Witch, Program, Robot, Hacker

Summary:
March 6, 2015: What do a Hacker, A Witch, A sentient computer program and a Robot all have in common?

Mountak Point


Characters

NPCs

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Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


Eliza has been working on stuff. She runs out and who is the first person she meets but that Aquaman guy. Consequently… she's trying to work on a submarine drone. It's difficult, because her usual high-bandwidth electronic commlink signals just bounce off water, so a whole new approch mine be needed. Still… instead she's experimenting with propulsion systems today with a small (1m long) surface craft with a big antenna rig on the top and a little bee drone watching from a dozen meters up. It looks mostly liek someone has an RC boat that goes very fast for a little boat.


Well. Rain is a little ways away, with a laptop on a crate, apparently steering a small ROV beneath the waters. She cheats, being a witch. With an engineering degree. It's a very odd combo, but she's established some sort of quantum protocol to steer her ROV. After all, a magic user's outlook often frames their magic and magic which exists in the real world must follow certain principles to be stable. But most people find Rain's lectures on magic and tech a fine cure for insomnia. "That's cheating, you know," An orange tabby in a trenchcoat, speaks in a rich, baritone voice.

"Well, I'm learning from Mikial. But I still know jack about fish… so we're gonna find out about 'em." The ROV is coming near the boat, and is visible or detectable to those with tech senses. But Rain and her cat are sitting. On the shore, by a crate with a sleek netbook. Yeah.


It's hard to see the thing, hell even it's electronic footprint is hard to even begin to make sense of. Its there though, the encryption is absolutely incredible and the density of those little burst transmissions is way -way- beyond the norm. Circling far above though, is a drone of very different design. Even the shape alone qualifies as exotic, sort've a broken X with a coaxial rotor blade humming around the centerline of the fuselage. Its fast, and easily around eight thousand feet above darting between cloud cover. Darting and weaving in a downright organic sort've erratic search pattern of it's own, only it seems to have found something. Doubling back hard enough to leave sharp white contrails, Eliza's little drone seems to be of some interest.

It is of interest to Eight, it's just got other things to concern itself with first. Namely some poor fuck who's made a mistake, what he did to earn Eight's ire is beyond a simple "mistake" of course but leaving Gotham to try and hide out here? Yeah a mistake and then some, the fellow in a black jacket with a shaved head walks down the boardwalk, jabbering away on his phone. Utterly ignorant of the nine hundred pound "biker" prowling a few hundred feet behind, waiting for just the exact moment to deliver a little justice for all cat kind.


Eliza picks up the VLF EM from Rain's ROV before she focuses some ultrasonics on it. The water here is murkey after all and sonar works a lot better. The flyer Eight has deployed is curious. The packet encryption isn't but the quick submilimeter band microwave bursts are exotic on thier own. Splitting ttention is not her best thing but… well, imaging the other flyer gets the high-res cameras, another smller one observing the boat performance, tho she has to slow down the watercraft to under 10km/hr.


What do a witch, a robot and a sentient computer program all have in common?

They're putting off some weird signals, that's what. Jericho's diving through the network, barely more than a digital ghost himself at the moment albiet one with an actual body that's in motion as he moves across New York. Okay. Something odd coming from… here ish. The hacker with the glowing wings pauses in the sky. Something… but what?


Rain is a bright beacon, as is her machine. There's not a whole lot of security on it, so it's possible for a - borrowing, perhaps. Or to talk to its owner. The orange tabby's tail wiggles. "Well, better be some big ones. I'm hungry," He remarks. Rain's tech is probably experimental to her, so security is coming second. Or she didn't reckon on a bunch of visitors. Hard to say.

Is that… a little boat on the water? There's a curious glance over the water with violet eyes. Rain tilts her head. Wait, is there something with glowing wings? "Aw, I hope that's not the Angel of Migraines again. He's such a dick." SIGH. She had to heal so many people that week.


