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EVO Corporate Offices West Tower, ~ 0800 PST Seattle Wednesday January 21st 2070

"Welcome to Seattle GITs Matt." with a polite nod, really more of an entire head bob, at the chair extruding itself from the floor the floating ball of manifesting ectoplasm indicated where the latest EVO Aleut Prime Executive school graduate was to seat himself. The 150 centimeter hovering eyeball blinked, then continued, "You may call me Wotan, you understand that's not my True name of course! I'm the Task Force Leader and I wanted to get a good look at you, the real you, before we took a brief tour of our assigned area. That chair will keep you protected while we go for a quick tour. Ready?"

The manifested eyeball winked out and waited expectantly for the young elf to transition before continuing, "Catch me if you can!"

"Weeeeeeeeee!" screamed the spirit as is zoomed out of the tower into the Seattle morning air.
Station 6 Clinic, ~2000 JST Tokyo Wednesday January 21st 2070

Only 17 autopsies to go. A whirling collection of telescoping articulated arms with high speed saws, laser cutters, suction straws and sensor tips worked in concert with an army of self propelling insectile drones in rendering the bodies in the order proscribed in vivisection texts since the time of Leonardo.

Adone monitored everything idly, concentrating on the preliminary tox analysis and genetic screens. Individually there wasn't anything spectacular, but it became clearer why the Crash Cart system agents had flagged these cases for CTB attention.

It wasn't often you got a set of 19 genetically identical 7 year old girls all dead as the result of a release of the latest commercial military grade blood borne nano cutters.

19 so far.
EVO Corporate Offices - West Tower, Seattle, UCAS
~0800 PST, Wednesday, 21 January 2070

Matt Freewind – Trainee

Walking into the room, the young man was greeted by a cheerful though professional sounding spirit. Looking over to it, the floating ectoplasm eyeball motioned towards the only chair in the room. Taking the not so subtle hint in stride, Matt moved over and listened as the spirit continued even before he sat in the chair.
As he set himself in a comfortable position on the unusually cushioned chair, the elf made a few mental notes of what was being said. ‘So this thing is called Wotan and it’s going to be my boss…’ he thought to himself as he got comfortable. He knew what his new boss wanted, to see his spiritual form in the open, not an unreasonable request. Leaning back, the trainee named Freewind relaxed his mind, body and spirit; releasing his astral form from its physical container.

The spirit could see the scene as it happened from its vantage point across the room. The aura the trainee had around his body seemed to pull in on itself until none shown, but then out of the corporal being ebbed out a form one couldn’t mistake as the host’s spirit. It looked nearly like Matt’s physical form, from except a glowing green with bright blue lines of mana running along his exposed skin and dark red runes on his long duster and pants.

Finally making the jump from physical to spiritual, the elven mage opened his eyes to the room, viewing it in the dull base colors the real world showed in but also seeing the myriad of colors the swirling mana and ambient emotion signatures gave off. His moment of looking adjusting was broken short by the quick words of the spirit, which jarred Matt’s vision in its direction just in time to hear Wotan scream joyfully and zoom out of a nearby window into the Seattle morning.
‘It wants me to play tag now?’ the elf wryly asked himself as he went from a still hover over his own body to a breakneck speed instantly. Almost instantly he was outside the tower looking at the panoramic view of the Seattle bay line from his height. Quickly, he broke his view of the sight and quickly swung his sight all around looking for any sign of the flying eyeball. By pure chance the glowing green entity saw a glimpse of it turn the north corner of the tower. Not wanting to waste any more time, he shot after it as fast as he could.

Making the quick turn, Freewind had to reorient himself as he saw the spirit had shot directly down towards the ground, dragging the following mage behind it. They flew down the many stories of the tall tower, the ground looming closer and closer. ‘This is going to be a really weird way to play chicken…’ he quickly thought with a tone of disbelief. Luckily, his guess was correct and just before the spirit would have driven itself into the neigh-impenetrable earth it turned a 90-degree physically impossible reorientation.
Matt caught up a little with the inside curve he was privy to in that instance, but it didn’t close enough for his taste. Really, it was just enough for Wotan to laugh loudly and yell back, “Come now, Trainee! You have more in you than his, right?? A new burst of speed shot the spirit across the courtyard, though the many people walking towards destinations Matt cared little about. With a quick snarl, the young mage increased his own speed in effort to catch up.
Station 6 Clinic, ~2300 JST Tokyo Wednesday January 21st 2070

Almost midnight and the preliminary analysis was complete. 19 genetically identical little girls, identical except for the normal phenotypical expressions and the changes expected from environmental factors. Their masses varied by only 5 kilos and their height only by 2 centimeters, well within the expected norms. There were some differences, one had a few nano tattoos, still actively playing out the smiling scene of the latest pop child star act, most of them had short hair, but there were enough in long pig and pony tails to differentiate them. The hair color differences were a result of different levels of UV, acid rain, and not a few Glamour Girl make up kits.

Earlier today, according to the Crash Cart ERT reports, so close together at 1649 as to not matter, these 19 girls had simply fallen over, and their respective families had responded as expected.

Nanocutters were a nasty business. As soon as they had been detected the lab had gone into lockout till the nano suppression systems had come online. Other then the fact they were nano cutters, there wasn't anything special about them, which was special in and of itself, commercial cutters were required to contain taggants. It was impossible for these to be more then two years old, and for some reason over 50 percent of the effects had been focused on neural matter. Which turned the brain pan into soup. A perfectly normal soup. If you could call it that.
Station 6 Clinic, ~2400 JST Tokyo Wednesday January 21st 2070
Dr. Adone - Medical Examiner

As the night grew late, the robotic laboratory systematically opened and explored the remaining children. The room was littered with AROs, and data seemed to be dripping off of the operating tables faster than humanly possible to gather, much less, to process. Dr. Adone, and the swarm of nanites forming two mesh networks over his brain, however, had little trouble keeping up with, and regulating the flow of complex medical information within the laboratory's node. Dr. Mori and Dr. Akers had finished their medical analysis and submitted them to be incorporated into Dr. Adone's finial report. Each was now gathering material for further tests, on both the recovered nanites and the genetic information, which were expected to go on for at least another two hours. From his vantage point within the laboratory's remote operation node, Dr. Adone could see his students' fatigue beginning to set in. It had already been a long day, but, like most of the work done at the CTB, it could not wait until morning. Adone, however, was feeling fine, and much like his students, his interest in this case had grown over the last few hours. He reminded himself, however, that his students would require rest soon. The majority of this case would probably fall to him, which was, quite honestly, where he felt most comfortable with it being.

CrashCart was waiting for the initial report with some urgency, and, although it would satisfy the usual questions about the time and cause of death, it created far more questions than it answered. Adone could not imagine that his findings would put anyone at ease - least of all, the parents of these children. However, empathy had never been one of his talents, and it certainly was not the job assigned to him at the CTB. Attempting to understand the emotions of others often left him frustrated and confused at their lack of reason. No, Adone would do what he did best - and provide the answers only he could provide - to analyse the situation and produce medical and scientific facts and evidence. It would be someone else's job to frame those facts in a way that the parents, and others within Evo's heirarchy, would accept.

Actually, "parents" was a surprisingly accurate term, in this case. Despite being identical (within expected thresholds), the genetic template that each of the girls had in common seemed to be a match against all 38 of the parents on file. The odds of this happeneing in nature, were astronomical - although not so high that Adone left the calculation out of his report. The results of the first pass of genetic testing confirmed this. Although the parents were as genetically distinct as expected in Evo's Tokyo-branch, they had some commonalities, and when compared against any one of the girls, would pass a paternity test.

The fact that no gene modifications were requested during these children's pregnancy suggested that the parents didn't know that their daughter had at least 18 identical twins in Japan - or that their child had been tampered with, which was the only explanation Adone currently had for how this could have occurred. Genetic tampering that didn't appear in Evo medical records was reason enough for concern. The elaborate level of design, that must have went into this to insure that typical genetic screening would not have detected it, suggested that it was done by someone who knew what they were doing. Your typical splicer or baby-stylist would not have been able to do something like this.

Adone understood that this knowledge would come as little comfort to the parents. In fact, this information would only worsen the effect - and have a greater impact on their future work-performance at Evo. Adone knew little of the protocols in these situations, but suspected that very little of his report would make it to their ears. This was fine.

The cause of death was almost as disturbing. The nanites were not commercial-grade, and didn't carry any identifying tags. That is not to say, however, that they left no evidence. The concentration of effects on the brain was not random, and suggeted a targetted attack. This, alone, might not have been suspect as part of a normal nanotechnological examination (as attacking the brain is a good way to kill anyone), but an interesting phenomenon in the girl's genetic sequence made them both stand out. Although each girl's DNA had gone under normal mutation and environmental changes, each possessed a particular strand of code related to neural mapping that was unchanged between them. That code, Adone hypothesised was going to be key to unlocking this mystery.

In VR, several dozen windows were begging for his attention - most simply monitoring the corpses strewn about the lab, or the various results that were still pouring in from the autmated tests. In one of the windows in the forefront, Adone's agent-program was running a fairly exhaustive and time-consuming (although not particularly difficult) search, matchings the children's genes (with and without the interesting neurological expression) against those of all known Evo employes (starting with those closest to Tokyo and expanding outwards). If there were more than 19 such girls, or even other candidate parents that were somehow connected to this, Adone believed that their genetic information would also have to fall within normal boundries of that of the parents of any of these girls. If there was another child out there, she was certainly dead by now, but it was still important that the CTB track her down, and identify the parents that were chosen and integrated into this effort.

Two other prominant windows displayed his collegues working. Dr. Akers was on the other side of the lab beginning some tests using VR simulations to attempt to decypher what the result of that particular neurological mapping might be. While not nearly as conclusive as regrowing a clone from the genetic information abundantly available in the laboratory, the simulation would be a lot quicker and would provide a hypothesis before dawn. Dr. Mori was next-door, in the cybertechnology lab, running tests on the nanites (now rendered innert by the nanite-suppression system). Dr. Adone had requested a detailed analysis of the nanite history and ultimate trigger, as well as any more information that could be gleaned from thier instruction-set. He knew they could not have been more than a few years old, however, the children did not appear to have been given any cybernetic augementations (and their medical history showed nothing of the sort) suggesting that within three months the body would have filtered them out naturally. That constrained the time of exposure significantly, but he was hoping Dr. Mori could shed further light on how the nanites got into the girl's bodies.

Having established the time of death as well as the cause of death, Adone's remaining concerns were discovering how and why the children were attacked, and whether or not there is any further threat to Evo or its employees. His subordinates and automatons were making headway on those investigations, but before Adone could lend his significant ability to any one of these experiments, he had to complete his preliminary medical report, and forward it on to the proper individuals. In hot-sim, that didn't take long at all. He packaged up the complete preliminary report - highlighting the new findings that he found interesting enough to warrant his (and CTB attention), covered all of the typical medical bases, and submitted a formal request for authorization for further medical investigation into this case. Having taken all of the biological samples he could imagine needing, Adone also signed off on having the corpses disposed of, archived for study, or returned to the parents at the descression of those who make those sorts of decisions. It certainly wouldn't hurt his follow-up investigations to have them on hand, but it would certainly raise attention if they were treated usually.

It wasn't the fact that these girls were attacked that had him concearned. That had already happened, and, at least in the literal sense, could not be undone. However, presumably, what made these girls targets had been recovered and could be reused if it was of value to Evo. It also wasn't the fact that there could be more than 19 girls in this line. Any girls that had not been recovered and brought to him were certainly just as dead, and it was unlikely that their bodies contained anything that unique. What concerned him, and convinced him there was danger, was the idea that someone - potentially someone outside of Evo, or operating without proper authorization - was not only capable of orchestrating such a large-scale and complexly concealed genetic program, but was capable of executing it across Japan without being discovered. At least, it wasn't discovered by anyone other than the person who had the motive and means to shut that program down. If Evo was taking credit for neither the creation of these girls, nor the cancellation of their experiment, it meant that there was definitely a potential threat that would warrant a full investigation - as well as the purely scientific value in discovering what genetic information was so important that someone went through all of this.

That was just it, though, whoever coordinated the attacks targeted the brain - not the DNA. Surely a highly mutagenic attack would have irrevocably destroyed or changed the girl's genes, rendering that particular sequence unusable and probably masking the existence of 19 identical girls. Instead, the attacker simply destroyed the expression of that sequence in the girls, individually. Their brains stopped functioning in the way that they were designed to - but those designs were left scattered throughout the corpses. While genetically predisposed to the intuitive processing and collaboration of data, Adone did not want to jump to any conclusions, or construct any theories until he had information to back it up.

