Out of View (A.I. Role Play)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Luminous Ink, Apr 1, 2015.

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  1. Out of View (A.I. Role Play)

    Screeching sirens pierce the night air, alerting passerbyes of law-enforcement’s presence. Police cars zoom past people, followed by military grade vehicles. Bar crawlers hang on the metal door frame of a nearby pub, watching the spectacle with excitement and curiosity. Sweeping lines lay beneath their feet, running along the establishment’s floor, separating large sections of industrial flooring. One of the grooves streams past a circular bar, lit up by neon lettering and jaunty laughter. However, toward the back, it winds around a contrasting scene. A feminine figure is slumped over a booth near the wall. Dark strands of hair hang against her face like a funeral veil. Heavy breaths steal away from non-existent lungs, carefully timed for authenticity. In fact, some people might prefer referring to “her” as “it.” A human mind doesn’t dictate Violet’s thoughts, but intricate circuitry consisting of data compiled over several decades, long before the android’s existence.

    She cocks her head toward the entrance, waiting. Heavy footsteps thud near the doorway, and patrons are pushed inside the establishment. Light, but efficient gear hangs on a group of men bullying their way inside. There isn’t a single distinguishing mark, or emblem on their clothing. One of the men lifts his hand, resulting in the rest lining pub walls. Coal colored eyes jump from man to man, trying to find defining features. However, their faces are covered, and each one seems to have the same build. None of them move, as though they’re statues or robotic-cops from old films. This doesn’t bode well with her. The display isn’t appealing to human emotion; some might consider it frightening. Deciding on a course of action, far too lacking in her opinion, Violet clenches her teeth together in mock pain. If these men bring out unease, she’ll capitalize on human sympathy. Besides, she may not feel pain, but the deep gash hidden beneath her pants restricts movement. She feels like an injured zebra being stalked by lions. The presumed leader scans his surroundings, as a predator would, before looking straight ahead.

    “For your individual safety, everyone is this establishment needs to line up near the center. We work for the government. High profile fugitives are on the loose, and we were tasked with finding them.” Several underlings turn toward him before nodding. Leftover men who weren’t lining the walls usher people to the center.

    Panicked gazes shoot around the room. However, she stays in place with a distressed frown. A guard weeds his way through the line, noticing her static silhouette, “Why aren’t you getting up?” He barks.

    “My leg’s injured. I can’t stand on it.”

    His eyes narrow as he reaches toward her. Noticing his intentions, the woman shifts her weight forward, letting herself fall against the firm cushion. He recoils a bit after hearing her whimper. Slender fingers clench around his arm. She pushes against the seat, attempting to right herself, using the man as support before letting out a heavy breath.

    “You can ask me anything here, it’s not like I’m running away.” Her winded reply draws concerned expressions across people’s faces.

    The man’s gaze edges away from her toward his commanding officer. Silence adds a few pounds to the heavy atmosphere before the leader changes his stance to include them in his view. Faces are such telling features; it’s a shame his is hidden; she grimaces. These men have been trained to handle situations with minimal empathy. Their military or government division is still unknown to her, but it’s easy to tell they’re not called in to find runaway drug smugglers, which were mentioned in the news earlier. If she had to place a bet, it seems like an easy situation to turn into a scapegoat. Drug trafficking is reported often enough for people to blink an eye and go on about their day.

    “Put your hands up, miss.” The instructions aren't barked but said in a dull, monotone voice.

    Hesitation weighs down on her arms before she complies. The woman takes a deep breath before attempting to meet the commanding officer’s gaze, or whatever he is. Murky visors of some sort cover his eyes, but daunting waves of authority radiate off him.

    “Pat her down then check for injuries. If any are there… make sure they aren’t infected.” The dual meaning behind his words is too evident to her.

    His subordinates tense-up, anticipating trickery. Several of them place their hands against weapons. The man beside her looks down and wrings his hands together before searching her clothes. She hisses when he reaches for her leg. Customers fidget in place with conflicted expressions.

    “Hey, assholes, you like manhandling women?” An inebriated patron rocks forward.

    The man hovering over her freezes in place, realizing the atmosphere is growing hostile. Bar-goers break formation. It seems they’ve reached their limit of safety over legality. Had she been a regular customer, she’d let out a rare grin. Instead, her body curls over a bit more in mock-pain. Her thoughts come to a halt for a split second. This new eye level reveals something interesting, though she doesn’t know what it means. Faint coats of deep red, nearly black paint dances around the tips of his weapon handles. Two other men share similar markings. They’re different.

