Untangling the Knot

The Fancy Party

- RECAP: Andre 3K was essentially the captain’s admin, who overheard that the captain and the commander said that Leela Jan was on board the Rain Delay – the purge coming direct from Tannhauser intelligence. Hence why he got in touch with Jost, afraid that someone would attempt to tie up loose ends. Two men came off the Rain Delay before its destruction, to head towards a new ship, the Memory Lapse. Yet to figure out: how did Leela’s philanthropy get connected to the Tannhauser intel?

- The crew explains how the crew picked up recording equipment and the gun from the Tannhauser spy in Ford, speaking about Tamber Kord. Andre recalls that Kord and Leela had a “thing” together – Kord being a scoundrel and, of all professions, a gravedigger (though beautiful enough to hang off her arm).

- Watson says, "You know, I’ve skulked around and fenced goods on a VR plane for Shodan. It’s called ‘The Fancy Party’ (18 to fancy, 21 to party) – a virtual space for high-class schmoozing and illegal bartering. The system for the party actually translocates from machine to machine to prevent tracking – the lag of which has made it suitable as both a message board and a place for real-time communication. Very few know about it and even fewer can get access due to Shodan’s infamous meritocracy system.

- The team departs from Andre’s station and move through to the artificial station that holds a possible lead to the knife murder. At a rather large bar named “Movin’ On,” the team stops in to gather information. Unfortunately, the sign out on front of it reads ‘By order of Station Manager, the management has deemed this managed establishment closed. – xoxo, The Management.’ Asking around, the team finds a former employee who tells them “Ya know, his licenses were up for renewal and for some reason the owner got an obscure regulation in his face and had to close up.” When asking about where the owner is, the man gives up a number, but the number’s disconnected.

- According to the former employer, the bar had closed down several weeks before the supposed knife murder that occurred there.

- At this point, the team slips into Shodan unmolested and assembles their screen names and try to fancy their way into The Fancy Party. Docked in station, Watson assembles the VR gear and plants in. Slim sits back to monitor communications, while the rest act as entourage for Watson (aka PapaDiablos, avatar a brontosaurus on a pennyfarthing bicycle). Special guest stars include an amorphous blob with a bandana and a pair of six shooters, an empty suit of armor, and a lizard wearing a duster and armed with a shotgun and riding a motorcycle. Not included are XxDarkDragonxX and B@mB@mB1g@l0.

[The Fancy Party is assembled into a series of zones that resemble the Kaballah for some reason, and the team must navigate through the zones via social skills and knowledge. Aspects include: “Virtual reality fancy party”, “autonomous infosec,” and “archaeological marketplace.”]

- The team stands within a drawing room inside a very chic Victorian Mansion, complete with small ziggurats composed of ‘books’ (message boards), floating tea and crumpets, and a baby grand piano playing by itself.

- Dirk hits the ‘books’ and sorts through the message boards, organizing by latency to check where members are located. Slim points out a skittish user trying to chat up a girl, and tells Ronk to play moderator and intimidate him to phish his information.

- Halabaster follows Ronk through gracious host “good cop” to the skittish user, calming the guests and charming his way through to the next room.

- The next room with Ronk is beach-lined and encased in a giant glass dome, swarming with butterflies and stuffed with dusty books and “messages in bottles” that can’t have been accessed recently, though certainly within a span of hours…

- …while the others are stuck in a Victorian Gentleman’s Club, men lounging with books next to a roaring fireplace, or standing at a bar and chatting each other. One approaches Watson with a quizzical look and says “Well I’d be damned, but your avatar, chap – I think I remember you. Ah, yes, the father of all devils! I haven’t seen you at the fancy party in some months.”

- Watson, entangled in sycophantic gossip, tries to fool him into thinking that there’s a crypt on Shodan that may be worth his time, but Watson gets jammed up in the yammer, and so does Dirk. Dirk tries to distract him via his tactics. Slim moves into the room where Leela Jan might be and starts scanning over old boards she’s posted into. Apparently Tamber likes talking excitedly of references to “big things I’m on to” – though extremely vague, tied to a screen name ‘LEELAluvr’. One post says “it calls itself Shekhina” and then ends with those posts. Impersonating the skittish user’s avatar, Slim drops that name in the room next door and Tamber follows.

- In the next room, a big garden filled with chatters playing croquet and badminton with extremely low latency, Halabaster tries to run a trace on Tamber Kord’s position in real life. Apparently she’s docked in the same station as the team is. Halabaster and Slim will attempt to pinpoint the physical location of ‘LEELAluvr’.

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