Log Title: 19A30 Redux
Summary: After delivery of the damaged stack back to Carnage, Violet and Winter reconvene to plan the next stage of their investigation.
IC Date: 2381-02-05
OOC Date: 2019-02-12
Related Logs: Fatale and Nineteen Alpha Thirty
violetwinter

 

 

I think this is a group with a cause, not an organization with a mission.

Violet left to return the corrupted stack to Carnage. Winter takes the time to collect themself, which goes something like this: First, they throw up, arms wrapped around their belly, nails of each hand digging into their opposite upper arms and leaving little crescent gouges. Then, they pull out a first aid box and inject themself with a light sedative. Then they rinse their mouth, shower and change into clothes very similar to those they were wearing in VR: soft, worn cargo pants, a black shirt (though this one is long-sleeved), bare feet. By the time Violet would be expected back, the lights in the back room are on, Winter has assessed their Chair's programming to verify there was no lasting corruption caused by 'nineteen alpha thirty', and they are sitting in one of the chairs, eating a granola bar they hold in one hand while flipping through a book on language and dialects held in the other. Well, okay, what Winter is actually flipping through is a book of blank pages, but their ONI puts the printed text of the aforementioned book onto the pages for them as they turn through them, so it's more or less the same thing.

One sentence keeps repeating itself softly over and over into the quiet. How does a mortal steal the form of a god? is asked in Nineteen Alpha Thirty's voice. There is a faint beep and it repeats, though each time the question is posed, it sounds just very, very faintly less garbled around the edges.

-

Violet wouldn't need more than a few minutes, once she left for the trip back to the Rose. She returns much the same way she and Winter had exited, her sleeve adjusting itself to an entirely new face. Once she arrives at the fightdrome, she wastes no time in handing off the DHF and data to Carnage, who receives it with his almost trademark grunt, and promptly orders her to get the hell out before she ends up in an interrogation suite at the Bay City PD.

Violet takes the dismissal for what it is. Another escape route. Not because Carnage cares, of course. That is not a word one would ever associate with the man, but rather because it ensures that she's free when he needs her. If the police do not manage to track her down first.

And so, she heads back through town, taking a bit longer than might be strictly necessary, arriving at Winter's shop about ten minutes after the allotted time. "You still here, Winter?" She doesn't head immediately to the back room. That would be rude.

-

"Yes," calls Winter's voice from the back room, "Come in." The front door remains unlocked, though a 'closed' sign has been hung on it. They glance up when Violet joins them in the back. "Everything copacetic with Carnage?"

-

"I still have all of my limbs, and I made it back with five minutes to spare." There's a wry humour in Violet's voice, as she steps in, heading back into the back room, "Most days, that's as much as you can hope for." Once she allows the door to close behind her, her eyes settle on Winter, "You mostly recovered from the run?" They had not looked well when she'd left.

-

"I'm fine," Winter assures with a quick smile. They pop the last of the granola bar into their mouth as if this might further demonstrate said fine-ness. They chew and swallow, leaning over to drop the wrapper into the (very recently cleaned) garbage can. "I suppose that'll be it for access to the mangled DHF, then. Still, we've a few hints."

-

Violet does not seem entirely convinced, but perhaps she thinks better of arguing the details. Rather, she looks around for a free spot to perch on, "I have all of the data backed up, though I feel we should wait a while before we access it again. Still, I've never seen a DHF that resistant to frag, and that able to manipulate a VR construct."

-

"Some special talents to be sure," Winter agrees, closing their book and setting it aside, "or very intensive training. Designation nineteen alpha thirty. 19A30. Nothing that means anything to you?"

-

Violet shakes her head, hands folding across her chest, "Nothing that I recall from my C-TAC days, but I know someone who might be able to help with the investigation. I'm going to try to reach out to him if I can get in touch and see if I can put him on the case. I'm not sure I can afford his fees, but I might be able to call in a favour."

-

"Mmm," Winter muses. Not that connections are a bad thing. "Who?"

-

"His name's John Stryker. He's a GPPI agent, rank four. We served together a few years back. I trust him implicitly." Violet leans forward, the hands across her chest settling on her knees. "I'm not convinced that he'd take the case, but the least I can do is ask him."

