What Piece of Work is Man?
Nijel "8-Bit" Cooper
Matrix Specialist and On-Site Tech Support
Body: 4 Agility: 4 Reaction: 4 Strength: 2
Charisma: 3 Intuition: 5 Logic: 5 Willpower: 4
Essence: 5.325 Edge: 3 Magic: 0 Resonance: 0
Physical/AR Initiative: 9 Physical IP: 1
Matrix Initiative: 11 Cold-Sim 12 Hot-Sim IP: 2 Cold-Sim 3 Hot-Sim
23 BP spent on resources, 25¥ remaining.
Electronics (Group) 4 Cybercombat 4 Hacking (Exploit) 6/8 Electronic Warfare (Encryption) 3/5 Dodge (Ranged Combat) 3/5 Pistols (Yamaha Pulsar) 3/5 Perception 2 Negotiation 1 Infiltration 2 Unarmed Combat 1 First Aid 2
Street: Local Gangs 1 Street: Commlink Dealers 3 Academic: Late 20th Century Pop Culture 4 Street: Corporate Politics 2 Academic: Computer Theory 2 Interest: Non-VR Games 2 Interest: VR Technology 1 Academic: Cybertechnology 1 Street: Local Nightclubs 1 Professional: Operating Systems 1 Professional: Security Procedures (Matrix Security) 2/4 Hangouts: Matrix 2
English (1337Sp33k) Native with lingo specialization
Erased (7 Days) 5 BP
Lactose Allergy (Common, Mild) 10 BP
Incompetent (Pilot Ground Vehicle) 5 BP
Sensitive System 15 BP
3 months of medium lifestyle in a two bedroom in Bellevue. Admittedly on the border with Redmond, but still in Bellevue.
1 Month paid up front at a coffin hotel in Redmond. Used as a safehouse and a place to hide the really illegal stuff.
Progams and Matrix Standard Loadout:
Commlink: Hermes Ikon with upgraded response
Operating System: Novatech Navi interface with upgraded firewall and system software
Programs and Standard Loading:
Response 6: Stealth 5 Encrypt 5 Analyze 5 Exploit 5 Scan 5
Response 5: Armor 5 Biofeedback Filter 5 Reality Filter 5 Browse 5 Spoof 5 Edit 5
Tertiary/utility programs: Attack 5 Command 5 Medic 4 Defuse 4 Decrypt 5 Sniffer 5
SEATTLE, UCAS … January 19, 2054
Basement of “Hot Tips” “Bar/Grill”, Redmond Barrens
A long haired elf enters wearing a battered leather duster over a vintage (Hot Topic era) Ramones shirt, his jeans are smeared with the grime of a week’s worth of wear. He stumbles over the threshold after a not so gentle shove from “Tiny” the 380 kilo troll bouncer. He pushes his dirty blonde hair back from in front of his eyes and tucks it behind his ear. He casts a disgusted look at “Tiny” and straightens his duster. He looks around my office with the distracted look of someone scanning in AR.
I scanned him in AR looking for any tags or AROs, can’t be too careful these days.
//ARO: Name: $%dwijidshg SIN: UK-NULLSET@$%^!)(&\\
At least he’s not broadcasting an actual SIN. I gesture at the battered old ergonomic chair opposite my desk, “Sit down and take a load off. What brings a nice elf like you to a hellhole like Redmond?”
“Need a SIN. Urgent like omae. ’Eard tell that yer the mun to talk to fer that,” he says while projecting something onto his image link. “Also looks like you run a clean operation. I can work with that. While yer at it I need some licenses tied into that ID.”
“What kind o’ licenses chummer? It’s not like I can pull that out of thin air, I need to build a convincing data trail. Since I hate to tell you, but you don’t exist mate.”
The elf looks me in the eye and smirks, “’At’s cause I’m technically dead omae. Hard to tie a data trail to my theoretical identity when the mun thinks ye don’t exist. Need licenses for restricted programs, smartlink, carry permit an’ shock gloves if ye can swing it. Oh and a low end service industry fake, need an ID to tie me flop to.”
