Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

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Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Flying Dice on Wed Dec 07, 2011 9:47 pm

Yeah, I actually got around to writing a bit of an introduction. Let me just say that the most obvious questions will be answered not too far into the future of this fic. As a bit of a preface, every pony alive roughly 2 years after the return and defeat of NMM became Type II immortals, which spurred massive, rapid advancements in technology in order to expand agricultural productivity and increase the maximum sustainable population density of urban areas, which had a number of side effects. More to come on this later/in the story. At this point in time, it has been 147 years since the event that caused this.

Spoiler:
Octavia stood in an immense theater, filled with tens of thousands of ponies, bow gripped firmly in her hoof. As the final notes of her newest composition resounded in the perfect acoustic environment, a massive wave of applause swept over her, lasting for close to five minutes. Every pony in the theater was on their hooves, for her sake alone. As the applause began to die down, ponies throughout the theater began to disappear like bursting bubble of soap. Octavia flipped the latches on her case open, gently resting her cello inside. Old habits die hard, after all. By this point, the theater was mostly empty, though there was a small mountain of paper scraps in front of the raised stage; from what she could see, they were the typical compliments. With a small smile of satisfaction, Octavia ran her logout routine, feeling the warm touch of Vinyl’s security protocol as she exited the net and entered their private connection. She shut down her link, and lifted the neural interface helmet from where it had perched atop her elegantly styled mane.

“So, how’d it go, ‘Tavi?”

“The same as usual, dearest. It frightens me still, though. Even I can hardly tell the difference between the real thing and modern synthesizers. I suppose that is why I still do all my performances live, if that is the proper word for it. The physical performances are still superior of course, but these at least feel a bit better than some recording.”

“To tell the truth, ‘Tavi, I’m almost a bit jealous of you.”

“Whatever for, Vinyl? Your… music is the perfect fit for these new synthesizers and editing programs, after all.”

“That’s exactly the problem, it doesn’t take any talent to make a mix nowadays; the programs practically do everything for you. That means that it takes twice the effort just to stand out to the same degree as in the old days.”

“I-I guess we both miss that, don’t we, Vinyl?”

“Ha! That’s us, all right, two old fossils!”

“I think I need a drink. Where’d I put that bottle of Glendrohoof?”

Octavia walked into the kitchen of their Canterlot flat, digging through cupboards in search of her favorite vice (in moderation, of course!). Meanwhile, Vinyl turned back to the contract she had been looking over, and gave a slight nod. She slipped her own NI helmet over her head, the dual visors blocking her vision for the few seconds it took to power on and enter their connection. Octavia wandering back in, contemplating the quarter-full glass of fine amber liquid in her hoof, as she noticed her friend and lover.

“Job tonight, dear? Oh, that’s right. Good luck and take care, anyhow,” she murmured, brushing her lips across Vinyl’s as she sat down in her favorite chair for a quick nap before her midnight performance for the Royal Astronomy Foundation network.

Spoiler:
Octavia drifted back into consciousness slowly, her mind still bleary from close to two weeks of tightly scheduled shows, to the feeling of Vinyl’s hooves on her body, shaking her. A few moments later, her classically trained ears perked up as she began to process what her lover was saying, “C’mon, ‘Tavi, wake up! We’ve gotta go right now! Oh, for Celestia’s sake!”

At this, Octavia felt a cold splash, and a trickle of water ran down her chest. She forced her eyes open, focusing on Vinyl, standing in front of her with a panicked look in her eyes and an empty glass hovering in front of her. Wait. Not water.

“How could you, Vinyl! That was from the bottle of the ’39!”

“No time, ‘Tavi, we need to leave!”

“What in Equestria is the matter with you?”

“I’ll explain in the flitter, but we need to get out of here right now!”

Reluctantly, Octavia allowed Vinyl to lead her toward the exit onto their balcony. As she shook herself awake, she noticed Vinyl’s NI helmet resting in the corner of the room, a large crack running through one of the visors. As she climbed into their two seat flitter behind Vinyl, she cleared her throat, and Vinyl began to speak as she lowered the canopy and lifted the Oatston-Maretin Model 93 off of the balcony, her magic gently manipulating the manual controls, engaging the agrav field that held the small craft aloft.

“Okay, listen, ‘Tavi. You know that job I took about a week ago?”

“The really big one from some company, correct?”

“Yeah, that’s it. Only it isn’t. They said they wanted me to do a real simple dive, track down some middle manager that had stolen some blueprints, find where he hid the files and any backups he might have made. Heck, they even gave me a full dossier on his life and network activity, but when I found where he was hiding, it-well, it wasn’t right, y’know?

