in Divinus) to achieve the mission and request extraction. Your extraction transport will respond to coded radio signal to initiate pick-up, and should arrive within 10 minutes of signalling. In the event transport doesn’t arrive, or is shot down by facility defenses, return to the original drop point and initiate the recall beacon. Back-up transport will arrive within 3 hours.
Any resistance is to be met with equivalent or superior force, without restriction, with extreme prejudice. Abort only if completing the mission is deemed to preclude survival, as we want information, not corpses.

4. SERVICE SUPPORT.
4.A. SUPPLY. There will be Sanctuarium agents available for administrative and limited logistic support (supplies, weapons and munitions. Some limited electronic device support may be available). Nothing further will be provided, nor is it expected that you stay on the ground beyond the 48 hour mission period;
4.B. TRANSPORTATION. Once in the target area, transportation is by foot. Extraction will be by dropship;
4.C. SERVICES. This mission is covert, and support from local government is not expected. In fact, local government may be hostile, as the controlling agency has not yet been determined;

5. COMMAND AND SIGNALS. Coded Net signals and P-Comms will be used as deemed necessary. SID-422 will have authority to restrict transmissions, if it is advised that enemy surveillance of electromagnetic devices is ongoing. Any contact beyond these methods is not authorized, and you will maintain radio silence within the target zone to reduce detection.

ACK


1 نقمة (Persian. Pronounced: naqmat, niqmat, naqimat). Punishment, revenge, vengeance; hatred; vehemence, hardness, severity.

2 Annex A to Op Order OP HARVEST I
Dated 22800526

Wielding Effects Experienced at Crater Lake Facility

During the infiltration of the Crater Lake facility, wielding effects were observed and experienced. These effects may be encountered in future missions, and should be disseminated to any teams attempting infiltrations.

  • Resident Security Personnel attacked each other to the point of death. On arrival at the facility, there were no surviving biological staff. Only the test subjects were alive. Video evidence of occurence and the aftermath available.
  • When approaching the facility, and during the time the staff was annihilating themselves, several “whumps” were heard. It was later determined these were void implosions of wielding test subjects, in their pods, or shortly after exiting their pods. Video evidence of individual occurrences available.
  • Very strong telekinesis was observed and experienced by one survivor while attempting to interact with the wielding bio-engineered test subjects. The power was sufficient to lift and move, with considerable velocity, objects over one hundred kilograms (several hundred pounds). Video evidence of occurrences available.
  • While in the facility, sounds consistent with structural damage were heard. It is suspected that the wielding bio-engineered test subjects were forcibly opening locked doors and breaking through interior walls. None of this was directly observed with one exception. One very large and structurally sound maintenance door was seen to buckle and warp, while sounds consistent with battering were heard coming from the other side of the door. Video evidence of the occurrence available.
  • While in the facility, a wielding dampening field was experienced. It appeared after being in the facility for over ten minutes, but why it was initiated was not determined. The dampening field existed until wielders were well outside the facility. It is not known if this was deliberate or not. As it disappeared at a finite distance from the facility, and was experienced lifting at approximately the same distance away, but at different times, it could be considered a finite range of effect.
  • After leaving the facility, a column of void energy was seen to extend up into the sky beyond visual range. The diameter of the column was approximately the size of the facility, and the projected power level was well beyond the capabilities of a single wielder. As the facility was not visited after this effect was seen, its effect on the facility is unknown. Awaiting visual reconnaissance and damage assessment. Prior to the appearance of the column, there were sounds of aerial vehicles approaching the facility or in the vicinity of the facility. After the appearance of the column, there were no sounds of aerial vehicles. The assumption is that the column may have affected the vehicles, making them inoperable. Video evidence of void column available.
  • One hours travel by foot away from the facility (approx 5 km), a “pulse” was felt by the wielders. Whether this ‘pulse’ was from the facility or other location was not determined. This may not have had anything to do with the facility, but there was no other explanation for the occurrence.

These were the only effects experienced at the Crater Lake Facility and are not to be considered inclusive. There may be different effects and different intensities experienced in other facilities. Extreme caution and flexibility are advised.

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What a Difference a Week Makes
Rest and Replenishment

Sanctuarium provides hospitality like no-one SID had encountered. They must have really appreciated the information the team had provided.

Aberforth’s Week:

(Awaiting Input from Player)
The few times SID and Aberforth crossed paths, it was SID visiting the Sanctuarium Library. One could also surmise that Aberforth spent a bit of time in the practice halls and getting a bit of mentoring on his Wielding. Aberforth unobtrusively attempted to place a ‘Family Mark’ on SID, but was detected. SID agreed to the intent, and asked for a digital copy to place within his camo files, which would allow SID to place the design anywhere on his skin, as desired.

Amrith’s Week:

(Awaiting Input from Player)
Another individual seeking knowledge, but SID didn’t encounter Amrith at all. SID had no idea what Amrith got up to.

Eve’s Week:

(Awaiting Input from Player)
Eve came seeking some small consolation with SID, being that, as she rightly concluded, SID and her were in a similar situation. Both were without a home, nor did they appear to have any living associates from prior to meeting up with this disparate group. What did SID intend to do. SID provided that Sanctuarium appeared to be as ‘safe’ a place to restart as any, and better than most. SID’s exploration of Sanctuarium suggested that SID could be very comfortable, or very challenged, as SID desired. He was looking forward to a voyage of discovery with the support and mentorship provided within the arcology. As for immediate goals, SID suggested that stopping von Schnauser was SID’s estimate as the most pressing imperative. This approach might achieve several goals, including preventing any more senseless destruction of any other towns or lives. Proving what von Schnauser was really up to could clear their names of the accusation they were Industrial Terrorists, too. Eve needed to give that some thought.

Lavi’s Week:

(Awaiting Input from Player)
She was busy, but SID was not aware of what that might be. SID never crossed paths with Lavi until the meeting at the end of the week.

Reithered’s Week:

(Awaiting Input from Player)
This was interesting, as Reithered was unavailable for the week. SID was asked by the Sanctuarium Medical Staff for any information on Reithered’s medical background, of which SID had little information. SID did have a few days of observation and minor treatment events, so there was good baseline information, but SID did not run any extensive tests, nor analyses. Then, Reithered showed up for the big meeting.

SID’s Week:

Once SID had his overhaul and cleaning in the Droid Maintenance section of Sanctuarium, he was on his own. SID took advantage of the opportunity to upgrade some software, and to look into some self-defence improvements. His gas discharger was now designed into his chassis, not jury-rigged from IV tubing and needle heads. SID upgraded his EMP protection, and had some 18mm projectors put into his forearms. The projectors would allow SID to fire wireless paralysis rounds at targets up to 100 meters away, if necessary. Other refinements would need a bit more custom fabrication, or very expensive equipment. After a short discussion with Aberforth, SID considers that more trading (work/information) may be needed to get all the features desired.

SID did ask the A.I. in charge of Droid Maintenance for a recommendation to assist with unencrypting a few files contained within his memory. That yeilded a very quick and positive response. Now, he had unencrypted files that contained very cryptic information. Not much further ahead. One file contained the quote, “And the gods saw these marvels and knew that their children may one day surpass them…1” The other file contained a single word, “DIVINUS”.

While waiting for some type of direction, SID explored as much of the archology as he could. Asking anyone who would answer questions, SID attempted to find out what biologicals did with their time. Having been created, trained, and sent on a mission that went bad, SID had only encountered individuals that were working, within a complex or labs. After things went even further awry at ‘Origin’, SID had spent time running, or employed in places that hadn’t had much for rest and recreation. The Facility where he encountered the team was inhabited by robots, security personel and the bio-engineered test subjects. Therefore, SID had no frame of reference for “recreation”, nor for how natural-born, biological individuals were trained.