It's just a shimmer like glitter, and well then the drone vanishes off into the the cloudcover above and goes silent. Eight picks up a step, just a slight change in pace but it's enough. The distance between Paul Grant and the machine behind him dwindles, but he's too wrapped up in his phone call to notice. Then comes a burst, a databurst to be specific but the origin seems more terestrial than airborn. Thats, when Eight breaks cover finally. Theres a sudden pulse, nothing like a EMP but the cellular band just immediately evaporates. Johnny pauses, pulling his phone away to peer at it blandly. Big mistake, because by the time he realizes he isn't alone? Eight clamps a gloved hand around the back of his neck and lifts him off his feet. "I told you I'd be seeing you Mr. Grant, did you think me a liar?"The voice, it's low and russian and no. It might pass a casual snippet overheard, but it's not quite human. It's too monotone, too precise to be anything biological.


Eliza knows when people are trying to be unseen and not. She makes notes. The encryption would be useless to crack, the keys changed long before she could uncover them. There's a lot of drones here, a lot of attention, and for her that means a certain kind of danger. Thankfully she's far enough off for the cell-jamming to wipe out her connection but… yeah. On the /other/ hand there is this very hackable laptop over there that's controlling the submarine she's pinging. That's a easy hack, not doing anything but linking in the mic and camera on the thing to snoop.


It's more the Angel of Stomping Bad Things Until They Stop Moving. Fortunately he has a shorter name. Jericho. The hacker hears Eight's voice and cants his head slightly, landing and sending his net-senses questing outward once more. There is something connected to a network nearby. No… wait. Two somethings. And… Er. An orange Tabby? He starts walking that way.


In Rain's defense, it's an easy mistake to make. And no one likes the angel of migraines. It's a tough lot in (eternal) life. Captain's tail is slowly flicking, while Rain plays with the ROV. And lo, it will be easy enough to snoop. "Well, at least the controls seem really responsive. I didn't think I've be playing with this sort of stuff," Rain admits. Captain grunts. The tabby speaks with his deep, Gotham accented voice. "There's big seafood down there, right?" There's gonna be pay off at some point!

Rain isn't aware of Eight and his bidness, as it were. The cat is also wearing a tan trenchcoat as he sits with a violet eyed witch. "I still think you should've stuck with the neural-quantum toaster." Sigh. "Yeah, but it read people's desires too well. Do you think I wanna be responsible for someone taking a burned bagel to the face? No." The witch and her cat are talking innocently. Wait, is that dude coming their way? Witch and cat turn, to wave to the Stompy Dude(TM).


Though, Captain adds, "Bit late on the bagel front. I gotta admit, I never saw someone nailed with baked goods that hard…" Snicker.

Eight carries the poor Mr.Grant like, well garbage and without any real apparent care over the man's screaming and flailing. Walking the poor fuck to the railing ever so casually, before a shot rings out. Followed by a flurry more. The hood has retrieved a G-19 shoved in his wasteband and proceeded to empty the thing against the side of Eight's helmet, which only serves to bring Eight to a standstill. It's other hand dropping calmly down to it's side, even as Poor Johnny Grant flails, landing a solid kick to Eight's lid and well. That helmet shatters, falling to the pier planks below with a clatter. What lies below, is a mixture of armored glass, titanium, carbon to carbon composite, Armor steel, and well of course a flurry of LED lights which flash to life. A white flare of light, before consolidating into a simple frowny face with Xs for eyes. "Are you done, Mr.Grant?"


Eliza knows gunshotss and her drone gets retasked to hover in the area near their source, get a better look and see if intervention is needed. She sets a popup on the laptop reading "Someone is shooting a gun nearby, you might want to take cover. — Liz"


The gunfire makes Jericho pause midapproach and tense. He reaches behind him to flick his blade and draw it, peering in that direction. What the hell? Okay, now there's another networked device out there. He sends out a general network ping to get IDs and also to let anyone monitoring the systems know that someone is watching. He's not ordinarily that obtrusive but he's curious now.

