Cyberfantasy Microscope

Sampling the Moon
Space Race Event

Astrogeo sends a three man survey team to the moon. There the team discovers ores which glow under specific conditions. Five hundred pounds of samples were returned to Earth. Astrogeo closed its doors and the samples failed to arrive at their designated researchers or laboratories.

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Crashing Shipment 106
Sampling the Moon Scene

The plane transporting the moon ore sample labelled #106 fails to arrive at its destination. The last anyone hears from the plane is just before it crosses the Continental Divide.

Question

Why did the pilot crash the plane?

Stage

This is a standard light plane with a pilot, copilot in the front seat, and two guards in the back with the sample. The plane is en route from a secret landing site near the North American Continental Divide (an old Great War test range) to a private Midwest laboratory.

Cast

Enrique, the copilot

Ricardo, the junior of the guards in the back

Reveal of Thoughts

Enrique, the copilot is nervous. He has a pager in his pocket which will signal him when he is supposed to act. He is being paid a LOT of money to see to it that the rocks get dropped out the back, and that there are no inconvenient witnesses.

Ricardo, junior guard, knows there isn’t anything to do until the plane lands. He wants to rest — they had him running all over the landing site last night, and he only got a few hours of sleep filled with odd, horrid, nightmares — but, he has never been able to sleep on a plane. The “bonus” is burning a hole in his bank account — provided he can outdraw the senior guard across from him.

The Action

Enrique tugs at the strap of his parachute. These things are never comfortable, but orders are orders — military mission; military precautions. Plus, it fits in with what he has to do. But the box doesn’t have a parachute attached, yet. There is one there for it, of course… This isn’t going to work. He’d said so from the start; this isn’t going to work. But they’d just added another zero to the payment, and he’d pushed his concerns aside. But this isn’t going to work.

Ricardo finds the bouncing of the plane to be strangely relaxing. He shakes himself awake a few times before the ore’s light seeps out through the lid’s seal. The light oozes over the floor of the plane. And like in his nightmares, it pools about his feet. Voices snap and pop over a distant radio. Then the light crawls up his boots and his pants; it burns his hands. He jerks awake with yet another scream.

Darcy, the senior guard, looks up from his book at Ricardo. “Hey — wake up. This is no time for a nap. We can sleep when we get there, and hand over this damned box and be done with it.”

“Yes, sir. Sorry, sir.”

Ricardo checks his hands to verify they are still intact. He shivers against the all too vivid memory of the dreams.

“It’s ok. It’s been a long day.” Darcy returns to his book. The words start to swarm on the page; he blinks his eyes to steady them again. Ricardo wasn’t alone in being sleepy… After reading the same sentence 5 times in a row, Darcy notices there is light coming from the cracks in the box — a strange, opalescent light that pulses in time with his heartbeat. And as the pulsing slows down, so does his heart. He tries to scream, but cannot; clutching his chest, he falls over.

“Sir! Darcy!” Ricardo struggles with the belt and then manages to get free. He rushes over to his fallen mate. He shakes the man, who fails to respond. Ricardo knew something was wrong — very wrong. Alarms are blaring from the cockpit, yet they seem so far away. The latch on the steel box is so close. It calls to him. It should be free. His hand seems attracted to the latch like steel to a magnet. He tries to jerk it back and succeeds in yanking open the latch.

Up front, Enrique had finally receives his signal. Steeling his courage, he quietly unplugs the radio, then jabs the pilot with the syringe he had been given.

“Don’t worry, Sir. It’s just a harmless anesthetic; you won’t feel a thing.”

Quick-acting, too.

The pilot tries to say something, but slumps over the controls before he could get it out. He inadvertently (?) pushes the mayday alarm as he does.

The glowing ore in crate clung to the skin of Ricardo. It twisted his fingers, hands, and arms. Hair explodes through his skin. A madness comes over him as it twists his chest, back, and pelvis. His jaw elongates and his teeth sharpened as they grow. The world loses its color even as his newly shaped ears heard the thunder of heartbeats not his own. The wonderful scent of fear fills his nostrils — prey. He turns. His fur glowing with the ore dust spread across his body — filling him with a need for fresh, hot blood.

