Jump to content

Glass and Gold

Recommended Posts



June 26th






A certain Ms. Cynthia Wright was approached by a certain Mr. Archibald Tweed, known as "Archie" to his friends, colleauges, and pretty much every body who did not want to vex him by calling him Archibald. 


Mr. Tweed was an chemical engineer, in his late fourties, and most splendid at his Job. A PhD for Oxford, a bright mind, thick glasses and a handsome jaw that would make him an attractive man to the ladies, where it not for the fact he seemed to have little or no interest in activities of the romantic kind, directed at any gender. Perhaps it was glass that attracted him, for he spent all his days studying and experimenting on it. If glass was your need, your need was Tweed. 


Archie set down a cup of fragrant strong coffee, full of milk and marshmallows and all sorts of deliciousness (one would hope it did not include glass, but one never could tell with Archie) by the desk of Ms. Wright. 


"Hrmph" he coughed, nervously. "Could you help with ah...ah rather difficult matter? Security breach or cyber crime, or something like that..." he mumbled vaguely. 



Edited by Supercape
Link to comment
  • Replies 72
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Replica was running the calculations for a complicated computational problem in her head when she was interrupted by Dr. Tweed. Temporarily freezing the calculation subroutine in her positronic brain for later examination, the android put down the datapad she was using on her spotless desk and gave Tweed a look. It wasn't exactly a cross-examination, and Replica wanted to appear friendly, but she nevertheless looked at him closely. ASTRO Labs wasn't exactly a typical scientific research facility but someone randomly asking a colleague about cyber-crime was concerning to say the least. 


She was getting better when it came to registering human reactions, so she immediately noticed that Tweed was nervous. Mumbling, mild perspiration, awkward body language. Those were all physiological and social cues to nervousness in a human. 


Replica decided to play this cool and non-confrontational for now. "Yes, actually. I have quite a lot of experience in computer science, as you no doubt know. While its mostly in an academic sense, I do know much about cyber-crimes as well. So, if you have a problem I can be of assistance, Dr. Tweed."


While she talked Replica had a subroutine begin compiling a portfolio on Dr.Tweed. She only knew the man by reputation and felt it was best to learn as much as she could. 

Link to comment



Doctor Tweeds past was not, as it happens, obscured. It was fairly plain, in fact. Never married, moved to USA six years ago, a list of papers and academic qualifications. Research, employment, and so on and so forth. Aside from his clear skill in his field, he appeared to be a man notable only for his remarkable blandness. A dedicated, intleiigent man. 


"We, er, have done some interesting work down the cryo-facilities with near zero silicon chemistry" he said, softly. "Developing mimetic glass, well, that's what we call it. Mostly failures. Mostly. But that's science for you!"


His eyes glinted with enthusiasm when it came to his topic of interest. 


"And, ah, we had a bunch stolen. Well, missing actually. But that probably means stolen..." he conceded. "All our computers went dead. Completely corrupted files. All our data lost. Well, lost to us anyway. I wondered if you might give us your expertise?"

Link to comment

"I see." Replica began, her voice its usual monotone. "Such a data loss is indeed dire." That was an understatement and Replica, and most certainly Dr. Tweed, knew it.  ASTRO Labs had one if not the best network security system on the planet, with advanced firewall protocols and cryptography that many world powers would envy. The fact that someone, or someones, were able to crack it would have been disturbing to the android if she was capable of feeling emotions.


Instead, she was both curious and concerned about the situation. Replica had been part of the team that had upgraded ASTRO Lab's security systems and anyone capable of beating her innovations had to be both incredibly talented and determined. 


Replica began to run her information analysis program in her postronic brain. She'd heard about Dr. Tweed's project through co-workers and while interested in the possible utility of memetic glass didn't pay it much mind. Having a widespread appreciation for the sciences was an ethic that Replica stood by but her interest in glass paled to her focus on information technologies and robotics. She knew that she'd have to ask Dr. Tweed some questions about his project.


"I can likely help with recovering the corrupted files and saving what data remains on the computers, but I would likely to ask some questions about your project beforehand" she said reassuringly. "What exactly did you hope to achieve with your mimetic glass? Do you know if anyone outside of ASTRO Labs was aware your project? Do you believe the glass could be used for malicious purposes? I know these are a lot of questions, but they could help with finding out who did this."



