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  #106  
Old Apr 7th, 2015, 11:32 PM
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Dark_Space was a little leery about giving her actual details, but if anyone was unlikely to abuse or leak the information, this was the group. Or so she hoped, at least. "I'll be there. Shadow!" The program freezes mid-animation, arm raised as if it were starting to reach out to the bird in front of it, then sinks into the ground, becoming a dark pool on the floor. It then slides over to Dark_Space, settling under her before extending outwards away from the aggregate light source, reforming into her avatar's shadow. After waiting a moment to make sure Shadow's return trip was marked as completed (never unplug mid-transfer!) she gives a farewell nod to any others who hadn't yet logged out, and does so herself.

Back in meatspace, Sunny pulls off all the various bits required for the Immersion Rig to work and works the kinks out of her body. It was by far not her longest trip, but it was certainly up there for the most... interesting. Back to the good old keyboard and mouse, she briefly remotes in to Shadow's server to make sure it was ok, ignoring the lingering damage of course, and to refresh its resources. As long as nothing else blew up in the meantime, she'd have plenty of time to get Shadow back up to form... heck, she might even be able to put the last few touches on the program and protocol she was working on. In the meantime though, she needed to get her resume together. Despite her earlier comment, this was honestly one of the most appealing job offers she had gotten, even trumping the one from Darknet that had put her into that mess in the first place. It was going to be a fairly long night...

--------------------

Sunny power-walks into the office a scant minute before 1 PM, breathing a bit heavily but otherwise no worse for wear. She had somehow managed to convince everyone from her parents to her guidance counselor that she had gotten a job offer (technically true) from a highly reputable group (true, she hoped) through official means (not so true, but close enough) and that the interview was that short notice (quasi-true). To be honest, she was kind of more surprised that none of them argued that she should be going to college first, but she wasn't going to start that argument herself. Unfortunately, her parents insisted she wear a dress rather than a (nice!) shirt and pants, though she at least managed to talk them out of heels. A doubly fortunate thing, since she had ended up running a bit late.

She took the half-moment to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be, including her briefcase (another instance by her parents), before the PA called them all in. She was very obviously the youngest in the room by a few years, as well as the only female, but that didn't bother her as much as it might others. "I'm Sunny, alias Dark_Space. Nice to meet you all... again, I guess." Arriving almost-late as she did, she didn't have time to really get a good look at the others - time for that later, she supposed.
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  #107  
Old Apr 8th, 2015, 01:15 AM
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The elevator door opens, and takes you up to the third floor(out of five). Inside is... is...!

The same room you saw from last night, but in meatspace. Rendering was not very imaginative on this one. Still, it's got some new features, such as a stairwell leading upwards, several fancy pants computers, and a water cooler. Cyberspace doesn't need water coolers, you see. The lights flicker dramatically, as the image of the bunny avatar comes over the wallscreen. "Muahaha! Enter freely, and of your own will!"

You hear the futile flicking of a lightswitch as someone on the other side of the room tries to turn them back on. "Aster, quit it. They're not here to play with you."
"Not yet. Soon... soon!"
"Ivans! Please cut him out of the main loop."
>>Well, we were testing intrusion mechanisms, so him breaking in is part of the-
"Until we're done. Now."
>>Umm... yes sir.
"You are zero funs. Not even half a fun. *phhhhbt*" The lights come back on, and the bunny icon disappears from the wall.

Standing at the other end of the room is a 30-something brunette. Slightly pudgy, but with an air of dignity. She doesn't need to be babysitting the urchins, that's for lesser employees. "Glad you all made it. As you can see, we're... sharing office space with a CDU research team, but when you have to pay for the whole building, you fill what you can."

"If you have any terrible worries or concerns, get them off your chest now, before we go sign paperwork and make those worries legally binding." Not... paperwork! Egads. You're doomed.
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A satyr rises in the morning, and hangs the coffee mug on his horns, so that he won't lose it.
The coffee is done, but the mug isn't in its usual spot. Where did it go? He forgot.

Last edited by Fragmaster01; Apr 8th, 2015 at 02:02 PM.
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  #108  
Old Apr 8th, 2015, 11:39 PM
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"Who's controlling the Bunny?" Matt looks around the office to see who is wired in. "Or is it like, some sort of mascot or something?"

