Welcome to Mars
Elysium News reporting:
It has been a week since reports started coming that some AIs across Mars have critically malfunctioned. The number of reports has continued to increase over the past seven days and there is a rising concern that, due to the interconnectedness of The Mesh, whatever may be causing this problem is likely spreading. There currently doesn’t seem to be a pattern in the types of malfunctions, which range from AIs experiencing slowdown in processing to completely deactivating, leading some skeptics to dismiss this as faulty AI QA.
Sawfwah Sumran Butros, CEO of hardware firm Synthetic Symbolics Corp, stated in a recent press conference that his corporation would be entering the software market. When asked about the rise in reports of AI failure, Boutros dismissed the possibility of an “artificial pandemic”, stating that the corps currently dominating the AI market were slipping in quality and failing both corporate and private consumers.
Pandemic or not, criminal groups across Mars have not hesitated to take advantage of the situation. Authorities have confirmed that Lacus Corp, who manage the Mesh across Mars, has been hacked, raising concerns about the security of the Mesh. Local authorities were unable to determine the source of the hack, and Lacus has issued a 50k unit bounty for information regarding the intrusion.
The Players so Far
K’ratak has a premonition of Mars’ smaller moon crashing into the planet. As it impacts, the red planet turns green.
Beryl gets a tip from one of her contacts in the underground. The Dawn Singularity has been buying up a lot of high tech networking and interfacing equipment. This kind of tech is way beyond what they could seemingly afford.
Hobbs has a drink with a sympathetic former colleague who implies that the investigation into the Lacus case was closed sooner than it probably should’ve been.
Smith has heard rumblings through backchannels that the genetics market, both legal and illegal, is really hot right now.
Q has noticed a very small lag in response time in their augmentations. It’s too small to really effect anything, so it’s not really concerning.
With a Little Help from My Friends
Smith contacts Hobbs about his tip on the genetics market to see if he can look into it. While Hobbs investigates, she heads to Beryl’s shop to see if she’s heard anything about it. Beryl is willing to ask her contacts about the genetics market if Smith is willing to help Beryl later with Dawn Singularity drama. Smith is willing, pending further details, and Beryl sends some Waves out to her network. Responses are slim but one of Beryl’s frequent customers is coerced into telling her about a suspicious woman making waves in the underground with very obscure requests for genetic materials and was last seen in Aeolia outside of a Dawn Singularity hideout.
Q and K’ratak meet up at the cybercafe to investigate the Lacus hack. K’ratak tells Q about his vision, but has no information about the hack. Q checks out some anonymous hacking boards on the Mesh to see if there’s any information about the hack and discovers someone on the Mesh bragging about hacking a major corp. There’s a lot of skepticism about it on the board but they seem very confident. Q traces their Wave Protocol and discovers a node with a lot more security than would be expected from a rando bragging on the Mesh. Q breaks into the system and discovers that they have directly accessed Lacus Corp recently. Before getting kicked out of the node, Q learns that the hacker is named Trihn Khaleda and, after scanning through some of Trihn’s Waves, discovers that he has been in contact with the Dawn Singularity. Q fills K’ratak in with what happened on the Mesh and K’ratak looks to see if there are any public records about Trihn. K’ratak finds that Trihn dropped out of engineering school, has a criminal record for breaking and entering and aggravated assault, and that Trihn is a known member of the Dawn Singularity.
To follow the lead he got from Smith, Hobbs does research on the Mesh to see what, if any, connections may exist in recent trends in the genetics market. Hobbs sees that the market started heating up 14 days ago and peaked 4 days ago when the supply in the market was excessively outstripped by demand. Hobbs decides to go deeper and hacks into Refractions Semiotics Corporation. He has hacked them in the past and uses a previously discovered backdoor to infiltrate their systems. While going through customer logs, a name keeps coming up over and over again. Their buying behavior is erratic and they seem to have been spending large sums of units to buy everything on the market. Their name is Julia F.02.
Meet Me at the Cybercafe
Smith fills Hobbs in on the intel she got from Beryl and Hobbs tells Smith to keep an eye out for Julia. Smith decides to case Dawn Singularity safe-houses to try and get a lead, but nothing seems out of the ordinary. Beryl puts Smith in contact with Q to find a contact within the Dawn Singularity. Q is skeptical and backchannels with Beryl to confirm that Smith is legit. Upon confirmation, Q and Smtih meet up at the cybercafe where Smtih tells Q the intel she’s gathered so far. Q shares the details on the Lacus Hack and postulates that there may be a connection, but Smith continues to press about the Dawn Singularity. Q tells Smith about The Moon Syndicate, an all Female gang that pushes illicit goods for the Dawn Singularity. Q tells Smtih about Trihn and goes on to ask her to investigate him. Smith presses further and Q tells her that the liaison between the Dawn Singularity and the Mood Syndicate’s name is Trou and gives Smith Trou’s address. Smith goes to case Trou’s apartment.
