The KathHiux Node
Sneaky Barrier, Defend or Not, Travel
“The Thrive Jet, yours?” – Asked the kid
“No.” – He said, bluntly. Exhaled the last few grams of smoke he had on his lungs. Threw away whatever was left. “Hers.” – Said afterwards, pointing with his chin towards the roof. A girl plugging herself to a node, in a metallic column with a console screen on it.
The damned Nyther-Shield had to be cracked, now.
Oval purple flickering force shield. The KathHiux-Droids deploy them when a node to a Faether-Cage is relocated. Lasts for about five minutes before it deploys its protection and the node is then secure. Until the next relocation.
Scene Setup >>TheJuxHacker binds herself and jumps into the KathHiux Deep Net
Alteration Check >> Scene Altered
Description Check >> Dimly – Mundane
But why the hell is it weak and fading?
Asked herself the JuxHacker. No time for questions. The portal had to be intersected, opened, and kept open until the cage triggers the completion shutdown protocol. Five minutes. Then Leave.
Burglary (3) = 3 Success at a cost
It makes no fucking sense. Too slow to crack. Until it did.
Left hand went through, to the eyes, invisible. Stepped in. Got to the other side. The red sky made the world different. That was the JuxNode.
TAC >> Out in the Open, Hunker Down, At Night
Motivation: Action Check >> Intolerance, Goals
Enemy Motivations: Detail Check (Action) >> Disfavors PC, Attach, Attention
Now to find the AttachUpdate L2.
The JuxHackers won’t let the KathHiux proceed with the Monitoring Protocol patch. Too risky for the rebels. It would render the promise obsolete.
Scene Setup >>TheJuxHacker enters the first link area of the node
Alteration Check >> Proceeds
The Node was a brain-damaging desert-lake.
Dark like a black hole. Short range ping giving no sonar sensor vibration. Latency was high. Must find a reverse bridge.
Final goal is still to find the core-lake. Stop the job. Destroy backup. Leave. Easy-peasy. Is it?
Is there a breach report? (Unsure)
To hide or to find a route? That was the virtual question.
Hiding here makes no sense. It would take her nowhere. Extends her hands, looks up, open eyes. Cover great distance is what is needed. She calls a Reverse Bridge to stream herself to the next flow.
Crafts (1) = 3
Description Check >> Fearfully Dark
What are they hiding from light?
LC >> Floating Blocks, None, None
Can’t see! But things are moving!
The virtual must have a way to turn the lights on, or at least illuminate a radius.
Investigate (2) >> Success
Detail Check (Description) How light works? >> Fear, Meaningfully, Lethal
Of course, it is lethal
A wall of plasma stands in the way. The interrupter takes a key. Can’t have it. But at least is at reach.
Can the interrupter be bypassed? (Very Unlikely) >> No
Difficulty Floating Blocks: 4 – Attack of Plasma Wall: +3
This will hurt.
(Plasma Attack +3) vs Will defend >> 5 vs 2
3 Stress + Attacker Success with Style (Boost). 2 Stress + Boost
“Possible Intruder! Shuffle Moving Blocks”
And it did hurt. Plus, now the platform moving blocks seem to be moving faster now and changing directions. It will be hell of a ride. Take the time to program a backup jump method.
Create Advantage Crafts (4) >> Using stunt “Load Game!” = 3. Fail. Spends FATE Point to Re-Roll: 5 Success (1 Invocation)
Placed: Glitching a Quick-Load!
Glitching feels as if part of your body was lagging behind at every move you make
Athletics (4) vs Floating Blocks (4) >> 3 vs 4 but using stunt “Load Game” is 5 vs 4 but the node uses “Shuffle Moving Blocks!” boost. 1 Stress
This is not a good start
The JuxHacker clashes against moving blocks, one foot misplaced, grappling hook triggered, block moved away. Fell again. Head hurts (or is it Mind?). Quickly Enabled backup. But backup referred to the old position of the blocks. Still, better than nothing, eventually fell in the right block. Which eventually took the hacker up to the next link.
LC >> Random (Facility), Random (VR), Strange Weapon
The Sight was Terrific.
A Laboratory. The hacker on the hallway. People. Ignoring her. Thick glass wall. Researchers looking from the safe side. The danger side you ask? A super human. Three meters large, eyes wide open, electronics implanted on his back and neck, was that a missile launcher on his left hand?
