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The 21st Century was a time of utter turmoil, domestic strife, and international upheaval. The War on Terror reduced the prestige of the victor of the Cold War of the 20th Century, the United States, to only one among several global powers. The surveillance state it created soon had become so large it could but only be unleashed domestically, and its rivals were all too eager to mirror what they saw as a useful tool of societal cohesion in the face of chaos. The new spies sat largely at computers, and rarely spied on anyone but their nation's own citizens. This was noticed, many were alarmed, but no one had the power to stop the ascendancy of the intelligence agencies to a place of power that dwarfed even traditional powerhouses like the national militaries or increasingly wealthy corporations.


All of this was just the beginning, as the Resource Wars of the 2040's ripped asunder the longstanding era of relative peace among peer powers. Beginning with the Chinese invasion of Taiwan and ending with much of the Middle East reduced to a radioactive waste known as Samson's Ashes, the wars worsened the already escalating climate emergencies across the globe. Weather storms that were once the thing of tall tales became annual, and sea levels rose. The global community turned to finding some way to solve the issue, or limit the damage. They were far too late.

In the coming decade the old powers fell apart. China fell to warlordism, India descended on its perpetual foe Pakistan and joined it in the pyre of nuclear flame. What remains of either barely manages an 18th century standard of living. Russia did what is has always done: shed it's skin for a new one. No one can verify the new Tsardom's claim of descendance from a Romanov branch family. No one really cares. And the United States stands as a testament to the failure of the international system it created in the wake of the Second World War. Coastal states faced devastation, and became entirely reliant on Federal Aid, destroying an already crippled economy in the wake of the Resource Wars and decades of chasing the specter of Terrorism across the globe. The response of many interior states was simple: secession. The leadership of many of them stopped supporting the waning Federal Government in the wake of years of failure. The military, its reputation ruined and manpower utterly depleted in the failed defense of Taiwan and subsequent war of attrition across Vietnam, Japan, and the rest of the Pacific, failed to put up meaningful resistance to the spreading effort. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and so it fell. What followed was an age of terror, the veneer of civility withdrawn by the terrible decades preceding it, homegrown extremism became the self fulfilling prophecy the security state had both warned of and created.
>>
Anarcho Primitivists release a bio plague in New York City, and Manhattan is sealed off for decades. Neo Confederate militias strike government offices and military patrols in Appalachia. Black seperatists briefly gain control of Baltimore and begin executing police and city officials. It takes many years before a form of order is restored. In the wake of the chaos, the surveillance only grows, those who spoke against it cowed and delegitimized by almost a decade of homegrown extremism gone rampant. In the new United States, a revenant of its predecessor consisting only of the east coast and some annexed inland terrortory taken at high cost from the mayfly states of the midwest, every minute is accounted for. The free internet is a memory. Every citizen knows to keep their more controversal thoughts to themselves. No one wants a visit from the new unitary law enforcement and anti-terrorism force.


No one wants to face...

PANOPTICON
>>
That's history as you know it. A young person in their late twenties, a few years of idleness between you and your days at University, getting a degree you knew was all but useless even as you worked to achieve it. Unemployment can be a way of life. Your Dad left you some money when he died in that self driving bus accident two years ago. You miss him, but you have his death to thank for your easy lifestyle. At least Baltimore is cheap.Your days are spent shitposting on one of few remaining boards that don't heavily restrict speech in the interest of decorum, a site where people collect information and documentation on interesting individuals that users see the fun in mocking. Turns out, you are fucking great at it. All the time spent in research libraries for your degree came in handy for something apparently, even if its just amusement.

The year is 2143, hottest day in August, and there's an environmental warning for radioactive rainfall, so you make sure to have your Federal Issue hazard jacket and goggels on you as you leave your modest apartment. You're off to your favorite cafe for a morning of easy access to their public uplink and maybe some scrambled eggs. You think you've scared up the criminal history of one of the board's favorite subjects, an overweight videogame personality known for his nasally voice and penchant to “accidently” masturbate on camera to his audience of idiot children. Turns out hes got three assault convictions. Real piece of work, but more disgusting than evil. You can't wait to see his reaction, like many people tracked on the board he reads his own thread. In fact, in your excitement you almost miss the formal looking stamped envelop on your doorstep. Who the hell still uses paper mail?

Your heart skips, and panic sets in. On the envelope is a stamped seal; Department of Homeland Security PANOPTICON. No wonder none of your shithead neighbors lifted your mail like do your delivery packages, everybody knows that means trouble. Sweating, you look to your left and right, expecting agents in broad shouldered suit jackets coming to get you. But there's nothing. Doesn't mean they are not waiting outside though, you think. Your clammy hands pick up the envelop, and you gingerly open it.
>>
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I hope you're having a pleasant morning.

Blaise's Cafe. 10:00 AM.

Come alone. Do not be late.

Do not even think about not coming at all.

P.S. Your work tracking down that bestiality fetishists' adress was inspired. You ever wonder why he got picked up a week later?

Signed,

Your only real friend

Shit. Shit shit shit. That damn postscript. They know, they know everything. All the bitching about the new ID system, all the jokes about going back to the days of the Chaos Decade. And they had the gall to talk about some dogfucker instead. You take a moment to calm yourself. Blaise's. That's where you were going anyway, nothing gets past these spooks. You almost throw your portable terminal against the wall, they clearly have a rootkit or something on it, but decide against it. If they are tracking it, breaking it might lead them to think you are running. And you know for a fact no one gets far running from PANOPTICON.

Forty minutes later, you stand just inside Blaise's, the glass exterior bringing in the morning light and setting a pleasant atmosphere for a morning coffee. You wish you could appreciate it. The place is empty, which is about as likely to be natural as the building disappearing in the air, a lone man in a somewhat frumpy grey two piece sits in the corner booth, calmly sipping on a cup of coffee you suspect has been cold for some time. Without looking at you he checks his watch.

“ 9:50, huh? Looks like you slept in a bit more than average. I should have factored that in. Anyway, take a seat.” He still focuses mostly on the portfolio, in old fashioned paper, before him rather than you. As if he does not need to look to see everything he needs to know. You sit down.

Finally looking at you, he extends his hand for a shake.

“ Deputy Director McGregor, PANOPTICON.”

> Choose:

> Shake his hand “ENTER NAME HERE”

> Do not shake, but answer “ENTER NAME HERE”

> Fuck this, you'll take your chance running before he can get up. Throw his coffee in his face and book it.

> QM note: I have not stated the character's gender, please include your choice in your response if you wish it to be defined. I will be monitoring for some hours but next post likely in twelve hours or so.
>>
>>4905861
> Shake his hand “ENTER NAME HERE”
>"Peeping. Tom Peeping, at your service."
>>
>>4905861
>> Shake his hand “ENTER NAME HERE”
jeremy hammond
>>
>>4905908
male
>>
>>4905861
> Shake his hand “Jack Ryan”

Tom Clancy is also a good choice.
>>
>>4905935
+1
>>
>>4905861
>lil write in
"Jack. Getting right to the point, why would PANOPTICON be interested in little old me?"
>>
Please continue with voting, but while Im still on I will be glad to answer any setting questions you might have. I wrote a small bible for it and could not include everything in the OP without making it unwieldy to read. Of course limited to what the MC would naturally know through schooling and an adult life of shitposting.
>>
>>4905935
>>
>>4905861
>Shake his hand “Jack Ryan”
>Male
>>
>>4905935
+1
>>
>>4905935
I love you, so much.
>>
Hey guys, new post will be in a few hours, got caught away from home a bit longer than intended.
>>
>>4905861
>Do not shake, but answer “Sue Donim Buchheit"
Female, Black. Surname is from Paul Buchheit, who coined the phrase "Don't be Evil." Miiight be a fake name.
>>
>>4905935
Jack Ryan it is, good thing in the grim future no one remembers what the fuck a Tom Clancy is.

Writing.
>>
Control the game?
>>
You clasp his hand, meeting with a firm grip and a quick shake.

“ Jack. Getting right to the point, why would PANOPTICON be interested in little old me?” You do your best to look McGregor in the eye as you respond.

Your father, Henry Ryan, had been a big fan of the author Tom Clancy, some prolific 20th century cold warrior. The name might have been embarrassing if your average contemporary knew Tom Clancy for anything other than poorly made French shooting games. You tried the books Dad lent you, couldn't get into your namesake's series. Red Storm Rising was good though.

He arches his eyebrow.

“ I will be honest Mr. Ryan, I thought my note might have given you a clue.” He takes a moment to finish his lukewarm brew.

“ Your activities on that ancient web 2.0 board are known to us. PANOPTICON sees everything. People like you seem to live somewhat in another era, where you can harass random freaks and losers with impunity as long as you don't reveal your identity outright. This is not the 21st century, you looking up and sharing the information is a violation of so many personal privacy laws we could take that site down overnight and put everyone active on it into a federal prison for as long as we'd like.”

You start sweating in earnest as the Deputy Director straightens his wrinkled grey tie.

“ In fact, many of my collogues would like nothing better than that. I have always advocated for a different approach.” He clears his throat, and soon begins on what you peg as a sort of prepared speech. “ At the dawn of the Digital Age many early advancements in security came from Black Hat hackers turned against criminals via recruitment into law enforcement. I believe in this principle, I simply apply it PANOPTICON instead. Its our job to know everything we need to about anyone we need to. Maybe everyone in general. Sites like your little playground are allowed to exist because every so often one of you bored young people turns out to be really good at your low stakes intelligence gathering. Do not let it go to your head, but you are one of the best I've seen since PANOPTICON took the site ever several years ago.”

He breaks from his prepared speech mode, returning to a more conversational tone.
>>
>>4906938
“ Frankly, recruits from the usual Law Enforcement and Military backgrounds tend to struggle in my line of work. Their thinking is too rigid, they cannot get into the headspace of a dissident or extremist. They do not know how to connect the dots, cannot make the decision to monitor instead of act. They'll happily catch a small fish and miss the rest of the school. You've been sweating heavily this whole meeting, Mr. Ryan, you know I know about your, let's say, more controversial online activity. Good for you this is a job offer and not an arrest. I cannot force you. Come work for me if you would like, I see that no employment is holding you down. However if you would rather we go our separate ways, I understand. Some people find themselves better men when they get out of prison, or so I hear.”

> Accept Eagerly, its a chance to escape idleness and make something of yourself

> Accept reluctantly, its better than prison

> Write in

> QM note: I realize there is not a ton of agency just yet, don't worry, things will open up.
>>
>>4906939
>Accept reluctantly, its better than prison
>>
>>4906939
> Accept Eagerly, its a chance to escape idleness and make something of yourself

It looks like we’re moving up in the world. I just wonder if PANOPTICON has good insurance.
>>
>>4906939
> Accept Eagerly, its a chance to escape idleness and make something of yourself

Enthusiasm will keep them off our backs (somewhat).
>>
>>4906939
>> Write in
wait hold on theres a catch to this right?
>>
>>4907068

For clarity's sake, do you want to ask him if there is a catch to his offer?

Or are you asking me if there is a catch to the Write In option? I do not intend there to be but you can imagine declaring your allegiance to the KKK or something might end poorly.
>>
>>4906939
> Accept Eagerly, its a chance to escape idleness and make something of yourself
might ask for immunity / if there are any catches
>>
>>4907082
to his offer
>>
>>4907099
I support.
The moment we accept, our criminal record must be either voided or nullified permanently, to make sure that Panopticon or another agency cannot blackmail us further.

Secondly, get something in writing that ensures all illegal activities performed and crimes committed during our employment with Panopticon will be similarly non-prosecutable by them or anyone as Panopticon would take full responsibility.

