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Tuesday, 28th October, 2003, 07:42 AM #241
Over $8K and still rising!When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely. (Truman Capote)
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Tuesday, 28th October, 2003, 08:05 AM #242
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Impressive isn't it?
For all my lurking, I never read a Ceramic DM before. Nor an Iron DM, but I started reading Ceramic before I checked out Iron. I am hooked. I must see the end...
PS - Thanks Sialia for setting up the Yahoo Group. I am ashamed that I didn't think of it. I was lamenting the possible loss of EN World too much. I'm glad somebody had some presence of mind!
Avatar by Sialia!
Now with name shortened from BardStephenFox
New Ptolus Campaign in Albuquerque, seeking players
Ceramic DM FAQ for Fiction
Ceramic DM Winter 2007 Contest
Tuesday, 28th October, 2003, 08:15 AM #243
(dang, I dont log into enwolrd for one day, and see what happens!!!)
Sialia, You'r the best! Not only having two people slugguing it out for your affection, but you also took it upon thee to secure the future of Ceramic
( but we could have used Randomlings house
So many games, so little time!
Tuesday, 28th October, 2003, 10:17 PM #244
Scout (Lvl 6)
I am so very very very happy happy happy that we don't need the yahoogroup after all!
I will go delete it. Joyfully.
It's like getting to watch somebody cast "Mass Heal" on a near TPK.
Actually, it was kinda like getting to help cast Mass Heal on a near TPK.
The campaign lives on!
Now. About those stories . . .
Wednesday, 29th October, 2003, 12:41 AM #245
Ooooh . . . this oughta be bad. In a good way.
Like getting an overpriced California coffee drink for free because the guy in line in front of you just robbed the place.
"Even if you’re a snake, and even if you’re on fire, adventurers will still kill you."
-- Logan Bonner
Wednesday, 29th October, 2003, 02:26 AM #246
Isn't "overpriced California" redundant?
Yeah, yeah, I'm writing.
When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely. (Truman Capote)
Wednesday, 29th October, 2003, 02:31 AM #247
it isn't that the writing hasn't been great.
it isn't that the picture usage hasn't entertained me.
but the biggest shock? all the she's involved. wow, i had no idea some of these people are hers.
i like it
Wednesday, 29th October, 2003, 06:53 AM #248
OK, I just looked at the clock and...do you mean one hour from right now, when Tuesday turns into Wednesday, or 25 hours from now?Originally Posted by alsih2o
Last edited by mythago; Wednesday, 29th October, 2003 at 07:00 AM.
When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely. (Truman Capote)
Wednesday, 29th October, 2003, 09:51 AM #249
mythago v. piratecat
When the cops came to tell me about my parents being dead, I thought they were being hostile because they thought I killed my parents, or maybe they pulled my psych history and figured I would give them trouble. I didn't know till later that they were jealous. Even though I hadn't met Khadija yet, somehow they knew that she was going to fall in love with me and I would be her hero and rescue her from a life of slavery.
Oh, yeah, my parents. You probably heard about the accident because it was the one that started the whole mess for Daimler AI Industries. They built crappy driving AI and my parents didn't know how to drive manually, so they had no backup, and when the AI shorted out on them their car ran right into the back end of a diesel tanker. Big noises from the Attorney General about criminal charges for the CEO, lawyers buzzing around like flies, I got a settlement payout and Daimer AI went out of business. That's okay with me; I hated their AIs anyway.
I had a day job doing maintenance at a Century City nightclub, keeping the AI for their HVAC system from going senile. Too many people in there and they'd be drowning in sweat. Strabinowsky was manager then and still let me work off the books, for cash. Not a whole lot of money, but a paycheck would have cut into my disability. Plus he bought my patches at cost, I guess because you can use the chemicals to make some kind of street drug. My parole was supposed to be checking to make sure I wore them, since I don't have an implant or a pump, but he was pretty overworked and I think he was just as happy to take my word for it. Even then I'd figured out the patches weren't medicine, just made me dumb and easy to herd, like a sheep. I only ever used them because it made my mom and dad, may they rest in peace, upset if I took the patches off.
God, that's the other thing about those stupid patches, they made me so placid that when I'm off I just talk and talk. I was telling you about Club Degas, and meeting Khadija. Yes, THAT Khadija. Now you get how important this is.
There was a cute little artist there, on a week-long gig, that I had kind of a thing for. After I saw her the first night, I made sure the AI on the club's air conditioning got a little rambly and needed me to repair it. Anyway. This chick, Rosalina, was doing a number about bugs. Weird, huh? Something about female insects and hierarchy and slavery; she'd matrixed into the queen bee of a hive for a couple of weeks straight. So she was dressed up in some kind of bug outfit and stomping around the stage reading poetry. This kind of thing made Club Degas the super trendy LA hot spot, at least at that time, which would be why Khadija dropped by.
