Eclipse Phase - Uncharted

Assault and Hold

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Transcript: Morningstar Constellation Star Chamber Virtual Interrogation Log 33115
Subject: Aiden Nairn

Interrogator (I): State your name and polity identity for the record.

Aiden Nairn (AN): Um… Aiden Nairn… and I suppose I don't have one? I mean, I used to work for Experia before signing on with Love and Rage as a xenolinguist…

I: That will do Mr. Nairn. As you might have guessed, you've been singled out for a more… intensive customs and immigration process due to the unusual nature of your arrival in the Morningstar Constellation. It is not our intention to get unpleasant, but I'm sure you understand that we have any number of tools at our disposal, and the capacity to make any number of forks of you we require, so really its in your best interest to be forthcoming. 

AN: Um… uh… wow, really? I didn't think you Venusians went in for the whole gestapo mind-flaying simulspace interrogation thing… wasn't your whole deal that you were a kinder, gentler, more transparent version of the PC?

I: Yes, Mr. Nairn… should we choose to reinstantiate you based on the results of this discussion, you won't remember a thing. Very kind and gentle. Now, please, let's proceed. We recovered your cortical stack from the gate-chamber of our Lucifer gate facility. It had been enclosed in a diamond-silicate container capable of withstanding the Venusian surface. Whoever sent you clearly knew that we had vented the facility as a defense against invasion. Who arranged for your transport here, and why?

AN: You're… telling me an awful lot for an interrogator, aren't you supposed to be all "I'M the one asking the questions here Mr. Nairn" while getting in my face?

I: (sighs) You've been the victim of too much fiction-media Mr. Nairn. Interrogation methods have changed dramatically with forking technology. As I stated before, I can tell you whatever I like. We'll be deleting this fork of you in any event. Our methodology is backed by the best current science. Now please answer the question.

AN: Um. Right. Yes, of course. I'm a survivor of the Ultimates' attack on Carnivale. I was attached to the Love and Rage Collective Gatecrashing efforts using the Carnivale gate. I was discussing the newest papers on Factor communication methods with Dr. Macek and Dr. Pinfeather when the mesh went crazy, talking about soldiers pouring through the gate, then the mesh went down. Dr. Pinfeather theorized that the mesh came under immediate dataphage and AI attack. It didn't take long for the mortar fire to start in on the colony…

I: Mr. Nairn, you're not addressing my question…

AN: Yes, I'm getting to it. Don't you want to know about the Ultimates trying to conquer the gate network?

I: (drily) We are well aware of their efforts Mr. Nairn. But please… do continue.

AN: Yes… well… anyway… Dr. Macek… she's our exosociologist… indicated that she had always wanted to study Ultimates culture and society up close, and decided she would approach the invading force and seek to join up as a means for embedded research. We told her she was insane, but sometimes there's no reasoning with her. Dr. Pinfeather and I fled… he's a neo-Parrot… I saw him get shot down… I don't know if he survived…

I: I'm afraid I can provide no information for you Mr. Nairn. Please get to the point of my question. Who sent you here and why?

AN: Yes, right… so… I stumbled around in the dark running from gunfire for some hours. Shortly after sunset I stumbled upon a camp of other survivors… members of my gatecrashing team in fact, particularly Luna. What irony. I was embedded in their Gatecrashing team by Experia to keep tabs on her. We'd heard she had adopted extremist Anarchist ideology, and the company wanted a heads-up if she started gunning for them, but she ended up saving me. Some of them were apparently scouting the colony. Marco Macek came back with Carillo Wu, Naomi, and a badly damaged Alexi Oda along with spare tech, weapons, food, water, and the… salvaged cranial implant from an Ultimate mercenary. Some technical expertise from Aquila got us in, and we suddenly had real-time data on their whole operation.

I: That seems… sloppy of them.

