IF YOU'RE PLAYING IN THIS GAME, DON'T READ THIS!

(This goes for Judd, John Moore, Vince, Mike, and anybody else who has played or might play... Go read the Albatross logs!)

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**Lea 1, 154**


Met Flare. Good person to know, yes. Kintaran stamina.

I pestered a pair of stunners out of Parvari (in case I ran into Big Ben) and went a'wandering down to Flare's Lucky Star. When I wandered into the bar part of the establishment, Flare himself (big red Kintaran, can't miss him!) called out "Quicksilver!" and rapidly arranged for someone else to take over bartending while we went upstairs. The mind boggled. One severely wonders what sort of a rep Silver *has*... I followed Flare up the stairs bemusedly -- yup, his bedroom. Lot of red and white fur on the bed -- he's been having fun, obviously.

Close the door, lean against it. Flare settles on the bed and says, "Haven't seen you for a long time, Simone. {purr purr purr purr purr}" Me, blinking and smiling a little: "Ah."

He knew me -- has known me for seven years, ever since I, Simone, got him to set a diversion (set up some grenades at a spot on this station, then run like hell -- next day a drug lord dealing in Zombie Drug was found a babbling idiot, and I was tossing around large amounts of cash) -- both of us youngsters, him just off his clan-ship. And either we've been Good Friends for all of that time, or else we commonly teased and he's not saying I was only teasing before. I don't care -- I'd been celibate for 3 months, a born-again virgin almost! It was good to not have to be double-thinking and bluffing my way through a conversation -- I told him I'd been mindwiped, and my braintape was either destroyed with Henderson or not available to me. He told me that NovaTech was dangerous -- that they had some O-veeps working with them, and that other Veeps were getting nervous. It doesn't matter, I'll just be more careful next time. I *want* that station...

Flare calls me "Hawk-lady" at times...

Flare was hurt that I didn't offer him the disks I gave the White Lady ("Snow Goddess" to Flare) -- he figures that he could have found a sucker to buy encrypted disks... I mentioned the 25 braintapes on the disks -- there was a bit of bogglement as to why in space NovaTech would want to collect braintapes...

Found out more strangeness about Artemis -- the Hell and the Bat were never built, as far as anyone knows. They just "appeared." Flare's white girlfriend claims to be from an alternate dimension, and her kids (who got sampled, and she went off to take on half the Organization and Thral because of it) were sired by a *horse*-centaur... Shaky grip on reality, at the least... But there are *some* strange things about Artemis, and the Snow Goddess -- she's got links to Byte still, Flare says, to judge from all the comm-traffic between her and them. And he thought it interesting that she was able to see the flags on my IDs. (It should be noted that the last records She could find on me coincide with a trip *I* took to Byte, as Simone, to "take care of things.") He also wondered about the sensor tech that She displayed. I told him not to spread those things around where it might get back I'd said them. He said that She likes to show off -- probably Her major vunerability.

Turns out that there's a drug-ring O group out after Sheri *and* a group whose slave-trade she busted up!

Turns out that my little Han Solo Memorial Astroid Belt Maneuver (HSMABM) in downtown Thralia was done with *holographic projections* of the chasing Patrol Ships! Major diversion! I wonder what the heck I was doing there... [[Smuggling in a shuttle, for one.]]

Turns out that the "Night Flyer" (The Hawk I don't have ID for...) has hauled in some cash! He finally moved some of the loot. 5000 creds! *Whew*! Now, if I had the time, I could burn out this addiction... (I haven't had that for long -- must have gotten a bad batch of the stuff sometime after when Flare last saw me.)

Find that Salome is wanted on Irar for theft of information -- some kind of mind-control research. It would seem that I have a certain pattern to some of my activities. I can certainly understand why I feel that way now. No telling what my original reasons were -- might have just been something I felt strongly about.

