(??:??) Outside School
A Lovely Monday Afternoon. School has just gotten out and Ariel receives a call from Lieutenant Carter from the Department of Digital Mysteries. They request her assistance in a crime which happened at Woodlands Cross Family Center, a strip mall. Lieutenant Carter mentions what Ariel is probably the most important Sentio Employee for this case.
(??:??) Crime Scene
When she arrives at Woodlands Cross Family Center to find a digital police wall surrounding the crime scene. Lieutenant Carter apologies for calling Ariel in and tells her that the crime is a homicide. Lieutenant Carter tells Ariel that the victim is Julieta Moore, a student at the same school that Ariel goes to. He says that the reason that a Sentio Technician was brought in was because nobody saw Julieta die and her estimated time of death was approximately two hours ago. Lieutenant Carter mentions that there was a witness who heard something during the time that Julieta died.
(??:??) - First Life, Two Hours Ago
Two hours ago… Rostan Yamazaki was trimming his bonsai in his shop ‘First Life’ which is located in the Woodlands Cross Family Center. Like he sometimes did Rostan wasn’t wearing his augmented reality glasses. It wasn’t a very busy day for him, like usual. Suddenly he hears a scream from outside of the shop, in the strip-mall. Rostan has a single earbud in case he gets called when his glasses are off and strangely he only hears the scream from his free ear. The scream causes him to accidentally clip a branch he didn’t mean to. He lets out a small profanity and puts on his glasses. As he does he hears a rustling from the Corruption, almost like it is nervous, if that is even possible.
Rostan doesn’t seen anything strange. Only the usual like the Program street hawker trying to sell digital necklaces. He looks around and asks the old guy who was hanging outside his shop if he heard anything. The old man said that he hadn’t heard anything. He takes off his glasses and looks around again, this time to find the corpse of a young girl who couldn’t be more then fifteen or sixteen laying near the center of the strip-mall. She is sprawled out on the ground and blood is spreading out around her. He remembered having seen her visit his shop a couple of times before. When he puts on the glasses again the corpse disappears. He quickly puts his glasses back on and calls the police.
(23:35) - Crime Scene
Lieutenant Carter finished recounted in report made by Rostan Yamazaki, which included everything but the information about the Corruption. Ariel says that it isn’t much to go and and Lieutenant Carter agrees. Carter then draws out a dead girl’s glasses and gives them to Ariel. He Ariel that they found some text messages on the glasses. The recording on the glasses of the events of the last couple of days are deleted and there is large amount of corrupted data and applications. Cockie McGraw, one of the officers of the Department of Digital Mysteries, mentions that some of the delete data might be recoverable.
Ariel looks at the text messages. They were recorded audibly and then converted to text. They were sent to the girl Velia who also goes to Ariel’s school. Ariel hides away but she also has the reputation of having reputation of being a good programmer. Ariel thinks that she is a bitch. There were four recent messages to Velia. “Help me, they have discovered me.”, “He has a knife, a real one.”, “The King, in the image of the King.”, “Zero….”. There are no record of responses to the text messages though Cockie thought they sounded like responses to questions.
Lieutentant Carter then mentions that the cause of death was from the two stab wounds on the corpse, probably caused by the knife mentioned in the text messages. One of them was in the back of the shoulder and the other was in the center of the back. The second wound was the one that killed her. The wounds were clumsy work by an unskilled assailant who probably chased Julieta. Also while the corpse was initially invisible to anyone wearing glasses, about an hour ago that stopped being true and the security cameras started detecting the body.
Ariel asked if there were recordings of Julieta in the mall before the assault but the cameras just have her suddenly appear where she died. However, on previous days there were recordings of her visiting the strip-mall and First Life, as per Rostan’s memories of having seen her. Tapolski, another officer in the Department of Digital Mysteries, mentioned that there was some record of where she has been recently. Lieutentant Carter continued, saying that Julieta has been missing for several days before her death.
(31:53) - Kardif’s Office, Yesterday
Yesterday, Kardif Melovera was sitting in his office drinking coffee when a fairly wealthily dressed woman comes in. She says that she believes that her Ex-husband had done something to her daughter. The woman’s name is Laura Fox (she changed back to her maiden name after the divorce) and her daughter is Julieta Moore. Julieta was supposed to have visited her father, Tony Moore, yesterday and stay for a day but Julieta never returned. Laura says that Tony Moore is a fairly shady person who works for a protection agency (The Firm) which is engaged in many criminal activities. Laura wants to start bringing charges to Tony Moore to help get her daughter back and his out of her daughter’s life.