Enrique pulls the pilot off the controls, cancels the alarm, and turns the radio back on. His hands are sweating as he hits the button to open the rear hatch of the plane (meant to allow paratroopers to jump out, but obviously breaking the airtight seal of the plane — the point here), pulls his oxygen mask into place, and puts the plane into a steep climb. His new employers had assured him the door to the cabin was strong enough to hold out until the guards lost consciousness, but he didn’t like it. Those guns were BIG. He saw them. BIG.

The beast, which was Ricardo, scrabbles to find purchase on the slick metal floor. His twisted, clawed hand grabs the crate. His prey is up. He gathers himself atop the crate and jumps for the barrier between him and his prey. He finds a way to brace himself against the narrow lip there. Then, he claws at the metal barrier. His claws make a horrible rending sound as they pierce the metal of the door.

Enrique looks over his shoulder to the source of the sound, and sees a claw pierce through the thick metal door.

“Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit…”

He tries to put the plane into a steeper climb, but it is already at the limits of its engine.

The plane stalls and starts falling from the sky. Slowly it tumbles to be nose down. As it tumbles, the beast desperately scratches at the barrier to maintain its place within the metal plane. Its claws slice through the hinges, not as a plan but as part of its wild flaying. The door gives way as the plane pitches forward — carry the door and the beast into the cockpit and against the front glass.

Enrique is desperately trying to right the plane again. The plane pitching forward is a measure of his success — he has regained control. He loses it again as the door flies into the cockpit and clips his shoulder, knocking his head into the dashboard. He is out cold for the count.

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Freedom Fighters of Kepulauan Lingga
Space Race Event

“Freedom fighters” seize control of Kepulauan Lingga, the site of the Sumitomo Space Elevator, and declare allegiance to Singapore (a Japanese protectorate).

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Ireland Becomes Tir na nOg
Space Race Event

Ireland’s parliament abdicates power, turning over running the country to the leading (elvish) families, who reorganize the nation into a feudal aristocracy (less the military duties), renaming it Tir na nOg. There is surprisingly little outcry — perhaps because the change is well-received; perhaps because the new government has one of the most effective secret police forces in the world. Sexism disappears almost entirely (men and women really are judged on their personal ability, and not on their sex), and racism recedes in importance (it is certainly there; elves are on top, orcs way down — but since everybody agrees on the relative merits of the various races, including the “inferiors,” there is little cause for disputes, much less violence).

Class distinctions become VERY important, however, as do chains of authority. Bosses, for instance, have a great deal of say in how their “employees” comport themselves — including much that elsewhere would be considered personal lives — and are expected (and generally do) take care of their employees when the latter get into trouble.

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Race Riots
Space Race Event

Spooked by the creation of Tir na nOg, race riots break out worldwide (mostly in countries already suspicious of metahumans) as already-paranoid people decide to purge themselves of the “menace.” Curiously, orcs — not elves — are generally the main target of the riots, however.

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Brightfrost Explosion
Space Race Event

One of the space elevators, the Brightfrost, had led a charmed construction. None of the supply shipments had suffered delay or sabotage — despite numerous attempts. No manner of corporate espionage seemed to make any difference on the speed of which it rose toward orbit. All of that came to an abrupt end as it lifted its first cargo toward orbit. A massive electrical spell detonated the maglift capacitors. Thousands of capacitors exploded. The elevator’s structure burned, melted, warped, and collapsed. The use of magic as a major weapon was added to the corporate army catalogs.

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Breaching the Brightfrost Compound
Brightfrost Explosion Scene

As the Brightfrost Space Elevator begins lifting its first cargo toward low-earth-orbit (LEO), a changing of the guard begins. The corporation behind Brightfrost has replaced their security contractor. Tesla Arms sees its chance to eliminate the only space elevator not reliant upon Tesla Energy parts and Tesla Computing services. As the last of the old security guards is locked out of the Brightfrost compound, the Tesla Arms team makes its move.

Question

How does the team sneak into the most heavily defended compound in the world which has repulsed dozens of other attempts over the years?

Stage

A raid time from Tesla Arms is sneaking through the Amazon rainforest outside the port city of Macapa, Brazil to the security perimeter of the Brightfrost Elevator. Guard drones patrol the kill-zone from the clearing edge to the electrified fence and then inside to the ground control buildings, power plant, worker quarters, and the elevator.

