12/01/3050. Day 50, 07:00
The Orange Council was striving to regain the faith and trust of the disparate factions after the failed attack on the previous council meeting. Currently there is no scheduled next meeting.
13/01/3050. Day 51, 07:00
Adept IX-Epsilon Bryce Alexander was released from medical care and began assisting Layne-Lars Kinnesson and Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett with the investigation of the chip. It became increasingly clear to Layne-Lars Kinnesson that the two Com Guard officers were primarily concerned with neutralising the chip as a potential threat more than retrieving anything off it.
Towards the end of the day Ruin Dmitar’s medical status was reevaluated. He was deemed stable and he had the tubes and monitoring gear removed, and was expected to wake some time the following morning. Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett continued her irregular schedule of visits when her duties permitted.
Having completed the disarming project, Adept IX-Epsilon Bryce Alexander and Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett returned to the Com Guard base of operations near Argyre. This (finally) freed Layne-Lars Kinnesson to try an idea she had for retrieving the data, free of interference from the Adepts.
14/01/3050. Day 52, 01:00
Layne-Lars Kinnesson finished planning for her idea, a simulated brain. The chips inputs and outputs, which she had tested, seemed to operate in the range of neural signals and she suspected that was what the chip used as a power source. She commenced construction of a simple proof-of-concept device to test the idea, the technology and programming related to that of the neurohelmets used to pilot advanced vehicles, as well as the neural interface of cybernetics.
14/01/3050. Day 52, 07:00
Jacques Dubois‘s forces had completed preparations and were ready to push forward into new territory. Slab was left in charge of the South Side turf, and Bishop went as Jacques second in command for the expedition. Jacque took them north, on foot, into the territory standing between his northernmost territory (the markets) and the hospital. The northern territory, owned by the ’masks’ faction of Worker’s Resistance Militia where they were met by armed resistance.
The forces squared off, and Jacque saw they had heavy weapons so reported that to Samara Hellstrom who dispatched the two Javelin battlemechs by VTOL, electing to pilot the Javelin JVN-S2 herself, and having Cadet Judith Keller pilot her Javelin JVN-10P1.
Following the normal plan, Jacque called out their leader Anthony ‘Clint’ Clinton. Clint accepted the duel, but as the challenged had the choice of weapons and chose a fast draw. Though he definitely won the battle of nerves an the fast draw, his shot couldn’t penetrate Jacques heavy armour. Jacque kept his cool, took the hit, and returned fire with a well aimed shot to Clint’s shootin’ arm, before charging in to finish him in honourable close combat. Clint won some respect since he had accepted the challenge despite being much lighter armour, a standard militia ab/flak vest.
Unfortunately Clint’s subordinate, Kim (now dubbed Kim ‘The Starscream’ Forbes), took the fall of their leader as a sign to take charge and have the Masks counter-attack. The South Side forces opened fire and eliminated the first of two SRM carrying opponents, but the other fired on them killing one South Sider and wounding several others. Small arms fire was exchanged between the two groups while Jacques Dubois single handedly took on Kim, then after dispatching him taking on a charge of six more militia fighters. Of these, the skilled knife fighter James ‘Edge’ Revell caught Jacques eye.
Samara Hellstrom chose to intervene now heavy weapons had been fired, dropping on the building where the SRM had been fired from and obliterating the SRM team with the ER PPC of the Javelin JVN-S2. Cadet Judith Keller landed her Javelin JVN-10P1 near the second firing position. Another Mask had retrieved the fallen SRM launcher and fired on the cadet, engulfing the battlemech in Inferno fire. Keller had been prepared for small arms fire and shoulder mounted explosive rockets, but was unprepared for inferno attack and in a lapse of coolness under fire he returned fire. Unfortunately, despite orders not to fire his own inferno rounds, she had targeted the enemy position and let fly with her SRM6 launcher and one Inferno SRM2 launcher, torching the derelict building and killing eighteen Masks gang members in or near it.