Over the next few days, SID ventured into classrooms, training halls, work spaces and labs. SID also visited gymnasiums, libraries and other places of employment, recreation and worship. Throughout his investigation SID discovered that very young biological individuals were not expected to take on complex and difficult task or missions until four times SID’s current chronological age. Also, that biologicals weren’t programmed, but learned general information and skills, then allowed to concentrate on specific things for which they had affinities. Physical or mental skills, or both if able, were refined over time, and when it was deemed appropriate, the individual would be employed as best matched Sanctuarium’s needs and the individual’s talents. Then, throughout the biological’s existance, they would further refine their abilities, becoming more useful to Sanctuarium, but within their unique area of expertise. Facinating! SID thought that working with Sanctuarium in this manner might be very intriguing.

On meeting with Methusa later in the week, and asked if he had questions, SID replied no. SID had found that all the individuals within Sanctuarium were happy, and wanted to use their skills to benefit Sanctuarium, as well as grow with the guidance and mentorship of the leaders. If SID’s research was accurate, the leaders of Sanctuarium would do the same with SID, and pick missions and tasks to suit SID’s abilities. Just as other biologicals, SID would be challenged to become better. SID was looking forward to experiencing this process, and had put aside his concerns about knowing the mission before upgrading. Lastly, the five issues that were brought up at the first meeting were brushed away as having been dealt with, and no longer SID’s concern. With that, Methusa sent SID on his way, until summoned.

Group Meeting with Methusa:

As the group assembles, and people get reaquainted, Reithered appears at last. His week away has done some interesting things, the most apparent was his strut. SID detected some minor physiological changes, but nothing overt. There was a distinct change of attitude, though, and Reithered’s confidence level had increased substantially.

The meeting was Methusa’s opportunity to finalize his offer of joining Sanctuarium. Now that he had individually spoken with each of the group, he had a good idea of their individual capabilities and goals. He outlined the detained analysis of the files and data provided by the group, and that von Schnauser was an unknown quantity in the upcoming Evolutionary War. This could not be allowed to continue, as there was too much potential for bad things to happen, if von Schnauser assisted the wrong side. The group was considered the best option to deal with von Schnauser, as the group certainly had the motivation to settle a few issues with him. Within the data/information were the indication that another lab was located in Divinus. There would be a field agent for liaison and superficial information, it was up to the group to get there, and determine what von Schnauser was up to. Find out how deeply he had infiltrated the local political and scientific communities, and what it might involve to extract him or his facility from the community. Collateral damage might not be permissable, depending on where the facility was located on the island.

A figure stepped out of the shadows during the meeting, and Aberforth immediately prostrated himself. SID had not detected additional persons in the conference room until the figure appeared. Data files indicated this was Lucescu, the Founder of Sanctuarium, and defacto “King”. Each of the members of the group are awarded the hint of a nod. Methusa
and Lucescu trade nods. The group had just been given a singular honour, and a tacit, but definite, acknowledgment of approval from the highest possible level of Sanctuarium.

Where we are likely going next…

Divinus Alpha-Omega RPG Wiki – Divinus (External Link)

S-Am-1CropComp.jpg


1 SID took a moment to do a Net search and found that this was a quote from Ethan Haas: Alpha-Omega RPG Wiki
Alternate Quote Link

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Welcome To Our Lair
Come Into My Parlour, Said the Spider to the Fly

SID went through 20 questions with Lavi, trying to sort out how she was, and whether she needed assistance. Nope. Somehow, Lavi was feeling very good. Better than she had in a long time, actually. This made no sense. She was still not completely calm, but was not feeling any pain from the ‘initiation ceremony’. SID did his best to read the other members of the party, but they appeared well, if unconscious. All the restraints had retracted when the Necrosi had left the room, so SID got up to do closer examinations. No assistance appeared necessary. SID asked if Lavi could tell if there was similar ‘energy’ on her and the other team members as there had been on the Grigori assailants who regenerated from death. Lavi couldn’t really discern what, if anything had been used.

It was at that point that Aberforth woke up. He was also feeling quite well. Aberforth went to check on Reithered. Aberforth was nearly nose to nose with Reithered, checking him out, and Reithered suddenly regained consciousness. Startled, Reithered screamed!

Reithered was not happy about the treatment and was all up in Aberforth’s face about it. Aberforth tried to express that this was the way Necrosi welcomed members back into the fold, and that it was an honour to be treated to the ceremony. Reithered was not impressed, nor convinced. Aberforth related it to a big, warm, welcoming hug. Reithered wasn’t buying that, at all!

Eve recovered during this conversation, and Methusa enters the cabin. Methusa nodded to the group, noticed Amrith napping in his chair and lightly touched his shoulder. Amrith slightly opened one eye to take a look, like he’d been casually resting. Methusa gave the “chairs in the upright position” speech, mentioning that the craft will be entering Sanctuary in a few minutes, and the seatbelt would be useful.

As the team was strapping in, Aberforth thoughtfully attempted to fill in some fine points of Necrosi culture, as he had obviously missed telling them about the ‘Welcoming Ceremony’, something they should have been advised of, in advance. That was when he noticed the bubble of energy around SID’s chair. SID explained that after seeing almost everyone pass out, he had attempted to assist the team in their ‘distress’ by releasing his knockout gas, and that the Necrosi had contained it in the bubble. Aberforth realized that he had really messed up on some important culture points, as had SID succeeded in knocking out the Necrosi during the ceremony, it would not have gone well for the team. SID was not to attempt to interfere with any future ceremonies, and SID advised that he had used all his available gas. There wouldn’t be another attempt using that method, until the cylinder could be recharged.

Eve expressed her disappointment that SID was now depleted. However, SID was getting mixed signals from Eve for this subject. SID quickly scanned some medical references concerning the readings, and discovered definitions for ‘irony’ and ‘sarcasm’ in biological communication methods. If dealing with biologicals wasn’t difficult enough, SID now had to evaluate statements for elements of lying, irony and sarcasm when dealing with Eve. It brought into sharp focus a statement from one of his biological instructors, “You can be very intelligent. But, that doesn’t mean you’re smart.” That statement was completely illogical at the time, but it was now starting to make a bizarre sort of sense.

SID asked if there was something that could be done about the bubble, as it contained a substantial amount of knockout gas. If the bubble dissipated, the gas would expand into the cabin, and possibly the cockpit of the craft. Aberforth approached what he identified as a void energy bubble and wielded the bubble into oblivion. It just sucked down into itself and disappeared, along with the contents. Problem solved. Those not strapped in did it quickly, as the outside view showed they were very close to Sanctuarium.

Sanctuarium-1.pngThe approach to the entrance was very rapid, as SID estimated the time and distance covered requiring an extremely fast vehicle. The blur of the ground directly below the craft indicated the same. And then, the world view outside rapidly shifted and gyrated, as the craft went through very aggressive maneuvers to make it’s landing. The vehicle came to a stop with the gentleness of a feather landing lightly on the ground. The contrast of the landing to the approach was astounding. The level of skill it demonstrated was extreme. Aberforth explained to some of the slightly distressed members of the group that Methusa was “exquisite at everything he does.” The landing could have outdone any rollercoaster ride ever envisioned. Anyone with a fear of flying would never willingly board another Necrosi craft.