We get to walk in and out a law-abiding record-free citizen.

I'd also ask for the basket weaving forum to not get shut down, but that is something he already support and we can just help by proving everyone he was right in keeping it as a poaching ground for small fry criminals and new talent alike.

That should do it.
>>
>>4907099
+1
>>
>>4906939
>Accept reluctantly, its better than prison
Fake eagerness is suspicious. Let them think they have us.
>>
>>4906939
>Accept reluctantly, its better than prison
Ask about immunities and catches
>>
>>4906939
>Accept reluctantly, its better than prison
>>
>>4907168
>We get to walk in and out a law-abiding record-free citizen.
You really are not getting the situation. PANOPTICON doesn't do that, any of it.
We take the deal or Prison. And we don't "walk out." This is our life now, unless you feel up to dismantling the surveillance state from the inside.
>>
Eagerly takes it. I will also include the questions about conditions, catches and assurances, they proved popular.

Writing, but do be patient, I'm away from home tonight and phone posting is a pain.
>>
>>4908061
" I'll take the job, Deputy Director, but I'm not stupid. I can tell there are strings here, and not just that saying no means thinking about my choices in a hole of your choosing." Honestly you could get something out of this, even if you're basically being coerced. That said, you've had a long time to build up a distrust of spooks like McGregor.

The man across from you smiles, and it actually seems genuine, if subdued. " Smart man. Of course your continued employment will be subject to both performance and assimilation into organizational culture. Even now you are bound by operational security, If I allow you to walk out of here with this employment documentation it's for your eyes only. You can tell people who you work for, you are not some fictional spy, but keep details to yourself. Strict parameters and do's and don'ts are in the package if you need strict detail. Any breaches mean possible termination and remanding to the justice system. Your direct report will be Agent Sofia Dyatlov, number included with the rest. Call her with questions after reading, but remember she's working right now so give it till the afternoon if you must."

He stands, leaving a folder on the table marked ONBOARDING in a stencil stamp. As he passes you feel a hand upon your shoulder. " As far as the organization knows, the individual connected to the offending posts and extremist opinions has been apprehended. Simple clerical error. One I can fix anytime. Don't disappoint me, Mr. Ryan. Untill tomorrow." He calmly walks out of Blaise's, leaving you alone with the folder and your thoughts.

You figure you best go over this at home, but despite the adrenaline high that still has your extremities shaking, the meeting with McGregor scarcely took twenty minutes. You have one last day before your life changes, probably for a long time.

> Call Mom, tell her you got a job, but be vague about it. She'll still be happy.

> Call Mom and tell her you got a job with PANOPTICON, Dad was a Baltimore PD Detective, she might consider this following in his footsteps.

> Call your best friend from college, George, and tell him the news. And that maybe he should magnet his hard drives, he's into a lot of the stuff that landed you here this morning.

> Fuck it. It's not even noon but you need a drink. O'connoly's is nearby and they do a mean Bloody Mary. Maybe that bartender you like is in. Alice? Ally? You're usually not sober walking in there, much less out.

>Call your direct report, though it's too early by far. Maybe they'll like your initiative?

> Write in, it's a big city

> QM note: feel free to vote multiple options, you have all day.
>>
>>4908536
First I want to make a few calls just to let our friends/family know what’s going on.
>Call Mom and tell her you got a job with PANOPTICON, Dad was a Baltimore PD Detective, she might consider this following in his footsteps.
>Call your best friend from college, George, and tell him the news. Don’t go into any real details about how you acquired your job but very vaguely suggest he get rid of anything incriminating.
Then
>Go outside and take a walk in a local park, maybe being outside for a while will help you de-stress.
>>
>>4908536
> Call your best friend from college, George, and tell him the news. And that maybe he should magnet his hard drives, he's into a lot of the stuff that landed you here this morning.
>>
>>4908550
I'm not trying to gotcha you so I will simply remind as it's been a few posts that the city is under a radioactive rainfall alert.
>>
>>4908536
>Call Mom, tell her you got a job, but be vague about it. She'll still be happy.
>Call your best friend from college, George, and tell him the news. And that maybe he should magnet his hard drives, he's into a lot of the stuff that landed you here this morning
>Destroy the site they caught you on, via DDOS.
>>
>>4908536
I'd say we call Mom and tell her about Panopticon, then George. Tell him your stunts got Pano's attention. He can make his own choices.

>>4908585
McGregor wants to keep that site running. It's a bit early to start pissing him off. He still has us by the balls, mind you.

Before or after the calls, we should clear our head. I don't think getting drunk is the right way to go.
How about we order something from Blaise's, maybe chat up the staff about how Pano got the building empty. Then walk back home slowly, grabbing a lunch on the way.

Basically calm the fuck down so we can read the dossier when we get back and call our report in the afternoon, 3pm should do it.
>>
>>4908536
>Call Mom, tell her you got a job, but be vague about it. She'll still be happy.
>Call your direct report, though it's too early by far. Maybe they'll like your initiative?
At most we can ask more details
Also is the Mongolian basket weaving website still around?
>>
>>4908536
>> Call Mom, tell her you got a job, but be vague about it. She'll still be happy.
then
>>Call your direct report, though it's too early by far. Maybe they'll like your initiative?
>>
>>4908623
You'll find it's still up, but your terminal is permabanned from posting.
>>
>>4908642
How unfortunate
>>
>>4908536
>Call Mom, tell her you got a job, but be vague about it. She'll still be happy.
>Call your best friend from college, George, and tell him the news. Don’t go into any real details about how you acquired your job but very vaguely suggest he get rid of anything incriminating.
>>
>>4908536
>> Call Mom and tell her you got a job with PANOPTICON, Dad was a Baltimore PD Detective, she might consider this following in his footsteps.
> Call your best friend from college, George, and tell him the news. And that maybe he should magnet his hard drives, he's into a lot of the stuff that landed you here this morning.

>Go stop by the local family run burger joint. A health man needs his food.
>>
We are at 4 vague 3 mentioning PANOPTICON by my count. Writing. All other options will be included in some way.
>>
>>4909222
Stepping out into the steamy air you begin walking away from Blaise's, the streets are not quite deserted but you decide to head somewhere quiet to gather your thoughts. Remembering the rainfall advisory you opt for a nearby botanical greenhouse. It will be hot as hell in this weather but it's better than ending up having to take antiradiation treatment because you got caught in a downpour.

It's quite a few blocks away, but the sky does not tell you rain is imminent and you open your terminal to make some calls. You figure Mom gets to be first,i t's only right.

The digital tone goes on for three short cycles before the audio on your earpiece comes to life.

" Jack? It's been a few weeks, how are you?" You wince, you had been so engrossed in digging up dirt on that fat streamer that you had not talked to your own mother in almost a month.

" I'm really sorry about that mom, but I actually have good news, I've been offered a job..."

She is predictably pleased with the news, and you successfully deflect her questions about where you'll be working by expressing a desire to make sure it works out before jinxing it by building it up to her. Your mother is disappointed, but she lets it go. She's always been pretty lenient with you. Eventually, you will probably just have to tell her the truth though.

Your pleasant family chat wraps up, and your mom leaves you be with a reminder that Dad's birthday is in two weeks. You hadn't forgotten, but it's good she keeps track. You think on who else you should talk to and one name sticks out. George Fairview, the last friend you have any contact with from University and dedicated web counterculture enthusiast.

Unsurprisingly he answers the call immediately.

" Jack fucking Ryan! My nigger!" Your hand flies to your forehead. George is about as white as you are, which is to say as driven snow, and you already regret this call.

" God dammit George, not on the fucking terminal."

He scoffs. " Oh what, you a fedboy now, gonna report me?" There's some dark humor in that at least. " Just fucking with ya Jacky, hey good shit finding the deets on that fat fuck LeftSidePat, funniest happening in months."

" Thanks, I guess. Hey listen, I won't be on the board much anymore. Actually at all. I got offered a job and-"

" Bullshit Jack, you're the most dedicated NEET I know, even I work part time slinging onions patties at Podburger."

This is giving you a headache.

" I don't care if you believe me George. And get off the board too if you know what's good for you, and especially throw out that hard drive you showed me last time I was over. I don't care how "cultured" your century old cartoons are, they will lock your ass up for that shit with the little girls. Take care."

" The fuck, who's they-" you disconnect the call. You can only hope he's too small a fish for anyone to bother with, unlike you he mostly used the board to shitpost and drop racial slurs that would land you in lockup irl.
>>
>>4910537
Inside the greenhouse you contemplate calling your new superior early when something catches the corner of your eye. Two figures enter from a different door to yours. You would think nothing of it, except for the crisp suits and that you are almost certain they were a few dozen paces behind you while you spoke to George...

> Confront them
> Observe them
> Something is bothering you and you think you know what it is. (Roll 3d100 DC 60)

> Note on rolling: rolls are roll over and one anon per roll. Eg: in this case were this option chosen three anons would roll separate d100s hoping to roll higher than 60.
>>
Rolled 9, 1, 7 = 17 (3d10)

>>4910548
>>
>>4910548
> Something is bothering you and you think you know what it is. (Roll 3d100 DC 60)

More Goddamn Spooks.

So we roll after the decision is made, right?
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>>4910565
I am impressed you managed to do every level of that roll incorrectly. Well done, you have a future in government.

>>4910573
You would be correct, otherwise bad rolls would scare away votes.
>>
>>4910548
>> Something is bothering you and you think you know what it is. (Roll 3d100 DC 60)
>>
Rolled 26, 52, 67 = 145 (3d100)

>>4910548
>Something is bothering you and you think you know what it is. (Roll 3d100 DC 60)
>>
>>4911422
>>4911138
>>4910573

Option confirmed

I'll need 3 rolls of d100 from 3 different IDs. Same DC as listed. I apologize for the confusion.
>>
Rolled 85 (1d100)

I liked your writing very much, qm. You have a future in having too much free time!!
>>
I can see a phase of setting up, doing the job and managing paperwork and then comes security. Living in a good place, having a varied schedule, maybe learning some personal defense or acquiring tools.... i can get an idea of how qm will make things interesting
>>
Rolled 61 (1d100)

>>4911428
>>
Rolled 49 (1d100)

>>4911428
Yo
>>
Thanks for the rolls guys. It's late but I'll work on new narrative update ASAP.
>>
>>4911447
>>4911621
>>4911628

> Two success, one failure, normal success!

You are about 80% sure you just found them out, but that 20% can sure end bad for you in a lot of ways. Nothing ventured, right?

You look the right figure directly at eye level and complete dialing Agent Dyatlov. Your smug smile is only slightly put off when you realize the right figure is a pale man with a crooked and hooked nose, and it is the left figure, a lithe woman in a conservative black ponytail and eyes hooded with lack of sleep who snaps her hand to the terminal audio earpiece in her right ear.

Your own earpiece hums with her low, yet musical voice. "Good boy, you did that with far more panache than the last one."

Dyatlov and the other agent step forward. Other than looking like she has not slept in a week, you figure she probably isnt much older than you are, if at all. And in considerably better shape. You specifically note that, despite her bedraggled face, her suit is neat and proper, a contrast to the Deputy Director's wrinklefest this morning.

Her companion is significantly less inviting. Up close its clear this man is not merely pale, he is practically an albino, minus the pigment he retains in his eyes, a steely grey. His white hair is in late stage baldness, almost like a monk's tonsure, and his crooked nose bears the scars of being broken many, many times.

If there were a stereotype for "sinister federal agent" he's the example picture. Probably had final copy on the dictionary definition too.

