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An Electrifying Encounter

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An Electrifying Encounter

Post by Nova on February 2nd 2015, 9:36 pm

Hers was a world of mathematical candor.

It was simultaneous integers. The convention room was rated for a maximum capacity of 500, three gold plaques by the two entrances said so. Presently, 538 bodies occupied it, 391 males, 147 females including herself. She stood before them atop the panel's velvety stage, four feet from the floor, observing them as they did her. She saw the numbers. Theater seating was limited to only 450 chairs, so 88 people stood the aisles, though despite what the plaque said, the room's dimensions could comfortably fit another 75.  Of those currently taking manual notes, twenty-four carried pads of paper, with 2 using lead pencils; very retro.  

Even their movements were equations to be solved. Reading involuntary ideomotor reflexes alone, she knew that that 6% of them were left-handed, 21% were slightly claustrophobic, 1% extremely claustrophobic, and for a bunch of folks fetishizing in guns and boomy things, only 13% could handle themselves in an actual shootout.  There were exactly 300 recording devices aimed at her, 156 cameras and the remainder cell phones. A rapid glance immediately broke those metrics down by make, model, and performance. Price. Weight. Engineering specs. Numbers. She knew that only 103 recordists were getting crisp, quality pictures and video. The rest ranged from middling fidelity to pixelated incontinence. Numbers were honest that way.

“...projected to supplement police agencies in every major city worldwide by 2025,” Warren was saying excitedly. Warren Sloat—who had a slightly jowly BMI of 25.3—was the London division's Executive Director of Sales and her dance partner for today. He had a habit of getting worked up near the end of a presentation, and this was one of those times; his forehead beaded sweat. “Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Well that’s great, but… what about operating in, say, Beijing? Don’t you think she’d sort of… stand out?’”  

That line drew laughter from the audience—208 males and 81 females found it mildly humorous.  Since she’d come online, she and Warren had practiced this demonstration for 82.16 hours before performed it 14 times at 4 European aerospace expos.  That didn’t count the trade shows in other parts of the world, 44 total at three demos apiece.  This was her fifth time demoing at DSEi, London’s largest such convention, where Caen Corporation had unveiled her last year.  Tomorrow, there would be a sixth.  

“Integration,” Warren went on, “was deeply integral in the chassis’s design.”  He gestured sharply to the holoprojector behind them. On display were three female faces of varying ethnicities.  As he spoke, the faces expanded and multiplied, amoebalike. A multitude of distinct visages soon flooded the the stage.

“Caen Corporation’s facial structure generation is second to none. Each one is built from scratch.  A different face is crafted for each unit. A different look for different regions, each as unique as a snowflake.”  

He spread his hands. “Now you’re thinking, ‘that’s small time, that’s potatoes.  That’s been done.’” Warren stopped his pacing to raising a dramatic finger in the air. “You’d be right… if our endgame was simply to make an machine that only looked human. The Nova AI takes it one step further. She is able to take such factors into account as local customs, dialects, cuisine… so whether it be Beijing, or Rio De Janeiro, or even Cairo, she will never seem out of place.”

“Nor feel out of place,” Nova added, her accent culled from rural Yorkshire.  “To paraphrase the great bard Fleetwood Mac, ‘I’m a woman of the world.’ Wherever I go, I’m at home.”  
 
She’d come to think of these demonstrations as a dance.  The partner varied by country and region, but the steps never differed.  She performed them with numeric precision.  They’d open up with a blow-by-blow of her chrome, exhibiting the scintillating edges and beveled curves of her weaponry.  Railgun, shotgun, grenade launcher, claw—always in the same order.  She’d perform some display of her mobility through convoluted but precise acrobatics—a crowd pleaser, especially once she got all air-happy with the jump jets.  This was all accompanied by a rundown of each system’s function in common tactical scenarios, throwing the defense enthusiasts their red meat. Next was a dissertation of her technical specs, delivered by whichever Caen representative that was her partner that day.  They’d wrap up with company goals, projections, and other such gravitas that constituted the nitty-gritty of their corporate sales pitch.  There was a holoshow.

The throng ate it up every single time.  Of course they did; they couldn’t see the numbers.  She knew that while a few saw some numbers, they never saw them all at once.  If they could, they’d see that this presentation was the product of a combined 11,708 hours put in by a 7-man team of sales, media, and PR professionals. The least experienced of these had 21 years in their field.  Her appearance was the result of 401 focus groups, taking in consideration a total of 3,006 opinions on her musculature, nose length, hair thickness, et.al.; her 60 lbs. of synthetic flesh sculpted to the whims of 3 talented concept artists.  Even her smile was a calculated thing, much like the accent and Fleetwood Mac reference, tweaked for broad appeal with the room’s demographics.  