“Not precisely. I have never much cared for the net, apart from sharing my music. What do you mean, dearest?”

“It felt wrong from the start, like somepony was watching me. But when I actually broke his security, it turned out to be serious stuff, military-grade programs. Only this stallion was supposed to be some idiot who decided to try his hoof at stealing company secrets, so by all rights, he shouldn’t have had anything beyond basic security protocols, the sort of horseapples that come included with your average personal connection. According to them, he was some sort of HR type who didn’t have the faintest knowledge of anything beyond word processors and Applepicker, and he didn’t have the sort of salary to afford this sort of security. Worse, even after I cracked it, that feeling was still there, like a tingling all up and down my spine, sort of like when you- ah, anyways, it was starting to freak me out.”

“That still doesn’t explain why we’re flying across the city in the middle of the night, Vinyl. Or why you broke your headset; as I recall, you had to save up for five months to afford that thing. Certainly it doesn’t explain why you had to ruin some perfectly aged whisky!”

“That wasn’t it; it was what happened later, when I found the files they were looking for. Except they weren’t what they said they wanted me to delete, or at least they weren’t blueprints for any sort of zeppelin I’ve ever seen, even if it was supposedly a next-generation sort of deal. I could almost swear it looked a bit like something from a game I used to play, like a, uh, spaceship, or something like that.”

“Vinyl, Equestria has spacecraft. How do you think we got the terraforming groups to New Canterlot, for Celestia’s sake?”

“Not like that though, it had a really peculiar shape, and was a whole lot larger than anything we have. Whatever it was, there was somepony, or something, keeping an eye on it, almost as if they expected ponies to be looking for it.”

While Octavia pondered this herself, Vinyl turned back to the controls with a final remark, “Look, ‘Tavi, whatever is going on here, it is really serious, stuff I shouldn’t be getting tangled in. And whatever it was watching me, it set up that security intending for it to be broken. ‘Tavi, it saw me, and it scared me. I can’t remember the last time I felt like this, and I knew we needed to get away from where we were, from where I connected. If it could play with me like some sort of puppet while diving, it can certainly break my security, and if it does that, it knows where we live. We’ll need to lay low for a while, no more performances, an-“

“Vinyl. Where. Is. My. Cello.”

“Don’t worry, ‘Tavi, I tossed it in the cargo hold before I woke you up. Silly, you think I’d forget something as important as that?”

“I guess not, Vi- Scratch. Thank you, dearest.”

“Aww, I love it when you’re feeling all mushy. C’mere, give us a kis- What the hay?”

“What?”

“Autopilot just cut in, I don’t know how, though. I shut it off, and the flitter is a closed system. The only way it could be manipulated would be if… somepony had already planted a transmitter and control module in the onboard computer before we took off! Oh Celestia, this isn’t good! Hang on, ‘Tav-“

Vinyl’s voice cut off as the canopy clicked open, and was instantly ripped away by the air outside the protective shield of the inertial compensator. The white-coated mare’s brilliant ruby eyes widened in terror as the agrav and compensator shut down, and she was flung from the flitter, her unbuckled safety harness flapping uselessly in the high wind. Octavia reached out, screaming her name, but couldn’t hear her voice over the howling vortex of air forming inside the cockpit as the extreme forces exerted on the craft began to rip it apart, her vision fading as the falling mare disappearing into the night. Octavia struggled to breath, to reach in futile hope for the secondary control panel in the back of the first seat, to do anything at all. As the last threads of thought slipped away, she slumped forward in her harness as the flitter plummeted toward the city below, bits of alloy streaming out behind it.

Spoiler:
A chill breeze whistled through the crumbled wall, blowing Octavia’s mane across her face. She blinked wearily, shaking her head. Her eyes popped open.

“Vinyl…”

The flitter’s display blinked irregularly, the smiling face of some mare, and a bit of text: “System Failure: Please Reset”. She looked over the back of the empty front seat. The flitter’s nose was crushed; there were bits of alloy dusted over a scattering of glass from the building. Octavia fumbled with the harness release, hooves shaking.

“Scratch…”

Tears rolled down her elegant grey face as she jumped to the floor, legs shaking as she turned to look out on Canterlot. Bits of safety glass crumbled under her hooves as she stepped towards the gash in the wall. Octavia’s eyes drifted up, towards the old, anachronistic palace complex, hundreds of meters up. So the building she was in was somewhere in Lower Canterlot, far below their apartment.

