Arrival

Phoenix raised her head slightly, peering into the wind blast, trying to see where the ship was headed.  She’d sensed the destination for some time on her wireless rig – a chorus of random radio emissions, noise from machinery, the hum of AC current, pirate radio stations, emergency distress calls – the song of a living city.  The symphony grew in volume and clarity as they approached, but her eyes could make nothing out through the grey fog.

She could see nothing that would satisfy a rising curiosity.  For in all the radio “sounds” of the city they were approaching, there was precious little in the way of radars, police comms, or surveillance – the usual trappings of life to which she’d become so accustomed in Insilico.  Were they approaching a pirate base?  How could one be so large?

She began to just make out a region ahead that seemed to glow.  She picked it up in infrared first.  Then it began to be visible as a dull reddish haze.  It was a city- a HUGE one.  As the ship approached the city to visually scout the landing area, details began to break through the haze.  Pinpoints of light here and there, joined by others, then the outlines of buildings.  Huge, massive buildings – much larger than had existed in Insilico.  And the symphony of radio sound expanded into a brilliant crescendo of millions of voices. By the time the snakelike curling streets could be seen, Phoenix was already swimming in the experience of this new place.  Her head was thrown back, face in the wind, smiling broadly.

The city welcomed her with the sound of its soul.  Phone calls between lovers; entertainment video and audio signals; a vibrant information grid; all these things sang to her.  And yes, nestled in the flood; there was the sound of droidsong.  That unique melody of living machines thinking together called out to greet the city’s newest daughter.

She squealed with delight, released the mag clamps, and swan dived through the murky air into the city below, laughing with joy as she descended into the depths of Hangars Liquides.

Reboot

Phoenix slid from passage to passage, smiling with each turn, her spirits rising with each meter behind her.  Never until this moment had her life approached being her own.  Trying to find an opportunity for vengeance by working for Tokuma had turned out to be the most ironic of failures.  She’d let the humans cloud her judgement.  She started to believe in words like “family” and “honor”.

She hissed slightly in disgust at the thought, and lunged forward, scampering away from what those words had meant.  Honor among a organization who slaughtered its own people to put 105 in charge of Insilico…  Family among a group whose only consistent talent was turning on their own.

She crawled deeper into the impossible maze of tunnels winding through the huge machinery of the Insilico undercity.  The further and more circuitous the route to where she’d been, the more focused, and sharp she felt.  A thrill to be alive seemed to dance along the pathways of her power and control systems throughout her body.  Each point of decision, each turn in her path, was a universe of freedom that was utterly novel to her.

“That damn meat brain”  she thought to herself as she crawled past a discarded body.  “That’s where it started.  That’s where everything went wrong.  I should have done this from the start.”

She eventually emerged in a drainage duct in the cargo holding area of the spaceport.  She listened carefully, then emerged soundlessly, the lifting of the grate and replacing it done with perfect precision.  She stood and began to make her way to a damaged freight platform in an abandoned section of the port, when the GNN feed on a monitor 400 meters away in the passenger waiting area caught her eye.  They were already on scene, filming the explosion in west.  Flaming debris in the street; the chaotic, disorganized response of THI first responders.  A wide smile spread across her silver synthskin lips.  If only she could have been there.  Well, for more than 8 milliseconds, anyway.

No turning back now.

She made her way to the platform and crouched, watching the vessels moving below her at various altitudes.  She sat more still than any human operative could, performing hundreds of trajectory calculations as the ships plied their way below her.  Abruptly she leaped from the platform.  She curled into a ball and fell into the engine wash of a large suborbital freighter, the superheated ion plume blasting briefly across her back, melting holes in the bodysuit she wore.  As she emerged from the plume, now redirected by it toward another ship, she spread out her arms and legs to slow and control her descent.  She looked up briefly at a reference point in the spaceport, ranged it, and changed her calculation and timing slightly based on the effects of the wind.  She fell to the starboard of the craft, then shifted to change her momentum.  She fell well below it, then bent her knees, angling her back precisely.  3…2…1… The brief blast marked the activation of her grav pack.  She lurched upward toward the ship in a ballistic arc, whose apex was timed and placed to perfectly, if briefly, bring her to within arms reach of the hull, matching the ship’s speed.  She simply reached up and magnetically grappled with the ship, making only a slight “clink” as she did so.  She pulled her knees up, and maglocked them to the hull as well.

Then she turned her face into the wind and grinned wildly, wondering where the ship would take her…

 

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OOC commentary:

Phoenix has kind of gotten out of control as a character.  I’ve been intensely focused on everything OTHER than the kind of character I always wanted Phoenix to be.  So I’m rebooting her.  I’m taking her back to the moment she leaves Insilico, and changed some of the circumstances of that departure.  When you see her in Hangars now, it will be as she just arrives for the first time.  Bear in mind that she is wearing a chassis no one in Hangars has seen, so no one knows she is Phoenix, the THISec Officer from Insilico, unless she chooses to tell you.

Yes, this does mean UIR and Utopia never happened.  Sorry.  There’s so much I was trying to do in those factions that didn’t really make sense for Phee as a character.  This is about being a player again, instead of a GM.  Please forgive me, and I hope to meet you again (for the first time ;) on the streets of Hangars Liquides)