The Serpent was Subtil

Log Info

Title: The Serpent was Subtil
Emitter: Amy
Characters: Alia, Amy, Jerry
NPCs: None
Place: Student Center
Time: Mid-evening
Summary: The investigation into the weird series of attacks surrounding a video game takes an unexpected turn.

_( 1st Floor Student Center - Eastern Grounds - Steranko Institute )__

As you enter the first floor of the student center, the visitor's center is immediately on the right, with a campus map displayed on the wall next to it. To the right is the school's book store, with various little chotchkes with the school logo, snacks, school supplies, and books. Further back is an arcade, with a few pinball machines and video games, though most of them have been replaced with pool tables. There's also a small snack bar that sells hamburgers, pizza, and the like for those that don't want to leave their fun to head to the dining hall.

Umberto Eco once wrote to the effect that the female form is the most desirable for truly astounding pinball playing. The hollow of a female's pubic structure makes for greater contact with the front of the machine, allowing for more subtle control of the machine itself with regards to tilting. That it looks suggestive as all hell is just a side benefit for those watching.

Mid evening in the Student Center finds Amy testing this theory to its limits in her latest bout with the Elvira pinball machine. Her laptop and research materials abandoned at her table, along with a bottle of water as she takes her frustrations out on the game.

Alia walks in from outside, glowing a faint blue color as she reads through a book, frowning a little to herself as she reviews the text. She glances up and notices Amy working out her frustrations on the pinball machine, blinking a little bit as she shakes her head. Then she puts the book away in her pack, making her way over there. After she gets a soda, though. Aliens need caffeine too!

Jerry is, well, mildly fascinated to say the least at the various ways and means Amy can tilt that machine, and he stands a machine or two away - he flubs his own ball return, and is forced to spend his last ball. Little chance of a free game tonight, it seems. He blows the next set of bumpers and the last ball sinks straight into the null zone between flippers - gone. He slaps the machine and turns away as Alia walks by. "Heya," he waves, smiles, as he hops up to sit lightly on one of the machines while Amy continues her assault.

Amy either doesn't notice, or more likely, doesn't particularly care how she looks right now, she's at 500 thousand plus points so far, and the counter's climbing like a homesick angel. Alas, just when it looks like she's going to finally stamp her name indelibly on the High Scores list, her powers decide she's having a little too much fun. There's a snap and crackle of electrical discharge and the Mistress of the Dark is staked amid a faint whiff of ozone. "DAMMIT!" the girl shouts, banging her fists on the now inert machine as her ball rolls towards the chute. "Nooo!"

Alia blinks and comes over, drinking a coke as she smiles over at Jerry, "Good evening." Then she looks over at Amy, "What happened?" She blinks a little at the sudden whiff of ozone coming from the machine, peering curiously at the other girl.

Jerry gestures, a purple flickering field settling over the machine; the ball slows, then stops like it was nailed there. "Maybe give it a sec to reset?" he says, hopping off the machine and strolling over.

"Maybe…." Amy replies, staring at the machine with wide, hopeful eyes. For a long moment, nothing happens. What does happen is less than salutary as a thin but slowly expanding tendril of gray smoke begins to waft from the machine's innards.

Alia hrms. "That, does not look promising." She tilts her head, "I have seen this, but I haven't quite gathered what the point is supposed to be."

Jerry quirks a smile and collapses his field, letting the ball roll on to it's death, and the machine finish it's dying. "OK, yeah, it's toast." He looks back. "It's a game, Alia, just something to play. No real point to it."

Amy siiighs. "Well…crap." she grumbles, stepping back from the machine as more of the insulation inside its guts begins to catch. "Eh, might wanna put that out before the smoke alarm goes off." she suggests to Jerry. "Yeah, it's just for fun. Or was….Damn….I was _so_ close." she sighs. "Stupid lousy electrical powers….I thought I'd licked that problem.".

Alia nods, "Well, /that/ much I gathered. I just wasn't quite sure what exactly was the point of this specific one, Jerry." She looks at Amy, and blinks, "Problems with your powers, Amy?"

Jerry concentrates, and the machine quiets, it's energy suspended in the boy's null-field. A quick aside on the cell phone to campus maintenance, and it should be taken care of soon. He smiles apologetically at Alia, then looks back to Amy. "Well, you were pretty angry at it. It's hard for most people to keep control of their powers then." Says Mister I-Disintegrate-Things-When-Pissed.

