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Author Topic: Virtually Irresistible - [Hackers Win!]  (Read 12406 times)

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Offline Kythia

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #75 on: November 07, 2012, 09:40:49 PM »
Kythia had thoroughly enjoyed her time in the virtual city.  Her proposal in the early days to name it Kythiopolis had been overwhelmingly rejected, a later proposal to name it Kythiaville had - somewhat rudely, she felt - been refused and the project team had made it quite clear that her subsequent proposal to name it New Kythia was not even going to be discussed.  Later that day, while she was working on a new proposal, they had quite strenuously stated that they wouldn't entertain any idea that focused around naming the city after herself.  She had managed to get a bar in the downtown area named after her, though, and that's where she'd spent her time.  Three gloriously happy hours peering in through the window and then hiding being a bin every time the bouncers came out to tell her to clear off.  She'd need to upload her current appearance into the Acceptable Clothing database.

But all the virtual people in there seemed to be having fun, even if they did take a swig from their drinks with a fairly depressing regularity.  Who had coded that?  She couldn't remember but she made a mental note to find out and get them to introduce a random factor into that procedure.  And looking in through the window wasn;t that bad - it was almost like having friends.  She imagined.

Ah, Kythiopolis (or whatever vastly inferior name they had eventually decided upon).  She was just overwhelmed by it.  As part of the project team she obviously had override codes for the city's virtual police force - and they worked too, as she found out when the bouncers got fed up of chasing her off - and had true freedom that only people who eventually brought the Gold Membership would be able to enjoy.  If she wanted to she could just go around killing random NPCs and harvesting their skin to put over blow up sex dolls so that they'd feel more realistic when she stroked them.  Not that she wanted to, of course, that was just by way of example.  She could is the point.  She could do anything.  She pointed at a dog and majestically ordered it to bark.  It did.  This was true power.  She went back to looking through the window.

The time to log out came far too fast, but there was still work to be done.  She opened her pod and counted carefully as others opened.  One, two,  there we go.  Everyone was out.  They climbed out of their pods on stiff legs - doubtless she looked as funny doing it as any of them - and one by one reached the same conclusion.  Everyone was out. 

Her first thought was that her intuition had been correct, that the hackers wouldn't try again in the same way.  But, of course, that wasn't the only possible conclusion.  Someone could have been protecting the connection of an intended target, or even have managed to do a system restore in time and revive an intended target without them even knowing.  Did everyone look happy?  Any frustrated expressions?  Anyone openly cursing whichever skilled programmer had protected an intended target and vowing that they'd pay for this, they'd all pay?  No such luck - be it social ineptitude on her part or Oscar winning performances on theirs, she couldn't see anyone looking any other than relieved.

Well, even except KingBear.  he look accusatory.  She listened to him and smiled fondly when he found his safety blanket roll of duct tape.  She'd heard unkind rumours that he was, well, a little too fond of duct tape.  She was sure that wasn't true, though.  How would that even work?  The hole in the centre was like three inches across, if he was using that then he was a... She shook her head to clear the thought.

"I think you're wrong actually, KingBear" she spoke up.  "It wasn't Yugi who got poor old Last kicked off.  His was the first vote sure, but he had no way of knowing it'd get any support.  Hell, immediately before him Trieste said she thought it was Sasha.  The ones who got Last kicked off came later, they piled on him when it was clear he already had some support.  I think we should be looking at some of the later supporters of that idea."  She turned to face Sarena and the girl stood next to her.  "Why did you think Last should be ejected, Peripherie"

Offline yugi006

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #76 on: November 07, 2012, 11:52:33 PM »
Once again they were asked to conduct another test of the pods. Hopefully everyone would come out if there pods this time. He logged into his pods and once again appeared in the virtual world. It looked the same before. He was hoping to find some of the other testers in the same area but he could find anyone. Looks like everyone was off doing their own thing.All he could see where NPCs everywhere. Looking down at his clothes he decide it would be best to get some new clothes for his avatar. It would be good to look at least somewhat fashionable. He found the nearest clothing shop and bought some new clothes with his in game funds. His new t-shirt and jeans looked good on him. After getting his new clothes he decided to explore more to know where everything is for later. He talked with a few NPCs to see where everything is. After learning where everything is he decided to go downtown and take a look at the local mall. There were many restaurants and shops that sold things from weapons to clothes to first aid items. He spent several hours taking a look around the mall before he realized what time it was.

He logged off from the virtual world just in time to see everyone else coming up from their time in the pods. He looked at everyone to see that no one was stuck in their pods. Was the previous incident with Mr B all an accident? It could not have been. Maybe the hackers didn't want to seem to suspicious so they didn't do it this time. Hearing KingBear accusing him of getting Mr B stuck in the pd he turned his attention to him to defend himself. “Just because I vote for The Last Standing first doesn't mean I'm the hacker. It's too early and no evidence to tell who among us is a hacker. I just picked the one that seemed the most likely to be one. It looked like I was wrong.” Kythia was the next person to speak. She was quick to come to his defense. “Thank you for coming to my defense Kythia. I can assure all of you that I wasn't the one who got Mr. B. stuck in his pod.” His eyes focused on Serena. "Would you happen to know anything about Mr. B getting stuck in his pod?"