As they come into reasonable conversational distance, Dyatlov throws up a lazy wave and tired smile. " Hi Jack, Im Agent Sofia Dyatlov, your boss for now. Dont over sweat formality with me, I get bored with the military types soooo-" she holds that about as long the teenage girl she in no way resembles" -ooo fast. But we should get along fine! Don't feel creeped out, Mcgregor has us do this to all the new hires. He calls it a shit test, but they only shit themselves once! Terrible name, that man has an alien's sense of humor."

The man's hands clench into a death grip. "Are you fucking kidding me Sofia? Look at him! I bet he hasn't seen the damned sun in two years, at least I have an excuse to be pale! Or are you just playing with your food again you nasty b-"

"-And this charming specimen of gentlemanly cheer is Agent Rudolf Ritter. I'd love to say he grows on you, but sadly, only like a tumor!" She interrupts him without a thought. " Do not worry your little head, my friend, he might be your superior too but the Deputy Director made me your boss. You should be happy!"

Freaks. You are going to be working with freaks.

She makes an over produced gesture of putting a finger under her chin as if a thought had just suddenly occurred to her.

" We really need to get back to HQ. I could, maybe, be convinced to answer one question. The smirk returns. "If its a good one..."
>>
>>4911716

Ritter looks at you with ill concealed malice. "... don't even."

Dyatlov giggles. It sounds like a hyena mocking prey. "Ohh, ohh, ask him one instead! You still get one but it would be so interesting, no?"

> ask a question( Sofia or Rudolf?)
> Excuse yourself( gain one more action for the day before retiring to look over your folder)
> Excuse yourself and return home immediately( Day ends, but you have more time to read up on your new job)
>>
>>4911719
>> Excuse yourself and return home immediately( Day ends, but you have more time to read up on your new job)

This feels like a trap.
>>
>>4910548
>Something is bothering you and you think you know what it is. (Roll 3d100 DC 60)
>>
>>4911719
>> Excuse yourself and return home immediately( Day ends, but you have more time to read up on your new job)
>>
>>4911780
You might have pasted the wrong post, anon.
>>
>>4911803
Yeah looks that way

>>4911719
>Excuse yourself( gain one more action for the day before retiring to look over your folder)
>>
Aright guys, gonna give this just a few more hours before rolling for tie breaker.
>>
>>4912851
Or I can't fucking count, lmao.

>>4911802
>>4911723

You two have it. It'll be up before nights end.
>>
I am waiting for the update boss. Eagerly.
>>
>>4912882

The overt, let's say, "friendliness" on display is making you more than a little wary of these two, especially Dyatlov. For some reason Ritter at least strikes you as entirely sincere in his disdain.

" No questions Agents, if it's all the same to you I really ought to head home now, need to get my head around all this before I come in tomorrow. I am sure you understand."

For her part Agent Dyatlov pouts, while Ritter seems genuinely relieved to be able to leave this distraction behind.

"Ah, Jack, I hope you aren't going to bore me? It would be a miserable few weeks we have together if you do." Her tone suddenly goes from easygoing to cold. "Oh well, be sure to read up well on your little package there, I guess Rudy and I will just trot back to the office." She rolls her eyes and yawns as she turns to leave. Ritter gives you a nod, which is the first thing he's directed towards you that didn't seem like an attack, and cleanly turns on his heel to follow.

As they pass through the entrance via which they came, you hear Dyatlov faintly.
"Could have had the entire day off and now we're back before lunch, soooo disappointing."

The greenhouse door closes behind them, yet again leaving you alone with your thoughts. That said, its not like you misled them. You promptly leave the gardens and return to your apartment complex, picking up a hotdog from a nearby stand as you pass it. Munching down on your lunch, you enter your apartment and find a package your neighbors have decided not to steal. Its no old fashioned mail, but a box much like delivery orders come in. Opening it once inside you find a brand new terminal, of a grade much higher than your old one, and a note.

*Jack,*

*I got you a gift! I mean, sure its policy that we provide you with our own secure terminals, but its the thought that counts right? Thank me tomorrow! Ill meet you outside the lobby of Department HQ before we go in.*

*Have a lovely day,*

*Sofia*

There are a few strange marks after the name you are pretty sure were an attempt to translate emoticons to handwriting. It failed.

You sigh and begin setting up the new terminal. The home module updates for some time so you take the chance to read your documentation. Its actually not a lot you were not already told or had assumed, but it does list your expected starting salary. You wont be rich but a few months with PANOPTICON and you can probably kiss this place and your thieving neighbors goodbye for good. So that's a plus. Beyond that most of the package is the most ironclad NDA imaginable, and one that you apparently assented to automatically upon verbal acceptance of the job offer. You really cannot do more at all than tell people you work at PANOPTICON, but maybe one of the benefits of the organization's infamy is that most will have no desire to ask.
>>
>>4913079
Two hours later you have all the necessary information in your memory and the new terminal installed into your home node. A little exhausted from the day, more psychologically than physically, you turn in early.

You wake on time to head to the office address listed in the materials and meet So-Agent Dyatlov. Damn her informality rubbing off on you. All you do before departing is chow down on a dried protein bar for breakfast before checking your messages on the company supplied app. You turn out to have a copy of your onboarding documents along with a completely banal header letter welcoming you as a probationary asset of PANOPTICON. You skim it.

You arrive in front of the imposing glass monolith that is the Department HQ here in Baltimore. Its probably the largest in the country, with most governmental duties in the United States having moved to Baltimore decades previous after numerous attacks in the still official Capitol of Washington D.C. You've seen the imposing structure dozens of times on the skyline, and even feared one day being dragged within it, never to be seen again. Instead you meet Agent Dyatlov outside, who greets you with characteristic mildly sinister cheer.

" Jack! Welcome to the Tower! Its not what its really called but you will not find any of us calling it anything else if we can help it. Well, except for Rudy, but he's not people. Some sort of bureaucratic robot out to cause untold misery."

You work to stifle your discomfort and manage a weak smile while straightening the tie on the one suit you still own, from a wedding Mom badgered you into attending last year. Probably trying to matchmake again.

" Its, uh, very good to see you again Agent Dyatlov. I look forward to working together."

The frown from yesterday rears its head. "Tsk, we talked about formality Jack, specifically that I hate it." The grin returns. "Anyway, today's orientation for you, so that means I get to give you the tour! At least of the places you are allowed in just yet. But its plenty for one day. Ill even give an overview of what we do there if you want." She winks and drops her voice lower. " Or we could waste some time at the range. I know civvies don't get to be around guns much, but believe me, they are soooo much fun."

Your Dad actually taught you to shoot, as a BPD Detective he actually carried his service weapon nearly all the time. His buddies at the armory turned the other way for bring your kid to work day, as it were. Not an expert, but the average American these days only sees guns on a cop or on the Holotube.

Dyatov begins all but pushing you towards the security checkpoint to recieve your probationary ID, excitedly chattering about everything from how most people in your Department are actually cool and not like Agent Ritter at all to how she suspects the coffee is actually real in the break rooms and can you even imagine?
>>
>>4913099

The somewhat heavyset man behind the security desk nods at Dyatlov and hands you your ID. It has an up to date picture of you face on you do not remember being taken, which you suspect may have come from your apartment's smart mirror. It also lists the areas you are currently allowed supervised access to.

"So, Jack, what first? We have all day together, after all."

>Choice 1

>Remain Professional with Agent Dyatlov, set a good example

> Be more casual with Sofia, you could use a friend here and you will be working together for some time

>Choice 2

> Visit the Den first, where analysts and agents collect intelligence and monitor devices

> Visit the Dojo, where full fledged agents like Dyatlov and Ritter do physical and close combat training

> Take her up on visiting the Range, even though its not explicitly on your allowed tour locations

> Visit the Bunker, the underground level housing high level administrative personnel like Mcgregor

> Take a look at the promenade, a common space where agents and analysts can meet to discuss work or just spend off time in a quieter location
>>
>>4913107
>Be more casual with Sofia, you could use a friend here and you will be working together for some time
Take her up on visiting the Range, even though its not explicitly on your allowed tour locations
>>
>>4913107
>> Be more casual with Sofia, you could use a friend here and you will be working together for some time

I'd prefer professional, but she seems to despise the stuffed-shirt vibe. Play to what she wants to see.

>> Visit the Den first, where analysts and agents collect intelligence and monitor devices

Best to visit our likely place of work before anything else, and save the extracurricular stuff for later. Also, the range seems like a really bad idea, given that we'd possibly be making waves / possibly breaking security protocols on the first day.
>>
>>4913107
> Be more casual with Sofia, you could use a friend here and you will be working together for some time
> Visit the Den first, where analysts and agents collect intelligence and monitor devices

We'll finish off the day with a bang Sofia's way, not before. Always save the best for last after all.
>>
>>4913171
supporting
>>
>>4913107
>Be more casual with Sofia, you could use a friend here and you will be working together for some time
>Take her up on visiting the Range, even though its not explicitly on your allowed tour locations

I have a feeling she's the kind of people not much like to hang around and if we stick with her we will be an outcast the same. Being forced to hang out with her MORE... oh the positive feedback sucks.
Think about it, there must be NO ONE wanting to give the new guy a tour and she got the task because she is in the lower end of the foodchain. food pyramid? Of course, the other possibility is that she calls the shots and has the freedom and time to meet the new people but that would make her fall within the "hehe quirky genius" trope and I have trust that QM is not that basic...
So yeah, let's meet new coworkers okay? I want to go to the range per her suggestion so she leaves us alone already and doing what she wants might work. Or it backfires and she sticks to us all day...
>>
Casual and Den takes it. Don't worry the rest will be included as needed.

Armory will get another vote as an end of day activity. Narrative update before end of night.
>>
>>4914381
"Okay Sofia, I think I'd like to see the Den first, I get the feeling I will be spending a lot of time there"

She beams, and despite your trepidation the charm still breaks through.

"Oh Jack! You do take partner feedback into account! That is so going into the evaluation." She waves an arm. "Anyway come with me, the nerds and the rest of us who draw the short straw on weekly duty are all up here on 47."

You step into a nondescript elevator only a dozen or so feet beyond the security section, no space wasted on floor one of the Tower. As you hum towards floor 47. You only assume the huge amount of unaccounted for floors are there for other departments or even detention. You doubt you will ever fully know.

Floor thirty passes, and Sofia breaks into your
thoughts with a comment.

" I volunteered for this, you know. If no one does its randomly selected from the department. Last one was Ritter, he got the guy back into a hole in about three days. Never did this before, but I thought I could do better and Mcgregor agreed."

You force a smile. "I appreciate your efforts to save me from the hole."

A punch to your shoulder. " Don't mention it Jack! I read your file, you have real promise here. Also, the people you fucked with? Super illegal, but I have never laughed harder. What a hobby! You'll at least be interesting around here." She pats yours shoulder again. Did that linger? No, you horny asshole, stop being a sperg.

The door opens before you can respond, and you behold your new workplace.
>>
The den is more of a pit, a descending Dante's hell of men at computers, staring into screens and only looking up at the heckling of an overseer.

Sofia coughs slightly. " We actually want more for you than this, we can get data junkies anywhere. Now Data Junkies with an analytical mind and a BMI of around 20? Rare. As. Fuck." That said, you'll spend a lot of time here from what I've seen of your hobbies, so I will leave you alone with the like minded among us, Freak." She pushes on your back before walking off to speak to another agent, you even think it was good natured.

It takes you about two hours to tour the entire Den. Rose Riordan is likely the most important personage here, the supervisor for the Den. She is surprisingly confrontational for a tech type.

