AdsurrexiDeus# _


1. Home

2. Story

3. Characters

4. World

5. Miscellany


Digital Dreams of Fire and Ash

Tony is trapped inside the Digital Web and the cabal must venture inside to save him. Theo talks to Hal, the AI that runs the web immersion chambers, and tries to recreate the last moments before contact with Tony was lost. As Hal is processing this task he comes under attack from an unknown source. Theo quickly aborts the task execution and puts a stop to the attack, but not before the mystery hacker has erased the details of Tony's last minutes from the server.

Not to be deterred, Tom suggests taking the server back to his windmill in order to perform a ritual to look at what it used to hold. Jake and Merlin go with him and Theo whilst Naomi stays with Tony's physical body. At the windmill Loki offers to help with the ritual and gives glasses of a strange purple liquid to anyone who will accept, only Tom and Theo take him up on the offer. Tom and Theo drink the liquid and go into a deep trance. There they see a black and white image of Tony walking down a long white corridor with many doors on either side. The picture starts to break up and Theo realises they are witnessing a white out, a localised zone crash that can cause people to get dumped out of the web or worse, then the image goes blank.

Back in the windmill, Tom and Theo's unconscious bodies have collapsed to the floor. After an hour or so of them not having come round Merlin decides to try and wake them. After searching in vain for some smelling salts he asks Loki for a smelly old sock. Loki runs with the idea and teleports them both into the windmill's cesspit and back.

After having showered and changed into some clean clothes, Tom, Theo and the others head back to the chantry where they meet up with Naomi. They all change into immersion suits, climb into tanks and Hal sends them into the digital web.

First stop is the Spies' Demise, Theo gives the password and they head on in to see what they can find. After checking in with a data seller they find that Tony or 'VM' as he was known here used to frequent two main areas within the Spies' Demise, the Castle and the GameZone. Heading to the Castle first, they manage to find a friend of Tony's who tells them that last time she saw him he had been mumbling about two places, the Playground and 'going back to the start of it all'. Given that the Playground is known to be a horribly scary and dangerous place, and the 'start' would seem to be a far more sensible place to begin looking for a trail the group decide to go there, reasoning that it might be something to do with Turing's Grave.

The cabal enters the park zone that holds the Turing monument. There's an oppressive atmosphere in the zone almost like something powerful and angry is watching them. It intensifies towards the grave. When they arrive at the grave Tom hears a voice that pleads with him to call it forth. Theo speaks the name of Turing and a ghostly manifestation appears before them. The spirit of Turing tells Theo that this is the beginning of a journey that only Theo can complete and that the spirit will see him again at the end of the journey. The spirit dissipates, leaving behind a golden feather with a number written on it and the markings on the grave change to show an IP address and a grid reference.

They head to the IP address, a new warzone, and enter the loading program. Two groups are in there already, fighting for control of the central bunker the coordinates of which match the grid reference that was found on Turing's grave. Everyone except Tom picks up a gun and Theo augments their armour, then they head in. They quickly ensconce themselves in the nearest bunker then start to head towards a weapons cache in order to get supplies to help them take the middle. Whilst Naomi is watching everyone's back as they run, a rocket from a sniper flies in the window of her bunker, blowing her up and dumping her back to the real world.

The others get safely to the weapons cache and Theo takes out the sniper that had derezzed Naomi. When it becomes evident that the other two teams have joined forces to take out the group, Tom suggests that Hal tries to swap him and Naomi round given that he isn't willing to fight. Hal manages to do this without the other teams realising and the now fully armed group start to plan their assault against their united enemy. As they are doing so, they get server messages saying that four of the opposition have been 'killed', it seems the coalition was not so tight and one side had betrayed the other. Now it was just four against four, but the other team had control of the highly defensible central bunker.

The group decides to split their forces. Jake and Naomi head round the back to a tower with a view in to the bunker. Naomi shoots some explosive barrels to create a diversion, whilst Theo and Merlin run in from the front spraying bullets through the windows - seemingly the main attack but also another diversion. Whilst all this is going on Jake is to run up to the top of the tower and shoot a rocket in to the bunker. Before he is able to do this though, more server messages are received saying that all of the opposing team have been killed by one of their own. It seems one of them had tried to throw a grenade at Theo and Merlin but fumbled it and not only blown himself up, but also the rest of his team.

The cabal head into the central bunker and down into the basement where its weapon cache is stored. Here they find another golden feather and another number. Realising they have no other leads but the Playground, they head back to the Spies' Demise to try and get more information. When they get back they find the password has changed. After hearing about the septic tank incident earlier in the day, the receptionist creates a septic tank with the password at the bottom of it, and then makes Merlin go and get it. Tom and Theo dump the reluctant Merlin into the tank and after a while of waiting Theo teleports Merlin and the newly acquired password back out.