It's an insensitive question, and there probably more important ones to ask at this juncture. But it's the small things that tend to get to him.
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Last edited by JonnyGulliver; Apr 8th, 2015 at 11:39 PM.
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  #109  
Old Apr 9th, 2015, 12:53 AM
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"That's Aster, the son of one of the research doctors. He's a Cyber Savant, a rather high grade one too, so they keep him around and run tests and such. Of course, they run tests on Our Network, which means things like that happen. You learn to ignore him."
Infodump!When strapping your senses into a cybernetic world, the mind has varying levels of acclimation to it. A Cyber Savant is a qualification for someone with exceptional ability to block out the real world and treat the cybernetic one as if it were their natural body. With the aid of empathic AIs, they can literally shape the code around them by thinking about doing it, rather than writing programs like plebeians. It is not strictly legal to use them as test subjects without their consent, though you imagine the dad has him do this as an 'after-school activity' or some other weasel term.

A Luddite is the reverse, someone who is so engendered to their natural body that they tend to have health issues if they try to be in cyberspace, up to and including shock, dissociation, and organ failure.
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A satyr rises in the morning, and hangs the coffee mug on his horns, so that he won't lose it.
The coffee is done, but the mug isn't in its usual spot. Where did it go? He forgot.
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  #110  
Old Apr 9th, 2015, 09:23 AM
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"Really?!? He's gone full savant?" he finds himself greatly impressed. "I mean, I can do some mean Net-Shaping myself, but I still feel backlash to a large degree. Less so since I got more streamlined PsiWare, but still. I'm not Talented as THAT."

He looks at the long lineup of legal papers and forms all obsesively-compulsively organized upon the desk and detects the faintest of smiles upon Marco's face as his handiwork is gazed upon. A furrow of concern crosses Matt's brow as he stares that the little Litigator, with a shake of his head.

"In good faith, I'm signing these non-disclosure forms so you can trust what is said will be kept private." Indeed, he grabs one form from the pile labeled Shut-Your-Piehole-Clauses, "But before I agree to anything binding, I think we ought to know what you're proposing."

He signs on the dotted line, handing other forms to his peers. "I respect that is seems you know how to cover your legal bases, (*small giggle from Marco*) but I detect a hint of... Atypical Freelancing?"

"Are you a sub-division of CDU, or a completely separate entity?"
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Last edited by JonnyGulliver; Apr 9th, 2015 at 09:36 AM.
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  #111  
Old Apr 9th, 2015, 07:13 PM
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"Well, born Savant. That was some previous research the main office did, turns out that all those fancy 'training' courses you see online can really only get your sync rate 5% from baseline at best, and generally only 1-2%. It's more meant for people who have a hard time to begin with." You're not entirely familiar with the statistics basis behind it, but a Savant qualifies as someone having a 99% sync rate or better, with the average being somewhere around 60-62%. Standard deviation math makes your head hurt, and you never liked it. Probably because the teacher was fat and uninterested in yet another class of high school miscreants. The one you do remember was that anything below 10% is where the body starts freaking out miserably, asking "where's my heart?! this cyberspace doesn't have a heart!", and that's no good.

You suppose that's the main work of the research, if training can only do so much. Less on making more Savants, and more on making less Luddites. "I think they're more interested in Aster because he's at least socially well adjusted. As much as any 10 year old kid can be. Most Savants are kinda loopy, which means you have to work around their eccentricities to figure out why they work. The fact his dad works here is a plus."

Matt: "Our investigation team works under contract. CDU learned long ago that if you want effective hackers and agents, you need to hire in a way that doesn't force them to dress up in fancy suits and sit in a cubicle. Some do, mind you, but those tend to be military sorts. Generally, you get a team setup like ours, where Marcos is the suit liason, and I work the assignments. It's a little different in here-here, because of the office space. The lab team up there is CDU proper, their research division. They answer to a military guy, etc. Still, it makes for easy access to CDU software and lab projects, so we don't complain. Having an actual building is nice too. You just have to deal with the urchin, and the occasional deranged lab sort." She takes down a note, which you notice is about >>Coffee maker was actually exploded. Must assign blame and public shaming. How you make a coffee maker explode is beyond you, and probably her too.