Offline SunshineSparkle

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #77 on: November 08, 2012, 06:20:39 PM »
Conducting another test thrilled her,she had enjoyed the previous one before Mr B got trapped in his pod,truly they had all done a great job and she was grateful to have contributed to such a success.
Once entering her pod she forgot about reality to get immersed into this virtual heaven.She was still amazed by the vivid colors and the bright lights shining as she continued her journey through the city.
She found easily a nice and cozy hotel not so far from the city center,shops and restaurants located nearby to make her stay pleasant.After some thoughtful thinking she opted for the spa first,a massage would surely be a relieve to her exhaustion.It was well equipped for every customer's comfort,candle flames danced around the room creating a dreamy atmosphere,the exotic smells of massage oils filling her senses with content and easing some of her soreness.
Feeling refreshed,she went to do some sightseeing,found a few clothing items she decided to buy along with a book and returned to her room whose windows provided a breathtaking view of the city.The huge clock on the wall signaled her it was time to get back to reality.

Emerging from her pod,Sunshine was reassured to see that everyone returned safely.Nonetheless there was still a traitor -or more- among them.What had happened to Bigglesworth wasn't a coincidence,an already established fact,they might have escaped another tragedy now but this has to stop.Ryven seemed to know more about this sabotage scheme than what he's letting appear
"Did you have anything to do with Mr B's trafficked pod?" She asked him,accusation filling her voice
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 06:21:51 PM by SunshineSparkle »

Offline Missy

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #78 on: November 08, 2012, 06:38:32 PM »
MC had spent the majority of his first trip exploring the layout of the city. Scouting out locations of interest and making a mental note of them so he could decide where he wanted to return to on the next trip. After the several hours in the virtual work which had in truth been merely a few minutes in the real world he had returned satisfied he would be able to plan his next trip. Unfortunately upon reawakening he had been distracted by the commotion concerning Mr. B. Being at a loss he had cast no vote pertinent to the matter.

It didn't occur to him he hadn't had the opportunity to review his notes from the prior test. He took a quick mental inventory of the places he had memorized from the night before and picked one. A few short moment later he was setting down for his first meal of virtual food. He placed his order for a Korean dish an old roommate had shown him once and wasn't the least disappointed. Of course he had put considerable effort into programing the food.

Later when MC disconnected he took a headcount to see everyone was here. "Kingbear, stay away from my pod with that duct tape . . . use elmer's glue instead"

Offline Aadreal

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #79 on: November 08, 2012, 07:22:46 PM »
Mr. B's untimely...well demise wasn't the right word but true none the less and the accusations against Last that followed were more than enough to leave Aadie worried.  It just didn't seem right.  She couldn't think of why anyone would intentionally do that.  But the testing had to continue.  And the next test on her plate was a doozie. 

Double checking the various protocols put into place she finally uploaded the last of her settings.  Her heart was pounding even before she lay down in the pod, wondering how she'd ever manage to relax enough to slip into the virtual world.  But sure enough the darkness followed by light surrounded her and then she was there. 

Looking down at the outfit she'd chosen for this test she smoothed the skin tight dress over her curves.  Not that it was really needed but she might as well fit the part.  Looking around and hoping none of the other Engineers saw her she hurried to the five star hotel.  Her high heels clicked on the sidewalk, hips swaying with every step. 

Blushing slightly she held her head high and pushed the long chocolate curls over her shoulder as she entered.  There was a bar off to the side, Kinkade's more lounge than restaurant.  Smiling at the NPC who held the door open for her she slipped inside, breathing in deeply of the atmosphere.  It felt like stepping into an old Hollywood movie only without the cigarette smoke.  There were several open seats at the bar and all of the NPCs were certainly more than attractive.

It didn't take long before she found a couple of new 'friends', the programming ensuring the signals she was giving off were met with interest.  Wondering just which of her fellow Engineers would be reading the coding for this test she led the NPCs upstairs.  It was important the system was thoroughly tested after all.

The NPCs were believable to say the least, the man and woman putting her through her paces and testing the limits of her fetish guidelines.  She was so...involved in the details of the 'test' that she lost track of time, the pod pulling her from the virtual menage a trois before she was quite finished.  Laying there stunned and panting, Aadie clenched her fists to try and keep from touching herself.  Though it wasn't real her body certainly wasn't reacting that way. 

It took several long minutes before the blush finally started to fade, an imprint of her teeth on her lower lip from biting it to keep from moaning through the shivers.  Hoping no one noticed just how she reacted to the session she swung her legs off the bed of the pod, looking around and hoping everyone made it out this time.

