The chat room, #CHATEASY# was programmed to resemble an old 1920's speakeasy, various avatars gathered around tables, the chat nodes, they grouped based on topic, or interests, with the occasional table hosting a poker game. The woman with the black wings wandered admidst the tables, requesting access at one and sitting in as she listened to the conversations, before leaving and moving to another. She approached a table with the floating neon text in olde english font stating "Mysteries and Rumors of Insilico" touching the window that popped up in front of her as she approached and giving her registration and CID number stating she was "Oscar Benes" a street cleaner living in run down apartment in the Central sector. Oscar himself was actually busy at work, tracking the cleaning drones, while browsing porn on his rig's monitoring systems. The window blinked out of existence as it accepted her information and allowed her in.
Taking a seat at the table, she looked at the other guests, one, had the image of a bald featureless man, surrounded by a swarm of eyes of all sorts, "Thousand Eyes", he usually haunts the conspiracy nodes, odd to see him in as 'low key' a node as the Chateasy though.
Sitting to the left of Thousand Eyes was a small doll, surrounded by black shadowy tentacles that waved,
Next to the doll, a fiery djinn sat, staring off into space, the symbol hovering in front of his face denoting he was link/dead, yet the flaming avatar remained.
Next to this was what resembled a mass of pulsating strawberry jelly floating in midair.
and finally to the right of her, completing the circle, a suited figure wearing a large cartoon fox head, the head kept glitching out, derendering to a cloud of static and back.
She had entered the table just in the midst of what seemed like a series of unrelated speculation everyone was shouting at each other.
Doll: The gas attacks can't be unrelated, sure it's different colored gasses, but who's to say the mad gassers aren't just being verastile.
Fox: I still say the red one's just a copycat, you realize how many terrorist attacks in this cityresemble one another? how many masked crazies go and kill a bunch of people? how many times had a terrorist group set bombs up everywhere? or biological threats, M86, TWF, Abbon, half of them are just carbon copies of each other. No one in this gottverdammte city has any creativity, even the corps just rip off of one another.
Jelly: you mean like Gemini and Tokuma used to?
Fox: yeah, and it's happening agin on the corp level, look at Nexus and Agis
Doll: Gemini and Tokuma both built cybernetics, Nexus and Agis don't have any common focus, one's clones and the other's what, food? entertainment? I don't see Agis trying to steal noodle recipes from Nexus anytime soon.
Fox: No, I mean, they've become the biggest players in this burg, like the eagle and the bear used to be. They filled in the power vacum from Gemini's retraction and Tokuma's expulsion.
Jelly: then what about Aeon holdings, or exosolar or whatever?
Doll: I don't know, they seem pretty quiet, I really just see signs if I'm in East.
Fox: that place is like a 'Little Wayfar' with it's architecture, it's kind of creepy. but yeah, they seem like an Eastern thing, like NYCorp is mostly in North.
Jelly: what does NYcorp do anyway?
Fox: they run some of the bars, clubs, things like that.
Thousand Eyes: I heard they're branching into R&D, tech work, probably more clones, you know they're trying to replace everyone in the city with clones and bioroids?
Doll: and tinfoil hat speaks, so what makes you think they're replacing everyone with clones?
Thousand Eyes: Hughs? he dies, comes back and noone blinks an eye? and who in this city has the capability to pop out a clone that quick? and I've seen alot of tall women with red hair, like the copycat gasser. has to be clones
Fox: you think...red hair...means clones? you ever hear of hair dye mate?
Thousand Eyes: and the gas attacks, probably their clone troops, it's like that one at the skygate, take out a bunch of Nexus's people, and then cause more chaos with all the later attacks while the IPS is disbanded.
Doll: so they gas the skygate, where a cloned Hughs they put likely thousands of credits in, is holding a party, to get him high? inhaled narcotics is hardly going to 'take out' alot of nexus people.
Thousand Eyes: well, maybe just to make it look like it's unrelated, and the later gas attacks are the real deal?
Fox: sure, right, whatever. thanks for trying to support my theory of Nexus and Agis restarting wars in the city, but that is just retarded.
Jelly: They're not replacing Gemini and Tokuma, not when there's other corps in the city now just as big, and with more in common, again, nexus and Agis aren't even competitors. They just moved in when Tokuma and Gemini moved out, probably because Insilico is a shithole.
Doll: oh, and NeoKowloon's any better? besides, Gemini didn't 'move out', they still have the city registered as a Gemini asset, as in they own it, the top tier laws are decided still by gemini, you still have to buy a business license from Gemini before you open shop.
Jelly: they just retracted their presence a little, everyone knows Insilico these days is a bad investment, infrastructure that hasn't been touched, let alone maintained in over a century, constant upheaval, crime, rouge AI, illegal clones, terrorists, it's just not worth putting much money in.
Doll: then why don't they just abandon it?
Djinn's linkdead symbol flashes out of existence: They put money in.
Jelly: Well look who woke up, and yes, they built it, they have money in it, do you know a mega corp to just abandon an investment?
Doll: yes, Tokuma
Djinn: well to be fair, they were outlawed in the city.
Doll: and left alot of employees and assets in the city still
Jelly: or in whatever pulvarized remains there are of West.
Thousand Eyes: Gemini probably took anything they could from there
Doll: dude, from this high up there wouldn't BE anything to take from there, West would maybe leave a really large crater possibly, that's about it
Thousand Eyes: unless it didn't really drop, and it was grabbed from just under the city
Fox: with what? a barge?
Thousand Eyes: aliens?
Doll: not that again, that's your answer for everything isn't it? the gassers might be aliens in disguise
Thousand Eyes: they might..
Fox: or clones, or escaped lab monkeys, or whatever the slab doctor is peicing together
Doll: I thought they were helping people who couldnt go to AGIS?
Fox: probably yeah, while taking bits from them to patch together into some cybernetic monstrosity
Jelly: like a low budget Nomad?
Fox: low budget nothing, they're probably backed by a corp themselves, maybe even some scheme by AGIS.
Doll: why do I keep coming here?
Leaving the discussion, Electric left the table, the conversation turning silent as she sat up and moved away.
None of the avatars payed attention to her leaving. She was only there to kill time until her meeting anyway. She exited the Chateasy into the network, travelling along the data lines until reaching a private node. The access point to the node resembled a fortress made of shining glass, as Electric approached, a giant viking with gold teeth resolved before her, Heimdallr, the guardian of this node. "Who Approaches Hel?" Electric stood in front of the guardian AI and gave the access code, represented by the bolt of electricity that fired off her body and sparked on Heimdallr's horned helmet.
"Interesting delivery mode, I haven't had anyone try to zap me yet, you have the correct access, please, enter."
The viking stepped aside, allowing Electric to enter the doorway.
She immediatly found herself seated at the end of a long wooden table, on the other end, a woman with white hair in a business suit, with octopus tentacles where her legs would have been, Cecaelia, the registrar and owner of this node.
"It's about time you showed, I was about to disconnect, I only have a narrow window I can access the cities network in until orbit takes me out again."
"Hello to you too Mother" Omega inclined her head.
Ann Faith shrugged "that makes me feel old, anyway, l have the latest files to send you, how is the field work on Gnosis.exe going?"
"so far only certian phsycological afflictions seem to induce a negative reaction, generally the reactions are positive. we've managed to get a fairly low brainwave frequency."
"Good, keep at it, and keep me posted." With that, the mistress of Hel derezzed, leaving Omega to disconnect from the node herself.