"Yeah, some kind of glitch. Every now and then, for no apparent reason, I just…zap stuff." Amy replies, blushing, yes, that's right, Amy does blush now and again. Take a picture so you'll have proof for your friends! "Anyhow, now that I look about as stupid as Darth Vader in drag." she chuckles, sighing a little. "How's it going?" she asks the others.

Alia blinks, "Why would anyone be dragging Darth Vader?" She then shakes her head again, confused, and takes a sip of her coke, "I'm well enough, I suppose. Classes have been busy, but not too much so."

Jerry quirks a smile again, and then looks to Amy. "Pretty good; classes are better this year, it seems. And I found out some stuff about our side project," he says, opening his clipboard/notebook and fishing out a couple sheets of paper, printed from his PC.

"No, no, not dragging, Alia." Amy chuckles. "'In drag', it's a slang term for a male dressing up like a female." she explains. "Just look up the movie Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." she grins. "You'll get the jist of it." Jerry's news brings her attention fully into focus. "Oh? What d'ya got?" she asks. "Hope it's more than what I got, which is a bad headache."

Alia arches a brow, then says something in her own language for a moment, before continuing in English, "Ah, I see. Well, I have quite a few new classes, but they seem to be going rather well. English Literature is fascinating, honestly."

Jerry nods to Alia, then he looks at Amy with concern. "Really? What exactly have you been doing?" he says. "What did you find?"

"Some of it is." Amy replies, nodding to Alia. "Depends on what you're reading. What are you reading?" she asks. "What kind of books do they have where you're from?" she inquires, cocking her head curiously. "I haven't been able to find anything that I didn't already know." she shrugs towards Jerry. "No other attacks before or sense that I can find. Nothing about the game seems weirder than any other game….So I've been going in circles.." she sighs. "Starting to think I'm hanging out on the Grassy Knoll, ya know?"

Alia hrms, "Well, they are books, I mean… the stories are rather similar in scope, though the atmosphere differs of course." She glances at Amy, "What game is this? I don't believe I have heard of it."

Jerry blinks. "Shit, you've played it? Like, how much?" he says, frowning. "No, maybe not. If you've been getting headaches, then.. um, I think we should go see the nurse."

"No, no….I don't play Xbox games, Jerry." Amy chuckles. "Just isn't my thing, ya know? Besides, we've got the best video game ever over at Thunderdome." she grins. "My headaches are from trying to wrap my brain around a conspiracy I'm starting to think doesn't exist." she explains. "Some stupid shooter game called Psychic War." Amy explains for Alia's benefit. "There's been a few people who played it and apparently flipped out." she adds. "Remember when that astronomer came to Wootson High?" she asks. "A couple of students tried to crash the party with semi-auto shotguns." she says, wincing a little at the memory. "Jerry, me and Sam managed to break 'em up, but they were yelling something out of the game, or something I'm told is in the game."

Alia frowns a little, "It makes me wish I knew more of your Earth computers. Relatively simple by our standards, but has Samantha looked at this? She's quite good with electronics." She then asides, "Good enough I'm keeping her away from my tech, anyway."

Jerry awwws. "Darn it, she's supposed to be finding out how to make an FTL drive for us.." he says, kidding. "She hasn't, not yet, but.." He looks back to Amy. "I don't know; it seems like too much of a coincidence. Maybe only certain people are susceptible to it, like some people might have an epileptic attack after seeing certain patterns of lights. I wish I knew more about electronics as well; I guess Sam is our best hope."

"Heh, yeah, she's got a copy of the game." Amy notes. "Which really shouldn't come as a shock." she snerks. "Probably beat it five times by now, I know her." she chuckles. "FTL drive would be cool, The Skinny Dippin' Wolf Women of Planet Heineken await." she grins. "Anyhow, Jerry, you said you'd found something." she reminds the boy. "Sorry, but beaming the info into my brain isn't an option, my psychic kung-fu is not that strong, you'll have to use words to tell me."

Alia smiles faintly, "You can figure it out on your own, I'm sure." She then eyes Amy, "That would technically be Hi'naken, really." And she has that mysterious straight-faced look she gets sometimes, it's hard to tell if she's being serious or not. "What exactly did you find out?"

