Ca1yps0 and the Jabberwock

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Ca1yps0 and the Jabberwock
Date2082-02-12
Location
The Foundation of the Matrix
Status Threat Level: High
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven The Dissonance
Ca1yps0
Master Morty
Oathbane
Sp4rks
Faulty
This was a submersion run.


Summary

In which Ca1yps0 recruits allies to venture Through the Looking Glass in search of her errant fault sprite which has succumbed to the Dissonance.

Background

In A Cornered Animal Fights the Hardest, Ca1yps0 compiled a fault sprite which glitched out and subsequently went free instead of returning to the Resonance Realms; infected with her Taint of Dissonance, it proceeded to start correcting hosts, immediately entering the Foundation of one and proceeding to destroy it from within before disappearing onto the grids. A day or two later, more hosts started disappearing, and she realized that something had to be done about the situation before it's too late.

The Meet

Ca1yps0 calls up the three matrix professionals she knows who are aware that she is a techno - Master Morty, Oathbane, and Sp4rks - briefly (panickedly) explaining the situation and asking them to meet with her at E-Wasted, the matrix bar on the ShadowHaven host. Upon rezzing in, she does her best to obliquely explain things to the other runners without mentioning her past as a dissonant otaku, trying to convey to them the gravity of the situation and her desire to save the sprite from falling to the Dissonance. The others are a bit intimidated by the prospect, but all ultimately agree to help for the sake of the integrity of the matrix.

The Plan

Getting news that another host has disappeared from the public grid, the team split up and start chasing down data trails. Morty manages to locate one leading into an old S-K host, and the team converge on his position and head inside; after making their way into a nested host, they arrive just in time to see the sprite (now visibly corrupted with the Dissonance) battling with an S-K demiGOD before vanishing into the Foundation portal. Master Morty and Sp4rks get spike-happy, eager to test their skills against a demiGOD in proper cybercombat, but before they can get themselves bricked Ca1yps0 and Oathbane teamwork a puppeteer to get the demiGOD to jack himself out. Working together to locate and mark the portal, the team give Oathbane the 5 second Foundation primer (not having expected to have to take a deep dive unprepared) and get ready to synchronize their jump just as a second demiGOD arrives on the scene and they head inside.

The Run

Appearing within the Foundation, the team find themselves in an strange world based on Jabberwocky, the nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll. It takes them a little while to get oriented and figure out what everything means, puzzling things out among the brillig and the slithy toves. Ca1yps0 recalls similar imagery used by her old tribe and manages to remember the poem, making a bit of sense out of the scene and letting them realize that they are in the first stanza of the poem, subsequently interacting with the node and slowly working out how to move along the data trails by performing the actions described in the text (esoteric though they are). Managing to gyre and gimble in the wabe, they make their way from one scene to the next and slowly puzzle out where they are and what's going on while managing to act within the odd paradigm they've found themselves.

Making their way around the nodes as they follow the data trails between stanzas, the team wander between scenes attempting to map out the relation of the nodes to eachother and locate the master control (which they are sure their quarry is seeking). At first they believe that the sprite will take the form of the Jabberwock, however they pass by the scene of it's death by vorpal sword and end up at the end of the poem to find a man and his son with seemingly no monster in sight. They spend some time in the security node (and accidentally launch the IC on the remaining demiGOD in the host) before managing to find their way out and to the master control where they find the same man dead on the ground and the fault sprite waiting for them.

What follows is an extended back-and-forth between the runners and the fault sprite as they try to convince it to stop what it's doing and thus hopefully avoid succumbing to the Taint of Dissonance. In the process it reveals its origins and motivations, as well as some hints of Ca1yps0's past to the others, as it tries to explain its actions and convince them to come over to its way of thinking. Each replies with their own point of view: Oathbane speaks with passion about the Resonance and the World Tree as well as her own battle against the Dissonance during her recent submersion; Sp4rks appeals to the infinite potential and majesty of the matrix as a canvas for metahuman creativity and a force for change in the world; Morty talks of the sprite's raw power and the great things that it could do, and how it shouldn't waste this potential on pointless destruction; Ca1yps0 talks about the mistakes of the past, how the Crash lead to so much death and suffering and the creation of the wireless matrix (as well as the Foundation itself), and how it needs to stop and find another path before it becomes lost like she was. The sprite counters with arguments of its own, saying that it must tear down the corrupted grids and that the Dissonance is the only source of truth left, but in the end it is swayed by the runner's words - a major variance triggers in which it nearly ends up cast into a fire, however Ca1yps0 grabs its hand as the team calms the beast.

