Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by ze_kraken, May 28, 2015.

  1. Office of Homeland Security


    he office floor, as was often the case, stood in an eerie silence. Every so often, the tapping of fingers upon a keyboard or the registration protocols of computer programs would break through, but for now the wide, open floor remained quiet. Automation had, for the most part, removed the need for the entirity of the floor being filled to the brim with desk workers and agents, and now only a handful of such workers remained alongside their artificial coworkers: hardly did these men and women interact with anyone or anything but their software, their hardware, and their underlings.

    "Hudson has come to see you." Henton's AI spoke, the soft female voice possessing that electronic undertone that separated it from a living being. Though capable of displaying a limited personality, the AI units given to his department were rudimentary and restricted to their code. With a wave of his hand, Henton dismissed the the flashing blue wave lengths that embodied the AI's voice suspended in the thin sheet of glass that composed almost the entirity of his computer. With another series of hand gestures, he undid the electronic lock upon his office door and shut down the monitor.

    The agent the AI had prompted, Hudson, arrived moments after the announcement. He was a pale, narrow figure with a hooked nose and a bald head that reflected the lights of Henton's overhead. Hudson's uniform was crisp and clean, the white cloth fitting tightly to his form with hardly a wrinkle or crease in sight. His boots were polished to an unhealthy, oily shine, and when he spoke, his voice reminded Henton of a less charismatic counterpart to his own Ai assistant.

    "You know why I am here." He began, taking a seat across Henton's synthetic wood desk, folding his hands over the slick surface.

    Henton slid his monitor into its slot upon the desk and readjusted himself so that his blue eyes met Hudson's own beady, black pupils. Clearing his throat, he spoke in his usual harsh, booming tone. "Your department is going to need a shade more than rumor until I commit any assets to the field. If I were to pander to every single potential threat to this government, we would have become a liability long ago. Unless you have more than you did a week ago, this conversation is over and I would like to thank you for such a gracious waste of my time."

    "I assure you, sir, that we have narrowed down the potential suspects down to three locations. All I ask is that you authorize the necessary-"

    "I don't give a damn about three potential suspects, narrow it down to one or you'll have to let this treason go untouched."

    At this, Hudson stammered, his pupils dialating in anger, his nostrils flaring. "What do you stand to lose by authorizing three searches? Within a day, we will have our answer and-"

    "We will have wasted time and resources on two potential suspects." Henton's temper stirred. "Hudson, look behind me. What do you see?"

    The man glanced over Henton's shoulder, up to the overhead light, then back to Henton. "I see our capital city."

    "No, you see the fruit of my department's labors, a fruit harvested by efficiency and absolute certainty that our path is the one towards justice. Even if your three searches were not a waste of department resources and time, think of the doubt we would sow by coming up two threats short. What image do we create? An agency that must resort to terrorizing innocents in order to ensure order. We appear weak. We operate as we do under the people's assumption that we are omnipresent, able to locate any threat with aboslute certainty on the first try. Now unless you want to ruin the reputation of this government's inner defense, you will find one location or you will find yourself out of employment."

    Indignant, Hudson stood and mulled over one last rebuttal, only to find the words die at Henton's stare of blue steel. He turned and exited the room, leaving Henton once more alone in his office. Sliding the monitor out of its compartment in his desk, Henton reactivated his AI and left a note to see into Hudson's research personally. With that finished, he turned his chair around and stared out through the screens that displayed the city as it would be at that time: the building was entirely sealed off with cameras displaying the exterior upon the interior.

    In the shroud of night, the haze of neon lights in the rain shone and, he was quite sure, stirred with the noise of an ever-bustling metropolis overladen with the low din of rainfall. Though his title as 'investigator' had little to do with work along the streets, he still felt a sense of purpose seeing his city below him. Even though his work was more talking with computer programs, unseen superiors, and department heads than it was scrounging up details, assaulting safehouses, and lurking alleyways Henton still felt more powerful than any man who scrounged up details, assaulted safehouses, and lurked alleyways.

    They say lethal weapons were outlawed to ensure no man felt superior or in control upon false means, but what does that make me?

    Casting the thought aside, Henton turned to his monitor once more, standing up and brushing his black overcoat off. "Ember, get the lights."