The final product, including attached scanner data, genetic information, nanite details, and intense mathematical computations was considerable in size. It may have only taken his team a few hours to compile it into a form someone outside of this field might make sense of, but he figured it would be days before its contents could be fully digested by anyone interested in having all of the available facts. It wasn't sent to CrashCart directly. There were channels these things needed to go through, but his part in that data-flow was complete - he could now focus his attention, and his laboratories resources, on a much deeper analysis.

Quickly catching up on Dr. Aker's simulation-work, involving applying only the common neurological mapping to a controlled-example in an attempt to detect the effects of the change, Dr. Adone began creating his own models. 19 distinct neurological models, one based off of all neurological mapping information available within the children's genetic blueprints as well as that contained in their seven years of medical history. He also created a hybrid model that attempted to average out all commonalities (removing environmental factors, and typical mutations among clones). He hoped this model would be more representative of the intended result rather than the actual experiments.

It was going to be a long night spent writing code, crunching numbers, and forging new ground in genetic research - and Adone could hardly imagine a better way to put his time to use.
Redmond Barrens, ~ 1000 PST Seattle Wednesday January 21st 2070

"I can see you're wasting away." Wotan eyed the new recruit, warily. Abandoning the scene of the teenaged dwarf slowly fading out of life as the BTL mindlessly ran it's preprogrammed blissful course the bloated eyeball blasted through the miasma of woe and started elevating and aiming for the towers in the distance. "Back to the office."

Moments later, back in the high West Tower Office. "Remember we don't have jurisdiction!"

"Your first assignment is to design a plan for efficiently using your resources for monitoring some of that activity we saw today. You can make a presentation after lunch. You can use this office, or the one next door."

"I have to go to a meeting. You are lucky, you could just plug in, but I have to go in person! Well, off to Alaska. See you after lunch Matt."
Approximately 90,000 feet above the atlantic, ~11:00 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Outside the transparent ceramic portal, the plasma fires had mostly subsided as the craft neared apogee. The hard, clear surface was a miracle of materials science, keeping at bay both the near vacuum and the hot, corrosive plasma that formed in the craft’s shockwave – all while remaining nearly transparent from the near infra-red to just short of the ultraviolet. The practical aspect was that the incredible pressures and temperatures the ceramics could withstand allowed globe-spanning transportation in a matter of hours. As impressive as that aspect was, the aesthetic aspect was perhaps more spectacular still.

The view through the window was as breathtaking as the scarce atmosphere beyond. The ocean was a reflective blue of a hue so complex it was hard not to imagine the mysterious depths it concealed. Above that, clouds lay like shining, rippling sand on the bottom of a stream. Near the edges, the ripples where larger and more pronounced, with spaces between, leaving the impression of smooth, white pebbles strewn along a shore. Above it all was the light blue haze of wavelength-dependant Rayleigh scattering, fading into a rich, deep darker blue and finally to the black of space.

Steffen Piers, however, gave it no more than a momentary glance. True, he could instantly recall every minute detail, re-living the experience down to the slight tingling feeling of microgravity, if necessary. Also true, that Piers was a veteran of these types of flights – there was always somewhere, usually far away, that his talents were needed. Neither of these was the reason for his disinterest, however: distraction was.

Having successfully cleaned up the mistakes of his predecessor in Morocco, it was now time for Piers’ next assignment. Because of his success, this time he was being given first pick at available postings. He had only two days to choose, however, and the choice was difficult. There were three openings, and all three had their own appeal.

The first possibility was Gang Intelligence. This is the assignment my father would have chosen, he thought. It was a promising assignment – with hard work, he could help to bring about a positive change for several neighborhoods. He could be the hero, as his father was, to hundreds in a downtrodden area. Piers, though, didn’t have the same need to be recognized as a hero that his father did. Plus, the assignment had some downsides as well: He’d have to think like a ganger, and possibly even be a ganger for a time. That didn’t appeal to Piers either. More importantly, though, gangs where symptomatic. If the gangs were causing trouble beyond their usual supply of narcotics and low-level violence, then there were deeper troubles afoot. It would be better to be the one to get at the source of the conflagration than put out brush fires. That was the point his father, in his eagerness to help, sometimes missed.

The second possibility was Internal Affairs. It was in a country whose language he didn’t speak, but that hardly mattered. He could learn enough of the basic language on the flight over to be effective, and modern linguasofts were also sufficient. Internal Affairs was important work, too. It was impossible to root out corruption elsewhere in the world if your own house wasn’t clean. It was, however, very delicate work. Piers could handle delicate, but when you are IA, every interview is a sore spot. No one likes to rat out a friend, or be under suspicion. Every person you talk to makes the problem worse, even after you solve it. Piers needed information to work, and the best (even if least reliable) source was people.

The last possibility was a Diplomatic Operations assignment. Very little information was given about this post, and the possibilities were wide open. This made comparing it to the other two difficult, as they were more known quantities. It would be a difficult decision.

Piers mentally connected to the craft’s local network, and branched out with a few terse messages. The connection was AR only; the satellite coverage was pointed downward from here, and he wasn’t near any of the more permanent low-orbit settlements. During this phase of the flight, there was only the sparse AR halo intended for space jacks, high-priority transmissions, and emergencies. Piers’ job was high priority.

He had two days to make up his mind if he needed it – but he’d be in London before next morning. He’d be taking the first sub-orbital out from the Atlanta hub, his current destination. His belongings – those that he did not carry with him – would be arriving by cargo ship from his previous location shortly thereafter.

The rains of London would be a welcome and familiar change from the deserts of Morocco.
Dr Alton Memphis; Early Morning of Wednesday, January 21st; EVO Suites, NYC, UCAS

Alton woke to the gentle sounds of Gaelic music sung over half a century ago. He'd heard the song Ebudea literally hundreds of times but something about it lulled him peacefully from his sleep. He sat up in the monstrous bed that dominated his 31st floor apartment. "Lights" As the light filled the room, he quickly corrected. "Low luminescence."

He picked out his favorite G.H.Marcone suit, musing for a moment how they could weave the ballistic cloth into the design in such a way as to be very stylish and afford protection. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

As he stood to his full height and stretched, he smiled a deep smile. I can barely reach the ceiling.. That is the first measure of success.

Once he was dressed and had confirmed the location of his new office, he replied to a few ongoing conversations that had updates awaiting his attention in the matrix. He confirmed his breakfast appointment with Dragan and headed out, signaling elevator #3 he would need it.

When he reached the bank of elevators, several humans and a elf were boarding another elevator. He waved them on. Elevator #3 arrived an opened its gargantuan doors. He stepped in, finding himself alone. "35th floor" The top floor of the EVO Suites served as a mall of sorts. There are several restaurants and lounges overlooking nearby buildings. He selected Pour Amour de Monice.

He spotted Dragan easily. The venerable ork sat at a table in the middle of the room and was looking over a printed copy of the Wall Street Journal. The old ork noticed Alton easily and nodded as his junior approached. "Good Morning Alton. Have you settled in?"

"Yes, very well. I thought the training program was nice."

He old ork smiled at the novelty, "This is the real thing. Today you will meet your team. Did you read up on their bios?"

Alton was a little puzzled. "Yes. The team list is small. I expected considerably more."

"Since this is your first assignment, it is more task based. You also have at your discretion the use of contractors and deniable assets, should the need arise. As we discussed previously, your charter is very mailable. Given your unique attributes, you will assume more of a hands-on leadership as well."

Alton shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He had expected that given some of the specific elements his own custom training program. The in depth nature of his magical training was totally unexpected. It was not something he had discussed with the recruiter.

His plate of eggs arrived that time delivered by a lithe human girl, no more than twenty. The plate was really a platter and contained nearly a dozen chicken eggs scrambled as well as several links of sausage and toast with orange marmalade. Made from real oranges.

Alton ate most of his breakfast in silence, reflecting on his mentor's words. Near the end of the meal, after he downed nearly a quart of milk, he continued. "Your guidance is always appreciated. Do you have any further thoughts or words of wisdom before I embark on my first day here in New York?"
Station 6 Clinic, Tokyo
20:00 JST Thursday January 22st 2070
(11:00 GMT Thursday January 22st 2070)

Dr. Adone - Medical Examiner

It had been a long night. Adone hadn't slept. Dr. Mori and Dr. Akers had set up their initial experiments, before calling it a night, and Adone had spent the night alone in the lab making calculations, and adjustments - as well as finding himself drawn towards unrelated work, scientific articles, and other contributions in the moments when all he could do was wait for results.

That wasn't entirely accurate. Adone was not completely alone. His advanced agent program worked as tireless as its master running numbers and symbols against the ocean of data Evo maintained on its employees. The spiral pattern of its progress artificially lit up the room in AR iconography.

In the morning, when his students returned, Adone began to feel the effects of the night's work. The reminder of the hours that had passed seemed to call forth the hunger, thirst, and other biological needs that Adone had been keeping himself too busy to notice until then.

Curt, impersonal greetings were made between the three doctors as they began to gather their bearings and return to their work. Adone took a walk around the lab, gathering and injecting himself with a couple of nutritional supplements he always kept on hand. In this case, they were functioning as replacements - but he would eat and rest before the day was done.

At the end of the day, the results were mixed. Dr. Mori had finished his analysis of the nanites, and although he had a reasonable amount of data collected - very few questions were answered. Dr. Akers's models were progressing, but it would take more time before anything could be inferred from them. Dr. Adone's models were farther along, and had required 20 times the work to get there, but had no more answers to offer.

The three scientists had taken a break for dinner, where, as usual, discussion had revolved primarily around work. Afterwards, Dr. Mori and Dr. Akers headed back to their quarters early, and even Dr. Adone took the opportunity to rest and regain his vitality for a long weekend.

A few hours later, he was awakened when his agent program returned the results of it's search. With fresh eyes and a fresh mind, Adone broke his fast by tearing into the data - and there was plenty of it to go over. 168 results. 112 Evo employees with parental matches to the genetically identical girls. 56 men, married to the 56 other, female, results. On file were birth records for 56 children. All girls, born around the same time, all over the world. The 19 he took apart the day before were located, in and around, Tokyo, but the others were spread out around the world.

It didn't take long for Adone to pull their medical records and personal histories from the Evo network. 51 death certificates, rather than the 56 he expected to find. Adone took the time to verify that the agent had not missed them in its search. All certificates were dated yesterday. Not all of the autopsies were in, but it appeared that none of the other girls lived in close enough proximity for their simultaneous deaths and identical genetic makeup to raise any red-flags as it did here in Tokyo. Those reports that were in matched his findings, however, including the destroyed brains.

That did appear to leave five of these girls unaccounted for. Each of the missing girls belonged to parents that had left Evo at some point in the past, including one scientist who had gone through a handful of SINs. Their CrashCart contracts had been retracted when their benifits packages were revoked - which would explain why the girls were not recovered if and when they died.

The other thing this told Adone was that it had become less likely that the girls were Evo research. If they were, their parents' change of employer would have been slightly more complicated. The girls certainly would have been relocated, and kept within the company.

Still, this gave Adone a number of new leads. He began by constructing an addendum to his preliminary report, including this new information, the detailed nanite report, and the genetic variations found in the files for the other 37 girls. The fact that the attack was executed at a global scale was impressive, but it also meant that the Tokyo branch of Evo was not being targeted , specifically. These girls were certainly the targets of the attack, for the reason given in his previous report, but because the girls were not Evo property, it did not appear to be a terrorist attack against Evo. In fact, other than the effect on their parents' work, and the CrashCart costs associated with the death of a child - the financial impact on Evo was minimal. The breach of security was significant, but, scientifically, nothing appears to have been lost - but the attention drawn to that specific genetic sequence may turn out to be scientifically valuable. The key would be in discovering what effect those genes had on the brain, and why someone

In short, his previous analysis holds. For completeness, Adone put in a request for someone to interview each of the 51 pairs of parents who still work for Evo, looking for information that could explain what was special about their children, or shed any light on how someone could have genetically interfered with their child before birth. Commonalities could be compiled, assessed, and referenced in his upcoming experiments. In addition, it might be worthwhile for someone to attempt to track down the 5 families that left Evo, and verify that their children were also lost yesterday.

Additionally, Adone put in a formal request for additional resources. He and his lab would begin work on a batch of clone-brains, as well as a genetically modified embryo that would begin a natural development. Simulation results should be complete before either of the organic experiments, but the additional data provided by an artificially grown clone-brain and a naturally grown child would allow a complete study - although it would take as long as seven years for the program to complete.