It seemed the testing had barely completed before the accusations started to fly.  “Peri...”  Her voice cracked and she blushed.  Swallowing hard she tried again.  “Peri was just one of several.  Though I do find it odd so many wanted Last gone.  What about you Sasha, why did you think he was to blame?”  Her voice was husky as she asked, making her blush brighten.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #80 on: November 08, 2012, 07:29:38 PM »
Kythia cocked an eyebrow and glanced away from her terminal - her email client was open along with another site but she minimised both as she turned allowing no more than a quick glimpse.

"So you don't think it was Sarena any more, Aadreal?  Odd". 

Offline yugi006

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #81 on: November 08, 2012, 07:33:47 PM »
Hearing all of the votes didn't sway him one bit. But realizing that he spelled her name wrong he had to say it again. "My vote still stands. I still think that Sarena did this."

Offline Sasha

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #82 on: November 08, 2012, 07:36:55 PM »
 Sasha stopped ...and listened to James , picking up the in-feed from his text output . The man was seriously annoying with these little challenge type things he kept popping up with . Rolling her mind over the clue ...it was odd like done in a question if she was right anyways . Still not much time to decipher the true meaning of what the man was babbling about . Who is Linus Torvalds ? finally she got it ...just as she was getting into the pod . Torvalds ..the name rolled over in her mind a few times .

 The next interface went well ...she had managed to slip into the new found world they had created and fixed a few minor details . Testing this and that ...once accomplished she had a bit of time left though not much . Too many things occupying her brain this time really. Mr Bigglesworth still stuck down here . The hard drives had been clear .. they has swept everything . Duct Tape ...the PENIS system ...the two didn't seem to go together in her mind . Who was it again that had been using such things. If the Last Standing was innocent ...they had just lost a vital member of the team .

As she come back out of her pod ..relief washed over the woman as she looked over to the Pod that still had the body of her comrade. Had it happened again ...looking about as each pod seemed to open . Everyone seemed accountable for . No one missing ...maybe that was a good thing . The patches made to the system made it now safe . They were holding right ...had to be it . Maybe a fluke not some planned malice in the making .

Though the words being tossed about ...now ...it seemed questions were still being raised as to who sabotaged the pod of the man that had yet to come back . Sasha was concerned how long could one survive trapped in statis the netherworld existence . Would the body decay ..one question after another went through her mind . But still the Duct tape ...the P.E.N.I.S. system ....they didn't seem to go well together in her mind .

" What are you doing with the duct tape ... King Bear ?" glancing over to Mcsc ...Elmer's glue ...well that won't help at all . Gorilla glue maybe ... something with a bit more strength . moving over to her bag ... she pulled out an ipod . Talking to herself .." Linus Torvalds ..." as she punched in his name to see what all come up on the man . Though Jeopardy indeed it did seem she was finding herself in at the moment . With no real clue as to what this had to do with any of it . Maybe just something to keep her mind busy with than ...the thoughts of one in this room having ulterior motives. As she began to skim over what Wikipedia had to say about the man from the Jeopardy asked question , Linus Torvalds.

Looking up as Aadreal spoke to her ...ashamed really since indeed she had voted that way early on ... " Honestly it just seemed that Last Standing was over near that section ...I only briefly seen him doing something . Now indeed I have egg on my face since he seems to of been innocent .....and we are down one good engineer for this project . " it was a matter of fact answer anyways .  Indeed it seemed that fear was starting to weigh in on all their minds here ..a complication that could halt the project . Throwing out names without any real evidence , just guesses really . Had to be a better way as for once the woman was beside herself with no good explanation.

Offline Aadreal

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #83 on: November 08, 2012, 07:51:36 PM »
"I..."  Aadreal blushed at Kythia's question.  "I was never sure who it was. I just...he was so nice and I got upset.  I just blamed the first person I saw.  And that was Sarena.  I'm not sure who to suspect.  I just know I didn't do it."  She looked to Sarena, face red.  "I'm sorry I accused you. It was...it was wrong of me."

Offline KingBear

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #84 on: November 08, 2012, 08:01:39 PM »
Riiiip Another long strand of duct tape pulled from the roll as Bear managed to patch a few wires and bits that were hanging from his own pod. Out of all of them, his pod probably had the most duct tape on it. Obsession? Maybe.. Love? Yes. At the shots of his name and the accusations simply because of his love of duct tape, Bear sighed and set down his roll.

"So.. A guy isnt allowed to use duct tape without people thinking he sabotaged someone's pod? What's the world coming to?" He looks at Sasha and MC with a frown before looking over at Mr B. "I'm not the brains in this place, I am the muscle, I helped to design the pod and a few other things as well as some input on a creative level. All of this code that you people throw around has gone over my head One-Hundred times over." He glanced over his shoulder at the roll of duct tape with a look of yearning on his face.

"I still think Yugi006 did it Kythia. You may be right about the others jumping on the bandwagon, but that's just what it was, a bandwagon. Yugi started that wagon rolling. I'm sorry Yugi but I still think that you may have had something to do with poor Mr B's predicament." His eyes left the group he was speaking to only long enough to look at the roll of duct tape again, a small whimper escaping his lips. Flashes of him running through a field happily with his arms open, hit his mind. The flashes end with him leaping through the air and landing on the ground, scooping up a roll of duct tape and kissing it happily.

