Site 17

Session 28 - August 6?, 2260

Night Road

Alasdair

  • Arcane 1
  • Control 1
  • Detection 2
  • Energy 1
  • Stealth 1

Ananda

  • Arcane 1
  • Detection 3
  • Stealth 1

Em

  • Arcane 1
  • Clarity 1
  • Computer Tech 8
  • Detection 1
  • Elemental 1
  • Stealth 1
  • Structural Technology 1

165 CDP
Total: 5075

Kassil: Okay.
Kassil: Last session ended with some chatter after returning from the Land of Andy the Angel.
Ananda finishes her tea and packs it away.
Kassil: You are, as best you can figure, at ALF-0031-V on the map.
Kassil: There are two exits you haven’t tried as of yet.
Kassil: Nothing seems to be trying to get through the railroad-tie door, and no blast shadows have come creeping out of the hall you came in through.
Alasdair: Both excellent lack-of-developments.
Em: Thank you puppy of purgatory. :)
Ananda: (North to the Blue Room?)
Em: “It seems odd to me that this area is listed as green but opens to another world apparently.”
Ananda: “It may be only a sometime thing.”
Em: Reality having PMS ? (raises eyebrow)
Alasdair: “Green is for the contents, not the doorway.”
Em: Ah. But yes, north seems good, see if the common suffix means anything.
Kassil: Okay, then. The hallway north is fairly typical of the Site – a couple semi-concealed blast shutters in the roof, a control system outside the room at the end, and so on, but the door is shut and, at a glance, appears to have been fused shut by some kind of welding.
Em: Like, actual construction type welding?
Em: (not “amounts to that effect from some really impressive blast/whatever”?)
Kassil: You could make a Structural Technology check.
Alasdair makes a pensive face while studying the door.
Ananda: (Any kind of window or suchlike in this one?)
Ananda leans against the wall and looks at the door, nonplussed.
Kassil: Em is fairly sure the door was methodically welded shut.
Kassil: It’s not a deep weld, but sufficient that it would take a bit of effort to wrench it open.
Em: …Maybe turn intangible and float through it again, just to check what’s on the other side before unblocking it?
Ananda: “Worth a try.”
Alasdair shrugs, “Seems prudent.”
Alasdair wonders why everyone’s staring at him.
Kassil snickers.
Kassil: I totally don’t know what you’re talking about. :D
Alasdair turns everyone incorporeal.
Kassil: Alasdair discorporates you all while somehow keeping you alive and functional.
Kassil: What now?
Alasdair presses his face against the door like a teenager outside a strip club.
Kassil: Alasdair sinks partway into the door with no apparent resistance.
Ananda sidles through the closed door.
Alasdair steps through as well.
Kassil: Ananda and Alasdair find themselves in what seems to almost be a vehicle showroom, aside from the metal bars keeping each of the vehicles seemingly secure.
Ananda shakes herself and scratches the back of her neck, once back in the air.
Kassil: The vehicles in the room range from what looks like an early jalopy to the semi-familiar precursors of modern vehicles, a century and a half out of date.
Kassil: Em, you watch Alasdair and Ananda walk through the vault door.
Ananda looks around for any sort of description placard.
Alasdair is distracted by the shiny vehicles, but still tries to be alert for danger.
Kassil: There are two dozen vehicles, and a podium in the middle that looks like it might be able to render some information.
Kassil: Alasdair, the shiniest thing you see is probably the M-1 tank sitting in the back row on the right.
Ananda takes a look at the podium, then.
Em tries cautiously walking through the barrier and has her own look around sneakily for danger or other shinies (or that purple gemstone that flew off…)
Kassil: The gemstone flew in a completely different direction, Em.
Em: But it might have doubled back. >_>
Alasdair: ( If the map’s directions are accurate, it flew toward MR-068. )
Kassil: The podium is blinking with a login screen. There’s a card reader next to it, and you suspect it’s a touch-screen.
Ananda tries Markov’s ID card, little as it’s helped before.
Em: No sign of anything that would warrant welding the door shut?
Kassil: You just see vehicles behind bars.
Ananda: (Also assuming that incorporeality doesn’t affect RFID chip operation.)
Kassil: The screen blinks, and a message pops up: “User not authorized for this sector.”
