The following Sentinel issue is released:
October 28, 2005: Prepare for ‘Street Amazements’
Machines pick up increased communications chatter regarding masked men, and after planting listening devices at masked bases, Machines learn the chatter is centered around Veil and something big that is planned. The Merovingian also takes an interest in the masked chatter and has his operatives infiltrate the masked bases and report their findings.
The street magician Cryptos (mentioned in the latest Sentinel issue) begins his performances throughout the city. He appears in one of the many boxes as if by magic, gives a speech, then disappears and moves on to the next box in minutes. His speeches speak of “not being able to dream if you are fully awake”, having to “return” and “submitting to a higher authority”, which sounds a lot like Cypherite propaganda. He even encourages watchers to “seek the Veil” and wears a blue pill encapsulated in a crystal around his neck at all times.
Zion begins to investigate Cryptos, whos pill status is unknown (if he is a redpill, his identity is unknown). Zion operatives are sent with Anome in charge to interview bluepills who have seen Cryptos in action. These interviews are unsuccessful since sleepers don’t know anything either. Anome decides to ignore friendly relations with Machines and has listening devices set up on a Machine network node. These devices end up picking up data on Cryptos, most notably the quote, “Niobe is only driven by hatred for the Merovingian. That’s no way to lead people.” The message shows Cryptos is awakened. The Zion operative who hands over the recording to superiors says not to say a word for fear that “higher ups” will find out, indicating that Anome’s spy operation was not officially backed.
Machine investigations into masked men uncovers a plot to free Veil from Zion since Cypherites are “doomed to failure” without her guidance. The Merovingian also learns of this plot, but this increases his interest, and he becomes determined to break Veil out himself, but by this time it becomes clear that Veil has already been broken out by masked men. Zion holds a meeting about this and determine that Cypherites are Zion’s top priority (all masked men are to be killed on sight), and Toorima (aka Veil) must be recaptured at all costs.
Machines discover Anome’s operation to spy on them and confront Zion. Luckily, Tyndall and Lock successfully cool things down, and Tyndall is put in charge of all further Cryptos and Veil related operations. Zion investigations uncover encrypted messages that were accidentally recorded which reveal Veil had been in contact with masked soldiers a week before her escape, showing the masked are a threat even within the city itself. The Merovingian, still interested in Veil, continues to try to reach her. One Merovingian operative is able to open a communication link with Veil herself, and she promises further contact if the operative can prove himself by completing a set of tasks that she gives him.
To help patch relations with Machines, Zion turns to Machines for help with Veil’s encrypted messages, and Machines decrypt it in seconds. This reveals two possible Veil locations. Machines send forces to one location and Tyndall sends the Nescire crew to the other location. Despite heavy masked activity, Veil is not found. Meanwhile, the Merovingian operative completes all tasks set by Veil, and she agrees to meet with the Merovingian. Zion and Machines get word of this meeting and plan to intercept it and trace Veil’s hovercraft signal. Zion and Machines investigate and uncover several possible meeting locations. One of the locations indicates Veil is there, and just before Zion and Machines storm it, Veil’s signal somehow disappears, leaving behind a strange residual reading. Communications between Tyndall and Agent Gray are also cut. Tracing the residual reading reveals another location, but dead bodies of redpills are all that remain. Their cranial jacks had been tampered with in the real world by Cypherite hands.
Veil and the Merovingian finally have their meeting and agree on a partnership of knowledge after some flirtatious talk. Flood assures the Merovingian operatives that this is not allegiance or truce, only an agreement on mutual terms. Veil believes she is using the Merovingian and the Merovingian believes the same about her.
Tyndall believes the Cypherites who tampered with the redpill jacks are traitors, and she sends to Zion in person some communication data for analysis since sending over the network is too risky with traitors to worry about. Her hunch is correct, and it turns out the Nescire is verified as those sabotaging recent operations. The ship is found, and the crew is arrested.
Recent operations uncovers highly sensitive audio files of Cryptos speaking, each showing negativity toward Zion, Machines and the Merovingian. This points to Cryptos’s motivations being purely Cypherite, but another mysterious audio file raises more questions than it answers:
Agent: It has been another period, please report.
Cryptos: I’m fine.
Agent: There is concern you are unstable. The process could not be complete, of necessity.
Cryptos: I am in full control. But the memories are still there, along with speech patterns, and habits of language construction.
Agent: they can be access freely?
Cryptos: Screw you, you damn robot. Nobody’s gonna fall for this load of blue-pill crap. You don’t know humans. You don’t know jack!
Agent: this is control?
Cryptos: There are degrees. No concern is warranted.
Agent: I will report.
Machines suddenly end their investigations and operations against Veil, the masked men and Cryptos for unknown reasons. Masked men begin storming Megacity’s most popular hardlines, attacking anyone present regardless of organization. Niobe and Seraph join the battle against the masked men, who eventually withdraw.
The Merovingian throws a huge party at Club Parallaxis [inside], and everyone in all organizations is invited. The Merovingian gives cake to all attendees (I personally think this will allow him to somehow track or spy on all those who eat the cake - see Oracle: Baking Cookies). Persephone also attends a local redpill wedding and wishes the couple the best of luck.
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