She comes in, surrounded by her keepers--excuse me, her manager and her bodyguards, who everybody thinks are there to protect HER but as I now know, are there to keep her from escaping. And they get her a table near the stage. She was laughing and smiling, and then Rosalina came on, which I completely ignored because when I turned to look at Khadija she looked back at me. I heard that humming sound, the kind I used to hear as a kid just before I got the voices, but it was Khadija. In my head. Doug, I can't get away, you have to help me, I'm a prisoner and they're going to do terrible things to me, please please save me, in the time it took her to blink and turn away, and nobody knew it but me and her. And I knew that she was trapped. Prisoner of the managers and the money boys and probably the old mob, using her to make their crap movies and model their crap clothes.
But I could save her. Me. Not right then, because she had a lot of bodyguards, probably with RASERs and all kinds of nasty crap, to keep their property safe. Besides, the humming was getting kind of loud and I could feel a bad headache coming on. So I told Strabinowski I was sick, I had to go home for the rest of the night. He gave me a funny look, like I'd been too loud, which I probably was but you know, I couldn't hear myself over the damn humming.
I walked some so I could buy some Johnny Walker Red on the way home--that always helps with the headaches--and I picked up a stack of magazines that had Khadija on the cover, for later. I drank the JWR and cut pictures out of the magazines. I think I passed out after I got through five or six of them.
In the morning I called the real estate agent. She'd been calling me every once in a while to sell my house. Well, my parents' house, which is mine now, but I really only live in the basement. All their stuff is still upstairs, just like it was when they died. She was kind of surprised to hear from me, but she was nice, which is good because I was kind of rude last time she called. Actually I was screaming at her to get out, all kinds of bad language. That was when I stopped using the patches at all and it took me a while to smooth out.
See, I needed money for what I had to do, and the settlement from my parents' deaths was almost gone. There was no way I was going to get to walk up to Khadija and carry her off, like I was James Bond. Too many guards, too many ways to screw up. What I wanted to do was jack up my console, get a premium matrix feed and then ramp the AI. I'm really good with AI; that's what I got in Job Training for Rehabilitation and I just had a knack. They're really orderly and you can see all the paths, all the decision trees that you can code and shape like bonsai. I feel really calm when I'm working on AIs. Sometimes I even forget about the voices, you know?
Yeah, yeah, Doug, shut up and get to the point. All right. So I found a studio apartment, a basement--I like basements--out on the east side, in a neighborhood where nobody spoke the same language as me and so they let me alone. I put bars over the windows and smartlocks on the bars, and I spent the rest of the house money on a sweet Samedi 705, best matrixing setup there is, and I spent a whole damn week making friends with the AI, showing it how some of the government restrictions on its range and target were really more like options, that kind of thing. I set up a debit account fed to it so that I just had to do a one-button, and whoever owned the animal or machine I matrixed was paid automatically. Plus, I put extra foam in the viewhelm so it wouldn't chafe my forehead like they usually do.
Then I went to find Khadija.
With the modified Samedi it wasn't hard. I knew from all the entertainment channels that she was doing some romantic comedy. I tightened up the straps on the helmet, took a hit of Dewars, and opened up the search channel. My vision and my head were full of static as the signal fanned out. Then the very helpful AI popped up a list of likelies for me: a couple of meter bots, the sprinkler system (very cool, but not especially useful), a camera array in the studio where Khadija was working today, and then somewhere down the list was a hawk. Man, I didn't think there were any of those around in the city. No rental information, so either it was black market or somebody's expensive pet got out; nobody puts matrix shunts in wild animals and lets them go. I dropped that one to HOLD and checked out the cameras to make sure they were a go.
Everything lurched, like it always does when you matrix into something mechanical and your brain has to play catch-up. What I saw made me start growling, I was so mad. Some jerk was dressed in a suit and a top hat and he was acting like he was going to marry Khadija. I wished this camera were mobile so I could swing it out and crush his windpipe. But then I remembered this was a movie set and he was probably just an actor, and I felt stupid. I watched for a little while, and when there was a break in the shooting Khadija laughed and pretended to karate-kick the guy in the gut. That made me feel better but I wished she'd hit him a little harder.
So, knowing she was there, I dropped out of the cameras and brought the hawk up to ACTIVE. That took a while for me to get used to, wheeling up through the air like that, seeing everything moving way down below me like I was looking through a super-sharp lens, like I was God. I realized I was sticking my arms out, like a little kid pretending to fly. It took me a while to get the hang of going where I wanted to go. Luckily it was a good shunt, so the hawk didn't fight me. I circled around for a while and watched Khadija from up above. Some of the film people noticed me and pointed me out, but of course they thought I was just some stupid bird.
I bet you're wondering why they couldn't tell somebody was matrixed into it, because the home unit is supposed to make the shunt pulse an identifier signal. I told you I was good with AI.
