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"Only researcher logs and progress data, you are the first member of the lost I knowingly meet, Leng. I can handle the pain, I've already numbed the pain receptors." Wei says, getting back up, her dress rearranging itself, looking intact once again.
In the sea without lees
Standeth the bird of Hermes
Eating his wings variable
And maketh himself yet full stable
"Let's just say that I don't know of any survivors who isn't very familiar with blood and injury." She touches the old scar on her cheek, "This is my last gift from the project, who knew that a plastic spoon could be given such an edge."
"That said, are we likely to have more visitors?"
At least with Lovecraft, nobody pretends the gods are nice. And wherever you end up, there is guaranteed to be tentacles.
"They'll probably lock down the Casino and have this floor under heavy surveillance. Any more assailant would need to get past the Triad enforcers. I have a backdoor in the hotel's security systems so as soon as my Mesh insert are back online, we can scan the building."
"So then... the attackers were an outside force. That makes sense, given the crudity of the assault. This means we're under lockdown for now?"
"With the amount of services I rendered to the 14K any one of them attempting this sort of business would effectively be committing political and social suicide. If they had any inside help, it was limited as they couldn't get much inside of the Hotel. With real help, they could have gotten heavier weapons or even some explosive devise."
"But yes, we are effectively locked in. Unless more attackers are currently drilling into the walls, there should be no interruption."
"As I doubt that they're drilling through the walls I think our next logical move is the aformentioned hot tub? It's a very therapeutic thing is you think about it."
Wei takes Lengs hand, taking her to the side room opposite of the bedroom. The massive hot tub integrated into the west side's wall. "How would you prefer we go in, clothed or natural?"
"Well not to beat a cliche too fat but in for a penny in for a pound and when in Rome..."
Wei's clothes seem to fall off her frame by themselves, pooling at her feet and revealing more of her red skin. Elaborate rose pattern in white ink covers her flank. She opens a small cabinet and take out a pair of glasses, filling them with a bottle of sweet red wine. Slowly, she walks down into the tub, awaiting Leng holding both glasses.
Leng's outfit is apparently not smart by design as she takes her time unlacing her corset before slipping into the water with a small blush. Her skin is pale, without adornment or tattoos, marked only by the ghost of a scar along the right side of her ribcage where it looks like someone tried to find the way to her heart but fell short.
She smiles as she takes one of the wine glasses, "Now this, this is a rare luxury."
"A very enjoyable one too." Wei declares, closing her eyes. Her wounds seems to have healed, at least externally. "I should go on dates more often, minus the firefight, it is a rather pleasing distraction from all the work." She then add with a grin.
Leng sips the cold wine while relaxing in the hot water, "Well the firefight was exciting to say the least, and I'm enjoying myself immensely."
"Have I found the rare gem who does not scare away from a little bit of messy, brutal action? If not outright enjoy such things. "
She chuckles, "I suppose you have. After playing Lord of the Flies in live action the idea of things going off the rails is terribly familiar and not really very uncomfortable."
"I would probably be less clam had I not gone through psycho-surgery. To think there was a time all I dreaded was simply running late on my latest paper seems almost strange to me now."
"Really? Psychosurgery, what for? Usually I do my own work, but then I've got more access to the cognitive cheat codes than average."
"Encouraging certain behavior, removing certain others. You probably can't tell, but I used to be a rather shy and timid geek, scared to explore the world. Then my indenture happened. I lost five years of my life. I wanted them back and I couldn't do it as I was."
"Now that makes quite a bit of sense to me. I find the idea of removing memories to be... distasteful. But I can see why you might want to modify yourself for self-actualization. I must say that the result is quite charming."
"Well, thank you. One of the important modification I made was to change the way my different Fork interacted. Instead of being a copy of the original ego, we are hard wired to see ourselves as simply part of a bigger entity that is Wei, we're thus more likely think in term of the overall safety and success of the ego than our own." She explains, pouring a second glass for herself.
"As for the memories, I've been making sure to avoid losing even the tiniest bit of it. I don't sleeve into morph lacking memory enhancement and I'm invariably transmitting XPs to secure data cache at all time. I can be a bit obsessed with it at times."
She nods, "Separate instances then, that's pretty much the arrangement my fork and I are trying to develop. Partially by arranging it so that we have no way to tell which of us is the original. We'll go from there using mind probes instead of XP to assure continuity. After all, we're still working on the exact nature of this more overarching simspace and how to interact with it."
There's a pause while she refills, "Regardless, we're both me, a community of the mind. Though unlike you, we're not mophologically diverse. We're using twinned morphs for the sake of identity continuity."
