[Evan Pen] Upgrades [GaiusGermanicusBloodsoak]

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Evan Pen, Mar 21, 2015.

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  1. Another night in the bed of someone else, trading his body for the bed more than the company, for something more than a couch or worse, a floor and a pillow, and a meal that was more than what he could scrounge the change up for during the course of the day. Altair didn't think of himself as being necessarily poor as such, because he usually ate and he usually slept somewhere more than the streets and he usually had money but it was a bad stretch. Still, there were places to go without a job and without money. Whether they wanted to or not, stores had to let you stay a while before kicking you out and there was always the subway, using his card loaded by a friend to take trips to god knows where, going back and forth underground to be spat out somewhere on the other side of the city where it was just as familiar.

    He'd had six years to get used to it.

    He didn't wait for the person -- girl, guy, he could hardly remember -- to wake up before stealing breakfast and heading out into the world, having tugged on his clothing again and finding a hat that he vaguely remembered as being his, which made it obvious that he'd stayed there before. Which meant he would probably be welcome again, and with that in mind he glanced at the address.

    Cars were going by and the sun told him that it was probably past noon, but that was something that didn't bother him all that much; with a mostly nocturnal schedule, this was early for him. He had enough for a coffee on hand and with that in mind, dashed across the street during a few second break, not quite smiling at the cursing that came after him. Not the best start to a day, but better than some. And better yet... he lit the slightly squashed cigarette he'd found with a nearly dead lighter, inhaling deeply and glancing at the people going back and forth around him. Yes, this wasn't a bad day.
  2. Here he was, sitting at work, just waiting for the clock to strike noon so he could slip out for a little while for his lunch break. While it didn't really look like he was doing anything but sitting there, he was actually hardwired into his company's servers and networks from a cable that he had attached to a port on the back of his neck. For Marcus, life was good. He had all the top of the line upgrades, a good job working for the NeoLink corporation, the company that made a good portion of the upgrades, and he had more than plenty of money. However, every morning when he sat down at his desk he was reminded of the fact that a massive company like this one hired a guy like him, a man who never wore a suit and whose hair went down to his back. Nevertheless, he happily set about his work every day, not really worrying about much of anything.

    Finally, the bell rang, and he popped off the cable from his neck and hopped up from his chair. Giving a simple nod and a wave to the security guard and front desk receptionist, he pushed open the doors that led out into the outdoor commons before walking out onto the busy streets of Verout. As he walked, he checked on his various messages and mail as he simultaneously dodged the cars that hardly ever bothered to stop for pedestrians. All around him advertisements and news breaks flashed all around him, both on the sides of buses, and on the side of buildings. After a little while of walking, he reached a nice little cafe that still managed to hold a little charm to it among the concrete and steel menagerie that surrounded it.
  3. They gave him a coffee with a wrinkled nose as if he hadn't washed his clothes and taken a shower, but they couldn't kick him out with the exchange of money, rare here with credit cards and even more recently, the ability to just use your own bio-signature to pay from your accounts, but they accepted it. He sat at one of the small tables and closed his eyes, long fingers wrapped around the cup as if there weren't couples holding hands around him to have private conversations without needing to actually speak, or friends connected through the network in small groups while they ate mechanically.

    He connected himself calmly through his wireless receptor, with concentration and patience as it took a while to link him, almost as if both his hardware and the network were confused by this. Out of date to the point that he knew, soon, with any upgrade to the way things worked, he would probably have to change what he had, or at least get Tenner to tinker with it. Which would mean money. It was something that constantly echoed around his head, money, money, money. And how much harder it was, even this year compared to last, to find physical representations of it.

    But either way, he checked his messages, knowing there was nothing but spam -- deleted -- before he opened his eyes again, somewhat irritated by the hazy, overlaid affect in his vision of the almost 'screen' that floated in front of him and only for him. But there was news to be checked; his life ran by the small changes that were made to laws, regulations, the systems of the city and the country as a whole. So it was important to keep up to date on this...
  4. Marcus stepped into the Cafe, greeted by the smell of fresh baked goods and coffee, along with the friendly smiles of the cashiers and workers who knew him by name, as he often frequented this place during his breaks. By now, they all knew what he was going to order, and within a matter of only a few seconds, his coffee and sandwich was in his hands and payed for, all thank to the conveniences of modern technology. Managing to find an empty chair, he sat down and started to mindlessly eat and drink as he once more pulled up his news feed from various sources. There wasn't really to much that was of interest to him, except for minor changes here and there in public transportation, but even that wasn't of too much concern for him.