-

"He's going to have to tangle with the police and whoever the meths hired to look into the matter. Think he'd be willing?" Winter quirks a wry smile, "or think the favor he owes is big enough?"

-

"I've never known John to be afraid of anything or anyone. And once he's on the case, he sticks with it until it's solved, or the job's done. That's not going to be an issue." Violet's shouldered lift, a shrug breaking the line of her shoulders, "I've gotten to be rather good at negotiating. I'll see what he's willing to take in payment."

-

"Suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask," Winter allows, "if you trust his skills and his discretion. …And it's affordable."

-

Violet again lifted, though only one shoulder, "I can handle making the arrangements. That's not something you need to worry about. I'm more interested in also finding out what we can about the data we received in the VR space and trying to get a handle on how she was able to manipulate the space so well, including tearing it down around her."

-

"She created the initial room we appeared in," Winter adds for the inexplicable things the DHF had done. "That wasn't one of my programs. Which is likely also why she had so much control over the environment. But, a corrupted mind should't come with a built in interrogation room. Whatever organization she's with, either they train their people impressively, or they picked her because someone else had."

-

Violet's eyes widened, as she listens to Winter's account, "She built the room? And the shackles? That takes serious control, if she could override the room you selected to load her into. And the Aubergine, which, in retrospect, she might have added in there to make us uncomfortable. I…" She shakes her head, "And that also makes me wonder if the reason she was so willing to fry her stack is because she had a copy waiting that she could recover from."

-

"Maybe, but I'm not so sure about that. She may just have been a zealot," Winter opines. "I mean, aubergine exists. Suicide missions are a thing, though you don't much see it on Earth."

-

"Do you really think that being a zealot would have given her that much control over her virtual environment? Maybe it might have pushed her to be willing to get sleeved in a clone. Maybe it might have even made her willing to fry her own stack, but what she did takes serious control." Violet takes a moment, before she continues, "What was the setting you had planned to put her in?"

-

"No," Winter agrees with a small shake of their head. "Force of will alone wouldn't be enough to override VR programming. At least, it wouldn't be enough to replace one room with another. I think that would require intensive training and maybe even a DHF modification. I'm not sure, to tell you the truth, that's the first time it's happened to me. But, being heavily trained doesn't mean she wasn't also willing to sacrifice herself for whatever cause she belonged to." In answering Violet's other question, they add, "I have a couple rooms I use for initial sessions. In this case, I'd picked a plain, white room with sunlit windows, a couple chairs and a bed. More 'hospital' than interrogation room."

-

"It's only a sacrifice if she didn't have a backup. And if this woman was highly trained, I don't imagine that whomever hired her was going to be willing to just throw her away after one mission, do you? I wouldn't. It's be a waste of a perfectly good resource. Not to mention the fact that Carnage looked just as surprised when she was unmasked as everyone else. Which means she didn't come in wearing that face." Violet lifts a hand from her knee, reaching into a pocket to pull out a protein pack. The sort of thing that tastes like wet dog smelled to most people.

-

"I'm not so sure she was hired," Winter replies, "and who's to say how many missions she's done before this one. There must have been a lot of groundwork laid to arrange it all. An unmasking of a meth clone body at a lottery fight? I'd wager this wasn't the first move these people have made. This is just the first thing they've done they want to be publicly noticed. I'm not saying it's impossible she has a backup elsewhere. I'm just saying, I think this is a group with a cause, not an organization with a mission."

-

"Oh, I don't disagree. I think this was a planned mission. I just, as you said, either they trained her or she had extensive prior experience. So..either they hired her or they recruited her. Either way, I think she was in. But I also think she wanted to send a message. She could have chosen not to say anything at all. And then she came out with that riddle. And started pulling down the construct around us." Violet slit open the protein pack, taking a segment of the grey goo, before she pushes away from the place she's been leaning, "I think we need to review the data we recorded, and see where that leads us. Do you need me to grab my backup?"

-

"I have my own copy," Winter replies with a faint smile. Because of course they do. "Unless you don't want to know that. In which case… yes. Let's use your backup." They push to their feet, stretch and watch over to the chair. Time to get to work.