"As it's part of my job, I've gotten quite acquainted with resleeving, even in more exotic shells. Which I prefer to skins for their greater diversity, other than a handful of pods, this is the only skin that I own, I had it custom grown a few years ago. If I may ask, are you still using your original Futura skin?"
"I am, though my batch had some modifications from the main line. Endocrine control, medichines... by records we were a late batch and closer to the intended final product line. Odd to think of biomorphs in those terms, let alone egos... but there we are."
"Sad to say we live in a time where souls have become a commodity. Especially when those who weren't born from humans are denied their rights."
"But it is amazing you held on onto your birth body. It's a dangerous universe and the Futura can be a security risk to sleeve."
"You mean because of the mild recognizably? Most people mistake it for an Exhalt, those who don't... well there have been a few. They can usually be convinced that they were mistaken."
"I'm more talking about the genetic lines. While it's very close to an exalt at if one doesn't look deep, there are differences that can be found and they can be traced from any medical scan or forensics report.
I know at least one man from the Org who's tasked with finding the Lost survivors. The hyper corp and Ozma are probably doing so as well. Some people are rather not comfortable with letting exsurgent infected to wander freely around."
"I've met enough people from Cognite over the last few years. Not that they remember that happening. Still, I don't like the idea of resleeving for the purposes of running away... though within the next year or so I'll probably need to shift offplanet for security reasons. I'll just need to adapt."
"I'm saddened to know you'll have to leave Mars soon. Although so long as you're in the inner system, we could remain in contact. Mars, Venus and Luna are where I conduct most of my business, in that order in term of magnitude."
"Although should you need a new identity, I'm certain I could arrange that for you."
"That saddens me too really. What would you suggest for a next stop? Given the fact that I need at least decent distance from Cognite and that I'd prefer to keep my own skin? I flat out can't sleeve synth or info given my particular mental quirks."
"Well, the safest would be to go to the rim, Cognite has little to no power there. However, that would mean resleeving. The belt is another option, it's close enough that you could have your morph shipped and the abundance of different legislation can make hiding very easy.
Venus is a personal favorite, other than mars, I'll always remain attached to my home, and the recent split from the consortium and the morningstar constellation has greatly reduced the influence of the hypercorp recently. They're also more progressive than the consortium. Luna is not among my favorite locations to go, the national identities are still too strong and the biochauvinism rather prevalent.
These are the places I have influence. Minus the rim, although I know a few people there from the Org."
"I'll have to confess to a touch of biochauvinism, partially from my upbringing and partially from the fact that I suffer from the nagging feeling that minds that I can't feel aren't minds. I know, I know it's not accurate but it's the impression that I'm faced with."
She sighs, "That said, Luna doesn't really sound like me. Now Venus... I do hear it's quite pretty. Would you say there's a call for my skillset there?"
"I'm quite sure you would find work easily on the right Aerostat.
I would recommend settling on Octavia, as it is the only cosmopolitan city of the planet. The one thing I rather dislike about Venus is the isolation between the different aerostat, due to their nature, moving from one to the next is rather a bother.
Did I forget to mention I keep an office there?"
"You make a compelling case for me and me to move there. Perhaps it is time to move on before trouble comes here. Especially considering your office there..."
"Well then, the one thing that remains to think of would be the moving part of your plan. Egocasting would be fastest and cheapest but that would mean acquiring a new morph. Doing otherwise means travel by space ship.
Travel by bulk carrier or a scum ship would be the least expensive but we would be talking about three to four month journey. This wouldn't be much more expensive than egocasting. Then there's standard transport which would be more expensive and fast transport which are very expensive. Respectively a month a half and three weeks of travel time. Those are just averages of course.
If you were to sell your morph, I know an Oligarch who collects exotic morph, which includes original Futuras. So I could get you about a hundred thousand credits, give or take twenty depending on his mood, well enough to get settled on Octavia."
Leng shivers a bit, "I don't wish to sell either of my morphs, I value the identity of my birth body a little too much. Perhaps for anonymity I'd best travel by scum barge, while I'm not much of a spacer I do understand what makes people tick very well. Funny, I'm not terribly social and yet I can understand the ebb and flow of society very well."
"I am simply explaining all of your options. I forgot to mention, but there is also the option of egocasting as soon as possible and have your morphs shipped to you. That would however be somewhat expensive."
She nods, "That's appreciated but I really don't like being in the digital. I think travel would be for the best. Now Venus is entirely old economy? Yes?"
"Not at all, Venus is even closer to new economy than Mars, Fabbers are publicly accessible for everyone and schematics very easy to get. The only bloc still using old Economy is the Jovian Republic due to their dislike of nanotechnology. They and the poorest of habitats are the only one still holding onto that outdated type of economy."