Ananda: “Say, Em? Do you still have your ancestress’ ID card?”
Em checks if it’s where she left it.
Alasdair: “Hmm. But it DID recognize the user. Interesting.”
Em finds the card and tries it in the reader.
Alasdair: Are most of the vehicles personal mobility types? Other than the tank, of course. Or is there any common theme to the collection?
Ananda: (Are the bars narrow and close enough to the vehicles to prevent entry?)
Kassil: They’re mostly passenger vehicles, aside from the tank, a biplane, and what looks like a Vespa that someone strapped a JATO unit to. The bars are placed close enough to be troublesome, but a person could probably wriggle through if slim enough.
Alasdair watches Em impatiently.
Em: Well, it thinks I’m her now. Should Alasdair make me tangible and hope some nerve toxin in the air doesn’t kill me or some other mishap occur, or should I try using my wielding to operate the terminal slowly?
Kassil: Nerve toxin would still be affecting you right now. :D
Em: Well it’s good to see we’re not in the worst of all possible worlds. o_O
Alasdair: ( Nope, just on the doorstep. So far. )
Kassil: Being Ethereal lets you go through objects and significantly increases your ability to ignore kinetic damage. Posions, energy, and so on will still impact you. :D
Ananda: Does that mean we can still use a touch-screen that depends on skin capacitance?
Ananda: (The character doesn’t know that, but the player wants to.)
Alasdair: ( Well, we’re using the card reader, so… )
Ananda just mimes tapping the screen to find out.
Em tries touching the screen to see if it operates
Kassil: Ananda feels a zap, but since you didn’t touch a defined area, the screen doesn’t change. Likewise for Em. both of your find your fingers phasing through the screen.
Kassil: Each vehicle’s location is marked by a blue box and a designation, ranging from AO-787 to AO-799.
Ananda brings up the tank.
Alasdair: Are the vehicles themselves tagged in any way?
Kassil: Not that you can tell at a glance.
Alasdair checks the nearest one for some identifying marker/placard.
Kassil: The tank is, apparently, AO-796, ‘Thanatos Tank’. Recovered in 2015 from a defunct military base in Mississippi. The record indicates that drivers of the tank quickly become paranoid lunatics, convinced that everyone is out to kill them, with the tank their only line of defense. It never seems to run out of ammunition or fuel while on a ‘defensive’ killing spree, and self-repairs even if completely wrecked and melted down.
Ananda looks from screen to tank, shrugs, and leaves these things to Em.
Em: Has a go trying to see if there any records of what’s happened in this room. Maintenance logs perhaps, security cam feed maybe, perhaps ties to an external system doing either?
Ananda examines the nearest cage for a lock or other release mechanism.
Alasdair takes out his P-Comm and fiddles with it.
Kassil: Em: This is just a recordkeeper system. The security all seems to be routed elsewhere.
Kassil: Ananda, you could make a defeat Security or Mechanical Technology check to see if you can find anything.
Em scans the vehicle info to see if there are any exceptional hazards or unusual attributes we imminently need to know about here
Em: Or that might be useful (like the tardis-tank).
Ananda shrugs and idly paces around the room.
Alasdair frowns at his P-Comm.
Kassil: The vehicles all seem relatively benign, as long as no one tries to actually use them. Their effects mostly seem to require a driver or pilot to have any notable effect, although the biplane seems to encourage risky behavior in people who are in prolonged contact with it.
Kassil: Not that this group would ever notice a difference.
Alasdair: ( We might induce risky behavior in IT at this point. )
Em notes “Try not go near the biplane folks, mere proximity seems to encourage recklessness.” (has no faith it won’t shift us farther down the curve rather being capped since we exceed it on the curve)
Ananda: (How would it ever tell?)
Kassil: Em’s P-comm chirps in the relative silence of the room.
Em checks her pcomm if any of these vehicles are recorded in our databases, anecdotally or reliably.
Alasdair: ( As the biplane inches away from Ananda. )
Em checks why its chirping.
Alasdair reflexively checks his P-Comm as well.
Ananda looks up at the sound.
Alasdair fiddles with his P-Comm.