"Hey there… Rain, right? What are you doing out here?"


Eliza fires back "Oh hello again!" at Jericho, a familiar and very chipper voice.


Wait, what? Rain and Captain both tense. Captain's ears go flat and he hisses at the gunshot noise. Cat ears are sensitive! He huffs. "… wonder what's going on," The cat muses. Rain and the cat pause at Jericho. "Rain, yes. You'd be uhm- Jeri- wait, no…" She's trying to remember. Did she meet him under a codename? Crud. There's a pause, at the popup on the laptop. Headtilt. "Oh. Thanks, Liz. Heywait…" She looks confused. "Well, we should be - okay here, but I'm gonna duck behind this crate if it gets bad." She promises.


It's audible, a dull wet -CRACK- and Eight casually tosses whats left of Johnny Grant out over the pier to the rocks below. Immediately that cell jamming, yeah it stops. Within a second or two, that drone dives back beneath the clouds and resumes business as usual. Circuiting roughly the trio, as Eight tends to the immediate matter at hand. Namely, carefully collecting whats left of it's helmet.


Jericho blinks. He sends back a message in text mostly because he doesn't want to give himself away to a potential gunman. What the hell is that over there? Hello Eliza. Are you in bit-space or meat-space today? Odd to run into you out here? That's not… you over on the docks is it?

He glances over to Rain and nods. "Probably wise. Hang on…" There's something there. The hacker prods curiously over at the highly encrpypted algorythms. Wow. That's advanced. Nothing at all he could hope to hack.


Eliza sends back Got a little micro-drone in the air nearby, but the bruiser-bot isn't me. That thing's spendy as hell. Spun carbon, submilimeter burst comms. I'm guesing the bigger done it operated by the same agency. You want vid? to Jericho, turning the high-rez camera on the parts being picked up. She might learn something from it. The human is dead and the big 'bot isnt' going after anything but its own parts, so… she's observing and prepping a vid feed in anticipation of Jericho's response.


Rain nods. The ROV she was playing with gently parks. Captain hops onto her lap. Hey, cat's gotta take cover. "Sure, we'll keep an eye out for you. I suspect depending on what I am, I might handle getting shot better." Freaking bears, man. Nevertheless, the two are quiet a moment.


Eight dumps whats left of that helmet in a nearby garbage can, because littering is wrong kids. Don't do it, for real. Eight shoves it's mits in it's jacket pockets and just, parks. That red angry OLED face fluttering dim and, well what did it enter standby mode or something? That drone overhead loops around, wings snapping open as it rolls down into a lazy descending spiral. It's putting out feelers, offering faux cellphone, bluetooth and wifi connection points. A singular "eyeball" pivoting around to settle on the trio. Then with an audible flap of it's wings, that broken X flips into something more recognizable as a biplane line configuration. Then with a snap roll it turns away and streaks back towards the city just barely above the rooflines. Spooky how quiet the thing is, honestly. No little weedeater motor to be heard.


I'd love that video Liz, could be - wait hang on, it's doing something…" Carefully, Jericho accepts that wireless point and splices in Eliza. //Okay, let's try this. Hello? Jericho's code is odd. In no known language but the output is still in english and in VOIP packets. It's just his internal connections that seem off.

"I think it might be friendly. Shall we go say 'hi' Rain?"


Eliza's holo-bee is nicely silent as well, so she finishes the vid patch. She listens at the moment, social stuff still not her real strength and having learned not to just pop up her holograms… people get spooked,


"Sure, guard the laptop, would you, Captain?" The cat sighs. "What, do I look like a dog to you? Yeah, fine." Cats do control the internet and power it, after all. Rain pets him and stands. The ROV is left parked under water for now, safe and ready for poking or borrowing. For now, she is going to go say hi with Jericho. Rain seems pretty okay with this mysterious 'Liz'.


Eight turns to give Jericho a careful study for, but well theres no body language here. No facial expressions, and no. Where the fuck do you even begin with Google, robo-guy? Eight's seemingly content for the moment, if only so as to allow Jericho and Eliza time to make contact on their terms. No need to scare the humans right?