After sending out the flurry of messages to the appropriate parties, Adone began to look over the medical histories of the 51 girls. He didn't know if the data would shed any light on what made these girls not-unique, but if there was a pattern there, he was determined to find it. His agent program ran along side him in VR, but even the most advanced Evo programming could not keep up with Adone's calculations.
Redmond Barrens, Seattle, UCAS
~0955 PST (GMT-8), Wednesday, 21 January 2070

Matt Freewind – Trainee

After the quickly ending game of tag, the pair had made their way through most of the Seattle landscape, mainly sticking to areas known for their gang-like activities or areas that might spawn one later in time. The amazing speed of astral transportation made this possible, since one wouldn’t be able to perform this feat otherwise. Since some of the major details of the real world, like words and color, are muted in the astral realm, the duo mainly examined the astral security each gang seemed to employ, if they did at all.
Still, that didn’t stop the spirit, Wotan, from halting the EVO Trainee at random spots to inspect situations like the one they were currently examining. In some random alley in Redmond, a lone female dwarf lay sprawled amongst the trash and grime. From what he could see, a dumbfounded glazed over look on her face made some sense with what he saw on the astral, her damaged and mal-aligned aura. “What do you see??, the plain question came forth from Matt’s new supervisor.

Taking a few seconds to really look into the scene to look beyond the topical view, the young mage examined it in more depth. During that time he made a couple of notes to add; the girl was completely out of it, her face was glazed over in pure bliss while her aura showed a mixture of pain and joy. The last thing he considered, which threw it all together, was the small cable that ran from her datajack to a pretty crappy commlink in her hand.
“It looks like she’s locked in a BTL right now. Probably an S&M one due to what I can see in her aura?, the elven mage replied. Not receiving a reply from the spirit to his side, Matt turned to see Wotan looking more at him than at the girl below the floating pair. “I can see you’re wasting away?, was the reply the spirit finally came out with.

The mage quirked his eyebrow a bit and raised a hand to examine it. He saw a little fading at the edges that showed that he had spent a good amount of time in the astral plane but nothing to really be worried about. Still, he shrugged it off as Wotan being safe with a mage it had never worked with before. “Back to the office?, the spirit finished as it moved off in that direction.

EVO Corporate Offices - West Tower, Seattle, UCAS
~1000 PST (GMT-8), Wednesday, 21 January 2070

The feeling of melting back into his body was actually a relief to Matt. Even though he didn’t mind flying around the astral plane, he always felt more at home in his physical body. Whenever he thought about it though, he always shrugged it off as the fact he didn’t have to worry about fading away in his physical body. At this moment he had little time to think about it at all though, as he opened his eyes to see the floating eyeball which his new supervisor had as a form.
“Before we continue any farther, I want to remind you of this important fact. Remember we don’t have a jurisdiction! We have no lines we can’t cross, no place we have to stop at?, Wotan made clear to the elf sitting in the chair before him. Matt just nodded in acceptance, knowing this from the training he had received over the past two months, along with his life before working with EVO.

"Your first assignment is to design a plan for efficiently using your resources for monitoring some of that activity we saw today. You can make a presentation after lunch. You can use this office, or the one next door", the floating spirit continued with. "I have to go to a meeting. You are lucky, you could just plug in, but I have to go in person! Well, off to Alaska. See you after lunch, Matt", he finished before flying out through the same window the pair had flow out a couple of hours before.
Seeing his supervisor leave, the elf just leaned back into the chair he was still sitting in and let out a sigh. ‘So I’m supposed to keep track of most of all that…’, he thought with a little distain. ‘Glad they have an easy job set up for me’, he sarcastically added before running a hand through his long green hair. “Whatever… Time to make my brain hurt?, he said with a grin tweaking at the edge of his lips.
Royal Observatory Greenwich, 1 Stockwell St, Greenwich, SE10, ~ 2000 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

The one thing in the park it would be hard to lose track of would be the time. The park was the scene of the Navy Orphans and Widow's fund ball, the afternoon fete had wound down, the hand made stalls covered up, and it was time for the planetarium ball. Tonight's special presentation being the full sensorium production of the night time scene from EVO Mars base on a live feed. In attendance were the core KnightsBridge and mane of the older Chelsea regulars, a smattering of continental overnight visitors, and the Tartan Army contingent from Edinburgh. The event required a physical presence to experience, and EVO limit of only 3000 special new trode sets had created one of the hottest tickets in the Isles.
PIERS - London ~ 1500 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Asterix winked his gallic eye under his blond eyebrow and twirled his blond pig moustache as his large oversized nose bounced over his smile. The winged helmet on his head stayed on during the maneuver. A black tee, red pants, a green belt with a gold sword completed his ensemble. Despite the cartoonish appearance of his icon, the fluid movements betrayed the amount of processing the representation was consuming as it presented the task parameters.

"Right, I'm Asterix, the London Diplomatic Group Program Manager. That means I'm your boss. When you aren't hauled off on some insane project managers pet idea, you'll be doing the routine tasks needed by our London Embassy. Like tonight! You'll be going to Greenwich and attending the gala there. Keep your nose to the ground, eyes on and hands off the ladies, and see how many other operatives you can spot in the crowd."

Tapping his bulbous nose, Asterix continued, "I'm also setting somebody to look for you, so you need to come up with a tight cover and maintain it. You'll need to pass the smell test!"

"After that party, I've got your calendar scheduled for the next month, you'll be busy. watch out, you're bound to gain a few kilos of you don't add some physical regimen of your own to your schedule."

"And don't forget to keep receipts for the Form 946B dash J!"
Volusia - London ~ 1500 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Asterix winked his gallic eye under his blond eyebrow and twirled his blond pig moustache as his large oversized nose bounced over his smile. The winged helmet on his head stayed on during the maneuver. A black tee, red pants, a green belt with a gold sword completed his ensemble. Despite the cartoonish appearance of his icon, the fluid movements betrayed the amount of processing the representation was consuming as it presented the task parameters.

"Ah, good doctor, feeling as well as you can I trust? Good good. Tonight you are attending a social event at Greenwich, so you must dress as best you can. Don't shoot any of our guests from the emerald isle. I am assigning you a test. They've sent me some hot shot and I need to have a test run. The time it takes you to discover him will determine who I assign him to. Hmm, yes, I guess I gave a bit away, well, well, I won't tell if you won't. Besides, I might be lying!"

"You'll be there as part of the official entourage for the Ambassador Sung Ching, so try to stay in the background."
Prometheus & Mariko - London ~ 1500 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Asterix winked his gallic eye under his blond eyebrow and twirled his blond pig moustache as his large oversized nose bounced over his smile. The winged helmet on his head stayed on during the maneuver. A black tee, red pants, a green belt with a gold sword completed his ensemble. Despite the cartoonish appearance of his icon, the fluid movements betrayed the amount of processing the representation was consuming as it presented the task parameters.

"How's your liver? Eh, never mind. You are going on a date tonight, both of you. Have fun!"

"Ah, not really, I need you two to give magical cover for the little exercise tonight, keeping Sung Ching protected, and backup just in case one of exercises tonight doesn't go right."

"So -look- like you're having fun!"
Dr. Elena Volusia's home, London, Wednesday January 21st 2070

Pain was a strange companion - coming in waves, like a fire burning in zero G. It rolled over its victims, but without consuming them utterly before receding only to hit them again. She lay in her bed contemplating this and for a moment did not realize that she was no longer dreaming... part of her wanted desperately to return to unconsciousness, but the pain wouldn't subside. It only got stronger, like a virus threatening to devour its host. Finally she forced herself to move - every muscle groaning in protest as she rolled onto her back. Without opening her eyes, she sent the neural signals to her arm to load a syringe. Just as the pain was becoming unbearable, her cybernetic limb managed to find her left arm with the needle.

Pepperment. Her arm tasted pepperment - cool and soothing as it rushed through her system. synthasia Finally she felt as if she could breath, and for a moment she just lay there. The pain didn't stay away for long though - it returned as a pale imitation of what it had been... merely a dull aching whisper rather than the insane wailing of its previous form.

Dr. Elena Volusia sat up and rubbed her neck with her left hand as she stretched a moment. She reached over and gently brushed away the film that had threatened to seal her right eyelid shut. She opened her eyes finally and looked over at the clock on her nightstand. 0400. Good and decent people would still be in bed. I'd still be in bed if it weren't for them. At least the sleep regulator means I can get a good night's sleep before the meds run out. I should check my dosage... the mixture must have been weak this time. In Dr. Elena's vision her DNI brings up the dosage levels of the chemicals that she had mixed from her medical supplies. It claimed that she had already exceeded the maximum recommended dosage. A Yiddish curse escaped her lips - she'd have to adjust the mixture yet again to cycle out the drugs she'd built a tolerance to.

Finally, she made her way out of bed - the occassional muscle spasm sending jolts of electric pain shooting up her spine. Perhaps a hot shower is just what I need...

She walked over to the bathroom - her cybernetic systems quickly correcting the uneven gait caused by her derformed leg - and started the shower. Before she got in, she noticed her reflection in the bathroom mirror. The left side of her face was of course the pleasant woman she had always been, shoulder length raven hair framing her angular elven features. The right side was particularly hideous this morning. Elena sighed and ran her metallic hand over the lumpy right side of her head - temporarily smoothing the intermitten whisps of hair that escaped the scales on her scalp. I can't beleive it... I'm bloody molting... it's going to be one of those days, I just know it.

* * * * *

Elena took a long shower, it was 0630 by the time she had finished her morning routine and gotten dressed. She hadn't received any assignments, so she first busied herself by preparing several doses of a new drug mixture. After that, she pulled up the morning edition of the London Times in her AR. Most of it is horse-drek, but mayhaps they let something slip through... one may always hope.

* * * * *

By the time Asterix called at 1450, Volusia had been working for quite a while on her personal projects, had lunch, taken another injection, and gone back to her projects. She answered the call using her own Matrix Icon rather than a video feed - jacking into VR to have a proper conversation. If it weren't for the fact that no secret is truly safe on the matrix, I'd spend far more time here. Its the only place I can truly escape torment - poetic irony I suppose that the danger lies in that which seems innocuous rather in that which is tormentuous. But that is the life our evolution hath wrought. Her icon was an elegantly realistic Elven woman dressed in the attire of a surgeon from the nineteenth century, long and flowing auburn hair seemingly always dancing in the wind even though the grassy meadow that she had loaded to be their chat-space had no such wind. She pursed her perfect lips into a smile as she spoke to the toonish viking before her "Good afternoon Asterix, to what do I owe the honour?" Some found it maddeningly proper, but English was a second language for Volusia, and she'd learned the Queen's varient rather than the more common form.

"Ah, good doctor, feeling as well as you can I trust?" Asterix's smile seemed genuine enough.

"You know me, I don't let feelings get in the way of the job. Thank you for your concern though. It's charming... really." As if he really gives a damn. The one truly universal constant is human apathy.

"Good good. Tonight you are attending a social event at Greenwich, so you must dress as best you can."

"A social event. Excellent. I'm assuming that I should avoid the spaghetti-strap dress or anything else that might frighten small children." The doctor's humor was darkly dry, but accurate none-the-less.

"Just don't shoot any of our guests from the emerald isle." Asterix chided. My, he is in a good mood today. I'd love to see his psych profile one day - an interesting read I'm sure. I wonder what has him in such a tizzy.

"I won't say I wouldn't dream of it, but I certainly won't act on said dreams, sir." Volusia's icon grinned widely, emoting clearly that it had been a moment of jest rather than an expression of a serious desire.

"I am assigning you a test. They've sent me some hot shot and I need to have a test run. The time it takes you to discover him will determine who I assign him to.

"I presume that your use of the masculine pronoun is due to a choice of linguistic perspective rather than a telling clue."

Hmm, yes, I guess I gave a bit away, well, well, I won't tell if you won't. Besides, I might be lying!" Volusia couldn't decide if he was trying to be funny or was worried that she'd psychoanalyze his reply. Certainly it shouldn't be too hard. Run a data search on all the faces I spot and watch for any inconsistent behavior. Hot shots are normally quite full of themselves, so he'll probably be hiding in plain sight.

"Regardless, we'll see how well he holds up. It's not exactly my expertise, but that should make it a more fitting test given that his targets are unlikely to be specialized in ferreting out others. I presume my own cover is already in order?" This could be fun. I dislike dealing with people, but sitting back and looking for someone sounds like an interesting diversion for an evening.

"You'll be there as part of the official entourage for the Ambassador Sung Ching, so try to stay in the background," Asterix replied.

"Excellent. I'll stay in the background as well as an Elven lizardling may. Hiding in the shadow of an important personage will help immensely." Dr. Volusia's icon smiled pleasantly as she added "Take care of yourself Asterix. Whatever is bothering you can't be that bad, so buck up chap."

With that, the connection was broken. Elena decided to stay jacked in for a little while... she needed to do some digging before she got ready for the evening, and time dictated doing it jacked-in rather than via AR. Besides... I could stand a little break from reality as grim as it is...
Prometheus - A private airfield, somewhere in south africa ~ 1155 GMT Wednesday January 2st 2070

Prometheus rubs his temples as he is hustled through immigration at a private, and undoubtedly Evo controlled airpor towards the huge blacked out Boeing. With his possessions in a sealed orange diplomatic bag, and an Evo official passport sticking out of his top pocket progress is quick, the anonymous functionaries do not even have the right to ask questions.

