OPEN Call Towards the Abyss

Ben Honee

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#1
It was like some sort of cyberpunk dystopian hell.

At least that was the first thing to come to mind when Ben took in the Cybermachine, even the name reminded him of some old Shadowrun book his college roommate left in the bathroom in their old place. All glitz and glam, but you could sense the corruption down in your soul, he could almost imagine his heart battering around like a trapped bird in his rib-cage. Back then the idea of a soul or something dark in underneath was a joke to him, he used to laugh at his buddy, if he knew how to look him up he'd call and apologize. Because this was proved it was all too real.

Well, you know except replace elves and orcs or whatever and just throw in a brunch of goddamn vampires. Still, with that in mind, it wasn't far off.

Ben's eyes darted anxiously, he didn't often stray so far afield- because he was deep in enemy territory. Here there be monsters, and he was the monster all the other monsters were scared of. Yet here he was, ignoring warnings and instinct in lo of some strange pull eastward. This was all his fault and he didn't have to like it, not one little bit. Then again, it was rare he liked anything that had to do with himself, especially his faults.

With a grumble he sat down at some sort of light up casino table, "What are you doing..." He muttered to himself as he rested his fingers against the glass knowing he wasn't about to get an answer from himself any time soon that would make this right. Yet, here he was.

@Elena Moceanu @Vittorio LaGuardia
 

Elena Moceanu

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322
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Salem Heights
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Toreador Kindred House Tenebris 7th Generation Neonate Presence
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#2
Elena was not the gambling sort.

Still, the Cybermachine had a lot of other things to offer. For instance, the music was always loud - the lights were always psychedelic - and the vitae on tap was always fresh and warm. Or at least that's how it tasted, anyhow. Now, the musical taste of the DJs left a lot to be desired, sure - but at least the tunes were lively and drowned out most of the Kindred-speak.

After having circled the dance floor for close to a dozen times and not having found a partner to keep up with her seemingly endless supply of stamina, the young Toreador began to meander through the tables set up for some kind of games which she was ignorant about yet still somewhat curious to check out. The whole setup looked 'new' - as in, she'd not seen it here before when visiting the club the other night.

Victor was keeping busy. That, and his resources had to be multiplying by quite a bit.

With a toss of her hair, the flamboyant girl decided to take a seat next to a random patron (Ben) and observe the goings on. Leaning her elbows on the shiny trim of the tabletop (but careful not to break any lights or anything), she tossed her head from left to right, curiously looking to one neighbor, then another. Neither of them looked particularly invested in whatever was going on at where they sat, but they were glued to their seats anyway.

Wrinkling her nose, Elena turned to Ben and grinned at the man. He looked either very annoyed or very uncertain, she wasn't sure which - but took it upon herself to try and brighten his night, anyway.

"So...does this table serve any special purpose? I mean, the twinkling lights are kinda cute, but I fail to see what this whole setup is for..."
 

Vittorio LaGuardia

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#3
Victor was busy - as usual. The clientele had increased 10% with the addition of the gambling tables. It wasn't exactly legal, but the city council and him were on a first name basis. Getting them into the city was child's play, and getting them up and running here was even easier. He'd have to keep an eye out for anyone gaming the systems, but that's what Havard was working with Security for.

Moving along past the Eiffel Tower mock-up and towards the bar, he checked in with the bartender, making sure everything was going well. The vodka stocks were running a bit low, as well as the AB- , but she had sent a runner to the storeroom to get more. All in all, things were looking good for the night. He thought about retiring early for the night when his gaze fell over to the tables...and Elena.

He didn't approach her at first, keeping to the bar for now as he watched over the dance floor and new casino area. He didn't want to be rude to Elena and her guest, and would give them a few moments to themselves. Instead, his eyes fell on someone a few tables down from them. He was a young man, working with some sort of tablet underneath his jacket. The jacket was the first giveaway. It was a tad warm in here from all the body heat, and even though he was sweating, the young man still had his jacket on.

Inside of the jacket, was the tablet. Victor watched as he worked some sort of techno sorcery with the thing - and that's when he noticed the USB cord attached to the back of the table and running to the man's tablet. As he watched, the table flashed brightly and a WINNER! display came up on the screen. The man punched a few more numbers and without even putting any money into the machine, he was able to activate it again.

He just shook his head as he moved up behind the young man. Placing a hand on the man's shoulder, causing him to jump as he spoke. "I believe your time here is done, young man." He ripped the tablet away and proceeded to non-nonchalantly snap it over his knee. "Now leave my establishment, and never return. Or the police will find your corpse in the morning."