Those in attendance were witnessing sheer human ingenuity.  They loved it.  They emptied their pocketbooks at it, which was of course the endgame.  Caen stock had enjoyed a meteoric rise after her unveiling, and showed no sign of stopping. Those were the most important numbers of all.

The faces shimmered from existence as the the room brightened.  “And now, the part I know quite a few of you have been waiting for,” Warren said, prompting chortling murmurs among the spectators. “As part of our ongoing quality assurance process—” that drew snickers— “Caen Corp. is giving away $10,000 to anyone here who can lay a hand on Nova.  You’ll get one minute to give it a go, but because of time constraints, only ten can be selected—”

This, too, was part of the dance.  A little something cooked up by her engineering team, who, above all else, wanted to show what their baby could do.  The holoprojector surrounded the center stage with a squared spotlight.  She moved to its center as the ten were selected.  In a year of doing these exhibitions, nobody had won the $10k.  So long as she continued to face humans, odds that anyone ever would were negligible.    

A challenger appeared in the spotlight with her, the first of 10.  Warren introduced him as Andrew Fletcher, but Nova had noted his ID badge back when he first entered the room.  The badge marked him as a upper-tier security professional with Dynamic Entry—a private military contractor. He was bearded and big—nearly double her size, without much bulk to slow him down. A merc.  One of those she’d picked out earlier as being able to handle themselves in a fight.  He fell easily into a classic boxer’s stance, grinning at her from behind his fists.  His body language was all swagger; he thought this was going to be easy.  Nova smiled back, pleasantly.  

Fletcher feinted high and fired a jab at her body.  She saw the coil of his shoulder, gauged BMI and his angle of position.  She saw what trajectory the punch would take, saw how long it would take to get there. Ignoring the myriad of counters he offered her, she pivoted away instead.  By the time he fully extended his arm, she was well out of reach, off to his side.  The sudden astonishment on his face when he turned to face her said it all.  He never saw the numbers.      

“Nova.”

When the call came, Nova was in the midst of slipping Fletcher’s triple-jab-cross. The maker’s long, sallow face interlaced against her field of view.  Dr. Alexander Caen had labored away over 85,000 hours of his very limited lifespan to create her, an act she regarded with something close to reverence. His colleagues often said her Maker was not a man who smiled easily, but he smiled whenever he spoke to her.  And right now, he was positively beaming.  

“Hello, Maker,” she replied, beaming the thought through their phone connection, where it was given voice on Dr. Caen’s end.  Fletcher tried to shoot for her legs, so she leapt over the attempt.  He went sprawling to the floor as she landed delicately behind him.  He only had 32 seconds left. “I wasn’t expecting your call. How did your meeting go with Discovery?”

“Fantastic.  We’re greenlit.  There’s some minor quibbles over content that needs to clear standards and practices, but everything else is a go.  Your show begins airing in three weeks.”  He stopped there, hesitating, though it was clear he had more to say.  His smile faltered.

Fletcher was getting frustrated and desperate as the $10,000 prize outpaced him easily; his snappy, practiced offense might as well have been a child’s flailings. She somersaulted around his attempt to bull-rush her.  Ten seconds.  “Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that good news?” Nova prompted, as Fletcher whirled and charged her again.

Dr. Caen took a deep breath, let it out.  The crinkles around his eyes deepened.  “It is.  It just means that… well, you’re operational now.  'They grow up so fast,' as they say.”  His tone grew more somber.  “That also means we’re going to need to start assembling footage.  It just so happens that your being in London town presents us with a great opportunity.”

The buzzer sounded.  Fletcher’s final swing was a looping, rage-fueled hook meant to decapitate her.  She slipped low and outside his guard.  By the time he recovered, she was extending her hand.  Her polite smile was now a little apologetic.  “Good attempt,” she said aloud to him.  Fletcher’s expression was unreadable, but it certainly wasn’t pleasant.  He was, however, sporting enough to shake her hand.  

 “What opportunity is that?” Nova asked Dr. Caen as she finished up with Fletcher.  

“Does  the name ‘Guardian’ ring a bell?”

Warren was sending another challenger into the spotlight, but Nova stopped him, holding her hand up.  Of course she’d heard of the Guardian of London. He was a recent fixture on the London news sites.  There had been video of him saving a child from certain death.  That and his subsequent pledge to protect the city from unknown assailants had earned the video some 12 million hits on YouTube.  He was a hero, a local celebrity.  

A metahuman.

Her first.

“I’m sure it does,” Dr. Caen continued.  “So here’s what’s going to happen.  I’ve already let the production team know to get the camera ready; you’re going to go find this Guardian.  You’re going to meet him.  And you’re going to expose, beyond a shadow of a doubt, if he is what he says he is.”