Em works intently on her pcomm “Well well. Another ghost message from Circe. No subject, no body, just her ID.”
Em: It’s identical to the earlier one.
Ananda heads back to the group. “Anything trackable?”
Em: As far as I can tell anyway.
Alasdair: “Check yours, Ananda.”
Alasdair shivvers slightly.
Em tries to track it.
Ananda does so. Anything unusual?
Kassil: There’s nothing to track, Em.
Ananda fiddles with her P-Comm a bit.
Em: Was hoping there was some packet routing info or maybe like how with photos if you don’t erase it they have the GPS info if you took it with your phone.
Kassil: Nope. The message is there as if it spontaneously assembled on blank storage space on your phone.
Em: …If I were more fanciful I’d say it was as if Circe’s ghost was whispering into my ear, cyberspace wise.
Kassil: Ananda fiddles with her P-comm for a moment, and a low static hiss starts issuing out of it.
Alasdair raises an eyebrow at Ananda.
Em: As it is I’m merely vexed. Can I imagine any situation where someone would have access to a system and the only thing they could send would be a message like this?
Ananda winces at the sound. “Needs a lowpass filter.”
Em: Taking into account what I know of mystical theory perhaps?
Ananda: “..Hey, I didn’t install that.”
Ananda shows the screen to Em and indicates the new app.
Kassil: Em, you don’t really know. Maybe if someone was ineptly trying to manipulate a system but had never seen anyting like it before.
Em: …hrm. She might be trapped somewhere with very alien technology. Alas, that doesn’t tell us anything about why she has sent either time or where it might be from.
Em: This whole complex is unusual enough we could find Sufficient Advanced Magical or Sufficiently Advanced Technological mechanisms around any corner and not be unduly surprised.
Ananda: (Is it still hissing?)
Kassil: It is still hissing, yes.
Alasdair checks the signal strength on his P-Comm while slowly walking toward the door.
Ananda mutes it.
Em: What odd thing is on your system, Alasdair?
Kassil: The static dies off slowly after Ananda mutes it, rather than cutting off.
Ananda: "Both of us, then? Huh.
Ananda opens the ‘X’ app to see what it does, secure in having made an off-site backup before this trip.
Ananda: (And promptly finds herself at a Unix login.)
Kassil: Ananda’s P-comm shuts itself off.
Ananda: (And the difference would be..? ;) )
Kassil: (The fact that it looked a lot like your p-comm had a sudden case of cardiac arrest and crashed.)
Alasdair doesn’t seem to have heard Em.
Em walks up near Alasdair from the side so as not to surprise him possibly and repeats her question
Alasdair jumps and stuffs his P-Comm in his pocket. “Sorry, what?”
Em: We each seem to suddenly have unusual things happening with our pcomms. Seems like quite a coincidence. But I’m sure if we check hardware records later it will turn out to be true?
Em: What’s your surprise?
Ananda frowns and fiddles with her P-Comm.
Alasdair blinks and flicks a glance at Ananda. “It does seem unlikely that technology is susceptible to hallucinations, but I’m not sure how to trace the origins of these messages.”
Alasdair: “It seems Ananda got another one.”
Em: What’s your pcomm doing to absorb you, Ananda?
Alasdair: “You may want to go over and see where her messages are coming from.”
Em blinks at her system, behave.
Ananda: “I have the sneaking suspicion that I may’ve opened a virus, except that it doesn’t seem to have changed anything. Maybe the ’Comm crashed before it got to that step.”
Ananda offers her P-Comm to Em for inspection.
Em: Analyzes it diligently and cautiously.
Alasdair fiddles with his P-Comm once Em is busy with Ananda’s.
Ananda lets Em work and asks Alasdair, “What’ve you got?”
Kassil: Em, you can’t find anything odd about Ananda’s P-comm. Even the crash logs and error files insist that nothing happened.
Alasdair shrugs, “Not much.”
Ananda shrugs a shoulder, “Nor has anyone else.”
Em: Well, as far as I can tell on a first check, absolutely nothing happened except your pcomm abrutply decided to shut off.
Alasdair fiddles with his P-Comm.
Em: I could meditate on the data a bit, see if I can cudgel my brain for an approach to try differently in diagnostics
Ananda: “You’re the expert. Do what you think best.”
Ananda wanders back to the podium and inspects the VTOL Vespa.
Ananda: (Assuming it’s still logged in.)