" This the latest dumb motherfucker Mcgregor dragged in? He forget the last one? For fucks sake"

"Nice to make your acquaintance" you say softly.

She looks back at you with disdain. " I do not look upon ground beef with fondness, meat. Finish your tour"

Not much to be gained from your future workplace, you move on. Next is the Dojo.

Alongside Sofia you are allowed to take part in a number of exercises, with Sofia at your side you put up a fight, but its clear the years between you and the years on the College Judo team have added up.

You get slammed to the mat, your breath stolen like a coin in a loose pocket in gypsy town, before you call it in, after the fifth round. The old combat trainer, Aberdeen, looks at you with interest.

"You are shit at this. But you have some tolerance for pain. You want to learn how to use that, I'll help you. Just be ready for pain."
He turns without a further word and leaves the room.

With no small amount of satisfaction, you finally reach the Promenade. To your surprise its the highest accessible level in The Tower. There are a number of food stands and other novelty locations. You assume this is something deemed vital for morale among the sterile halls you now will work.

"Neat, isn't it?" Sofia asks, as if showing you around her own home.

> Spend time with Sofia in the Promenade

> Go to the range with Sofia

>Go home, prepare for your first real day of work

> Return to a different area with questions(what)

> Write in
>>
>>4914548
> Spend time with Sofia in the Promenade

I assume this isn't the end. If it is though, switch my vote to the range.
>>
>>4914548
> Spend time with Sofia in the Promenade
>>
>>4914548
>>4914619
support
>>
>>4914548
>Spend time with Sofia in the Promenade
She should know at least some of the good places to grab a bite and some to stay away from
>>
>>4914548
> Spend time with Sofia in the Promenade
Never hurts to get to know your colleagues a little more, also:

> Write in
Afterwords, maybe try to find your desk? It's better to know beforehand so you don't make a fool of yourself on your first official day, being professional and prepared, etc
>>
>>4914548
>> Spend time with Sofia in the Promenade
>>
Most of the way through the tour, Sofia all but insists you visit the Promenade at the top of the tower. Out of your element, you can do little but follow as she jumps into the nearest elevator and pushes in the code for the top floor of The Tower on the keypad.

On the way up, she chatters excitedly about how she's looking forward to working with a newbie, and how she can tell you will be a better fit than the last one.

"What do you mean by that? You ask, a little suspicious of the fate of your immediate predecessor.

" Nothing sinister Jack, stop looking at me like I just told you where the bodies were buried. Burke was fine as an analyst but when we took him on his first field mission he snapped, mag dumped a tree in an empty forest before Ritter tackled him. Last I heard they had him in for a psych evaluation, its not like they put him in a hole."

She notes your skeptical expression. "Jack, listen, the guy was a bit of a weirdo. I think Rudy pushed him a little too much and got him jumpy. I don't get the same feeling from how you are handling this. And you have me! I won't let you down, I get hires like you don't have a choice and I'll do what I can to make sure you handle this, okay?"

The tone of played up friendliness has been replaced by something you think is genuine sincerity. It actually throws you off for a moment as the door opens as the elevator arrives at the the Promendade.

Sofia strides out the door. "Sofia, wait." She stops, looking back over her shoulder with sleep deprived eyes.

"Thanks." You say, in a serious tone.

"Don't mention it, Jack. It's my job after all." She leads you into the busy space.

The Promenade is a surprisingly luxurious break area. Its about equal parts university commons and high end food court. Glass doored private rooms with colleagues conversing about cases behind sound proof walls mix with a raucous common area with plentiful food and drink shops. You don't recognize any brands, PANOPTICON must not trust outside entities even to sell food here. The workers wear the same understated work wear you have seen on menial laborers and sanitation staff on other floors.

Ten minutes and some queuing later, you and Sofia sit at one of the vacant tables by the glass window wall, overlooking the city. Most would not call Baltimore a handsome city, but this is about the best view around, and you take a moment to see your home of some years from a fresh perspective.

" Your file said you got your degree in History, but you never got to teach it after you graduated. Find schools boring? I know I did."

You nod your head. Truth was you were happy to just kind of coast by for a few years, only a few half hearted job searches to show for it. Then Dad died, and you didn't see the point in doing much more than fuck about on the internet. Your years immersed in research made you very good at uncovering information, and the users on the Board always met your new findings on their favorite targets with enthusiasm.
>>
>>4916724
All those years more or less wasted suddenly fills you with an unexpected sense of shame, and you try not to let it read on your face in front of Sofia. Wouldn't want her to think badly of her new charge.

You spend a comfortable hour with her, she tells you of how she was poached from military intelligence a few years back, and her father raising her alone after her mother was shot down in the border conflict with New Texas almost two decades ago. Air Force brat through and through, its probably why she got past PANOPTICON's security background checks despite being only second generation Russian. According to her most military types don't last long here, so her eccentricities may have made her a better fit than most, you think.

When you thought of PANOPTICON you always pictured faceless men with broad shoulders in loose fitted suits, eyes hidden behind broad sunglasses. Most people you have met here set the lie to that. Its more like a halfway house for the clinically insane set towards complete state surveillance.

Except Ritter, he's about what you expected.

The day is coming to an end as you polish off your coffee and the humble but filling sandwich you ordered from the food kiosk. The sun is low on the horizon, silhouetting the taller buildings visible out the window on the Baltimore skyline. A VTOL, military type, lazily floats in the sky between the sun and you. You realize the window must have been treated for sunlight, you can stare into it with hint of discomfort.

" Its about time, Jack. Im outta here soon, have to buy groceries and feed my dog. Tomorrow you start in the Den, Ill have a choice of cases for you to dig into." The mischievous look reappears.

"We could also still hit the range, I got an hour to kill. Or maybe you're scared because they didn't print permission on your lanyard?"

She's goading you, but you still dont know if this is playfulness or some kind of test.

> Hit the range, she clearly wants you to, and youre no coward

> Time to go, if this is a test you are going to pass it, don't let her get to you.

> Write in
>>
>>4916737
> Hit the range, she clearly wants you to, and you're no coward.
She appeared sincere in the elevator. I don't think she is trying to set us up. If anything, a bit of shooting will prove to her we aren't like the last guy. That could be the real test.
Also, if she asks, I say we tell her about Dad. No sense looking shifty.
>>
>>4916737
>> Hit the range, she clearly wants you to, and you're no coward
>>
>>4916737
> Hit the range, she clearly wants you to, and youre no coward

Hmm, she is insistent on the gunrange. I think it is best if we entertain her for the end of the day. Also, field work??? I thought we were going to work at home in our comfy pajamas!!! Not doing stuff like, walking or showering...
>>
>>4916737
>> Hit the range, she clearly wants you to, and youre no coward

Despite my misgivings, might as well give it a shot.
>>
>>4916737

> Hit the range, she clearly wants you to, and youre no coward

I like this quest and your writing, thanks for sharing.
>>
>>4916737
>Hit the range, she clearly wants you to, and youre no coward

Going to take this offer on a bit of faith.
>>
>>4916737
>Hit the range
it's probably one of the things we know a little more about
>>
>>4916737
>Hit the range, she clearly wants you to, and you're no coward
>>
" You sure are insistent. I guess if you're with me it can't hurt, show me the range."

She beams, and almost seems to hop up and down with excitement as she leads you back to the elevator. She inputs another code and the elevator moves swiftly down to a sublevel, deeper than you have been on your tour today. In fact, you are only a few levels above the administrative area on the lowest sub basement.

The door opens on a featureless grey concrete hallway with a reinforced door at the end of it. It has a keypad much like the one from the elevator and a single nondescript surveillance camera, peering silently at where one would stand to input an entry code. You follow Sofia as she walks up to the door and waves at the camera.

A gruff voice comes to life through the digital speaker in the housing of the keypad.
" That you, Dyatlov? Got a plus one today."

" Yeah Clarence, and he doesn't have his rangepass yet. Do me a solid and overlook it?"

There is a moment before you hear a harsh buzz and the sound of the lock on the reinforced door disengaging. "... I didn't see you two, got it?"

"Got it Clarence, thanks."

She holds the heavy door ajar and waves you in. You walk together to the armory table, where a grizzled looking man somewhere in his sixties sits, his legs stopping at the knee joint. He rolls his wheel chair up to you. "So Dyatlov, the usual? I can get the new guy something simple, one of the newer model Glocks, or maybe he has a preference?"

He looks at you for a moment. "Ah, I'm being rude. Clarence O'Malley, armorer and rangemaster for the PANOPTICON Baltimore Branch." He extends a hand.

You shake it. "Jack Ryan, I start tomorrow."

He nods. "I think I heard, one of the Deputy Director's "special hires"? Im surprised Dyatlov seems to like you, thought you bunch were a bunch of weedy nerds."

Sofia lets out a quick giggle. "To be fair, Clarence, this one has way less Acne."

" Right, anyway." He hands Sofia customized semiautomatic with an aimpoint sight. Hard to tell from the quick look but it looks like a M21, standard issue side arm for the armed forces the last half century. 9mm caseless, 20 round capacity. Your experience with guns being limited, you've only ever fired Dad's old 1911. He was old fashioned and you remember his work buddies ribbing him for carrying a pistol designed more than two hundred years previous.

" How about you, son?"

> Gun choice

> 1911 modernized, the boomer's choice

> New model Glock, no safety, no problem

> M21, your nation thanks you for your contribution to the Military Industrial Complex

> Maybe something foreign? Who knows what you'll run into in the field, if you ever make it there. It looks like O'Malley has half the guns in the world on his wall.

> ACCURACY TEST

> I need three separate d100 rolls, DC 60
>>
Rolled 24 (1d100)

>>4918354
>> 1911 modernized, the boomer's choice
>>
Rolled 75 (1d100)

>>4918354
> 1911 modernized, the boomer's choice

Ah, sweet memories...
>>
>>4918354
> ACCURACY TEST

Accuracy test?? more like WE CAN FIRE EVERYTHING AT LEAST ONCE!!!
>>
Rolled 52 (1d100)

>>4918524
silly me, forgot the dice
>>
Rolled 75 (1d100)

>>4918354
>> 1911 modernized, the boomer's choice
>>
>>4918354
> 1911 modernized, the boomer's choice
>>
Rolled 2 (1d10)

>>4918354
>> 1911 modernized, the boomer's choice
>>
>>4918511
>>4918529
>>4918518

" I'll take a 1911, I see a few on the wall there."

He laughs. "Eye for the classics, I see? Well not what most go for, but what the hell, let's see what you got."

He removes a pristine, blue steeled 1911 from his wall. The design has been kept remarkably close to the ancient original, though the grip is polymer and the metalwork is finer. It and two steel magazines, seven rounds of .45 ACP each. Old style rounds, brass casing.

Sofia leads you to one of the range stands. Few are occupied this late in the day and little notice is paid by those who are getting some practice in.

Sofia looks over her weapon, checking the chamber and loading a magazine, before removing the same mag and placing weapon and ammo on the bench of your shared booth.

"Show me how you handle it, Jack. Ill step in if you need help."
You load the magazine, remembering the trips with dad. Once you place the single stacker into the grip, you give it a gentle tap to seat it, and then physically rack the slide. The weapon is hot, and you bring it up to aiming position, thumbing off the push button safety.

Sofia, placing on some hearing protection, nods in your peripheral vision. "Not completely hopeless so far, you remembered the safety." She presses a button on the side of the booth, and a human shaped foam target descends from the ceiling at about 50 yards, around half the length of the pistol section of O'Malley's range. It comes to rest in the center of your vision and you take a moment to steady your breath and your hands.