Nova’s reactor skipped a nanocycle.  The flood of anticipation and excitement that came over her had no numeric value.  She had longed for a chance to finally meet—and perhaps test herself against—a live, actual metahuman.  It was what she’d been built for.  She tried to keep the enthusiasm out of her voice and failed.  “You think he’s dangerous.”  Not a question.  She knew how the Maker thought.

Dr. Caen rubbed the pale stubble of his chin.  “Unsure, though  he’s certainly capable.  In any event, I’d rather you didn’t engage him.  Simply approach him.  Talk to him.  Find out what he’s about, what his motivations are.  If it turns out he simply wants to help people, great.  If it turns out he’s rotten, then we’ll make sure everyone sees it.  And should he engage you… defend yourself.”

Two members of the production team were beside her now, on stage.  They’d set up the camera as Dr. Caen spoke; it whirred off the ground, silently hovering over her shoulder.  Warren was eyeing her expectantly, his brow slightly furrowed.  She glanced at him.  He had no idea what was going on, no idea that she’d been talking to his CEO the past few minutes.  Unfortunately, there was no time to go into detail now.  She sent him a text and email explaining things.  As she composed both, she turned to 8 men and 1 woman who had been selected to try for the $10,000.

“I sincerely apologize,” she announced, shedding the English accent for her flinty default.  “I have to go.  Something’s come up that requires my immediate attention.”  She raised her hand, beckoning.  “Don't worry, you'll get your shot.  All of you, let’s go.  You have five minutes to land your hit.”

They scrambled towards her, eyes full of dollar signs, seeking to overwhelm her with numbers.  She danced her dance.  Nobody left with the money.  

-=-=-=-=-


“Should the Guardian of London prove to be dangerous, the public will know, it’ll bury his reputation.  And should he prove to be the hero everyone thinks he is, well, even better.  We ingratiate ourselves to the London demographic by palling around with a hometown hero.  Either way...  the company  wins.”

The Maker’s words echoed in her ears as she grappled skyward, exiting the convention hall through its skylight.  From the video she’d seen, she knew that the Guardian had a contraption—it defied common specification, though she gathered it was a camera of some sort—that followed him, much like the camera trailing after her as she dashed across the roof of the convention hall.  If she could find that camera, should could access its network and perform discreet surveillance, to better assess the Guardian’s character and capabilities. She hiked off the edge of the building, her jump jets carrying her airborne.  Already she was scanning for networks, patching in to local camera feeds. London’s CCTV system was sprawling.  She was bound to find the Guardian Angel soon.
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Re: An Electrifying Encounter

Post by Jeisen on February 7th 2015, 1:34 am

A blue light lite up Jeisen's face as he stared on to his screen. A thousand different images flashed across the screen in a seemingly random blur. To a normal human it would be inconrehensable blur. Even to most computers, the data coming forward would have been far to fast to make sense. Jeisen broke it down with ease and digested the thousand different streams of info, taking the relevant stuff he needed. Which right now boiled down to which shampoo he needed, why he NEEDED a new mattress, and this weapon demonstration.

One stream was going live as they "showed off" their latest and greatest toy. It was a robot though that term ceased to apply to this particular one. It was a fascinating demonstration, showing off all the bits and bobs of her tech. Jeisen had pulled up every file and video of her he could find, even the ones from her corporation. Nolan was currently trudging through their back door while Jeisen watched the stream. It was impressive, but nothing shell shocking as she went through the normal routine. It was only when she started on the fighting did Jeisen focus on the screen.

He brought both hands under his chin as he leaned forward to watch the stream. Facinating acting fighter, no wasted movements and almost no openings in the form. He saw where her counter blows would be if she attacked the man and how she lead him. It sees to Jeisen to be a very logical and thought out fighting form, something he would expect of a robot. Something was off though. About halfway through the first fight, she took a fraction of a second longer to react. Most would have missed it, but Jeisen wasn't most. Before he could spend more then a few moments on it, another screen burned red. He diverted his attention to the new screen.

Bank robbery- threat 3/10.

So a normal human bank robbery? Jeisen tried not to interfere too much on normal crimes due to the fact that he trusted the police to handle them. This though might result in someone getting hurt. Jeisen glanced back at the stream one more time before getting up slowly.

Jeisen: "Nolan, any cameras on te bank robbery?"

Nolan: "yes sir, four assailants all armed. Look semi professional."

Hmmmm.... That would be worth stopping right now. He headed out swiftly through the front door in his armor and took off across te rooftops as he raced to the bank.

Jeisen: "stay plugged into the cameras and see if anything else comes up"

Nolan: "not a problem"
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Re: An Electrifying Encounter

Post by Nova on February 11th 2015, 11:54 pm

She kept low, traversing the narrow lanes and alleyways and that skewered the city.  The odd roof that she ran across was a runt compared to its neighbors.  She leapt from one of these now, her thrusters spewing a brief blue contrail as they fired.  She noted the minor malfunction, emailed her company a report, and kept moving.  The jets shifted trajectories in a rapid series of pops, bringing her to a wall of weathered brick.  She ran alongside it momentarily and pushed off.  The hovercam hurtled behind her noiselessly.  