Edited by Cubismo
Link to comment



"Sure sure..." said Tweed again, not comfortable. Perhaps it was Replica. 


"Mimetic glass is pretty clever. Not easy to make glass curved without distortions. If it cracks, it would seal over straight away. So handy for engineering and safety, for instance" he said, animated now. "You know how it is with research. Even top secret research. Everybody knows that you are researching something, with all the papers and conferences. They don't know the details, or how far we have got. They could guess, maybe. But I think we had the fine detail locked down..."


He pondered. 


"Its hardly a weapon. Well, it could be used as a weapon, I guess. Exploding glass or spikes of silicon. But really, as far as ASTRO labs go, it would be pretty low down the list of weaponisable developments...I mean, its not an AI paperclip, but its not a hyperdimensional Lens cannon either..."

Link to comment

Replica took all the new information in. The glass itself wasn't intend to be weaponized and apparently it wouldn't be highly destructive even if it was. Processing the data, Replica came to the conclusion that the data theft was likely motivated by profit. A glass capable of immediately repairing itself was an idea that easily could make fortunes several times over. If that was the case than likely suspects for the theft were probably rival research facilities or corporations looking for a new game-changer idea.


Of course, this was still just unsubstantiated speculation. Replica needed more data and the only she'd get any is by looking at the security breach herself.


"Thank you for answering all my questions Dr. Tweed," she said, with a smile that looked rather authentic. Those new face muscle mechanisms were well-made after all.


"I think its time for me to see the damage myself. Would be so kind to as take me to your computers so I can make my assessment?"

Link to comment



And so...


The lab was a bit of a mess. Such was the nature of Tweed, one might suppose. Coffee cup, donuts, papers all disorganised. Tweed knew his stuff, and his stuff wasn't organisation of office space. 


"Here we are...well...hmmm...do you want a donut?" he asked, offering a number of slightly stale donuts. "Or coffee?" he added, offering a slightly chipped mug full of slightly cold coffee. 


The glass was gone. All of it. And there was no glass at all in the lab. No test tube, beaker, or petri dish. All gone. 


The computers were blank and unresponsive. Powering them up just lead to a blip of corrupted data and the computer shutting itself down soon after. 


Link to comment

"No thank you," Replica said, turning down Dr. Tweed's offer. While Replica had a digestive system that superficially mimicked a human's she had no need to eat or drink. Which was rather fortunate since the android's olfactory sensors made it clear that Tweed's donuts had started to go bad.


She focused on the scene before her. The lab was disorganized with various items scattered across it. That said, it didn't look ransacked. The glass was gone but beyond that the lab wasn't horribly looted. Perhaps because the thieves knew what they wanted and exactly where to get it without a messy search? It was just more speculation but Replica saved the theory to her postronic brain.


Moving towards the computers, Replica took a seat near one of them and went to work. When she tried to activate it there was no response, like Tweed said, but Replica continued to mess with the computer regardless. While did she tried to technopathically interface with the machine in an attempt to determine what had happened.


Hopefully Dr. Tweed would just see Cynthia Wright pulling a tech wizard miracle and not ask questions beyond that. 


Link to comment



The files where a complete mess. Someone had done a job on them, good and thorough. The level of expertise needed to flip all this data about through the firewalls must have been...exceptional to say the least. 


Most was lost, beyond anything but divine intervention. But Replica could determine that this was a hack, and that the data had been copied before destruction. She was able to get some bits and pieces of technical data and records. Tweed had made a few AV records which, other than confirming his excitement and involvement in the project where of little importance. 


A few fragments over the past week where unusual. Particularly, a singer! It seemed like the project had hired a singer; some old black man dressed in outrageous 70s clothes, to croon at the glass, which seemed to respond, melding itself in new and unusual ways to not just the tone, but the timbre of the voice. 

Link to comment

It was as she had feared. There only a few uncorrupted files  left and they didn't give her any hints to who could have stolen the data and the glass. The only thing she did find that raised her interest was a video of a singer of somehow manipulating the glass with only his voice.