Two shots ring out. Nothing reacts on the target, and a digital feed nearby notes two misses. Without a word Sofia reaches around you and adjusts your grip, leading you to a more equal distribution of the weapon's weight between your two hands. She steps back and you wait a moment before recommencing fire. Five shots ring out. Three electronic beeps register hits before your final two rounds hit the target, but outside the person shaped outline that could award a point.

You put the gun down after ejecting the magazine. Three out of seven, not exactly superb.

Sofia is conciliatory. "We'll work on it Jack, starting now. First though, let me show you how it's done."

Her confidence is not misplaced in herself at least, you suspect this whole detour was partially to show off. You might only be an amateur researcher dabbling at being an Agent, but she's already the real deal. You need backup in a firefight, an eventuality you are still coming to terms with, you could do far worse than this woman with the tired eyes and quick fingers.

Three shot groupings fill the chests of target after target. Her performance is not perfect but it's damned exceptional, at least to your untrained eyes. After three magazines are put through her M21 you hear O'Malley chime in on the intercom. "Down five points from last week, Dyatlov. Your new toy got you distracted?"

She turns, grins, and shrugs. "Maybe a little!"
>>
>>4919362
Sofia indicates you should take over and for the next hour or so she gives you pointers on your marksmanship. At the end, your hands and arms reek of cordite but despite your relative ineptitude you have to admit you had fun. And maybe improved.

Sofia and you step out of the elevator and into the lobby. She turns to you.

"I know this is a lot, Jack, but I think you're doing well. Be sure to check your work uplink tomorrow, I'll leave something for you." Before you get a word in she's pretty much out the door.

Honestly, you were exhausted after the tour. It felt less physical than mental. Still, nothing of note got done after you got home. You pretty much hit the bed as soon as you could.

Next morning you habitually checked your messages. Inputs from your old terminal were forwarded, so you have a message from your mother.

" Hello son,

I have a message here from a man who knew your father. He wasn't clear if he was a client or a coworker, but he asked for you.

Love,

Mom."

Other than that, there is a message from Sofia reminding you to show up to work along with a dozen emoticons, and George, apparently oblivious to your warning, offering recommendations for new threads to look into.

> Respond to Mom

>Respond to George

> Respond to Sofia

> Ignore, go to work
>>
>>4919519
Sorry for late continuation, had a several hour internet outage.
>>
>>4919519
we have to give george the cold shoulder :( sorry georgie. What should we reply to sofia? Ok ;) ;) ;) (y) :3c (°□°)︵ ━ (°□°)︵ ━ :'v
anyway reply to mooom
>>
>>4919519
> Respond to Mom
> Respond to Sofia
>>
>>4919519
>> Respond to Mom

If we've got the time,
>> Respond to Sofia
>>
>>4919530
no worries mate, hope it doesn't go back down

> Respond to Mom
> Respond to Sofia
>>
>>4919519
>> Respond to Mom
> Respond to Sofia
>>
No update tonight, I'll try to get it out in the morning.
>>
>>4919905
supporting
>>
After a week of travelling I am back home. Updates should be more reliable for the foreseeable future, beginning tonight.
>>
>>4919750
>>4919811
>>4919905
>>4920040

You have some time to spend before you risk being late for the self driving bus, so you work on replying to messages. Not wanting to seem like you are taking your situation less than seriously George is going to have to get the cold shoulder for now.

You first reply to Mom, asking if she can forward the message from Dad's friend or if she would rather schedule a meeting in person. She says the man was pretty adamant about wanting to see you in person, and he plan's to be at Dad's grave for his birthday, something you and Mom were already going to do. So you guess you have an unexpected plus one. The timing on this is suspect with your new employer, you have to admit. You wonder if its some kind of fucked up test, and if so, if you should tell Sofia or maybe even the Deputy Director about it. Either way, its almost two weeks out, so you figure you have time to find your feet at The Tower before worrying about it too much.

You reply to Sofia, expressing your newfound desire to get lost on the way to the most recognizable building in the entire city, and add a completely indecipherable jumble of emoticons at the end.

Her response, a blunt "Get Fucked, Jack", indicates she got the joke.

It's not long before the bus disgorges you about a block from The Tower. You check in with security and take the elevator to The Den, it's your first real day so why waste time? The doors open to a cacophony of noise, ringing terminals, and the hum of many, many servers. Riordan eyes you from her position in the center of the room, distaste as evident as before, but otherwise does nothing but point you to a desk. You don't see Sofia, but when you dock your terminal to the PANOPTICON issue uplink, a document appears on the home screen labeled "READ THIS FIRST JACK". Unsurprisingly its the "something" Sofia said she would leave you.

There's a quick greeting, but the meat of the document is a number of folders on surveilled groups and individuals who currently need more analysts on their case. Sofia recommends you take one at a time, and has listed her advice on which ones would be a good start and some you might want to wait on until you grow your skills in both Analyst and Field skills.

You decide to read a bit more on one of them:
>>
>>4921671

> Choose:

> Neo Confederate Militia "Sons of Forrest"

> Sofia's note: "Nasty guys, Id put this one off till you work on Field skills more, not a lot of good surveillance tech lasts long out there in the Appalachian Military Districts. They've been put on priority after that last convoy they hit, somehow they made off with some IFVs and removed our tracker chips."

> Black Islamic Revolutionary Army

> Note: Despite the impressive sounding name, these guys are mostly just the same street thugs you would find anywhere else, just attached to some silly ideology out of the 20th century. They operate here in Baltimore, so surveillance on them is common. Not a bad place to start, you can do a lot from your desk and if you do go out after them backup will be nearby.

> Sons Of Liberty

> I have it on good authority these guys are actually named after some obscure video game from the early 21st and not the group from the Revolution. Ideology is about what you'd expect though, return to the founding, restore constitutional government. A lot of eggheads in The Den think the group's just a front for New Texan intelligence, they're mostly online for now. Might be something you are especially suited for, considering your background Jack.

She ends the message letting you know that she will stop by at the end of the day and check which one you have chosen and how much you've found out in the time you have.
>>
>>4921677
>> Black Islamic Revolutionary Army
Sounds like a good mix between virtual and field work, it'll give us a better look at how PANOPTICON operates and round us out a bit more. I'm tempted to pick Sons of Liberty, but getting ourselves out there is important.
>>
>>4921677
>> Black Islamic Revolutionary Army
>>
>>4921677
>Black Islamic Revolutionary Army
I was gonna pick Sons Of Liberty but >>4921911
convinced me
>>
I will note that these choices will happen more than a few times and past options will usually show up again at least once.

The one exception is the Sons of Forrest, who are high profile enough that you would have to prioritize field skills quickly if you wanted to tackle them before another team did.

It would also be a deadly operation and I am in no way pushing you towards that, just saying you will see these options again at least a few times.
>>
>>4921677
> Black Islamic Revolutionary Army

Sons of Liberty sounds like a good personal project really, especially if they're mostly online for the moment. The BIRA sounds like a good testing/training grounds for the bigger fish.
>>
>>4921677
>>> Sons Of Liberty
>
>> I have it on good authority these guys are actually named after some obscure video game from the early 21st and not the group from the Revolution. Ideology is about what you'd expect though, return to the founding, restore constitutional government. A lot of eggheads in The Den think the group's just a front for New Texan intelligence, they're mostly online for now. Might be something you are especially suited for, considering your background Jack.

>sons of liberty
>jack

WE GOTTA
>>
>>4921723
>>4921911
>>4921987
>>4922029

You decide to look more into the BIRA. This is your first real assignment and you would rather make yourself known as competent than overreaching. When you open the existing files on the BIRA and it's membership you almost drown in the sheer volume of materiel. Its clear that surveillance of this group is not in any way a problem, but enforcement seems to be lax. You will see if you can do something about it. One imagines a recidivist group running the underground in your Branch's backyard might end up being an embarrassment for your direct superiors if it goes on for too long.

The BIRA is almost completely decentralized, to the point that their street level organs are not punished for, and often do, engage in infighting over territory for criminal enterprise. Cameras, drones, and even informants could name almost every BIRA affiliated street criminal, but they are more careful about their leadership. Known as Malcolm, Luther, and Kendi, they are never referred to in a way that gives a clue about location or identity. It's even possible that some or all of them are groups rather than individuals.

Your only window in is to work your way up the organization via surveillance. At some point you will likely need to turn a valuable informant who can get a meeting with one or more of the leaders. It takes all day to find something worthwhile.

> ANALYST SKILL CHECK

> 3d100s, one per anon, DC 50
>>
Rolled 21 (1d100)

>>4922910
>>
Rolled 86 (1d100)

>>4922910
>>
Rolled 20 (1d100)

>>4922910
Yo
>>
>>4923161
>>4923169
>>4923227

> 1 success/ 2 fail

The research takes a lot more out of you than you thought it would. Progress is slow and it seems every time you have a lead it turns to dust. Promising mid level gang member with a line on the leadership? Killed in a gunfight with BPD a week ago. Recording of a secret meeting in the warehouse district? Turns out to just be the local homeless.

It's near the end of the work day before you latch onto a thread that bears fruit, and you want to slap yourself for how obvious it was. Turns out all the opsec their leaders have can't stop low level gang bangers from taking selfies and putting them on personal social media. The spicier posts were flagged and removed of course, but in the age of PANOPTICON no one ever deletes something from the internet without a copy ending up somewhere in the server stacks you are now surrounded by.

You start exporting image location data and looking for commonalities, then cross referencing them with reported criminal activity and known gaps in citywide surveillance.

A number of locations begin to look worth a closer look. All of them in the rare gaps in the network, the type of place a more savvy breed of criminal, which you suspect the triad at the top of the BIRA are, would seek out to do what business they must attend to in person.

This does lead you to a realization. Field work will be needed after all. The time to leave rapidly approaching you report to Sofia.

She looks up from her terminal, her bored expression raising slightly as she recognizes you. "Oh hey Jack, how was your first day? Find anything good."

" I figured I would start on the BIRA, give myself time to work on my own skills before hitting something that might need Field work. I have a few leads, but I think I'll need to go on location to follow up."

" Well, its early to send you out alone, I could come with. If you don't feel ready at all we could ask for permission remand personnel from BPD. The Deputy Director has line with the cops, he can get us enough to look into whatever you think you have. I'll leave it up to you, but you should go home tonight, you look exhausted.

> Choose

> Send in BPD

> Personally inspect sites with Sofia

> Fuck sleep, look for more info at home

> Write in
>>
>>4924435
BPD sounds like bipolar personality disorder, hehe.

Let's see, our boy wants to go to places and corroborate if they are used for clandestine meetings of Malcolm, Luther and Kendi. Hmm... I GUESS any officer might get lucky by going to one of those places and apprehending *someone* or requisitioning *something* plus I assume in this day and age warrants are not popular anymore. The thing is that we don't have a clear idea of what we are looking for. As QM said, we don't know if the trio of people are people at all, or they are groups inside the gang...

I guess the reason to go to those places is to acquire any piece of hardware there is. Phones, tablets, personal devices and smart fridges. Because abducting people at random is a waste of resources. There is the chance that the whole operation would go bust without enough intel, which we don't have yet...

>Write in
>Call it a day. There are no time constraints. Make the deadline tomorrow afternoon and then we decide what to do for reals.
>>
>>4924660
+1
>>
I am worried the quest has so little votes... this thing is interesting
>>
>>4924707

Don't worry yourself, I'm committed to this more or less daily schedule and am more than happy with the five or six regulars I seem to have attracted. Come thread 2 ill do a little ad in QTG, I did not do so this time because I am a little superstitious and new threads mentioned there tend to die early.