I was having a great time up there, just feeling the air currents. Then I saw the flower girl. Or the kid who was pretending to be the flower girl, because when I looked at her my head buzzed. I knew, I just knew, that this kid was matrixed too, illegally because of course you can't matrix into a human, nobody does that, unless you didn't care about the law at all like the people who owned Khadija didn't care about the law at all. And she was walking right up to Khadija with some flowers in her hand. Probably a painshot under the flowers, just to keep her in line and let her know who was boss, and I didn't think, I just swooped down on the kid, screaming "Don't touch her, don't touch her", screeches coming out of the hawk's beak and me screaming in my chair at home, and the so-called kid dropped her flowers and ran, and Khadija was safe.
I dropped all signals and pulled off the helmet so I could run to the toilet and puke. I put my head on the cool tile floor until the buzzing went away. I'd saved Khadija, a little, but now they knew she had a protector, and that was going to make things harder. I was going to have to lay low, follow the news about Khadija in the regular stream quietly, wait for my chance to get her out completely. I curled up in bed and stared at the glossy pictures of Khadija I'd glued over every inch of the ceiling, all of them staring back with that fake, desperate smile, waiting for me to save her. I got myself to sleep by counting the eyeballs.
It took me three months--three whole months of Khadija waiting for me with those sadistic users shuttling her around--to find a safe place to rescue her. She was down in Kenya to be used in another scene for their big blockbuster movie. That meant I had to get close enough to use the Samedi, which has great range but is not going to reach from LA to Nairobi, so I had to arrange to ship myself and all my equipment out to Africa. I was out of money by the time I got off the freighter, so believe me, I was motivated for this rescue. I was not going to fail or go back empty-handed.
This time I'd managed to push up the AI's capacity even higher. The switching was faster and the hold times stretched out so I could keep two channels matrixed at once: as long as I switched back before the hold flatlined completely, I could juggle them back and forth. It woudn't be easy, but easy wasn't really the point, was it? And I had stocked up on a bunch of local grain alcohol, that always helps keep my head clear and keeps the buzzing down.
I popped the scan open and the channels lit up like the Las Vegas strip at sundown. They were doing this shoot on a game preserve, so of course all the animals had shunts. Much easier to get them to show up for the tourists when you could drive them to you. I matrixed into a herd of zebras, flipping back and forth between the alpha male and one of the females, pushing them closer to the shoot. Really, I was doing this for practice, seeing if the rest of the herd would follow along, getting the timing right to grab a new channel while letting the old one fade.
When I got the hang of it I let them go and picked up my next two: a male and female lion. See, lions get all the press but it's actually the females who do the hunting. These two were on a "stay away" loop to keep them from attacking the film crew, but that's a pretty no-brain AI. I overrode it and moved the lions out, shuttling between the channels now that I had the hang of it. The lioness would attack Khadija's bodyguards, hopefully kill a couple but definitely keep them busy. The lion would run up to Khadija and she would see my eyes through its eyes, and she'd know I was finally here to rescue her. She'd climb on the lion's back and I'd drop the lioness, let it kill people or get killed or whatever, run the lion back to me and we'd escape, together.
I was so excited that I wasn't monitoring the other channels--there were so many--and I had the lioness almost to the perimeter when the giraffe showed up. I don't know what brought it out; something in the shunt being attracted to my signal, that happens sometimes. It lumbered out of the mist and the trees. I watched it through the male lion, tried to switch back to the female, and found that the channel was gone. The lioness was stalking the giraffe. I flipped virtual jumpers on the AI and pulled up subroutines but it didn't work, the shunt was wrong or there was a flaw, or the animal's instincts were so high that it overrode the signal, and I was shaking, my head humming, *this was not supposed to happen*, and I panicked and forgot about the lion. Who left his mate to her kill and wandered straight into the middle of the shoot, where the onsite animal handler discovered that (thanks to me) his park AI wasn't working at all and the lions weren't under control, not in the least. There was screaming and that sound RASERs make that sets your teeth on edge, and a roar, and the lioness abandoned her kill to protect her mate, clawing and fighting at anything that got in her path.
Khadija got in her path.
I threw the working parts of the Samedi into my rucksack and ran. I hitched a ride on a livestock truck back to the coast. I had enough money to pay for a steamer ticket back to California, after the captain agreed I could work off the rest by keeping the engine's AI running on the trip. I couldn't go back to Club Degas or my apartment, but there are AIs everywhere and they all need replacing. I can save up again, make some money, put the Samedi back together (or replace it with the new 805, even), and then I can rescue Khadija. The streams say that they expect her to be walking again soon, and her body is handling the artifical kidney well.
I know. Hospitals have AIs all over the place. I watch her through their machines, and she sees me, and she's so happy she cries all the time. Khadija, hang in there. I'm coming.
Wednesday, 29th October, 2003, 02:20 PM #250
well, i meant 25 hours from then, when p-kitty had a return date of wed night.
sorry for the confusion. the misdirection there is a pet peeve of mine too.