Immediately Replica's ran through possible explanations. The man could have been a metahuman with unique vocal abilities that effected glass somehow? Perhaps his voice could go beyond normal human frequencies? Or maybe the glass was created to be manipulated by voice commands?


While going over the possibilities was highly stimulating to Replica's mind it wasn't getting her anywhere. So she simply asked the person who'd most likely have the answer to her questions.


"Dr. Tweed. I was able to recover a handful of files on the computers. It's not much, but was able to find one that seemed interesting. What can you tell about the singer you hired?"

Link to comment



"Oh yeah, the singer" replied Tweed, embaressed. He fiddled with his bow tie. "Quite an odd fellow. I mean, he made me feel young..." he said wistfully. "A disco man, from the 70s. Yes yes, I know its hard to believe but I do follow something of popular culture. Even if I prefer Jazz" he conceded. 


"He must have been seventy, but he looked younger. Purple and yellow clothes, gold chains, an Afro. In shape, too. Damn, he was in better shape in his seventies than I was in my twenties. I gave up donuts for a week after I saw him. Well, a few days anyway". 


He shook himself back to the point. 


"We had this idea that the mimetic glass would respond to sound. Particularly, song. We wanted something actually in the lab, so we did a quick search online, and came up with this guy, who charged nothing and said it was all very interesting! well, despite his eccentricity he was free, available, and very well recommended on the internet. So we went with him!"


"Aaron Treestock was his name. He owns a club, I think..."



Link to comment

"Aaron Treestock is it?" Replica said with a notable hmm. Replica knew humans typical added hmm to vocally denote a sense of thinking and she had decided that doing the same would make her more...human for lack of a better word. It was just one of those behaviors she had added to her personality matrix.


More to the point though, she was considering the possibility of Aaron Treestock being behind the theft. The dots didn't seem to connect though. Why would an old disco club owner want the mimetic and how could he possibly break ASTRO Labs firewalls. Could it be he wasn't working alone and used Dr. Tweed's invitation to the lab as way of coasting the place so his more computer-savvy accomplice would have the information needed to do the hack?


Replica shook her head, another human gesture she had programmed in. There were too many unknown variables and connection failures for her to make a proper theory on who stole the mimetic glass. She'd have to look through the lab itself and see if the robbers left any clues that would betrayal them. She'd also need to know where this disco club was. She wasn't sold on the idea that Aaron Treestock had anything to do with the theft of the glass, but he was still a lead that had to be exhausted.


Walking around the lab and scanning the area for anything that seemed out of place, she asked Dr. Tweed for more info without turning her back to look at him directly. It was rude, sure, but she had to multitask. 


"I'm going to take look at your lab to see if there's any physical clues to what happened here. Do you mean telling me the address of Mr. Treestock's disco club while I work?"

Link to comment



"Sure" said Tweed, happily. "Say, you don't think that old crooner had anything to do with it, do you? I mean, he was a bit eccentric...." he conceded. "A living fossil, really. But he didn't look like a ...well, I guess what does a crook look like, especially in Freedom City..."


He wrote the name of Trrestock's club down anyway. Not far from the labs. Called "Golden Notes". A seventies theme disco place. Moderately popular. 


As for clues, there was not much to tell. Some glass fragments; shattered or half-dissolved. Not mimetic glass, as far as Replica could tell (and Tweed could confirm that). But it looked like it had been...well...eaten....

Link to comment

"Not necessarily. Right now I'm just looking for more leads," Replica said honestly. Her scanning of the lab didn't provide her any new insights on who was behind the theft and Treestock was the only thing she had to a lead.


Replica surmised that if she was capable of it this lackluster situation would have made her frustrated. Fortunately, she was android and felt no such emotion. That's what she told herself anyway. 


After receiving the address from Dr. Tweed the android bid the fellow scientist farewell and promised that she'd continue to investigate the theft. After her shift at ASTRO Labs was over Replica went to the Golden Notes club to see Treestock for herself. She decided that taking her costume with her would be more a liability than anything and decided to talk to Treestock in her Cynthia Wright public identity.

Edited by Cubismo
Link to comment



And so...at the Golden Note, mid-evening...


The Golden Note wasn't expensive to enter, but the drinks were otherwise and would eat a hole in most wallets. It was a smallish club on the corner of two moderately sized streets, and the colour scheme was Gold, purple and red. 