She starts passing out paperwork. Lesse... general NDA, authorization to work, swearing you're not severely depressed(or if you are, don't tell us), legal definition papers... "The highlighted bits are to sign. Read it if you want, but there won't be a test. Any other questions?"
OOCNot all Savants are Oracles, but all Oracles are Savants. Being crazy is a feature!
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EDIT: My brain is fight. Awkward MRIs don't help. Expect delays.
A satyr rises in the morning, and hangs the coffee mug on his horns, so that he won't lose it.
The coffee is done, but the mug isn't in its usual spot. Where did it go? He forgot.

Last edited by Fragmaster01; Apr 9th, 2015 at 07:17 PM.
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  #112  
Old Apr 9th, 2015, 07:46 PM
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Picking up one of the forms, Douglas begins to simply read it. While Matthew and Josh looked like they have seen a few of these kinds of contracts before, he had not and wanted to know what it was he was getting into. As he is reading the first paper he takes, he listens as everything is half over his head except for the math part having just taken statistics the previous semester. "I can name a handful of classmates that sound like that, but that might just be programmers in general," he replies as the rest of the forms are being handed out. He wants to start taking pictures of them so he could read them later, but he remembered that the one thing you never do is take out your cellphone during an interview.

There was one question that he had, realizing that normally he would be sitting down for his discrete math class, and glancing at Sunny being the youngest he could tell that she was thinking the same thing. "While this is an amazing opportunity and I know I have the skills to succeed, to what degree would this be able to work around our classes?" indicating both him and Sunny.

Last edited by goplayer7; Apr 9th, 2015 at 07:47 PM.
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  #113  
Old Apr 9th, 2015, 08:10 PM
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"No going in without a full team ready. That means you wouldn't be working on a regular 9-5 anyway. Besides, the opportunity to do a good bit of work from home is helpful, yes?"
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A satyr rises in the morning, and hangs the coffee mug on his horns, so that he won't lose it.
The coffee is done, but the mug isn't in its usual spot. Where did it go? He forgot.
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  #114  
Old Apr 10th, 2015, 11:07 AM
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Josh glanced down, and saw that his idle hands had worked some mischief, and now held their own identical version of the forms that the others had looked at. He tried reading the words, but they seemed to jump and dance in gleeful arcs and curves, curling in on each other. They seemed to gather on the side of one page, and expel others, raining them against the edge of the page and falling to the floor in Is and Ts. The Is and Ts felt as though they had had enough of the exodus, and jumped back onto the page, and began to war with the rest of the letters, tearing through and leaving black stains and splotches that left tiny rents in in spacetime through which tiny multicolored worms pulsed and shown as they slowly rose from the page.

The words flying through the air suddenly jogged him out of the reverie. He glanced down, and saw that everything was back to normal, and was almost able to repress a small shudder, though the barely perceptible shake of his hands got in the way. He wasn't safe here. It wasn't comfortable. He desperately wanted to get back to the safety of his own home, plug into cyberspace, and feel his mind melt at the succession of images. Meatspace was dirty and deadly and ... and ... almost wrong. He could feel something deep inside his chest seize up a little as his anxiety began to mount, but he was somehow able to force calm on himself.

Taking the attached pen, he scribbled his name on the helpfully dotted line, and even more helpful neon signs that blazed, "SIGN HERE!" with multiple arrows pointing to the space. They weren't there. He was sure of it. They were just... figments. Or something. But they seemed so real. He could barely make out a small figure beginning to scale the smallest of the signs, one hand at a time against a steep slope, after which he loose fingers released the clipboard which clattered to the floor. He quickly bent over to pick it up before proferring it back to the boss-lady. "Here you are, Miss... Umm, sorry, what's your name?" he asked confusedly, his other hand rising up to his neck and scratching at an unseen itch before falling limply once more to his side.

Last edited by Ghostwheel; Apr 10th, 2015 at 11:08 AM.
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  #115  
Old Apr 11th, 2015, 11:43 PM
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"So, if we're available when something needs doing, right? Why do I get the feeling we're not the only ones you've 'recruited' like this?" Sunny's tone is inquisitive rather than accusatory, and the fact that she's looking over the contracts as she says this should only reinforce the idea that this is an observation. Or at least, she hopes so anyway.