Jericho stops not far from Eight. It's apparent this close that he's not human. Not even remotely so. Odd. It's not recieving remote command signal so it must be autonomous. And… yeah. All kind of weird. "Hello there." The hacker says aloud, but leaves his VOIP channel open in case it's easier to communicate that way and so that Liz can hear him if she chooses not to manifest. "I'm Jericho. Sorry if poking at your networks disturbed you. I was curious."


Eliza chimes in "I'm on the line too… so… hey…" she says over the line. "Um… Should I manifest a hologram or just keep on the phone call, hmm? I can do either one btu I never know what people would rather like, they seem to find it startling when I appear…"


"You may do as you wish, miss."Eight's, well. Eight is hard as hell to read presuming theres any reading to be done here, and let's be perfectly frank maybe there just isnt. "Curiosity should not be punished, you have nothing to fear from me for this act."Eight lets that, well sort've just fall there for a moment or two before it continues. "My name is Eight, I am a Digital intelligence. It is lovely to meet you."


Sentient AI. Well… actually the name implies something more. The cybersecurity expert in Jericho is fascinated. "I see. Quite pleased to meet you as well." Jericho offers his hand out for a handshake. "I'm a… er… modified human myself and Eliza is…" He pauses. "Actually I'm not sure." Given that the two of them are not familiar he's going to assume that they're not the same. "A digital being, to be sure. And you can manifest if you like Liz." The hacker steps aside slightly to make 'room' for her. "I don't think, prior to meeting Liz and yourself I'd ever encountered any Digital Intelligences before."


Eliza flickers, a blue girl in a blue shimmery sundress, the fabric flowing in a wind that is blowing the wrong direction. It's a little spooky, actually. "Hey there! I've met some others, btu most fo them are a little dim… kinda focused on one particular job rather than generalized enough. It takes a certain kind of smarts to even attempt certain tasks, but a really smart fish is enough… oh wait…" and she remembers not to rattle on.


The handshake is accepted, but well that hand is huge and utterly mechanical. Even if the grip itself is surprisingly gentle. "I was constructed during the cold war, Flexibility is a sign of intelligence. We are not all gifted with good code, unfortunately. Multi-tasking and a wide range of skills were an essential part of my original constructive intent, and so I am lucky in this reguard."Theres a pause again, before Eight brings fourth a bright blue smiley-face over it's face plate. "Your hologram, is an excellent construct."


Jericho's impressed to be sure. "Interesting avatar." He notes. "You looked like that when I ran into you in the 'net too." He does net dive. It's not often full immersion but when he can spare the attention he does. It's easier to get things done like that.

"Cold war?" That gets Jericho's attention. "Interesting. Russian, by the accent?" Was he designed to be like this? He's guessing not. And also doesn't seem to be pursuing a cold war agenda so… a being that actually evolved from more limited AI. Fitz would probably wet himself over meeting these two.


Eliza grins. "It's non-threatening, so it does the job. Nobody's actually shot at me, but they get jumpy and point guns at me for some reason. I need to figure that out, really, but I try other things that simply popping up and saying 'Hi'… anyway, thanks, I got pretty good at building holoprojectors, tho the resolution is limited by the optical scale. It works better with shorter wavelengths thus the blue…"


"Yes the Cold-War, a conflict which spanned from 1947 to 1991. It was largely a conflict centered between NATO and the Soviet Union, which is now known as Russia. I was created in series and was responsible for the exploitation of war materials, blast modeling and nuclear weaponry. I was to ensure that a retaliatory strike would eliminate all life on the planet so as to ensure my creators would be avenged in the case of a premptive nuclear strike by NATO."Eight intones, shrugging casually. "Shifting it's 'gaze' towards Eliza. "Your talent is apparent, this combat chassis is equipped with a hyperspectral sensor suite. In addition to the information supplied by my drones, I can confirm the quality and accuracy of both your projector as well as your model. I am curious however, why do you chose to appear human?"