While my updates may be daily if you guys ever have a question feel free to ask, I do monitor the thread even when I cannot commit to a long update.
>>
>>4924660
I'm good with this as well, maybe pass on the game plan to Sofia so we don't catch her flat-footed / make her think we're slacking off.

She is basically our case officer after all.

>>4924718
I like the Neo-Confederate group name. I'm guessing that it's in reference to the Nathan Bedford Forrest that established the KKK?

Dealing with them is going to be interesting considering that even Elliot Ness, the fed who busted Capone, couldn't handle Appalachian hillbilly moonshiners taking potshots at him.

Especially since these guys have the know-how or proxy backing to steal military equipment and repurpose it.

This is entirely unrelated, but I'd put fair odds on "the old family friend" to either be some kind of test / bait in some way. The fact that whatever he wants to say, he wants to say in-person means that it's something he doesn't want passed over the wire where PANOPTICON can see it.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but it's worth considering.

Good stuff so far, got me hooked.
>>
>>4924867
I wont speak to the rest but you are spot on with the name of the Militia.

Interestingly, Forrest founded the organization as a CSA vets club and later disowned it as it become more extreme. Interesting behavior from the man who executed black Union soldiers at Fort Pillow.

Little bit of TMI here, but I live in Appalachia. When you guys get to that group Ill be sure to throw some local flavor in. Ive been to Baltimore more than a few times but I wont claim to be a local.
>>
>>4924435
>Supporting >>4924867
>>
>>4924435
> Personally inspect sites with Sofia
Failing that
> Fuck sleep, look for more info at home

I want to get cracking a bit on the Sons of Liberty, if most of their operations are currently online.
>>
>>4924435
>> Send in BPD
>>
>>4924660
>>4924699
>>4924867
>>4924927

You realize you likely need to gather some more intel before making a move that might tip off the BIRA.

" Actually Sofia, I changed my mind. I need more time to double check my intel, make sure I did not miss anything."

" No problem Jack, you don't have anything like a deadline. Just let me know when you want to make a move, I'll arrange whatever you have in mind. Meantime, I guess Ill just keep dying of boredom at my terminal..." She yawns and returns to her desk, her hand spinning in a circle motioning you to get on home.

The bus deposits you more or less in front of your apartment, and you barely manage to scarf down some leftovers from Blaise's before fading into a deep sleep on the couch.

You dream for the first time in a long time, and you wish like nothing else you had not. It's Dad, in his kitschy longcoat, his antique pistol on his hip. He is rushing towards you, his mouth moving rapidly, a panicked look in his brown eyes, but you cannot hear anything over the thunderous cacophony of the rainfall around you. He reaches out to you with his right hand, and you almost think you can hear him, when his head explodes into a cloud of blood and gory fragments.

You scream in despair, and turn towards the assailant. The last thing you see is Sofia, her M21 in hand, her tired face devoid of emotion. Deputy Director Mcgregor behind her, smiling in satisfaction. You wake up, and promptly fall out of your own bed with a thump, covered in sweat.

Its a little early, but you collect yourself and shower before eating a spartan breakfast. You get out the door in time to arrive at work a little before you strictly need to. On autopilot, you pass security and once again arrive in the Den. You see Sofia, but against all logic you find it hard to look at her. You've never been superstitious but reason or no that dream has you on edge.

There are worse things than being lost in your work.

> 3d100s, DC40, one per anon
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>4926002
>>
Rolled 34 (1d100)

>>4926002
>>
Rolled 29 (1d100)

>>4926002
Saving the thread right here right now
>>
Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>4926002
Let me waste a crit here
>>
Rolled 97 (1d100)

>>4926002
rolling

>>4926010
>>4926100
>>4926140
well fuck
>>
>>4926179
>>4926735
Lads, quick, if we finish this set we may be able to use it on the next day!
>>
quick, delete your posts before QM wakes up
>>
Update after I sleep, internet died and I'm not retyping that post on a phone.
>>
>>4927637
Might want to add a second # to your tripcode to make it more secure. People crack em sometimes.
>>
>>4927656

For the sake of consistency, ill keep the current trip until thread 2. It's a trip I've used off and on for close to ten years so I have no doubt its not secure, I just also am not really high profile enough to be fucked with usually.

Update soon.
>>
>>4926002

> Triple fail

Maybe its your uneasy sleep, maybe it's the monotony of crosschecking surveillance feeds with location data, maybe you just get unlucky. Several hours in it becomes very clear what seemed a good idea at the time, devoting another day to get more intelligence before making your move, has completely backfired. It was slow going yesterday, but you would be hard pressed to claim a single useful fragment of info from today's efforts. You hope you haven't been too suspicious around Sofia, as your complete lack of progress finally breaks down your resistance, and you leave for the Promenade to recharge with some coffee and lunch. As the elevator doors close, you feel eyes on your back, but you cannot manage to find the will to turn and look.

Arriving on the top floor, you reminded you still don't know very many people here at PANOPTICON. You get a meal consisting of meat cutlets in gravy along with some mashed potatoes before adding a cup of aromatic black coffee to your service tray. You look for an open table, but its peak lunch hour and you have no luck. To your surprise your eyes lock with Agent Ritter, sitting along in a window seat, a glass of water and his potable terminal set out before him. Even more shocking, he motions for you to sit across from him, no hint of ill intent showing on his roughly asymmetric face. There is pretty much nowhere else to sit, so you feel forced to take him up on it.

After you lay down your tray he looks up from his terminal and sips on his water.

"Ryan, right? The gravy on those cutlets tends to sit around. Should be good just now but I'd be wary of them if you miss lunch hour in the future." His brow furrows. "I've seen this look before. Hit a wall, right? Typical newbie. Well, don't let me hold you up, finish your food."

"Thanks for permission, Agent." You say with some annoyance as he chuckles sensibly and turns his attention back to his work. Just as you finish up and make to stand and return to the Den, he stops you.

" I've got Dojo time scheduled in a few minutes, you want to clear your head a bit I could use a partner. Someone has to knock sense into Mcgregor's irregulars while we still can. I'll make sure Dyatlov knows you aren't slacking, Dojo training is mandatory for new hires, even you egghead analyst types. You'd end up there eventually."

You consider his offer, its a chance to get some more physical training in, and maybe get Ritter to cool on you a bit. A distraction also does not sound like a bad thing right now. But you also want to prove yourself to Sofia and Mcgregor.

> Accept the sparring offer

> Return to the Den work alone

> Return to the Den, but implore Sofia for direct help, not knowing how this will effect your evaluation

> Write in
>>
>>4928211
> Accept the sparring offer
>>
>>4928211
>> Accept the sparring offer
Inspiration comes from the strangest of sources.
>>
>>4928211
>> Accept the sparring offer
yeah, accept the maso tendencies and pretend this is punishment for sucking at glownigger work
>>
>>4928211
>> Accept the sparring offer
>>
>>4928211
>Accept the sparring offer
>>
Update tomorrow. Got dragged to a work event.
>>
>>4928926
does the event comes with free food? I love those little breads with toppings
>>
>>4929790
Even better, Chik Fil A catering.

Update soon.
>>
>>4928212
>>4928223
>>4928631
>>4928722
>>4928893

" Yeah, why not? Agent Ritter, you had me down, I do need a distraction."

He grunts. " Yeah, no shit. C'mon newbie, let's see what what Aberdeen thinks after I'm done with you."

You join Agent Ritter in the elevator after disposing of the remains of your meal. He inputs the code for the Dojo, and you are joined by two other agents you don't recognize as you feel the device begin it's descent.

"You're new." One of the agents says, his tone leaving it clear he isn't asking. He's a tall man of African heredity, his voice a low rumble. "Not military, that's clear. One of Mcgregor's hires?."

You nod at his assertion.

" Well, it's good you are taking training seriously. Some of the people in his little test program have done fine but plenty ended tied to a desk for their own good."

Ritter interrupts. "This one is headed there too, from what I heard happened on the range yesterday. Mind your own business Jackson, this one will be out of our hair soon enough."

Silence seems the best option here, but your anger must of shown on your face, if Jackson's laugh is any indication. "I don't know Ritter, you are getting old. He might surprise your wrinkly old ass. On the other hand I'm surprised he got range time this early, who's his probation super?"

Ritter rolls his eyes. "Dyatlov."

" Don't give me that look man, not like you were getting another after the last kid."

"Not my fault, the boy was a mess of nerves. I did not sign up to babysit."

"Pretty sure we signed up for whatever PANOPTICON needs us to do. You keep this sullen shit up, Mcgregor might find himself a new second."

"No one asked you, Jackson." Ritter replied as the doors opened on the Dojo, and he was first out the door. Jackson shakes his head silently as you follow Ritter in. The second agent, who did not speak and went unnamed, watches you with a steely gaze behind thick spectacles as you and Ritter move on.

Aberdeen is working with some agents on knife exercises, both attacks and disarms, as Ritter approaches.

"I've got mat three for the next two hours, right? The newbie will be joining me, that good by you?"

Aberdeen nods while disarming a student with one hand. He hits the mat with surprising force. "You were in the system for lone practice, but more the better. I seem to remember telling you that finding others to practice with would aid you."

" I don't remember asking."

He is ignored. "The mat is yours, Agent Ritter, good luck to you and Mr. Ryan."

"Whatever."

You follow him into the changing room, putting on some loose exercise clothes you are a little surprised to find in a locker already bearing your initials. Before you can leave, Jackson calls out, his shit half on while his companion removes his glasses, otherwise ready to go.

"Hey Ritter!"

"What?" Ritter growls, clearly annoyed.

"How about we make it a two on two? Me and Lewis against you and the newbie?"
>>
>>4929911
"Fuck Jackson, I was hoping to bloody the kid a bit. But Id beat your ass for free. I'll leave it up to the newbie, and I'll try not to break your boyfriend too badly." Ritter's look is sinister, his voice low.

Lewis speaks now, his voice almost singsong. "I am going to enjoy this, Ritter. Don't worry, we'll make sure the newbie is okay. You can have a paid tour in the infirmary for all I care."

> Choose

> 1 on 1 with Ritter

> 2 on 2 with Ritter against Jackson and Lewis

> Let this idiots whale on each other, you'll just train with Aberdeen instead

> Write in
>>
>>4929916
> 2 on 2 with Ritter against Jackson and Lewis
Ritter is getting more and more pissed off... I think it is better if we let them slam each other to the ground because if not, our partner is going to throw our poor piggy ass all the way to the infirmary... Lewis is not THAT bad yea¿?
>>
>>4929916
>> 2 on 2 with Ritter against Jackson and Lewis
>>
>>4929916
>2 on 2 with Ritter against Jackson and Lewis
>>
>>4929916
>> 2 on 2 with Ritter against Jackson and Lewis
>>
>>4929916
Not a full update tonight, sorry guys.