Kassil: The VTOL Vespa is apparently anomalous in that it’s actually usable on the road, despite the fact that the modification should simply sending it screeching out of control into the nearest object in front of it.
Em takes a deep breath and tries to clear her thoughts.
Ananda rests her pack against the outside of the VTOL Vespa’s cage and tries to squeeze inside.
Alasdair surreptitiously motions Ananda over while Em’s enthralled.
Ananda fails to get herself through the bars. So much for having a small frame.
Ananda grabs her backpack and finds out what Alasdair wants.
Alasdair shoves his P-Comm in his pocket and muffles it as best he can before leaning in and whispering, his lips nearly touching Ananda’s ear, “Does the phrase ‘walk the night road’ mean anything to you?”
Ananda shakes her head, ensures that she’s facing away from Em to sign ‘Not off the top of my head. Why?’
Alasdair whispers, “I’m getting texts with that phrase showing up repeatedly. Beyond being creepy, I can’t place it.”
Ananda signs, ‘Sender?’
Alasdair shrugs slightly.
Ananda nods. ‘Other common themes?’
Kassil: There’s a faint rustling sound around Em and a puff of air drawing in towards her.
Ananda looks over her shoulder for a moment, deems it harmless.
Em is very focused and doesn’t really pay heed to the others as she puts her full attention into trying to puzzle out why Ananda’s pcomm shut down. Pcomms are not cats. They do not have sudden yearnings to nap in sunbeams.
Alasdair looks at Em, momentarily alarmed, before returning his attention to Ananda.
Alasdair signs, “Eternity, which make a certain sense.”
Ananda raises an eyebrow, ’I’ll take your word for it.’
Alasdair frowns and signs, “Vague connotation of death.”
Em shakes her head and looks up from her reverie at length "Ananda, I truly have no idea why your pcomm shut down. There is no sign of malware or other alterations that I can discern. "
Em hands it back to Ananda
Ananda absently replies, “Thanks for trying.” She makes no move to reclaim it.
Alasdair winces.
Ananda signs, ‘That does jog my memory a bit. “The road where night has always fallen”, for some sort of post-death or pre-afterlife.’
Em tries to see if there’s any record of theories or tests on the paramaters of the biplanes recklnessness induction effect.
Alasdair checks his P-Comm when Em busies herself.
Em pales a bit "Ah, folks. Just got a message, mostly blank. Except this time, instead of there being only the sender, there’s a single word: despair. Perhaps we should withdraw from this area for now?
Ananda looks over to Em, “Was there any sender?”
Em: No. Double checking if I missed anything this time, but somehow I doubt it….
Em takes a couple of deep breaths to calm herself before doing so.
Kassil: No clear source, but there is a network relay node listed as the path.
Em: Is the node in the base’s network or St. Mary’s ?
Kassil: Neither.
Em: (or whatever it is of theirs we connect to with our pcomms out here in the boondocks)
Em: What can I discern about the network this node belongs to?
Ananda whispers amusedly, as though to herself, “If there was a place for the engraving ‘abandon all hope, ye who enter here’, we passed it on the way in. It’s not like we needed a reminder.”
Em: Well…
Em licks her lips nervously "It’s not through a network I recognize. Neither the installation here, nor the one our pcomms use. It’s relay.oblivion.eternity
Em: I’d suggest we were being pranked by an emotionally disturbed teenager.
Em: Except I have better barrier software to keep those away.
Ananda: “Can you tell whether it has any connection to this Askashic Library network that ORACLE claims to draw from?”
Em blinks “Good idea,” and checks her logs of using ORACLE.
Kassil: The network logs on Em’s P-comm from ORACLE’s apparent use of it go to entirely mundane destinations, starting with the Swarm Hop at the Site entry and then off into St. Mary’s network.
Em shakes her head "No, ORACLE seems to channel through our network back at St. Mary’s. It is “Ask God” through a ninja angel apparently.
Em shakes her head and leans against the nearest leanable.
Kassil: Heh.
Kassil: So. What now?
Alasdair drums his fingers on the back of his P-Comm
Kassil: Alasdair’s P-comm remains inert through the drumming.
Ananda collects her P-Comm from Em.
Alasdair: “Perhaps ask ORACLE about the node we’re connected to.”
Em hands it to her, shaking her head