Jerry laughs a little, then brandishes his notes. "Well, it's no secret that it's damn popular, but it's weird.. it's invented by a Russian guy who worked on some computer project for their government as well. So.. who knows what he had access to, that he thought might be cool to put in there in some form. I dunno, maybe he raided a code library he shouldn't have? Anyway, another incident in Manilla. No-one was hurt, but it fits the pattern exactly."

Amy shakes her head at Alia. "Every time you do that, I dunno whether to laugh or get really nervous." she quips. "Seriously…it's kinda cool and kinda creepy at the same time." she chuckles. "Russian computer project?" Amy asks, reaching for Jerry's notes. "That is weird…" she says, pursing her lips. "What happened in Manilla?" she asks. "I ran a search for other attacks and came up with zip."

Alia considers, "Was there not some experimentation in Russia about mind control? MK-ULTRA or something like that?" She pauses, then looks at the other two. Okay, she doesn't know about pinball but she knows about obscure Soviet experiments from the 1950s…

Jerry shakes his head. "ULTRA was us, for the most part, but the Russians did do psychic research as well - and they were supposed to be way better than us at it. I don't know much past common rumor, through I have read some metahuman studies papers on it, as well."

"I know they took psychic research a hell of a lot more seriously than we ever did." Amy notes, biting her bottom lip a little. "Starting to think maybe we oughta get on a plane, Jerr." she says, nodding a little. "If we could talk to the people that actually wrote the code, we might get some answers."

Alia nods, "Do you want my assistance with this as well? I wouldn't mind a bit of a field trip." She smiles faintly, glancing between the other two.

"I would not mind that at all," Jerry says, smiling at Alia. "Don't have a passport, though, so I guess you guys will be flying Air Jerry for the duration," he grins.

"Heh, we might not need to." Amy grins, inclining her head in Alia's direction. "Alia can teleport." she says, wiggling her eyebrows. "Screw a passport. We'll be in and out before anyone's the wiser."

Alia winces, "Teleporting multiple people is not that easy for me. And I don't know /where/ we are going. It can be… difficult, to say the least."

Jerry crosses his arms. "I don't wanna wind up a thin sheet of organic molecules spread of Siberia like Mayo. We can fly. Unless you know a stronger teleporter?"

"Ah….Okay, my bad." Amy replies, shrugging a little. "You made it seem so effortless that night with the assassins." she points out. "But yeah, that would be the other side of the world, more or less….So…yeah….I really don't wanna wind up fuzing with a Moscow fire hydrant." she chuckles. "So, I guess it's flying time." she says. "Now we just gotta find out where in Russia they are."

"Their public offices list an address, but the lab where this was developed? Not a clue, so far. That's more Tim territory, I suspect," Jerry says.

Alia arches a brow at Amy, "So effortless that I had to be carried to the infirmary for exhaustion?" She smiles faintly, "Flying works just fine for me. And yes, a little more investigation is warranted."

"Oh…yeah……heh…..sorry." Amy says, blushing anew at Alia's gentle rebuke. "Kind of slipped my mind." she adds, looking all the world like she'd really like to find a corner to crawl away and die in. Fortunately, Jerry's words give her a chance to change the subject and save a little face in the process. "Well, what's the time line on this?" she asks, starting to walk towards one of the drinks machines to snag a new bottle of water. "I know it was under development for a really long time." she adds, gesturing towards her stuff on the table. "Years, really. How long ago was Project X or whatever it was?"

"Un known, right now, really," Jerry says. "Not in what I could find, at least. Um, soon, I think. Maybe tomorrow? Or over the weekend."

Alia nods, "Over the weekend would be best." She smiles over at Amy, "And it's nice to know that some people have faith in my abilities." Winking at the girl, she then finishes her soda, and ponders, "How long are we looking at, for a transit time?"

Jerry mmms. "If I push it, about eight hours, I think. Give or take. Russia is pretty big."

"Yeah, give us a little more time to get our ducks in a row." Amy nods. "Damn…" she sighs. "You know what this means, don't you?" she asks the other two. "I'm gonna get seen in that damn Rider get up in _public_." she winces. "Totally not gonna happen….Yeah, the weekend….Gimme some time to put something together to wear." she nods. "Cause that thing just looks like a wetsuit. Totally not intimidating."

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