**Lea 2, 154**


[[Silver gets mail -- to *all* her addresses! And they all require a "Verify Decode"! And they're all the same message, some sort of holo-ad, no voice, reading: "Confused? Trying to find yourself? Contact Secret Helper at [com-code]." Silver sends a text "Yeeeeessss????" and nearly instantly recieves back a text message: "Operators are standing by!" So she finds a quiet corner of the cargo bay and calls...
"Vocal verification, please."
Silver: "Ah, seraphim?"
Calm male voice (Silver has the vid off): "Hello, Simone -- you've gotten yourself into a little trouble, haven't you?"
Silver: "So, who are you that I don't know?"
Voice: "Oh, you've never met me."
Silver: "Oh?"
Voice: "No, I just... give you tips occasionally, like the one about NovaTech."
Silver: "Ah. Do I know you by any other name besides 'Secret Helper'?"
Voice: "Not that I'm aware of."

The voice tells her that she hadn't reported in after the NovaTech investigation. Somewhere in here he says that many people are after her -- the ranks of the Ungodly are many. The voice then says, "Download all information on NovaTech, please."

Silver: "Ah... No. I don't think so. It occurs to me that *NovaTech* itself might be interested to know what I know about them."
Voice: "I hadn't anticipated that. This could be a problem."

A tense silence.

Silver: "Hm. Suppose you verified your identity to a neutral third party, so that I could determine that you were someone trustworthy?"
Voice: "Like Byte?"
Silver: "Possibly, or someone else in that sort of business." (Hopefully cheaper than Byte, say...)
Voice: "Are you refering to Selene Holmes? That would be agreeable."
Silver: {muttering} "Not that many people doing that, right." {normal} "Exactly -- she verifies that you're not working for NovaTech, and I send her the information to give to you."
Voice: "No, that won't work. What if I have her call you and affirm that I can be trusted not to work against your best interests?"
Silver: "That'll work."
Voice: "One moment, please."

Silver is put on hold -- old Earth classical music. Another call comes in. Selene, looking *very* puzzled!
Selene: "I just had the strangest call... I'm supposed to tell you that someone's okay -- he is. But... This is all very strange."
Silver: "My friends seem to be that way. Thanks."
Selene: "Right... This is all very puzzling." {signs off}

Voice: "Well?"
Silver: "She says it's strange, but you're all right."
Voice: "Selene talks too much. I'll have to speak with her about that."
Silver: "No, no, she says just enough to be puzzling, and not enough to make any sense of. Here's the info..."

Silver sends the stuff that was in the "Ungodly" file, and an edited version (no "voice in the head" refs) of her time in the NovaTech base.

Voice: "How did you know the code to the office? You'd just been mindwiped..."
Silver: "I'd rather not tell you. Sorry."
Voice: "Very well. What happened to the disks you took?"
Silver: "I gave them to Ms. Holmes -- there were twenty-five braintapes on them!"
Voice: "Hmmmm. Interesting. Have Selene send them to me, please -- I don't think she'd give them to me if I just asked."
Silver: "All right -- hang on." {jots off note to Selene.} "Done."
Voice: "Good. Is there anything you'd like to know?"
Silver, rhetorically: "My history..."
Voice: "All right."
Silver: "HUH? You can get that for me?"
Voice: "Yes."
Silver, thinking "How???" mutters under her breath, "No, no questions."
Voice: "Is there anything else?"
Silver: "Do you . . . know . . . my name?"
Voice: "Simone Hospitalier is your legal name."
Silver, disappointed: "Ah."
Voice: "If you are referring to your first name, before you changed it, it was Stefanie Hardy."
Silver, satisfied: "Ah. I see I'm consistent."
Voice: "Yes -- I've often warned you about that."
Silver: "Hey, they'll never find me that way!"
Voice: "*sigh* We've had this discussion before...."
Silver: "Don't worry, if I get tracked, I'll change my name to something totally different, probably involving Gs and Xs!"
Voice: "Indeed."
Silver: "Ah, well. I'd better be going. The crew will get suspicious of me if they find me talking so long here."
Voice: "What is strange about you talking to someone?"
Silver: "They'd wonder why I was talking to someone without flirting!"
Voice: "You have a point there. {pause} Your place or mine?" {signs off}

