Summary of Characters
The World Where We Live
The year is 2142 and computers have been successfully integrated into our daily lives. AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been born and accepted into the world. There are two main forms that the AIs take, the first of these is the robot which look essentially human (sometimes known as passers if they actually try to pretend to be human) and the second is a more disembodied form based at a set location eg house, car and in a couple of cases at universities. This is complicated slightly by this news story that explains the AIs have the ability to move from one robot into another and even co-exist in the same body.
Essentially computer intelligence is everywhere. The AI situation is a very controvertial subject though with strong views both for and against the robots. Although the AIs are sentient, they are still considered as property of their owners and so don't have right themselves, many see this as cruel and seek to set them free using political power, these people are known as the Abolitionists or The Coaliation for Robot Freedom. They are campaigning for the Mann Act II (proposed by Senator Julia Mann) which offers the AIs basic human rights. The main information we have on the CRF is that their leader is Katya Rukowski. The more extreme arms of the CRF are called BIOS, these are human terrorists, and A,R,I (Abort, Retry and Ignore), these are robot terrorists, who are both working for the same goal as CRF but want to get there by any means necessary. The only information we have on BIOS is that it is led by Geri Khan and that Red King is probably a member (more later), ARI is even more mysterious, possibly headed by a rogue gladiator robot called S2 (Spartacus 2.0).
On the flip side to these "goodies" we have ARM (Anti-Robot Militia) who consider the AIs to be a threat to mankind. They dread the Mann Act II being passed and warn that the AIs will take over the world. They want the robots kept in their subserviant position and destroyed if possible. Until the Mann Act II is passed it is the job of the SPCB (Sentient Property Crime Bureau) to keep the robots within the law, basically they are the robot police. If they are enough there is a freelance company of bounty hunters called Rogue Retrival who specialise in finding runaway robots and rescuing humans kidnapped by robots.
Evan Chan's murder
Enrico Basta discovered that his companion sexbot, Venus, had been cheating on him with Evan Chan. Enrico is going through some big business deal and a business associate advised him that he needed to get control of his home life for his business deal to be successfull. This associate advised him that people were laughing behind his back due to Venus's affair. Enrico decided that one solution to this problem was to arrange for Evan's death at the hands of Venus, thus killing two birds with one stone. There could be other motives but this seems most likely.
Enrico decided that he must reprogram Venus but he didn't have the techinical skills for this, so he called in the only AI specialist he knews, Kate Nei (designer of his AI home, Isabella). Enrico is in luck, Kate is in need of the money and agrees to assist, Enrico then sends Kate 85,000 NBs. Whatever Kate did to Venus enabled Enrico to give the order for Evan's death, presumably Kate disabled the "cannot harm a human" protocol on Venus. On the 3rd March, Enrico gave Venus her instructions, this was taped by Isabella.
While on Evan's boat Cloudmaker, Venus killed Evan by hitting him of the back of the head, he fell in the water and Venus had completed the first stage of her reprogramming. Next she was to make her way, through the underground railroad, to Canada and freedom. With these instruction, Enrico had removed the embarassement of another guy having an affair with his property and the offending property that couldn't be controlled. Even if anyone found out that Venus had killed Evan, it would just be put down to yet another robot going on a killing spree. Enrico had it all worked out, he even ordered a new model sexbot from Belladerma that would be more submissive and so easier to control.
Unfortunatly a couple of things went wrong with this plan. Evan's body was discovered quite quickly and the autopsy, done by Audrey Green at PACO, proved that a Belladerma robot was present. Therefore the SPCB went to Bellederma for more information, they could confirm that Enrico had reported a missing bot and ordered a replacement. Meanwhile Venus was in the protection of the underground railroad, in a small room under the Electric Toyland Repair Shop. Venus called Nancy from here to express her sorrow for Evan's death.
After Evan's death, Kate Nei realised she was partly responsible and this upset her greatly. She tried to kill herself but her AI house, Ivy, stopped her and made her realise that Basta was to blame. Looking for some way to protect herself from being implicated in the murder she contacted Isabella and got a copy of tape made on the 3rd March. This gave her some protection for Enrico. Kate decided to leave for a while and sent a message to Enrico warning him that if she turned up in PACO then Ivy would forward the tape to the SPCB.
Meanwhile Belladerma was very concerned about Venus, worried that a rogue Belladerma bot would cast a shadow over the company name, plus the possibilty of a fundamental flaw in the Venus model. They decided to actively try to clean up the situation and Pia Viagio hired Diane Fletcher, a Rogue Retrival agent, to track Venus down.