That said:

> REMEMBER THE BASICS OF CQC

> CQC check: 3d100 one per anon, DC50


> You're pretty good...
>>
Rolled 96 (1d100)

>>4931550
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>4931550
>>
Rolled 9 (1d100)

>>4931550
Boys, I think we found our calling.
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>4931550
>>
Rolled 41 (1d100)

>>4931550
wow that's an amazing bnch of roles. I am expending my good roll too
>>
>>4931560
>>4931632
>>4931644

> 2 pass 1 fail

Unsurprisingly Ritter squared up to Jackson, leaving you facing the less imposing Lewis. Any underestimation you may have of the man is quickly dissuaded when, upon Aberdeen's signal, he darts in for a grapple. Barely having time to react, you stagger back, with him coming up with only a handful of your training shirt. You have weight and height on him but if he went for a takedown that early he must be confident in his ground game. Throwing a jab you are surprised when you connect with a satisfying thump againt Lewis' nose, which begins to stream a small amount of blood. "Glad I remembered to toss the glasses..." He murmurs, backing away to give some distance between you. Aberdeen peers at his bloody nose, but apparently satisfied makes no move to stop the spar. The momentary lapse gives you sight of Ritter, who is trying to hammer Jackson's head with a first while the larger man slowly gains on his attempt to bring the other agent to the ground for a hold.

You don't get the chance to aid your partner, Lewis comes back in with his trademark speed, and pirouettes into a high kick where you expected a punch. Your shoulder grates against the force and your right arm goes numb, but you recover by harnessing your long neglected Judo experience and seizing hold of the man's leg before he can recover. In what is not something anyone would ever read in a proper Judo manual, you put all your weight into forcing his leg even further upward. The shorter, lighter Lewis completely loses his footing to this maneuver, and slams into the mat hard. He seems dazed and you use the opening to straddle him delivering blows to his upper body and face while he attempts a desperate defense. You get in several good hits, his face swelling and reddening, before Aberdeen pulls you off of him.

Breathing heavily, you take stock. Lewis is helped up unsteadily, Aberdeen helping him remove the blood from his busted nose. Two other students prevent Jackson and Ritter from continuing the match against Aberdeen's call, before the physical trainer himself manages to silence them with a disdainful look.

" Next time, Jackson" Ritter growls.

" Next time will be the last time, old man." Jackson replies with a glare of pure malice. He collects his partner and they make for the lockers to clean up and change. Ritter seems to notice you for the first time since the beginning of the fight.

"Always thought Lewis was soft but I still figured he'd handle some wannabee analyst two days off the street. Maybe you aren't completely useless." He indicates you follow him and proceed to get washed up and back in your work outfit.

" I shot Dyatlov a notice I borrowed you, so it's your call if you want to report in to her or just leave it to tomorrow, not my problem. You keep up with the training maybe you have field work in your future. Not a high bar for you irregulars anyway." He leaves the Dojo, your business concluded.
>>
>>4932308

You've got a few hours left, not enough for any serious work unless you want to ask Sofia to stay after hours for a while. You could also do what you can at home, or just report to her your lack of progress today and go off what intel you do have on the BIRA for what you plan to do going forward.

> Choose

> Report to Sofia, end day

> Ask to stay after hours with Sofia to supervise

> Ritter said he handled it, so just go home and rest up

> Go home and work from your home terminal, maybe with some takeout to refresh your mind.

> You've wasted enough time, the BIRA needs to be moved on and you need to prove you're cut out for this. Either you and Sofia or some BPD officers need to check your leads.

> Write in.
>>
>>4932322
>Ask to stay after hours with Sofia to supervise
we rightout failed that last surveillance check, so might as well try to get some points in at the end of the day
>>
>>4932322
> Ask to stay after hours with Sofia to supervise

Those 90s really got my blood pumping!
>>
>>4932322
>> Report to Sofia, end day
I see no pressure for time!
>>
>>4932626

In the sense of the BIRA pulling some huge attack? Not really, they are one of the lower threat organizations. In the sense that your evaluation depends on performance? Yeah a little.

On the QM end, I am kind of wanting to get into the meat of this investigation for the new thread Ill likely be making next few days.

Mean time, Ill give it another few hours for anyone who wants to vote on this choice.
>>
>>4932845
:(
I will change my vote from >>4932626 to
>overtime
>>
>>4932322
>> Ask to stay after hours with Sofia to supervise
>>
>>4932308
> Report to Sofia, end day
>>
>>4932410
>>4932503
>>4932862
>>4932973

You take the lift down to the Den, and find Sofia. "Jack. You been avoiding me? I got the message from Rudy about you guys training. I guess your morning investigation did not go well?"

You nod, better she think that than you had some schizophrenic nightmare about her murdering your father.

"I hit a wall today, and I think I need fresh eyes. I hate to ask it, Sofia, but could you stay with me a few hours so the day isn't a complete wash?"

She sighs. "Fuck it Jack, I guess this is part of the job. I'll help you out, especially since Rudy tells me you actually showed some promise in the Dojo. Where were you hiding that?"

You shrug. "Some old Judo classes, and Lewis is kind of small.

She laughs. "He is, but he's also the best shot in the building, don't piss him off too much. That's Rudy's job near as I can tell."

You grin, and Sofia punches your shoulder playfully. It's the one Lewis fouled, and you wince painfully.

"Shit, sorry Jack. Should have thought you didn't come out intact. Still good you held your own against a full agent."

She motions to the sea of monitors and terminals. " Well if we're going to be here all night, may as well get started, no?"

>ANALYST CHECK

>SUPERVISION BONUS + 10

> SOFIA AFFINITY BONUS + 10

> 3d100, One per Anon, DC 30
>>
Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>4933168
Yo
>>
Rolled 95 (1d100)

>>4933168
>>
Rolled 77 (1d100)

>>4933168
Can we do it again?
>>
>>4933190
>>4933239
>>4933270

Even though you have less time, everything seems to fall in place for you on this little after hours attempt. You fully narrow the window of likely locations down to only a handful, and you even manage to find two private businesses with their own cameras who both have footage of the same individual coming and going from one of the locations at odd hours. Sofia had a contact with the security company and got it sent over, the missing link that turns this from a haystack to only a pile of strands. This one spot is absolutely the most promising, and you both agree it's time to start looking at more proactive measure as you leave for home, four hours after you normally would have.

You are stopped halfway to the elevator as you leave the mostly empty Den.

"Hey Jack?" Sofia says, her tone tired and soft, not like her usual playful lilt.

"Sofia?"

" I can tell something had you off your game. I know in your situation it can be hard to open up, but tell me sometime. I want you to do well."

"... yeah. Thanks Sofia, goodnight." You respond, and take the elevator down alone.

It's late when you hit the street, but it's not like the buses ever stop in Baltimore so you find a ride home without issue. You catch Blaise's before closing and head back to your apartment to eat before collapsing into a dreamless sleep.

The next day, after a quick breakfast, you board the bus back to The Tower. As soon as you get past security, the elevator, and back to the Den, Sofia is waiting for you.

"Jack, the research is going as well as you can expect it to, but it's time for action. We talked about this before, what's your call? You have lead on this, I am only here to help and report your results, after all. We'll be hitting all your finds until we find what we need to move on.

> Choose

> Send in BPD

> Supervise BPD raids personally with Sofia

> Go in with a more subtle approach, just you and Sofia
>>
>>4934364
>> Supervise BPD raids personally with Sofia
>>
>>4934364
>> Supervise BPD raids personally with Sofia
Running in without backup is not a great idea before we get more experience.
>>
>>4934364
I didn't add it, but obviously this was a 3 success total victory on the roll. My bad.
>>
>>4934364
>> Supervise BPD raids personally with Sofia
>>
>>4934364
>Supervise BPD raids personally with Sofia
>>
>>4934364
>>4934389
>>4934409
>>4934619
>>4934756

No full update tonight, sorry.

However:


You meet Sofia the next morning, some BPD LTs already with her. It's time to move, your first target a warehouse near the port district. You and Sofia hitch a ride in a cop car and arrive in the area. The black suited BPD SWAT officers are already ready to make entry, It's time.

> Choose

> All out assault. They are here and the time for words is over.

> Sneaking Mission, you and Sofia go in quiet, call in BPD when things go south.

> Write in.

No matter what, 3d100 fieldwork check.
>>
Rolled 18 (1d100)

>>4935740

> Sneak in with a couple of officers as backup, the rest ready to kick in the doors if things go south.
>>
>>4935740
DC50 btw
>>
Rolled 55 (1d100)

>>4935762
supporting
>>
Rolled 91 (1d100)

>>4935762
+1
>>
>>4935762
Not gonna roll but still supporting >>4935762
>>
>>4935762
I agree and there are enough rolls already! I wonder, will we have something better than a sidearm? Uncle's shotgun maybe?
>>
Rolls and write in are noted. Update will be tomorrow though, I ended up away from home and this will deserve better than a phone post.
>>
>>4935762
>>4936008
>>4936053

You figure there might be a middle path here. You approach the Lieutenant in charge of the sting, Haverson. Younger guy, probably wasn't even in when Dad was.

" Lieutenant, our main purpose here is further intel collection. Is there an entrance where we could get in with some subtlety?"

"Yeah, old fire escape on the east side. We were going to send a marksman team up there before entry but we could get you in. What, you doing this alone?"

" Not exactly, I'm sure Agent Dyatlov and I can hold our own but I won't look askance at a few of your officers."

For the first time he looks at Sofia for confirmation, he must have been made aware of your probationary status. She nods however, remaining silent. Must be giving you a chance to lead for now.

Haverson shrugs. " Yeah, I can think of a few. Riley! Get me three volunteers from the entry team to babysit the spooks, will you?" His subordinate nods and trots off to collect your back up from the waiting SWAT officers.

Attention off of both of you momentarily, Sofia slings her sleek submachine gun, looks like one of the many MP-series weapons common with Law Enforcement everywhere. She subtly reaches into her jacket and produces a familiar modernized 1911, a model you now know as a 2111.

" Yes, the same one. I had Clarence cover for me. Be very careful, I don't want you out here helpless but you are not cleared for this. We can smooth things over later if we need to."

You take it and the offered shoulder holster with a nod of thanks, quickly placing the weapon under your own jacket, before Sofia motions to the fire escape where the volunteers are gathered.

Officer Riley from before is with them. "They'll follow you in, and I told them to go off of what Agent Dyatlov says. These are good men, Agents, if this goes south we will hold you responsible."

" Your men are here to do a job, Officer. So are we, no need for ominous warnings, we aren't here to play around." Sofia is annoyed at his tone, you don't think she appreciates being questioned in the field. Riley looks a little taken aback, and is wordless as you, Sofia, and the three SWAT officers make your way up the aging old style fire escape.

At the top the two marksmen hold a upper floor window open as your team proceeds inside, finding yourself in what is clearly an attached office area, long abandoned by the look of it.
>>
>>4938151
The five of you move quietly through the offices, approaching the front offices where the windows overlook the warehouse floor, all guns but yours trained on doors and windows. As you get closer, you begin to make out voices. Sofia produces her terminal, and sets it to broad frequency recording.

" Listen Demarkus, I told you fucking twice, you keep making your routes as normal before showing up here you are going to get picked up on surveillance."

"Ibram said we don't stop normal shit, even when you get your fancy deliveries. Last I checked he's in charge. Anyway, I gotta hit my corners, my boys gotta eat."

" You don't have kids, DeMarkus, you can barely grow a beard. I swear to Allah, you will taste my shoe."

" You fucking nasty Aadil, keep your rancid feet away from me."

As the two bicker you risk a look through the window. You see ten men, with a large variety of weapons. Some standing around as if guards, others loading green plastic containers into the back of an old style moving truck.

"Man, how do those fuckers even get this shit in the city?"

" Who fucking cares, deliveries come through in time and dirt cheap. Gift horse, mouth, all that."

"What does that even mean?"

" Don't worry about it."

There is a sudden crash as one of the SWAT officers scramble to get away from a collection of rotten floorboards his leg just went straight through. You drop to the ground and see Sofia do the same.

"The fuck was that?" You hear the BIRA member called Demarkus from below.