    As he browsed and munched at his sandwich, he spotted a peculiar sight out of the corner of his eye, a somewhat handsome looking man with some rather outdated tech attached to him. He looked more like the living dead than he did human, and he looked like he was down on his luck, however, other than taking slight note of him, Marcus didn't pay to much heed to him. Instead he went back to his screen and found an article that seemed suitable to pass his time. It was yet another person complaining how humans were getting to absorbed in technology and that they were losing contact with reality. What the hell did they know? Technology made life great, you could pay bills, work, play, shop, almost anything you want, without even leaving home.
  5. The coffee was bittersweet, black and strong with sugar that did little to cut the acidity. Comforting and banishing the last of the sleep from his brain and body as he browsed the news. A change in public transportation, but nothing he took often, so good to note but not too significant... someone's security system had been disarmed with some new kind of device... he paused on one of those ridiculous conspiracy theorist articles for a split second and then wanted to roll his eyes. People who said that usually had top of the line tech, not shit that was years out of date... he rubbed his jaw with his left hand, knowing that it was better than what he could have gotten: this one allowed him to feel. But it was nothing like the new stuff, and he hadn't gotten it to replace and still-good arm, so he knew he should be grateful.

    He stopped suddenly in his random this-way-that-way browsing, blinking in surprise and then allowing the newscast to play. "Odd Behaviour in Individuals With New Tech". It went on to talk about how they had been detained and hospitalized or jailed, for attacks on prominent businessmen, violent threats towards politicians, and the like. He ignored the news woman's obvious false eyes, in favour of doing a search with the clip still playing. A half dozen articles came up right away that were relevant and yet more from people who had seen it and were commenting, sharing their opinions...

    New tech... it was probably just a small thing, someone screwing about with the network again; people did it all the time. Still, he would keep on eye on the situation overall. Better to keep himself safe. They might only be going after people who were higher up right now, but that could change. He closed his eyes for a moment and shut everything own, the disconnect taking far shorter an amount of time than the connection had, at which point he glanced around, blinking at the one customer who had come in while he'd been doing what he'd been doing. Hm... Not unpleasant on the eyes, but obviously tech'd up with the newest and top of the line... Altair didn't know whether to be envious or not, and decided not. Best not to have bitter feelings towards someone he didn't even know.
  6. As he was finding various ways to pass the time, Marcus got a sudden and rather urgent message from one of his co-workers with a link to an article. Upon reading it, his eyes widened and his lips silently mouthed an "oh shit". Apparently, some people were behaving oddly and that it had been traced back to their upgrades. This was by no means good, as many of the upgrades had been manufactured by NeoLink. Reading further into it and watching a few news casts, he realized that the problem got even worse. Attacks against high profile individuals, all blamed on the tech. Marcus quickly closed all of the articles and clips and put his hands around his head, muttering "fucking shit." This was not something that the company needed, and the cause of this needed to be found out immediately. He quickly ran through the options of what could be done. Some IT specialist could be sent out to run diagnostics, recalls could be sent out, and virus scans could be run. There was also the option of halting production until the problem was resolved.

    Not quite sure of what to do, he opened up his messenger and began to write up a message to be sent to the appropriate people. If you guys haven't already heard, some problems have arisen with people that have acquired some of our products. Reports of violence has been reported, and it's been traced back to their upgrades. THIS NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED. he sent the message and waited for the replies, he also sent a message to the head of the company, and could only hope that he had some sort of solution planned out.

    Marcus picked up his coffee and nervously drummed his fingers against the table, clearly on edge about this situation. He quickly finished it and wolfed down his sandwich, not sure if he wanted to end his break early and rush back into the building. For now, he decided against it and figured that it would be more appropriate to wait for the replies first before charging head long into this problem. His eyes shifted back to the man, tossing him a nervous smile in case he had seen him. In the back of his mind, he feared that the outbreak of violence could spread and everything could be thrown into chaos, especially on account of just how many people used and relied on NeoLink technology.
  7. Rolling his coffee around his mouth, Altair was surprised when he got a smile. But the guy had been looking nervous for the past couple minutes and still did, so it probably meant nothing. That human urge to reassure even when you didn't know who you were reassuring or why. Made him wonder why the man was all of a sudden so on edge; but then again, who knew what he was going through, what his tech was showing him? Altair rubbed his wrist where it connected to the robotic hand, a spot that still itched and tingled sometimes, the fact that wires connected to nerves a little... well, unnerving at times, even with how normalized it was.