It took a few seconds for my brain to filter his accent. It had been years since I’d last deciphered West Midlands, pretty much hadn’t heard it since I left Wales for Belfast. Hell paper IDs were my business the last time I’d heard a Brummie. “Right. Time for yer life story mate. Brummie to Welshman.”
“I ay Brummie omae, more Warwickshire.”
“Close enough, it’s the bloody Midlands. I need to know ‘bout your ’death’ ’afore I can build you a new life.”
“Sure ting,” he replied, “Started with me birf. I ’as one of the first UGE babbys back in the first wave. Imagine the joy of my folks, good SK employees by way of Aston when they had a bouncing babby freak. At least I was one ’o them cute ’uns, I feel for the gobs, ’ey got the short end ’o stick.”
I quirked an eyebrow, “Most aren’t so solicitous of the ugly buggers.”
“You try being an elf in one o’ the Tirs with bits o’ ’ware sometime. I feel their pain omae. Where was I?”
“Murdering the mother tounge and being born.”
“Right. Had a fair normal childhood except for showing a talent for programming, SK fitted me for ‘trodes at the tender age of 9 and started teaching me to exploit the old wired Innernet. I thought it was normal, but apparently they were testing ’trode tech on me. ’At’s back in dark ages when ASIST were new and ‘trodes were fair useless. That were mostly old fashion’ keyboard and CLI hackin’ with some early DNI. ‘Parrently SK thought a child could adapt to DNI where adults were failing. All came to an end when VITAS II hit. Me folks karked it and I woke up from coma in a freezer in morgue. ’At’s where I became officially dead.”
I looked across the desk in disbelief, “So you were some kind of computing prodigy then? Find it hard to believe.”
“I ay stupid omae, but I ay Fastjack neither. T’wasn’t useful cyberterminals until seven years later anyhow, an’ those were massive an’ restricted. This was rudimentary feedback, mis-application of ESP’s ASIST if ye will. I spent next several years on the streets, couldn’t get into the foster system since I was dead and all. Learned real early to beg for me dinner, tradin’ computer skills to housewives for dinner. Crash in ‘29 was useful as there was money to be made in the aftermath, I sold so much crapware that would ’Crash-proof’ home terminals. I made my livin’ selling that crap in Midlands til ‘33. Made it up to Belfast about two steps ahead o’ the Bobbies, who could’n’ touch me being ‘nother country an’ all. About that point I got wind o’ the first real cyberterminals what I could get me donnies on, hunted down a body shop an’ got a bhot module an’ ‘jack installed. Came out of coma tree days later, ’bout the point that doc was plannin’ on partin’ me out. Turns out me body rejects ‘ware pretty bad. At least I can handle the bio, small mercies an’ all. Turns out I was a natural at that simsense assisted computing thing, I was also good at breaking through security. It’s like havin’ SK frag with your brain is useful for something.”
His eyes point at something on his image link. He shakes his head and says, “Extra firewalls Daffyd? You don’ trust me?” He had me dead to rights. I went ahead and dumped the extra layer of software. If he wants in he’ll probably get in. That was the point where I decided to help him. I sent an AR message to my network to start building out IDs with his biometrics.
“I spent next couple years compromising systems fer fun an’ profit until I finally got tired of that windbag O’Kennedy and the rest of the Tir luddites. They were fair obnoxious about me ‘Ware profaning my precious elfy meat. It’s not like pulling it out was gonna change a thing. I’d already ‘lost’ part of me soul, assuming you believe that crap. Bunch of pervy wankers… Anyhow I hopped a sub-orbital to New York and worked the systems there for a while until I made a ‘mis-judgement’. Anyhow I made it out o’ New York about ten minutes ahead of Knight Errant, laid low in Denver for a bit an’ wound up here last month. Of course you can’nae function in UCAS without some ID, so here I am.”