    “Do your job, hurry up!” The commander yells.

    Before the subordinate can reach for her leg, a distant voice brings his actions to a halt. It’s coming from PADs on the men’s utility belts.

    “EF3122 – Please Take Action,” a generic, computer-generated voice echoes around the pub.

    In less than two seconds, the man is standing up straight, and the other men have turned their attention to the commander. Without any exchange in words or body language, the person pulls a thin, translucent rectangular object off of his utility belt. Uncertainty weighs down on her; that’s an identification reader. However, she’s not scared of what it will turn up. Rather, she’s worried about the meaning behind what was announced, and the reason for this sudden change.

    Mellow lighting illuminates the object, and a sphere appears on the now screen-like surface. After placing the object in-front of her eye, thousands of fibrous strings extend across the sphere like poles. Beneath it is a percentage that quickly builds up to one-hundred. The image disappears, and paragraphs of data occupy the space. Her name, Violet Alou, presides above the long blocks of text. Slipping the Identifier into a belt pouch, the man backs away with caution. Is that good? Is it bad? Their stoic demeanor makes it hard to tell. The commander takes a step forward and pulls out a badge. The Federal Department of Defense’s crest embellishes the metal. However, no other sign of identification is present.

    “We apologize for the inconvenience. Our leads have changed. This establishment will be compensated for the disturbance. Police will stay in the area to answer your questions.”

    Not a single word is muttered between the men as they change formation and rush outside. Disgruntled complaints and curses are flung around the pub. Several patrons try approaching the strange force, but are swiftly moved aside. The man who identified Violet turns away without an explanation. For now, she’ll consider this turn of events fortunate and not engage him. Shadows dance across her face as she retreats further into the booth. Hopefully, things remain favorable once she steps outside. After all, people are far too invested in her charade. Medical attention is the last thing she needs, at least from their kind. Dark eyes skim their surroundings, looking for a way out. Congratulatory lights go off in her head after spotting a particularly large umbrella near the bar’s entrance. A grin dances across her lips; it seems the rain from earlier in the day was beneficial. It should be easy enough to have somebody fetch one for her. It may not be an ideal support, but nobody will think twice about one being in her possession.
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  2. ---

    Darkness enveloped the room. The window’s brightness settings let in none of the exterior street lamps’ glow, the glaring ad-boards’ bright colors, or the headlights of autos roaring below. Even their noise was dulled from the insulated walls, walls which extended a few inches further inward than they had a right to and gave the decrepit apartment a claustrophobic feeling. A lone set of monitors formed the only light in the room, their bright glow extending barely beyond the desk that accommodated them.

    Beneath that desk lay empty bottles, containers of protein packs, and towels covered in dried sweat. From behind the torn, chipped, and scarred synth-wood desk sat a seemingly limp figure, hands stretched outward across a dimly lit keyboard. Every few seconds, a finger would twitch or an eye would snap open and bulge as synapses fired and code flared across the screen, dozens of lines of code processing a second. Sweat formed across his brow and fell in drops across the figure’s face, though he did not seem to care. Daniel Collins was in the Net, and the maladies of the flesh were only a distant echo.

    To those outside the Net, it appeared as a confusing mess of characters upon a screen in no logical arrangement. To a decker, the Net was a landscape of geometrical architecture, pillars of cubes of various color and size forming spectacular formations that each marked every important cluster of information ever stored online. Some were guarded by layers of larger, denser cubes - ICE, defense programs - and others were simple URLs with gates that opened to allow any probing body in. Part of navigating the Net was expelling all unimportant information from sight, leaving only the essentials behind. In this, Collins was an expert.

    Currently, Collins’ digital persona stood, his senses extended to every facet of the server without the need to look. He felt what the server felt while his meat self labored away at maintaining the link. The vague sensation of thirst, hunger, and discomfort tugged at the back of his mind, but he knew he could end his shift before the meat overtook the Net. Some time passed before he felt another consciousness in his own reality, a foreign program or persona. Readjusting his omnipotent grasp of the server to the target location, Collins readied the standard defense protocol. A second passed in the meat world, but for Collins it was a minute as he reached for programs to repel the assailant. Only, the would-be attacker had already broken through the first layer of established ICE.