Wait, two super humans. Fighting, flying, jumping, wall-running. How are they so agile and strong?
Drops dead. The other Super Human killed him. This one was smaller, mostly cybernetic, although his face of skin color. Purple hair. Razors as arms. Huge Razors. The big one didn’t stand much of a chance. Researches taking notes. Are they pulling the next one?
The JuxHacker wants that weapon. Not only to give the rebels a chance against that, but also because wherever the data was coming from, is where the update to sabotage happens. The Main Server Room. Where is it? Got to stay low.
Scene Setup >>TheJuxHacker enters the VR representation of a Research Facility, and tries to sneak through.
Alteration Check >> Scene Altered
Altered how? Using TAC Plot Point: Suspicion
Hm, not only staying low, I need to dodge the freaking eye-drone they are sending after the JuxHacker. But damn this link looks real. She’s at the entrance of the experimentation roof, now standing at the staffing room of the laboratory. People talking and taking notes, moving around.
Active Eye-Drone Scanning Notice (+2) vs Defend Stealth >>
5 vs 3 +2 because of Anti-Drone Cloak stunt
The JuxHacker isn’t traced, but an unidentified unauthorized object has to be further scanned. The eye-drone did not raise an alarm but the thing is in alert state. There are other scientists on the area.
“What’s wrong with the drone. Look at it, it got stuck”
“Heh. It glitches like that from time to time. I already told the Mr. Joras past week. The IT guys are doing a terrible job with these things. They are annoying. But he insists on having them.”
The Drone got the hacker on the sensors, it has an advantage. Although not desired, it was expected to come to the point where the security network had to be disabled. The Hacker had hoped it wasn’t so early though. She would begin to map a network model.
Create an Advantage. Crafts (+2 Quick Load Glitch Stunt) vs Drone Notice (+3) >>
3 vs 4 (fail)
Too Uncomfortable to map the network while hiding behind a desk in the staffing room. The Eye-Drone is getting closer, and it is trying to scan the hacker.
Active Eye-Drone Scanning Notice (+2) vs Defend Stealth >>
4 vs 5 (because of Anti-Drone Cloak stunt) Defend wins
Alright, this thing is impressive. It better be deceived. The JuxHacker prepares what she calls a “Flashbot Grenade”. It is meant to make the Bot look elsewhere, for now.
Place Advantage – Burglary (+2) vs Notice (+2) >> 3 vs 1
Placed “Distracted because of multiple targets glitch!”
Now to hope it doesn’t find the Hacker. She expects to move to the next door asap.
Active Eye-Drone Scanning Notice (+2) vs Defend Stealth (+3) >>
4 vs 1 – Use the glitch to re-roll that = 5. Spends a FATE Point to succeed with style.
Place Boost: “Drone is looking elsewhere”
Time to move to the next link. The JuxHacker takes a last scan of the area before proceeding, in case she needs something from this link later on.
LC >> Random (Weather), Special (two: Random VR, Anti-Net Hexer), Weapon
Tough. The next link seems some sort of traffic data flow. It is represented with eye-drones falling from the red sky. They seem disabled, at least for now. Just, moving. Perhaps being re-deployed?
In the middle of the vast JuxNet, emptiness on sight. On the floor, even though transparent, and blocks of data are seen to be flowing from one point to another, portals. Many of them. Walking among them, a man. Doesn’t seem nice.
Identity: Anti-Net Hexer
Personality: Fiercely Dirty
Activity: Debase Disruption
Disposition: Aggressive (+4)
First Action: Performs Theme Action
At the speed of light, the man, with visors and a mask, covering his face, wearing a formal fancy suit, gloves in empty hands, approaches the JuxHacker as if displacing through time and space.
You are in grave danger. You are to be scanned and to be punished. Your mind is to be mine, your body is to expire”.
Anti-Net Hexers. The worse of the worse. KathHiux creations to prevent precisely what I am trying to do. Among many things, they control the flows of data in the DeepJux, but are rare enough that it only means that this is the right way to go.
Scene Setup >>TheJuxHacker encounters face to face her first Anti-Net Hexer.