Undoubtedly some CEO for a major Evo subsidiary was being moved with all the usual pomp and paranoia. Some CTB executive knew that he was due to ship out to england tomorrow and decided that he could reinforce the security detail, so Prometheus had been dispatched for 'additional magic protection', but the head of the security detail, a rather unpleasant man called Russ, had made it clear that he was to sit in the corner and be quite.

Atleast it will be a short trip he thinks as he notices the mages standing by, presumably with Kami to propel the plane ever faster. VIPs couldn't be made to wait. I've never been able to sleep on planes.

As he slips through the entryway he is stopped and his identity validated by a security minder, who curtly informs him "Don't open the bag, stay on bottom deck unless otherwise instructed, and don't cast any spells and summon any spirits. We've got the situation in hand." Prometheus gives the man a big, toothy grin, then nods and steps past the minder, following the stewardess into business class, and ordering the first drink.

Prometheus - A private airfield, somewhere in england ~ 0200 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Prometheus stares moodily out the window VIP-special Boeing passenger jet, past the thin film of drizzle running down the window, watching the motorcade glide onto the runway as the lead elements of the security detail walk down the stairs and onto the tarmac, surveying the area. The bright orange diplomatic bags clutched close to their chest clearly show impressions of firearms inside. The customs & immigration official dragged out of bed for the occasion eyes them blearily as he processes their E-passports.

Sloshing the remnant of his drink in his glass, Prometheus watches as the bigwig himself is hustled from jet, across a small expanse of tarmac, and then into one of the armored limos. Guess thats my cue. He knocks back the last of the drink, gives the pretty stewardess a goodbye wave.

As he clears the doors and starts to strolling down the stairs a sporty back BMW glides up next to the stairs. The driver leans over and opens the passenger door, and his commlink starts the mutual proof of identification with Prometheus, while the official verifies his passport. When the gods of electronic identification have satisfied themselves, Prometheus drops his bag in the boot and slips into the passenger seat, and the driver reaches behind him and handing Prometheus a print edition of the times.

Prometheus & Mariko - London ~ 1500 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Prometheus glances over at his companions icongraphy as the 'zany' gallic icon gives him an overview, his mind already slipping back into a very familiar gear, rattling off the basic questions automatically, ticking off the points on the fingers of his faceless suited icon.

'Who is in charge of the security detail? Do you have a threat and risk profile, and if so where we can get it? Are we acting as part of the ambassadors entourage with his close personal protection detail? If that is an option, I would strongly prefer it."
London Space and Air Port ~1500 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Thanks to some fortunately minor takeoff delays, Piers had only just landed when his ears chimed the incoming call indicator. Fortunately, if there was one thing Piers did well, it was multitask. He connected the AR feed to a window low in his vision to leave room for the AR directions the airport was beaming in several languages to guide new arrivals.

"Right, I'm Asterix, the London Diplomatic Group Program Manager. That means I'm your boss. When you aren't hauled off on some insane project managers pet idea, you'll be doing the routine tasks needed by our London Embassy."

Piers frowned, careful not to let his subliminal gesture of displeasure reach the conscious level that would animate his icon into a similar response. An AR call was an unfortunate way to meet a new boss Piers thought to himself. So much potential information was lost when the meeting wasn’t face to face – nervous quirks, subtle personality shifts, details about his (or her!) personal life creeping into his work appearance… at least there would be opportunity for those observations later.

Piers turned left, following the glowing arrow in his field of vision towards the vehicle waiting area. Though his attention was split between the commcall and his surroundings, he was able to move deftly through the crowd, picking up small details of the other travelers as he went. He strode around the large family who’s ticket stub, barely jutting out from a carry on, showed their destination as a historic site in the CAS. He briskly passed an unfaithful local businessman, returning from a flight from Hong Kong. Would his wife smell the exotic perfume and recognize it for what it was? Did she already suspect? These, and a dozen other details and questions flitted through Piers’ mind without serious thought or distraction. The commcall continued unabated.

“You'll be going to Greenwich and attending the gala there. Keep your nose to the ground, eyes on and hands off the ladies, and see how many other operatives you can spot in the crowd.?

Piers’ icon – a nearly unmodified stock ‘generic agent in a suit’ icon – nodded a slight affirmative. A test? thought Piers as he stepped adeptly around an oncoming luggage cart. Surely, that was unnecessary at this point in his carreer. It took effort this time to keep the deepening frown from being reflected in his icon’s composure.

"I'm also setting somebody to look for you, so you need to come up with a tight cover and maintain it. You'll need to pass the smell test!"

Piers’ icon shifted to a slightly more relaxed stance, and the artificial lighting in the node glinted off its dark sunglasses. Ah, now it makes sense he thought to himself. The exercise wasn’t a questioning of his own skills, but a method for him to evaluate the abilities of his future teammates in the field. It also explained why he was unable to review the corporate files of his teammates before arrival – it was best to get an unbiased assessment.

Piers smiled expectantly at the news that his schedule was already filling up – busy is the way he liked things now. Dedicated work was simultaneously a way to forget her – and to remember her.

He at last reached the vehicle waiting area, and climbed into a waiting company car. It was empty; it had been remote piloted (or more likely autopiloted) to the airport to await him. It was a little too “economy? for his taste, but it would only need to last a single day. His own vehicle should arrive by morning. He placed his sparse luggage in the trunk and merged with the traffic exiting the airport.

"Watch out, you're bound to gain a few kilos of you don't add some physical regimen of your own to your schedule."

"And don't forget to keep receipts for the Form 946B dash J!"

Piers had to give a quick affirmative, and end the commcall somewhat too abruptly lest the frown that had been growing finally breech unintentionally into his persona. His new boss had left an uncomfortable feeling in the wake of his call. What could his file possibly say that would indicate he would put on weight? And why the reminder not to forget to cross his t’s and dot his i’s? Piers wouldn’t forget receipts. Piers never forgot anything.


A London Hotel, 15:45 GMT

Piers looked around the rather sparse room. He was accustomed to the practical, not the opulent, so the room’s sparse and generic aesthetic didn’t bother him. Still, he hoped it would not take long for them to assign him quarters in one of the EVO corporate housing areas in the city.

He had reviewed the telecom call twice more, but with the bland and controlled interface of matrix personas, and only voice inflections to work from, little new information about his new assignment presented itself. It was, however, time to get to work. He needed to find someone else to be for the evening.

Though Piers had no special computer knowledge, finding a list of the more public attendees at such a well-publicized event proved to be within his meager capabilities. He scanned the names and standings of the guests, looking for his mark. A few looked passable, and with a quick scan of the first few search results on each name, choose the most appropriate of them.

Next, he opened two of his four small pieces of luggage. In one case lay, neatly folded in static-resistant bags, a few suits of a rather plain cut and dark color. His mind worked over his idea for a new identity, sketching out a rough persona and filling in the details as he went over the personality in several mental passes. The suits he looked at where a bit dull for what he had in mind; he looked into the second and smaller of the bags he had opened.

He pulled from the disguise kit a few festive bits of trim for the suit, and a few other items he would be needing. He reminded himself that the key was to avoid anything obvious – that would only draw attention to himself. In fact, the best disguise would incorporate hidden elements for observers to discover on their own.

And speaking of hidden elements to discover, there was another task that needed to be done to complete the disguise. Long gone were the days when a few latex prosthetics and some skill could change your identity. These days, electronic deception was required as well. The nature of the task reminded Piers that it was sometimes good that his lead decking contact worked outside the EVO structure. He checked the time, and using the algorithm the two of them had developed, decoded the appropriate destination node. The text looked like any other of a thousand spam messages flooding every part of the net at any given time, but Piers knew it wouldn’t escape Dorian’s notice.

Knowing it would be a short while before Dorian set up the virtual meeting, Piers went back to his ensemble. “Add a few small scars, but cover them incompletely with makeup? he said, as he worked. He didn’t normally think out loud, but there was the matter of an accent to consider – that would take practice. His first attempt sounded close to the general feel of the local populace, but that wouldn’t do. He needed a specific region to make it believable in his mind. He practiced by repeating the personal details he was inventing – his girlfriend’s name, her annoying dog, his persona’s secret crush.

It took only a short time to perfect it while he worked on the subtly different shading with makeup. He was often amazed at how much a face could change with only an expression and different highlights – large changes where unnecessary and attention getting. With his fake persona perfected came the real work of the disguise. Piers began attempting the accent as if spoken with a slightly different accent. He added unconscious pauses when reciting the names and specific facts. He invented a whole new set of names, dates, and facts for his persona, ones he never planned to reveal, but ones that nonetheless would leave subtle and distinct results in his performance. Before he had finished, the incoming encrypted call icon flashed in his vision. It was time to talk to the man who would assemble the second part of his disguise.
Prometheus & Mariko - London ~ 1500 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Asterix wrinkled his bushy yellow brows in concentration, then answered, "That's entirely up to you. I'm giving you an Indigo Foxtrot code for your operation, valid for 24 hours. That'll let you assign yourself to the protection team as a pair or separately. That should also allow you to use any standard corporate cover identities should you choose to do so."
Mariko - London 0900 GMT Wednesday 21st January

Mariko arrived at the London offices of EVO after a trying journey on the underground. She reminded herself of her training at the CTB . "Whenever possible blend in to the crowd, don't stand out unless you are supposed to, be unobtrusive" , she new it was good practice and it avoided the traffic but the crowds on the underground where so scruffy and lacking in style.
She looked up at the office building so this would be her base of operations in her first job and her first time in the office.
I had been nice to be back in London for a few days she hadn't been there for four years , it hadn't changed much the rain was still dirty and the traffic was still awful. The In Night Clubs had changed and her new apartment in Canary wharf was a big improvement over the cheap hotels she remembered from her holidays here .

Arriving the receptionist directed her to an office , setting up on the computer system she dicovered a virtual meeting scheduled for 15.00 and spent the rest of the day reading up on EVO Security briefings for London , and the fashion and society gossip columns .

1500 GMT Virtual meeting

Her virtual persona was still the EVO Default , she hadn't had a chance to configure it and at least it couldn't offend.
Seeing her bosses persona for the first time , she smiled . Reading those books had been fun as a child. She wondered where Obelix was.
The assignment sounded interesting not only was it a real job but it was a social event she would have loved to attend anyway.
She listened carefully to her partners questions and the answers ,it seemed he had done this before.
When he had finished she 'turned' to Prometheus "We should discuss our plan , I prefer to meet in the real world if you don't mind this is always too artificial for me"
Prometheus & Mariko - London, EVO CTB Office ~ 1505 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Prometheus nods to Asterix, taking the response as a dismissal. 'I'll get in touch with the team leader as soon as possible.' then he turns to Mariko 'I haven't had a chance to scout out a place for a good soycaf, but assuming your at the EVO cafeteria looks okay? 5 minutes?' while composing a brief email to the protection detail leader

'My new partner and myself have just been allocated by CTB as a temp. additional magic coverage for your VIP for the Greenwich event. I'd like to have a chat about how you see us fitting into your team, maybe over a Soykaf? I'm at the evo offices. Give me a buzz.


Prometheus & Mariko - London, EVO CTB Office ~ 1505 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

I will see you in the cafeteria in 5 minutes.

Prometheus & Mariko - London, EVO CTB Office Canteen ~ 1510 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Arriving in the Canteen Mariko takes a corner booth screened against casual eavesdropping . Sitting so that she can see those entering the canteen , as taught in basic training.
When Prometheus arrives she waves him over to take a seat. She already has a Hot Chocolate on the table in front of her. When prometheus sits down she greets him enthusiastically
"Hello , I am Mariko it looks like we'll be working together. How do you want to do things at the Ball?
I was thinking that we could mingle with the crowds that way we could keep an eye on the ambassador and still be free to check out anyone suspicious in the crowd.
I haven't had a chance to check your file so can you tell me about your speciality?
I'm a mage with a concentration on Illusion and mental manipulation spells.

She finally pauses for Breath
Station 6 Clinic, Tokyo
08:00 JST Friday January 23st 2070
(23:00 GMT Thursday January 22st 2070)

Dr. Adone - Medical Examiner

Another night spent working beside his agent. Adone and his laboratory computers spent hours comparing the 51 files (and what little data was available on the 5 other girls) against one another. By the time Dr. Mori and Dr Akers arrived in the morning, Adone had made only one strong connection. Each girl had scored well above average on their standard spacial recognition and manipulation tests. Comparing the results to those of their parents, Adone confirmed that the aptitude would have been statistically improbable, given the range of scores withing the parental gene pool.

So, was that it? The mysterious genetic sequence appeared to have an affect on the spacial reasoning centers of the brain, but that didn't tell Adone how, or why this experiment was different from the hundreds of others that are in various stages of Evo R&D or production. Transgenetic echolocation? React? Synch? A few treatments that could enhance spacial reasoning came to mind, immediately, but did not seem interesting enough to warrant a world-wide cover-up of the experiment. Still, he began running the genetic sequence through a new search pattern, looking for Evo genetech projects with any matching properties.

