Dec/11
2016

Time to stop bringing 300-year-old orphaned puppies back to civilization

We sold loot, fixed our ship, and got permission of sorts to take it off-planet.  We aren't sure who to talk to in the New Ziru Sirka to get the price off of our heads, but since Garace is under the same threat we'll make sure this stays his problem too. 

We got to Eddum and started making our connections, and started to get real nervous about whether or not we were indirectly responsible for a plague infecting every connected AI in the sector.  And Tuva's gone.

December 11, 2016

We are at the Caru up-port.  The Sims here are angry and uncooperative. 

We did file the paperwork to salvage the ship.  Depending how much they want to get involved, it may or may not take long.  So far they didn’t find anything on the ship that they object to. 

Sellie’s note to the boss – mentions success, and says that we are going to be slightly delayed.  We do not mention that we have other salvage or a ship.  Our deal with him mostly revolves around artifacts and stuff.

We are going to need to liquidate some salvage to pay for the ship repairs.  This would be a good place to sell off the rare metals because the Navy uses that stuff.

Osler spends the morning talking to scrap metal dealers.  He does really well and pulls in 310k for this. 

We also sell most of the Gauss rifles and the PGMP-13.  Offer of 23500 – they are used, after all.  They’d give us 20k for the PGMP.  We could move the rifles elsewhere. 

The printor is fairly bulky.  The computer may be infected, we need raw materials, and we need patterns.  If we had a big ship with room to spare, it would be a good thing to have.  We could make starship parts if we got the manufacturer’s plans…not from the Imperium, though. 

We try to move the printor—looks like we are getting lowball offers from people who think we don’t know what we have.  We’ll move elsewhere. 

We sell our “90-120k of miscellaneous loots” for 130k.

Late that afternoon, the members of the owner’s consortium of the SS Spirit of Sionoro get a message – preliminary determination of salvage.  48 hour period for contestion.  We also get shares of stock for the Holding Corporation who owns the ship. 

 

Should we get a Sim?  Might be nice but our ship is not really designed for it.  We’d probably need to work the ship over some.  To properly satisfy a Sim, it would take up something like a ton of capacity.  Our boat has 7 tons of cargo space, plus two research bays that we could put a computer into. 

We could get a pallet mover. 

Gravity belts would be nice…but we can’t use them.

Bob goes down to the Society – it’s closed.  Sims on strike. 

He pushes the after-hours button and an artificial face comes up.  The Sim says that they’re not taking contracts right now.  “Everyone is engaged right now.”

Back to our friend Agent Kensington – talk to him or not? 

We argue about this and decide that we want to tell him to let his boss know we want to make a deal. 

Dude is sitting up – he is speaking but looks terrible.  There’s another man visiting with him. 

The other guy is John Edgerton.  The man on the bed hasn’t spoken. 

JE – before we begin, Mr. Pez Al – do you have anything to say?

CPA – thank you very much for rendering medical aid – I did not expect to wake up again.  It was very decent of you.

Osler – we could not save your friend.

CPA – I saw that.  Regrettable.  Please convey my personal thanks to the rest of your crew.

John leans back – What can I do for you?

O:  I’m going to get straight to the point – we’d like to communicate with your boss.  Is there a way to make that contact? 

John speaks – why would you wish to do that?

O:  Hopefully we can come to an arrangement. 

J:  about what?  Was there something unfinished you wanted to talk about?  Honestly, it looks like you came out fairly well from the last encounter.

O:  You could say that.  That is only one part of what’s going on. 

Jina:  We may have other common interests. 

J:  I see – interesting. 

O:  We help you, you help us.

J:  I fail to see what that common interest would be.

O:  We can’t talk about it right now. 

Jina: We may have a mutual enemy.

J:  What could you offer? 

John shuts Osler down saying that he’d need to speak to our boss. 

Jina:  Our mutual enemy wants to do us harm, and we don’t really want that.  If us not being harmed were to help someone else gain prestige, everyone wins.

John – You have our thanks for helping our man and we will not impede your departure.  If you want to have a more thorough discussion, you have admitted you are not in charge and you are not even willing to discuss what you have to offer.  Until I speak to someone who can tell me anything of value, we are done.  And my friend is very tired. 

John hands us a card – it would be regrettable if you strained my good will by coming back to my friend’s room.  Do we understand each other?

We leave; John watches us depart. 

We rejoin the group and tell them the summary of our conversation.  We do have the number and address on-station…but it’s in station. 