Silver grins. She reads the terse, detective-like history of herself... (Ship-brat on a fringer with her parents and older brother. When she was about fifteen, the ship was taken by pirates, and her family taken captive, but she hid, escaping notice, and managed to take out the skeleton crew that the pirates placed on her ship. She got to safety, sold the ship, and went looking for her family -- they'd been taken by slave-trading pirates and given Zombie Drug. They were dead when she found them, and Zombie Drug is non-reversible anyway. The cash she'd been tossing around after Flare's Diversion was raided from the dealer's stash -- combining business with pleasure. She went to Byte to try and put a block on her past history, but was unsuccessful. After she left, she was contacted by someone who said that the block had been placed. Secret Helper has sold her information, given her tips, and occasionally bought information himself. {Refs in her own files to "That information of SH's really was good" now make sense.} SH seems to be a correlator of data, hacker into other people's systems, data-thief. Able to spot strange trends from corp. finances. Very useful, trustworthy. 'Twas he, it is implied (but *not* stated!) who did the gene hash hackery.)

After a bit, Silver sends Selene a low priority emessage: "You don't have any male relatives around that I should worry about, do you?"
Reply: "Non sequitur."
Message: "Oh, good. He's *not* your brother or something."
Reply, in heaviest encryption!: "It's best not to talk about that person very much if it can be helped."
Message: "Acknowledged. I'll remember that."

Silver installs a set-up in herself -- unless she's directly reading her history, or talking to SH or Selene, Silver won't think about Secret Helper, and if she does, it will be just as some tipster with a quirky personality. She won't recall the conversation with Selene at all, and will only vaguely recall that Selene vouched that SH wasn't a NovaTechie -- no details. This will also prevent her from wondering about *how* Secret Helper got all her history...

Note that in the history, it includes the ShadowHawk heists, and goes up to Sandra Houston getting a ride on a NovaTech shuttle to the base, and that NovaTech reports she returned to Kintara Station a week later -- long enough for her to have been at the base for two days. But according to Silver's recollections of the date, she was there three days.

((Now, what Silver doesn't know, and what has Selene so boggled [and why I had hysterics right after doing that scene], is that Secret Helper is really the Librarian -- Byte's secret AI that correlates data constantly, and has a few basic programming directives, one of which is to protect the business. It is not acknowledged as even existing. {It may be an "awakened" AI, and not a designed one, even!} Few people know about it {Selene was one of the people who programmed it, and is one of the *miniscule* number of people off Byte who know about it}, and it's not supposed to interact with the outside world. But it does have agents -- Silver, for one, Selene (not with her knowledge) for another. 'Twas it who used Selene to get rid of Dillings. Now, Selene knows better than to ask what's going on -- if the Librarian wants her to know, it'll tell her, but she *is* dying of curiosity, too. For reasons of its own, not the least probably being plausible deniablity, the Librarian didn't want Selene to know what Simone was giving to it. It probably doesn't want Selene to know that it *does* have agents in the outside world (Simone looked useful, so it recruited her). And it, being of course hyperendowed with processing ability, will probably be able to break the NovaTech encryption in a month or so.)) ]]

**Lea 4, 154**


Well, Parvari worked *some* kind of deal with Her for that NovaTech ship! A bunch of Her robots came in and installed some fancy sensor gear (with much grumbling about "on *this* bucket of bolts??*). We've also got people working on replacing the recycler and fixing the lower gun turret where he belly-flopped the ship into Pelageos.

**Lea 15, 154**


Off again, into trouble and deep space... Though Big Ben has been making a bit of a nuisance of himself, hanging around the ship, he managed not to run afoul of Derek -- who, I found out on the way out when I was gritching about Ben, would have cheerfully handled Ben for me...

T'kik painted the ship paisley (red and green and yellow paisley...) -- Parvari wouldn't let me bounce off the atmosphere of any local planets to scorch it off. I wanted him to list me as "Anon. Pilot." When Parvari mentioned that we'd be making a stop at Thral, I *really* wanted to be Anon. "Uh, Captain?" "Oh, yeah, you've got a little problem there, don't you..." I'd stay on the ship. He'd work something out.

Captain mentioned that I probably didn't want us to make any deliveries to the NovaTech research base down Irar way; "Ah, not unless they're paying rather a lot extra..."

**Lea 17, 154**


We made our first stop at Thral. I stayed on the ship. Nothing awful happened.

**Lea, 21, 154**


Picked up Student of Soil Microbiology, who will, like all Irari, talk your ears off about his specialty. He's headed for a research base down thisaway.

[On to January, 155]