    He winced a little when a sudden buzz sounded in his ear, something no one else could hear and he huffed, connecting himself to the network again. Tenner had sent a message... he listened to it, vocal as it was, and then chewed on his lip. So, evidently the virus or whatever it was -- malfunction? Error? -- was more widespread than the news made it sound. Jackilyn had been taken in after getting an upgrade made by NeoLink. Big company, so Altair could only assume that they would have it under control soon... they might shut off the tech, do recalls, or something. He had no idea, but it was just one in a wave of incidents that occurred every day. That thought in mind, he finished his coffee and -- glancing at the people behind the counter -- crumpled the waxed paper cup.
  8. By now, everyone that he had sent the message to had replied and told him that they would get right on it, except the head of the company. Marcus hadn't heard a thing from him, and the boss was normally pretty good about getting back to those who contacted him. He let out a breath and ran a hand through his hair, trying to relax somehow. He didn't know why, but this problem worried him more than usual. Occasional glitches here and there were common, but this was by no means a glitch. Never in the history of NeoLink had their products ever caused violence, and against such powerful people to. This didn't really make sense. As much as he wanted to shut down his connection for a little bit, he really couldn't so that he could make sure that he received updates of the situation.

    Crumpling up his trash and tossing it into a near by trash bin, Marcus got up and decided that he really should get back to work, as this was an urgent situation. Tossing a wave to the people behind the counter, he rushed back across the street and back into the company building, not bothering to acknowledge the guard or receptionist. He figured that the best course of action would be to speak with his boss about it, so he quickly rushed to the door, knocked, and entered. However, his boss was exhibiting a mood that really didn't seem appropriate for the current problem at hand. "Yes Marcus, what is it?" he said calmly. "Rodger, surely you've heard the news reports and know what's going on?" he said hurriedly. Rodger only gave him a dismissive wave and motioned towards the door, "I assure you, matters are being taken care of."
  9. Oh well, slightly cute guy was gone and no one else here was even moderately interested in anything that wasn't their tech whether alone or shared. He stood at that point, stretched and then tossed his cup into the garbage on the way out. He knew that some of them inside were relieved, equating his appearance to those self proclaimed anti-government 'punks' who would think nothing of trying to intimidate someone and drive away business. He preferred the middle of the road view on politics, knowing that they can't live with them and most definitely couldn't live without him.

    Once outside, he looked for another cigarette but came up short even after checking all his pockets. Damn. That meant shuffling about, looking for change... it's funny, how many people glare at him and how many of them say things about getting a job, doing something real for the world. Like he could just do that. Real for the world... in a world that was slowly becoming more and more based on 'unreality', people living entire lives without really being in the outside world, or with other people. So many working from home because of the network and implants, tech connecting them to everything. Still, some places had people having to work there... like NeoLink. Didn't want their information getting out, now did they? If they kept it all contained inside a private network.

    The building was close and with thoughts of the company on his mind, he aimed his direction towards it with the distinct knowledge that he wouldn't linger. Just take a quick look at the building that was evidently causing the controversy of the moment before heading on his way. Maybe Tenner would let him crash...
  10. "What the hell do you mean 'matters are being taken care of?'" Marcus retorted with impatience and urgency in his voice. Once more the boss gave a dismissive wave. "Things are being taken care of. Look, you're obviously on edge about something, so just relax and take the rest of the day off." Before Marcus could argue, Rodger gave him a "Dismissed." which was the company wide indication that the boss was done with you and wouldn't listen further. Frustrated, Marcus had no option but to storm out of the office and head out of the building. Once more, he headed out of the door out into the outdoor commons. Right now, he could really use a cigarette, and he didn't even smoke. Something was going on, and the boss wasn't divulging any information.

    Looking around him for something to hopefully distract his attention, he saw a surprising sight, the guy he noticed in the cafe was eying the NeoLink office building. 'You know what, fuck it, I'll go and talk to him, maybe he has a fresh insight on matters.' Making up his mind, he descended the steps and carefully made his way over to the man. "Good afternoon sir." he said pleasantly, "I noticed you eying the building, something on your mind." Marcus tried to make sure that his tone conveyed an unspoken message that he really wanted to hear it.
  11. Altair hadn't expected anyone to approach him and it was honestly surprising, making him purse his lips for a moment in thought. He had obviously just come out of the building -- the same guy from the Cafe, so that was something to think on -- and was talking to him. But there was nothing wrong with what he was thinking, so why hesitate?