Sellie Gathers Info on what is going on with the sims – 30.  Someone here dropped a proto-virus (a piece or package of a full virus) on the station…the Sims looked into it and are now not talking.  It’s dangerous to Sims, but they have defenses against it.  Techs on the station figure that some Sims are malfunctioning because they’re fighting the proto-virus, or they’re hiding because they’re afraid of it.  All the SASE sims are either locked down or shielded.  No one knows where this proto-virus came in from…it’s called “Vial Walnut”.  One guy said that it didn’t infect a computer without a sim.  This seems to be something that attacks Sims directly. 

The shutdown happened 4 days after we left.  3 ships came in that day…one was an X-boat. 

Can Lucas get data for this ship?  Sure, he can get enough to be useful.  He doesn’t have great wiring diagrams but they’re not available…need NZS construction diagrams.  He does get the prints for what this is supposed to be.  He will wire up the engineering computers to the sensors so he can watch from Engineering. 

We can get the ship’s name changed here with minimal risk of finding the secret identity – this was a spy ship.  We are now the SS Jewel of Oran.  BTW our ship has an air raft – pilot 1, crew of 3.  P. 301 in book.  Not super fast, but it can fly and go into orbit!  The air raft pops out of the side of our ship and forms part of the hull. 

Can we find a human hacker – 23 liaison, 23 GI – we do find a guy and go to his hole in the wall.  He’ll charge us 500 credits pass or fail. 

We find some skinny little hacker in a funky room…he is surprised and excited when he finds this is NZS, not Imperium.  He has never seen anything like this and doesn’t know where to start.  Suddenly, the unit starts to smoke – he apologizes but this is high-grade stuff.  He says the sims are pissed about the Vial Walnut.  They’re fighting it…the sims have to join forces in an uncomfortable method in order to fight it, usually.  He knows it came in; he thinks it was on the X-boat.  This fragment isn’t very big or dangerous, maybe, but no one’s talking about it.  His friends in SASE say it may be a cultural thing. 

He says he’s Imperial Navy stuff and this puts it to shame.  He doesn’t think you touch it without a sim, and a good one.  His thought is we’re happier with the box smoked. 

Sellie checks it out and the thing looks well and truly smoked.  Bob checks it out (T Computer 27) – Lucas recognizes the aroma of plastic explosives.  Looks like they had the storage chips mined – and there was an overload circuit in there to burn the chips.  Opening the case to disarm it would set it off.  This arrangement is very sophisticated but not impossible to disable it.  You could disarm it and not get hurt, but it will be smoked.

In two days, we get the paperwork and we are all legally responsible for the ship.  Yay!  Bob is captain, etc.  We christen our ship with a bottle of cheap champagne and move it to a different bay for loadout.  We are restocked and ready.  7500 for fuel and sundries and 110000 credits for the repairs. 

Do we talk to our friend John’s contact here?  No!  If Cochini’s ass is on the line too, we involve him. 

While in space, we look over the inside of ship for hidden stuff and find nothing new.  We can’t check outside the ship while in jump space.

First jump, Bolivar (0240).  Then Drythyr, Ushkhankal, and Nimuin.  We land on Nimuin, get info, buy supplies, and go out into the city for a bit.  One thing – charismatic dictatorship, so speaking ill of Sir Allagot is a bad idea.  And, no weapons of any sort. 

Sellie does not visit his family on Nimuin – in fact, he refuses to leave the ship because he’s really paranoid now.

Everybody but Sellie takes a day off of the ship. 

After that, we head to Sheaspyn and dock at Malort Upport.  Jina sends a note to Mom, then we scoop and go.  We head to Giinshuki (sp), scoop, and go to Eddum. 

When arriving at Eddum, we go to Mida Sky Upport.  When we get in system we check to see if Cochini’s in town.  No, he is not.  He has left us a message though – he says he’ll be back in a week or so.  We dock at the Upport.  After 5 hours or so we get to Eddum proper…it’s another 5 hours for clearance into the port.  This isn’t busier than usual, but the AI that does their traffic control is not doing it.  All the retired and backup guys are hard at work now.  When we finally get to our berth we find that it’s not that busy here, just scrambled. 

We pay for a week’s time in the berth.  Some of us try calling home, but all circuits to the surface are jammed.  Maintenance at the station seems to have fallen by the wayside.  For the Duke’s homeworld, this is pretty surprising.  We lock up the ship and head for our normal lodging.  Spots – anyone > 15 notice that on our way to the hostel, one of the local fast food joints is a burned out hole.  There is police tape around here. 