Spirited but foolhardy resistance from one of Clint’s lower lieutenants using grenades resulted in Samara Hellstrom stomping him into the pavement and forcing the surrender of the survivors. Jacques Dubois had dominated the leadership section of the Masks gang. The South Siders were commended for their excellent coolness under fire.
The South Side forces suffered two fatalities and six injuries, as well as Jacque being stabbed by Edge during their informal duel. The Masks fared far worse, with a total of 28 dead, four wounded including Clint, and five survivors who didn’t need medical attention.
The wounded were taken to the nearby hospital, while Jacque secured his hold over the new territory, and Samara proceeded to the Orange Council complex to further her negotiations, trying to secure access to the abandoned airship docking tower.
14/01/3050. Day 52, 09:00
Ruin Dmitar woke and discharged himself, and found Samara Hellstrom and Jacques Dubois had taken the field earlier that morning. He proceeded to the communications centre where Layne-Lars Kinnesson was monitoring the communications of the engagement. The ensign informed Ruin of the preliminary results that the chip appeared to operate in the range of neural signals and that later in the day she would know more once the prototype was upgraded and the chip re-tested.
Returning to his quarters, Ruin Dmitar found a mysterious handwritten note in his mail, which read "Azure Wing of the Sunrise, The Eleventh Master of the Horizon. He searched his quarters and found a second note, incompletely burnt, which read "A Great Distance in the Wind, The Sky at Dawn. He contacted the Hauptmann to reveal the note and its implications to her in person.
14/01/3050. Day 52, 11:00
Samara Hellstrom returned and recieved the news from Ruin Dmitar. They agreed to ask Dmitri Radchenko who had earlier claimed to have installed the chip in Ruin’s head. Upon seeing the note, however, Dmitri silently exited the room and headed for the communications centre. Samara and Ruin and later Layne-Lars Kinnesson subdued him by force.
Professor Anna Morozov was summoned, referring to herself as a ‘mild expert’ in cybernetics, and scanned Dmitri, finding an apparently identical chip in him.
Samara Hellstrom asked Professor Anna Morozov if she could remove the chip from Dmitri Radchenko, to which she could as a ‘mild expert’ at surgery. Her knowledge of cybernetics and human anatomy had been vital for her to design battle armour, and those were her areas of specialisation predating Special Project 17.
Feeding the code-signals into Ruin’s chip activated it, it began sending signals to the memory centre, reasoning centre and motor control centres of the brain. The second code (from the burnt note) also made it upload the HPG code. Roughly 75% of the chips storage capacity appeared to be dedicated to the neural interface and override, the remaining 25% to the HPG code.
14/01/3050. Day 52, 15:00
Samara Hellstrom and Ruin Dmitar interrogated their captives. Ben McNiel, leader of the North East Section would not confirm use or trafficking of man portable launchers, but copped to being a profiteer for other items, and claimed to have taken up arms to protect his home and loved ones. His second in command, Graham Bayley, confessed to being a drug smuggler but not an arms trader.
The recent captives from the battle were interrogated next. They claimed to have gotten their launchers from ‘Courtney’, leader of the territory east of them (bordering the New Quarter) but Courtney had been killed and a leadership dispute broke out, the gang splitting into two and fighting bitterly ever since. Clint and Kim both held to the story that the South Siders used the military to wipe out people and then replaced them, and they had their launchers in place expecting an attack by battlemechs and tanks. This idea had been propagated since the raid on the Roapers weapon cache. They both refused to accept Samara Hellstrom‘s idea that the military only intervened if heavy weapons were used. From their perspective what Samara was saying boiled down to ’the military wait for people to defend themselves and if they do fight back they use it as a green light to deploy military hardware’.
The territory north of the markets turned out to be in a tough spot, the building of the markets choked off the landtrain route, meaning the landtrain servicing industries north of the markets were starved of business, struggling to survive long before the uprising began. Currently with hostile forces on all sides (except the small shared border with the hospital-territory), and now most of their forces were wiped out, the survivors were a beaten and conquered territory. They agreed to sign on with the South Siders and Clint showed signs of hope when Samara talked about re-opening the landtrain route.
