Eclipse Phase: Double Agent

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Leodiensian, May 5, 2014.

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  1. OOC here.

    [Three days ago]
    [Remembrance Station. Earth Orbit]

    They're coming from the south! The Tacnet buzzed and fed Seldom the sensory inputs of his sentinels. The team of Firewall operatives had been scattered across the Hamilton Cylinder, united by the red alert. Seldom turned just in time to see what Garrison was warning him about. Infomorphs sleeved into aerial reconnaissance bots, screaming up the cylinder's orbital axis. Seldom shouldered his rail-rifle and squeezed off a burst at the drones, yelling for a fallback action towards the docks. But with one arm essentially useless after a gunshot wound, he wasn't his usual crackshot self.

    Whatever had burned them had been good. The last infosec specialist Seldom trusted had her mesh implants melted inside her head from trying to peek in at the damage. LLA shock troopers had crashed down on half his assets before any of them had known something was wrong. Now the tattered remnants of the group were fighting a bloody retreat towards the docks with what they'd been able to grab and get out with before they were next on the list.

    The Eye, Firewall's covert social network, was flashing up with reports of requests for rep favors, flooding his field of view with entoptic cries for help. He had to shut down the feed to keep his head clear, before barreling past a synthmorph worker. His AR view told him the positions of his agents relative to him and it wasn't looking good. He was getting near the docks but he couldn't afford to wait. In a mesh satchel hugging tight to the small of his back, a handful of ectos containing all the data that hadn't been put on the compromised servers yet. The last items of value he had.

    Sniper on Memorial Tower! came a scream down the Tacnet, just before it went down. That meant Garrison was dead, or his mesh access severed. Memorial Tower had a great view of the dock access. A sniper would put a hole in him before he could get aboard. Panting, Seldom kept his long, Fury legs pumping, trying to figure a work-around.

    He saw a pink triangle getting near to his location, one of his sentinels. Recent recruit, Tanaka something. Brought on for information control, filtering news stories for anything of Firewall interest. Not a field agent. Low value asset. Expendable. "Tanaka. Loop around the tower, come at the docks from the east. I'll cover you."

    He waited for the pink triangle to change trajectory when he made a break for it. His muse was already launching exploits into the dock security systems as he got closer and he tried not to think about the retort of the rifle as the dock doors opened for him. The nearest ship he could jack was a simple LOTV, blocky, never designed for atmosphere. Low-grade but all he could do. Otherwise this was all for nothing. He checked his AR again. No triangles in range, fewer than before. By the time they got to him, the system AI would have worked around his exploits and locked him down, or shot the LOTV to dust with the kill-sat network. It was now or never.

    "If you can hear me, this is Proxy Seldom." One last broadcast across frequencies he hoped were still secure. "Trigger any killswitches you have. Delete any files you have. We're dead - the best we can do is keep them from dragging down all of Firewall with us." With that, he pushed the ignition and rocketed out into space..

    [Scum Barge designate: With Sharp Flames, high Lunar orbit]

    Just outside of LLA orbit, Seldom hung off one of the wall-hooks in the Scum barge - no gravity, the only way to get around was freefall. He looked down at the Earth through one of the thick diamond viewing windows - oceans black and boiling to this day, the Big Shiny just visible where Chicago used to be before someone detonated an antimatter warhead. It was easy to forget the Fall was ten years ago when you were looking out at the corpse of humanity's homeworld everyday. He remembered weeks of prolonged, futile combat, getting uploaded... he knew he died down there, but had no memories of it. That was another Adam with another face, another body. He had been pale, average height, lighter hair. Now he was tall, powerfully built, genetically sculpted physique but hirsute - coated with coarse dark hair, a consequence of the heightened combat hormones.

    I-Rep cleared. Proxy status retained. His muse pinged back from the Eye. Consensus had shown no evidence that he'd been responsible for the leak, but the last three days had been basically nothing but imprisonment and interrogation to make sure. Now that he was clear, he could get things going again. He'd already put out the call for new Sentinels to rebuild operations on Luna and in Earth orbit.