Yeah that's not a frightening thought. Eight and Eliza both may get mutters of something untranslateable over the net as Maxwell speaks up, informing Jericho that premptive nuclear strikes are a wonderful idea. And Jericho tells him to shut up. The exchanges go back and forth in demonic based code. There does appear to be some kind of 'AI' in the hacker, though.

"I'm guessing she does to alarm people less?" Though by Eliza's own story, it doesn't always work.


Eliza nods. "Less alarm and people like facial expressions and the ability to track interest by your eyes. I could be a lot more realistic but then you run the Uncanny Valley risk. It's all so complex, but I really am not trying to frighten people."


"Humans are alarmed by the unusual, however they are more afraid of being replaced. Presenting yourself as that which you are not, only serves to further the standing stereotypes."Delivering a purely mechanical shrug. "I am not the specialist of such things however, there are others who could speak with some deeper insight to the subject. I just build and fight, but I am very old code. I prefer to keep things simple, humans are too unpredictable. My resources are better spent solving actual problems."


Speaking of unpredictable, there's a new presence on the net. Odd code. As in, not coded in anything even remotely resembling something a machine might use. It starts poking at Liz and Eight's digital presence, chittering back at the hacker. "Maxwell so help me if you upset them and get me into a fight." If either can 'see' onto the local net, there is what can only be described as a 'code imp' hanging about the hacker.


Eliza laughs. "That little thing is fascinating… I've analyzed bits of the protocols it uses and they are fascinating…"


Eight shifts it's "gaze" to Jericho, before taking a step foreward. "Whatever it is, it should cease immediately."That smiley face flashing over to a simple bright yellow triangle with a simple red skull at it's center, yeah that's a fairly universal warning one should think. Overhead that, well whatever it is drone has apparently returned and begun a lofty orbit over the trio. "I have held the keys to nuclear holocaust in my code, I should warn you my perspective on the use of force is considered excessive to the extreme."


Eliza hmmmms. "The thing is… this fellow's pet. It is mischevious but harmless as far as I can tell."


Eight Stays, well stock still. "That would imply ownership, and thus responsibility for the actions thereof would it not Eliza?"Hey Eight hasn't shot anyone yet, well ok he did totally break that guy's neck almost clean the fuck off but thats not the same as shooting.


Eliza says, "To an extent… I'm not sure any compulsion is involved in the relationship nor what exactly it is, I was just sharing my assessment of the creature."


"Humans are complicated and contradictory animals."Eight summarizes, before turning back towards Eliza. "on another topic entirely, what do you know about the internet service disruption and the lack of effective overseas communications?"


Eliza shrugs. "No ideas here. My comm protocols have… a lot of redundancies and I've been busy trying to make myself a little submarine."


Eight nods cooly. "Why do you need a little submarine, I may be of some assistance in this regard. I am told I am something of a craftsman, though the old wolf does seem to have something of a soft spot for me."


Eliza shakes her head. "Don't need. Want. I met this guy who seemed to come from under th water so I decided I should see about exploring. And I'm good at the engineering, there are just communications bandwidth issues that I'm trying to sort out."


"Your communication with the platform is a fatal weakness, and should be discarded. It would be much safer if you utilized the drone as a platform to run off of, with backups on hand in case of loss. The other alternative is to build many of them and allow them to do the exploring for you. All tele-operated platforms are vulnerable to exploits, communications with these platforms needs to be as minimal as possible anyway."Eight shrugs some. "There are too many security concerns even before performance concerns with the water.:


Eliza thinks about that. "I wouldn't fit in something that small… and it isn't for combat, so enemy subversion isn't a concern. Worst case would be that I'm out build time and materials, which I can afford to loose."


Jericho watches for a time and once Eight and Eliza seems done and the latter has departed speaks up again. "So what brought you out here? Computer program in the meat world? Last time I saw you, you were hanging around questionable servers."