Offline ThatRPGuyTopic starter

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #85 on: November 08, 2012, 09:23:46 PM »
Votes
KingBear - 3
Yugi006 - 2
Kokaine - 1
Peripherie - 1
Ryven - 1
Sasha -1
Sarena - 1
That Girl Analise - 1

Yet to vote
Beguile's Mistress, Breathless Intent, Gavlois, James Moriarty, Kyrsa, Kokaine, Peripherie, persephone325, Remiel, Ryven, Sarena, Sex Bobomb, That Girl Analise, Valerian
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 01:28:55 AM by Saffron »

Offline Niferbelle

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #86 on: November 08, 2012, 10:16:37 PM »
Niferbelle had managed to spend her virtual time a little more sensibly this time and that coupled with the fact that everybody made it out all right left her feeling almost chipper...until she heard the sound of KingBear's ripping duct tape. It set her teeth in edge. KingBear, I still say your a menace!" she proclaimed then dug a granola bar out of her drawer and turned her attention to her monitor and got back to work.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #87 on: November 08, 2012, 10:42:03 PM »
As far as Trieste was concerned, it was time to test the limitations of what could be done to her virtual self. The vertigo of dropping into VR still made her head spin and still left her scrabbling for a foothold. For some of their customers, simply being oneself was not enough. They'd worked hard on cybernetics and bionetics, to the point where those logging in could make use of them, so that was what she did. While last trip was all Liszt and fine wine, this trip was [[noembed]url=]a little more Curve[/url][/noembed] and Cuervo.

First was the enhanced heads up display. Trieste picked up the oculator, holding it up and examining it. Originally someone had programmed in goggles to do this job, but it was found that through some sort of bug that they couldn't track down that the goggles did nothing. So the oculator, which looked something like five-pronged forceps, had been written in its place. The process was quicker and easier than she had thought it would be - a tap, a twist, and a few moments of watering eyes. She could feel a hot, electric tingle running through the back of her eyes, where her optic nerve would be located in her physical body, and then with the next blink the EHUD was there. It was more than a little disorienting to have data streaming across her field of vision, and she nearly fell over. Note to self: require clients to be sitting during the procedure.

Getting her bearings, Trieste stood straight and ran her fingers through her hair. It always seemed to be night in this city that they had created, at least in her area. She preferred it that way most days, and with the EHUD in, she could see everything clear as day anyhow. The lights of the city twinkled below the picture window she liked to spend time near, lighting up her vision like little LED beacons in a sea of green-hazed HUD nightvision. She wondered if this was how the AI saw the world, regardless of whether it was virtual or not. As her eyes flicked back and forth, reading data that only she could see, she was reminded of how his eyes darted when the more synthetic part of him seemed to take over. The thought gave her the faintest of shudders. She wasn't sure whether it was intriguing or disturbing, so she chose not to think about it, instead focusing her attention to the task at, heh, at hand.

She turned from the window and looked down at a small end-table sitting near her. Atop it was a pillow, and atop that was an artificial limb. This was a little more involved than installing the HUD, since she had to install it over the top of her own arm. It was coded to install properly, had been tested on several non-sentient targets before, but it still made her uneasy. She slid her fingers under the cold metal of the wrist and picked it up. The process of installing it over her arm was a little less gruesome than it might have been in realspace. Instead of having to lop off her real arm, all she had to do was lay the artificial one overtop of her own arm, digitized as it was. The metal skeleton sank into her flesh, and it burned exquisitely. She could feel the connections burning up her spine, through the back of her neck and into her brain. Her eyes rolled back in her head for a moment, and she thought briefly that she would end up passing out.

Seems like a whole lot of effort to go to... The sarcastic thought was forgotten as soon as she looked down. The artificial component had installed correctly. The skin written into the program was a lovely shade of silver-grey, neither metallic nor plastic. There was the faintest of mechanical whirs as she bent each finger forward, then back. She made a fist, watching all of the silvery fingers work in concert, then straightened it back out. Everything seemed to be in working order, which was good because Trieste wasn't sure what she would do if her hand stopped working. Probably run down the streets of the city, yelling out in a panic for one of the other engineers. She could see it now - she would never live it down.

Thankfully it was not something she would have to be concerned with. All of her fingers worked, and when she traced the fingers of her left hand across the palm of her right hand, she could feel every touch. It was working. It was working!

She went out on the town. The EHUD was like a cheat code, one that no one else knew about. With a thought, she shifted her view of others so that she saw only their bones. Virtual bones meant little; if only the technology existed in realspace to do such a thing. Probably wouldn't make much money. I know what would make money. With a quirk of her lips, Trieste shifted her view to filter out the clothing of everyone on the street. Since they were all programs, there weren't really any of them that Trieste didn't want to see naked. That would make money off of high school boys, if she had a way to program it out of VR. It was, admittedly, something she had toyed with before.