The vehicle began to descend on the pad, eventually stopping over a kilometer below the original touch-down point. Methusa and two other Necrosi came out of the cockpit, and welcomed the team to Sanctuarium. They then opened a side door and stepped out onto the pad. The pad was in a huge cavern-like area, with a column that indicated a structure of massive proportions. A spiral ramp rose gradually from the floor of the column, a further kilometer below the pad, with openings all the way up the shaft. The size and number of openings indicated an enormous capacity, and SID could easily compare it to the New York arcology.

N-G_Stealth_Transport_MV-35b.pngLooking back at the landing pad, the team saw the transport that brought them in. Very sleek and powerful, it was also designed for stealth and versatility. A useful piece of equipment for infiltration, should that be desired, SID thought.


The team followed Methusa through a very long, broad corridor, with Aberforth following a precise interval behind and to the left of Methusa. It was similar but farther than one of the Necrosi accompanying Methusa. The corridor was at least 5 meters wide and high, with many side corridors and doors opening off either side. Much was going on down this corridor, and one could surmise that much of Necrosi culture was on display – a microcosm of Necrosi society. Aberforth quietly stated that this was Methusa’s personal area, as they walked through an area with several doors that represented homages to various religions prominent around the world. Aberforth also mentioned that this was the route taken by VIP guests, and that this was a honour to the team. Lavi and Amrith identified this as a means of setting up negotiations on an unsettled footing for the visitor given this ‘honour’. SID did not see any evidence of robots, nor A.I. presence.

After about 10 minutes walk, the procession arrived at doors that were imposing in size and construction. SID could not read through them, actually having difficulty reading them at all. Very similar to the void under the cabin, by comparison. In the visual spectrum, they were solid. In all others, there was nothing there. The wielders in the group could read lots of energy, and it was keyed to Methusa. Who waived a hand at the doors, which silently and smoothly opened. Inside was a very large conference room. Very large groups could meet comfortably here, and the table could easily accommodate twenty or more people without rubbing elbows.

Methusa indicated to the group that they should sit, and everyone took a seat on the table sides. Except SID, who adopted a standing position behind Aberforth’s seat, copying the interval Aberforth used in the procession. Methusa sat with his back to the doors, an unusual position in the room, perhaps. In this position, though, one could read it as ultimate trust in the location, as well as “you have to get past me to leave”.

Methusa then opened the conversation with a few statements indicating that the information extracted from SID had already been analyzed. He provided that von Schnauser was working for a Dr Marius Leiben. SID recognized the name from his medical references as an individual with a mixed record in his files. Openly lauded for his skill in plastic surgery, and apparently very successful in any field of medicine he had attempted, there were indications of suppressed litigation attempts throughout his career. He had also worked for some organizations with obscure reputations. Methusa then mentioned that von Schnauser had been successful in generating bio-engineered individuals capable of wielding. To Amrith, this raised his eyebrows considerably, as this was though impossible. It was a considerable feat. To what purpose, Methusa was unable to determine from the existing data. But, the possibility now existed for them to create an army of wielders. If used in the upcoming Evolutionary War, it could upset the outcome considerably. However, there could now be three sides, if not used for the Ophanum, nor the Seraph factions.

While this information was being provided, the two individuals that accompanied Methusa, sitting on his left and right sides, were accessing laptop devices at a blistering rate. They were very keyed up, and on edge, concentrating on their work with a fervor. SID could read multiple cyber implants and devices on both, indicating highly modified and capable individuals.

As Methusa mentioned the army of wielders, SID very slowly, and deliberately reached up to his chest, and opened his chest plates. From a compartment, he removed a small plastic case, and just as slowly touched it to Aberforth’s shoulder. Aberforth took the case and opened it. Inside Aberforth could see small vials of red liquid, samples of other fluids and tissues, all neatly labeled with numbers from one to eight. Aberforth closed the case and passed it over to one of the Necrosi assistants.

Methusa thanked SID for providing the information, and apologizing for the method of extraction. He then indicated that Sanctuarium was predicting the commencement of hostilities in about three years. Either von Schauser was to be stopped, or it had to be determined what the plan was for the army of wielders.

Then, Methusa offered the hospitality of Sanctuarium to the group. They were welcome to join if they chose, and that places would be made for them. Methusa stood, and the doors behind him opened. He said they could take time to consider their options in private. SID raised his hand. Methusa nodded to SID, who then requested that five things needed attention, if that was possible. The five items were:

  • The group had coordinates for a location in Texas that may be a facility for von Schnauser.
  • There were four Grigori that assaulted Amrith, and they would likely be continuing the hunt for Amrith.
  • The destruction of Klamerath should be investigated, and any survivors should be identified. SID indicated Eve when stating this, suggesting she would be very interested in any information available.
  • The propaganda indicating that the team were terrorists and that they could have issues with global law enforcement in the future, should it not be resolved.
  • The bodies of the two individuals in the Panther left near the Salt Lake Enclave should be cared for.

Methusa took this under advisement, and left with his two attendants. This began a discussion amongst the group. Finally, Lavi asked Amrith who he is, and why was he coming to Sanctuarium. This was when the rest of the group found out that Amrith was seeking information, and wanted to gain knowledge of the Evolutionary War. Being Annunaki, he wanted to know as much as possible, and was not as well versed as he wanted. He was very willing to trade work for access to Sanctuarium’s library.

The group discussed cooperating with Sanctuarium and Lavi provided an overview of the Evolutionary War from her point of view. She attempted to impart what it might mean to the people on Earth. SID scanned through online archives for any evidence of Evolutionaries, but only found vague references to a superhuman individual in the past. Lavi’s description of her experiences revealed that her actual age was considerably older than she looked. Aberforth then related how Sanctuarium will do whatever works for humanity. In the upcoming war, the Evolutionaries may just stomp all over any bystanders, ignoring them during their conflict. In all past battles, there wasn’t any indigenous population to consider.

Aberforth suggested taking some time to rest, and carefully consider their options.

View
And This Was the Better Option
Off to Sanctuarium

And the team continued the drive to the safe house, nearly without incident. SID decided to link back into the vehicle, and attempted to stop any tracking devices. Yes there were tracking apps, things like GPS and something like an On-Star system. SID shut all that off. SID checked for backlogs, as that might prove interesting, and cracks deep into the system. SID erased any files from the point of the encounter with Amrith, and recorded all the logs of GPS and any tracking data. SID could reconstruct a very accurate map of the vehicle’s travels before this point from all of this.

While SID was attempting to erase any trace of the group, Eve was scoping out the vehicle for anything not bolted securely in place. Lavi was not just annoyed, but seriously irritated, and gave all the “children” the “Look”. Eve ignored it, and suggested that there might be something portable in the trunk. Perhaps, even a tool box (something to loosen those bolts)! Lavi directed SID to remain plugged in, until arrival. It wasn’t very much later that Aberforth told Amrith to stop.

The Model 453 Panther was parked off of the road, in the lea of a hill. Salt Lake Enclave was not in sight, and it really looked like they were in the middle of nowhere. Open rolling hills, with the smell of the salt water from the lake on the breeze. SID unlocked everything, including the trunk. Aberforth headed off in a Northerly direction, while Eve jumped out of the vehicle and opened the trunk. Eve stepped back in shock and disgust.