Kardif wanted to know if Tony showed tendencies toward violence and Laura said that he could be a violent person, although he wasn’t an abusive husband. When Kardif asked if Julieta had been taking drugs, Laura responded that she wasn’t but that she had been playing a lot of games recently, but Laura didn’t know which games. Julieta had also been coming home late from school recently, especially over the last couple of weeks. Laura then provides Kardif the address of Tony Moore before leaving. Kardif then calls one of his contacts, Jerry, to shadow Tony Moore and to find any information he can about the girl by talking to her friends and the police. Then Kardif began to start drafting the sapena. Unfortunatly while he was drafting the sapena and gathering information the poor little girl got killed.
(40:40) - Crime Scene
Lieutenant Carter finished explaining how Laura Fox had hired a lawyer to press charges against the father a day before the body was found. Carter says that that is most of the information that he has. Carter told Ariel that he wants her to figure out how this happened because invisibility programs are against the law. He also wanted her to gather information about her from school because they both go to the same school. Carter then said that he would contact her again if they had any other information. Lieutenant Carter let Ariel keep Julieta’s glasses because they had already made a backup of the information on it.
(43:21) - Kardif’s Office
Kardif was in his office, he had learned that the girl was dead when the police had interviewed him earlier. Kardif called Jerry to find what information he had found since yesterday. Jerry said that he have been trailing the father but so far there was no too unusual activity. Tony met with some people but there was no sighting of Julieta. Her friends haven’t seen her over the last couple of days, which isn’t too unusual because it has been the weekend. Kardif asked if Jerry managed to listen in on any conversations but several rules prevented him from extending his listening distance. Jerry however is still trailing the father and during the conversation with Kardif he mentions Tony is currently heading toward the scene of the crime. Kardif asks Jerry to continue trailing him and to call back when something is found.
(46:32) - First Life
There is a knocking on the door into Rostan’s shop. Rostan greets the tall big man wearing a black suit and a bowler hat. The man returns the greeting and Rostan thinks he remembers seeing the man before, the man is an employee of The Firm. He greets Rostan calling him Mr. Yamazaki and he introduces himself as Mr. Moore. Rostan mentions that the man seems familiar and Mr. Moore says that they have met a couple of times before. Mr. Moore says he is having a problem, that he needs to arrange a funeral. He seems totally placid and he says it is a very sad business. Moore tells Rostan that his shop seems to be doing well and inquires if he has paid his protection fee this month. (Successful Resolve vs Moore’s intimidate) Rostan says that he has and that Ilrosch collected it the other day.
Moore mentions that he is very busy. He is planning for a funeral and before that he and the boys had to deal with several big viruses attacking some protected property. Moore says that he also noticed that Rostan had been busy recently. Rostan responds that there was a murder earlier today and Moore growls that that is the funeral he is planning. Rostan says he suspected that was the case and says he is sorry for Moore’s lose.
Moore says that despite how busy it is he has come to give Rostan some advice. “You want to know the thing about viruses. All viruses are made by someone.” Rostan agrees and Moore says they are still trying to figure out who is making the viruses the boys and him encountered. “Now keep in mind my advice about viruses, Virus Tamer.” Moore then turned and walked out. Rostan swore and then made some tea to calm himself.
(51:34) - Ariel, Near Crime Scene
Ariel checked the time that the messages were sent. They were sent monday at around noon.
(51:53) - Kardif’s Office
Kardif’s contact Jerry contacts Kardif and informs him that Tony Moore just meet with the man that found the body (Rostan).
(52:36) - Ariel, Near Crime Scene
Ariel remembers that Velia’s last name is Briel. Using this information she looks up Velia’s contact information and calls her. Velia answers sarcastically saying “To think I would get a call from the great president Ariel, to what do I own the pleasure.” Ariel however is not amused and says that she is calling for business. Ariel asks if Velia knows why Julieta was absent that day and Velia replies vaguely. When pressed for more information Velia says that Julieta has been playing a game quite a lot recently. When asked what the game’s name was Velia dodges around the question and says that it was part of a club. After some mumbling Velia says that the club’s name is ‘The Kingdom Club’. The club had some other members but Velia wasn’t friends with any of the others. Velia also isn’t a member of the club.
