Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mutations

I spent the evening learning the clarinet, can you believe that? They have one hell of a good Klezmer band here. And here's something weird: I'm almost certain that the dingy cellar we were playing in acquired some wallpaper over the course of the evening. Mood-sensitive, maybe?

I also found a couple of plants pushing up through the concrete inside the house. Splash took a look at them and confirmed my suspicion: EVO. I find that strangely comforting.

In exchange for some civilian clothes I agreed to treat Mordecai's people against lice and what I found were not lice, but bugs in every sense. They do look like lice at first glance, but a closer look shows that they are more of a surveillance bug if it grew a couple of legs. They are a product of what we have come to call Evil EVO, the black mutation that grows all over Splash's container.

Splash created Evil EVO by combining EVO with a strain that had infected her and now that something has created the bugs with Evil EVO. Together with what we found out about Ephraim, that leads us to believe that MCT has stolen Ephraim's research and is experimenting with it to create Technomages.

Ephraim, the real, adult Ephraim, had experimented with AIPS victims and when he finally managed to kill a patient, he tried to get out. It seems he did, for a time, working for Horizon and trying to really help AIPS victims, but MCT got to him. The ghetto records show that he arrived here and was deported soon after that. We're not sure what our Ephraim, the small boy, is, but he may be a copy of the real Ephraim's mind, carefully hidden away. When Splash showed him a picture of the real Ephraim, he collapsed with a severe shock.

I found a woman named Lidia, dying of hunger and thirst and simple desperation. I took her to our room and got her somethng to eat, so she at least did survive the night and is not all alone any more. She's a strange one, she speaks all languages and none, I have no idea what's going on with her.

During the night, we all had the same dream of being all alone out on the street while a thunderstorm moved in and lightning struck right next to us. We woke up with what I believe were minor myocardial infarctions or at the very least V-fibs and we were the lucky ones. A lot of people are simply dead. Splash can tell apart the real people and the ones who are just programms and she says that the dead ones are all real. The programs haven't felt anything at all. It seems that someone has pulled the plug on the ones that died, separating their body and mind or that the dumpshock has killed them.

We also heard explosions and I made my way up on the roof with Splash. The outer part of the ghetto is being razed to the ground with tanks, there's heavy fighting. I decided we had seen enough when the first Stukas flew in. I doubt the historical correctness of that, but it may be a sign that MCT is starting to notice that they have a huge problem. Which probably caused them to just kill all those people as well. We need to get out of here as fast as we can, I hope that the clothes I bartered my medical services for will help with that.

I had a full-blown panic attack during the night. I saw that coming, I've been having problems to cope with the situation from the beginning and with the sound of explosions and gunfire from just a couple of hundred yards away, it was finally too much. Knowing what was happening in medical terms did not help one little bit. The others didn't notice, I think, and I rolled up on my bed, flinching at every loud noise, fighting to breathe and not to throw up from sheer fright. I'm not sure how long it lasted, but a couple of hours at least. Having work to do helps, along with the knowledge that people rely on me, so I'm keeping busy and I hope I'll be too tired to lie awake tonight.

I also miss being able to use my magic. It's weird, a few weeks ago I would never even have thought I could do something like call a ghost and now I feel like I've been amputated or something.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Day's Work

I don't remember much of the night. We were woken at 5am by Mordecai who had gotten us work permits for the broom factory. That way, we can move about and for now, we are safe. Well. As safe as anyone can be in this place.

So we went to work. Mordecai said that we should try and steal some food, the workers are fed fairly well - much better than I had imagined and definitely much better than the actual ghetto inhabitants were. With some help from Mordecai, I got a job in the kitchen and I did indeed manage to get my hands on some food and passed it on to Mordecai's people.

Splash used her technomancy to take a look at the factory. She says that the broms we're making are a representation of some dull programming tasks, something usually left to bots. We are very slowly figuring out how the whole imagery works and what we can and cannot do with it.

There is a hole in the ghetto wall, the resistance uses it to smuggle letters out. Splash has been doing some exploring with the help of a a sprite, something I would understand similar to the ghosts I can call. It found the hole as well and Splash thinks that it might be a backdoor she made during her time at MCT. It leads from Petrovski's server to MCT and for now, we cannot use it to get out. The sprite died when it tried.

The eviction of the outer ghetto has begun and so has the fighting. Someone actually managed to sabotage the train leaving to Treblinka by blowing up the engine. Mordecai would like to start the fighting here, too, but I'm not at all sure that would be a good idea right now. We don't stand much of a chance and while I will fight if there is no other way, I think we're better off right now keeping our heads down.

I admit that this is in part because I'm absolutely terrified. I found it hard to even step out onto the street this morning, I felt very much exposed. If I could, I'd just stay hidden, but I can't.