In the trunk were two non-human bodies, probably Evolutionaries. There was a male and a female in very bad condition, and not from being there long. The blood pooling around the bodies was not too old, and they may have been there a day. Well beyond SID’s skills to help, they had been brutally tortured and slowly executed. Eve called to Aberforth, and he returned. Investigating the bodies, there was Omega energy slowly dissipating from the bodies, and there was identification to be found. Derrick Mathers and Selene McLeod were the names discovered, neither were listed as missing on a quick Net check of news and headlines. Amrith had inklings that there may have been an attempt by the Grigori to do something similar to him. ‘Yeah, right.’ Amrith thought, ‘not those clowns.’

As there was nothing anyone could do about this, it was decided the vehicle should be destroyed or concealed. Aberforth wielded up the sand, and formed a hillock over the vehicle, completely covering it. Off Aberforth headed toward the shore of the lake, the rest following. Around a hill, and on the shore of the lake, sat a small cabin, in very poor condition.

Great-Salt-Lake-Cabin2.png As Aberforth checked the door for marks, SID detected a person sitting inside. SID had thermally scanned the entire structure, as well as an electronic signature sweep, but there was little remarkable about it. Except that the floor was a void, with nothing to read below the cabin in any spectrum. Very unusual. Amrith struted through the door and the old man sitting at the desk in the middle of the room suggested to Amrith that, “Knocking is customary.” Amrith responded with a vague “I’ll take that under advisement.”

As Aberforth entered the one-room cabin, he asked where his contact was. The old man, obviously a Necrosi, directs Aberforth in a barely audible voice to sit, and like a very well trained dog, Aberforth immediately took a seat. The rest of the group filed into the cabin, and the old Necrosi man introduced himself as Methusa. He outlined an offer of becoming part of Sanctuarium. Once inside, the cabin was an enigma. The outside looked dilapidated and barely sound. The inside was immaculate, and everything in it was exceedingly finely crafted. It may have been austere, but it was exquisite.

Then, Methusa asked SID to sit at a side table, where there was a computer, and plug in. SID asked whether the computer was networked, and warned about a potential virus. Methusa waved it off. On plugging in SID was immediately assaulted by a take-over attempt he couldn’t stop. This assault went right through his Medbot shell, like it wasn’t even there. Distressing in the extreme, but if Aberforth had reported to Sanctuarium, they knew they weren’t dealing with a standard Medbot. SID was able to track everything that was done. Nothing was ruthlessly imposed, but a very thorough run through of his systems and software was done. Things were isolated and put on pause, other things were sifted through, and all the files related to the Facility were extracted and wiped. SID was surprised and irritated. He had planned a very thorough analysis of those files, once he upgraded his software. SID still didn’t know if the files ended up in his memory because of his actions, the virus, or an unknown third party stashing information in him. The first option wasn’t likely. The second was probable. But if it was the third, was it another biological entity or an AI? Did the AI survive the destruction of the Facility? SID wanted to know. The screen displayed a message when the extraction was completed. “SID-422 will report to Sanctuarium for droid maintenance.”

With all the files removed, SID asks about the removal of the files, and informs Methusa that there existed biological samples for the test subjects. SID wanted future access to the removed files for analysis, but Methusa was evasive. Both Lavi and Aberforth had a copy of some of the files, but nowhere near the volume of information SID had stored, and most of it was sifted to remove SID from the visuals.

Methusa directed the group to descend into a hatch that had appeared in the floor, once SID was “debriefed”. On climbing down the ladder, the group found themselves in a room with chairs. Lavi was having a bit of difficulty in holding herself together, as this was not a comfortable place for her. SID offers a sedative, which was refused. There were five-point harnesses on the chairs and Methusa said to strap in, as he went through a door. All the team strapped in, and as they finished, the room began to rise. The walls of the ‘room’ became views of the outside, and it appeared that the room was rising out of the ground where the cabin had been. The room moved away to the Northeast, and the place where the cabin had been was now a patch of indistinguishable scrub terrain.

The vehicle accelerated toward South Dakota, and another Necrosi entered the room. Immediately, restraints snapped over all the chair arms, pinning almost everyone in their chairs. SID managed to move one arm fast enough to keep it from being immobilized, but with the other stuck, and a five-point harness around his torso, SID wasn’t going anywhere. Lavi completely lost it, screaming in terror, as her claustrophobia overwhelmed her. Aberforth was cool and relaxed, exhibiting absolutely no anxiety.

Then the shocks began. They started at intense, and went up from there. As the intensity of the shocks increased, members of the group began passing out. SID was not receiving any, and started assessing the situation. He couldn’t undo the harness, as the release was locked. He couldn’t reach the Necrosi in the middle of the room, and he had no ranged devices to affect the Necrosi, nor anyone of his team. SID needed time to extract himself from the chair, and the Necrosi wasn’t likely to allow that. SID did have a way to sedate everyone in the room, and stop the effects of the pain, if not stop the shocks. SID turned off power to the gas switch, and the knockout gas began to stream from his emitters.

The Necrosi wrapped SID in a Void bubble, preventing the knockout gas from expanding into the room, and immobilizing SID in his chair. The shocks continued, and only Lavi and Aberforth remained conscious until finally the shocks ceased. The Necrosi bowed with respect to all the biologicals, conscious or not, and left the room.

black-hills1.png
The view from the vehicle eventually revealed the Southwest foothills of the Black Hills…


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No, We Aren’t There Yet
Biologicals Aren’t Always Predictable.

Picking up mid-fight from last session…

The fight between Amrith and the four Grigori continued as the team attempted to close in. The speed of the confrontation meant that none of the team would arrive before the end of the combat.

SID put the drives in his legs at max, but it would take minutes to cover the intervening distance. Gunfire and hand-to-hand fighting was barely visible in the dust kicked up by the fray, but surprisingly some of the smaller figures were fighting amongst themselves, not just with the tall one. SID watched in dismay as the tall one used a knife on his closest assailant, and gutted him from belly to neck with a massive thrust that lifted the Grigori off the ground and threw it back to crumple into a bloody pile. SID predicted death by bleeding to be nearly immediate. SID couldn’t make tactical sense of the melee, and then one of the assailants suddenly took off running to the North.

Between the dust and the confusion, it was over before the team could do anything but continue towards the pile of bodies. The tall figure stooped over each prone figure, searching them, and taking some things, then started walking toward the big, stationary vehicle. As SID came up to the bodies, an immediate scan was made to triage the bodies. They were all alive!?! Not possible with the gunfire and the knife wound. SID quickly checked vitals using hearing and thermal scans. Audio indicated strong heartbeats and respiration, good thermal temperature on all limbs, indicating that shock was not concentrating blood in the abdomens. SID rolled over the bodies, looking for wounds he knew should be found, with no sign of perforations or bleeding. There were holes in the clothing and drying blood all over, but no wounds. SID couldn’t figure out what was going on. Tranq patches were used as the assessments were done to keep the injured sedated. But, the Paz Dispensers with Life Support and Regen patches were obviously not required. SID was unable to process the situation, as it just wasn’t logical.

The group took in what SID was doing as the assessments were done, and Aberforth started checking bodies. All the Wielders could detect something active on the bodies, but couldn’t determine what. Eve attempted to block the tall, actually really tall, figure as it attempts to approach the vehicle. Eve was verbally sparing with the tall figure, and discovered his name to be Amrith. He was over 8 foot tall, and the discussion about ownership of the vehicle was interesting, if not amusing. Amrith was definitely of the opinion that the very nice set of wheels was going to be his new toy, and Eve was just as adamant that she was going to get lots of money for this big shiny thing.