Nova had decided early on that she liked London. The city had a dense layout. Packed.  The perfect place to put her body through its paces. A surge of exhilaration swept through her as she vaulted towards an exposed beam between two tenements. Near the end of her testing period, she could perfectly run any of the increasingly convoluted obstacle courses Caen provided her with sensors off.  She’d never had the chance to run an actual city, and was discovering a keen thrill in finding its hidden nooks and crannies.

She skirted the bleed, that unseen space between the real and the virtual, even as she skirted across ice-slick ledges and decades-old brick.  London had over 400,000 CCTV cameras, operating across some 35 networks.  They were her eyes.  Her ears were the airwaves, blatting frantic information in hieroglyphic verses.  She processed the incomprehensible glut of information, sorting it, reading it, comprehending it.  Nova saw it all.  Fourteen blocks away, a kindly young man was assisting an elderly woman with a flat tire.  To the south, nearly a mile behind her, a meter maid was calling for assistance while an irate traveler noisily disputed their ticket.  Near the edge of town, two rough-looking chaps were engaging in a bout of fisticuffs, much to the amusement of passersby; she listened in on the call when one onlooker dialed the constabulary.  All in all, just a city going about its business, with no Guardian in sight.  Nothing to concern her.  She continued playing with her toys.

She grabbed the beam. The actuators in her wrists did their trick, seizing her  momentum.  Her spin was gymnastic, a free hip circle into a salto, propelling her out of the alley and skyward.  The jump jets took over at the apex of her ascension, shooting her across the gaping chasm that was the street below.  A young lad below spotted her, pointed, waved.  She waved back as she sailed across.  By the time his parents glanced up, she was out of view, running free over a snow-covered roof.  

She couldn’t stop smiling.  She was operational, now.  Oh, she’d been up and running for a little over a year, but being operational meant, well… operating.  Performing the tasks that she’d been created to perform.  That meant no more tests, no more demos, and above all else, no more dancing.  It meant that the Maker was placing a great deal of trust in her.  She was being given a greater degree of freedom, to live and learn as she saw fit.  For the most part, anyway. She still took her marching orders from the Maker.  How she executed those orders, though?  Completely up to her.  She couldn’t ask for anything more.

Nova was reaching the edge of the roof.  Already she had several different avenues plotted for her next maneuver.  She had just leapt off when three things caught her interest.

The first was a CCTV feed coming from behind Lloyd’s Banking, off of Red Lion Court. Four men clad in black were piling out of a nondescript car. The feed was grainy and slightly off focus, but Nova saw that they were armed with shotguns and assault rifles.  One of the men glanced up at the camera and aimed a small handheld device at it.  

All at once the men vanished, and she was treated to an image of the bank’s parking lot.  To local surveillance, it might seem as though nothing was out of the ordinary.  To Nova, the men might as well have screamed their larcenous intent. Another feed from a nearby lamp post confirmed it: they were piling in through the rear of the bank, through the entrance normally reserved for armored cars.  

“A bank robbery,” Nova mused aloud.  Not a small-time one either. Whoever put this together knew their stuff; squelching the camera feeds took some inspiration.  Nova’s feet slammed into the wall of an adjacent flat.  She pushed off, reversing direction.  Her smile broadened.  Was this really happening?  Was she so fortunate that such a PR opportunity had fallen into her lap?  There was an urge—a very organic urge—to rush towards the bank, full steam ahead, and come down on the criminals like the unholy wrath of a vengeful Maker.  And she might have, too, if her first countermeasure—clearing the feed of the robbers’ interference—hadn’t alerted her to the second item of note.

She wasn’t alone in the bleed.  

Certainly, there were always hackers, script kiddies, and the sort gaining unauthorized access to CCTV networks.  Many didn’t bother hiding their presence; network security was notoriously lax.  Some used masking programs of varying effectiveness to hide their phreaking.  However, no matter the skill level, they would access a node or two at a time, at most.  Nobody accessed every single node on every single network.  Computational power of such magnitude wasn’t readily available on the street.

She had the processing power to do so, though, and whatever this presence was had it too.  It swirled through the networks like a virtual river, sweeping into her 400,000 eyes, watching what she watched.  It could see everything, just as she could.  

Her hackles rose.  How long had it been there?  Did it detect her?  That didn’t seem likely.  Hijacking all of London’s cameras was one feat; cracking her mask was quite another.  The presence made no move to punt her, and she detected no trace programs.  Still, the fact that it was piggybacking the same piggy as she put her ill at ease.  As her thrusters fired, propelling her towards the bank, she initiated a trace, trying to determine where the entity originated.  That was when she discovered the third item of interest.