    The AI program blinked with understanding, and, as he Henton left the office and began his way to the elevator, snuffed the lights and disabled itself. Likewise, other offices were beginning to shut down, the day officially having come to a close. Another investigator, Peterson, had left her room at the same time Henton had and the two strode side by side towards the elevator.

    "Any luck on the underground researchers?" She asked, typing the elevator's authorization code upon their arrival to the sleak, white doors.

    "We're making ground..." Henton grunted at the graying, slight officer opposite him. They had arrived within two weeks of one another and their work had intersected the most. "We're making ground..."
    #1 ze_kraken, May 28, 2015
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  2. Upper East Side

    The plush, standard edition, ‘royalty red’ couch groaned under Nym’s weight. It wasn’t because she was heavy. Or so she had to remind herself every time she sat down on it. No, at five foot eight and 130 lbs Nym was considered a good “normal” size. The couch groaned because, like everything else in the furnished apartment, it was getting old. It was the kind of old that couldn’t be fixed with proper care, cleaning, and a fresh coat of paint. It was the kind of old that chewed on the city districts one by one, the kind that came with a city’s age and limited resources. Nevertheless the couch was soft and the rich color hadn’t yet faded and Nym wouldn’t have to deal with its verbal judgement forever. Her marriage contract should come any day now.

    “Hey!” a sultry feminine voice called as Amy peeked her head out of her room, brown loose curls bobby wistfully over one shoulder, ”I didn’t hear you come in.”

    ”Yeah, I just got in.” Nym replied as Amy walked over to where she was sitting and plopped down beside her. Notably, the furniture did not groan under Amy weight. ”Anything new about that blackout last week?”

    ”Boy is there ever. Like I suspected all along it looks like the Rebels were involved in the incident. How they managed to coordinate their efforts is still unknown although why they think it’s a good idea to turn of the power in an entire city sector is anyone’s guess.”

    Nym had a few guesses as to why the Rebels would take such an action but she knew better than to voice her opinions out loud. Years had gone by since her brother had been had been accused of working with the anti-government group shortly before he’d disappeared for good but Nym still felt shy talking about the subject. On paper she was a model citizen and model citizens were firmly against the Rebels. She could not help was thoughts floated through her head but she could keep her sympathies to herself. ”Everyone knows they were involved.”

    ”True,” Amy repleied. ”But not everyone knows who was in charge of the whole event. I heard someone talking about it at work. One person’s name is Mildred Baker.” Nym’s roommate stared at her like a puppy who was awaiting praise but it never came. An awkward silence filled the room. ”What? Do you know her?” Amy prompted.

    ”No.” Nym said and shook her head, ”At least I don’t think so. I just feel like I’ve seen that name somewhere before but I… I can’t place it.”

    ”Maybe she was in your school class? Or maybe you ran into her when you were younger. She was part of the upper circle until she had a falling out with her husband a few years back had her plummeting down the social ladder.”

    Nym was positive it wasn’t the school thing although it was possible they’d met somewhere before Mildred’s downfall from society. She shook her head again. ”I don’t think that’s it.”
    ”Well, if you think of where you know her from, you’ll tell me right!? Could be a big break.”
    Amy’s hazel eyes gleamed with expectation.

    ”Yes.” Nym said not feeling as convicted as she sounded, ”Yes. Of course.”
  3. Slums District

    here had been few enough times that Henton had been allowed to enter the field, even fewer when the area in question had yet to be pacified. Around him within the cramped, bare confines of the standard-issue personnel carrier sat six armed and armored peacekeepers, their faces concealed by helmets with black-tinted visors. The only feature keeping the peacekeepers apart came in the form of a name tag and numerical ID-tag etched upon the breastplace of their grey-black mottled armor. Henton himself wore a bullet-resistant overcoat and vest along with a simple flak helmet, but his mission was very different from theirs.

    The walls and ceiling of the personnel carrier displayed the exterior of the vehicle as it would appear if the entire craft had been made of glass - cameras and screens allowed for the vehicle to retain enough armor to resist molotov cocktails and basic homemade weapons without removing visibility. Very little about the non-descript patch of road the vehicle currently rolled along was worth a second glance - it was simply more of the same bright lights, shut doors, and sealed windows. Opening the radio-linked communications channel, Henton inquired about the vehicle's estimated arrival time.