Mezin_CardV3.pngAberforth could only find some strange cards on the Grigori, with nothing else but bloodied clothes. There were holsters without guns, but no other objects. Lavi recognized the glyphs on the cards as belonging to the Mezin. A nasty group of Grigori bent on taking over the world through hunting down any and all Evolutionaries. Obviously, Amrith was not a Human, and therefore a target.

SID was still attempting to sort out what had happened to the Grigori, when Aberforth used some type of blade to slit the throat of one of the prone figures. Wh-wh-what? SID was momentarily stunned. He rushed over to Aberforth, placed a restraining hand on him (checking for wind and other people, he determined that Lavi and Reithered were too close to use the gas), then attempted a taser hit on Aberforth. Aberforth didn’t appear to even notice what should have been, at least, a painful, if not dibilitating, shock, and SID pushed Aberforth away from the body, stating loudly to leave the patients alone. Aberforth questioned the care of dead bodies, to which SID proclaimed that they were all alive and well.

Amrith and Eve had entered the vehicle during this exchange, and continued the ownership discussion. Amrith was not deterred by anything so trite as a lack of knowledge of driving to keep him from having fun, so he willed himself some driving skills. Lavi and Reithered head for the car, along with Aberforth, and SID dug through his med kit and started desperately to tend to the sliced throat of the Grigori. Eve finally made crude introductions, as the other parts of the team and Amrith took stock of each other. It turned out that Amrith was heading for the same place as the group. How coincidental was that?

Immediate application of the Life Support patch stopped the blood loss and any recurring damage, while the Regen patch instantly stimulated cellular regeneration and provided the Grigori with a quick burst of healing. Then, SID started suturing. All the way through this attempt to save the Grigori, SID was reeling from the shock of Aberforth’s action. A very small portion of his processor was dealing with the ineffectiveness of the taser. Still, SID did not, in any way, understand what Aberforth did. Only the desperate distraction of tending to the Grigori kept SID from a logic reboot.

The team was leaving the bodies where they lay, and started piling into the vehicle, as Amrith was definitely not waiting around. Lavi yelled at SID that they were leaving, and to come or be left behind. A very quick CMS1 check indicated that the Primary Mission was the priority, and the team was intent on leaving. SID didn’t understand the lack of care for the Grigori. However, the priority of the Quarternary Mission did not override the priority of the Primary, and the team was obviously not stay around. SID finished the suturing of the esophagus and jugular, quickly applying Tissue Glue to close the outer wound. He quickly packed up the medkit on the move, as he made his way to the vehicle. It occurred to SID that there was something really unusual about the wound he had been working on, and it wasn’t just the patches that were at work on the Grigori. The wound had appeared to be closing as he worked. It was like nothing he had ever seen. Would the Tranq patches hold for an hour like they were supposed to? Or would these biologicals respond like the Facility Bio-engineered, and burn through the patches?

What was up with Aberforth?

Once in the vehicle, with all the doors closed, Amrith put his hands on the wheel and stepped on the accelerator. Two things happened immediately. The vehicle started moving. Not unexpected. The interior of the vehicle filled with gas. Understating the situation a bit; unexpected! Nearly simultaneously, the occupants of the vehicle reacted. Reithered passed out. Some of the people stopped breathing, to avoid the gas. Amrith shrugged off the effects with a cough or two and kept driving. Eve resisted the effects. SID instituted an analysis of the gas to determine threat potential, although gas isn’t any size at all, let alone bigger than a toaster. Lavi attempted to signal SID to open a window, which SID immediately ignored.

This was obviously an anti-theft deterrent system, and SID concluded that any egress would have automatically locked, to prevent anyone from opening the vehicle and escaping and the window controls would have been disabled to prevent reducing the effectiveness of the gas. OK. It wasn’t lethal. SID recognized it as standard Knockout gas, and very similar to his personal protection system gas. Anyway, the controls for the windows weren’t within easy reach of passengers in the back of the vehicle. Eve attempted to open a door to bail out, and Lavi attempted to get a foot onto the brake over Amrith’s foot on the gas pedal, so Eve wouldn’t take too much damage jumping out of a moving vehicle. SID attempted to reach the dash, as Aberforth extended his hands to the sunroof, and dematerialized the glass. The motion of the vehicle sucked the gas-ladened air from the interior.

Amrith didn’t like SID leaning over his shoulder, nor Lavi interfering with his attempt at driving, so he jammed on the brakes. Everyone but poor unconscious Reithered was able to brace themselves, but Reithered impacted a piece of interior trim fairly hard. Amrith asked SID to get out of his space, to which SID asked if he could do a diagnostic on the vehicle for any more lethal deterrents. Amrith shrugged and stepped on the accelerator again. SID quickly took out his DNI2 access lead and passed it to Eve. Eve plugged it into the dash port. SID only detected one other trap, one that would blow up the car if it went above 130 MPH. SID informed Amrith, who just kept driving.

That done, SID moved to the back of the passenger compartment, and slapped a Regen patch onto the now-conscious Reithered, and checked him for any serious injuries. Other than a really bad bruise, potentially a deep muscle contusion, there was nothing life threatening about Reithered’s injury. If there was ice in the vehicle, that would be helpful in treating him.

Who was this tall individual driving the vehicle, and why had the team joined up with him? He had just attempted to end the life of four Grigori, and he had a toaster volume over 10!

What was up with Aberforth!?!

Analysis of Taser attempt: Oh! Would the taser hit have been considered a “love tap” to a Necrosi, and not a deterrent? There was a mention in references about Necrosi and shared pain. Insufficient data.

Follow-on analysis of the Knockout gas event: Five Biologicals in a confined space, with a large quantity of gas, but only one incapacitated immediately, and four able to either ignore the gas, or continue to function for far too long. Not only the taser needs to be re-evaluated as an “effective” self-defence option.

Did SID just see one of the Grigori that were left behind stand up? Yes. SID had.

Very peculiar. If SID had had a brow, it would be seriously furrowed.


Abbreviations:
1CMS: Chance of Mission Success
2DNI: Direct Neural Interface A-O Wiki – DNI Description (External Link)
SID: Serious Injury Droid (Stealth Infiltration Droid)

View
Are We There Yet?
Also... What's Going on Over There?

SaltLakeTooeleUtah_3272612507_783f32aca7.jpgThe group touched down approximately 45 minutes hike away from their destination. Eve was grateful for the solid earth under her boots. SID made sure everyone had eaten and they oriented themselves in the correct direction and started their journey on foot.

Eve was still bitter over the previous night’s discussions and attempted to keep ahead of the group. Which was a lost cause since she had the shortest legs. The group matched their pace to hers, and she kept her eyes forward, relying on her company’s paranoia to watch their backs.

She realized that the walking pile of spare parts had attempted to console her, but it didn’t work. Eve tried to shake off any emotions to avoid showing weakness, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that it was her fault Klamerath was destroyed. If she hadn’t brought the group.. maybe everything and everyone she knew would still be there. The faces of her comrades and family flashed through her head. “You’re a firecracker Eve,” her father had once said. “And it’s gonna get you into trouble one day.”

Her thoughts were interrupted by something on the horizon. She squinted into the haze of the hot air rising in the desert and could see a figure. A person? No one else had seemed to notice so she elbowed Aberforth, “is that your guy?” she asked thinking maybe someone was coming out to meet them.