Ariel tried interrogating Velia for more information and asked if she knew why Julieta had missed school that day and if she had gotten any messages from her. Velia mentions that she received several disturbing messages from her. But when pressed for more information she evades the question in a way that implied that she didn’t really know what they meant. Ariel hangs up but not before a passing cutting remark.
Ariel thought about the Kingdom Club, wondering when they might meet and if there was a way for her to join. She spend a couple of minutes pocking around the Internet looking for information about the Kingdom Club before she was able to contact the server. The server AI materializes in front of her, it is in the form of a female wearing a medieval dress and pointed elven ears. She also has the standard AI symbol branded on her forehead like all human AIs. The AI cordially greets Ariel and Ariel requests to join the Kingdom Club. The AI said it would request approval from the King but it wasn’t able to make contact and asked if Ariel would like to be contacted when the request has been made. Ariel then asked the AI what it could tell her about the King but was only able to find out that the King was the leader of the club, everything else was private information.
Unable to get the information she needed, Ariel pulled out an override module and use it to hack into the Kingdom Club server. Once in control of the server AI Ariel began requesting confidential information. The first information is that the King’s name is Erich Awking. She thought she remembered the name so she compared the name to the school records and found a match. Ariel then requested a members list which Erich, Julieta, and half a dozen other people are listed. Julieta’s name is the last on the list. The only strange name on the list is the second one, whose name is simply listed as Function. When asked for more information about Function the AI wasn’t able to provide any other information.
Ariel then asked when Julia joined and found that it was ten days ago. Content with the information she had gathered, Ariel asked the AI to let her know when her request to join had been received. The AI was about to dematerialize when it stopped and told Ariel that she should forward her request for information about Function to Nel. When Ariel asked who Nel is she was told that Nel is a question, answer and data search AI. The Kingdom Club AI then gives Ariel a server address before dematerializing.
(1:04:25) - Rostan, Inside First Life
Rostan, currently checking his stock and sipping tea, is still bothered by the worried sounds the Corruption is making. He can’t really figure out why it is asking like that because the Corruption doesn’t have a normal AI, more like a dog or other pet. He tries questioning the Corruption, but it doesn’t give him any intelligible response. It was then that, through the windows in his shop, he sees six floating black objects circling around the police wall. It was pretty easy for Rostan to tell that they were probably viruses and there appearance seems eerily familiar to his own corruption used to be, though the are more scaled down. However these viruses seemed more simplistic, probably nothing more then mindless automatons [Ruthless Automatons].
The viruses were attacking and deleting the police line. They also seemed to be emitting green search beams. Rostan rushed out of his shop to deal with the viruses [Compel Virus Tamer]. His corruption leaps toward the viruses but they notice to before it can get to them and the more quickly out of the way. The viruses zoom up to Rostan and their green search beams play over him, beginning to hack through his firewall. Apparently unable to find what they were looking for the begin to pull away from Rostan.
Rostan begins calling the police to tell them that the viruses are attacking their police line. While doing that he continues his assault on the viruses. The viruses begin evading his tendrils again but his understanding of viruses gives him just enough of an edge for him to grab one of them before it avoids the attack [Invoke Virus Tamer]. Strange planty tendrils begin to sprout from the virus that was grabbed and it falls to the ground.
Still on the phone trying to contact the police, Rostan only gets an AI answering machine which asks where the call should be directed. Rostan manages to yell that viruses are attacking the police line for the recent homicide investigation at Woodlands Cross Family Center and that they should get down there as soon as possible. The AI responds that it is connect him to the department of mysteries and that he should please hold.
While this is happening the viruses turn and begin zooming off away from the crime scene. Rostan chooses not to follow them and hangs up the call to the police. He goes over to the fallen virus to figure out what it was used for. It was a fairly simplistic virus, it was a search and destroy program and its target was Julieta Moore’ glasses. Once it had destroyed the data in the glasses it was supposed to self distruct. With closer examination of the virus he was also able to determine that it had the same sort of style at the virus he had. This confused Rostan because he thought that his virus was self-organizing corruption with not maker, however it still seemed similar to his virus. Uncertain Rostan triggers the virus’s self-destruct and blue digital gook splatters across the ground.
In light of the attack on the police line, the nearby people seem uncertain and scared. The salesman which had been selling cheap digital programs and jewelry was cowering behind a trash-can. Rostan tried questioning the man however the man was only able to say that there were the black things and then he hide behind the trash-can. Then once Rostan came out of his shop the viruses ran away.