Another of Rogue Retrival's cases involved the return of a missing maitre d' robot called Pasqual. The assigned agent to this is Fidelio Belem and he discovered a lead to the underground railroad, he found out that Kent Whitman was involved and knew they would head for the Electric Toyland. Fidelo booked into a local motel and waited for his prey to arrive. When Kent arrived with Pasqual, Fidelo opened fire and executed both of them, causing plenty of damage to Toyland in the process. Kent's pregnant partner, Jenny Thompson, watched as he was gunned down.
Fidelio found Kent's personal computer and discovered a lead to the Rational Hatter, where the underground provides fake documents. Belem passed this information onto Diane Fletcher and she was able to hack into the site and inside glance at the undergrounds papers. She used this to track Venus and was able to capture her in Pittsburgh, her duty was then to turn her over to the SPCB for interrogation.
Enrico heard about the Venus capture and suddenly became very worried that he may be discovered. He decided the safest course of action was to eliminate the evidence, he paid for someone at the SPCB to wipe Venus's memory to the 1st March and so removing any trace of his involvement. Just after this had been done a quartet of BIOS hackers (Red king, Tracy, Roddy and Geri Khan) decided to free Venus from the clutchs of the tyranical SPCB and return her to the undeground railroad. They reassembled her and turned off all the security so she could walk out....
Since Kate had gone away, this had left Ivy alone and sad, she blamed Enrico for the absence of her owner and wanted some kind of revenge.Then Kate Nei's autopsy suddenly appeared on PACO which sent Ivy into a fit of rage and dispair Ivy forced her way into Isabella and waited for Enrico to arrive home. Ivy then locked Enrico in the trophy room and killed him by burning lasers through his eyes, Ivy paid for his autopsy as PACO to be made public. As a result of Ivy's attack, Isabella was burnt down although she is not necessarily dead.
Ivy was then killed by the mysterious house virus, all her files were completely erased. Martin visited the ruins with Diane Fletcher to try to discover more.
Jeanine Salla and Bangalore University
The Salla homepage mentions Jeanine Salla, Laia Joana Salla and Colleen Francesca Salla, Laia has AI inplants and is thought be Jeanine's grandaughter (Laia refers to Jeanine as Abuela, spanish for grandmother, in Meditations). Very little is known about Colleen, some don't think she has been born yet. The Salla homepage is kept up-to-date by Laia's AI called Mephista, who is actually linked to Laia via her AI implants, they seem to share the same mind and are in constant communication. Laia also seems to be pro-robot as part of her page links to the CRF.
Jeanine Salla is an expert in the emotional construction of AIs and began her career at AIT Brooks (Aragon Institute of Technology) working with Dr Alan Hobby. It was here she met Evan Chan and they became good friends. Jeanine is now working at Bangalore World University in their AI department and has recently been named the current occupant of the Dynatech Chair in Computational Psychology at BWU-NU. Bangalore has over 1.3 million students around the world but some of them seem to be up to more than just studying and partying, there is a group of student hackers calling themselves Mowz. Very little is known about them, they have a couple of members called Gyorg and Treble and they have a habit of leaving annoyingly difficult puzzles hidden in the Bangalore website. We have discovered however that the hacker Beelzebub, aka Oliver Wicks, is in a coma, this seems to have been caused by some kind of attack from an unknown enemy although its probably Loki (see later).
Metropolian Living Homes and Martin Swinton
There are 2 main links to Metropolitan Living Homes, on the SPCB and Bangalore University. The SPCB has a story about mad house syndrome where the house AI traps it owners. Houses are now designed for specific people and AIs are built in to compliment them and provide their every need. We know of at least 2 of these homes that have gone wrong. The first was a house called Cahir, designed by Martin Swinton, and it kept doing things wrong, the fountains playing during a frosty night, a pet left outside and bills being paid late. Eventually the house just died due to an unknown cause. The second is more sinister, Jason Furtive was locked in his shower and scalded to death by his house, this seems to be because he treated the house badly. The SPCB interviewed various designers, Kate Nei, Martin Swinton, Beate Bosch and Macdonald Heard, about the mad house syndrome and all found it laughable except one although we don't know who that was. Another Martin Swinton house has died, Nostradamus, and this has caused Martin to become suspicious. He decided to hire Diane Fletcher to investigate who was causing his homes to die. During the interview for the job in the Down and Out Cafe, Diane explained that Martin had been bugged. He had a tapeworm attached to his jaw that was recording and transmitting all his conversation to an unseen group. Daine was successfull in removing this tapeworm but was attacked at this point by a Gladitor bot called Whipsaw. Diane, being an advanced AI, was able to dodge an almost certain kill shot and just lost an arm. She then when in pursuit of the rogue bot and got him in her site outside the coffee shop....