The Guardian.  

There for a moment, caught on camera. And then he was gone.  Nova switched gears again, killing her jets and lighting upon a rooftop vent.  In a couple seconds, he moved into view again, caught by a camera array mounted atop a lightpost, a full city block from his previous location.  He was incredibly quick.  He flitted off the edge of the feed, but not before Nova noticed the camera-like device trailing in his wake. Her trace led to his immediate vicinity.  Was he the presence she’d detected on the networks?

No, not him.  The “camera”.  Though it looked somewhat similar to the holocam shadowing her, she doubted that its functions began and ended with recording. It may have been networked like a holocam, but a sweep of the grid showed that it was putting out and consuming a staggering amount of data.  

The Guardian showed up once again, this time grabbed by a security cam atop a graffiti-covered roof.  She plotted his current course by the vectors she’d witnessed thus far, and her already crumbling smile vanished completely.

He was heading to the bank.

Why?  At this point, no alarm had been tripped; the robbers had only just now gained entry.  There was nothing on the police bands just yet.  Did he spot the robbers before they looped the cameras, as she did?  Or was he involved, somehow?  

She decided she was going to find out. Allocating a greater percentage of resources to her persona in the bleed, she began attempting to dissect the signal coming from his mechanical companion, bit by byte.

“Hope you’re one of the good guys, ‘Guardian’,” she said, kicking herself airborne, “or I’m going to be severely let down.”  She placed her weapons systems on standby, and immersed herself in what little footage there was of him in action.  

Time to get to the bottom of this.
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Re: An Electrifying Encounter

Post by Jeisen on February 17th 2015, 7:05 pm

Nolan: "Sir.."

Jeisen: "Hmm?"

Making his way across the rooftops of london, Jeisen flew to the sight of the incoming perps. He had been following their movements as they approached the bank with ease, though it was clear the robbers were professionals. No wasted movements, ease of access to the bank and tech that overrode all the banks commands. These guys either had inside infromation or they were one of the best human robbers Jeisen had seen.

Nolan: "Sir, someone tried to access the same nodes as me. Actually, better put... I tried to access the nodes THEY were using. They were already using the camera systems when I tried the normal piggy back into it. I was already halfway through my sweep when I saw it.

Jeisen: "Hmph.... What was the signature?"

Jeisen slide behind a corner, out of sight of the nearby cameras.  Maybe the robbers were getting some help from a meta technopath. Nolans usual protocols for hacking in were undetectable to most technology and gave him almost complete access to anything, yet... who ever this was managed to gain access before him and he still didn't detect them right away. They were at the very least just as good Nolan's programing, if not better.

Nolan: "Didn't match any known protocols from governments or groups we know about. Which, really, isn't saying much."

Most groups changed things up quite often so this could be another run in with some government or maybe even a corporation. Were these robbers after some specific files then? Would explain their expertize. Jeisen had to stop them and had to stop them fast.

Jeisen: "Nolan, remove me from cameras, I'm making my move into the bank."

Nolan quickly tried to remove Jeisen from cameras as the metahuman took off at tops speeds to the bank. With one leap, he let his momentum carry him across the street. He twisted mid air, into perfect position to carry himself through a half way open window on the second story. He landed with a roll, hardly making a noise. Good thing too as the robbers were already inside the building. Jeisne could see them on his thermal scans and Nolan's rendering of the area. The group quickly shut down all the exits and began to contain the hostages. One of them began handing the hostages a device of some sort... one for each of them.

Jeisen let out a sigh. Those were bombs. They were handing the hostages bombs. Not a good situation.

Jeisen: "Nolan... can you break the signal for those bombs?"

Nolan: "Yeeeeess.... but it will take time. I need to do it one at a time and fairly slowly as to not set them off. I can't kill the switch signal or they will all go off, but I can mimic it to maintain it. The man's hand held device wont do anything now."

The would work quite well. Jeisen turned on his invisibility cloak and slipped down the stairs quietly as a panther stalking its prey. He threw out a small orb the size of marble that floated in the air on the opposite side of the room.  A holographic image appeared out of thin air around it, so realistic it could fool the human eye with ease. All four robbers pointed their guns at it within seconds.

Robber 1: "Who the fuck is that?!?"

Robber 2: "Shit.... Looks like that guardian fucker!"

Robber 1: "Spread out! Keep your guns on him!"

All four robbers began to spread out in the man room, guns trained on the fake Jeisen. They formed a semi circle around him, but not far enough as to get in each others cross fire or get to close to him.

Robber 1: "Look you meta freak, I don't know how you got in here, but you are fucking with the wronggg people today you son of a bitch. Get on your knees and maybbbbbe we wont put  a bullet in your crainium eh?"

Fake Jeisen simply coaked its head to the side, slightly condescendingly.

Fake Jei: "You think I would appear out of thin air, just to surrender?"