Em does a diagnostic on her pcomm. Can she estimate how many times she could ask ORACLE a single question from the system being totally back to normal operating temp before something blows up/out?
Kassil: If ORACLE pulls the way same way consistently, your P-comm will probably fry in about ten minutes.
Alasdair: “I could try to dump the heat if you’d like.”
Em: “Good idea. We’ll try it for one question, I’ll get some logging software going, can I borrow your pcomm Alasdair, to do remote logging on mine, in case something corrupts the logging on mine?”
Em: See how much the cooling helps, or if something prevents it from helping.
Em: Also, we should work out the best wording of the question to ask. Suggestions?
Alasdair clutches his P-Comm. “I’m sure yours will be fine.”
Ananda offers hers back, “Use mine instead.”
Em smiles to Ananda, “Thank you.”
Alasdair stuffs his P-Comm back into his pocket.
Ananda smiles faintly, “All mine did was reboot.”
Em gets the logging/diagnostic software set up and repeats "I’d think ‘what are the directions necessary for us to travel to where the network server for relay.oblivion.eternity is located?’
Kassil: (And hiss, change the background, and install a mystery app that vanished.)
Ananda: "I think we should start simple – ‘what is’ would be good to know, given the way things seem to work around here.
Alasdair: “Yes, ‘What is the node relay.oblivion.eternity?’”
Em: It seems to be somewhat literal though. Not entirely though. Should we elaborate or qualify the scope of the query?
Em: Just a little maybe?
Alasdair prepares to maintain Em’s P-Comm at room temperature for as long as possible.
Ananda: (In other words, briefly acting like it had a virus. Dismissed at the conscious level, if not others.)
Em: (Non techies just don’t see their computers the same way as techies. :) )
Em shrugs and takes it the answer is “no” and gets ORACLE running after getting the logging/diagnostics going on both pcomms, and asks the question “What is the node relay.oblivion.eternity” and then shuts ORACLE down immediately.
Ananda: (After waiting for an answer, I hope.)
Em: (well yes)
Em: (and logging it of course)
Kassil: There’s a pause of a couple seconds before ORACLE blinks with a response. “Network access denied. oblivion.eternity is not part of the Akashic Network.”
Alasdair checks his P-Comm.
Em: Checks the diagnostics. Did Alasdair’s cooling efforts help?
Kassil: The P-comm is a nice, comfortable temperature.
Em: So the diagnostics show no sign the pcomm’s closer to dying abruptly from the stress of using the ORACLE?
Ananda: “While we’ve got it up, we may as well ask ORACLE what its operating requirements are?”
Kassil: The P-comm was threatening to catch fire last time because the network module was operating a couple magnitudes beyond what it was designed to do.
Kassil: This time, the P-comm shows little twitches in the internal temperature, but they’re immeadiately forced back to baseline.
Em: Are there any other diagnostics which seem to twitch from normal in warning of stress on the system?
Kassil: Aside from “Holy shit, that’s a lot of data being downloaded!” not really.
Em activates ORACLE after making sure the logging stuff is still going and asks “What are the hardware and software requirements to safely operate ORACLE on a platform?”
Em: (and shuts it down again after it answers)
Alasdair: ( Don’t worry about shutting it down until and unless heat becomes an issue. Or there’s some other warning. )
Em: (Just wanted to do it one last time like that to make sure there wasn’t some hidden parameter that might make it blow up)
Em: (before doign protracted usage again)
Alasdair: ( Okee )
Kassil: “ORACLE operates according to available hardware and software. Further details are restricted to approved superusers of ORACLE.”
Alasdair: ( Huh. Pity none of us is an AI, then. ;) )
Ananda: (When we find Circe, we can install it on her.)
Em: (Are we sure we want to do that before she gets a full diagnostic/exorcism?)
Ananda: (No. :D )
Alasdair: ( She’s probably a shiny cube somewhere, at this point. Or perhaps the machine in the ghost. )
Ananda: (Install it on Archive, rename zir Sybyl.)
Kassil: I’ll close it out here with 165 CDP for everyone.

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Kassil Kassil

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