When she grew bored with playing with the EHUD, the next thing was getting more acquainted with her new right hand. She glanced around her as she paused by a door - she hadn't seen any cops around the city, not tonight or the last trip in, but she didn't exactly want to deal with them. There was no telling what some of the others had programmed into the law enforcement. Once she knew the coast was clear, she caressed the lock on a door. It opened with a satisfying click, and she went in. The marble-floored lobby was dark; it was after business hours. That didn't bother Trieste. Her eyes glowed like a cat's in the nearly-nonexistent lighting, and she crossed to the wall of the lobby without stumbling or hesitating. Laying her glinting palm against the wall, she waited a moment. Waited, waited - there. Her palm sank into the wall as if it were made of putty, and she could feel the surveillance wires under her fingers. A squeeze, and every camera in the museum blinked off. Always wanted to do that. It was meaningless; there was no need for money in this world, after all. Still, her boots clicked on the marble floor as she perused the collection and made a mental note of what she would take if she had the chance in the real world. There were all sorts of works that she would love to hang on her wall... as long as they were fantasizing, she might as well indulge that particular fantasy.



By the time she woke up, it felt surreal. Her right hand was warm. She could feel the heat radiating from her palm, and it felt alien. Turning her hand over to look at the palm of it, Trieste touched the tips of her index and her thumb together. Well, good, that one still worked. She went through the rest of the fingers of her right hand, touching thumb to the tips of her middle, ring, and pinky, then did it in backwards order. She felt like there should be a data readout hovering over her field of vision constantly, telling her how her reflexes were doing. The back of her neck tingled.

Hearing the confused voices around and the names flying back and forth, she finally looked up and looked around the room. There was KingBear tweaking his pod. Kythia was looking at something that involved a blender and a billiards ball - Trieste suspected it was porn, in all honesty. There was Aadreal blushing and stammering, and there was Mcsc once more trying to convert Bear to the glue camp. Trieste pursed her lips and hopped off the side of her pod, setting her feet on the floor and hooking her fingers at the waist of her jeans. "I think I'm probably with KingBear most of all. If someone did this it was probably a programmer. So... Yugi006, I guess." She shrugged her shoulders a little helplessly. "Unless someone has been able to track down what's going on with Biggs' pod and work on getting him back here..."

Offline Luna

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #88 on: November 09, 2012, 01:02:55 AM »
Luna felt a little nervous, climbing back in her pod... she didn't want to end up like Mr. B but this was too important to just give up. And as she felt her surroundings replaced by the cityscape she had wandered last night, her worries melted away, replaced by a sense of wonder. What wouldn't she risk to get this up and running so everyone could have the chance to experience this... anyone who could afford to, anyway. They could work on making it more affordable later, though, for now they just needed to make sure it worked at all.

To that end, Luna raced through the city on one of those Tron-inspired cycles she had seen a few of the others riding, screaming like a kid on a rollercoaster as the wind whipped through her long dark hair. "This is f**cking amazing!!!" she shouted to anyone who would listen, but that wasn't the extent of what she wanted to try tonight. She finally reached her destination, and stepping off her cycle she felt something tugging behind her just over her tight leather pants... she looked behind her and noticed a fluffly little wolf tail. "What the f..." she muttered under breath. "Where the hell did that come from?" she shrugged, finally letting out a soft sigh. It was kind of cute, if she didn't say so, herself. Which she didn't, because thankfully no one was around to see the quite foolish stunt she was about to try.

She stared up at the tall building that sprawled out on front of her. Taking a deep breath, she muttered to herself, "I must be crazy..." then she entered the building and rushed into the elevator. A few moments later, she was standing on the roof, staring across the rather large distance between where she was standing, and then she stepped back until she had enough space for a nice running start.

She ran, as fast as she could, towards the edge and tried to visualize making the jump, wondering if maybe she had just watched the Matrix too many times and she was going to end up splatting on the pavement. Could she really do this? She tried to imagine soaring through the air, the wind in her hair, the feeling of flying... she ran all the way up to the edge... she was going to do it...!

...

...

...no she wasn't. She stopped at the edge, almost teetering over, flailing her arms as she caught her balance and shook her head. Her newly acquired tail twitched in annoyance at her cowardice. Maybe tomorrow night, she would try it again. Or maybe find something to do that was half way sane.



Back in the real world, she was actually pleasantly surprised to find that no one else was stuck in limbo, but the down side was that they were no closer to figuring out who might be an enemy among them. A reviled Hacker. Sighing, her heart still beating wildly from her near brush with suicide, she logged into her station, with a six pack of Mountain Dew to keep her away for a few extra hours, and decided to go through the logs and check up on what Kokaine might have been up to last night.

Offline Starlequin

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #89 on: November 09, 2012, 01:25:34 AM »
Starlequin's head pounded as he sat back in his chair, glaring at the monitors ahead. The others were running the next testing round of the VR pods, and he was sorely tempted to return with them; there were so many more tests he needed to run, and all of them promised the kinds of thrills humanity had dreamt of for centuries but were forever out of reach within the framework of the natural world. He longed to join the others in their ultimate sandbox and feel the endless potential of their work surrounding him again, but for now his work kept him firmly anchored in the real world.