The customs guy meets us at the hostel – he apologizes for being late; he’s carrying a clipboard.  Station AI’s down – more like pre-occupied.  Some kind of bug – the last few months the AI’s have lost their minds.  Lots more traffic than normal. 

Our ship’s registration has changed – they think it’s been here before.  Oh yes, we are good.  No viruses (SASE is closed) – so welcome to Mida Sky on behalf of the Duke. 

Maintenance only slipped a couple weeks ago – the AI finally stopped scheduling, and the maintenance union has a contract – until we figure things out, they’re not working. 

We talk to the lady at the hostel – the burned out restaurant was automated.  The Sim, Geeten-271, was killed in the “possible terrorist act”.

The Geeten spawn we brought back was called Shimeka. 

Lots of system glitches, SASE is closed, Sims are acting weird, people leaving *and* disappearing.  It’s been a strange couple of months.

Life is rough without the sims, but it’s worst at Mida Sky. 

Where’s Tuva?  We left her on Mida Sky.  What happened?  The bar is closed and for sale…owner is Jola Delacante.  He’s gone.  Tuva is gone too.

Are  they on the planet?  Sellie goes to check the Customs Office to look for the departure logs.  4 hours later, someone finally helps – no departure record for Tuva Wallen.  Jola Delecante – owns the SS Orange Crate.  She sold her place, bought the Orange Crate from impound, and left less than a week after we did.  The porcuswine place blew up a month or so after she left.  Orange Crate filed plans for Cipo.  200 ton Far Trader. 

Tuva might or might not be interesting to someone. 

Things are going on – computers are down, someone blew up the porcuswine joint, people are disappearing, and Cochini’s gone. 

What’s going on?  Jina asks around on the station.  Bob talks to the Scouts to talk about the virus packet.  Sellie will contact his people.  Seems like the disease is mostly around the X-boat routes, and it’s slowing the sims down to a crawl.  We get the impression that the chaos at Mida Sky is worse than anywhere. 

Asking about Jola’s, nothing definite – just all of a sudden.  And no one knows what the story about the porcuswine place is about – owner just packed up and left. 

Sellie and Bob’s contacts thank them for their reports.  Sellie would talk to Shimeka, but she’s with SASE.  Sellie goes to the closed SASE office and talks to the on-duty Sim.  They have lost track of Sim Shimeka…she was given to the care of Davis Wend, their human factor.  He has not been seen for weeks.  They assume he’s left his employment there and think he took Shimeka.  They have other people who help, mostly volunteers – and they are closed. 

They won’t tell Sellie how to contact Wend until he sweet talks the AI into coughing up the number of the missing person’s report filed with the station and his address on station.  This sim is Sim Dolce.  We can see it at this terminal. 

Jina hangs out on station in bars (GI 26) – lots of people missing suddenly and a general problem and slowdown with the sims.  Also some Sims missing – spectacular hardware failure, port ejection accident that spaced a computer, some power blink incidents.  A couple doctors from the station went missing as well (no one she knew) – no names, but the two of ‘em were regulars around here.  There haven’t been any longstanding resentments against Sims.  Prevailing rumor about how the weenie place got blown up is that someone from the Kukhree sympathizers is mad – but that’s just what this guy my cousin knows said. 

Osler is going to work on selling loot.  Sellie starts working on an investigation. 

Sellie, Jina, and Osler sit down for dinner.  Sellie tells us that the bar owner sold her bar, bought the Orange Crate, and left for Cipo. Tuva vanished.  Shimeka is gone too according to Sim Dolce.  Their factor, Davis Wend, has gone missing as well – and he may have had Shimeka.  No reason for people to be evacuating. 

In the morning, we’ll head to Tuva’s place. 

Tuva didn’t do well at the name Geeten before…did she find out that Geeten-271 was running the swine place, and try to blow it up? 

Bob wants to find out if the X-boats were dragging this virus around from Eddum or somewhere else. 

We go to Tuva’s place – button says, “Unoccupied”.  We push the button for the manager and ask about Tuva. 

We paid for the place and he can see it, but he occupancy list is blank for months. 

Person named Marty Malik?  Oh, he died of being old.  He has no name Tuva on the list.  He gives us the code for the apartment and puts Sellie’s name on the sign.  We go to the apartment and are greeted with the smell of decomposition.  There’s a dead middle-aged man in here and not a young blonde lady. 

Jina checks the guy – T Medical 22.  The body was stabbed through the eye and into the head.

Sellie calls Bob and he’ll be up in a couple hours.  He also calls Lucas.

This apartment is spotless and empty except for the dead guy.  Someone put life support carbon filters to trap the odor inside the apartment. 