The man seemed as if he was about to say something, when he noticed the gleam of silver from within Victor's jacket, the chrome and ivory handle of his Colt M1911 catching the flashing lights of the club. The man stepped back, and in quite a haste, vacated from his establishment, his now broken tablet forgotten.

Reaching over and pressing the cash out button, Victor took the ticket and saw the man must have just gotten started. He had only 'won' a little over $50,000. Definitely would have put a damper on tonight's earnings.

With that done he returned to the bar and gave the pieces of the tablet to the bartender. "Give this to Havard, tell him it was used to force table six to always give a Winner. And to take that table out of service for the night." The woman nodded, and Victor turned away from the bar, and his gaze fell on Elena and her friend once more. He'd give himself a moment to calm down before heading over there to check in on them.
 

Ben Honee

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#4
His eyes absolutely unfocused to his surroundings, Ben took a long, worthless breath and replied to the voice. "It's uh...digital gambling game. It works on credits and..." The caitiff blinked and turned, catching that the voice wasn't just some disembodied thing from his head, but rather a pretty young lady who had thought he might have needed the company, or that she needed bus fare. Either or. Though the fact he had been so careless to not be aware of his surroundings? Yeah he was kicking himself for that...if the worst he had to deal with tonight was losing a fiver so someone could get their drunk ass home, well, that would have been ideal. But in a place like this he was as good as ash.

Still the corners of his lips curled in a mirthless smile as he gestured across the tables. "A terrible way to try to modernize though, too easy to cheat the system. They basically work on a Linux kernel...anyone with half a brain and an android phone could hack this shit. " He hummed as a man was escorted out of the building, and his brows lifted- point proven. The House over there sure looked to have his panties in a bind, and who did he have to blame but himself? Still, that kid was probably gonna get his nose broke. "Hate to say it, but sometimes it's just smarter to stay analog." Slots were one of them. But hey, not his circus, not his fucking moneys right?

Of course, none of that really mattered, and certainly pretty young ladies didn't give a shit about tech babble, but Ben had prattled off like a man in a trance. Which was, for all intensive purposes his modus operandi. Ben gave the girl a once over and grunted.- putting together some sort of connection between her and the House, what with pantytwist eyeing them down all of a sudden. "You know I don't have money right?" Which was the truth, but more over, he hadn't been in any cohort with the luckless bastard who got lucky on some shit coded machines.
 

Elena Moceanu

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Toreador Kindred House Tenebris 7th Generation Neonate Presence
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23
#5
A digital gambling game? Elena had never seen anything like it in here before. Suffice it to say that she was not a complete ignoramus and living a couple of years in Sin City did introduce her to the gambling culture along with all its insane amenities designed to tempt people to play and spend... but this was The Cybermachine. A posh, Ventrue operated dance club. Gambling tables were not something Elena ever envisioned Victor LaGuardia stooping down to putting in his Elysium.

Did Kindred even care for that sort of thing? Or was it just a toy for mortals, designed to get as much of their money as possible?

The strange man was moving his mouth again, Elena observed. Sound was coming from it. Words. Yes. Technical lingo. "You're a hacker?" she blinked. "Sweet!" He did not look like much; guess he had it where it counted. "I am not very well versed in computers. Well, I know how to operate them just enough to do what I need, which isn't much to begin with. Search engines, email. The basic stuff. Oh, and Skype! Cuz Snapchat and Instagram just plain suck."

Reaching into her pocket, the young Toreador pulled out a fiver. "Wanna test your luck tonight? That, or get yourself a drink - I don't care which." She put the money in front of him, then looked up to meet LaGuardia's gaze. An immediate grin followed. And then a wave. "Hey, mister!" He seemed kinda stoned or cranky, or both. Just her luck to have stepped into the nest of grumpy old men, tonight of all nights. Meh...
 

Vittorio LaGuardia

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#6
Having let his anger subside, he decided to finally head over and join Elena and her new friend. On his way over, he made some more pleasantries with a few regulars like the good host he pretended to be, before finally walking up to Elena and Ben. He gave the pretty brunette one of his best smiles and, if she'd let him, he'd take her hand and kiss the back of it, old world style.

"Good evening Miss Moceanu, I do hope you are enjoying yourself. I see you've found your way over to the latest addition to my establishment. Truth be told, I'm not a fan of them myself as they are easily...hackable I believe is the word. As a matter of fact, I just threw someone out that was doing that very thing. Alas, I'm stuck with these things for now. Anastasia pestered me into introducing them for a 'trial period'. I don't think they'll be staying."