I was intrigued, I had to know. “Mis-judgment? How so?”
“I don’t wanna talk ’bout it.”
“It could impact the integrity of these IDs, I need to know if it’s going to haunt you.”
“Yer a nosy bugger. Here’s the short version of the ‘Bronx Incident’. Was July ‘53 and I was using the second generation of wireless ’Link tech on a vault jerb. Everythin’ went smooth like on the way in, we greased through security cleanly and even popped the tech and magic security on the vault with null sweat. Problem came on the way out with the magical doohicky we’d been hired fer. Not tellin’ what it was, none of yer fraggin’ business, gotta keep that drek confidential. Anyhoo, our pet Troll forgets to turn off his Wires while we were walkin’ past an ultrasound sensor. He twitches and suddenly we get ‘it with a spotlight and a klaxon. Our emergency escape plan involved the steam tunnels under the bank, we kicked open a maintenance door and headed to the sub-basement. We got down with no issues but ran into a spot of trouble with some o’ the rent-a-cops. I don’ like killin’ so I convinced my team to let me handle it. I hacked a steam pipe right next to the cops and jammed a valve, plan was to distract them and blind them with a vapor cloud. I apparently mis-read the icon… We all suddenly felt damp, I’d jammed a waste pipe from the first floor rest rooms. So there we were, covered in shit… At least the next command I spoofed gave us the steam distraction. We hauled our hoops out of there and split up. I spent the next four hours dodging a Knight Errant HTR with an olfactory sensor equipped doberman drone. I had to leave town after that one, there was too much ’eat for me to keep a low profile.”
I stifled a grin while he told his story and sent an update to my team. They updated the first ID and transferred it to my ‘link. "Well omae, looks like we can do business. It’ll cost you though, call it 8k all up. You got a handle or name I can call you?"
“Sure. Call me 8-Bit. When will my IDs be ready?”
“Here’s the first one now,” I dumped the ID to an optical chip and handed it over. “This one is good enough for taxis, restaurants and transit, don’t expect it to fool the Star for long Mr. Jameson.”
He slotted the chip and scanned the ID. He looked at me with disgust, “Born in the Bronx? Really? Yer a bit of a dick op Owen.”
I smiled and handed him a second chip with the more substantial ID he’d requested. “This more like it 8-Bit?”
He scanned his new identity and nodded. “It’ll do. Here’s yer cred omae. Pleasure doin’ business.”
“Null sweat chummer. Call me the next time you need an ID. I’ll make sure to tell ‘Tiny’ to be gentle.”
The elf walked out the door broadcasting the ID of Jarod Jameson, Stuffer Shack employee. He’s sure to be Lucas Georges at some time in the future.
Name: Lucas Georges
Licenses: Pistol CCW 4, Restricted gear (smartlink) 4, Restricted programs 4
Public information: Matrix and Physical security consultant
//Public results: text overlay Discreet Matrix security and physical security services. 100¥ hourly rate. Comm to firstname.lastname@example.org animated underlay: maskedmanstoppedbyalarm.mv6 emote: minor fear followed by feelings of safety AR Icon: spinningsirenanimated.lnk/ucas.lgsecurityservices.co/index.mxtml
///ARO SIN query results: Age: 42 … Meta: homo sapiens nobilis … SIN: UCAS-9856SEA-SAL89104 (Provisional, taxes paid) … Employment Code: X-C-RP/RGC/RG/MS/PS … Licensed for pistol carry, shock gloves, smartlink and restricted programs … Security Consultant: Matrix and Physical
Name: Jarod Jameson
Public Information: Stuffer Shack employee
//Public results: text Status: Single, Age: 20, Interests: VR, GGG Femhum or Femelf, trog rock AR icons: stuffershacklogo.lnk/ucas.stuffershack.co/index.mxtml SEAnetlogo.lnk/ucas.faceplace.co/JJr0cks!.index.mxtml
///ARO SIN query results: Age: 20 … Meta: homo sapiens nobilis … SIN: AZTCH-6702NY-BRX7806428 (Provisional UCAS-AZTCH reciprocal, no tax record) … Employment Code: AT-E-SS-NULL
Name: Daffyd Op Owen
Birthplace: Wales, UK
Personality: Detached and professional. Doesn’t like gobs even though they are a major part of his business.
