Snake! Kernel! Panic!

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Snake! Kernel! Panic!
Date2082-05-11
Location
Resonance Realms
Status Threat Level: Medium
Factions Involved
ShadowHaven
Cecelia Cross
Cross Applied Technologies
Gianelli Family
Vip3r Bl4ckM4mb4
Casualties and losses
Bl4ckM4mb4, Three Registered Sprites
Vip3r's fourth submersion.


Summary

Cecelia Cross sends Vip3r after a file in the Resonance Realms, but she isn't the only interested party.

The Meet

Cecelia calls Vip3r to E-Vue with the offer of a job. She arrives to a strange scene: there's no line outside the club for once, and it appears to be closed. Confused, she calls Cecelia to ask what's going on, and she assures Vip3r that it's okay to come in; she's doing some maintenance on the host. Upon entering, she finds Cecelia supervising a number of other technomancers who are working in AR with the assistance of various sprites, and when she stands next to her to watch them, she informs her that these are some of the recently-awakened Otaku who have been under Cross's care.

Cecelia then invites Vip3r into her office, where she shares a bottle of high-end white wine with her and tells her about the task she has for her. She first asks Vip3r if she's familiar with the Endless Archive--which she is, having visited on a previous submersion--and then tells her that she's been approached by the Eighty-Eights Triad with a request to find a pre-crash membership list that includes members' family names, history, and locations. Given Vip3r's experience with and knowledge of the Triad, Cecelia decided to outsource the task to her. Vip3r finds the request strange, since the Eighty-Eights have an unusually high population of technomancers in their ranks, and asks if Cecelia knows why they were approaching her for it rather than handling the matter themselves. She reveals that the Triad has actually approached her about recruiting from among the former Otaku. Additionally, they've mentioned that the Gianelli Family has been poking into their business, and that time may be of the essence as they seem to be interested in the same document Vip3r is being sent to retrieve so that they can use it to target their members and begin retaking territory in Tacoma.

Vip3r agrees to the task, but before undertaking her mission, she asks Cecelia if she can propose a mutually beneficial agreement to her. Vip3r knows about two MCT corporate citizens who are assigned to highly secretive projects--likely against their wishes--who need to be extracted, and will need somewhere to go after that where they will be well-protected. Their knowledge and ability will serve Cross's pro-virtuakinetic interests well, and will likely help to expand their influence. Cecelia agrees, and assures her that "if there's one thing Cross is good at, it's protecting what we care about." Satisfied with her response, Vip3r prepares to submerge.

Cecelia directs her to E-Vue's basement, where medical staff observe a few other technomancers in Valkyrie modules and sensory deprivation tanks. Vip3r messages

The Endless Archive

Though the Archive is familiar to Vip3r, she's no less awestruck by it than when she first arrived. She spends a moment taking it all in before starting her search; as with the last time, she can't seem to find any discernable pattern in the method of organization there, so she goes to ask one of the sprites for assistance. It introduces itself as Kazaa, and enthusiastically agrees to help her find the document that she describes.

Whether the trek through the vast, winding halls of the Archive takes minutes or days is difficult for Vip3r to tell, but Kazaa eventually finds a trid file that it shows to Vip3r. It cycles through trid footage of a few Eighty-Eights members and events, lingering a few moments on one of David Yang's Matrix game streams, before suddenly dashing off to another part of the library. Viper races after it, and it finally stops, declaring that it's found where the file she seeks is kept. There's a problem, however; that particular file is missing, and a few related ones nearby have been vandalized with a mark that looks like a snake, of all things, and very differentde. from her own. The sprite offers to let her take these files if she offers information in return, and she gives the sprite a brief lesson in the Triad codes and hand gestures she knows. Delighted with the trade, it hands over the files, and Vip3r uses the resonance signature to track the other technomancer out of the Archive and into another Realm.