Turning his attention to Ben, he smiled at the newcomer, and extended his hand. "Good evening, I'm Vittorio LaGuardia, owner and operator of the Cybermachine. My friends call me Victor. What shall I call you?"

Sure, he was laying it on pretty thick right now, but he wanted to make sure he stayed in the right frame of mind. He didn't like cheaters, especially when they were going to cost him money.

 

Ben Honee

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#7
"I suppose that's what I'd call myself if I was fifteen."

Been huffed and rolled his eyes, almost but not quite amused at the idea that hackers were real, well they we're, but not how most people thought they were. "No, I just work with computers." A beat. "Worked." Those days were long gone, he shrugged "Well yeah...if you don't need to do anything more than that, why would you?" The caitiff's voice came out in a bark and a grumble, bit that was simply how he was.

"I dunno they have their uses... then again I am not their target demographic," he gave her a once over. "Or you."

A groan and Ben frantically waved a dismissive hand. "Ugh no, I mean... sorry, I thought you were gonna try to grift some cash off of me..." That had... probably been unfair, though in his defense random women didn't just walk up to him, or men or... anybody really. It worked for him. He stewed awkwardly, "I I'm...". This was entirely out of hand, now there were two of them!

Now here he was feeling cornered and flustered, and he could swear he could feel the heat of blood rushing to his face even if it wasn't plausible...but it he knew it wasn't impossible. A cough and he muttered.

"Benjamin."
 

Elena Moceanu

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322
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Salem Heights
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Toreador Kindred House Tenebris 7th Generation Neonate Presence
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#8
"Hello, mister Magister!" Elena greeted the Ventrue and smiled with an agreeable nod. "Definitely having fun, although I am a bit confused about the gambling tables. Hope they do work out for you, though..."

Wondering who Anastasia was, she guessed that was either an assistant of sorts or his newest lover. But wasn't about to ask. Some details were best left private.

Victor was now making nice with the new guy, and that was cool. The new guy was old-ER but he had knowledge that Elena had little clue about. She was impressed. But he did not want her money. Oh well... she pawed the bill and threw it at the center of the table, placing some random bet on a total guess - because she had NO clue what the game was, or how the table worked. Whatever.

Turning back to her companion, brown eyes widened as he offered his name through a cough and a mutter. Was he ashamed of it or something? Or maybe he just didn't care to give it. Either way, Elena thought it was a perfectly respectable name.

Offering her hand in greeting, she grinned - excitement clear in her voice. "I'm Elena. Nice to meet you, Benjamin! Biblical name. Love it."
 

Vittorio LaGuardia

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House Limbus 7th Generation Elder Ventrue
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#9
Victor smiled at the newcomer to his establishment. "Well Benjamin, may I welcome you to the Cybermachine properly." He gestured to the nearest bartender and pointed to Elena and Benjamin. Their drinks were now on the house tonight. "As for the gambling tables, I really don't expect them to stay. But if I can make money on them while they are here, all the better."

He had heard Ben say that he worked with computers. "We are always looking for talent over at Imogen Cybernetics, if you ever feel the desire to return to working with computers. We have both day shifts, and night shifts." The night shifts were obvious, even Kindred needed jobs. He was trying to be the amicable host, finding some sort of ground for them to chat with. He couldn't stay long, but he wanted to make the man feel welcome.
 

Ben Honee

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#10
"Big...religious family." As if that explained everything. Benjamin dipped his head at the mention of his name, hand instinctively resting heel side along his face, as though trying to hide. He wasn't exactly used to the idea of being addressed, and it made him feel uncomfortable in his own skin. "Right, yeah...um, pleased to make your acquaintance...." he trailed off as though the wind sort of fell out of him, which was saying something since he was often nothing but a giant wind bag. He grunted, a slight bob of his eyebrows as he heard them chatter about the games.

"Your java isn't secure. Once that gets out, you won't."

Every cut purse in the city would flock to drain the machines dry, and in part he didn't feel too bad. Trying to be boujee without thinking about security got no pity from him, then again....he didn't have much pity to give outside of self pity. Ben's lips pursed, the offer was awfully polite, generous at that...but he would venture a guess that if this Magistrate found out what he truly was, he wouldn't have been so kind. "Thanks, I'll...keep that in mind." Probably in his nightmares where he was torn asunder by a blood hunt, but hey, that was still in mind.
 

Elena Moceanu

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#11
Religious? Elena thought that seemed a little off-key, but didn't say much about it. Her own parents were religious to the core, Orthodox Christians. She could still recall their walls back home, peppered with ornate icons of Saints and Angels. Oh, and that huge wooden altar with Holy Mary, Mother of God... All hand-crafted and hand-painted by some notable Romanian artist whose name had somehow escaped her...