Cast

Anthony “Lucky” Borgia, demolitions expert

Deo Pereira, cybernetically enhanced electricity mage

Reveal of Thoughts

Tony is thinking: this may turn out to be the biggest fiasco in the history of industrial raids. Come on; the plan is to blast the tower with a lightning bolt, right out of those computer games about wizards and such? O.k., there IS a bit of magic in the world. But nothing like THAT. (The pay, however, is VERY good — even if they fail.)

Deo is resists the urge to scratch at implant sites. The cybernetic amplification coils under his skin still hurt. Sure, they boost his control over magnetics and electricity — at the cost of everything else. And yeah, he could barely light a candle before, although he could make water ripple. Now, he was rich and in pain. Some trade-off. He watches the killer drones walking and flying about the kill zone. With the first strike the alarms would go off … wouldn’t they? Surely someone would notice drones shutting down. Right? This was going to go badly … from the start.

Action

Tony scans the fence, watching the drones go by.

“Time to blow the drones?”

Deo nods, “Let’s do this.”

The guards in the strike team keep a wary eye on the fence, under the cover of some low bushes with assault rifles trained on the drones, just in case: backup measure.

Deo hesitates, then starts his spell. He has done this spell on every type of drone in the Tesla Arms arsenal, but these …. they are unfamiliar.

“Just go for the maximum blackout,” he tells himself.

He draws upon the extra batteries dragged along for just this purpose. He feels the spell and releases it into the compound. For a moment, electricity flows backwards into the generators and batteries. Connectors melt, terminals crack, and the near side of the compound goes dark.

Edgar (strike team guard) gives a low whistle.

Tony asks, “How long before they notice the drones are out?”

Deo shrugs. “I… I don’t know. The spell took out more than it should have. They might think it is a generator failure.”

“Let’s get going while the cameras are still out.”

He shifts his pack to a more comfortable position as he thinks, “All well and good for electronics.” He’s worried about blowing the tower, though: the data wasn’t certain enough to know exactly where to place the charges, so they’re big ones. And the tower might not collapse in on itself the way it’s supposed to. Still, even if it doesn’t, just severing the lower, anchor, section from the rest will unbalance the thing, and centrifugal force should cause the upper bit to drift away uselessly….

Deo grins and nods. He picks up his replacement pack. … Depending upon the circuitry use, it is possible the silicon chips were warped or cracked too. But he had no way to tell until electricity tried to flow through them again.

He jumps as the flying drones drop to the ground with resounding thuds.

Just keep the power out, he tells himself over and over again. That is your sole job here. No power, no death.

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Space Elevator Opens
Space Race Event

Bubble “bursts” or at least the rocket/reentry bubble — because Sumitomo managed to get its space elevator online, drastically undercutting the price even SpaceX could charge to get things into orbit. The SpaceX success wouldn’t have occurred in the first place, but for the fact that the race to build the elevator was unusually brutal — everybody knew there was only room for one elevator (it would have the capacity for all space lifts for the foreseeable future), and that once built lifting would be cheap. And, of course, that the elevator was a HUGE fixed investment that couldn’t be hidden away, and so vulnerable to sabotage. Three other incomplete elevators dot the world, there builders largely bankrupted by the effort.

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Rise of Genetic Engineering

Away with the old simple breeding techniques that have been used for thousands of years: genes can now be customized. True; it will take a while for all the bugs to be ironed out — what each gene actually does is not fully understood. But more and more, desirable traits can be added, and undesirable ones taken away — for a price. Still; today’s generation may be the last to be mostly natural; going forward, even the poor are likely to get some genetic help — removal of genetic conditions that would hurt their productivity; addition of desirable traits such as fatalism and passivity.

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Junta Clones
Rise of Genetic Engineering Event

A Myanmar laboratory finds its genetic samples were contaminated with dust from moon ore brought to Earth by Astrogeo. When the cells were spread over the organ matrixes, they grew at an unprecedented rate. At first, the scientists were ecstatic – thinking they had solved the problem of cloning adult humans. They quickly proved their hypothesis by growing clones of junta soldiers.

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