Even if it wasn't Evo science at the center of this, Evo employees were being targeted - so it was possible that the experiment was based on Evo experiments, and may share some common elements. He began his search with partial data from IR&D efforts that were canceled before they were complete, but the search algorithm would eventually make its way outwards, covering complete projects, as well as genetic treatments currently marketed by Evo. Adone didn't expect that this whole mystery involved a genetic treatment currently on the market, but if it shared any data with it, it might be a valuable clue.

Rather than filling them in on his progress in the last 10 hours, Adone set the other doctors on the same tasks he had been doing. It wouldn't be the first time that someone else noticed something that had escaped him, but Adone was principally interested in seeing how their notes compared to his own for educational purposes.

Having reached the end of a number of his leads, and still waiting for a response from his superiors regarding the case, Adone decided to spend his day relegating his attention to a number of other projects and experiments that he had not properly paid attention to since the girls arrived.
The Home of Dr. Elena Volusia - London,~ 1500 to 1800 GMT, Wednesday January 21 2070

Dr. Volusia's icon flew through the public data depositories in a flurry, the small hunchbacked agent program hurrying after her taking notes as she collected her data. To an onlooker, the data-searches may have seemed incredibly, madly random, but Elena's madness was born of a purely scientific methodology. Before long, she had limited her sample size from more than ten thousand to be measured in the hundreds. It would have to do. Retreating from the matrix back to her own commlink, she began to put coallate what she had found and formulate the parameters of the experiment at the gala. So long as my psychological assessment of Asterix's comments are well-founded, I should be able to locate him with method one, but methods two, three, and four should provide an experimental control in the event that the original hypothesis is flawed...

She considers for a moment, and then decides that her collation required far too much data-crunching for her to proceed unassisted. "Igor, come here" she beckoned to her agent. The hunchbacked icon approached hesitantly, and Elena's icon quickly struck out with a scalpel - representing her edit program - to disembowel the hapless Igor. After a moment of rummaging inside his programing, she stitched him back up and ordered "Proceed with Experimental method one, report findings to me." The newly recoded Agent replied pathetically "Yes Frau Doktor" and charged off back into the matrix. With that, Volusia recollected her data and deposited it into a hastily constructed GUI interface. There is a distinct possibility that they will have agents there as well... though if the dragon answers the invitation they may not proceed with their schemes for fear of reprisal... I should be cautious.

Volusia looks longingly back towards the outlet to the matrix... if only it were safe to stay... this is the only place I can be free of what they did to me... free of the pain... and that face. Her icon lets out a long sigh as she jacks back out of the virtual world.

The first sense that returns to her is that same, familiar pain - nearly overwhelming her other senses at first before retreating back to the dull ache that the medication reduced it to. Then her vision and the feelings of her limbs returned, and she found herself sitting once more at her work bench. Silently, she removed her cybernetic forearm and replaced it with the medical attachment on the table - sitting the hardware kit attachment back in its normal resting place. I should prepare a few more vials for the road just in case I need them at the social.

After some more work, she stands and checks the chronometer in her AR. She had to start getting ready. Fortunately her earlier shower had gotten rid of the molting scales - leaving in their place shiny new scales that had yet to be tarnished by London's acid rain and fog. She took a few moments to decide what to wear Asterix's agent may be looking for people trying to oust him, so I should avoid any of EVO's standard issue clothing...

After proper consideration, Dr. Volusia settles on an outfit - an elegant three-peice charcoal german skirt-suit with a neo-classic cut. She combined it with a starched off-white Victorian-collared dress shirt with faux-pearl buttons, and of course her favorite pair of knee-high leather boots - just tall enough that only those who were looking for it could see her hideous right leg. Thinking a moment if they have agents there, I may be in danger... they might know that I know... , Dr. Elena dons her armored vest before putting on her shirt. She put her commlink into the inside pocket of the vest and ran the cable under the vest up to her neck where she plugged it into her datajack just behind her left ear. Then she pulled her hair free of the cable and let it down again to cover the datajack. She sighed in relief once she had managed to force the right boot onto her deformed leg and zipped up the side. The pressure of the leather against her leg helped to ease the pain if only slightly. It's the little things that count, as they say.

Before she put on her jacket, she considered her weapons for a moment... The machine pistol may be too much... but the Miroku Hi-Power could give me away... then again, I am part of the EVO ambassador's official entourage, so an EVO subsidiary manufactured weapon would make ample sense regardless of other affiliations. Nodding to herself, she staps the concealed holster into place and deposits the pistol and spare clip into their proper positions. She walks over to her dresser as she shrugs on the suit's jacket.

Dr. Volusia did not often wear makeup or jewelry, but tonight was of course a special event. She opened the small box and rummaged around until she found her silver accessories. First, she pinned a silver Star of David to her lapel A little hypocritical of me, but it was my father's... besides, if one of them sees it their reaction might give them away. Then she pulled out her silver earrings. A frown crossed her lips - the scarring on the scaly right side of her face twisting it into a much more threatening expression. With a sad sigh, she pulls one from the box and puts it in her left ear before returning the other to her jewelry box. Unconsiously, she rubs the reptillian nub that served as her right ear while she pondered what necklace to wear. Settling on one, she puts on a silver chain with a teddy bear charm. She completely ignores her collection of class rings and moves on to makeup. Plum lipstick and a little blush were all she used - preferring a minimalist appearance. She never used makeup on her scales obviously. Looking into the mirror, she regarded herself a moment before loading a reptillian eye image to her right cybereye. At least this way it looks like I mangled myself on purpose. Then she took a small pair of scissors and cut away the few whisps of hair escaping the scaled portion of her scalp. Finally satisfied that she looked as presentable as she could, she applied a minor amount of sweat-pea body spray and checked the time.

Volusia pulled on her black leather gloves - the sort with a corsetted wrist rather than elastic - and headed out the door with plenty of time to have a quick dinner before meeting with the rest of the entourage. I wonder how many children will run for cover this time... she thought with a caniverous grin as she locked the door behind her... the teeth on the right side of her mouth looked like they belonged in a velociraptor rather than an Elf. As Dr. Elena Volusia walked out of the building, she was still crunching data in her AR through the DNI.
An unknown node, somewhere in the matrix. 16:30 GMT

Piers looked across the virtual room, and saw an odd mix of ancient rustic wood and state-of-the-art holo equipment. He wasn’t sure what stylistic effect the owners of the node had been going for, but he felt they had failed at whatever it was. He was sure, however, that the owners would not have any idea this conversation had taken place on their network.

Standing face-to-face with Piers’ generic agent icon was Dorian’s latest persona. He seemed to change them every few days, and Piers often wondered how he found the time. This time it was something novel, as it usually was: a bioluminescent houseplant in an etched titanium pot. The plant waved a greeting to the agent, and Piers was impressed at how clearly the animation expressed the greeting while still managing to look as natural as a plant blowing in the wind.

“I didn’t know they had reliable wireless in the desert? said the plant, turning grey and withering slightly at the word desert.

Piers was, as usual, impressed with the hacker. He hadn’t told Dorian the location of his previous assignment. “Actually, I shipped out this morning, for London. That’s what this is about, actually. My new boss thinks I should pass a ‘smell test’ of some sort? said the agent persona, wrinkling its nose.

The plant chuckled – rustled? in response. “And which of your perfumed talents are they placing before the noses of EVO’s finest?? the plant questioned.

“There is an event that I am supposed to attend while under cover. The event is tonight – the Navy Orphans and Widow’s Fund Ball in Greenwich.?

The plant’s leaves stuck straight out suddenly at odd angles. “That’s the classroom they’re using to test you in now? Chummer, I wish I had your luck sometimes. I could stand a test like that.?

Piers was so momentarily confused that he forgot to remind Dorian of how little he would like the rest of his job – did he just wish out loud that he could attend a large, social gathering? He worried suddenly, as it seemed so contrary to Dorian’s nature. Could it possibly be someone impersonating the normally reclusive hacker? Then he remembered the EVO Mars sense feed. Of course, what techno-geek worth his salt could resist that! Piers realized. Piers worried less now about Dorian’s motivations, and more about his own. Was such a small change really cause for him to worry like that? Dorian was one of his oldest friends. Was this work just making him paranoid?

The plant before him relaxed somewhat, and continued. “Well, old friend, I suspect then what you need is for me to make sure your electronic stink doesn’t cover up the aroma of whatever scheme you’re cooking. If so, you’re out of luck. If I could’ve gotten in to that Gala without causing problems, I would have done it already. They’ve got that place locked up tight, and unless you’ve got some sort of authorized account, there’s nothing…?

Piers interrupted; his agent icon held up a gleaming stylized key card. It was textured gold except for the red embossed hemisphere of mars in the center. The plant froze mid sentence; Piers smiled. A green frond grasped one edge of the card and pulled. The card stretched, then split down the middle – but both halves looked identical to the whole.

“Well, now we can see what I can do!? exclaimed the plant enthusiastically as it spun on its titanium base. “What did you have in mind, exactly??

Piers explained his plan in all the detail he knew his analytical friend would desire. It took some time to cover everything thoroughly. When they had finished, Piers’ icon reached for a non-existent data jack – a universal signal to disconnect. Before he had, however, the plant rested a leafy appendage on his jacket covered arm.

“One more thing, Piers.? There was a long pause, followed by “If you get to see it…the Mars feed…?

“I’ll tell you every detail I can remember about it? said Piers warmly.

The plant managed somehow to grin – Dorian knew Piers’ recall capabilities. The strange wooden and high-tech room as well as the tall potted plant dissolved into a thousand swirling pieces of silvered confetti as Piers disconnected.

Piers’ rented hotel room

Piers sat up carefully between the suitcases as his senses focused on the ‘real’ world once again. He was pleased that so far his plan hadn’t run into any undue complications. As he expected, the lengthy break in cyberspace allowed him to look at his disguise and wardrobe with fresh eyes. He made a few minor adjustments that he wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

With the makeup job complete, and the suit ready, Piers began to get dressed. Piers moved to the third suitcase, one as yet unopened. He broke the VIP “do not search? seal, and ran the static strip down the side, releasing the electrostatic zipper. From inside, he pulled a plain armored vest – the extra options tended to add bulk that wouldn’t be appropriate for the disguise. Next, he chose one of the two identical pistols towards the back. They were larger than his trusty Miroku, but the large Ares made gun wouldn’t give him away as an EVO employee as easily. He quickly inspected the well oiled weapon, ensuring that nothing would stick or jamb if it was needed. He pulled two clips from underneath the weapons in the bag, and verified the rounds matched the markings he had made on the clips. He slid the clip of explosive rounds smoothly into the handle, and tucked the clip of electrical discharge rounds into a special slot on the vest’s back. If there’s time to take them down alive, there’s time to change clips he thought wryly.

After sliding on the stiffly pressed pants and buttoning the loose, small-buttoned shirt, he reached for the holstered weapon. He slid the concealable holster up into the nook under his arm, where it would be disguised by the stiff jacket. He knew it wouldn’t pass a pat down, but it didn’t need to. It would, however, be difficult to spot – an important consideration at a public gathering. Guns could make people unnecessarily nervous.

There were just a few other accessories to take. He dropped a flash pack into a nearly empty cigarette box he kept for such occasions. He stuffed the expensive respirator in the suit jacket, with one strap protruding slightly, as was the current style. He verified that his skillsoft was loaded properly. This time he left the CTB signature glasses behind– he didn’t need them anyway, and they would be a certain giveaway. With a thought, he set thousands of nanites to work re-structuring his palms and fingertips to match the design that Dorian had already completed and sent over the ether.

Lastly, he pulled on the suit jacket, and stepped in front of the mirror. The accents and highlights he had added did well to disguise the suit’s normally stiff, dull lines. Piers decided it was sufficient to convey the effect he was going for. His face, however, was a different story. He looked like his ID badge, but with a few smudges of light and dark, a few scars, and a gelled spiky hairstyle. That was expected, though, and now came the moment of truth – when Piers would find out if his disguise would hold up as he had hoped. He closed his eyes, relaxed, and counted backwards from six. Then, in rapid succession, he went over every detail he had invented for this new persona, feeling each triumph and tragedy as if it were his own. Then, he opened his eyes. Staring back at him in the mirror was a complete stranger – yet one who was intimately familiar. The subtleties of emotion, expression, and stance changed the metahuman perception in ways far richer than mere makeup and latex could.

The disguise would do nicely.

With that complete, he set his standard issue motion detector to alert him via commlink if his room was disturbed. He re-sealed the third bag and carried it with him down to his waiting rented car, stopping only to hang the do not disturb sign on his door. He would arrive a bit early, but that was good. It would give him time to integrate himself in with his unwitting host’s entourage.