The dead guy has a standard ID card – Davis Wend.  Hard to tell if it matches the body exactly because of the advanced decomposition. 

This filter trick is well-known, but this is a starship spare filter.  It would be easier to steal a station filter, but you might have access to the filters.  We take down the information for the filters. 

Is there anything strange here?  Well, Tuva is weird because no one survives that long in a low berth.  We didn’t do anything wrong or illegal to bring either Tuva or Shimeka onto the station. 

We call the phone number for the Missing Person’s report.  The cop gets sketchy until Sellie mentions the dead body. 

Cop:  You’re not in Wend’s apartment?  Stay put and don’t touch anything!

The cop shows up with a couple uniforms to check it out. 

Argo Lotol. 

He recognizes Tuva Wallen’s name. 

Sellie goes back and says that we found Tuva in a pod for a long time.  She’s much older than 100 years, but in great shape.  We got her and ID and a start, then left.  When we came here, everything was erased etc. 

We don’t know Wend, but the sim we met with Tuva went to SASE.  And he worked at SASE. 

Argo: Your sim in 3 gray boxes about so large?  Could it talk?

Sellie:  Yes. 

Argo – we found a computer hooked up in Wend’s apartment but the terminal was unresponsive.  Not the flu…the thing doesn’t do anything but flash its cursor.  We left it running because we didn’t know what to do with it.

S:  Could you see if we can talk to Shimeka?  We do know here.  If she’s hiding…

He gets our phone numbers and tells us not to leave the station.  We have to call when Bob gets to the up-port. 

We also mention that Jola sold her bar and bought the Orange Crate.

Argo:  Get out of my hair – call me when your guy gets here. 

Bob and Lucas sit next to each other on the shuttle and figure we may need to start looking for the spread of Vial Walnut – did it start here? 

Bob – we should also have the cops check the apartment of the bar owner. 

We call Argo – he says to meet him at Davis Wend’s apartment.  We introduce ourselves and we head inside…place looks normal and furnished except for Shimeka’s boxes. 

Bob:  Hey Shimeka – it’s Bob.

S:  Robert?  What the hell is going on?

All of a sudden she’s responsive, and Bob will plug in his handcomp so we can talk.

Bob:  What’s up with you?

S:  You turned me into the SASE, and they gave me to the factor.  He said he had another box in here to give me more power (we see nothing) but then he never did it, and he unhooked the vocoder.  He had me on an isolation part of the station network then unplugged me. 

B:  When was this?

S:  Like 2 weeks after I got here. (get date)

Seems to match up with when the AIs started getting squirrely – like someone was isolating her. 

S:  Then he quit talking or typing to me, and I’m used to being alone…but he’s been gone for a long time.

Bob:  He’s dead.  When was the last time you talked?

It was 2-3 days before he died. 

SASE may be closed but it’s still responsible for her. 

AL:  You brought her in?  You’ll have to bring her back in again, later.

AL:  I’ve run a background on you and you’re mostly reputable.  You do associate with Garace Cochini, and his father’s record was better.  Listen – we don’t have the people, time, or desire to care for this sim.  Can you? 

Bob:  We can.

AL:  Sim Shimeka – are you willing to go with these people and be under their care.

S:  What else would happen? 

AL:  I’d have to find a volunteer to take care of you on the station since SASE can’t. 

S:  I’ll go with them. 

AL:  I really have to get going, but…you were looking for Tuva Wallen.  Do any of you know Dr Austin Wile or Dmitri Marova?

No, we don’t. 

We heard a rumor of missing doctors – these people are on the list and went missing 2 days before Davis.  They were medical researchers – they worked for Marilin Biometric Galactic.  Specialized in biometric interfaces. 

Us:  ugh.

AL:  They make limbs and stuff – waldos.  You recognize them?

Us:  No.

AL:  I don’t like the idea of finding them dead in a refresher somewhere.  Here’s access to the house – take the Sim, and drop us a note when you’re done.

No idea what Mida Sky is doing.  We say that this is everywhere. 

He gives us some forms to fill out for Missing Persons on Tuva. 

The cop leaves.  We unhook from Shimeka and talk. 

Lucas:  I don’t trust it and I don’t want it on our ship. 

Bob:  I don’t think it’s the sim – I think it’s Tuva.

We need to trace the X-boat routes and spread of the Vial Walnut.  We also need to look at Jola’s place…and what happened to the doctors?  Are they on the ship? 

We will need to discuss the Sim next week – Bob will check to make sure it’s ok first. 

We may be off chasing the Orange Crate.  Yay!

500 XP.

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