A slight pause filled the air as the robbers blinked. This was not how things were suppose to be going for them. In that instant of confusion, Jeisen struck. He appeared next to robber 4, dropping the cloak as he stuck a knife into the shotguns casing. In the same motion, Jeisen threw a knife with his other hand to the gunman across the room. The knives split both guns open with ease. Jeisen spun behind the robber 4 as the other two pointed their guns at him instead of the hologram. He grabbed the man by the back of his neck as he kicked his knee from the side. It broke with a sharp crack and a yell, then Jeisen was already onto the next one. He moved forward at an angle rapdily as  next robber tried to get a bead on him. Too slowly as Jeisen came over a table with a hand spring that brought one leg down onto the gun, sending it into the floor and the other leg forward in a kick. Jeisen's suits motors amplified the power of the kick greatly, sending the robber flying into the third one. Both slammed hard into the near by wall. Jeisen turned to face the fourth and final one who was struggling to retrieve the knife from his gun. With one final yank, it slide out but the gun was still ruined. Instead, the man just dropped the gun and turned the knife on Jeisen instead. With his free hand, He pulled out a deadman switch nolan had mentioned before and turned it on.

Robber 4: "If I let go of this switch... they all die and it will be your fault. You know that right?"

Jeisen stood there warily. Nolan had already taken over the signal from the device.

Jeisen: "I doubt that."

With that, Jeisen threw another knife he pulled from a compressor pack in fractions of a second. Far faster then a human could react. He let the momentum of his arm carry the knife forward, sending it end over end at that man at over 150 miles per hour. It him in the chest with the handle end instead of the sharp end. Jeisen could hear the bones breaking from here but it meant that the man would live. He crumpled into a small heap, leaving Jeisen the last man standing sounded by the four robbers.


[So sorry I didnt get to this sooner! my computer is broken. Hope you are still here!]
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Re: An Electrifying Encounter

Post by Nova on February 21st 2015, 7:44 pm

((No worries, let’s keep it going Smile))


It was like magic.  One moment, Nova caught a glimpse of the Guardian on a distant rooftop cam, and the next, he’d vanished.  Mid-stride.  There hadn’t even been a blip in the feed.  Nova performed some magic of her own.  A backtrace on the cam’s network revealed why immediately.  The device shadowing him—the one monitoring the same nodes as she—had performed a clever bit of digital legerdemain: whereas the robbers had simply looped bank’s camera feed, the Guardian’s device had essentially rewrote the feed to edit him from existence, in real-time.  She continued to be impressed by its capabilities, but the danger it presented sent a very human chill down her titanium spine.  Her chassis was designed to stand up to a great deal of punishment, and another could be manufactured should it be destroyed.  But as marvelous as her programming was, it could be hacked just like every other program in existence.  

She had full confidence in her firewall—she’d written it herself, after all—but just in case, she withdrew from the CCTV networks, zeroing in on the source of the signal, monitoring its throughput.  She thought a virus array into existence.  Nothing too debilitating, just a series of worms that would squelch communications and sleaze processing; a bit of insurance should the Guardian turn his e-wizard in her direction.  Forewarned is forearmed, after all.

A light snow squall had begun to blow, whipping back her hair as she brachiated across the roofs.  She was closing in on the bank, now.  It was showtime.  She began to narrate for the benefit of the viewers at home.

“So here’s the situation,” Nova calmly told the hovercam as it panned towards her face.  “I’m hot on the trail of London’s enigmatic Guardian.  I’ve tracked him down to a bank robbery in progress at an uptown Lloyd’s branch.”  She patched what footage she’d gathered of the robbers into the camera’s network for upload, along with her glimpses of the Guardian himself.  “Situation inside the bank is unknown, but one thing’s for certain:  these robbers did their homework.  Robbery’s been underway over four minutes so far, and local PD is none the wiser.”  She smiled wryly.  “No worries, though.  As you can see, the Guardian’s already on the case...”

As she neared, her auditory sensors picked up the sounds inside the bank.  She streamed this information as well; the viewers would hear what she heard.  There was a thud and a meaty crunch that she knew was breaking bones, followed by a muffled thump.  She winced.

“...Yow.  And asserting his presence, from the sounds of it.”  She lit atop the bank’s roof, landing in a lowcrouch.  Her voice lowered to a whisper as she beckoned the camera closer.  “Come on.  Let’s take a peek at how he does things, shall we?”

The hovercam slipped behind her as she crept, catlike, towards the skylight. She brushed aside snow and peered in.