Damn it all, there had to be a way to bring Bigglesworth back to the land of the living, and Star was determined to find it. When he'd first sat down to work, he'd expected the task to be difficult; a mind wasn't just a collection of files to be scattered and recollected throughout a system. There were literally millions of variables that required attention, each one reliant on the last and the next to function properly and generate the exact wavelengths of consciousness that signified an individual's existence. But with the sort of processing power he was working with, it shouldn't have proven impossible.

But that was precisely what it was doing.

Hours and hours poring through hundreds of thousands of lines of code had left Star feeling drained. His stomach growled as belly kissed backbone, and he stood and stretched from his plush seat. A trip to the vending machines was in order. He turned and looked at Biggles, still trapped in his pod, and left the testing room. At least he had plenty of time to work on getting the poor bastard out; only a few hours after they had confirmed his status, Star and a few of the other engineers arranged for the insertion of feeding and waste removal tubes into Bigglesworth's comatose form. Provided no more accidents struck to send him into cardiac or respiratory failure, they could keep him alive for as long as it took to get him out. Which was probably a blessing, because Starlequin was beginning to worry it would take quite a while indeed.

Coins dropped in one of the glowing vending machines downstairs, and Star punched the buttons for a lukewarm soda and a ham sandwich on sourdough. Cheap-ass execs kept refusing to extend the building's cafeteria hours to 24-hour days no matter how hard he tried to convince them, leaving them with soggy abominations and barely carbonated tragedies for their only sustenance during the late night code runs. Starlequin slumped to the floor and tore into his makeshift meal with resignation, chewing and slugging down every bite to keep as much of it off his tongue as possible.

Somewhat fortified, he returned to the test chamber and replanted his butt in front of the streaming screens of code, sighed, and dove back in to the riddle of the missing mind. As he worked, he largely ignored the others' puttering around. Or tried to, anyway. Mild annoyance flitted across his face as their chit-chat broke through his concentration now and again; here he was working to rescue a lost colleague and they were bantering about friggin' duct tape yet again. But at least it sounded like a little sense was being made. He was beginning to think his earlier suspicions of KingBear had indeed been groundless. Whoever had attacked Biggles was clearly a dangerous mind, and Starlequin doubted the gaffer-taped goon was even armed. A few new likely suspects now topped his list of untrustables.

First, there was Sarena. Star knew it had been a slight breach of ethics...well, maybe more like a 'bruise' than a 'breach', really...but his curiosity had gotten the better of him one evening when she was out of the offices and he'd found her terminal still logged on. A quick peek wouldn't have hurt anything, and really it had served her right for committing such a blatant n00b trespass as failing to log out; who wouldn't have looked? But what he'd learned had been almost too shocking to believe. Or maybe it wasn't. It was always the quiet ones, after all; isn't that what everyone says? The woman who seemed so professional, so strictly business, was clearly as greedy and cutthroat as any black hatter could get. Right there, on her browser, had been the proof: Sarena had downloaded WinRAR...without paying! It nearly made Star retch to even think of it now. Even if she wasn't responsible for Biggles' fate, part of him cried out to see her brought to justice.

Then, Yugi006. Nothing too strange about him at least, but the others were right in pointing out the hand he'd had in Standing's imprisonment. Star had worked with Standing only for the last few weeks, and not much had been shared between the two. But he'd seen what an idealist the man had been, and even though Starlequin was far more pragmatic than his coworker, he'd felt more than a touch of respect for such a lofty vision. And Yugi had been the first one to drive the nails into Standing's coffin. Kythia's sudden defense of him was odd as well, but then Kythia had proven to be a very odd duck, herself. There just wasn't enough to go on with those two.

But finally, there was one other whose work had been exemplary, but whose behavior had been more than a little unusual. She'd been with the project almost from the beginning, perhaps even longer than Starlequin himself, but he'd seen how she'd been passed over time and again for promotions, raises, higher bandwidth allocations. He doubted anyone could withstand that kind of indignity without developing a mountain-sized chip on their shoulder. Maybe, just maybe, That Girl Analise had finally decided it was time to start striking back at those she felt had oppressed her career? Yeah...maybe. It was as good a theory as any he could come up with. For now.

Star shook his head and leaned back, craning his head upward and staring into the dimmed glow of the overhead fluorescents. Working the problem in meatspace was getting him nowhere. It was time to start getting creative. Star gathered the full contents of Biggles' drives, compressed them into managable size, and 'ported them to his own terminal before jacking back into VR. In the real world, Starlequin was but a mortal, and it was becoming clear that no mere human mind could accomplish the task of reconstructing and de-digitizing a whole person from the depths of binary limbo. But in VR...in VR, like the rest of his colleagues, Star was a god, with fewer pesky rules and limits on his thought processes. Surely a god would be able to save their lost friend...

Right?