Prometheus & Mariko - London, EVO CTB Office Canteen ~ 1510 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Prometheus, a big dark olive green ork in a charcoal grey bespoke suit and a completely shaved head, sweeps his eyes over the cafeteria, catching sight of the enthusiastic waving from the japanese atleast I think she's japanese girl in the corner. He nods amicably to show he's seen her, then orders himself a coffee, rubbing his scalp whilst thinking about the upcoming mission. He briefly changes his perception to the astral and assesses his new partner.

When he walks back to the table and his offered hand and introduction of 'Prometheus, pleased to meet you' is met with a stream of rapid fire verbage he is slightly taken aback, but keeps his face an phlegmatic mask. She's so new the shiny hasn't rubbed off yet.

"It really depends on what the existing security team has got and how they are running things. If they don't have magical protection as is, one of us gets to stand so close to the ambassador you can smell his breath to make sure it is impossible for LOS to be broken, and the other one has a bit more flexibility. If he has a mage already its a different question. We won't know until the detail leader gets back to us.

As for your second point, I'm a mage. I'm good at astral investigation and over watch, and know an eclectic mix of spells, but with an illusion thrust like you.

What I want to know is what the hell we are doing VIP protection for, and why we are being inserted in the last minute. Its bizarre busy work, unless you think something is going to down, and in which case why not tip your hand?'
Prometheus & Mariko - London, EVO CTB Office Canteen ~ 1510 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

"I assumed the assignment was precautionary and training, this is a big event it would look bad if anything happened, and this is my first assignment a field test seemed quite possible to me in a fairly low risk situation. I assumed if there was a specific known threat we would have been briefed, as it is I assume there is just the normal problems of terrorists , anarchists and business rivals."

pausing to see of her assesment of the situation matches Prometheus she continues, her English has a very proper english accent , odd from a japanese elf. The enthusiasm in her voice shines through.

"As to the security detail I assume the ambassador has their normal detail which must include a mage or at least thats what I assumed from training. CTB usually does not provide regular close security I thought. Which is why I thought we would be better providing distant cover. But I should have thought to check with the security detail , I guess thats why I am partnered with someone older and more experienced, at least I think you're more experienced. Besides being a mage I scored highly on the social skills matrix in training so if you need me to talk anyone round let me know"
"I was considering calling a spirit before going in but I wasn't sure if it would give me away or upset security when I had it possessing me . It helps with the astral vision and the powers can be useful? Likewise what do you think of using some sustained spells on the foci while mingling?"
Prometheus & Mariko - London, EVO CTB Office Canteen ~ 1510 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Prometheus grins wolfishly at Mariko, his nasal Australian drawl a contrast to her sharply clipped consonants. "I'd expect another mage as well, but without information we are flying blind until he gets back to us.

My SOP will be to have a Kami pre summoned, and use astral shortcut to bring them inside. I am planning on a sustaining focus too - we are licensed for spells and its an evo run event so we should be cleared to do whatever we want, but hopefully we can get crystal clear clarity on that. You are broadcasting to everyone 'Hi I am a security agent' so that is something to consider, but the reality is anyone who would like to know knows that already, so it just means that the VIPs take you a bit less seriously.

If you're comfortable as the social butterfly, I might stay a bit closer then - I just prefer to be readily at hand in case I'm needed. Its too easy to get sight blocked in a social situation, people tend to congregate around VIPs. Have to confirm with the team leader, but your brief will be to find and tag potential threats so I can keep a careful eye on the really dangerous ones.

When I was protecting Cross it was always a right bastard because he'd have a flock of admirers, and nor did he want the 'help' breathing down his neck. Now he could look after himself, but it was very easy to get seperated when the latest boot licker cut in front of you, and you don't want to be left wringing your hands and saying 'but I got seperated!' in the wash down afterwards. "
Prometheus & Mariko - London, EVO CTB Office Canteen ~ 1510 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

"We shoudn't have too much of a problem, its a big event security is going to be massive and the guests are handpicked . There should not be a makor problem I think its just a case of our boss seeing how we work and assigning spare assets for extra security. This time tommorrow we'll have had a pleasent evening at one of the years biggest events and you may even meet someone cute."

She smiles , a winning smile worthy of a magazine cover
"I think I can handle blending in to the crowd , I have the right looks and costume. I'll fit right in and I should be able to spot other people who aren't fitting in unless they mask their aura well. I'll mask mine to try and make myself as inconspicous as possible. I am not sure I'll take a gun . I'm not a great shot and if trouble does come the last thing we want me doing is accidentally plugging a VIP if it comes down to it I know a couple of combat spells. I have some Loa's on a long term binding and I'll call up another one for the event my patron's loas would kill for an oppertunity to attend an event like this one"
"I'll get there early for the prelimaries to blend in better and give me a chance to look over the crowd as they arrive and see if anyone looks odd"

Pausing she looks slightly puzzled
"I haven't heard of an EVO exec called Cross, has he retired. I didn't keep up on EVO execs until recently ."
Crank and Ruff - Hong Kong ~ 0200 HKT/UTC + 8 Thursday January 22st 2070

Water Lily whispered in their ears, "Take him."

It was about time, the Bull and Bear was winding down, and their target had just fingered himself beyond all possible doubt. The three of them had been tracking the operative for at least three months, an age in this time of instant interplanetary communications, city wide astral spirit finders, and enough data a random set might appear as a shakespearean original work. But they had to be sure.

Water Lily had attached herself to the specialty staff inside that routinely haunted the old expatriate watering hole, she detested how she was treated, but the young native woman occasionally got to release her pent up anger in spectacular and rather painful ways. As she was likely to do tonight to the target.

The Bull and Bear is a small pub in downtown Victoria island with only a few exits, it didn't even have an opening to the building it was in, only external exits.

It should be easy for the 3 person CBT team to detain the senior operative they were tracking.

Even if he was the senior naval operations commander for the EVO South Pacific fleet.
Prometheus & Mariko - London, EVO CTB Office Canteen ~ 1510 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Prometheus almost snorts his soykaf through his nose when Mariko says she's never heard of Cross. "I didn't always used to work for Evo! You'll find this out I suspect, but one of the downsides of being a mage and being any good is that there will be significant 'opportunities' to 'lateral' across to another firm, and many of these 'opportunities' will be delivered by the sort of recruitment specialist that has no SIN, but does have an SMG and refusal usually means that your spleen will acquire some extra ventilation holes.

In the process of recruiting me for that job Cross applied Technology's 'outsourced recruitment contractors' shot up most of a hotel. This is my 6th major corp actually - I'm surprised they assigned us together, some of internal security here think I am politically unreliable."

Prometheus holds up his hand to indicate that he's taking a call, then zones out slightly to speak sub-vocally with the security team leader.

"He's got 12 guys, which is alot, I was expecting more like four, and there is another platoon - so 35 or so, on perimeter secure for the event. I've indicated that you'll head to the event separately, and I'll be traveling with the ambassador from the Evo secure housing complex."

With that he stands up, grins and says 'Look forward to working with you.'
Prometheus & Mariko - London, EVO CTB Office Canteen ~ 1510 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Mariko raises an Eyebrow and smiles "That Cross, I didn't think you looked that old. As you may have guessed this is my first job, after Uinversity, perhaps you are working with me to see if political relaibilty rubs off on you or perhaps we are both politically unreliable.
I will see you at the Ball then, If you need to get in touch before that call. I will be heading straight home to prepare "

Mariko gracefully rises to her feet and heads to the exit calling ahead for a Taxi and hoping this time the Taxi driver will not want to tell her his life history . Then she starts planning her outfit for the Ball and starts to hum happily as she takes the elevator down to the lobby.

Mariko - London, apartment Canary Wharf London Docklands~ 1545 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Returning to her apartment Mariko checks that her boyfriend has left and then calls to leave a message saying that she will be busy tonight and may not be back in touch for a couple of days. She then spends some time picking out something appropriately fashionable cutting edge and racy for the ball, with some Kevlar. Then while bathing she checks the gossip sheets and celebrity chat pages to see who will be there tonight.
Bathing dressing and putting on her make up takes her much of the rest of the day. Before leaving for the ball at about 17.30 she goes into her private sancta to commune with the Loa's after a brief ceremony burning of sweet incense and a promise of taking it to a great party she summons one of Ezrulie's Loas to her side for the evening.
Finally she catches a taxi to Greenwhich planning on arriving early to check out the crowd

Mariko - London, Greenwhich Observatory charity ball~ 1905 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Arriving early Mariko mingles with the crowd trying to get a feel for the event and spot anyone who does not blend in . She looks for interesting celebrities and people who are not enjoying themselves figuring them as likely to be security agents or troublemakers.
She spends much of her time chatting and flirting with the glitterati at the party and exchanging contact addresses for future contacts. Overall she seems to be having a great time and fits well in to the pell mell social scene
Prometheus- London, Evo Secure Housing~ 1950 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Prometheus, in a navy pinstripe suit, red tie with black overcoat and gloves concealing his SMG and pistol with a black fedora, and the security detail's mage, a young, british elf called Yahtzee Croshaw in a similar navy suit, orange tie, black overcoat on the table in front of him stand in the lobby of the hotel, woofing down the last of some of the the districts fine indian cusine and washing it down with highly caffeinated black coffee. Ten minutes until the show is on.

The detail leader, a surprisingly nervous human called Roberts have already outlined the plan, 3 cars, the ambassador in the middle one with both mages and a bodyguard, team leader in the rear car, advance party in the front car and the multiple routes - one will not be selected until the cars are already rolling to prevent any leaks.

Between mouthfuls, Yahtzee asks Prometheus 'You used to work for Ares didn't you?'


'I can remember you investigating me.'

'Hah, I'd forgotten that,' Prometheus uses his fork to gesticulate at the surroundings 'looks like I was right too.'

'Damn straight. Pay increase was compelling.'

Prometheus grins 'You don't have to justify yourself to me, we've all been there.'

Yahtzee nods appreciatively, 'what do you think of this do. We've got a really big team now, 13 seems inauspicious though'

Prometheus shakes his head '14 warm bodies, my new partner is already on site. She's greener than astroturf though. I wonder what the hell they think is going to happen.'

Yahtzee raises one eyebrow and gives the big ork a curious look 'You don't have a tip off?'

Prometheus returns the look with a rueful grin 'Not a clue, I only got of the plan from south Africa this morning, and I don't know anyone to ask unofficially yet.'

Suddenly both of them glide into action in response from an inaudiable signal - the principal is on the move, second evelvator, go.

In response the well oiled machine of the protection detail glides into action - a electronic nudge from one the security hackers sends the two big 4x4s and the armoured black limousine to the front of the building, both mages bin their meals, Prometheus jams his fedora on his head, both mages spread their overcoats and jackets slightly to allow access to their guns, and move to positions both had mentally plotted to allow them to walk to the car and enter while keeping the principal in direct visual contact at all times, both mages letting their vision slide into the astral plane as they step into the freezing cold london air.

These guys seem pretty good, and Rob has touched base with the EVO guys on site and done advanced recon. Should be painless. Why am I here?.

The door slides open and reveals the ambassador and her surprisingly rakishly, good looking elven bodyguard cum executive assistant. Even a casual inspection of the man's aura reveals heavy argumentation both cybernetic and biological.

Both mages assume positions to either side of of the pair, Yahtzee infront, Prometheus behind, walking under the hastily erected cloth sail, blocking line of sight as the principal enters the car, the mages timing their movements exactly to keep her in view, sitting opposite so they can keep watch, while staring out the window to ensure that the principal can maintain the appearance of being undisturbed as the cars glide off towards the event.

Prometheus- London, Greenwhich Observatory charity ball ~ 2030 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

As the cars pull up outside the event and disgorge their occupants, the process repeats itself in reverse. The first 4x4 drives past the red carpet its occupants scurry out, securing positions to watch the photographers and media coverage, while two push into the lobby, making sure the crowd past the doors is monitored, checking for printing or any other signs of concealed carry from anyone other than Evo security contractors. The limo then pulls up, the doors open electronically and the ambassador walks down the red carpet with the two man shadow tailing her at a distance described by Kissinger as 'Close enough to protect me, but not so close that I have to introduce you' - a proposition that becomes trickier as the crowd builds in the lobby. The bodyguard is much closer, filling her in on the people she meets and what power broker she needs to see next.

Both mages check their coats, hats and gloves alongside the ambassador, astrally scanning the crowd, ID-ing heavily enhanced members and tagging them in AR via subvocalised commands for the rest of the detail.

This is going to be a long day.
Volusia- London, Greenwhich Observatory Charity Ball ~ 2035 to 2110 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070
Commlink in Active mode, SIN= Dr. Elsa Spandenberg, PhD MD
Personal: I don't bite - really.
Professional: Research and Development
Thought of the Day: Tell a child a story, she'll be amused for an hour. Teach a child to read, she'll change the world.