Aberforth squinted but didn’t appear to see the figure. “N..n..no, I d..don’t believe s..so”
Eve shrugged and kept going forward. She then noticed a humming sound. She focused on her hearing for a bit and realized it sounded like a motor vehicle of some sort in the distance. Coming from… behind. She looked behind her and saw the dust being kicked up by something moving quickly towards them. She informed the rest of the party and they stopped.. Unsure whether to proceed to the unknown figure in front of them, or fast moving vehicle behind them. Aberforth’s eyes darted back and forth looking for a place to hide, and SID also appeared to be trying to figure out how to hid in a wide open desert.

As the vehicle approached, she realized it was a very fast, very expensive car. Like the kind that someone with a LOT of power and influence would have (SID identified it as a Model 453 Panther, but there were no visible markings or identifiers on it.). Shit. They’ve been found. Eve started reaching for her sword, not about to go down without a fight when it sped past them, and continued towards the figure she had seen.

“Oh,” she said, relieved, “that’s that guy’s problem.” She smiled. As the vehicle approached the figure, a ton of dust was kicked up, blocking their view. She was impressed at the speed of it.

The party still seemed a little unsure if they should proceed. Eve wasn’t concerned. That car didn’t stop for them, so everything should be fine. She realized that she couldn’t hear the motor. It wasn’t traveling that fast, so it must have stopped.

A few minutes went by when suddenly a gunshot rang out. “I should go help” said SID, his medic programing kicking in. “You want to go into the gunfight?” asked Eve incredulously, not sure why this paranoid android would go running into danger. “Alright then” she shrugged and strode forward without waiting for his response. As far as she was concerned she wasn’t being shot at so there was most likely no danger. A few more gunshots went off, but the dust hadn’t yet settled enough for them to see what was going on.

A smile grew across Reithered’s face and he readied his gun, showing a bit of excitement at the possibility of getting to shoot something.

View
It's Worse Than That...
When Everything Seems to be Going Well...

You’ve Obviously Overlooked Something.


Before settling in for the night, SID attempted to learn about biological entities by engaging Eve in a discussion about her reaction to his attempt to warn the team about his self-protection system. This went very badly, as far as learning about emotions and reactions.

SID stated that the reactions to the revelation of the self-protection system from the members of the team were not all logical, and SID would like to learn why. It would be important for future interactions, if SID could determine better ways to provide information, that wouldn’t cause distress, or shock, as SID detected in Eve. Stating that only Aberforth reacted logically to SID’s disclosure about the knockout gas system, by asking about tactical uses, performance and capabilities, which would allow the team to usefully exploit the capabilities to the benefit of the team, SID couldn’t understand Eve’s hostile reaction. Eve stated that she didn’t want to die, because of SID’s system. SID could understand this, and shared her desire. However, the system wouldn’t, in and of itself, harm anyone. As SID had explained, depending on the situation, the system wasn’t the danger, but ignorance of it could be fatal. Which is why SID thought it best that the team knew of the system, and therefore prevent any catastrophic errors. Eve was a bit more accepting of this explanation.

SID went on to ask about developing trust amongst the group. SID was not clear on the cohesion of the group, and was having difficulty applying logical analysis and missions when the group didn’t appear to be striving to meet compatible objectives. SID was concerned that some of the criteria to gauge mission success were not possible for all the members. SID was concerned that Lavi might be risking severe repercussions for not following direction from her apparent leaders. Lavi explained that she was taking a calculated risk, but felt that the information that the group had must go to a place that would treat that information better, or at least neutrally. Lavi felt her leaders might attempt to suppress the information to the detriment of all. The information was more important than her alliance with her group, in this case. This was a bit of a revelation for SID, who had no frame of reference for outright disobedience.

SID asked if it was Lavi’s understanding that Sanctuarium was a better place for the team, and she agreed. She thought that Sanctuarium was the safest place, for the team and the information, because of Sanctuarium’s reputation as information seekers and welcomers of all comers. She mentioned that despite Aberforth’s potential bias, he was not, in this case, leading the group to a bad place. Another small revelation for SID, as the idea of ‘bias’ was now a bit clearer. Not intentionally misinforming, but potentially overstating the advantages of an idea? Interesting.

Lavi was very sure that the group would be, at least, neutrally and fairly assessed, along with the information they carried, and that their reception would be more favourable with Sanctuarium than with her group. The survival of the group would be more likely, if not an outright welcoming, when all was presented and discussed.

And SID then asked if the group had plans or ideas beyond Sanctuarium. This is when Lavi provided that there weren’t definitive plans. SID broached the possibility that there might be a need to go after von Schnauser, that he may not be fooled by the replacement medbot indefinitely. Also, that there might be a need to chase down who had funded his research. Lavi wasn’t sure about this, but said that it would be necessary to see how Sanctuarium would receive the group, and any future plans would develop from that meeting. SID was stunned! Completely stunned! The biological entities he was traveling with did not have a plan?!? There wasn’t a bigger picture beyond the completion of the current mission? Did all sentient beings not have overriding missions and objectives? If SID understood the discussion correctly, members of this group were doing what SID had been doing for the last few weeks. SID had reassigned missions and objectives as situations and survival assessments dictated, not due to orders and directives from supervisors or “Origin”. SID asked Reithered what he planned after reaching Sanctuarium, and his reply was even more vague. Whatever comes? No defined purpose? No direction, nor objectives? This was chaos! How did these biological entities exist in this vacuum of purpose? SID nearly had a Logic Reboot. Trying to stave off a shut-down, SID attempted a distraction with another vital goal for the evening: a team-building exercise. This was something SID had found, during the air voyage, in the library of medical texts he had downloaded.

SID suggested that if Eve was distressed by the revelation of one of his self-protection systems, would it be better for the group to reveal all their individual abilities and capabilities now? This would provide an opportunity to limit surprises to one occasion, and ensure that tactical resources were available to all members of the group. SID stated that in the interests of trust, SID would start. SID outlined most of his design capabilities, such as light armor, the already known chameleon surface of SID’s body, the vision capabilities with three spectrums of light and electromagnetic signature detection, even the ability to use SID’s hands as stunners. The SID-400 series medbots were equipped with external defibrillator devices in their hands, to treat incapacitated casualties with cardiac complications. However, with the medical abilities programmed into medbots, it was very possible to use these devices in more than one application, and stunning biological entities was possible.

SID also told the group that his specific design went well beyond a typical medbot. “Origin” had designed SID-422 to infiltrate a specific objective with a team of bio-engineered combat entities, who were to provide SID with an escort to that objective. The medbot would care for the needs and requirements of the team, but upon reaching the mission objective, would need to be much more intuitive, able to adapt and improvise to have any reasonable chance of success. The objective was to hack into a 111 facility. SID was outfitted as an AI and contained much more programming and equipment than an average medbot.

This information was a bit unsettling to the group, but questions started coming. Was SID supposed to be at the facility, and was it the objective. No, it was not the original objective, but a transitional place of concealment that went bad. The only reason that SID was carrying the information he had was that as things were looking very bad at the facility, SID wanted information to exchange for future security. The team showed up as things had gone from bad to terribly wrong.

What was the original objective? The original objective was a 111 facility that would allow “Origin” to obtain some vital information about the organization and its members. The mistake appeared to be the use of bio-engineered combat entities, no matter how extensively cyber-enhanced, as 111 was seriously inimical to organics. SID was hit with an EMP, and the escort was terminated. SID rebooted, and found the team scattered about his location, beyond his capabilities to assist due to their extreme state of disassembly.

SID returned to “Origin” and things went even worse. SID was connected to the “Origin” network as part of the debriefing, and it was discovered that 111 had installed a Trojan in SID. He inadvertently delivered the payload, and the “Origin” system went haywire. SID evaluated the situation, and without other orders or mission objectives, determined that remaining at “Origin” would result in his disassembly. SID extracted himself from that facility in the ensuing pandemonium and had been attempting to conceal his existence ever since.