Following this Samara Hellstrom contacted the marketers and negotiated (hard) for the landtrain route to be re-opened. The marketers finally agreed once Samara agreed to ensure some new market facilities would be re-built afterwards.
14/01/3050. Day 52, 18:00
15/01/3050. Day 53, 05:00
Professor Anna Morozov handed Layne-Lars Kinnesson the still bloody chip extracted from Dmitri Radchenko and left a note before retiring to bed (after pulling a roughly 30 hour shift, culminating in brain surgery). The note suggested two options, first using recent casualties from the battle to source a brain for testing, second that it had proven quite easy to remove (and presumably re-insert) a chip into the associate professor since it was located conveniently behind the cybernetics, suspiciously conveniently in her opinion. While Morozov saw no problem with implanting Ruin’s chip into Dmitri’s head and seeing what happened, everyone else saw many problems with tampering with people’s brains.
Investigation of the second chip revealed to Layne-Lars Kinnesson that there was a difference, the ‘background’ neural signal of the chip was different but when activated with the codes the ‘foreground’ of the signal was identical. The background signals were suspected to be artificial memories.
15/01/3050. Day 53, 09:00
Knowing she could not glean more information from her field-built prototype she called in for aid from the Strata Institute of Science, and due to her reputation with them she secured use of a brain simulator, used for Neurohelmet research and development. This and some experts were due to arrive in eight hours.
In the intervening time Layne-Lars Kinnesson had to make a visual output interface. Jacques Dubois was ordered to medical care. Adept VI-Iota Michelle Abnett made breakfast for Ruin Dmitar after which he went to get ‘tactically drunk’ making sure he’d be in decent condition for the big show in the evening. Samara Hellstrom was occupied with command duties, ongoing negotiations with bickering territories and factions, and watching over the two Adepts.
15/01/3050. Day 53, 17:00
15/01/3050. Day 53, 18:00
Ruin’s chip was used first, and began playing his life from his earliest memories. This confirmed all his worst fears, it seemed the chip had stored a recording of life memories and could have been used to program a clone with them. Ruin asked everyone else leave and fast-forwarded to the ending, the artificial memory file ended shortly after his incarceration, and the next thing he remembered after that was waking up in the prison hospital after (supposedly) being treated for a head wound from a prison fight. He called Samara in, told her the situation (but didn’t let her see the recording, due to privacy concerns). Ruin wasn’t sure who or what he was, if he was a clone or the original, or who orchestrated it all.
Dmitri Radchenko was called in, and his chip played. Skimming through it, it appeared to hold his whole life as Damyan Radkov, up to being killed in action. He told them he then woke up and was told he had been brought back and how his death had been faked, apparently by ‘Friend’. He was now convinced he was a clone, and that the real Damyan Radkov had been killed, and he was programmed with the dead subaltern’s memories. He remembered implanting the chip in Ruin, but, had not seen Ruin conscious. He now suspected Ruin was a ‘empty’ clone body at the time until the chip was implanted and gave him the real Ruin’s memories.
15/01/3050. Day 53, 19:00
The coded message Ruin discovered first was entered into Dmitri’s chip, with the artificial brain seeing a simulated environment. The layout of the Zmey landtrain was entered into the simulation, and the chip proceeded to direct the simulated host to retrieve the chip and then exit the landtrain with the chip. When the second message was entered the chip directed the simulacrum to go to a personal communicator and upload the HPG code to it. Ruin’s chip acted identically to the two messages.
Realizing someone probably sent the message to both chipped persons, Samara Hellstrom checked Dmitri Radchenko’s mail. He had a matching note in the same handwriting, and had not checked his mail due to his erratic hours and heavy workload under Professor Anna Morozov.
Being the most interesting test specimen in the area for Professor Anna Morozov, Dmitri requested a medical leave of absence to avoid winding up as a medical experiment.
With everyone dwelling on the implications, Ruin and Damnyan went to go get drunk.