Dr. Spandenberg is below average height for an Elven woman - being closer in height to a tall female human. She appears to be genetically altered in rather disturbing fashion - the entire right half of her body - including her face just past her nose - is more reptillian or saurian in appearance - covered in shiny, brownish scales - including her scalp on that side, which is bald. While her left ear marks her as a definite elf, there is only a small growth on the right side of her head where an ear should be. The right side of her face and neck is heavily scarred, appearing almost as if someone had wrapped that side of her in barbed wire. Her right hand appears to be a cybernetic endoskeleton designed for minute manipulation as well as standard use, and the somewhat muffled sound of high-output servos and capaciters indicates that her entire right arm is a prosthetic. Her right eye is a darkish brown with a reptillian pupil and is covered in a film of some sort. That eyelid is vertically slit rather than horizontal as a metahuman's would be, and the right side of her mouth is filled with distinctly carniverous saurian teeth. In sharp contrast, the left side of her face and body appears to be a fairly attractive Elf with angular Germanic features, a blue eye, minimal makeup in warm colors, and straight raven hair that comes just past her shoulders. Her right hand has no nail polish and appears smooth and uncalloused - indicating that she is unlikely to have performed much manual labor at any point in her life. Her movements are smooth, but she appears to favor her left leg and make no wasted movement whatsoever. Dr. Spandenberg's facial expression and mannerisms are cool and clipped - striking one as being born out of someone who expects only the worse from people. She is wearing a three peice charcoal skirt-suit of neo-classic German cut. The pencil skirt comes just below her knees with a slit in the back for movement, the vest is a low-cut neo-renaissance design and a low-key floral pattern for the contrast, her shirt is an off-white victorian design with faux-pearl buttons, and her jacket is a double-breasted suit jacket of traditional German cut. Dr. Spandenberg's shoes are a flat-heeled pair of knee-high leather boots with zip-up sides, polished to a mirror-like shine. Her only accessories are a silver pocket-watch chain strung from a fob in the button to a pocket where presumably the time-peice resides, a silver necklace with a teddy bear charm, a simple silver stud in her single ear, and a silver lapel pin shaped like a Star of David. The appearance of her dress is the sort of low-key fashion academics have proscribed to for decades. All her accessories are at exact angles, and her general appearance indicates a near-pathological preoccupation with order.

Volusia had arrived promptly to meet with the rest of the Ambassador's entourage - only to be kept waiting. Prompt by nature, she was perturbed to have not arrived at the beginning of the event. Once they had arrived and entered the ball, she checked her gloves along with everyone else, biting back any commentary. I hate not wearing my gloves in public, but do as the Romans as they say. Once inside, she began wandering around and avoiding any unnecessary social interaction, instead seemingly content to watch the proceedings.

All the while she ran her research GUI in her AR and ran her analysis of those present at the event whom met her search criteria. She was only interrupted once... a human in his twenties approached her and said with a slight stutter "Ex... excuse me Doctor... My colleagues and I were... were wondering. What is your opinion on the Tannenhauser Hypothesis?"

I don't have the patience for these idiots... hmmm... commlink says he's Dr. Jeremiah Sanger... be nice, Elena... don't make a scene...

"Its wrong." Volusia replied concisely and returned to her studies, ignoring the man.

Dr. Sanger pressed on though, this time finding his eloquence "I beg your pardon, but Dr. Tannenhauser has a lot of support in the bio-genetics field... his papers..."

The annoyance was too much, and Volusia turned back to Sanger to interrupt "Are based on flawed data acquisition protocals from the 2030s when transgenics was in its infancy. If the Tannenhauser hypothesis were ever utilized to manufacture a viral agent, it would mutate uncontrollably outside of laboratory conditions - quickly reaching pandemic levels. I suggest you check your sources in the future. Preferably somewhere not near me." Sanger nodded sheepishly, seemingly cowed by the response, and returned to his group of 'colleagues' where Volusia overheard him say "Alright guys, I talked to the freak... pay up." She choked down the anger - it wasn't the first time her deformities had been used for someone's petty amusement.

Aside from that single incident, Elena had no more troubles and was able to complete her analysis of her test population. Ten matches. Nine of them seem to have less than honourable motivations, and one seems to be conducting himself in a manner meeting the protocals but without criminal intent... in fact he seems almost as annoyed as I am at being here. Security position with a secondary cover to allow social interaction, license to be armed with little to no scrutiny, a position under a high-profile fool. The 'hot-shot' is not as hot as he believes it would seem. As for the others, I doubt they've been flagged by security yet... they are just as skilled and cocky as our agent, but with more nefarious motivations... in fact, they could be them.

Having come to the conclusion of her research, Elena smiles for the first time since she arrived. Through her DNI she collects all the data she had gathered on her 'hot-shot' and sends them to Asterix with a text message

<@Asterix: Research complete, subject information attached with time-stamp. Full evaluation to be coalated in the morning with recommendations. Request presence at subject's debriefing.>

As always, she observed the standard encryption procedures. I should likely pass on the nine others to the Ambassador's security team just in case... the two special agents would likely be the least likely to over-react. She looked around for a moment to find the more experienced agents of the Ambassador's team that she'd noted earlier. One appeared rather flightily engaged in conversation while the other seemed to be more experienced and less engaged. She chose the experienced one and sent another encrypted message - this time with the research data for the other nine subjects.

<@*(whatever ID Prometheus is using)*, from "ZeGuttDoktor": Please discreetly flag the following people as +possible+ threats - suspected deceitful identities and psychological propensity for nefarious purposes. Recommend discretionary caution. Data Attached.>

Seeing her job as done, Elena thinks Well... now that that unpleasantness is done with, I should try my best to find some enjoyment in this miserable setting. The Mars feed should be intriguing. She passes off the remaining data-crunching running from her research methodology to Igor (her agent) and takes a glass of champaign from one of the passing servers. She continues to monitor the nine threats, and she keeps tabs on the man she identified as an agent to monitor his activities for her report in the morning. As she sips on the champaign, her mind quickly begins to wander to her work, and she idly considers this would be the perfect location for a bio-terrorism attack. A large number of people from all over the world and covering all social strata save for the poor... numerous security teams from numerous sources without an over-arching structure. Hmmm... a simple retro-virus with say a week-long incubation period could devestate thousands if not millions of people... especially if it were engineered specifically for the occassion... now... if I were going to deliver such an agent, how would I do so...

Finding amusement in her macabre mental exercise, Dr. Volusia's mood quickly improved.
Volusia- London, Greenwhich Observatory Charity Ball ~ 2035 to 2110 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070
Commlink in Passive mode, Comcode = Prometheus SIN= Overly Long Serial Number

Prometheus glares at the crowd, feeling unduly itchy and paranoid. Someone knows someone is doing something. Better than being bored.

When Volusia's list jets its way into his in box, id'ing her by her matrix comcode and presenting her agency credentials, he sub vocalises a command to read it into his earpeice. As the list progresses, he guestures to Yahtzee that he's going to drop off the Astral, validates Volusia's credentials with the CTB executive, then calls up her personnel profile, swears under his breath, something that draws a positively filthy look from the enhanced elf, then flicks her an email containing one character "?"

As he's waiting for a response he rapidly tags the suspects in AR, then cleans the list of surplus information before bundling it up and it and the AR overlay across to Mariko, with the preface 'Suspect individuals identified by intelligence, go check them out on the QT.'

Then he slides the list and a copy of the unclassified parts of Volusia's dossier across to the sec team leader with a brief note 'From a CTB in the principals entourage, I didn't know she was here and I've never met her. I cannot vouch for her work but the dossier looks good. Prometheus.'

Then he uses AR and her personnel profile, slides back into AR and assenses her and any of the suspects that are close to the ambassador.
Mariko - London, Greenwhich Observatory charity ball~ 1905 - 2110 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Mariko is not particulary tall for an elf , apparently a conflict between her elven and Japanese heritage. She is dressed elegantly and expensive cutting edge an 'IBM Thinkwalk' dress with its every changing virtual patterns responding to nearby commlinks . Her black hair is in a fairly conservative fashion with only a few fiberoptics to highlight her long hair. The bioreactive temporaru tattoo's are likewise conservative and of EVO manufacture .

Mariko enjoys the ball chatting with the glitterati , hangers on and wannabe's , while trying to remember to focus on the mission . She does check out anyone who looks suspicous but does not seem to find anything. She does acquire a number of contact numbers for interesting people and a few interesting proposals.

Looking around she does note a few people as being unnusual or notweorthy mainly celebrities but she takes note of Dr. Spanadenberg sadly noting her as someone who has tried hard to succeed in fashion but failed at the last hurdle. The Comination of extreme scarification and the Ophidian look is interesting but needs to be carried out with more dash and elan to really work . A few live mice or something. It seems odd to go so far and then not push it to the line and enjoy the party.

Her enjoyment is interupted when she recieves the message from Prometheus and her mind dragged back to work . Highlighting the suspects on her VR display she begins to attempt to get closer to each of them and assess them close up. Closing her eyes briefly she calls on Ezrulies Loa to mount her giving her access to the enhanced Astral perception and calling upon her own experience to channel the loa andmask its presence .
Crank and Ruff - Hong Kong ~ 0200 HKT/UTC + 8 Thursday January 22st 2070

Water Lily whispered in their ears, "Take him."

Getting a nod from Ruff meant he had my back in case something went down, so I started to make my way to the bar where the man was drinking alone. The Commander had a distinguished service record and we were hoping there would be no need for violence when we were ready to make the arrest. I sat on the stool beside him and motioned to the bartender, "Gimme one of what he's drinking", as I thumbed in the Commander's direction. "While you're at it, make that two." Turning to look the man straight in the face with a grin, "I'd like the buy the Commander a drink. Might be the last the one he enjoys for a long long time where he's going." Crank flips out his ID and slowly taps on the Evo CTB lettering with his fingers. "I going to need you to come with me, you're a person of special interest in an on-going investigation."

Dr Alton Memphis; Wednesday afternoon, January 21st; WHO Tower, NYC, UCAS

"Don't let the ghouls eat you."

In response to his request for advice at breakfast it seemed a rather trite answer from Dragan. Everyone knew you shouldn't let ghouls eat you.

On the other hand, having spent the last 4 hours in conference with a set of ghouls staring at you with sightless eyes while you worked out interdepartmental policy and procedures couldn't but help make you think about their diet. Normally the topic would be exceedingly dry, deliberately so when discussing inoculation and evacuation procedures for pandemics, but the participants had given the sessions an underlying edge of adrenalin. Right in the middle of his explanation of standard triage procedure one of them interrupted him.

"You come Asamando now."
Dr Alton Memphis; Wednesday afternoon, January 21st; WHO Tower, NYC, UCAS

Alton had not known Dragan for very long, but in that short time he had remained unable to read the old ork. He walked off musing to himself, Well I guess I'll be dealing with blood-thirsty cut-throat management types today...

When he opened the door to the conference room and literary saw ghouls seated in the room he pictured them gnawing on leg o' troll for a brief moment, Thanks Dragan... Thanks for that picture. Just when you think the old ork is speaking metaphorically....

The meeting was long and dry and just about the time he thought it couldn't get any worse... "You come Asamando now."

He stopped and looked up from the holo-table and the documents he was reviewing with them, his mind trying to translate that one sentence. He wanted to say, Are you frelling CRAZY?! Kingdom of the ghouls?

Instead he paused a moment, "What will be the goal of our visit?"
Mariko - London, Greenwhich Observatory charity ball~ 2110 -2200 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

With her attention dragged back to her job , Mariko disengages from her current conversation and moves towards the first of the people on the suspect list. She approaches each carefully , assensing them before joining in the converasation around them and trying to assess their emotional state and level of threat. She does not have time to assess the threat from all of them before the simsense broadcast begins, in fact she only has time to approach three of them.

The first while clearly nervous does not seem to be up to anything his aura does not seem to indicate any preperation to violence and he seems to be inebriated , conversation around him rapidly reveals him as a geek out of his social depth. Mariko assesses him as a hacker who has sneaked his way in just for the the simsense feed and decides that she should not take any action , she passes this assesment to the event security team. Moving on she is relieved that for now this job seems are harmless as she thought it would be although she is worried by the thought "what if I got it wrong and he's a terrorist"

The second person she approaches is a much more worrying candidate she seems calm and in control but her aura is a whirl of excitement and tension. She seems to be concentrating on stalking someone . Mariko eventually realises she is intent upon Jessica Bellows a simsense starlet hot in the news recently. It is difficult to strike up a converstion with the suspect as she is focused on her observation and only speaking in passing to those around her. Her concentration makes Mariko nervous particularly when a close inspection of her seems to reveal that her Commlink and contact lenses seem heavily modified. A quick consultation with event security reveals a signifigant level of encrypted traffic from the suspect to an external comm node . Mariko decides that this person is clearly up to something and asks event security to take a close look at this person and consider asking them to leave the event although they don't appear to be an immediate threat.