    "Three minutes." Came the monotone voice of the vehicle operator, an automated computer system - human drivers made costly errors.

    When the carrier came to a halt at the corner of a bustling high street and a secluded alleyway, the rear bay door opened outward and rooted itself to the ground. The peacekeepers stood, clicking their weapons from their holsters, and marched out of the vehicle in two ranks of three each. The front two of each rank held shock batons and wrist-mounted shields, the last a compact carbine with two interchangable ammunition types for lethal and nonlethal engagements. Without further pause, the peacekeepers marched down the alleyway with Henton following closely behind, crouching behind the mammoth armored figures before him.

    The group paused at the end of the alleyway and two of the six peacekeepers turned their attention to a door to their left. Both stood upon opposite sides of the doorway while a third took position in front of it, bracing armored legs against the ground. Without an audible command, the two riflemen took position next to their braced compatriot as he kicked in the doorway, door hurtling into the room. The two peacekeepers upon the doorway's sides tossed crowd-control grenades into the opening. A loud click sounded followed by random bursts of light and noise, after which the six peacekeepers dashed into the room.

    Until that moment, Henton had believed the myth that peacekeepers never spoke had been a rumor the agency spread to strike fear and build a reputation. As he followed the peacekeepers into the room, he noted that none of them had yet said a word as they began their sweep. Shots from carbines, blades bouncing against ceramics, and the whine of electricity sounded in a nearby room and whatever struggle there was had ended. Henton's heads-up-display gave the all-clear alert and he proceeded into the second of the two, shabby, ill-kept rooms. By their wear and layout, he suspected they had previously been a private storage unit or general store. Hardly material for a safehouse.

    Upon entering the second room, Henton counted four limp figures upon the ground, two restrained ones. No blood. Good, no casualty reports to fill out. Without so much as acknowledging the peacekeepers, he knelt and turned over each of the four prone figures. One's chest was covered in a thick, tough layer of smeared gel from a riot-round while the other three had been duely stunned, their hair standing on ends. Only when he had confirmed each of them was still alive did he stand and turn to the peacekeepers.

    "Load these two back onto the carrier. No use in interrogatin-"

    "No, no!" One of the restrained figures, a woman, spoke. At this, the peacekeeper pressed her further into the wall to silence her. At Henton's sharp command, he relented enough to allow air back into her lungs.

    "Go on."

    "I have names - the blackouts, I can tell you everything! Please, just don't take me back there! I've heard things and I-"

    At a command to the peacekeeper, a riot-round exploded into the woman's stomach, gel expanding over her form with a ripple of flesh. She collapsed to the ground as Henton merely watched.

    "We'll see."


    By the end of his shift, Henton had interogatted each of the six individuals in the safehouse. Only the girl that had spoken up was associated with the rebellion in any open fashion - the presumed 'safehouse' Hudson had unearthed had just been a group of squatters finding refuge in one converted home. The girl had been, if almost entirely, lying about her knowledge of the prior blackouts. Her knowledge of the rebellion leadership was entirely nonexistent and the only names she could offer had been 'Mildred Baker' and a handful of other, nondescript titles and street names. Street names were insubstantial, but real names - names like Mildred Baker - were what made progress.

    Upon his exit from the building, Henton left a few last-minute notes to his AI and made his way to the public transportation center two blocks away from the office building.

    That, Hudson, is how you get results...

    #3 ze_kraken, Jun 13, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2015
  4. Upper East Side

    Morning came too soon as it often did. Blearily, Nym reached over and turned to alarm on her regulation wrist watch off. Part of her wanted to snuggle back down into her sheets with their worn but comfortable texture but she couldn’t afford to be late. No one could.

    It took her less than ten minutes to get ready to greet the new day. Out in the public living area, it was obvious from the mess left on the counter that Amy had already left. Sighing loudly, Nym poured herself a bowl of corn flakes and milk and a cup of orange juice before scrolling through the latest news feed on her watch. Not much had changed from the day before and nothing new could be found about the blackout. It wasn’t too surprising. These things tended to take time.