(1:20:10) Kardif, His Office
Jerry calls up Kardif to bring him up on the situation. Jerry tells Kardif that they have brought a high-school Sentio technician in on the case, much to Kardif’s surpise. Jerry explains that the girl seems to be employed part-time and that her father also works for Sentio. She was brought in because she goes to the same school as the victim. Jerry says that he hasn’t contacted her yet because he wanted to tell Kardif first. Kardif tells Jerry to contact Ariel because is she is working on the case she might know something.
Kardif then asked Jerry is he managed to contact any of Julieta’s friends and Jerry said that he tried contacting Velia, however Velia refused to give him any information. Kardif then asks if Jerry found anything about the game that Laura said her daughter played. Jerry says that the game has a server and is called the Kingdom Club and the leader is called the King but he wasn’t able to get any other information out of the server.
Thinking through the facts, Kardif decides he only really has two leads, the girl working on the case and the only witness to the crime. Kardif tells Jerry to go check those two people out. Jerry agrees and says he will leave an AI trailing Mr. Moore. Before hanging up Jerry forwards some of Julieta’s bank records which he managed to acquire from Laura Fox.
Looking through the bank records Kardif finds that there are several meal purchases dated for during the time that Julieta was missing. All of the meals are from The Woods, which is several blocks away from the location of the murder. Kardif forwards the records to the police.
(1:26:35) Ariel, On the Streets
Ariel contacts Nel and the AI materializes. Nel is wearing an all white dress. Her hair and dress seem like they are flowing, except they are frozen in place. She is almost completely still, like she doesn’t have many of the socialization programs used to make AIs act more naturally. Ariel relates to the AI that he found the name Function on the list of members in the Kingdom Club and he wants to know who Function is. Nel responds that the request is authorize and that Ariel should first submit payment. When asked how much the payment is Nel responds that the payment is something that she doesn’t know.
Ariel asks if Nel knows his shoe size only to find that it is listed in school records. Nel also seems to be aware the the King of the Kingdom Club is Erich Awking, Julieta Moore is dead, that Ariel’s last name is Arlington, Ariel’s glasses frames are from Sweden, and that Ariel skipped two grades. After numerous attempts Nel informs Ariel that personal information is usually the best payment. Eventually Ariel says that she likes coffee and that she goes to The Woods on a regular basis. Nel accepts that knowledge as payment.
Nel responds that Function is an alias and asks what other information Ariel wishes to know about Function. When asked who Function really is Nel isn’t able to answer, saying only that the glasses are unregistered. Nel then says that Function is the alias of a well know virus author, who is sometimes known as the father of all modern viruses. When asked if Function is a student Nel says that his activities suggest that he isn’t, the times and locations of his virus attacks don’t match with the expects times and locations of a student.
Ariel asks Nel when have Function’s viruses appeared most recently at the Woodlands Cross Family Center just a little while ago. Nel says that the precise activity of those viruses is currently unknown and that the inquiry is pending. When asked how Nel know this she responded that it was taken from surveillance camera records. The viruses were simple search and destroy automatons but their goal is still unknown.
Ariel’s questioning completed, the inquiry ends and Nel dematerializes.
(1:37:30) Rostan, First Life
Rostan had just finished drinking a cup of tea. However with viruses around town and the corruption acting strange he couldn’t simply sit around his shop (Compel Virus Tamer) He starts by checking the network for information about the homicide. However since the case was still open he wasn’t able to find too much on the internet. Instead he decided to contact Mr. Moore to see what the Firm knows.
Mr. Moore greeting Rostan cordially. When asked if he was busy Mr. Moore said that he wasn’t too busy, he only had a funeral to plan. They arrange to have a meeting at The Wood to talk over coffee.
(1:41:30) Kardif, The Woods Coffee Shop
Kardif was asks the person at the counter who was working on one of the days Julieta had ordered something. The employee said that is was probably Stevenson who have been working during that time. When the employee asked why Kardif wanted to know he bushed it off with a simple line that he was investigating something. Kardif asks when Stevenson will be in and finds that he will probably arrive in a couple of hours. Kardif grabs a coffee to sit down and wait.
Then a big man in a black suit and a bowler hat enters the coffee shop. He takes a seat and tells one of the waitresses that he is expecting someone and he orders two coffees. Kardif compares the man to some of the pictures he had to discover that the man was Mr. Moore. A couple of minutes later Rostan enters the Woods. Mr. Moore doesn’t seem to touch his coffee as if it is only a formality to order coffee at a coffee shop. Rostan sits down next to Moore and sips his coffee.