Lavi had an inkling of an occurrence in the past, but couldn’t match it up with SID’s description. Vidal Corp had recently been badly embarrassed by a network hacking, that had been blamed on 111. AC63 had suddenly appeared on vidscreens all over New York and in places around the world providing damning evidence of Vidal’s abuse of AIs and androids. It was quite a row, but SID couldn’t have been involved with that. Could he?

This brought up other questions about SID’s current motives. SID stated that there were three current overarching missions. The first objective was the safeguarding, and delivery to Sanctuarium, of the carried information about von Schnauser’s activities and discoveries. This was paramount. Mostly, this was a determination by the group, and SID’s concurrence of that determination, as the information was so significant to future biological medical knowledge. The second mission was the survival of the group. SID considered that group survival was necessary to ensure that the first mission is achieved. The third current mission was the survival of SID. SID wanted the group to understand the order of the missions was deliberate, and that SID’s survival was not considered essential to the overall primary mission. If necessary, SID would interpose himself between danger and the team, if it would enhance team survival. SID used his actions with the Rockscythes as an example of his sincerity.

The question of why he left “Origin” came up. What about that? SID was designed for a single objective, and that objective had catastrophically not been achieved. Then, “Origin” was hacked, and before any conflicting orders or directives were received, SID extricated himself. At the research facility, by the time this team had arrived, there were no living biological entities capable of assisting SID with his instructions. Also, by this time, his instructions were not attainable, and remaining in the facility during the existing chaos was not survivable. SID adopted a new primary mission, which was the new team’s survival.

SID felt that enough information about his situation had been revealed, and attempted to develop some team bonding. SID looked at Eve, and stating that beyond his programmed responses for care of patients, SID wished to sincerely express condolences for Eve’s recent losses. Klamerath, and all the inhabitants were lost, and SID had experienced similar loss, namely his entire escort on his original mission. There were parallels, and SID wanted to share that loss. This upset Eve, even more than the self-defence system. Eve outwardly brushed off the attempt, saying it was nothing. SID detected a heightened pulse, a rise in facial temperature, and a slightly increased respiration rate. All theses symptoms indicated anxiety, despite Eve saying it was not important. SID advised Eve that she was indicating conflicting information and was exibiting a stress reaction, so something was wrong. This angered Eve even more, and she stalked away from the group, into the darkening desert.

Lavi attempted to explain that Eve needed space, not medical attention and to leave Eve alone. SID demanded that he needed more information, and that this was not at all what SID expected. Lavi suggested that SID research some psychology references. SID replied that he had used those references, and they were not helpful. SID attempted to provide information to the team about the self-defence system, and that cause more trouble than it solved. SID attempted to build trust between the members of the group, and that met with mixed success. SID attempted to foster empathy, and that went completely awry.

SID expressed that dealing with his escort was simplicity, compared to this group. The escort was trained in skills and procedures required for them to do their tasks, and they were very good at them. They knew what they had to do, and how to do it, and SID could deal with them very well. They were logical biological entities. This team was an enigma, and attempts to clarify the situation were making it worse. The psychology reference was turning out to be as useful as the fauna references. The result of accessing data files on animals and advising the group about threats was a “toaster” rating, which was of very questionable usefulness to SID, if not actually dangerous to the team.

Enough turmoil in the group had been caused, and SID suggested that everyone get some sleep. Eve was off a distance away, but within survey range, so SID went on watch for the night. SID discovered that there are many creatures that move about in the night, and even though they were all smaller than a toaster, there were a few dangerous reptiles. None of them approached the group, especially when SID stomped the ground near any of the curious ones. And this was when SID also discovered what was meant by cold-blooded, in that some reptiles don’t have vibrant heat signatures.

The night past uneventfully for everyone, and in the morning, Lavi attempted another manta ray. She wasn’t as successful, attempting a much longer duration, but did get a respectable ray. Aberforth attempted another combined wielding, and was also not as successful. However, there was transportation available, if not as fast, but of more than double the duration. The group mounted up, and off they flew. This attempt required Aberforth’s undivided attention to control, and he propelled the ray off at a respectable 50 kph.

As they past through the country side, SID noticed a very large winged creature behind the ray. It was a good distance away, and very slowly gaining on the ray. SID pointed out the creature to the group. Keeping a sensor on it, SID monitored its path, and it didn’t seem too interested in the ray, but was on a similar course.

Three hours into their journey to the East, Aberforth muttered “Vidnet!” Everyone with a P-Comm started scanning channels and they discovered something startling. Von Schnauser was declaring that his respectable and important research facility had been destroyed by industrial sabateurs. The vidcast showed a medbot (SID) accessing a data terminal, and the four original team members entering the facility. It then showed the devastation and debri of a shattered building, dead bodies all around. Lastly, it showed the team at the remote rendezvous point, all clearly identifyable in the image, and von Schnauser naming each individual clearly and correctly. Von Schnauser stated that these terrorists were responsible for destroying his facility, and stealing vital research, that was extremely useful to the species of the world. No group affiliation was mentioned, but full names of every group member was clearly stated. As to how this information was obtained by von Schnauser, none of the group was certain. Klamerath was mentioned in a manner that seemed to indicate that it was still in existance, which Aberforth had previously emphatically stated was destroyed.

This made the group’s current destination a serious danger. Going anywhere that the Vidnet report had been broadcast would likely end up in the group being arrested, even if von Schnauser was the actual criminal. The court of public opinion would hold sway for the time being, and it would not be favorable to ‘terrorists’.

Lavi wanted to make a call to her organization to provide an update. She asked SID if he could spoof a call, or conceal its origin. SID wasn’t programmed for that type of hacking. However, SID could encrypt a message, and burst transmit it. It would bounce off a tower or two, but attempts to triangulate a micro-second burst would be difficult, if not impossible. During the review of his databank, SID came across yet another buried encrypted file, hidden as a driver for the encryption software. SID filed it for future analysis, and encrypted the transmission with appropriate headers. He also did a quick ping off of available receivers, to determine the best one for transmitting the message and directionally sent it (to prevent any triangulation from multiple receivers).

Just as that was sent out, that big flying thing behind the group picks up trememdous speed toward the manta ray. SID did a laser ranging on the beast, and a wingtip to wingtip angular measurement, coming up with a toater rating that was far, far too big. Before the team could develop any countermeasures, and as the creature was within a few kilometers of the ray, the beast dove off toward an object on the ground. Terrible screeching of an animal was heard, and then silence. The winged creature had found something much bigger and tastier to dine on tonight…

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Having Aberforth contact Sanctuarium was going to have to wait until the ray was set down. But, obviously walking into the Salt Lake Enclave would be detrimental to the primary mission. This was not looking good.

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On a Wing and a Prayer...
Getting There in Style.

The rockscythes were approaching at a very fast rate, and the group determined that they were likely to pass in front of the group’s intended path of travel. This meant that there shouldn’t be a scent trail for them to encounter, and with no discernible breeze, they just needed to stay out of sight. In an open, scrub-filled field.

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Lavi suggested creating a dynamic illusion, imitating a view of the field with strong heat shimmer, which the team could crouch down behind. This was adopted as the plan, with some grumbling from Reithered, as it was likely that grenades would not be necessary as part of the solution to this encounter.