Aftermath

Catching their breath, the runners notice that the sprite is slowly returning to normal, losing its dissonant features and becoming more friendly and comprehensible in the process. It leads them back to the forest in which they originally found themselves, however none of them have any clue how to get to the portal node now; thankfully help comes in the form of a rather frumious bandersnatch who speaks to them with psychic sign language and asks what they're doing there. Ca1yps0 feeds Mr. Bandersnatch (who turns out to be the host sculptor) a lie about being concerned do-gooders who entered the host trying to help and found a seeding by Null Sect which they excised. Mr. Bandersnatch is far too interested in what the Null Sect is for his own good, and is suspicious after Ca1yps0 mentions that they didn't find the archive node or make any copies of files, however he is placated when the team tell him to make something up to his bosses and take credit for solving the problem on his own. With that, he leads them to the portal node and assists them with exiting the Foundation.

Once they're back on the grids, the team talk with the fault sprite ("Faulty"), who apologizes for his misguided ways and pledges to return to the Resonance Realms to fight the encroaching Dissonance in order to atone for his sins. The team ask him not to go, saying that it's too dangerous and there is more to learn topside on the matrix before returning, but Faulty is adamant that his place is down there with his fellow sprites, at least for the moment - he says that he'll return one day, and the others promise in turn to come for him if he needs their assistance. With that, everyone parts ways with Ca1yps0's sincere thanks for their help.

Rewards

Ca1yps0:

  • SG3 submersion task
  • 6 karma
  • Faulty - C1/L6 Free Sprite
  • Avoids Decaying Dissonance, may chose to buy off Taint of Dissonance at chargen price

Everyone Else:

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Ca1yps0

Wow... just... wow... I just... I'm still not sure what to make of all that. A free sprite, succumbing to Dissonance, and all because of me... that little guy thought of me as his mom, and he just wanted to do what he thought would make me proud. Frag... I don't know what would have happened if we couldn't convince it to stop, I think that he might have dragged me down with him. Thankfully the others were around to help, because I just froze up when it started talking about the past - I guess I've still got a lot of demons to face. Good thing they didn't ask too many questions in the moment, but I'm going to have some awkward explaining to do.

I just hope Faulty, as he's calling himself now, is okay - I haven't taken a deep dive into the Resonance Realms in years, but what I've heard isn't good. The pools just keep growing and the taint keeps spreading - I don't know how much longer this can all last. I'm going to have to go back soon though, I can feel it. Suppose that it's time to prepare for whatever lays ahead - at least I've got people to watch my back.

Master Morty

"Went chasing a sprite that had gone dissonant, through some kind of shenanigans courtesy of C41yps0, looking to talk it down, if not kill it outright. Violence was to be the last resort, but me and Sp4rks were prepared nonetheless. Then we ran into GOD... The demi version at least. The deckers were hot and heavy to throw down with this threat, and we could have done it, given a bit of luck and some hefty support from the others. But the boss said run, so we ran and boy am I sure that was the wrong idea because we ended up in another crazy ass foundation where the rules aren't. Anyways, after a whole lot of I don't understand what's going on here, we manage to find the sprite and talk it down. Met an A.I. as well which is pretty neat. Now I got someone to talk to about what it's like living the dream, not that they ever had to suffer meat space. Anyways, Faulty gets to live, and I got another lead towards achieving my dream, so I guess all's well that end's well."


Oathbane

"With loud attitude of gruesome gall,

2 crones wore false icons

danced a devils dance

hamlet south of Public grid

Their persona filling the woods so tall"

"Whimsy go whimsy be we are here every day Four we see madness upfront enjoy the experience of a mind so loss and we got to experience the meeting of two new friends .a lovely's AI an faulty the great a mighty mighty Sprite of all these of rather fast rather fast occasion of all things.so bright challenges of the matrix, everythings in between in in but Wicks "