    The streets were busy with their usual morning rush. As always seemed to happen, Nym had to wait at the stop for the second city bus because the first one was too crowded. Around her, most citizens were already dressed in their standard work uniforms. She too would dawn her white, hip length shirt and pressed white slacks as soon as she reached her workplace, the Center for Science and Innovation or CSI. Unlike other offices, they didn’t let the workers wear their uniforms in public places for contamination reasons. Nym allowed her mind to wander and it wasn’t long before the bus pulled up in front of a large glass pyramid shaped building of CSI.


    Nym pressed her watched against the security scanner and a green light shows her she's gained access to the female employee entrance. Stripping off her public clothes, she folded them up neatly and placed them into her assigned locker. Everything comes off except for the watch. It hasn’t left her wrist since the age of five except for periodic size adjustments, mandatory updates, and necessary repairs. Beside her, two other women do the same. A quick shower follows, barely enough water to rinse any soapy residue remaining on her skin and hair. A quick air dry and she’s ready to gather her new white undergarments, a medium sized, white female uniform, and a pair of white cloth booties. At the end of the day she would repeat the same process but in reverse.

    Nym looked down at her watch and took note of the time- ten minutes before her shift officially started. Not wanting to head into her lab any earlier than necessary, she heads past the locker room doors to the lounge area. Pouring herself a small cup of coffee, Ryn mentally played over her conversation with Any.

    “So any news yet?”

    The voice was irritatingly familiar. Someone bumped her elbow and Nym managed only just to keep the coffee from spilling onto her prestige work clothes. Peaking up past the rim of the cup, Nym had to stifle a groan as she realized who it was. Sally Enright was a decade older than herself with a pump frame, stringy yellow hair, and bright green eyes that seemed to know more than they should.
    ”News?” Nym echoed trying to seize on what the other woman was referring to.

    ”Your designation?” Sally prompted. ”It’s been… what… a month?”

    With sudden clarity Nym’s brain fixed on the subject of their conversation. It had been over a month since she started working for CSI, it was true, and she too expected the news to come any day now. ”Not yet.” she replied, ”I’m sure I’ll be assigned a husband soon enough though.”

    ”Oh I’m sure,”. Sally replied as Nym tried to work out the other woman’s expression. Pity? Jealousy? Smugness? ”A bright, educated girl like yourself?” Sally continued, ”It’s only a matter of time.”

    Nym’s watch chimed- a reminder she needed to be in the lab in exactly two minutes to start her shift, saving her from any more of Sally’s awkward conversation. Nym excused herself and headed towards the elevators.

    The door of Nym’s lab swished open at the touch of her watch against the sensor. An acrid smell of dying flowers and animal litter wafts out, causing her nose to wrinkle. Walking over to her computer, she powers it on and checks over the recent sensory data from the previous night’s run. A rush of warm air suddenly caresses across her neck, but she doesn’t have to turn around to know where it’s emanating from.

    ”Any luck?” The words continue to creep their way across her skin as Nym suppresses a shudder of revulsion. Dr. Williams, her supervisor, seems oblivious to her discomfort.

    ”Not yet. It’s hard to get the right balance. Too little and the drug has no effect. Too much and the subjects lose their appetite and become sleep deprived.” Nym points to a specific line in the data to emphasize her point.

    ”So they are more productive and eat less? That doesn’t seem like a negative consequence.” From his tone, it’s hard to tell if he is joking or not.

    ”The drug also seems to affect knowledge acquisition,” Nym suggests, pointing to a different line, ”and it appears to be addictive in these higher doses.”
    #4 Irell Starling, Jun 22, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2015
  5. Office of Homeland Security

    "What do you mean the CSI is involved with what you're doing?" Henton slammed his fists upon the sleek, white plascrete interrogation table that stood between him and Evelynn Alken. The girl's only response was an indifferent stare from her orange-yellow, piercing eyes and a twitch of her lip that Henton presumed was a smirk. "I had a punk like you across this table just a few days ago. Thought she could lie to the government, and then have the sorry mistake of getting some of the facts right. Rebellion leaders weren't too cheery. Know where I found her yesterday? Face-first in a fucking alleyway, knife to the stomach. Slow death. Painful death. The kind of death that could've been avoided."