Sofia looks at you, calm but interested. She's deferring to you again.

> Fieldwork Check, Stealth, DC 50, 3d100

>Choose if cover maintained

> You have a better position, signal the assault and open fire while they are exposed, you need that cargo.

> Find a way to track that truck, doesn't sound like a leader is here but you bet that truck is headed somewhere interesting.

> Write in

Also:

> Shoot to kill, no exceptions

> If you have to take them out try to get some prisoners for intelligence, though it will be dangerous
>>
Out of an abundance of caution Im going to go ahead and archive, but I plant to run this thread at least another few days.

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4905857/
>>
Rolled 53 (1d100)

>>4938178
Let's go for stealth. Hoping someone brought a suppressed weapon. I'd like to wait until the truck leaves. (Radio for a drone or whatever to track it) Then, we start picking people off until the leaders are left.
>>
Rolled 92 (1d100)

>>4938178

>>4938510
+1
>>
Rolled 46 (1d100)

>>4938510
I agree that is best we let the truck go, but I am not expecting the team to be stealthy at all now.
> Find a way to track that truck, doesn't sound like a leader is here but you bet that truck is headed somewhere interesting.
>shoot to kill
>>
>>4938178
>Find a way to track that truck, doesn't sound like a leader is here but you bet that truck is headed somewhere interesting.
>>
>>4938510
>>4938645
>>4938726

> Two success, 1 fail

There is a rhythmic clanking as one of the gangers begins moving up the stairway to the level where your team lies in wait. You motion to the SWAT officers to hold their fire, and share a quick look with Sofia, whose MPXM bears an integrated sound suppressor. You fear it might be too loud anyway but it's better than the unsuppressed 6mm Carbines the SWAT officers bear. You make sure to stay below the sightline of the window as Sofia moves to the back of the room you share, laying on her back and quickly checking the magazine and chamber of her weapon, then readying it and facing the door to the central hallway between the officers where you both and the SWAT complement hide. The door slowly opens, and two of the BIRA men enters, one with a sawed off double barrel shotgun, and the other with a surprisingly well maintained rifle, complete with optic.

Sofia, well trained, waits until the door closes behind them, trusting in the darkness of the offices and the loose fog of dust in the air.

Her weapon coughs to life. Three rounds impact the center chest of the shotgun wielder, and he collapses in a boneless heap.

"DeMa-!" In a bit of bad timing the second burst only takes the rifleman as he calls out. You tense as he hits the back wall, and slides over, thinking they must have heard downstairs, but there is no indication. A second later you think you know why, as the boxes resume the sounds of loading on the floor.

Sofia taps you on the shoulder after she lithely rolls back to her feet from her prone position. You approach the two fallen men men, the first staring into nothingness, but the second wheezes and stirs slightly. Sofia without a hint of emotion draws a long blade you had not seen on her before and drives it into his throat, her other hand muffling his last attempts at words. She cleans the blade before nodding at you, a glassy look in her eyes, before returning it into it's side sheathe and reclaiming her slung submachine gun.

You motion to the SWAT officers and they peer back over their window.

" Look's like they haven't noticed, but the truck's almost packed up. They're about to leave, at least the ones with the cargo."

You think a moment. "We should let it go, they said their higher up wasn't here, right? Sofia, can we task a drone to follow that truck?" She nods and taps into her terminal, but hovers for a moment when done with it.

She crouches down, and quickly snatches up the fallen rifle. There is a flash of unconcealed disgust. "Dallas Arms, XR20 SBR. Texan make. You want to make a bet what's in those crates, Jack?"

You don't get time to parse this. The truck coughs to life and you hear a metal door being rolled up.

" Five of them left, the others are on the truck. Your call Agents, we going in or what?"

" Didn't come here to talk dinner. Send the word to the others, go hot as soon as the truck's far enough out." Sofia says.
>>
>>4939657
"Got it" Says an officer, turning into his commlink to relay the order.

You end up giving the truck almost two full minutes, when the BIRA makes the call for you.

"Shit, they're headed up here now." An officer relates.

"Do it." Sofia calls, and without warning or consultation she kicks the office door in, her gun raised and sending out hate towards the approaching men. With a deafening bang two of the garage doors blow in below and the main SWAT force begins to file in as well.

> Draw your gun

> Keep it holstered

> Either way:

> 3d100 Fieldwork test DC 20

>and

>1d100 CQC test for live capture DC 50
>>
Rolled 89 (1d100)

>>4939671
>draw
>>
Rolled 30 (1d100)

>>4939671
> Draw your gun

Only shoot if someone is in danger of getting shot though.
>>
Rolled 44 (1d100)

>>4939671
>>> Draw your gun
I want to roll the last fieldwork test!
>>
Rolled 11 (1d100)

>>4939671
>> Draw your gun
>>
Update tomorrow, ended up having some drinks while out.
>>
>>4941485
that's great! having drinks
>>
>>4939884
The world explodes. A cacophony of gunfire and grenade blasts deafens you as you follow Sofia out the door, drawing your pistol with some clumsiness. The SWAT element files in behind you.

Two BIRA men file up the stairs, but are temporarily distracted by the explosion and entry of the team downstairs. Sofia makes quick work of them with a controlled burst each, and you make your way down to the warehouse floor, confirming they are neutralized as you go. The remaining BIRA are in disarray as you reach the floor, several falling to the barrage of fire from both the breach team and the SWAT complement on the overlook you just left.

Sofia lays down suppressing fire and you crouch next to her behind some metal crates as she switches mags. The remaining BIRA are about to be wiped out, and you know it would be a boon to take one alive. One of them is driven back towards you, hiding behind a concrete pillar as the automatic fire from SWAT cuts down another of his comrades.

This is your chance, you run forward against Sofia's concerned protest and plow into the man. Unfortunately, he is too heavy for your tackle to be effective, and slams his fist into your spine as you unsuccessfully try to bowl him over. "It's fucking over, cracker!" He tosses you to the ground, the cold concrete knocking the breath from you. You dimly hear Sofia cry out. "Jack! You idiot!" He steps on your gun arm, the 2111 still clenched in your hand, pinning it to the floor, and draws a bolo knife stained and pitted with long use. The pillar prevents immediate aid, and you scramble to respond, but he has weight and height on you. The blade plunges down and you scream as a chunk is rent from your left arm as you toss it up to protect your face. "Time to pay, you pasty fascist shi-!" You manage to knee him in the crotch as he readies a second swing, his arms involuntarily move to the injured area. Wasting no time you bring up your gun, and three shots ring out. A triplet of crimson holes in his chest, the burly assailant gives you a look of confusion before falling backward, still as a rock.

It takes a moment to gather yourself. It was him or you, but you just took a life. A few days ago the most damage you had ever done to another human being was embarrassment and now you're a killer. In your shock you don't even notice as the shooting stops.

The rest of the BIRA lay dead on the floor, their weapons silent. The man you shot stares vacantly at the ceiling, eyes seeing nothing but darkness. You remain with the gun aiming where he stood, frozen. SWAT clears the room without any consideration for you, but Sofia rushes to your side, taking the gun from your hands. "Jack, it's all right. You did what you had to." Her eyes burn with concern as she helps you to your feet.
>>
>>4942297
Your hands shake on their own. Vids, games, nothing prepared you for this. You recognize the dead man as Aadil, the more articulate of the two BIRA members you eavesdropped on. He was here, but now he's gone. His passage to the other side bore your signature, and you feel like a mark lies upon your soul.

"Jack." You hear her distantly, as if through a tunnel.

"Jack!" You are far away, Dad is there, he looks on with understanding and a hint of sorrow.

"JACK!" You are slapped in the face. Sofia's face, panicked, concerned, not a little angry, is inches from yours. It takes another moment to collect yourself. "Sofia? I-" She interrupts. "Think Agent, what's next?" Your brain, still returning to reality, struggles with a response.

> Choose

> Surveil the truck till it arrives, then set up stakeouts

> Time is of the essence, you don't know if a warning went up. Hit the destination with a full complement ASAP and accompany them

> Inform PANOPTICON of Texan involvement immediately, if you feel evidence is sufficient.

> Write in
>>
>>4942301
>> Time is of the essence, you don't know if a warning went up. Hit the destination with a full complement ASAP and accompany them
>>
>>4942301
> Surveil the truck till it arrives, then set up stakeouts
>>
>>4942301
>Surveil the truck till it arrives, then set up stakeouts
>>
>>4942301
>Surveil the truck till it arrives, then set up stakeouts
>>
>>4942301
>> Surveil the truck till it arrives, then set up stakeouts
Ahyes! we will see where it goes... inb4 it goes right into texas, that will sure be a nice story to tell....
>>
>>4942365
>>4942403
>>4942502
>>4943370

You return to something approaching calm. "We, uh fuck-" You wince as a wave of pain from your wound strikes your arm. "-we have the drones tell us where the truck ends up, and we set up targeted surveillance. I don't think any of them got word out so we should have time to see who comes and goes and get stock of wherever they're taking the cargo." Sofia smiles at you. "That's good, Jack, exactly what we should do, I agree. Come on, let's get that arm fixed up before you start to go pale." You think you already are, if you're being honest. The slash isn't hugely deep but your arm is drenched from the wound down, and your blood drips onto the factory floor. You end up in the forward operations post for the SWAT element, a paramedic on call there stitching you up after managing to stop the bleeding. Lightheaded and a little out of it after the application of painkillers. Sofia sits with you as the medics work. "We'll need to head back to the Den to monitor the surveillance posts the forward teams will set up wherever that truck ends up. After that you can go back out in the field or we can stay remote and leave any action to BPD."

"I think I can make that call later, right now I think I wouldn't be able to do more in the field but maybe some time will change that." You don't want to push yourself too much right away and end up a burden to the operation.

"Alright Jack, that's fair. We'll have one of the LTs take us back to The Tower once the medics are done with you."

Around an hour later you find yourself back in The Den, and are updated on the status of the Truck. It's been followed to an old service station outside the city proper with an attached garage. The area consists mostly of a long abandoned Industrial Park that's been empty for around a century. You'll want to monitor the various surveillance stations and drone flights as they come online, so it's once again to test your developing skills at data analysis. As to whether you'll be taking to the field again, your arm hurts like hell but movement remains unrestricted. Riordan tasks some of the other analysts to aid your operation, at Sophia's insistence. You get the feeling that woman dislikes you implicitly but she cannot say no to a full Agent's request when she has the manpower free. As you tuck into your work, you can't help but note your attention is harder to maintain, could be the drugs, could be your traumatic day.

> Analyst Check, 3d100s, DC 60

> Choose:

> You are not 100 percent, but if the time comes you want to see this through on the ground.

> Discretion is the better part of valor, there is no rule that says you have to be on the ground for whatever action BPD is ordered to take on the ground.

> Write in
>>
>>4924660
>BPD sounds like bipolar personality disorder, hehe.
Or Borderline Personality Disorder. Which honestly describes IRL Baltimore police pretty well.
>>
Rolled 32 (1d100)

>>4943549
> You are not 100 percent, but if the time comes you want to see this through on the ground.

Might as well finish what we started. Going above the call of duty may look favorably on us after this mission.
>>
Rolled 41 (1d100)

>>4943549
> Discretion is the better part of valor, there is no rule that says you have to be on the ground for whatever action BPD is ordered to take on the ground.
>>
Rolled 95 (1d100)

>>4943549
>> You are not 100 percent, but if the time comes you want to see this through on the ground.
>>
Rolled 32 (1d100)

>>4943549
>You are not 100 percent, but if the time comes you want to see this through on the ground.
Miles to go before I sleep.