Description: Tall and thin with an obvious chromed arm. Dresses in nice suits with reasonable armor properties. Doesn’t use meta guards as he prefers heavily firewalled drones for security.
Profession: ID Manufacturer
Rating: 1 Connection 1 Loyalty
Daffyd emigrated to the UCAS in search of better business prospects in 2040. Prior to that he lived in the former UK and was a citizen of Tir Na Og upon its creation. He left as there was no real market for falsified IDs in an almost purely elven nation. Daffyd has large amounts of ’ware, none of it visible other than a datajack and a polished steel modular cyberarm.
He does business out of the back room of Hot Tips, a run-down strip joint specializing in Trolls and Goblins. The neon display out front works sporadically usually reading “HO TI S” on a good day. The ARO for the sign isn’t much better.
Daffyd initially met Nijel in 2053 when he needed a new fake SIN after the “Bronx Incident”.
Name: Silas Garibaldi
Birthplace: Seattle, UCAS
Personality: Professional and friendly. Acts like every ’Runner is his pal even though he treats newcomers as expendable. Once a client proves himself he can be unswervingly loyal.
Description: Average height and a bit overweight. He usually dresses in business casual equivalent clothing. He has some uncontrollable shakes and twitches from encountering Black IC during his career.
Rating: 3 Connection 1 Loyalty
Silas is a retired decker who uses his old shadow contacts to make a living. After a close call involving some bleeding edge Renraku IC and a three month coma he was forced to retire.
Silas specializes in brokering paydata and sourcing advanced software. Nijel met him through the Matrix shortly before leaving New York as part of a paydata brokering deal.
Name: William “Super Mario” James
Birthplace: San Diego, CA
Personality: Surly and lecherous.
Description: Short and angry. He is overweight, hairy and has a mustache. He walks with a limp due to an injury sustained while working in a sewer line for the CalFree Water Works.
Profession: Antiquities and Oddities Dealer
Rating: 2 Connection 2 Loyalty
William was born in the former state of California and was there in 2036 during the succession. At the time he was an 18 year old working for the local water works as a line maintenance technician. During the Tir invasion he was injured by a collapsing sewer line and them promptly removed from his home by the Tir military. He wound up being dumped on the shores of the Puget sound and left for dead. He crawled his way to pavement and began the long road to recovery. After many years of working under the table performing electronic repairs he opened his own shop in Redmond.
5 years later, he owns a storefront in Bellevue that specializes in antique consumer electronics, especially old gaming consoles.
Nijel met him over the Matrix due to their joint interest in late 20th century culture and technology. Nijel was looking for a circuit board from an old NEO GEO to repair an old espresso machine for a legitimate client.
Name: Reginald “Patchwerk” Fenix
Birthplace: Southhampton, UK
Personality: False British cheer hiding a mercenary attitude toward patients. He expects at least a down-payment in advance and will do his best as long as the money is there.
Description: Short and thin with very graceful hands. Moves with a great deal of economy. He generally dresses in simple and comfortable clothing.
Profession: Street Doc
Rating: 1 Connection 1 Loyalty
Patchwerk runs a thriving emergency clinic with a body shop attached. He specializes in installing bioware as he considers cyber to be a bit crude. He doesn’t recommend second hand ’Ware but will install it for the right price.
Nijel first encountered Patchwerk when he stumbled into the Doc’s office with a septic knife wound. Patchwerk became his regular Doc by not asking for a name and remembering to turn the delerious elf’s PAN to hidden mode. Patchwerk was more than happy to comply as long as Nijel pays in advance. Some day Patchwerk might even extend him credit, just not today.