Beyond the Black

Glory, glory, Hallelujah

Nastasha take a note. If I die in this race, remind me to kill Simon.

Because he set me up to race it.

The Comet Race. Weren’t you even paying attention?

Well pay attention. We are currently on an unpronounceable ship flying sunward. We will be coming near Luna about the same time a comet comes close. Myself and four other pilots will be racing each other.

Why are we on the ship? We have spent almost a week on this ship mainly just socialising and getting accustomed to our morphs. Denar has been helping me act properly and being social whereas Cypher got his first biomorph and proceeded to get handed around a rock band like space reefer. Oh, there were a couple of guys from Pathfinder who want me to throw the race so that I can get my black mark removed.

No I’m not going to throw the race. Fuck those guys, they took my ship, I’m going to win.

I don’t care what you have heard before. I will win.

Yes, we will see.

Simon? yeah he sent me a message on the Scum Barge to meet him in Olympus.

Yes, it is that Simon. When we met he told me that I owe him. I disagreed but we came to a conclusion that we should both make some credits. After the meeting he got up and ran. So, I did as well and Cypher and Denar may have done the same thing.

Tail? Yeah, it is pretty cool right. Look what I can do.

It’s not useless. Anyway I got the tail from MIKE’S CUSTOM MORPHS in Olympus’ HLS. While we were there, Denar made some business deals and Cypher tried to shadow us. Must have been amusing for anyone nearby. They both did some other business around Olympus. Oh and Denar met a guy called Remeal, I confirmed afterwards that he was a Firewall contact. We may have several jobs coming up. Something about the Jovian Junta and another about Luna. Before you ask, I don’t know the details.

Because I wanted a tail. Anyway, after a conversation I had with Cypher, I let Firewall know that he can’t be trusted yet. Apparently, so did Denar. Cypher seems to be sympathetic to the Seed AI’s. Not good. We may need to DNF him.

Because, look what it can do.

I didn’t drop my gun, you are imagining things.

Shut up! That’s why!

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Meeting of the Fates
Firewall has a job for you.

Nastasha take down this down.

I am currently trapped in an outer airlock for a docking bay of a slum barge. My comrade, Denner is searching the bodies of the two Furies that pulled the guns on us while Cypher was blowing up a space ship. End note.

What do you mean that is not enough detail? What more detail could I need?

Who is Denner? Denner was the man that Firewall hooked me up with. While stranded in the Martian City of Elysium, Firewall tasked me with making contact with a recent recruit, Denner. I was told there was a job for us and that I would get the details when I met Denner. She was in a café she frequented when I found her. She was a bit standoffish and slow on the uptake. After she finally realised that I was from Firewall she opened up a bit. Then Firewall gave us the mission to come to this slum barge.

What do you mean “What was the mission?” We were told that there was some “Artwork” coming to the barge that was being sold to the highest bidder. We were told to assess the nature of the “Artwork” and if it was bad, we were to “Acquire” it. Denner and I headed to the barge where we told that we would meet a nanotech specialist.

What about Cypher? It was the nanotech specialist. A rather arrogant Infolife. Thinks that it is better than us real life-ers. It fell over whilst trying to sneak up on us while we were on the slum barge.

What happened on the slum barge? First of all we came into our new Synth bodies. We had to wait until the ship docked. Denner used his contacts to find out when the ship was coming in and what ship it was. It was a customised ore carrier. Meanwhile all of the locals were packing heat so we decided to get some firearms too. I checked the AR and found out that Mike, an arms dealer I know was aboard. We arranged to meet and we bought some weapons. The Infolife thought a good idea to buy projectile weaponry. What a noob.

I also hit a gambling den they were clearly cheating. After we came out the Infolife walked off without even letting us know. He headed down a dark alley. We had no choice but to follow and hope he wasn’t in any real trouble. Turns out he was following Mike down the alley. It is an Idiot. He is lucky Mike is friendly and was only dropping off our weapons.

The ore carrier? We had to first get past a couple of snakes and then a couple of gorillas.
Denner wanted to make some Magilla joke. Something to do with Star Wars I think. I never saw that movie. Anyway, there was a Bouncer inside and a couple of other buyers. The Bouncer had a canister that was marked as a “Titan Relic” in the bidding process. We made a couple of bids that we could never afford.

When did the Furies get involved? I was just there. Can you hold your questions until the end?
Well try. As I was saying, the Furies attacked during the bidding. The two snakes came back into the hold, dead. I grabbed a Laser Pulsar of one of the snakes as the gorillas headed out to take care of the Furies. That failed as they were being pushed back into the hold. I made a break for the cockpit as did the Bouncer. The Bouncer threatens me as the Furies opened fire. They killed one gorilla and broke the canister. A swarm of nanobots burst out. I decided to run. Denner and Cypher were having some trouble in the zero gravity. So I helped them to the nearby door as the last Gorilla was being eaten by the swarm. Two of the furies helped us out as one was shooting at the swarm. I told the Infolife to go blow up the reactor whilst we get the slum barge to disengage the ore carrier.

