We have recently been hired by the Argus Group, an international private security and investigations group with about 12 offices worldwide, mostly small regional ones. However because of their large distributed WAN infomorph characters can be transmitted around readily. Offworld Argus is currently expanding to the L4 city of Islandia as well.
Montreal is a fifth-wave city with a legal climate that’s fairly uncontrolled (LC2) due to its status of a trade city between the US and Canadia. Cybershells are common around town.
Our main contact with Argus is a personality-neutral LAI named M (due to someone else’s poor sense of humor). In fact M does not have enough intellect to grasp why its name is humorous.
Monday Jan 4th, 2100; the Free City of Montreal.
Wherever we may be we all receive a “call” requesting a virtual conference. Peter gambles at the same time during the call. Everyone but Casey (who doesn’t have the hardware and instead sees it through a monocole) finds themselves transported into a conference room within a high-rise building. Casey’s avatar (Hunter Dugan) looks like himself – 6’1, 180, four points of attractiveness-good looking. Ryan’s avatar (Satori Suzuki) looks like himself as well – a 5’8" old Asian man with a flowing white beard (like this). Peter (Impertinent Quanta) looks like a large floating face which is an amalgamation of everyone else’s faces. Keane (Aleksy Burczyk) looks like himself – tall, muscular, attractive in a viking-like way. James (Spencer Durance) appears in his public avatar which looks like himself (medium height and build, unremarkable features) in a 1920’s style suit and fedora.
M’s avatar joins the conference, appearing as an attractive, dark-skinned woman in her mid-thirties with a British accent. She welcomes us to the Argus group and states she’s looking forward to seeing our results.
M indicates she has her first assignment for us. The client is a small memetics firm in Chicago – Aletheia Advertising Firm, LLC. They’re a relatively small company whose primary memetics expert, a SAI name Calliope, has been stolen 2-3 days ago. Her weekly backups have become corrupted six months back and a restore from backup may not be possible. We’ve been hired to investigate the theft as the police have advised them to just purchase a replacement and treat the incident as property theft. For business reasons they want the original SAI found.
A data packet is provided to us all with basic information on the case including a map of the company’s location. The company requires its employees to be in-office at least one day a week. The office building contains the primary computer equipment for the company and is also where the SAI’s theft/kidnapping happened.
Argus booked transportation for us to Chicago, departing in three hours. Peter takes his buzzbots and a volkspider, crated for the plane trip. His cyberswarms ride along with the bots. He also downloads himself to a local computer in Chicago.
During the trip we do some research along the way as we’re connected to the ‘net. Peter looks up basic information about the company but turns up nothing surprising. Ryan reviews internal information provided by Aletheia. Their products are targeted towards the creation and maintenance of interpersonal relationships (i.e. valentine’s day cards, skullcats). We also look into Calliope’s history. She was purchased shortly after the company was formed as a standard model advertising AI. Peter researches the background of the company’s officers. Ryan looks for known vulnerabilities on the SAI’s OS and is able to determine there aren’t any specific ones. We find that the company didn’t have much of an electronic security system and as the surveillance system was part of Calliope there really isn’t much electronic information available on the break-in; the memory modules are flat-out gone. The front doors to the facility were laser-cut off.
After the flight we all pile into a smart-van that Aletheia rents us. Spencer calls ahead to make sure that the incompetent sysadmin who doesn’t know anything about network security is there to talk with us when we arrive.
The game pauses while we discuss some more bizarre cybershells supporting a wide variety of fetishes. The furries are taking over.
We show up. The area this office is in looks kind of like the Pioneer Square area. The Alethia building is rather cheap but made-up on the inside. The CEO is Linus Jobs while the CFO is Warren Gates. Steven Torvalds is their primary computer tech who is furiously trying to restore from backup while Linus breathes down his neck.
We introduce ourselves to Linus. He’s an obvious Ishtar upgrade, looking like a Legolas knock-off who is quite irritated with the whole thing. He repeatedly glowers at Steve Torvalds’ back in frustration.
Linus indicates the cops showed up but didn’t say much. Spencer and IQ began questioning him right away while Satori tries to take the diplomatic approach and elicits a more favorable reaction. We get the name of the policeman (Patrick Murphy) who did the investigation/report.
Satori realizes that the neighboring businesses may have security cameras that recorded the break-in and takes a walk around the block looking for cameras and trying to gather footage. He also sends a message to Patrick Murphy.
Spencer looks at the other mainframes in the building and finds nothing of value.
Hunter looks over data gathered from his forensics swarm and finds no DNA material from those other than Linus and Steven.
Spencer asks Linus what bug detectors they have on-site and Linus indicates they have none. Spencer uses a bug detector and finds nothing in the room. He emails Aleksy to get the CEO out of the room for a few minutes and plants a nanobug in the room as Steven is unresponsive and absorbed in working with the computer systems.