Inside it was slightly too hot and slightly too stuffy. A well done Retro feel complete with analogue speakers and pumping Disco music. The good stuff, too. the dancers and staff and drinkers and loungers mostly dressed in that same disco look, at Ms. Wright, not so attired, was somewhat of an anomaly in this regard. 


A man who could only be Aaron Treestock was dancing in the middle of the disco floor. And dancing well. He may have been seventy odd, but he looked fifty and his physique was one that a young man would be quite happy with. Such, presumably, was the effect of years of all night dancing. 


He was dressed in an open gold jacket-shirt number and bare chested, with golden medallions down his neck. His skin was dark, his hair darker and cut in a neat afro, complete with goatee and moustache. He seemed really rather happy with himself. 

Link to comment

It was pretty clear that Replica stood out like a sore thumb. She didn't mind it personally, but there was the possibility that sticking out would harm her chances of getting information from Treestock. The android could have attempted to go in disguise as a patron, but she calculated that the chances of her being found out were to high a risk.


Besides, as Cynthia Wright she could simply go to Treestock and claim she was just wanted to ask follow up questions about his participation in Dr. Tweed's experiment, which wasn't even untrue. Mr. Treestock still wasn't a suspect yet. He was still just someone who could help her on an investigation.


Walking up to the aged disco singer pass the crowd of patrons she introduced her. "Hello, my name is Dr. Cynthia Wright. I'm from ASTRO Labs," she said while pointing to her ASTRO Labs ID card. "I just wanted to ask a couple questions, if you don't mind?"

Link to comment



"Sure baby!" said the smooth Aaron. "They call me Mr. Gold round here. Its my club!" he said proudly, giving an elegant shuffle of his feat to the beat. 


And a fine disco beat it was. 


The internet was full of information. Some of it might even be accurate. In any case, it seemed that Aaron was a bit of a hit in the seventies, pumping out a few records, and having a reputation as the hottest disco dancer in Freedom City - and beyond. Second place in the world disco dancing championships of '78 and in the top ten for most of that decade and beyond. Of course, as music and styles got left behind, his star faded. 


There were rumours - and only rumours - of Aaron getting involved in street crime. Well, he owned a club, some of that heat was to be expected. But there was a nagging pattern that Aaron was not the cleanest club owner in Freedom City. 

Link to comment

Replica's research on Treestock had given her some much needed information about the man. The rumors that he was involved in street crime made her reassess the possibility he was involved in the theft of the mimetic glass. Still, relying on rumor wasn't something she intended to do. Humans tended to fall on bad habits, Replica knew, but they were also capable of create transformations of character as well. Replica hoped this was the case for Treestock. 


After finding a place to talk to him that was at least quieter than the rest of the disco, Replica started to ask her questions.


"First off, I must say that I was fascinated by your ability to manipulate the mimetic glass," she said with a smile and look of astonishment. The android preferred not to use deceit and flattery when interacting with people. Her existence was already wrapped up in secrets that rarely saw the point of adding more. But with Treestock she believed she'd have to "butter" him up as it were to get answers. 


"We knew it was possible for the glass to affected by music, but were able to accomplish feats we didn't think possible! How were you able to do it with only your voice? Do you have some kind of metahuman ability?"

Edited by Cubismo
Link to comment



With a snap of his fingers the DJ cut short the music. 


This was all very dramatic, as the spotlights went on him, in silence. The dancers around him looked bemused, dissapointed, and worried. Replica could see a few security guards circling behind her. 


"Lady, this is a disco club. And you just stopped the beat. I ain't here to talk about no glass. I ain't here to talk about no metahuman abilities. I ain't here to answer no damn questions from you, or nobody else" he said, face a mixture of calm and angry. 


He snapped his fingers again and the music came back on. Goldnote, as he called himself, wasn't dancing however, he was studying Replica intently. 


"This is my club, lady. I want to know what you are doing here. I've been hustling the streets for thirty years and I know who my friends and enemies are - and you better believe I got plenty of both. Thing is, I don't know a damn thing about you, and thats gotta change..."

Link to comment

Well this certainly wasn't going well. 