Hobbs decides to pound the pavement to try and shake up more information and heads to a dive bar to meet with a former contact. Hobbs asks around about Julia, but people seem very nervous when her name comes up. Hobbs decides to shake down Stephe, a low level fence and Accela addict. Stephe is very anxious, but Hobbs lies and offers him a new chem to bribe him for information. However, upon injecting it, Stephe gets furious as he sees right through the deception. Hobbs tries to intimidate Stephe, but he’s not having it. The exchange has started drawing a lot of attention at the bar and, noticing this, Hobbs flees the bar.
Smtih holes up and observes Trou’s apartment. There’s a guy who seems to keep showing up at the apartment, but everything else seems normal.
K’ratak has a very violent premonition. He sees the sun rise over Mars, which is green rather than red. No one seems to be interested in hearing about it.
7 Minutes of Trou
Hobbs, Beryl, Q, and K’ratak meet up and decide to raid a Dawn Singularity office to find more information. They find four guards keeping watch over the office, but they’re drinking, vaping, and generally not paying much attention. Beryl goes up to them and starts aggressively asking them about Trihn. The guards don’t react to this and pull out their weapons. Beryl et al. destroy the guards and interrogate the only one left conscious about Trihn. They learn that the Dawn Singularity has been getting a lot of money from someone to mess with the Mesh, and Trihn is the one who’s been hacking Lacus. The guard tells them the location of the safe-house Trihn is at. They go on to ask about Julia, who they learn is not a member of the Dawn Singularity but has been around a lot recently. She’s pushy and only deals with the higher-ups in the organization. Hobbs hacks the office’s security network and gets pictures of Julia from the last time she visited the office. Q traces Trihn’s Wave Protocol, find a picture of Trihn, and sends it to Smith.
While casing Trou, Smith receives a Wave from Q with Trihn’s picture and realizes the guy who’s been coming to Trou’s apartment often is Trihn. Smith let’s the rest of the team know she’s found Trihn and Trou, who are both in Trou’s apartment currently. Everyone meets up at Trou’s apartment. Smith sneaks around the back while Hobbs hacks the front door open for everyone else. Hobbs, Beryl, Q, and K’ratak bust into Trou’s tastefully furnished apartment and find Trou and Trihn in the front room. Surprised, they pull out guns and start shouting at the group. K’ratak rushes Trou with his Slicer, but misses. Trihn shoots at Q and hits their shoulder. Trihn and Trou haven’t noticed Smith sneaking up behind them. Smith aims for Trou’s shooting arm but Trou moves at the last second and Smith ends up shooting Trou straight through the heart, dying instantly. Beryl shoots her Lancer towards the chandelier on the ceiling and, as it falls, brushes past Trihn as it smashes on the floor. Trihn becomes visibly freaked out at this point.
Hobbs interrogates Trihn and Trihn agrees to spill all the info he has. Q asks for money, but Trihn says most of the money he makes goes to the Dawn Singularity. Trihn reveals that his boss Hiromasa Kishiev has been associating with Julia, which is why he was asked to hack Lacus. Trihn has been hacking Lacus’ major security nodes and installing software he got from Julia for weeks. He doesn’t know what the software is but he knows the Dawn Singularity is getting a lot of money for the hacks. All the high tech equipment the Dawn Singularity has been buying was used for hacking Lacus, as normally hacking isn’t their core competency. Trihn gives the group the location of his apartment and tells them that the software can be found there. Hiromasa is often at the Dawn Singularity HQ in Aeolia, where the hacking equipment is housed, but Julia has been showing up all over the Dawn Singularity’s bases and offices with cash and demands. Smith asks about the genetics market, but Trihn doesn’t know anything about that. When she mentions that Julia is involved, Trihn is confused and says it’s news to him. K’ratak asks what Trihn knows about Deimos and Trihn is very confused. He mumbles something about a cult, but doesn’t have any more information.
See You Space Cowboy
The group decides to split the bounty that Lacus placed on the hack. When they deliver Trihn and all their intel Lacus is so pleased they double the bounty to 100k units. Lacus representatives, impressed with how thorough the group has been, asks if the group would be interested in discreetly investigating the AI virus situation.
K’ratak continues to have violent and vibrant premonitions about a green Mars.