Scene Alteration >> Proceeds Normally
The JuxHacker pushes the Hexer with fierce power.
Fight (+3) vs Fight (+3) using “Net Warrior” Stunt to use Crafts instead of Fight in VR
2 vs 3
The JexHacker barely pushes the Hexer a few centimeters back, a huge gap from the expectation of pushing him back out of the link, which may represent a few kilometers of net distance, at least.
Raining Eye-Drones in the background. White-Plasma emitting portals on the floor. The JuxHacker looking for an alternative solution.
The Hexer waves his hands, projects a red-laser made leash, to hinder the Hacker’s movement from now on.
Hexer: Crafts (+3) vs (2) to create Advantage for a Cyber Leash >> 3. Success
JuxHacker: Crafts (+3) vs (2) to create Advantage for a Cyber Sword >> 5. Style Success
“Hexkill-Sword Program is loaded” (2 free invocations)
A flashy battle begins, after the unsuccessful push attempt of the JuxHacker. The Hexer waves his hands and tries to cripple the Hacker with the Laser Leash, hits her on the legs and make them roll on her back, to avoid falling.
The JuxHacker steps on her knees, readies her Blue-Blazing Two-handed Sword and slashes through the Hexer, which emanates a natural shield force that brings him into once piece again, yet the damage was done. The defender was cracked. His force shield puts him on a safe distant, however he is now at risk of the raining eye-drones area.
Hexer projects a “Scorpion like Come over here Leash” with Fight 4 >> 4
JuxHacker defends with Athletics 4 >> 1
Hacker takes Moderate Consequence “Hindered Movement in the Net”
Hexer places boost: “Hacker also on the Eye-Drone Storm!”
Hacker attacks again with Sword >> 2
Hexer Defends with Fighting >> 5
The Hexer projects a hundred meters long Laser chain, of green-fire color, extends it from afar and catches the JuxHacker from long distance. She tries to dodge but the chain is too fast, grabs her from her right leg. Brings her to him at an aggressive speed. She pulls her sword to attack him but the Hexer’s force shield is too strong. They are swinging under a heavy Drone-Rainstorm, with Eye-Drones falling from the sky at 300km/h speed. There is plenty of space, but the drones are like rain. Just too many.
JuxHacker will concede this fight (Regains two FATE points)
This battle cannot be won, we are on his land. The JuxHacker pushes herself out of the chains with all her strength and lets herself drop in one of the plasma-emitting portals. Injured, confused and stunned, the Hexer breaks the chains, let’s go, knowing that he has her Tracing Code and now the system will be fully aware of her…
LC >> Falling Asteroids, Random (VR Event), Video Feed
Scene Proposal: The JuxHacker will fall down through a portal into a new Link Area, the system aware of her, and shall eventually hit some new ground level
Scene Check: Altered
How? TAC >> Conclusion, Help is offered at a Price
What is the VR Event? >> Caveman Program
Is the Caveman a human form? >> No
Who are You? What are you?
The JuxHacker falls down, in an asteroid falling dimension. The skies still red, but this link area is definitely representing some system that is not having a good moment at the time. Wonders why.
A light-form figure approaches, moving followed by a trailing light of light blue color, transparent and fading at a times.
Identity: Strange Light Figure
Personality: Coolly Festive
Activity: Delay Allies
Disposition: Active (+2)
“I Can’t hold them for much longer, you know” – emits the figure in a strange, echoing form
“Agh… leave me alone… sprite-form…” – Says the Hacker girl, while in pain, catching up her breath
“So be it. But you’re gonna miss the party if you take your time. I am helping here”
“Why would you ever help me…? I am an intruder”
“Because you are the opportunity, for things to change. Do you have any idea how long I’ve been waiting here?”
“31 Years, and counting. You are something, for a change!” and continues “Just let me do my job and the party is yours, HAHAHA!” – Laughs the light, quite cynically
Description Check: How does the area around look like? >> Powerfully Full
The hacker stands up, looks around. Asteroids falling against the virtual ground, with such a strength that it causes the ground to shake. Some lighter others are hard, making it very difficult for her to stand up some times. The Sky is Red, no sun or stars, but flashes of data flow still going through, although in here the data flows look as if they were being rejected, mirrored or even broken some times.
