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The dark reality
So what if he had to go to some ball, get pimped out by Scion Marveet to impress all his Custody friends and swear some kind of oath of fealty to the Ascendancy. Because Jaxen was renown for keeping his promises. He rolled his eyes and unlocked the door to his own apartment and strolled inside like the king of his own castle again. Finally.

A shower later, he ordered food and drinks from concierge in the front lobby. For the first time in a long time, he lounged on his own furniture, towel wrapped loose about his waist, sipped some good vodka from real Baccarat crystal, and enjoyed the dark view of his castle in the sky. If only he had Emperor Maximilian's sword laid across his lap, things would have been perfect. Fuck Scion for selling it. The bastard said he'd given all his possessions to the CDPS, but he clearly lied. There was no mention of any such recovery of stolen goods. He'd sold them off to the highest bidder. Given there were no shortages of rich people in Moscow willing to cough up the money, the sword could be anywhere. Then there was that fucking Sword of Light of Nuada sitting somewhere on some island in the northern arctic ocean that he was unlikely to ever discover. At that moment, Jaxen would have been pleased to have either.

Oh well. He was patient. "So much better."
He dropped his head back, muscles relaxed, body at ease. His fingers ached to fire up the computer systems and stretch his legs in the virtual world, so to say. Voxel had been absent from the dark reality for far too long.

He had to learn who all was going to be at this ball. Just to figure out who to screw with first.

His lips pursed at that. Taking Lawrence, an american independent reporter, was exactly the kind of screwing with people he liked. But dammit, his fingers itched. Someone else on his arm inside the Kremlin was so tempting.

He pulled up her number and sent Oriena a message.

<dt>Message to Oriena</dt>
<dd> </dd>

Come to the magnificent ball with me. Saturday. The revelry will be thrilling.

Your prince.

He laid the Wallet aside with a smirk, awaiting a return message. In the meantime, he browsed the guest-list as was published so far. If Oriena declined, he wouldn't be heart-broken. Lawrence was a good second choice. If only because it would piss off Scion.

"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Sage laid back in his hospital bed, music was playing in his head - quite literally. Everything felt beyond comparison. He'd had a fast processor augmented with brain power, but now, the processor was faster and every time there was a hiccup in the connections the tiny nanobots were fixing it before he even knew what was going on. They noticed the fluctuation as he did. It was perfect harmony.

Rebuilding an identity was easy. Getting the prestige he'd once had - that was going to be difficult. He was no longer Phaser. No longer b0rg. He didn't have his collective working for him. But Sage started rebuilding his digital empire one block of code after another. He missed the world. He missed the code. He missed the information a mere thought away.

As Sage rebuilt his chasers - Nick Trano, Connor Kent, Ayden Hayes, even one for Nox and Cruz even though he knew them personally and knew more about their lives than before. He built the chasers one by one, even the digital ones. It wasn't hard, the code was something he did often enough before. The processes ran in the background. And Sage was missing his server. The protection and security of knowing he had one to use.

Sage sent an order for the right equipment to Dorian's estate. Transferred his money from the account he'd made in Nox's name to his own account leaving Nox a portion of it. A gift.

But there was an alert from one of his chasers - Voxel was live. But Sage didn't have any cred. He was a nobody. That hurt more than anything, that Grim destroyed his entire identity just because he thought he should continue his work. Now he had to start over.

He was looking at a list of attendees - Cruz was going. Nox's name was also listed. Nox couldn't afford it. But Sage was out of the loop he'd have to follow the tracks back to that information. But he was far more interested in seeing what the fellow hacker was up to.

convert binary | biography
A ball where the price of admission was $10 million a ticket attracted a pretty short list of attendees.

The government was only publishing list of ticket holders after they were presumably cleared by internal security checks. As Scion Marveet had multiple under his name, Jaxen's included, he could practically feel their grubby little fingers crawling all over him. Ascy probably didn't want a repeat of that whole nuclear bomb incident again any time soon. Nor did Jaxen particularly want to be around when and if it did.

Until the names were published, of course, there was no way to know who held how many tickets. It was all a big laughable surprise meant to keep the aristocracy on their toes. Probably even fight over who held how many seats. Therefore, until then, there was only one way to satisfy his curiosity: hack the payment billing website.

Any site that dealt with the exchange of money was stupid secure these days. But Jaxen wasn't interested in the financials. What did he need to steal money for? He was only interested in the names. So he spent a half-hour prying open back doors to non-CCD ran sites to find the illustrious list.