She also spared a glance or two over at Josh. The other two of her new companions seemed rather straightforward, but she could tell Josh was... not very comfortable. It could be nerves, or some sort of shyness, but she also remembered the though she had had previously, that he might actually have some sort of mental instability. If that was the case, she wasn't really sure that this was the best idea for him... Not that she was going to bring it up now, of course. While his issues probably needed to come out eventually, whatever it was, he needed to be the one to say it. She had aired peoples' secrets enough times to know forcing it out would not end well. And that was assuming her suspicions were even correct, which she had no concrete evidence to support anyway.

In any event, she didn't see anything particularly objectionable in the contracts, so she signed her name and handed the pages back.
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  #116  
Old Apr 12th, 2015, 12:17 AM
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Ness: "Callen. Sarah Callen."

Sunny: "Because it's standard CDU procedure. Then you get thrown on an assignment with none of your previous workers, and... yeah. They're great." She swipes up the paperwork, and unceremoniously dumps it in a plastic box for later sorting. She's not the one who has to sort it, so ha. "Now that we have that out of the way, let's be more forthcoming about things, shall we?"

"Our primary problem is twofold. We were assigned to deal with the recent virus attacks on the city's public and private servers. The attacks were malicious, but with little organization or direction. Didn't know where they wanted to hit, or what motivation was behind it other than general chaos. We didn't make much progress until a nice little gift came our way, when one of the outbreaks happened on a server we were on, allowing us to trace it back before the connection could be severed."

She wheels a chair over to one of the computer terminals. "A quick hop online, if you would. You'll need to see this for it to make a good deal of sense." Alright fine. You... guess you can touch these... plebeian computers. Ugg. Why don't they give CDU good ones... oh yeah. The lab upstairs probably took them all with the Real Funding. You'll have to fix that.

-------------
Goggles == on;
Englovenate(1.2.1Beta(package fBack, package sStim);
Load.audio(ears(2), interface(meatbag));
account >> *******
password >> ********

Wiggling dongles...
Fortifying adjudicators...
Percolating guinea pigs...

--------------

You follow the tunnel code she gives you, but you're just back in the office you're in right now. Well, reasonably so. It didn't have the computers and such on the server last night, though. A look at the status bar suggests that you are in xx.LOCATION UNKNOWN. "Ignore that. None of your rigs have been upgraded to give location in here, so public trackers won't get you far. As far as they're concerned, you're 'offline', just like last time. Come on up to the roof, get a good view."

She leaves up the stairs. Those who follow her are treated to a most wondrous sight. It's your town! But that's... mildly insane. It takes a lot of work to make a cyber-area the size you fought the bugs in, and this is... you'd do the math, but it's square miles versus square feet. The difference is astronomical. Not to mention you were IN a building earlier, and it replicated the stuff that was in there reasonably closely. Not quite the same positions, but everything that was supposed to be there was.

You are looking at a cybernetic replica of your entire 2.5 million person city.

Not entirely the same, you ponder. The sky is full of green ****(as is wont in cyberspace), the little electrical lines making flittering tron outlines of things are all there to remind you that you're online, and... that is a giant dragon in the background. Well, most likely a program written AS a dragon, given that this is cyberspace, but that's not something you usually correlate with the downtown skyline.

"See why we wanted a little more help with the situation?"
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EDIT: My brain is fight. Awkward MRIs don't help. Expect delays.
A satyr rises in the morning, and hangs the coffee mug on his horns, so that he won't lose it.
The coffee is done, but the mug isn't in its usual spot. Where did it go? He forgot.

Last edited by Fragmaster01; Apr 12th, 2015 at 01:40 AM.
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  #117  
Old Apr 12th, 2015, 01:19 AM
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"I think I can see my dorm from here," Damos quips, "This does look like a problem... Is it even possible to have a, ummm, several servers store this amount of memory?" He pauses as the others ask their questions and as answers are given looking outwards and tries to think more about what might be happening. They were brought here after working with an outbreak afterall.

One of his firsts thoughts was, "If I came here from my dorm room, would I enter this place there? And do they know about the porn stash in the bottom drawer of my dresser?" Though for obvious reasons he does not say this outloud. After a bit he adds on. "Have there been any incidents here, or beyond the dragon is it a ghost town? If the connection sent you here there can't be nothing happening... even if it is only being used as the equivalent of one of a series of proxies."