SID considered the still air, and estimated that one of his self-defense systems might be useful in preventing deaths to all concerned. SID suggested to the group that he provide a potential back-up, or fail-safe, to the plan. He explained that he would interpose himself between the group and the rockscythes, hiding in plain sight. If the rockscythes changed path and came at the group, SID would do something that would hopefully drop the rocksythes in their tracks. However, SID said if the rockscythes didn’t fall over, but attacked SID, they were not to approach the fight, and stay at least 5 meters away. The group took this without much comment, and they prepared for the rockscythes. SID handed Aberforth the Med Kit, saying it would be better in their hands, if things went sideways. SID prepared his Paz Dispenser containing Tranq patches, hoping that the first part of his back-up plan worked and it wouldn’t be needed. However, there was also the possibility that if the first part of the plan didn’t work, the Tranq patches probably wouldn’t work either, for similar reasons. Then, there would always be the other option, but that would mean things had gone very, very wrong, and SID would be in the middle of a gang-pummeling, trying to bitch-slap big, nasty, irritated rockscythes. And the team were told not to come help. SID was really relying on the assumption that metal and composites would not be enticing to rockscythes, especially if they were irritated.

Lavi wielded up the illusion, putting up a wall that would appear like a segment of field, and obscure the group, as SID chameleoned into desert and neutralized any difference in ambient temperature of his outer surface. Lavi was phenomenally successful in her attempt, producing an illusion indistinguishable from the surrounding area. Then, as the rockscythes passed by, Lavi moved the illusion slowly around, keeping the illusion between the group and the rockscythes. SID remained motionless, tracking the creatures, attempting to anticipate any change in direction towards the group. Suddenly, one of the rockscythes stumbled, falling head over heels in the dust. The rest of the pack continued without turning their heads to even look behind, as the clumsy one picked itself up, gave itself a shake and ran to catch up with the rest. The team went completely unnoticed.

Then, with the threat disappearing in the distance, SID rejoined the group, Lavi allowed her illusion to disapate, and SID repossessed the Med Kit. Off the team went, heading off on their intended path.

After a few hours, late afternoon-ish, the adventurers came to the a rundown shanty town called Port Maddog (in the middle of a desert? Optimists?). The place was really distressed, and any of the inhabitants the team came across were withdrawn and all but avoided the adventurers. They seemed to take no interest in the group, as if avoiding contact, keeping their heads down and moving about their business.

bodie-ghost-town-abandoned-house-6.jpgHaving found what looked like a general store, they entered into a very sparsely stocked establishment. Most of the goods, what little was there, were of very poor quality. How this place remained in operation was a mystery. Lavi asked the proprietor about transportation, after purchasing a dubious bar of “food-like substance”, to which he replied there wasn’t anything like a car, or scheduled transportation, in the town. The only place where any type of transportation might be found was Jeb’s Ranch north of the town, where there were horses.

Horses? In this environment? It would take ridiculous levels of infrastructure to care for and protect horses in this day and age. Very strange. And probably dangerous to approach, let alone attempt to bargain with.

The group headed out of town, ostensibly heading for Jeb’s Ranch…

Shortly after getting out of sight of Port Maddog, the group paused for a discussion. It was decided that it didn’t seem likely that they would find suitable transportation at Jeb’s Ranch, and dealing with yet another potentially hostile agency was not in the best interests of the group, nor the mission. Lavi suggested that she could form some sort of air creation that could carry the group, and they could travel for a period of time that would not leave any tracks. She described her intention, and the group collaborated on the idea. Perhaps as much as an hour might be possible? With additional assistance of the other wielders, they could even make this a very viable means of transportation. Lavi wielded up a form imagined as an air manta ray. She was, again, phenomenally successful, forming an awesome aberration of beauty and grace. All of the team climbed on, and Lavi threw her overcoat on the manta ray and unfurled her wings. She took flight, and mentally pulled the manta ray along with her at about 30 kph.

Aberforth appraised the situation, and thought he could embellish Lavi’s wielding. His attempt gained some measure of control and additional solidity of the form. This gave more structural integrity to the manta ray, and allowed Lavi and Aberforth to double the speed it could travel. With the success of the wielding, they estimated the form would travel for about two hours at around 70-ish kilometers an hour. Lavi added some personal restrains to the form and landed on it, to spare her the exertion of flying and retaining control of the wielding.

The manta ray was taken to about 100 foot altitude, and away to the east the group went, heading toward Salt Lake City. Along the way, SID used his vision equipment and surveillance capability to search for any threats and tracking. He saw lots of things, up to 40 kilometers away, small communities and other objects, but nothing immediately threatening to, nor likely to intercept, the manta ray and the group. Throughout this travel, SID went through several logic error crises, attempting to deal with the impossible situation. Only by segmenting off the improbable events he was experiencing, that he had no reference to explain, nor experience to deal with, was he able to continue to function. He used the surveillance tasks to distract himself, and focused on contributing to successful completion of the mission. This illogical, and to him physically impossible, means of travel was much better than the unlikely, and dangerous, option of dealing with Jeb.

The period of travel had also allowed SID to consider future group tactics, and the near-encounter with the rockscythes had highlighted a potential catastrophe. SID reevaluated his self-protection policy, and now realized that it was a danger to the team. If he wanted the team to help him, he should advise them of his worst-case contingency. As the group was reaching the end of the projected travel time, SID asks the group to listen to him for a moment. SID revealed that he had jury-rigged a self-defense device into his structure. The system would allow him to release knockout gas at will. Also, and more importantly, if SID was disabled, or rendered inoperable, the knockout gas would be released automatically. Anyone near SID, not wearing respirators or immune to knockout gas, would be rendered unconscious for at least 5 minutes. This was something that SID had implemented in the event he was disabled by an electro-magnetic pulse, to allow him to recover before whomever attacked him and to deal with the attackers before they could do whatever to him. SID had implemented this when he had no-one but himself on which to depend. Now that he was in a team, SID wanted the team to understand that should SID be rendered inoperative in the future, any of the group near SID would be in danger of succumbing to knockout gas. This was not well received by some of the group, and especially Eve, who was verbally restrained by the group from shoving SID off the manta ray. Eve was barely able to contain her displeasure.

Asked how this worked, SID explained that he had suborned a cooling cannister of his IR countermeasures system, and had filled it with knockout gas. Then he rigged it with a power-on switch, that would open when he lost power, or if he consciously turned off the switch. This was what he was going to use on the rockscythes, and why he told the group to stay away from him, if the rockscythes started beating on him. If the rockscythes attacked SID, the knockout gas would not have been effective, but it would most likely have worked on the team as they rushed in to help. This would have resulted in a very unfortunate situation. Aberforth asked how many uses this system had, to which SID replied that it might work, deliberately, about two times, but would empty out completely if SID was subjected to something like an electro-magnetic pulse. Because this system was jury-rigged, it was not rechargeable without a chemical lab and a compressor.

So, SID had attempted to disclose information to the team to ensure he did not endangering them in the future, and to provide them with knowledge of tactical capability of which the team could take advantage in future situations. It was confusing to him that there seemed to be more animosity directed toward him from some of the group, rather than a positive reaction to the knowledge. Biological creatures were not logical.

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About two hours after leaving Port Maddog and 140 kms to the east, before the aberration disappeared, the manta ray is set down in a secluded spot. As the team dismounts, Aberforth steps off in a Bad Ass Swagger. There had been some awesome wielding performed today, and a sign of greater things to come…

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Real Life Intrudes...

Session was postponed as a real virus disrupted lives. Very sad for a few reasons, the least of which was no adventure…

Even SID couldn’t help with this medical issue.

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