Replica looked around the disco and her optics spotted several security guards encircled around her and Treestock. The situation had changed from calm and sociable to deadly serious in a span  of a few seconds and it was more than clear that Treestock wasn't going to be providing her any direct answers in his current mood. 


The android went through scenarios and probabilities in the span of a few micro-seconds and came to the conclusion that the best way of handling the current situation was by gently easing tensions if possible and attempting to leave the establishment without a fight.


"I'm sorry if my questions were intrusive," she trying appear as sincere as possible. Replica made sure to keep as still and nonthreatening as possible as she spoke. Any sudden movements made by her could possibly trigger one of the guards to overreact and start something that the android didn't want to deal with.


"Like I said, am a scientist who works for ASTRO Labs and I really just wanted to ask you a few follow up questions. But if find such questions are an invasion of your privacy than I'll leave your establishment at once and make sure no other ASTRO Labs personnel bother you."


Having to leave without getting answers from Treestock would have been a disappointment but it was certainly better than getting into a fight. Besides, given Treestock's sudden aggressiveness and outright admittance to "hustling the streets" Replica was starting to think that the man wasn't as innocent as she once thought. 



Link to comment



Feedstock seemed to relax after a fashion. In the way a sword fell into a scabbard with fingers still gripped on its hilt. The immediate danger of it being swung or thrust was muted. But it was still sharp.


"That was some crazy trip" he said, slow and smooth. "I never had a gig like that before, But I did it, got paid, and of story. Why, what happened after?"

Link to comment

While glad that Treestock had appeared to have settled down, Replica was still troubled by what the outburst likely meant. Treestock's vague answer didn't help either. It just seemed increasingly more likely that he was hiding something, but as to what she couldn't be sure. Yet.


"Someone, or someones, recently stole an experiment being worked on in our facilities," she said matter-of-factly, not wanting to seem as if she was accusing him of anything. 


"It was the mimetic glass that you helped us with." Replica just let the statement hang in the air for a second or two. She wanted to study how Treestock reacted to it, whether he'd get angry again, nervous or even scared. 

Edited by Cubismo
Link to comment



"I see" answered Feedstock, cold and blunt."I think I need a drink...."


He marched over to the bar and clicked his fingers at the barwoman who poured him, without asking, a vodka Martini. It was, Replica noted, quite correctly stirred, not shaken.


"Can I get you one, miss......?" Asked Feedstock, waiting for her name. "Then you can tell me all about yourself. How come a beautiful woman like you ended up shut in a laboratory all day? What's your story?"

Link to comment

Replica wasn't getting anywhere. Her attempt to analyze Treestock's body language and inflection had come up short. Either the man had nerves of steel or Replica needed to upgrade her sociability matrix again. The android mused that it was probably both.


Regardless, new tactics had to be made. Straight forwardly asking questions wasn't working but perhaps playing along with whatever game Treestock was playing would. He did seem...interested in her after all. 


Replica rose from her seat and joined Treestock at the bar. She ordered herself the same drink Treestock was having and turned to him with a smile on her face. 


"My name is Cynthia Wright if you've forgotten and I wouldn't consider myself a shut-in. Just someone who prefers to look at and understand interesting things. Usually that's science for me but I have to admit you've peaked my interest Mr. Gold," she said coyly.


Replica wasn't exactly built for flirting and wasn't a master of human interaction at the best of times, but it seemed that this route was one of few left available if she wanted information on Treestock. Besides, it was an opportunity to test whether her sociability matrix was really on the fritz if nothing else. 

Link to comment



Treestock gave a broad grin but nothing more - what type of grin was it? He painted it on his face in a deliberately ambigious manner. 


He gave a complicated clicking order to the Bartender, who nodded and brought up a special bottle of rum. "Top class, baby. Have some of this!" he said, as the Bartender poured a pungent glass of what appeared to be almost antique alcohol. It looked like it has been passed around a dozen pirates - perhaps artifice or deception in its appearance, but who knew?


"So, you are a scientist? That's cool baby, real cool. But I'm guessing you didn't come here to dance, did you? In any sense of the word" he said, more seriously now, studying her. "Something got your interest, right? I wonder why you decided to poke your nose into this litlle corner of town?"

Link to comment
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Create New...