The group goes to the GameZone and finds someone who Tony regularly used to play team games with. He takes them back to the Pirates' Cove, an online chantry that Tony was part of. Here they find out that Tony end two of his friends here had gone on an expedition to the Genesis Lab, a deserted Technocracy base, on Tony's insistence. They convince the friends to accompany them as guides and set off. When they get there, one friend stays outside as emergency evac along with Merlin whose abilities are limited in the technological realm.

Inside the lab they are attacked by zombies and encounter 'hung zones' - areas where time is stuck in loop, both of which are overcome and they move on. They come to a room with large vats, most of which containing sentient life forms of some description, some of which are still aware. A lot of pain and suffering can be detected from the creatures and thinking that it's just because they are imprisoned, Tom tries to persuade the others to release them. Naomi looks deeper and finds that the creatures are not just sentient, but actually alive, living creatures brought whole body in to the web. Looking deeper still she finds that they used to be human and have clearly undergone some hideous experimental procedure. Realising this, the group decides to hit the kill switch and put the poor thing out of its misery.

They do this to the rest of the people still alive and then move on towards the vault where Tony's friends say it was that he found whatever he was looking for. They find a security door made of partially destroyed primium. Behind the door they can just about detect a security droid that is guarding the vault. Tom deliberately creates a hung zone and drops it on the droid. The group creeps around the edges of the hung zone, being careful not to get stuck in it themselves, and claim the third golden feather. Theo creates a portal back to the corridor outside the lab and they all step through, relieved to be out of there.

Each of the feathers so far carries a number, and it's looking likely that it will form an IP address, meaning there's only one more feather to get. The group only has one more lead left too, the Playground, but after the lab it doesn't seem quite so daunting.

They arrive at the Playground and Theo calls up a map of it on his PDA. On it he plots Tony's route through the zone and any minds currently active in the zone. They follow Tony's route and are soon being followed by some of the blips on the map, although the blips stay away once they reach a small hut on the periphery of a large open area. Peaking round the edge of the hut, Theo and Naomi see a gigantic monstrosity that they decide could only be a deep umbral being that's managed to slip through a crack somewhere. Realising that direction is effectively blocked off from them, the retrace their steps to try and go around the edge of the map, taking their chances with the large collection of minds that seem to be centered around the big wheel.

On their way they are intercepted by one of the blips on the map, Emperor Crush. Naomi acts as bait, drawing him out into the open away from the others, whilst the others blast him with magic. He drops even before he reaches Naomi, unfortunately the excessive use of magic causes a localised whiteout, almost derezzing the party, but they manage to hang in there, albeit with bloody noses. They reach the big wheel and find that the only way around it is to go on the ghost train. Reluctantly they climb aboard and are taken through a living story of the apocalypse that happened during the great crash. They come out the other end feeling deeply disturbed, but on the platform waiting for them is the fourth golden feather. They leave by the nearest exit, never looking back.

Theo puts the feathers together to find the IP and they travel to the conduit that the address points to. They find themselves in the corridor that Tom and Theo had seen in their vision of Tony's last moments and soon the world around them starts stuttering and stalling as a whiteout hits. The pain of the whiteout is too much for Tom and he derezzes back to the real world. Everyone else finds themselves falling through seemingly endless blackness until they eventually land on a rocky plinth. Tony lies unconscious up some stairs little way away with the Phoenix stood over him. Naomi runs over to him and cradles him in her arms, asking the Phoenix to let him wake up now they were here. Tony slowly starts to wake up.

The Phoenix greets Theo and seems pleased that Theo has passed its 'test'. The Phoenix, despite being omniscient, tells Theo that he needs agents out in the real world, as he is unable to act there. In order to prove its good will the Phoenix offers to answer their questions. Naomi asks it to bring Tom here so that he can make his own decision, which it does. Then asks if it can read minds, which it can, so she proceeds to have a telepathic conversation with it. Everyone else proceeds to have a philosophical debate with it about how much it had led them during the 'test'. It maintained that it had only pointed them at the problem and they had done the rest, whereas they felt that it had led Tony, so it had led them by proxy.

Eventually decisions are made, Theo agrees to work with the Phoenix, as do Jake and Merlin. Tom declines, saying that he'd rather help people in his own way. Before the Phoenix sends them all back to the real world, Naomi asks it about the machine that they turned on Mars. The Phoenix will not say what it does, but does give them its true name, H'ralq'thui, which can translate as both Beginning and Ending. Before they leave the Phoenix also gives them all some advice: to beware events in Australia. And then they find themselves back in the real world.

Virtual Adept logo

Welcome to the trinary mainframe. Loading file: TimeOfJudgement.end, please wait...