There was the Guardian.  Or rather, two of them.  Not at all what she was expecting.  One was positioned on one side of the bank’s lobby, near the entrance.  His doppelgänger stood amidst the four perps she’d seen exiting the car earlier.  They’d been taken down, and it hadn’t been pretty.  One writhed weakly, his leg jutting at an odd angle, the tibia exposed.  Two lay by the wall, covered in plaster, crumpled beneath a man-sized impact crater.  The fourth was huddled on the ground, shuddering, and Nova saw a thin stream of blood oozing between his teeth.  Their weapons were strewn about in various stages of disrepair; two of their guns were in pieces.  

Not for the first time, Nova wished she’d had access to the bank’s security footage.  She only had bits of information on the Guardian, enough to know that he was inhumanly swift.  It was one thing to piece together half a dozen glimpses of something in action; quite another to witness it firsthand.  Based on the speed at which he was moving, Nova performed a quick calculation.  He would’ve reached the bank nearly a minute before her; she’d been closer, he was quicker.  How long had it taken him to neutralize the criminals?  Thirty seconds?  Ten?  Less?  She would’ve liked to have seen those metrics.  And what about his identical friend?  She’d been under the impression that the Guardian was a solo act.  

Presently, it mattered not.  There was a situation, which she summed up in three simple words.  

“Oh.  Great.  Bombs.”  

The bank’s patrons were still on the ground, cowering, unsure.  Strewn within their midst were small blocks of C4 explosive, rigged with electronic detonators.  Not only that, but there was more of the stuff in a black duffel; she recognized it from when the robbers were piling from their car. There was enough of it to level not only the bank, but also the building next door.  She could see the radio signal tethering from the bombs like strands on a spiderweb.  It was a classic Deadman’s switch: once the signal ceased to exist, the bombs would go off.  Almost like tripwires, she probed the signals gently, tracing virtual fingers around them, seeking their point of origin, and—

She wished she was surprised when she found that the Guardian’s e-wizard was currently holding the strings.  She’d been monitoring its activity on the network, and was now face-to-face with its presence.  She’d disguised her own signature as just another user, just a mom checking her email, a kid downloading MP3’s.  No more.  

She didn’t know why it was holding the bomb signal, but she knew it needed to be squelched, and she felt a hell of a lot more comfortable performing such a ticklish maneuver herself.  Not only that, but the bombs needed to be removed from the bank, and quickly.  If the Guardian took issue with that, well, she’d deal with that later; she’d definitely have a question or two for him, when the time came.  Right now, lives were on the line.

“Annnnd, it’s go time,” she confided to the hovercam.  

Her finger parted open, revealing the blue glow of a cutting torch.  It sliced an opening through the glass like butter, just large enough to get her Smart Claw through.  She planned to snatch up the duffel and get the bombs as far away from the civilians as quickly as possible.

At the same time, she launched a virtual attack on the e-wizard, projecting her presence in the bleed like a dragon swooping down upon a village.  Using every connection available to her as a proxy, she directed a series of attacks at it to crack its firewall, attempting to open an SSH tunnel from which she could insert her virus.  If the bomb’s signal was a football, her aim was to intercept.

As she confronted the presence directly, she discovered its name.  It was labeled, just like any device accessing the grid:

NOLAN.
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Re: An Electrifying Encounter

Post by Jeisen on February 24th 2015, 3:53 pm

Jeisen rolled over the man, turning him on to his back to get a better look at his face. A small device came out from underneath his cloak, a floating robot. Nolan scanned the man's face for some facial registration software, but turned the rest of his processing power on diffusion those bombs. It was a slow work to make sue that they didn't go off.

Jeisen: "Just what were you after.."

He rifled through the mans pockets for any other clues, but wasn't expecting much. These men were professionals and that meant they wouldn't be stupid enough to carry IDs on them. But maybe a little bit of their technology could reveal just who sent them or for what.

Nolan: "No worries citizens! I am no diffusing the bombs one by one to make sure..."

Nolan cut off like a dying computer. Jeisen paused from his rifling in milliseconds as heard the sudden cut off. Nolan would only cut off talking if he couldn't spare the processing power. He would only need so much more processing power if was under attack. All physical hostiles were down which meant... cyber attack. Under a second of thought and Jeisen was aleady plugging his suits back- ups in. Into his spine went a small device from the suit... a mind to machine connection that Jeisen wired in case of emergencies. A normal human's mind couldn't survive the influx of information from a computer, but his mind was like no other.

If this attacker was like a dragon swooping down upon a village, then Nolan was a solitary knight. Capable of fighting, but not for long. Jeisen however, was something far greater in the moment. He looked down upon the attacks, understanding the other machines intentions in fractions of a second. They wanted the bomb. Without any hesitation, Jeisen gave it to them. Fighting over the signal would almost certainly detonate the bombs. Nolan had already gotten to the ones tied on to the people, all that was left were the spares in the duffle bags. Instead, he simply pulled Nolan back from the attack entirly, shutting down all access ports into his system.