Offline Valerian

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #90 on: November 09, 2012, 09:59:07 AM »
The book felt exactly right, solid and steady in her hands.  The words on the pages had never been published in such a form in the original world, but now, here, they lived on paper, bound together, unchanging yet capable of infinite variation.

"We all share one collective mind. What I find so interesting about it, is the ambiguity of this fantasy: It can be presented as the ultimate horror. Already in the fifties the big threat of communism was the notion of brainwashing, the ability to establish 'one mind'..."

If she wanted to change this book into a first edition of Madame Bovary, for example, she could do it as easily as she could think about it, and it would be as though it had never changed.  The paper looked old, the ink slightly faded, the bindings worn with years of reading.  It would always look and feel absolutely convincing in every way.

"Today you still have on the one hand this negative utopian image of the collective mind, while on the other hand you have this positive New Age image. There are two opposite versions, but what I'm tempted to disagree with is their common presupposition, which is that cyberspace means, to put it very simply, the end of individuality, the end of Cartesian subjectivity. All positive properties are externalized in the sense that everything you are in a positive sense, all your features can be manipulated... either I can build a new identity for myself or in a more paranoiac way, I am somehow already controlled, manipulated by the digital space. What you are deprived of are only your positive properties, your personality in the sense of your personal features, your psychological properties. But only when you are deprived of all your positive content, can one truly see what remains, namely the Cartesian subject.

"Do you know the function 'undelete' in computers? The problem with computers is not that something can be erased: you worked all afternoon and then have a power failure and it's gone. Okay, these things can happen. But you know that it's sometimes even more horrible that you cannot really erase it. Once it's in, it's in. Here I see also the problem with cloning. It's not the problem of: "Will I lose my individuality, will I be in the position of precise doubles etc." The problem of cloning is that you cannot ever die. You kill yourself and they find (ideally speaking, of course it is not yet scientifically possible) just a little bit of you and they can reconstitute you. You are endlessly reproducible. Nobody knows how this will affect individuality."

It was not, however, at all reassuring, as it would normally have been, to lose her own worries in the contemplation of the deeper questions.  Taking refuge in philosophy was no longer possible, it seemed, and Val closed the book with a sigh.

She'd never thought that she would ever be so relieved to wake up and slip back into the original world.  Every faint glitch in the programs, any tiny flicker of the images, and she had been sure that she, like poor Mr B, would be trapped there forever.  Now she was exhausted and angry with herself for letting paranoia get to her.  It seemed she couldn't be philosophical when she most needed to be.

Blinking, readjusting to her surroundings, she listened sadly to the voting.  Paranoia was inescapable, it seemed, and no wonder.

"I don't know," she sighed, rubbing her temples.  "How can anyone know anything for sure anymore?  Maybe Sunshine knows something.  I certainly don't."  And she frowned, feeling a headache build.  She hated not knowing what was going on.

*Quotes from Slavoj Zizek, Hysteria and Cyberspace

Offline Saffron

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #91 on: November 09, 2012, 12:11:41 PM »
Votes
KingBear - 4
Yugi006 - 3
Kokaine - 1
Niferbelle - 1
Peripherie - 1
Ryven - 1
Sasha -1
Sunshine - 1
That Girl Analise - 1

Yet to vote
Beguile's Mistress, Breathless Intent, Gavlois, James Moriarty, Kyrsa, Kokaine, persephone325, Remiel, Ryven, Sex Bobomb, That Girl Analise
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 02:04:49 AM by Saffron »

Offline Sarena

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #92 on: November 09, 2012, 06:36:43 PM »
Sarena breathed a little easier knowing that no one else had been trapped inside the VR world.  It was bad enough that one had been.  She didn't blink at the mention of her name from Yugi and barely managed a nod of thanks to Aadreal as she waved a hand, "I think we're all a little gun-shy and grasping at straws right about now." 

She let her eyes fall in Niferbelle and shook her head, "You wouldn't know anything about Mr. Big's predicament, would you?"

Online Peripherie

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #93 on: November 09, 2012, 11:02:33 PM »
"Huh, wha?" Peripherie was twirling in her desk chair, thinking on the odd set of events and more troubling, her own recent trip into the VR program. She had actually felt ... proud? thankful? supportive of what the others had done? It was certainly a new feeling for her. So much so that she didn't even hear the accusations against her. Right now she found it difficult to be her normally snarky on the inside, and syrupy sweet on the outside self. Really, she had just wished that she had never followed the lead of others in the first place. The Last Standing had been innocent and was now gone. But perhaps...  that was Yugi006's plan all along?

Offline yugi006

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #94 on: November 10, 2012, 01:39:46 AM »
Yugi thought he was safe as votes deflected from him but seeing the votes pile for him he became scared that he might be endangered of being disabled. He thought seriously about his vote. He heard Aadreal apologize to Sarena for voting for her earlier. If she her suspicions had changed maybe Sarena was not a hacker after all. He decided to change his vote to protect himself. His eyes then turned to KingBear. He was always an odd man always playing with duct tape for some reason. Maybe he used the duct tape to tamper with Mr. B's pod.