Moore asks why Rostan wanted to meet with him. Rostan asked Moore about the viruses he encountered earlier but Moore seemed to have no knowledge of the attack. Meanwhile Kardif takes out a small listening program and sends it toward the two talking. It skitters across the ground and hides under the table without either of the talking men noticing. Rostan explained that several viruses attacked the police line to find Julieta’s glasses. Moore was unfortunately not helpful in identifying who sent the viruses or why. Rostan says that he is uncertain if the police are dragging their asses because the have a high-school girl helping the investigation, though Moore points out that her record is good.
Moore is able to tell Rostan something though, while Julieta was supposed to come to his house on Saturday she never arrived. Moore also says that she had been acting strange for a couple weeks before that and she had been playing a game which isn’t a game. He doesn’t know much about it but he knows that some of the higher ups in the Firm know something but they are refusing to tell him. Moore doesn’t even know what the game is called, he has been trying to get a copy of Julieta’s operation system through the police network but it has been hard work. He does know that the girl investigator (Ariel) has the physical glasses. Rostan offered to help with the funeral however Moore passed on that offer. He also leaves Rostan with the information that Julieta wasn’t just involved in the Kingdom Club, there was something else that she was involved in, but he didn’t know what. When Rostan asks if there are any friends of Julieta’s who he could contact, the only name that Moore could give him was Velia. Then Mr. Moore got up and bid Rostan a good day. He left the coffee shop, his coffee still completely untouched.
(1:57:40) Ariel, After Getting the information from Nel
Ariel, having finished contacting Nel, decided to try contacting the Kingdom Club server again. She asked the server when the Kingdom Club meets and found that there are currently no scheduled meetings. Previous meetings have been in the morning before school, after school, and during the weekends. Club meetings tend to run long. When comparing the event schedule and the student’s attendance records, Ariel finds that days when the are club meetings in the morning tend to be when they are late for school or miss it completely. In particular Ariel checked Julieta’s attendance for the club. Hers is about the same as the other students except that she only joined the club a week ago.
In an attempt to dig up more information Ariel decides to try contacting the witness Rostan that Lieutenant Carter mentioned.
(2:03:18) Kardif and Rostan, The Woods
While sitting in coffee shop, Rostan gets a phone call. Rostan answers the phone and Ariel confirms his identity before making a snide comment. Annoyed, Rostan decides to hang up. Not to long after Ariel calls again, this time revealing her identity and that she is investigating for the Department of Mysteries. They pass comments about how Rostan says that she sounds fairly young. Ariel forwards Rostan a copy of her credentials to prove her identity and they arrange a meeting at The Woods.
It isn’t long before Ariel arrives. Rostan pours out Mr. Moore’s un-drunk coffee into a plant pot and gets the waitress to give Ariel a refill. Ariel askes who Rostan met with, the one that had the coffee before she got there. Rostan waves it off saying it was someone he was getting rather tired of meeting.
Then five black viruses break in through the window, causing pieces of digital glass to scatter across the floor (The physical window is still undamaged). Rostan shouts at Ariel telling her to get behind him and to not let the viruses have the glasses. He sends whips of corrupt out toward the viruses, catching one and causing flowers to bloom across it, bringing it to the ground.
Ariel materialized a demolition program in the form of a rocket launcher to use as a weapon against the viruses. She wasn’t too concerned about collateral damage because it would probably be covered by the Sentio warrantee. The rocket exploded into one of the viruses [Invoke You Don’t Know What I Had To Go Through To Get This!] causing digital shrapnel into the viruses around it.
Kardif, unable to sit by pulls out a digital self-defence mechanism, used for protection against viruses and hackers, in the form of a pistol. It has the distinct orange digital tag showing it isn’t a real weapon. Unfortunately for Kardif, the viruses were easily able to avoid his protection measures.
The viruses move around Rostan and begin attempting to latch onto Ariel and searching through her pockets for the glasses. Ariel tries using a repulsion program that she had to keep them away but the viruses concentrated efforts managed to break through it. The shattered repulsion program sprayed digital goop across Ariel, clouding her vision.
Kardif’s corruption vines wrap around the viruses latched on to Ariel and rip them off. Unable to defend themselves, digital plants begin growing out of the viruses and Kardif’s organic corruption begins eating into them.