The final person she approaches sets of a red flag immediatly as on close perception it becomes apparent that he is a mage. He is also tense and alert not enjoying the event at all . He does not seem to be focussed on any one individual but is clearly intent on observing what is going on around him. Mariko decides not to approach him closely so as not to invite close inspection of her own aura masking. Instead she contacts event security and asks if the guest is supposed to be a mage upon learning that he is not she firmly recomends that he be invited to leave immediatly as he is a clear security risk. Observing from a distance she observes as two members of the security detail approach . She is tense hoping that nothing unfortunate will happen she doesn't want responsibility for messing up this event, that would hurt the company and be on her own head. As the security approach the mage clearly see's them and tenses for action and then clearly has second thoughts and quietly accomapnies the security staff.

Finally relacing she check the chrono and realises that the simsense projection will be starting . She relaxes and thinks well it won't hurt if I watch this nothings going to happen after all and I am supposed to be blending in . She asks the loa to keep watch and alert her if any trouble breaks out and takes one of the available coaches and trode sets.
Slick - Downtown Denver Crash Cart Morgue, ~ 1000 MST UTC/GMT -7 Wednesday January 21st 2070

Slick briefing

Misty Montana peered from out under his ten gallon hat across the slab at the latest face from Aleut Prime. He grimaced, stopped chewing, gathered himself, and spit into the medical waste disposal funnel conveniently nearby. With a sigh he glanced down onto the slabs and looked at the faces of the last three of his subordinates. He wiped away a tear from his cheek reflexively and then stared at the fresh meat with his clear grey eyes.

"Helena Cartier, John Naismith, and Margoli Red Horse. Your predecessors."

"Your predeceased predecessors."

Misty continued, "Tortured, eaten, raped, butchered in ways you'll be studying for the next couple of days while you track down who did this to them."

"Hopefully you'll avoid the same thing happening to you."

"I've bumped it to Blue Dandelion, won't get you as much access hereabouts with that damned dragon, but it's going to have to do. I can't escalate it higher myself."

"Their last assignment was a Green one, checking into some Vory connections for our Crash Cart subsiduary. The accounting agents flagged some disbursements, and these three were tracking it down."

"A week ago they went off our board as planned for some undercover work, and 39 hours ago we finally got a signal, the Crash Team found them in the CAS sector in an old wash."

"And now all I've got is you."

Misty wiped away another tear streaking down his cheek and spat into the funnel again.

"So what are you going to do?"
Spirit Bomb - Shopping in Tokyo ~ 1400 JST UTC/GMT +9 Thursday January 22st 2070

With a flick of her telescoping articulated tail Venusian Blue had pointed out the extraction target. That was a good thing because with her eyes replaced with a visual sensor band it was hard to tell where the Tokyo Station ops team leader was looking. Which was the point, she could look everywhere.

Roberts, the gun, had to ask again. "The baby. We're kidnapping her baby?"

Venusian Blue sighed, at least motioned a sigh, her voice box speaker stayed silent until she switched to the audio band and in a vexed tenor tone answered, "We'll wait till she delivers first."

Her tail flicked again and tapped Connor on his shoulder, this time her voice was a deep throated contralto, "Got enough to track astrally? If I'm not mistaken she just popped. I can smell amniotic fluid from here."
Matt Freewind - EVO Corporate Offices West Tower, ~ 1300 PST UTC/GMT - 8 Seattle Wednesday January 21st 2070

The giant eyeball manifested right on schedule. Then spun around to face his pupil the right direction.

"So what's your plan?" Wotan pupils dilated as he focused on the young man before him.
London, greenwhich Observatory Navy Widows and Orphans Charity Gala Ball 2200 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

The giant holoprojected Mars hung in the sky, visible to the city center from the park here, with each slow rotation of the Red Planet marking a countdown for anyone to organize themselves for the sensory feast as they desired. Drone distribution stations in various tracked, wheeled, multi legged and winged faerie flying modes distributed incredibly retro blue and green lensed goggles and earcup devices to all the distinguished guests. All arranged to their comfort in a distinctive and personal array of furniture, blankets, cushions, or simply nothing except a bare patch of green grass.

Instinctively the crowd peered up with their goggles at the projection over head. The feast began.

<<Clear clear sky, stars as pinpricks. At first it appears not much different, but no wisps of clouds, and the patterns changed, and the stars are myriadly more varied and brilliant. Beneath your back the feel of sand, cold cold sand, skin rubbed raw, feeling wet and numb. Lungs on fire, lanced with ice. The stars begin dimming slightly, the edges of your vision fading dark grey and black. Ice on your back. Red streaks and cracks across the sky.

Something moves across your vision and a vision of white haired sharp eared yellow eyed loveliness moves to the center of vision and smiles a sad smile as she touches your chin with blazing hot hands.

The other slim arm over her head swings down and sideways, your vision tumbling and spinning between red sand and black sparkling sky twice .....


"Sorry about that little technical glitch, we'll be starting the real sensorium feed in a moment. The discomfort you felt will be momentary, especially compared to what one of my technical team will feel with my personal attention. Please enjoy the rest of the show."

In your hands is a steering wheel of a rover as the balloon tires spin over the marscape... the intense sensor feed continues, even the discomfort of wearing a martian environmental suit is felt in glorious bladder busting detail.>>
Slick - Downtown Denver Crash Cart Morgue, ~ 1000 MST UTC/GMT -7 Wednesday January 21st 2070

Slick briefing

Slick often dealt with fear or disgust with humor, seeming completely unafraid and uninvolved by what was going on. But he knew that a joke about making sure his life insurance was in order or checking his vacation time would go poorly.

"I haven't been here all that long, but I can tell you what we used to do in KE. If anyone hit us like this, we would find them and we would make 'examples' of them. Make it clear that the cost of doing this like this is beyond anything that anyone would want to pay. "

Looking down that the people who would have been his coworkers, he was filled with a sense of foreboding. He wasn't really angry, he didn't know these people well, but he knew that precedents needed to be set. To discourage it from happening again.

"More specifically, I'm going to look over their files and run up any of their contacts that might have seen them or that they would have pressed for information prior to going under. Do we know who they were going to make contact with initially. Vory are always very insular, and if they were looking to get anywhere they needed an in and a significant one. And I want a list of the people who knew them and where aware enough of what they looked like to have dropped the dime on them. "
Spirit Bomb - Shopping in Tokyo ~ 1400 JST UTC/GMT +9 Thursday January 22st 2070

"We have to get a physical sample before I can track her, I have assensed her aura though and we should have no problems spotting her again. Why do you think they need this baby? I'm EVO all the way but....this seems questionable."

Connor concentrated and shifted his perception into the astal to keep watch there, he was somewhat confident in his new abilities but he didn't need any suprises. Everytime he did it he was still amazed. It was like anything living sucked the color out of everything around it that wasn't. The things that had the gift appeared more solid and brighter than those without. Looking at Venusian's aura he could see the grey holes that appeared inside her aura like where her eyes were. It was cool what she had done with her body but did she understand the price she was paying?
London, greenwhich Observatory Navy Widows and Orphans Charity Gala Ball 2150 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

Piers had chosen his mark well. Upon arriving at the Gala, he was immediately chewed out by his cover identity’s employer for some perceived failing. This generated sympathy with the rest of his crew, and nothing builds cover faster than sympathy for a shared hardship – like an obnoxious boss.

The event went smoothly, and no one Piers interacted with seems to penetrate his cover. As the night wares on, however, there is one person who seems to be spending extra time watching him – a neatly dressed lizard woman. Piers decides by her outfit and stern look that she is unlikely to be of the new “biosculpting? crowd. Whatever has caused her saurian appearance is thus involuntary.

The woman is certainly the one sent to spot me out of the crowd thinks Piers, joylessly. Spotting her is no victory; she clearly isn’t a field agent. At least, she isn’t one trained to deal with people. It’s also obvious she’s spotted me. That’s good, she’s got promise. I hope her report on how she did it is thorough, especially as the rest of the event seems to have accepted the identity I've taken though Piers dryly. Though he had planned to be spotted, some part of him – pride, he supposed – had secretly hoped to go undetected. This was no time to let pride get in the way, however.

More worrying to Piers was that he had not yet spotted any of the other EVO agents. It was a difficult task – there where thousands in attendance at the Gala, and half of his heightened senses where nearly overwhelmed. The myriad of foods and perfumes had already forced him to turn down his sense of smell to avoid overload. His sound filtering cyberware was running at maximum setting just to hold an ordinary conversation in the lively crowd. Even sight was hampered by the elaborate lighting conditions created. With such conditions and thousands of targets, the task was nearly impossible – nonetheless, he had hoped to pick out some distinguishing characteristic of training or something of that sort. Even that, however, was unlikely – with so many high profile guests in attendance, there were more than a few security personnel. Observing each for long enough to recognize EVO training would take more time than he had.

As Piers worked through the crowd, he continued to subtly keep an eye on the one EVO agent he had spotted – it was possible she’d lead him to more agents. It slowly became clear that she was in fact watching several other people besides Piers. It was equally clear, however, that these people were not EVO CTB. Quite the opposite – in addition to spotting Piers, the lizard woman had spotted several people who should be watched more closely. Her talents are going to prove useful thought Piers. First, though, he had to deal with the more pressing matter of the possible troublemakers.

Or, did he? No… it looked like the Ambassador’s agents were handling it - at least two of them were. The lizard woman was also watching their progress. Was it possible then that these two were CTB, and had been informed by the mysterious watcher? It was possible, but far from definite. While the two seemed to stand out somewhat from the Ambassador’s normal security, they could just be specially assigned for this event. Either way, informing them would be the correct course of action. It’s not something I’d stake my reputation on, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see those two at EVO afterwards.

Unfortunately, there was no time to investigate further – the simsense feed was due to start any moment. It looked like the Ambassador’s security could handle the potential problems for the moment, and the Simsense feed was important to his cover. Besides, it’s often surprising how helpful a shared intense experience like this simsense feed can be when evaluating people Piers further rationalized.

He reached up and took one of the retro-styled trode sets from a brilliantly decorated drone drifting by above the crowd, and placed it on his head. Piers also checked that his normal senses where recording on a separate track from his simsense recorders – just in case something important happened in meatspace during the feed, he’d provide one more possible recorded point of view.

As soon as the feed started, Piers knew he had made the right choice – the simsense experience was a unique event, an important event. Someone had been killed millions of miles away, and their death was shared by all of these very important people. This was going to have a meaningful effect, even if it wasn’t immediately clear what that would be. Right now, though, there was plenty that needed attending to if he was going to see this through.
London, greenwhich Observatory Navy Widows and Orphans Charity Gala Ball 2150 GMT Wednesday January 21st 2070

As soon as the symptoms of dumpshock start the Ambassadors security feed reacts as one, half a dozen guns come out from under jackets, engines roar into life, the elf grabs the ambassador and everyone prepares to hustle for the exit, before the Ambassador shouts at them to stand down over comms. The section leader and the Ambassador start having an argument about face, the elf starts quickly checking the ambassadors health while the two security hackers patch across into the Gala's systems and shunt in next to rest of the security.

Prometheus waits to get an all clear from the elf before re holstering his weapon. shit
Crank -Bull and Bear, Hong Kong ~ 0200 HKT/UTC + 8 Thursday January 22st 2070

Crank tapped his ID badge with his left hand and grinned as he reached under his duster for the all too familiar feel of his Miroku High Power. He was careful to mask his movement and watched for a reaction from the Commander. It was odd how it struck him just then how Lilly's orders reminded him of an old movie.

"Go get her, Ray" the actor shouted, unfortunately for Ray he was creeping up on a force 10 free spirit at the time. Alerted to the young talismonger's presence, the free spirit took great joy terrorizing Ray until he nearly crapped himself trying to escape. That was a funny movie, I should rent that again. Hey, wait a minute...

Crank suddenly realized he's not going to come quietly, probably that little nervous tick indicating the commander's activated his move by wires.

...I'm Ray!

As if on cue the big man's right arm swings out aiming to wipe the smirk right off Crank's face, but Crank deftly slides off his stool backwards and it whooshes through empty air. Crank continues to walk backwards trying to put a few paces between them and draws the Miroku taking a snap shot at the Commander's kneecaps. I'm just the distraction, Lilly's the punch in the crotch!
Crank and Ruff - Hong Kong ~ 0200 HKT/UTC + 8 Thursday January 22st 2070

Ruff will hear the command to from Water Lilly to take him. He nods to Crank, then engages his cyberears and cybereyes.

He will move in behind Crank, and watch the exchange of words between, but keeping aware of things around them.

When the Commander moves to swing his fist at Crank, he draws his his concealed quick draw holster from underneath his armored jacket.

He notes Cranks point of aim, and targets the other knee.
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