Kernel Panic

The data trail left by the other technomancer leads to Kernel Panic, a realm of Resonant chaos that overwhelms the senses. Vip3r finds it beautiful despite its discordance, and once she adjusts to its strangeness it doesn't take her long to find her mark: a technoshaman called Bl4ckM4mb4, with a towering snake persona accompanied by a trio of snake sprites. The file she wants is open in front of him.

As he reads through it, Vip3r takes advantage of his distraction and the realm's chaos to fire off a forked data spike at two of the three sprites, severely weakening one and blasting the other apart. But rather than launching an outright attack against him, she explains that she's here for the file he took from the Archive and demands that he hand it over. M4mb4 refuses, insisting that when he brings it back to the Gianelli family, they will grant him a position of power that he can use to advance himself and other technomancers. Vip3r asks him why he's chosen to tie himself to the Gianellis, and tells him that is he really wants to become powerful, there are other ways to do it that don't put him in opposition to her; the Eighty-Eights revere technomancers and could elevate him more than the Gianellis could, and if he cooperates with her then she can help him achieve what he wants. When he stubbornly refuses, she threatens to take it by force, but extends one final offer of peace--which he again turns down.

The two serpents clash. Vip3r moves faster than M4mb4, splitting another data spike between him and his cobra-like fault sprite and then immediately hitting him with a blast of hyperthreaded complex forms. She puppeteers him to hand over the file, and then to crack its encryption for her. There's a look of panic on his face as he triggers the R5 databomb that he armed it with, and his persona derezzes as it kills him.

Aftermath

Her work in the Resonance Realms done, Vip3r finds her way out. When she reawakens in the Valkyrie module, she checks her AR display to find that only eight hours have passed and Cecelia is still there. She gives Cecelia the file, and she congratulates Vip3r on a job well done, flirting with her and offering her "any position with Cross that she desires." Vip3r is taken aback by the offer, but promises to consider it.

Rewards

Brilliant Heuristics - 5 RVP
Unique Avatar - 5 RVP
+1 Chip on Cecelia Cross
Submersion Discount!
6 Karma
2 CDP

Game Quotes

Player After Action Reports (AARs)

Vip3r

Not long after I first submerged, Betz taught me a trick on how to easily bootleg programs with my new ability. If you wire a program carrier into a datachip, you can load it up with whatever you want and access it at will as long as you're able to touch it, so I made a bunch of them and stitched them all into the inside of a wristband that I wear. It's kinda kludgey and inelegant, but the tags can't be easily spotted on the Matrix and seem pretty useless to anyone who can't do what we do.

One of the programs that I bought and loaded up at her suggestion was Biofeedback. I kinda figured the investment was gonna be the same kind of thing that's happened with my gun; I've got it to protect myself if needed, but I go into jobs hoping I don't have to pull it out. I know I've got something deadly on me at all times, but I really don't set out to use it, because despite being equipped for it, killing really isn't my thing.

Everything is different in the Resonance. I didn't have to bootleg to kill, and I tried to give the guy as much of an out as I could. I get that he really didn't leave me a choice, but... frag, it just feels bad.

I'm still not sure what to think of most of that, really. I know I owe my life to Yang and the Triad-- actually, no, frag that, I don't owe them drek anymore, but without them I'd be back in prison or dead or struggling to survive on the street instead of having a life with the Haven. They're still better for people like us than the corps are, or the Gianellis and whatever they're planning--which I should probably look into and warn Yang about, now that I think about it. But it's funny; when Yang offered to let me join and I turned him down, I remember being so worried that I wouldn't have a future anywhere else, and now Cecelia Cross is here offering me any position I want, and is willing to take my parents in and keep them safe from MCT no questions asked if I'm able to pull off an extraction. Part of me is afraid it's all too good to be true, but it all benefits Cross, and no doubt Cecelia's got some kind of grand plan that all this will be part of.

I guess it's good that she's letting me make the decision on my own timeline, so I can think about it and see how things progress. But I gotta admit, it's pretty ghostdamn tempting considering I thought I'd never be able to have a normal, stable life. I'll have to see where this goes.