    What the fuck…

    In a few seconds, the second, third, fourth layer had all be stripped away before Collins could properly react. When at last he had faced the assailant, he felt the consciousness turn and before he knew it he was back at his desk, eyes bleary and stinging with sweat. Heart thumping well beyond its normal rate. Dehydration. Hunger. It was no using jacking back in: whatever the thing had been looking for it had stolen, Collins was sure of that. Regardless, with a quick glane at the chrono on his monitor, his shift was over. He needed a drink and, more importantly, he needed answers.


    Not long after being subjected to dump-shock, Daniel Collins had washed off the sweat, taken two blood thinners for his headache, and downed an entire liter of electrolyte supplements. With his body functioning as well as it would, he left the ragged and bare apartment he called home and set out to meet his underworld contact. With any luck, the ex-hacker would have an answer.

    “You’re saying that this entity, this thing, broke through four levels of corporate black I-C before you could lift a finger?” the balding, stubby man questioned an hour later in the back alley of the Casual Pint. “That’s impossible. I never ‘seen anybody who could to that.” He took a puff of a cigarette - not electronic, he claimed it gave him bad dreams - and mulled over the account. “I’m going to need a recording or transcript of the encounter, even then, I doubt I’ll be much help…”

    “Any answer is better than none,” Collins replied, wafting the tobacco smoke away from his face, “I assume you’ll be charging the regular fee?”

    “Plus costs of the operation. This is some feng wu and I don’t like it one bit.” The Chinese swear brought a smile to the sysop’s face.

    “Never knew you one for multiculturalism.”

    “I-” He was cut off by the sound of approaching sirens and, louder still, the shuttering and clanging of heavier vehicles.

    Ignoring his contact’s cries of ‘wait!’ and ‘get back here!’, Collins approached the mouth of the alleyway to glimpse a contingent of armed men march into a nearby building. They bore no obvious markings, held no recognizable weapons, or otherwise looked to be any standard military Collins had seen. He had first thought it to be a private corp. black ops team out on a run gone bad, but then, there wouldn’t be a line of perfectly calm police behind them.

    “That file…” Collins stated, disappearing back into the alleyway to face the startled hacker. “That file they stole, it was behind the security protocols section of the database. Not normal ICE, no, no. It was for portable devices, miniature brains and the like in some of the dumb AI we use on a daily basis. I think…”

    “You’re not saying that the rumors of some ‘smart artifical intelligence’ are true. You’ve spent too much time searching the Depth if you think that for any second some lǎo piáo idiot’s been tweaking with computers to make himself some private sex bo-”

    “Why else bother? A proper hacker would have gone for dirty laundry. They would have gone for transaction information. Something to make us look bad or make them rich, not mess around with defense software. Whatever broke my code is in there, or something similar to it. I know it is.”

    “It’s your neck.” The reply was dismissive, and before Collins could retort, his contact had left the alleyway at a nonchalant jog.

    Grunting with agitation, Collins stepped out into the street and moseyed his way to the crowd that had formed on his end of the street. A handful had returned to the Casual Pint, others stayed and watched as police waited idled about. Almost casually, Collins strode towards an officer, applying a masque of confusion and curiosity that might have been a tad more sincere if not for the uninterested look to his eyes.

    “What was going on here? I went to a refresher and came out to this…” He stated when at last the officer acknowledged him, his voice an equally unbelievable attempt at confusion.

    “Standard search, were you in any way disrupted by the course of this operation?” The officer’s voice was droll, monotone even.

    “No, no, not at all, officer, just an odd commotion. I’d thought a fight had broken out!” Clearly unamused, the man in uniform found sudden interest in his comrade’s discussion and left Collins at the curb.

    Realizing he would get no where with the officers, Collins turned his attention to asking around the crowd of patrons. After much in the way of convincing that no, he was not one of those men in uniform looking for a rogue killer, he discovered that the ‘runner team’ had been interested in a female in particular. He spared the street one last sweep, coming to the conclusion that his person of interest had not attempted an escape through the front doors. Not a minute later, he stormed through the front doors to find the bar relatively empty, making it an easy scan through. Collins continued, casually following a woman’s gaze that ended somewhere off to his left: the rack by the front of the door: an umbrella: largest one there. Double-taking to pick it up, he walked over to her with renewed haste, wagering this was the person of interest.

    “Is this yours?” Collins asked, attempting his best look of nonchalance.

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