Offline ThatRPGuyTopic starter

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #95 on: November 10, 2012, 05:27:28 AM »
This afternoon we'll be moving the game along, so this is a last call. 12 hours left to Make and change votes!
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 05:29:16 AM by Saffron »

Offline Saffron

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #96 on: November 10, 2012, 05:30:35 AM »
Votes
KingBear - 4
Yugi006 - 4
Kokaine - 1
Niferbelle - 1
Peripherie - 1
Ryven - 1
Sasha -1
Sunshine - 1
That Girl Analise - 1

Yet to vote
Beguile's Mistress, Breathless Intent, Gavlois, James Moriarty, Kyrsa, Kokaine, persephone325, Remiel, Sex Bobomb, That Girl Analise
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 01:23:34 PM by Saffron »

Offline Ryven

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Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #97 on: November 10, 2012, 07:20:02 AM »
"Ummmm...Yugi006?" he said as he looked up from the book he'd been reading.

Offline James Moriarty

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #98 on: November 10, 2012, 09:42:37 AM »
When he entered the VR this time, he knew that something was different.  The NPCs were wary of him, watching him.  They lined the sidewalks, forming a corridor -- preventing easy access to some areas, guiding him towards a destination.  Bringing up the map in his HUD, he could see that he was being channeled towards the geometric center of the city they had created.  Part of their program had become increasingly autonomous -- it had wormed its way into his head, and he was realizing with more and more clarity that it had a purpose of its own.  He felt sure he was the only one among them, so far, to have ascertained that purpose, but not knowing whom to trust, he could still tell no one.  Maybe one of them -- there was one...

The rain fell even harder and colder, soaking him thoroughly and making the long walk towards the massive skyscraper they had set in the center of this sprawling metropolis uncomfortable.  But he had to know what it was he was meant to see there.  Attempting to locate the other members of his team, he could see that somehow they had all been Jumped to locations far to the outskirts of town, nowhere near his location.  They would know nothing of the things he was seeing, and perhaps more chillingly, would never be able to reach him in time in case help was needed.  He double checked to confirm his worst fears: all two-way biometric safety protocols had been turned off.  His PENIS could not protect him now -- he could be injured, or killed, during this Jump.

When he arrived at the Plaza, he found the building lit up, bright and warm in the rain.  There were several NPCs who performed searches and went through the ritual of having him sign the visitor list and receive a guest badge.  He never failed to be impressed at the detail put into their world -- the realism of the clothing, the smooth and nearly human gestures and movements of the human NPCs, the behaviors that so closely mimicked those one would find in the real world in various situations such as this one.

He entered the elevators to find only one floor listed: 97.  Pushing the button, the ring around it glowed with a soft, green light and the doors closed.  The acceleration was swift and smooth and in a few moments, he exited into a large, glass atrium at the top of the tall building.  He could see the entire city -- a walk around the ring of the room showed the sprawling, dark urban landscape punctuated with dots of light.  It was magnificent -- the culmination of decades of human advances in engineering and years of his team's work.  As he watched, the sheer glass shimmered -- before his eyes, the city grew outward, sprawling in every direction.  More and more buildings popped into existence, the skyline almost macabre in its sheer magnitude, huge, unbelievably tall structures dotting the horizon.  And though he could not see them, he knew -- the city's population was exploding, growing to accommodate the entire human race.  He suddenly felt a sick sensation -- the tower he was in grew taller and taller, a god's eye view over the shocking jungle of structures of iron and marble and brick, the darkness creeping out in all directions, swallowing the empty space like a virus...



James sat bolt upright in his pod, suddenly disconnected from the simulation.  He immediately looked around, making sure that everyone was alright.  No one had been left behind in the VR this time, which was a relief.  Someone was still working among them to thin their ranks, and he had to cast his vote.  The strange sensation of activated code paths in his brain tingled and made him feel... distant, padded away, further from reality, numb, everything retreating...

His body stiffened and he scanned each member of the team once again, trust protocols in effect.  Many had chosen to add their collective wisdom to his own, causing them all to become peers in a higher order network of reliance in the Game they participated in.  Immediately discounting any level 1 or higher Game player, he considered the remaining field, weighing the one prior vote activity and his own personal knowledge and goals.  Using a weighted algorithm for calculating odds based on the few known factors, he encountered a four way tie.  A random number generator resolved the four way tie.

"Peripherie," he intoned, the humanity drained from his voice.

Offline James Moriarty

Re: Virtually Irresistible - [RL Phase 3]
« Reply #99 on: November 10, 2012, 10:17:19 AM »

James suddenly sits bolt upright in his chair.  His eyes are flitting back and forth quickly, scanning something -- the room?  an unseen readout? -- and then he begins to speak.

Hello.  Here is your Fourth Challenge.  Your participation is vital. 

This one is a little bit harder.  Use your resources. 

There are no rules.

Good luck.





CHALLENGE 3


HINT 3
For the password, you need look no further than my family name.