    "Oh, just wondering about whether or not I can scrounge up enough money for a pack of cigs... also wondering why someone like you would be talking to someone like me." He might not look the 'NeoLink' type -- the kind of people in the advertisements -- but he obviously worked there. And there were very few low paying jobs in that building. That made Altair have to wonder about it. He didn't add that he was thinking about how stupid people being panicked over things would be, but that wasn't really lying. Just omitting a certain truth. A small fact.

    He shoved his hands into his pockets, the very epitome of careful dishevelment, with his hair either long and obscuring part of his face or sticking out all ways, ripped in the knee jeans, leather jacket; not the type to associate with this guy, however casually dressed he was or not. Nor how long his hair. His everything was up to date, not falling apart. Unthinkingly, Altair flexed his left hand in it's pocket.
  12. "Don't worry about the money, I'll buy ya a pack. Thinking I could use a smoke myself. As for why I'm talking to you, a guy like you is awfully hard to miss, besides, I couldn't help but notice you in the cafe. Come on, let's grab some smokes." That being said, Marcus started to walk down the sidewalk, wondering if the guy would follow him. "I was uh... wondering if you heard about what's going on in the news." The way he saw it, the best thing to do was to just be upfront with his question, instead of beating around the bush. Besides, it was at least a way to start a conversation with this guy.

    Speaking of which, he had the very looks and makings of some sort of "punk". Now, as to what sort of punk he was, that seemed to be debatable. Maybe he was counter-culture, maybe anti social, or maybe he was even anti-government or corporation. It was hard saying which one. All Marcus knew was that he wasn't all that bad looking, and he would almost infallibly prove to be an interesting sort of character.
  13. Now, Altair didn't want to say that he liked this guy already, but the fact of the matter was that he would easily follow anyone willing to buy him a pack of cigarettes. Or even share one with him, if he was completely honest, but that wasn't the matter at hand. Not to mention that with his appearance -- no suit, no fussy nonsense -- he was intriguing. So Altair followed, hands still in pockets, knowing that he was an odd companion for this man and really, an odd sight for the afternoon sun. But he had always preferred being up before the others in his social circle, found that the advantages outweighed the cons. Like this. He might have been able to bum a few off of his friends after nightfall, but they weren't attractive, or if they were, he knew their flaws. And they would demand that he return the favour at some point.

    That all considered, he had to share his opinion now. It would be rude not to... "Yeah, but I don't see what all the fuss is about. I mean, it's not good, but it's the sort of stuff that happens all the time... you hear about it in other countries and it's always contained, dealt with, and that's that." He shrugged once. He wasn't a politician, he still used real money, and his tech wasn't 'right', so what did he really know? But this guy wanted his opinion and he had given it. He wasn't worried about impressing anyone so whether he sounded stupid or not hadn't crossed his mind. Okay, to be fair he hadn't asked for an opinion, just if he'd heard, but it was implied.
  14. "While yes, this does occasionally happen in other countries, those countries are usually poor and their tech is shoddy at best. The problem here is that this is top of the line technology that has been thoroughly tested so stuff like that wouldn't happen. What's even more is the people that have been attacked. All of them were what could be considered high priority targets." before he continued, Marcus looked a ways down the sidewalk to see where the nearest convenience store was, which appeared to be one a couple blocks away.

    "It's almost as though these people were forced to do it, as though some sort of virus had been created that could be transmitted through their tech. In almost all of the other incidents, the violence was caused by software and hardware glitches that accidentally triggered part of the hypothalamus. Come to think of it, a good majority of the people being attacked were known for being strong opponents to human cybernization." Shit, this had all the makings of a conspiracy.
  15. Altair listened and couldn't help the distinct thought... "That sounds exactly like what some of the people I know would make jokes about as some conspiracy theory, so true or not..." He trailed off then and shrugged his shoulders. He had gotten somewhat lost with all that the other man had said and instead of commenting on that, chose to let himself ponder on whether or not it could infect him, if it was, by some chance, a virus. He was out of date or illegal, all of it, so there were two options-- it either wouldn't be able to hurt him. Or it wouldn't work how it was supposed to. And people knew that a virus gone wrong could be significantly more damaging than a virus properly executed.