Once in, he scrolled flippantly until a name perked him up. He recognized more than he cared to admit. The super rich in Moscow was a pretty large group compared to the rest of the world, but the ultra-rich billionaire families were not that many. There was a guy he recognized from primary school. Hadn't seen him since they were kids, what with Jaxen having been shipped off to Mumbai as a teenager for the remainder of his childhood years. Other families that were on the tip of the tongue half the time at home. Parties that interwoven all their lives. Most were people he could care less about. Boring. Old money. New money. Dirty money. Whatever. There were a half dozen names that brought evil smiles to his lips, though. Hot. Hot. Crazy hot. Just crazy, avoid., and so on and so on he scrolled.

Curiosity satisfied, he was on the verge of collapsing the back doors when a blip in the data narrowed his eyes.

He sat his drink aside, sat up and cracked knuckles.

<dt>message to the unknown follower</dt>
<dd> </dd>

Hello there.

"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."
Sage always found the interaction with others like him interesting, but there was always a pissing contest and he didn't want to get involved in a who was better situation.

He hadn't intended to be detected, but he was a little rusty too. And to think of it he hadn't been overly stealthy. The new equipment was fast and exciting and Sage was getting lost in the joy of information and forgetting his basic manners and practicalities. He sighed at himself but he had to say something now.

Sage sent back a simple message that scrolled on top of the one sent. <small>JUST TESTING OUT MY NEW RIG.


He had no real idea what to say. He wasn't particularly good at people - even hackers like himself. It was a good thing he didn't look awkward like he felt. Though it felt glorious to be thinking his actions instead of having to type them out. The processor was still learning. Sage kept thinking of little tweaks he'd have to implement that he'd grown accustom to, but that would all have to wait until he had a true set up that he could work from. He missed the Den, but he'd make due - set up a new one. Cruz would like that.

convert binary | biography
Voxel: "Likewise. what kind of equipment you run?"

Wicked Truth: "Hard to explain." Sends digital scans of the schematics.

Voxel: "You're AI."

Wicked Truth: "Hardly. Real boy all the way - computer in my head - sucky parents. [Image: 1.png] "

Voxel: "That makes no sense. But I'll take it. An AI that doesn't know it's AI. Interesting. You got a name?"

Wicked Truth: "I'm not AI. I had a name but now I'm going by The Wicked Truth"

Voxel: "Catchy." *injects code for route of future contact. "Next time you feel wicked, hit me up."

Wicked Truth: "feeling particularly wicked now. Friend just hit me up to search for his friend. A needle in a haystack."

Voxel: "People like us don't have friends. I might be able to help. For a favor in exchange." *sends signature of the Voxel identity.

Wicked Truth: "I know who you are. I recognize the skill." *Sends image and last known location of Aria.*

Voxel: "I'll have you know, flattery will get you everywhere with me. -wicked grin- I know her. Crazy hot. Daddy issues. Got a crush on her?"

Wicked Truth: "She's hot, but she's a bit insane. Going over the deep end. "

Voxel: "Sounds right up our alley. what you want from her?" *running protocols in background*

Wicked Truth: "I don't want anything. And he hasn't said. I didn't ask. He hunts monsters. She could be in trouble or be the trouble."

Voxel: "Monsters, yah say? Alright. I'll help. Send me where you've excluded. I'll take over from there."

Wicked Truth: "Running facial recog on traffic cams she walks a lot." *Sends voxel the red light district areas Nox had left from and outwards several blocks. following her path leaving."

Voxel: "It's easier to narrow down statistical likelihood of finding a match by searching more generic features." *Flagged matches eliminated by 50%. "Overlay police reports from last 24 hours." *Eliminates another 20% matches. "Eliminate any matches that are coupled to other human interactions, since she's a loner." *Eliminates another 10%* "Now run your searches, Wicked. It'll go faster."

Voxel: *Runs background searches on term 'nox' and 'atharim' and 'police report'*

Wicked Truth: "You are good at this. Do it often? Hunting errant girls?"

Voxel: "Pretty much."

Voxel: "Find her?"

Wicked Truth: Flashes screens green. "Bingo." *sends geo coordinates* "Now just to keep track of her and get Nox a new wallet."

Voxel: "Glad to help. I'll call in that favor soon."

Wicked Truth: "You have my info, I'm always on"

Edited by Jaxen Marveet, Feb 11 2018, 06:24 PM.
"So?" said Loki impatiently.  "This isn't the first time the world has come to an end, and it won't be the last either."

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