    "What? So I fuckin' talk, you hang me or shoot me or whatever the fuck it is you do to 'rebs, I don't talk and you do the same shit, or I blab and die with a kitchen knife between my ribs in some alleyway." She was cracking, her voice was losing the same strength it had possessed earlier. Henton capitalized on the moment.

    "She lied and got the facts right, which meant we felt no compulsion to offer aid her way," Henton began, letting the words hang in the air for a moment, "if you're more cooperative, we'll see to it that you'll-"

    Evelynn promptly cut him off by raising her middle finger, "Cào xiǎo lǎopó." Fuck you, whore.

    "Shame." Henton smiled and duly ordered that the woman be erased.

    People who didn't exist had a habit of being more liable to disappearance without question.


    A day passed since the interrogation of the woman. Three more possibilities had arisen in Hudson's search for illegal research activities, much to Henton's agitation. With every passing hour he longed for the chance to see Hudson out of a job, but the opportunity never came; for a man who was utterly ineffectual in going about his duty, Hudson was at least kept himself clean. After several, heated arguments concerning the mention of CSI's involvement in the research, Henton had finally put Hudson back into his place.

    "Peterson is waiting for you, sir." Henton's AI spoke as he approached his office floor; he had just arrived from his hab-block.

    The doors to Peterson's office slid open smoothly with hardly a whisper of glass upon plascrete floor. Peterson herself sat behind a desk so old it was still made of real, hard oak. Her left hand was preoccupied typing away at an implanted holoboard upon the desk's surface while her right scribbled notes upon a data pad. Henton waited patiently in the doorway of the office, knowing better than to rush the woman opposite him. With a delicate sense of poise and grace, Peterson set her data pad down and pushed the monitor screen aside, finally acknowledging Henton and offering him a seat in the chair across the desk.

    "You look like shit," was her first comment. He felt it: the dark circles beneath his eyes, the bloodshot eyes, the constant dull ache barely thrumming behind the skin of his face.

    "This case, it's been giving me hell... It's like the facts add up, the conclusion's there, but..."

    "Lack jurisdiction. Don't want to take a leap before you know for certain it's there," Peterson nodded, "The only flaw to your service record if any."

    "That's what I have you for, isn't it?" Henton chuckled, "You're the realist that puts me in my place when I start stalling like this."

    "And this is why we're mobilizing assets for a snatch-and-grab on CSI. It's due within the next three days, and once our assets are mobilized, I expect you with boots on the ground to start questioning, got it?"

    Henton paused. "Yes ma'am."

    He didn't know how to feel about it. Peterson had taken cases out of his hands before, but none quite like this, not quite like a full-scale assault upon a building most knew very well to be in good standing with the public. She had taken petty matters like repeating robberies, minor rebellious acts, and treason out of Henton's control, but a case he'd spent the better half of a month working upon? One he had poured himself into? Never this. Part of him wanted to question why the change in leadership, but then, he doubted Peterson would offer a straight answer if she gave one at all. Not like we get credit anyways.

    "That all you wanted?"

    "No, but you better be bloody right," Peterson smiled.

    Do I have a choice, now?

  6. CSI

    Nym looked down at her watch. 11:32 pm. It was almost time to take her lunch break but she needed to feed the specimens first. Stretching her stiff muscles made sore from hours of sitting, Nym stood up and made her way over to the unlocked glass door that separated the computer area from the animal cages.

    The smell that assaulted her, a mixture of wood chippings and animal urine, a reminder that cage cleaning day was tomorrow. Most of the rats were asleep, nocturnal by nature, but at the sound of her entrance a few came out of their houses, to greet her. The first few days she had been afraid of them with their black beady eyes and naked nails, but soon enough discovered they weren’t as bad as she feared. They didn’t nip at her when she needed to pick them up and move them and unlike other animals she’d worked with while training for the job, they kept them clean and groomed. It was undeniably a bonus that she didn’t need to bathe as well as feed them on a daily basis.

    As usual she went about checking the water and automatic feeder food supplies, refilling each as necessary. Next, using a chart with the current weight and age of each animal recorded on it, she injected a small red gummy treat with the appropriate amount of the drug and placed it into the animal’s cage. The work was slow going, especially because the younger animals were tied to numbers. When she’d first arrived the previous technician had given the animals names but over the past month most had perished leaving only “Trixie”, “Sherald”, “Baker” and “GusGus”.