    He clenched the fingers on his wounded hand. The medichines dulled the pain, but he could feel stiffness still and the helpful AR interface showed how much healing was still left to go. He floated shirtless, his torso wrapped in nanobandages and speckled with small scabs and scars from the firefight to get off of Remembrance station. But his body would heal. Even death was temporary. But reputation was forever...
  2. Cibo effortlessly floated through the barge, her languid movement almost ghost-like, which is hardly unfitting. She practically was one. Her physical presence was little more than a microlight drone; her "real' body existed only as an augmented reality projection, and it was only really present if one was looking in the right direction. That AR body was carefully constructed to be as realistic as possible. If it mattered, she could even transmit touch and other sensations. Well, and if she remembered. Even now, her hair and coat hung down as if under gravity's sway in a testament to her absent-minded inattention to the physical world.

    She wouldn't be surprised if she was one of the agents with the easiest time getting to the meeting, even if sending an ego's worth of data and then some from outsystem wasn't much cheaper than other methods of transportation. It had been some time since she'd been this close to Earth, and she'd probably never been closer. She may have started with the hypercorps, but she much prefers the freedom available further from the Sun, both as a scientist and as...herself, really. Her microlight stopped near Seldom and the window, and she took a few moments to look down on the planet. She'd never been there, yet she knew far more about it than most; thousands of interviews had given her a strange, fragmented picture of the planet, and the Fall.

    She soon turned her attention to the man recuperating nearby. "Seldom, I presume," she said to him to get his attention. "Real shame about what happened. I rushed over as soon as I could." She had her misgivings about the whole situation and in particular her own place in it, but she'd do what she can. Her usual role when it came to Firewall ops wasn't nearly as directly involved, although certainly not without risk.
  3. Seldom turned to the sound of the voice that addressed him, the AR overlay filling in empty space with the likeness of a woman. From what he'd heard of those responding to his distress call, he already knew to expect an infomorph - an AGI at that. A program. Not the kind of thing that his inner Lunar liked, treating code like a person, no matter how well it handled a Turing test. The blackened Earth beneath them was testament to what happened when you gave too much slack to an AI's reins.

    "A shame? Every agent in this theater of operations is irrevocably dead, in permanent cold storage at best." He looked back over the Lunar surface, pockmarked by ancestral meteorites and then additionally by the TITAN bombardment in the Fall. Still not safe to traverse alone, home to uncountable nano-plagues held dormant by the hostile environment of space. "Some of them were my friends. I wouldn't expect something like you to understand."

    "I'm sending you everything I know about the incident three days ago. Data files, news feeds I've been able to skim, even my own XP." The small local transmission would be pretty secure, at least as secure as he could hope for under these circumstances. He didn't really like using the wider mesh available on the ship; Scum had weird ideas about freedom of information and open-source. "The whole debacle's been given the call-sign Mockingbird by the other Proxies."

    His mood was always foul in this body, chemically modulated to be ready to fight at any moment. He'd enough self-control not to smash everyone in the face over petty inconveniences but the edginess, the adrenaline, it was useful. Now it gnawed at him, demanded him to take action when everything else around him forced him to stay and wait. He was stewing in his own juices here. "Three days and Firewall's had no eyes on the moon or Earth orbit." He hissed, softly. "What aren't we seeing? Who wanted us blind?"
  4. By now, Cibo was used to the poor reception. She'd never be the popular type, unless it's dealing with people she didn't know and who didn't care who you were as long as you did good work. The Mercurial position seemed pretty good sometimes, but she wasn't really the activist type. Eventually everyone would come around, lobbying or no. The data Seldom transferred over appeared as a large manilla folder in her hand. She started idly browsing through it as she made some light conversation. "Actually dead, huh? I guess these days, that is the worst fate you could run into, although I'm sure whoever picked up the bodies at least tried to subject their captive egos to something worse first. There's no way anyone would go through the trouble of killing a spy and then just leaving them to rot. Which...just makes our job that much harder, I'm sure." She glances up at Seldom's face, noticing his mood.

    "Sorry, you probably don't want to hear that sort of speculation right now. Anyway, whoever did this, they've got to be some big player themselves. Firewall's not exactly common knowledge, and tries to keep it that way, so some lone hacker would have to be the best of the best to try this sort of thing just for the fun of it."