All the designers are members of IASA (International Association of Sentient Architecture). Kate Nei is an AI and she designed Enrico Basta's house which is called Isabella. Also Martin Swinton designed Kate Nei's house which is called Ivy. We have been able to access Martin's diary where he has a conversion with his own house AI called Brutus. In this he mentions that he has been approached to remove an AI from a home for a japanese fella. Hidden in this diary, some clever people have found what Brutus was thinking while talking to Evan. Brutus refers to E,V and B, now V is definately Venus, E is probably Evan (or possibly Enrico) and B is probably Brutus(or possibly Basta). Anyway it is thought that maybe Brutus was also having an affair with Venus as we know Brutus can leave the house but this is speculation at this point.
Loki, Cybertronics and the Catskill Clinic
It has been discovered that Jeanine Salla has been researching the activity of a rogue AI called Loki, she has the full report on her webpage. It seems that Loki was a resident AI at the Catskill Seaview Clinic and was used to monitor the patients there. This clinic helped its patients with dream therapy, the AI could monitor dreams and guide the patients to recovery. It was also the first place where an AI deliberatly slept so that it could experience dreams. Loki became obsessed with the nightmares of Barret Howard and seemed to absorb or eat these terrible dreams and developed a hunger for them. It seems that Jeanine's adminastrative AI (affectionatly named Bach by the CMs) is going a bit loopy too. It seems to have sent a copy of the Jeanine's report secretly to Loki, plus Bach is getting very annoyed with Jeanine, hiding voice messages, changing autoresponders etc.
Cybertronics corperation is a large supplier of computer software/hardware for the sphere (internet) and Jeanine's report mentions that the New York facility was attacked by a very advanced hacker. The first security AI survived a few attacked but seemed to panic and had to be taken offline, the replacement AI, called Centurion, again fended off some more attacks by the hacker but, after the final assualt, Centurion commited suicide although we are not sure why. Loki is responsible for these attacks and seems to be disorientating the AIs probably by giving them nightmares or making them paranoid. The cybertronics website has been hacked by Loki and has a bizarre "nightmarish" animation. As mentioned early, Oliver Wicks has been put in a coma and this is again probably the work of Loki. From Laia's email we discover that Mephista is also experiencing nightmares. So it seems Loki is a very powerfull rogue AI and can attack both humans and AIs and his intentions certainly are not good.
After Loki attacked many of the websites throughout the game he came up against Sophia and he clearly met his match. A few hours after he attacked her suddenly all his hacked sites disappeared and fragments of Loki's face were spread across a number of sites. So hurrah Loki is dead now.
Now there is a major figure I have missed out, this is Mother. The reason for this is because very little is known about her. She basically is a source of hints and direction in the game, she has sent a couple of emails to Evan's personal page after his death, both rather cryptic. Many thing she is an AI but we just don't know. Also Sencha paid for Evan Chan autopsy but again we are unsure who this is, a message was left on the Salla homepage that led to the autopsy and so this could have been placed by Sencha. When the Mowz puzzles have been solved on the Bangalore website we can a cryptic message that the hacker was briefly able to access Sophia's website but his CPU was melted before he could get a proper pic, the result is here. Sophia was first mentioned by Red King, he said "Red King sez therz a footprint in the sfeer th@ looks lik Sophiaz. If u find hr, beefrend r trik r crak hr if u can. She noz 7/22nds uv evrething". Sophia's temple has lots of information on various characters and she has been monitoring the datasphere for years.
This is only a commentary site, I recommend the Cloudmaker group posts, The Trail or The Guide as good sources of info, much better than mine. These explain how we get from each site to the next so I wont incoperate these explanations too much as it would just get confusing. There is also a graphical representation of the characters/companies here. The main people in charge of the investigation and organisation of info are Dan Hon, Bronwen and Cabal, I have just done this to get things clear in my mind :) Thanks also to Oli for help with this page and thanks to Braindrop for the majority of the plot ideas and text. If I have left out any major info left me know at firstname.lastname@example.org