(Date stamp and routing data edited for brevity)
I know you’re on walkabout, lying low. I would too if my creator was pulling shit like yours did, or if I’d pissed off quite so many hypercorporations as you have. Still, I figured you might like the occasional update on what your friends here on the archipelago are up to, particularly the crazy stuff you guys like so much.
Yes, I know, you’re all part of some super secret organization, but c’mon. You can’t keep secrets from the sentient communications router. It’s all good, your secrets are safe with me. One of my forks is even a Firewall sentinel, although I’ve never been recruited.
So, it would seem that your shenanigans against Fa Jing, and Echo’s memetic warfare toward Experia bore some nasty fruit. While we were still back in the Jovian system, we got a new guy on the fleet, called himself “Farrell”, who was something of a circus prodigy. He hooked up with the Cirque Eloize and spent the next several weeks working on an “edgy” new “avant garde” performance. The rehearsals were apparently quite grueling, but eventually the swarm was invited to watch a dress rehearsal. I’ve never much cared for all that “physical bodies spinning space” stuff. You probably would have loved it… except how apparently the entire performance was a basilisk hack.
Yeah. Those crazy stories out of the Fall where the TITANs would hack transhuman brains using nothing more than elaborate sound, light, and other sensory inputs aren’t so crazy, and apparently someone has figured out how to reverse-engineer them, and we got to be a field test.
Fortunately your wacky Firewall friends figured something was up (although when a couple hundred people all lose time, having no memory of the second act of the performance, something is pretty clearly weird). Apparently, anyone who watched the performance with full sensory inputs had one of three effects. Either they REALLY LOVED IT to the point of wanting to obsessively share XP of the performance with any and everyone, or they didn’t remember it at all, but felt a sudden compulsion to throw themselves into space whenever near an airlock, or they just thought it was a bit overdone and had no effects at all.
It took a while for Kiril to figure this all out, of course, and Echo and Vilya sought to quarantine the performance space, but it was to no avail. First of all, many attendees were recording XP of it. Secondly, the performance was being livestreamed to the fleet’s mesh for anyone who was interested. We had seven people space themselves before the Emergency Committee ordered full lockdown and defensive isolation. Fortunately, full-sensory XP of the performance was a bandwidth hog, and I had simply buffered the three dozen requests to send it to friends and family outside the swarm. I simply deleted the data and locked down all communications. The hack never left the Archipelago.
I was also given the decryption key to the emergency airlock seals. Nobody was spacing themselves for the week or so it took for Clowder, Dr. Chavez, and Echo to process the ten thousand psychosurgeries necessary to remove the hack from the third of the fleet that was affected. It would have taken longer, but they sped up their psychosurgical simulspaces… I guess it WAS longer for them. Poor suckers.
So, turns out Farrell was a Lost named Aaron Van Sandt and he “grew up with” Kiril. The conclusion of the performance resulted in his mind breaking. We still have him in an induced coma, but clearly he wasn’t intended to survive to be interrogated. Your friends traced him through Extropia back to Valles-New Shanghai on Mars and, ultimately, to a small advertising company called Red Five, with strong connections to Experia.
So, yeah. Apparently this was a revenge attack slash field test. Someone has figured out weaponized basilisk hacks, and this is pretty fucking awful. But hey, I guess that’s what Firewall is for. I anticipate the usual suspects will need to ego-cast off to Mars any moment now. I’ll let you know what I learn, if I learn it.