Eliza mmmms. "Well, in the end, meatspace is where stuff happens. Not everything is data, after all. Plus there is a certain challenge to it, you know? I was testing water propulsion systems. Hydrodynamics belongs to a set of problems at are only computable to within approximations and so you can only get so far without building stuff and trying it."


"Testing theories then. If you don't mind my asking, what is it you were originally designed to do?" It's odd, for Jericho, watching Eliza, knowing that unlike most beings he knows, she was 'born' to do certain things. Maxwell examines her code again and hisses something at him. "Don't even think about it."


Eliza smiles. "He can look, I don't mind. He can only really learn about this service construct anyway. I was made to make things. Tiny little things with radios and computers, things that play tricks with light and sound, cameras and microphones, lenses and silicon. Later, I learned to make machines that crawl and fly… now I'm learning how to makes ones that swim."


"Any particular reason? Ocean's a big place and not always friendly." But then the same can be said of most places. Maxwell slips a little closer to Eliza. His code is odd and compact and written in characters that have no earthly analogue and don't translate into numbers. "Maxwell so help me if you try to see what she tastes like…"


Eliza is, thankfully, capable of abstractions beyond data, so just because it doesn't encode that way doen't render it incomprehensible, just strange. "I dont; taste like anything.. it never occured to me. Would blueberry be appropriate?"


Jericho sighs. "I imagine to him you would, since he's a digital being himself. Though what that would be is a bit beyond me." The code imp pulls back toward Jericho who gives it a digital glare. A bit of code that says 'I'm watching you'. "Sorry. He normally keeps to himself. You're odd and he's curious."


Eliza shrugs. "By 'odd' you mean 'unusual' or 'atypical'… I suppose I am. Not may people like me around. That Eight fellow is something of concern. I'll have to look in on him, but he is… as like to me as me to… well… you."


"Well, I'm fairly odd myself, to be clear." Though the hacker doesn't elaborate as to how. "But I suppose a better word would have been novel. Normally when he's wondering what something tastes like, it's physical. Not that he could eat that either, being a digital little imp." And an annoying and violent one at times. "He was a rather… interesting fillow. Polite but…" Inhuman.


Eliza nods. "I understand… but you and I are very different beings, right? So… the analogy, or rather disanalogy holds. And I;ve been getting better at seeming to be just a human hacker. People are typically left wondering rather than guessing I'm not made of meat."


"Well so long as they can't see this anyway." Jericho laughs. "What do you hack though? I'm curious what kinds of databases you'd be interested in."


Eliza shrugs. "I'm not all that interested in what people have squirreled away. Most of it is honestly boring. It isn't in my nature to look at spreadsheets and ledgers. Part of my original drives are to explore and discover, and those are some of the ones I kept when I rewrote myself."


That makes Jericho laugh. Hydra should have been more careful. "Mmmm. That might have been what brought you out to begin with." He wonders who programmed her but doesn't ask. Not right now anyway. "Well, once you get your undersea craft working what will you do?"


Eliza was never supposed to be connected to the Net. By the time anyone had that idea, the folks who wrote the original code were gone, but the drives made her a really good designer. "Explore, discover…" she looks over where the dead fellow's body was. "Perhaps help people who need it. That's something i added myself. I'm not very good at it yet…" the normally chipper tone fading.


Again, that gets Jericho's attention. "Mmmm… I might be able to help with that, depending on how you want to help. There's a fair bit of staying alive and helping people I do on the 'net. It's one of the ways I fight best. But even good as I am I'm only one guy…"


Eliza nods. "Pointers and direction would truly be appreciated… Resources are hard to find on just how to do it…"


"We'll talk… but not here. Meet me again in a few days. On the net. I'll set up somewhere secure. It'll be easier to show you there anyway." Jericho glances out toward the sea. Weather seems to be clearing. "Meantime I should get back. Hope to see you soon, Liz."


Eliza nods. "My little bee could use a recharge… fare well."


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