By the time her focus had returned to Benjamin, her companion was already engaged in conversation with the proprietor of The Cybermachine. Now that she thought about it, it was very nice of Mr. LaGuardia to offer Ben a job in a company as prestigious and enigmatic as Imogen Cybernetics. And without holding a formal interview, to boot! Man, oh man... if only the New Babylon Philharmonic were so generous! Speaking of which, the First Cello post was about to become vacant, come the New Year. And Elena was definitely interested, but would she be good enough to get it?

Hmm, perhaps it was high time someone taught her Dominate...

"Insecure java? That's not a brand of coffee, I take it..." she grinned, knowing Ben was talking computer lingo and her attempt to appear cute and ignorant would probably be dismissed with a dull glare. Oh well - nothing ventured - nothing gained!
 

Vittorio LaGuardia

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New Babylon, CA, USA
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House Limbus 7th Generation Elder Ventrue
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#12
Victor just smiled at the man. A predatory smile of someone who just caught his interest. "You seem to know about systems that frankly I truly could care less about. How would you like to upgrade the systems for me, make them more secure?" He wanted to test the Kindred, see how well he worked. He had a more secure OS for the systems, but Anastasia was in such a hurry to get them installed he couldn't take the time to have them upgraded. So, now he'd see if the newcomer wanted to do it.

"How's $50,000 for the job sound, Benjamin?"

The sum was a pittance. He'd make ten times that on a good night - easily. So, let's see if he'd take the offer and go with it. He also watched Elena, to see how she reacted to the amount.

Probably wouldn't. She's probably handled twice that much.

 

Ben Honee

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#13
"If it were, at least I'd know my brand." Ben made an amused sound that shared a lot of similarities to a scoff, but he hadn't found Elena obnoxious in the least. She'd know if he did. He wasn't the sort to hold his opinions back most times. Like right about now, this guy had asked the world of him, and thought it would be one big, easy thing to restructure the whole system of an in-function machine. That, he found obnoxious, and he made a bit of a face, beard bristling with the motion. "It's not that easy, I would have to have access to the source code so I could find and hide the input fields..." If this La Guardia wanted him to show off even with a sum of money...he was going to break things well before he made them better. That's what happened when you paid monkeys (even code ones) with peanuts...it was a nice sum certainly, but it wasn't as though he didn't live like a monk these days.

But if he wanted a gentleman's challenge, he would make an attempt, "Fine." and with a final huff he pulled out an out of date phone and a matching usb cord, "Where the hell is the maintenance panel?" It wasn't like he was some seasoned criminal, he fondled around the side of the machine until he found what he was looking for, and finding it locked he just finally met the eyes of the predator staring him down, not looking nearly so scared now that he was in HIS element.
 

Elena Moceanu

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#14
"Whoa. You can do it....just like THAT?"

Brown eyes resembled saucers as Elena regarded Ben with child-like curiosity. Whipping out a phone and a USB cord, this uber-hacker was ready to rewire the entire Cybermachine before most mortals could blink. Her mouth came open as LaGuardia dropped an offer of a cool fifty grand as payment for a job he would have Benjamin do. The salary quoted by the Ventrue would definitely command attention; Ben would be a fool to turn it down. And was Victor just going to hand over his secret source code for the asking?

Turning her attention back to her new friend, she grinned wide, undisguised awe transparent in her voice. "Fascinating. You remind me a lot of my friend, Wasyli. Like you, he is very much a hands on kinda guy and boy, does he know how to make things happen..."
 

Vittorio LaGuardia

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#15
Victor smiled as Ben stepped up to the challenge, pulling his phone out and going to work immediately. When he attempted to access the machine, he was stopped by a simple lock. Reaching into his pocket, Victor pulled a set of keys and opened the panel for the Kindred. Once that was done, he stepped back, motioning for Ben to have at it.

Once he was hooked to the machine, Ben would find that the system was set up with a rather robust 256 bit key encryption system with an ever changing encryption algorithm based upon the users keycode and the current time. The USB ports were also encrypted with a secondary port blocking software suite tied directly into the keycode. If the code was entered incorrectly three times, the whole machine would lock down and require a master Admin account to reboot. And the master Admin account was not installed on the machine itself, but rather in a laptop secured in Victor's office safe.

All this encryption and protection was already there. It just wasn't turned on.

And Victor knew this.

He smiled as he watched Ben go to work.