    She pauses for a moment, mulling over the data. "...What's a mockingbird, anyway?"
  5. "Well, rep's a funny thing." Seldom shook his head, mulling over the list of those now in the hands of the LLA and - well, and who knows who else? All their Firewall backups were seized and since their public identity was disclosed, the people holding on to their public back ups weren't going to shelling out hard credits for resleeves. He pushed off the wall of the ship and floated softly across the room. It was as filthy as you'd expect something called a Scum Barge to be. Lots of empty syringes, bottles. Fluids. The air was recycled - you had to be pretty damn good at recycling when you lived in space - but had a pretty Scummy smell to it. "You're all that's coming? The only one that the network sent? I thought we had some coming in from Mars.."

    "A mockingbird..." He sighed. "It's an Earth thing. Was an Earth thing. Maybe there's some DNA left on a database somewhere." He shook his head again. Most people didn't have to vocalize questions like that any more, not with muses. But then, if this Cibo was an AGI then some references humans made wouldn't quite fit. His drifting came to an end when he seized onto the handholds at the other side of the chamber. Out beyond this little sealed room would be the rest of With Sharp Flames, all the other Scum. She'd probably fit more in there than he did. Isolating himself from the rest of the ship hadn't been easy.

    "Look, first thing's first. I can't go back to the LLA, not as me. I need to build up a new identity, a new rep." His voice tinged a little, running through the basics. Building up a new personality, that was going to be a lot of work and not a lot of fun. He was going to have to do some things he wasn't pleased with. "And I'm going to need your help with that. I can't just appear overnight."
  6. "I shouldn't be the only one. I'm probably just the first to show up. I didn't exactly need to catch a ride on a ship to get here, and even egocasting's that little bit faster when there's no need to have a body waiting on the other side. Or maybe they're hung up with other work. It's not everyone who can just run off on a whim, myself included." Cibo adjusted her glasses. "We've got time, if there's things to do like build a new identity, anyway. I'll do what I can to help."

    Her bot drifted around the room, and her ghostly form with it, as she continued to go over the Mockingbird intel. It lazily picked up here and there to avoid running into the walls. She finally did pick up the conversation again, around the time Seldom was leaving. "I doubt I'll be very popular in the LLA either. I might not need a new identity, but if I let on to what I am, a lot of doors are going to close right away."
  7. Montgomery entered the Barge, with a casual stride, and during this stride he brushed some hair from his forehead so it would stay in an immaculate position. He walked into the room, where he caught a tail-end of a conversation. Montgomery smirked as he waved his left hand in a fanning motion, "Yes, reputation is important." Montgomery casually shook his head as he flourished his left hand, "And that is the key operation in this." He walked closer to Adam, as he extended his left hand, showing his palm. "I would offer a business card, but I am afraid I have given them out today during my various business meetings. I humbly apologize for not being able to give you a card. My most sincerest apologizes."

    Montgomery shook his head, as he shrugged and holding his palms upwards. "Excuse my tardiness in arrival, but you know how the Planetary Consortium can be. I was buried in work and meetings, which made it rather difficult to obtain the passage to the barge that I needed. And I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for committing such an act."

    After frowning for sometime suddenly Montgomery smiled, "But as you can see, I secured a method of arrival, and I am here." He brushed his hair to the left, as he paced a few steps, "Well, I do hope that I did not miss much in my tardiness. And I assure you, that this behavior is not typical. All of my references in the Hyper-corps will secure my status as an employee that arrives on time promptly, and fulfills all tasks in a timely manner. And yes I am still upset in this example of tardiness I have shown. It will eat at me for sometime, as failure is not an option that I will tolerate from myself. In that way I have already shown a small bit of failure to you, which is absolutely disgraceful."

    Montgomery rubbed his eyebrows with his hands to make sure they were properly cleaned. "Also as a proper Martian, I will only provide the most excellent service and duty, with the right touch of class." as he said the latter lines, Montgomery gestured his right hand down his smart-vac suit. "And of course, only the proper Slyph Morph will do, any inferior model would not be fitting for such a Corporate-man such as myself." Montgomery waved his left hand in a fanning motion against his face again, "Now then, how can I be of service to you? I will follow the assignment you give me with the utmost ability."
    #7 Dinorocket, May 12, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: May 13, 2014
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