Deep Red, Prologue - Riddles in Neon Graffiti.   Posted by Dodger.Group: 0
Dodger
 NPC, 1 post
 Teenage Elven Hacker
 tiny and shy
Tue 12 Mar 2019
at 02:40
Deep Red, Prologue - Riddles in Neon Graffiti
"Uhm... hey?  I, uh... I haven't met you before but Enigma gave me this number, um..." The girl stammers into her wrist-phone.  She looks like she can't be more than 18, though her large, mismatched eyes twinkle with just a hint of hard experience.  "I'm... in a right pickle, you see."

The girl is glancing over her shoulder repeatedly, and her face in the trideo bobs and shakes, making it clear she is talking as she is walking.  "Enigma solicited my services as a decker to follow up on an affair he tells me began with you lot.  Well, this lead is hotter than previously foreseen, I think.  So hot it's exothermic.  Hold up... gotta go silent for a mo'."

Dodger looks absolutely terrified, and the dim blue glow of the city's light pollution that has outlined her face until now abruptly disappears.  She has clearly hidden somewhere, because you can hear her tense and ragged breathing.  After a solid five minutes, her face appears again, bathed in the green glow of her wrist-phone, tears glimmering on her cheeks like liquid chrome.

"Normally the Cavalry would bail me out of this, but, they already came. They're hung up back at the extraction point.  Got me clear but apparently not completely - there are some real scary slots scouring the whole district for me, just, really sinister blaggards."

She pauses to wipe her nose and take a steadying breath.  "I can't give you an exact address because even though this line ought to be secure, it'd be the first thing tonight to go as it ought.  Instead I managed to leave you some clues around the district, in the form of matrix-graffiti.  You know the old wireless networks no one really uses anymore?  Well some of them are still running, and it's easy to hack in.  Not much reason to, but the technological connoisseurs among the city's street gangs like to fill them up with Enhanced-Reality style tags.  Virtual graffiti.  So I left some encrypted notes among them - it'd be excitingly clandestine if I wasn't at very real risk of getting fragged over here."

"Look for unattended old-style networks and look over the tags.  You'll be able to recognize which ones are mine by using the keyphrase I used encrypting them.  Enigma set it up, so it's SOTA, and also something he swears no one could possibly guess.  I gotta check his message again real quick."

Dodger's eyes roll back in her head and twitch slightly for a second.  "Okay, so... the secret name of the first spirit Pax made her ally - The numbers in the address of Oni's father's house, when he was a boy, Sonnet's mother's maiden name, and... the exact words Saoirse said to Red when she gave her her first real drink.  Ending in the first two digits of your individual paychecks for the first run and all of your real first initials in caps, in reverse alphabetical order."

She rolls her eyes and almost giggles, a tiny moment of levity interrupting the terror.  "Sorry, Enigma takes passphrases seriously.  They're ancient tech, I'm surprised he even knows about them, but that's another story.  Old-school pre-Crash encryption isn't much of a match for modern codebreaking, but he says one as complex as that should manage to hold up to their field decryption suites for at least 15 minutes, so that'll slow them down in finding me, at least."

"Again, I can't say anything I don't dare to let them hear, so, I can tell you that I left the facility at Northgate headed west on foot approximately twenty minutes ago, and Iíve been dodging the cleaners ever since - true to my name I guess.  I seem to have evaded their pursuit well enough that they havenít found my hiding spot yet, but I have absolutely no idea where I am, and I donít dare turn on my locator."

"Please get here right away, or... I will surely perish."  She sighs heavily.  "Dodger out."

The trideo feed cuts out to a skull-and-crossbones logo, white on a black background, except the skull has a large curled mustache and a porkpie hat.  Then, it fades to the greenish-black of a blank screen.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:44, Tue 12 Mar 2019.

Escape Root
 NPC, 5 posts
 Combat Mage
 Cavalry Team Leader
Mon 18 Mar 2019
at 23:53
Deep Red, Prologue - Riddles in Neon Graffiti
Another pre-recorded message flashes on your comms a short time later.  There is no video this time, only Root's portrait and his voice, against a great deal of background noise.  Despite sounding like he's in a war zone, his voice betrays only the slightest hint of tension.

"Listen carefully, as I have but one opportunity to relay this information.  My team is experiencing a hardship that is passingly rare for us - we are outgunned."

As if to punctuate this, an explosion and bellowed curses in Chauncey's unmistakable voice are heard in the background.  Root pauses, waiting for relative quiet, before continuing.

"Fortunately, the Cavalry is nothing if not resourceful.  We have placed a variety of failsafes and emergency force-multipliers - both magical and mundane - in the vicinity of our current position in preparation for just such a contingency as this.  However, in our current predicament, we are unable to trigger them.  Fortunately, they have yet to be discovered by our assailants."

"I cannot disclose any further information on a line that might not be secure, but we uploaded our battle plans to Enigma before the run actually began.  He can provide the details you require, so long as you contact him before entering the conflict zone."

There is an unexplained long pause through which you hear gunfire and shouting, and faintly behind it, Root's voice murmuring incantations at a frantic clip, and finally the crackle and boom of powerful spells going off, before a prolonged moment of silence.

"... Your other mission, of course, takes priority.  But you may find it expedient for your purposes to help us continue to keep the bulk of Azzie forces otherwise preoccupied.  Furthermore, we would be in your debt."  The message clicks off without further niceties.