AN: It became pretty clear that the invasion of Carnivale was hardly their top priority. Nearly every Ultimate involved was a rookie. Still, they had more than enough military training and weapons to take Carnivale apart. They were systematically executing everyone and salvaging their stacks, sifting them by "potential recruit" and "trash." Marco found his sister… that's Dr. Macek, who I mentioned, listed on the "potential recruit" list, being stored in a crate waiting to go back through the gate. Our vehicle operator, Chloelia Octavia, had access to some QEC data… maybe? Anyway, she told us that the Ultimates had taken the Fissure and Discord gates and were moving on Portal, Luca, and Rorty. We realized then that we were kinda stuck.

I: It sounds like an untenable position. I'm growing increasingly curious to discover how you were tranported here, and why.

AN: Yes, I'm getting there… so we rapidly realized that our only long-term means of survival was to somehow get through the gate. The problem was, the Ultimates had heavily fortified it. Some data analysis revealed, however, that they had protocols in place should they encounter weapons of mass destruction. Apparently they considered it entirely possible that the scum of Carnivale would resist invasion with nuclear force if given half a chance. That explains the all-out assault on the colony and securing the nanofabrication facilities. So we decided to attack them with a weapon of mass destruction, at least temporarily, to force a retreat from the gate.

I: You… just had one lying around?

AN: Strange, right? Apparently Marco had a dissassembler nanoswarm hive that targets biological material. He claimed he uses it for "clean up." I… think he might have been a hitman before becoming a gatecrasher. Needless to say, this startled many, but led to our eventual plan. Luna and her backup singer/dancer/artillery forks would destroy one of the fighter aircraft the Ultimates brought through as a distraction. Chloelia would fly their getaway while Marco and Naomi used the distraction to infiltrate and plant the hive. They would then activate the hive, and the rest of us would monitor the Ultimates tacnet to see their response. Should they follow protocol and evacuate the affected area, we would then all pile into Chloelia's shuttle and make a mad dash for the gate. Alexi would open it, and we'd go through.

I: That's… a remarkably ambitious and risky plan, but under the circumstances, I can't really see any viable alternative. What gate location did you decide on? You knew already that you couldn't return to Chat Noir.

AN: Um… yeah… so… there were some other folks with the group, not part of our gatecrashing team. Apparently they were engaged in some sort of local business when everything went down. Anyway, their spokewoman Irina Kuznetsova told us that she had access to a gate location, but that the organization she works for would not appreciate it getting out. It would, however, prove safe. 

I: I see we're finally arriving at the answer to my original question. You do know that we'll get this information out of you eventually, so you might as well come clean.

AN: Um… ah… yes… apparently there's a gate location called "Lassiter" that's controlled by Ms. Danielle Astra? I imagine you've heard of her…

I: The spokes-AGI for Canaan? That's… a surprise. Although perhaps not, considering Canaan was a major contractor and participant in Lucifer gatecrashing operations. So this Lassiter connects to both Carnivale and Venus?

AN: So it seems. We stayed in her facility for a few days while things with the Ultimates played out. She then offered everyone else a job. Apparently being cut off from supplies in the solar system concerned her, and she wanted a gatecrashing team able to use the Lassiter gate to explore and gather needed materials. She offered, as an alternative, being sent here to Venus, although she made it clear that we'd be traveling in cortical stack form, considering the… uh… climate of your gate nowadays. And… well… that's the last thing I remember. If she killed me to get my stack, it was fast and painless and I have no memory of it. It seems she was good for her word however.

I: So it seems. Mr. Nairn, I'm going to have to ask you to think very carefully. This is important. Do you remember the gate address for Lassiter? The data was corrupted by a clumsy Q-Morph when you came through. We're very interested in Ms. Astra and anything you can tell us about her and her extrasolar projects.

AN: Um… well… 

I: You're getting a shifty look in your eye. I should warn you I'm trained in kinesics-recognition. It seems you are trying very hard to hide something from me.

AN: I… cantaloupe… larvae… epsilon…

I: What the…

AN: (emits complex tonal harmony)

Data Corruption Detected, Fatal Error, Ego Retrieval Status: Total Loss

 

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