Last edited by goplayer7; Apr 12th, 2015 at 01:20 AM.
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  #118  
Old Apr 14th, 2015, 02:00 PM
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The fuzz of the occasional static line flashing across his sight; the emerald scars stretched across a blemished sky; the faint glow of power lines cutting throughout the expanse before him. Josh released as sigh that he had not known he held, the breath leaving him with much of the stress within. The voice faded a by the breadth of a hair, but it was a start, and he could still feel their tension descending slowly as he took in their surroundings slowly. He was once more on familiar ground, even if it were not exactly at home. That still left a jittery feeling across his nerves, but it was much better in here than out... there.

With sudden realization, it occurred to him precisely where they were, and perhaps even what this place before them meant. "What... what is this place...?" he asked in an almost reverent tone as he gazed across the city from the roof. How many zettabytes of information had to be maintained for this entire place to exist...? "And..." he asked, his voice still hushed in wonder, "What exactly is it that you want us to do...?"

Overhead a raven appeared, cawing morosely in the light despite the fact that they yet to initialize any programs. It wheeled about in the air a few times before settling on a nearby fence. I gave the entire group a disdainful glare that it held for a few seconds as though to make some sort of point before beginning to preen its feathers, putting digital plumage back into place all the while keeping a single eye on them. Suddenly, it too seemed to realize where it was, and its eyes looked frantically about, trying to comprehend the existence of this place. "Where are we...?" Aurea asked, the feminine voice tinged with wariness mixed with curiosity.
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  #119  
Old Apr 14th, 2015, 06:45 PM
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There is an unaccounted for delay for Matt's avatar to show up, for all of CDU's computing power.

>>>ERROR: Must await 25 more seconds after Logoff...
>>>ERROR: Must await 13 more seconds after Logoff...
>>>ERROR: Must await 3 more seconds after Logoff...
>>>WAITING TO CLEAR CACHE
>>>CACHE CLEARED
>>>C0De W4RDeN Rerouting...
>>>ERROR: Cannot Load Personal Settings...
>>>C0De W4RDeN has logged on...


Finally W4RDeN flickers into existence, albeit with a new customized look. Apparently, this version was forgone the mystical robes and donned a pimpin' sexy tux. He is suave, smells of burbon, and is currently packing a pistol and a hand full of cards. Confused at his attire, he looks at what he's holding.

"A Royal Flush?!? No way..."!

"AAAAAAaaAAaAaGgH!" comes the dejected wail of his trusty minion. "We were SO CLOSE..."

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Matt takes a moment to regard what's in his other hand before he throws the pistol away like it has got a contagious flesh eating disease.

"Close?!? Whaddaya mean we were close?"


There is a dead silence once that is heavy in the air before the Virus fomulates his response.

"I mean, before all this, Boss. You and I, we were a Team. Now that these new guys have entered the equation, you've been distant. I'm worried... about our Relationship...," his voice modulator drops to a desperate plea. "Can't you SEE they're tearing us APART?"

Is there a word for being incredibly suspicious, but you dare not ask any questions because you fear the answer in part, and the other part is that you don't want to embarrass yourself in front others by losing control and destroying the very thing you created?

If not, then Matt creates one: Snistructious. Matt feels very Snistructious. But for now, he can only mentally glare at Xero until the creature simply hides behind Ness for safety.

He has to do a manual over-ride to change back into a skin he feels comfortable with. He would brood about it all day of he could, but really, given what he is looking at all around him, his mindfog seems to lift due to sheer wonder.

"How?" he asks Sarah, barely finding the words. "How have you DONE this?"
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Last edited by JonnyGulliver; Apr 14th, 2015 at 09:22 PM.
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  #120  
Old Apr 15th, 2015, 12:22 AM
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At first, all Dark_Space can do is let out a long, slow whistle. To say that she was stunned would be a colossal understatement. Dumbfounded would probably be much more accurate. As Damos said as a reaction, the computing capacity just to store this much data boggled the mind, to say nothing of actually running it without buckling under the load. Unless someone had secretly made a major - no, colossal breakthrough in computing this technology, this should just flat out not be possible.

It could all be a trick, she supposed, some pre-rendered magic just to entice people in to joining... but the order of what happened just didn't add up. Whatever had happened back in that chatroom, and whatever this place was, they were real. It didn't make sense otherwise. Which just lead to the same question the others had already asked in their own way: "This is where they originated from, isn't it? Whatever those things were that attacked the chatroom - no, took over the chatroom... This is their world."
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