And then what? That is when we get to the now. Were you not paying attention at all? We got out and the last two Furies pulled their weapons on us telling us to get back in. Denner had the same idea as me and we started shooting. Denner must have got an email of to the slum barge controllers, because the airlock was closed and the ship started to be pushed away from the barge. The Furies tried to run but I shot the airlock controls before they could escape. There was a shockwave not long afterwards that must have come from the ships nuclear reactor overloading. The Furies killed themselves by shooting there cordial stacks.

Then what? Then is now. We are trapped in the airlock of the slum barge’s docking bay. Denner is looting corpses and Cypher is blown up. All’s well that ends well, I always say.


Nastasha, amend previous note with the following.

The “Artwork” has been lost. Mission accomplished. All survived. End Note.

What do you mean “Sentence fragment consider revising”? Which sentence?

How was the “Artwork” lost? A rock fell on it.

Yeah a rock. We buried it in the crater we stopped in. Then Firewall dropped a rock on it from space. Didn’t have to be big just fast.

We buried it in the crater because Denner didn’t want to leave it in the forbidden zone.

Yeah, we drove into the forbidden zone on Mars. Using a buggy that we got from Firewall. Inside we first encountered a giant ravine that snuck up on us…

Because it was sneaky. We had to use our wits and navigate across it…

It was deeper than that! At least two metres! And we had to use our wits to come up with the idea to dig it out. Now stop interrupting. Once out we came across some ruins. We stopped about a kilometre out. We observed some movement in the ruins. Movement that shouldn’t be there. So we snuck up…

Yes snuck, because we were sneaky…

Yes snuck. Who is telling the story? Right, as I was saying. When we got within about 100m of the ruins, Cypher decided to be less sneaky and got up and started walking toward the ruins…

Yes it was possible to be less sneaky. Anyway, he was immediately set upon by four hidden assailants. We opened fire. I stayed in cover, Denner moved from cover to cover getting closer and firing all of the time. Cypher walked out in the open. After we took down the first one, there was a crack in the wind just after Cypher stumbled forward. Sniper. Behind us four unknown assailants were moving to flank the ruins. The sniper drone that had been following us was holding position opening up on us. The first group of hostiles moved further back into the ruins. We took another down as they fled. We moved into the ruins seeking cover from the sniper. Cypher secured a lock box. Cypher and I moved to engage two of the flanking hostiles. The last of the first two hostiles engaged the other two flankers. I took down the two flankers (Cypher was little help despite being kitted out for this shit). And the remaining hostiles took each other out. Cypher finally proved his worth by hacking the sniper and making claiming ownership of it. The lock box contained the “Artwork” that was similar to the one on the Scum Barge.

Three Questions? What are they?

One at a time!

Ok, the sniper drone had been following us from Elysium. That is why we stopped in the crater, to see if it was following us or would fly past. At one stage we left Cypher while Denner and I drove off. It followed the buggy so I turned around and picked up Cypher. It fled when we turned around. Later on Denner and Cypher saw a plume of dust on the horizon that followed us when we were moving and stopped after we were stationary for a while. Likely a buggy…

Yes, the four guys that flanked us. And yes they must have been in communication with the sniper drone. That part was obvious. At one stage Cypher got into the trunk with his gun, going to return fire if they attack. But we hit a bump and he thought it would be better to ride in the buggy.

I know I broke the axel but I fixed it didn’t I?

I know it was inefficient but it did the job.

What do you mean by “Barely”?

Cypher? Yeah, he did blow up. In a nuclear explosion near the scum barge. But he was resleeved from a backup on Mars. And then he re-joined us in a cafe in Elysium. He had no idea who we were. This reminds me, schedule a backup. Anyway after we met up we headed off to get some goods. We got some drugs and Cypher tried to get a rail gun. He failed, I got a bargain on Drive and Denner got me some Kick. Then we got the buggy which didn’t have a Fabber on the back…

No it didn’t. Make a note that it DID NOT have a Fabber. Anyway we took off into the Martian landscape.

Right, the mission. Whilst we were on the scum barge, we had just blown up the ship when I sent a mission report to our contact at Firewall. After we got out of the airlock we were taken by security to be questioned. After we explained our story we were forced to wait. We got an email from Firewall saying that they wanted us to return the Elysium and authenticate the “Artist’s Signature”. Not long afterwards we were released. We couldn’t return to Mars just yet as there had recently been a nearby nuclear explosion and everyone was trying to get of the scum barge. We eventually got egocast back to Mars, into our former bodies.

Oh right. Simon Bigg. He sent an email wanted me to meet him in Olympus in a week. He said it was for a job. He said there were no hard feelings, but that is doubtful. When we spoke to Mike the Arms dealer on the Scum barge, he mentioned comet racing. I don’t know what that is but it sounds like fun. The next meeting point for that is in Olympus. I doubt that this is a coincidence.

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