    There were reports from other countries -- and he couldn't begrudge his companion that; the fact that a lot of this did happen... in other countries, where yes, tech was typically lesser in some regard -- about viruses that shorted nervous systems, left people paralyzed if not dead. Tales of ruptured organs. Of serial killers who exploited small software glitches to devastating effect, combining the worse of a hacker with homicidal intent.

    "Do you have a name?" Altair after after a moment, out of curiousity and a desire to stop referring to this guy as... that guy.
  16. While it wasn't much of a change, it was still a welcome one from the topic at hand. "The name's Marcus Rosario, and you are?" he stuck out his hand for him to shake, making sure to use his human hand. So far, this guy didn't seem like the overly chatty type, and he supposed that was okay for the time being. For a moment, Marcus did consider that maybe he was over reacting to this, but then again, this wasn't something that the company would take lightly, especially since it was their name and product on the line here.

    For the time being, Marcus would just have to consider himself lucky for the fact that at least for now he wasn't affected with whatever was going on.
  17. Marcus Rosario, Altair rolled the name around in his mind for a moment, memorizing it firmly before offering just a bit of a smile when the hand was extended. His right... Altair offered his own human hand, and though he would have 'felt' all the same things with his replacement, it was still reassuring in a way to have the proper, skin to skin contact. "Altair Bane." A strange name, but he hadn't asked for it and hadn't changed it. He didn't assume an alias or nickname like so many of the people he was around all the time, but then again he didn't get in trouble with the cops every other night.

    Still, he had to wonder what fate had in store for him, to have him shaking hands with this man, who was so obviously well off it was almost painful to see when he thought about it. This guy probably didn't know what it was like to watch drugs kill someone off as they literally made your brain reject 'upgrades', or the sounds of gunfire and bodies, or even what it was like to go hungry. But maybe that was refreshing, too, to not see someone with tired eyes and a wary gaze, making deals in back alleys or peoples' garages. Yes. Refreshing.
  18. "Altair Bane" he repeated, "Nice to meet you." he gave him a small smile, trying to keep a friendly attitude. By now, they had reached the small shop and Marcus stepped inside. Before stepping to the counter, he turned his head to Altair, "What kind do you smoke, Newcastle? Chiefs? Monroes? Take your pick man." From out of the corner of his eye, he could see that the cashier didn't exactly like the looks of Altair, but he he wasn't to concerned with that, although it did bother him just how quickly people form prejudices just from mere looks alone. Marcus liked to ensure that he stayed away from doing that.

    In hindsight, it was nice to have the rest of the day off, he could go home, relax, watch tv, gorge himself on food, or he could see where things would go with Altair. Maybe things would stop after their smoking session, or maybe they would become friends, who knew?
  19. Hm... Altair did smile at that point, more openly before and shrugged once before saying, mostly because it was the first brand he had smoked a cigarette from said: "Marlboro." The name brought him back to another boy in the one foster home, the two of them trading off the tobacco while sitting on the roof of the house. This lasted only a couple moments, not really a flashback but just a very, very distinct memory. Honestly, he just usually smoked whatever was cheapest at the time, even if the cigarettes sucked. Anything for the nicotine.

    Still he had to question this man's motives, glancing at him from the corner of his eye. Here he was, with money and tech, and he was talking to Altair. Maybe it was just curiousity and happenstance, but if that wasn't it it wouldn't be the first time that someone had tried to buy Altair's time in one way or another. And it wouldn't -- if it was that and got there -- be the first time. He fingered the lighter in his pocket for a few moments with that thought.
  20. "You got it." He said with a smile as he turned to the woman behind the counter. "Pack of Marlboros please." with a quick, "Right away." she spun around and grabbed the cigarettes, which at this point, had just been paid for, as was indicated by an audible "Ping" that came from a console that sat in the middle of the counter. Sliding the pack towards Marcus, he picked it up and gave her a polite nod as he turned around. "Have a nice day." could be heard as he walked out of the door.

    Once more walking down the sidewalk, this time towards one of the near by benches, Marcus pulled one of the cigarettes out of the package and stuck it in his mouth as he handed the package to Altair. Pulling off the flesh colored sleeve that covered his bionic arm, he pulled back a small slide of metal that revealed a small but convenient storage compartment. Among the mix, along with his various forms of ID's and home security key card, was a lighter which he pulled out. Giving it a couple of flicks, he finally got a flame going and held it up to the cigarette. Marcus never smoked before, and the first few pulls burned, but at least it helped calm his nerves.
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