“What do you want from me?” asks the Hacker
What does the Light want? – Detail Question >> Focus NPC, Return, Expectations
Vengeance. I want Vengeance.
Said the light, promptly interrupting its own laughter.
“You want the Hexer that’s after me?”
“You’ve been here for long time. Why didn’t you try?”
“He ignores me. I am no being to him. But YOU are. And you want access to the main node.”
“How could I beat him?”
“Only possible if we combine our forces. You are an avatar; I am just a spirit of the net. Together, as one, we can defeat him.”
“You’ll have to let me posses your avatar”
“Is that even possible? Will I be safe?”
“It is worth the risk, if you intend to bring down the system.”
“What if I refuse?”
“Then things will stay as they are, and you’ll be stuck in this Link. Until called for obliteration”.
The JuxHacker looks at her surroundings. She is indeed in a Dead-Letter Link. The asteroids are… destroyed data flows. This is a Recycle Bin. And we face elimination, as the synchronizer decides.
“Will I still be me, once you possess me?”
“Probably not. There is no time to tell you, my story. But I was once… like you. Just without a me.”
The asteroids falling continued to smash the ground, data nodes and files being completely destroyed. There was not much time.
“Alright, tell me, what must I do?”
“I’ll be loaded into your Avatar, you will still be in control. With me in your avatar, the system will believe we are a malware, and will put us in quarantine, not destroying us in case we are a virus. That will give us a chance.”
“And then what?”
“Then, once in quarantine, we should eventually be scanned, and make our way out, until we find the Hexer, or he finds us.”
“Fine. Let’s do it. I approve”.
A show of light begins to occur, the JuxHacker floats, an Asteroids hits her but to no effect. Her hands open, eyes and mouth absorb a ray of immense amounts of energy. The light dancer flows into the hacker’s avatar.
The piece of ground in which they were standing, beings to float, walls emerge from the ground and even the roof of an infinite sky seem to collapse into a dimensional distortion, that encapsulate the Lightened Avatar into a cage, giving final sense to the name Feather-Cage to these nodes, likely because of this containerization process, unique to its kind. The vanguard of technology in the Net.
SCENE #5 Finale
Scene Expectation >> The quarantine process to be reviewed by the Hexer himself
LC >> Server Room, Floating Grounds, Random (Data Feeds)
Scene Alteration Check >> Proceeds Normally
The Hexer takes the form of a Virtual Reality deity, and becomes the red sky itself. Shooting lasers from the sky as the loaded JuxHacker jumps from the now opened container, as the destruction protocol is enabled.
Laser Shooting (+3) vs Athletics test >> 4 vs 5 – Success
The JuxHacker jumps from data blocks, one after the other, each step on a data node would represent a piece of garbage data found on the net: “Do security bots like chocolate?” and other crap like a Broadcast of some megacorp fat CEO celebrating his retirement after 362 years of service.
As the Hacker reaches out to the sky, the final blocks of moving data begin to scarce, making the jump difficult. But this is when the light force on her kicks in. She starts levitating, and moves deeper into the skies. Evading thunderbolts, strong virtual winds and intimidating instructions from the mighty Hexer.
Description Check >> Mysteriously Beautiful
The Hexer pulls off from the sky, takes the shape of a young prince of the middle east, with eyes turned on purple fire, and hands conjuring bolts of purple eldritch power.
Hexer Shoot (+4) vs JuxHacker Athletics (+4) >> 2 vs 5. Defends with Style!
Defender places: “Eldritch Bolts being mirrored”
JuxHacker shoots back with Shooting (+1) vs Athletics (+2) >> 4 vs 2
The Eldritch bolts mirror from the Hacker’s empowered avatar into the Hexer, which finally disintegrate him. Out of their way, the JuxHacker proceed to the main room, after a glitch portal opens on the sky. The light out of the JuxHacker targets the core update process and destroys the link completely. The plasma filters close the remaining open portals, the red-sky turns purple, the asteroids stop falling and the rain of Eye-Drones freeze, with all of them looking at her.
Without her soul now, the JuxHacker bows to her knees, as the new Purple-Sky deity reshapes the node. Triggering a relocation process in the real world, she receives the rank of the new Anti-Net Hexer andbowsto protect this node, continuing the cycle of the all mighty KathHiux-Node world.