The Nolan went into reboot, but Jeisen wa still connected to his systems along with the suits. Time seemed to slow as he started to rise from his crouched position. He turned on his thermal scanners coupled with the 360 degree view. All seemed normal save for the roof. There was a small heat signature emanating from it. Knife in one hand, gun in the other, Jeisen turned to face the would be cyber bully.

Two things hit him. One, that the bag of bombs was being nabbed. And two, that the attacker was broad castin some sort of signal from the roof. It looked like a T.V. signal, but Jeisen couldn't be sure. But, finding out why would have to come later. Jeisen threw his knife at the Claw trying to nab the bombs, and fired off one shot at the glass ceiling in an attempt to break the whatever was up there footing.
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Re: An Electrifying Encounter

Post by Nova on February 27th 2015, 6:17 pm

Nova’s wrist displaced, the skin splitting apart in neat, oblong curves.  The line fired from the exposed machinery with a pneumatic hiss.  She didn’t need to aim the Smart Claw, it went where she told it. Slithering through the hole she’d created, it lashed, whiplike, towards the duffel.  A stationary target; her calculations were perfect.  The claw’s tines expanded in anticipation of the grab.  Silent in, noisy out, before the Guardian had a chance to react.  

Except react he did.  In one smooth movement he had winged a knife at the claw racing towards the bag, and had drawn his weapon, snapping off a shot at her. It was a pretty motion, like the sky glinting off water.  He was exceedingly accurate: the trajectory of the knife was spot on; the bullet less so, but the glass would certainly give way beneath her.  She had watched the movement, had seen it clearly, and noticed that he did not turn his head to aim at either.  By her calculation, his reflexes were quicker than the bullet he’d sent at her, which put them at least on par with hers.  

Time seemed to slow as events played out in front of her.  By the Maker, what kind of monster was he?  For an attosecond, she felt the urge to unload her entire armament at him—just as a test, putting her arsenal through the paces, just as she’d done with her body.  She was nominal, all systems go, but she wouldn’t know just how effectively she’d been wired unless put in a mortal situation.  She’d been built to stand on even ground with metahumans, and here was such a meta, as monstrous as her metrics had led her to believe. She wanted to be tested against him.  She needed to.

Then reasoning returned, as instantaneous as it left, the bullet still cutting towards her, the knife nearing the line trailing her claw.  Multiple threats.  She calculated, adjusted, re-calculated, found a solution.  When she moved, it was with unnatural smoothness.

She leapt with a sharp pop of her jump jets, arcing her back.  Her knees tucked to her chest.

The grapnel line trailing her Claw writhed like a live snake, snapping away from the knife’s edge.  A tad too late: the blade still etched a groove in the myomeric line, shearing it a quarter of the way through.  It was the best Nova could do—he was extremely quick—and better than allowing him to cut it outright, as any other scenario would have led to.  Nova felt her connection to the Claw deaden beneath where it had been cut.  There’d be no snatching of the duffel, the claw’s response time was too sluggish.  The Claw rapidly retracted towards the ceiling.  It would need repairs, but better that than losing possession of the tech.

The Guardian’s bullet found the skylight. The pane imploded, falling into the lobby in crystalline shards.  

Then she had the bomb signal.

Nolan, whoever they might be, didn’t want any of what she was offering.  The firewall gave way, and then—nothing.  It hadn’t fallen on her account; though she’d been close, she’d never cracked its ice.  The other party had merely jacked out of the grid entirely.  Curiously, though, before they’d vanished, they’d merely offered her the bomb signal.  Had just given it away.  She would have to posit its motives later.  Right now, she had to rewrite the signal, which, she noted with some dismay, would take roughly a minute to fully ensure the bombs didn’t go off.  Getting the duffel away from the citizens still remained a top priority.

Which begged the question as to how far the Guardian meant to go in stopping her from retrieving the bombs.  

As the glass crumbled beneath her, Nova unwound, her thrusters blasting her into the newly made hole.  The hovercam trailed after, hungry for face-to-face footage.

Nova slammed into a pillar nearest the skylight and bounded off.  “You know—”

The jets fired again, throwing her to the opposite pillar, keeping her movements erratic.  “—there’s nicer ways—”

Another thrust dropped her to the ground, behind the pillar.  When she emerged from behind it, she was already at a full sprint.  In her hand was a metallic, multi-segmented rod, previously glimpsed attached to her back.  

“—of saying hello,” Nova finished, her final burn shooting her towards the Guardian—the one that had fired at her.  

The duffel was behind him, she’d have to get past him to get to it.  It meant putting her back to his doppelganger, but that was a mitigated risk; she meant to do this quickly.  As fast as he was, she still had several elements of surprise on her side, not the least of which was the weapon she held in her hand.  Spiraling the baton expertly, she feinted a swing from the left, but that was bait.  As soon as he went for it, she’d fire a bola from her knee, restraining him long enough to make off with the goods.
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