    ”Baker,” Nym mused as she washed the hooded female gobble up the red cube. It could be a coincidence or it could be something else.

    A tap at the door caused Nym to almost jump out of her skin. Walking over, she propped it open to the waiting Dr. Williams.

    ”It’s almost lunch time,” he announced, surveying the area behind her, ”Would you like to join me today?”

    Nym almost groaned aloud. The man was constantly pestering her to eat with him. It would be one thing if he could take a hint, or another if he wasn’t so creepy, unfortunately, neither was the case.

    ”I still have a bit to finish up with,” she said, gesturing back to the cages. ”I…uh… did have a quick question for you.” She paused briefly waiting for his acceptance before continuing on, ”What was the name of your previous assistant? The one who named the rats?”

    Dr. William shook his head, his face showing a clear lack of disgust. ”That would be Mildred Baker. She had a bad habit of getting too close to the specimens.”

    Nym tried to hide her excitement. Dr. Williams must have mentioned the woman before and that’s where she’d remembered it from. ”Is that why she left?”

    ”For buddying up with the data points?” he said, eyeing her suspiciously, ”No. Despite her… personality flaws, she was a talented scientists. One of the best I’ve had work under me. Mind you, she’s not as good as you are. On the other hand we were able to successfully get through our trial runs. Why? You’re not thinking of jumping ship, are you?”

    ”No of course not!” Nym replied earnestly.

    ”Good. Good. Then I’ll let you get back to finishing up.”

    With that he took his leave. Nym waited a few minutes after he left the lab to sprint over to her computer. Curiosity bubbling over, she logged in, wanting to see just what Mildred and the good doctor had been up to before the woman had left. Like everything else, the information should be stored on the CSI’s Virtual Network.


    Nym bit her lip. The standard CSI passwords for data files hadn’t worked.
  7. Office of Homeland Security

    There had been few times as ever that Henton had been glad to see the slick, bald head of Hudson peeking through his office door. If he had to put a number on such occurrences, he doubted that number would ever hold the great honor of receiving a second digit. The assault on CSI was not yet due for another day, and in the chaos of the investigation unit Hudson had brought a veritable miracle out of the works. At least, that is what the AI had said.

    "Stop standing around at my door and get in," Henton barked at the man.

    Indignant, if only for a moment, Hudson collected himself and slithered into the office, taking a seat across Henton's desk. Deftly, he produced a data reader from within his white coat and slid it over the polished surface towards the detective. Without further acknowledgement, Henton grabbed for the reader and opened the readout within. Good news, yes, his AI had not been wrong in that. She, no it, had been wrong on the specifics. Dammit.

    "She took the case from me."

    "Yes, with Peterson as your department head she has the right to-"

    "I understand what she can and can't do, Hudson, that isn't the important part. The important bit is why. We don't receive credit, the assault's in a day...I don't see the point in arbitrarily taking the damn thing out of my hands. You even got the location correct, and you work in my department!" Henton's mind began blazing through possibilities. Had he been suspected of insider trading? Would he be put before an ethics court? What would happen?

    Hudson saw through the man's attempt at control and commented, "I truly doubt it means anything, sir. It's just a single case and I-"

    "A single case that I've spent months on."

    "As I said I doubt-"

    "Get out, I need to think this over."

    Ruffled, Hudson began a retort then thought better of it, "As you wish."

    Once the door rang shut behind the agent, Henton began to type fervently into his terminal. He searched databases, combed files, and scanned documents. He broke through codes he could, marked those he couldn't. Minutes passed, a cold sweat began to develop across his brow as he searched and searched and searched. Finally, one last result came up, one that was unlike the others. It belonged to Peterson.

    Mildred Baker. Personal records, identity...Everything - why did I have to...

    Henton scrolled over to unlock the file, offering a glance up at Peterson's desk. For the moment, it was empty. Cautiously, Henton began the series of code that would unlock the harsh defenses around the file just as Peterson began to head back to her desk. Frantically, he shut down all the breaching protocols and offered a wave and a nervous grin at his supervisor as she waltzed into her office. She turned, offered a curt nod in reply (all business during the day) and headed inside.

    All the while, Henton could only think of what box he had just opened...