A slight buzz caught Octavia’s ears, and she whirled around to face the source. Or tried to; her legs betrayed her, leaving her flat on her face. She scrambled to her feet, looking up at the display extending from the ceiling. Light flickered inside the projection frame, forming a deep blue background around a small, white crescent.

Text scrolled rapidly across the display, ‘Hello, Octavia. Your… friend is alive and well. We have a degree of interest in you, as well. We would appreciate it if you would present yourself at Building 15, Apple Complex, Canterlot, address code 3245-M3, at midnight tomorrow. Building security in this office complex will come back online three minutes after this message terminates.’

Octavia’s mouth opened slightly, her voice trembling, “Scratch… if you hurt her…”

Her eyes hardened as the display dissipated, and quickly turned back to the wrecked flitter. She entered the lock code, and the cargo hatch slid aside smoothly. She pulled out a cello case, slightly more battered than it had been, slinging it across her back as she trotted out the door, glancing back and forth, muttering to herself. There: a disaster escape plan, stained and torn, mounted on the wall behind yellowed plastic. To a mind honed by decades of memorization of complex sequences of notes it was simple; Octavia committed the fastest three routes to memory in moments and trotted towards the staircase, counting seconds in the back of her head, hooves tapping out a beat.

Two minutes and forty-three seconds.

She pushed open a door and started down the staircase inside, noting the floor she had just exited.

27th floor, two minutes and thirty-five seconds left. I won’t make it.

Octavia glanced at the corner of the landing of the 21st floor as she passed it, noting the fine lines indicating a movable panel near the ceiling. Her hooves flew as she leapt ever downward, taking the stairs four and five at a time.

Thank the Princesses I keep in shape. A sound mind must be paired with a sound body, after all. One minute, fifteen seconds. Still 14 floors to go.

One minute and twelve seconds later, Octavia came to a decision. She abruptly halted her downward flight and pushed through the door to the third floor. As it closed behind her, an automated motion sensor activated, playing its invisible beam across her flanks and tail. A monotone voice announced over the building intercom, “This facility is currently closed. Unauthorized entry detected. This is a Class-Four industrial code offense. All intruders please report to the security detention center on the second floor. Antipersonnel measures have been deployed. Have a nice day!”

As the door swung shut behind her, Octavia’s eyes flicked upwards toward the compact turret which had just dropped from a concealed ceiling niche. She ducked sideways into an office as a stunner bolt from the projector mounted on the left of the turret scorched the exterior of her cello case. Octavia looked around the small room; the only other exit was a door opposite the one she had just entered. As she crossed the room and began to push it open, the barrel opposite the stunner triggered. A spray of steel flechettes chewed through the outer wall. Most dug into the plaster of the inner wall and were stopped by the inner layer of permacrete. One ricocheted off the titanium shell of Octavia’s cello case. Two more scored bloody lines across her side.

Crying out in pain, Octavia staggered through the door, pushing it shut behind her. She winced as she traced the cuts with her hoof.

They’re shallow, Octavia. If you can’t handle something like this for Vinyl, what good are you to her?

Octavia glanced around the inner room: nothing but a window and some cheap furniture. She tapped the switch next to the window, and it slid into the wall. Poking her head out, she glanced around. There was nothing nearby she could step to; the closest external feature was the raised ramp of the exterior fire escape, one room over and one floor down.

“This is crazy. I can’t possibly be thinking this.”

Nevertheless, Octavia awkwardly climbed out onto the narrow window ledge. As she stood, trying to find her balance, she heard the window click shut behind her, locking itself. A small slot in the baseboard of the office opened, and a disc-shaped cleaning drone slid out, moving to clean up the drops of blood on the carpet. A sensor on the top of its hull turned towards the window. She jumped.

Octavia’s hooves slipped on the smooth metal of the fire escape as she struggled for purchase. Her weight on the ramp unlocked its automatic release mechanism. Years of built up rust and detritus in the hinges brought it to an abrupt halt, shaking Octavia loose from her precarious hold on the edge of the ramp.

She landed on the slanted canopy of a cargo flitter, bounced slightly, and rolled onto the rough pavement. Gasping for breath, she struggled to her feet.

Nothing broken, I think. If- no, when I find Vinyl, I must ask her to remind me to never attempt that again.
Octavia trotted off along the narrow street, brushing her coat and mane clean. The first rays of the dawning sun filtered down between the long, narrow piers of Middle Canterlot, thrusting out from the mountainside, into the dark streets of the lower city. Yellow light played across Octavia’s gentle, refined features. Her ebony mane gleamed with reflected light; her violet eyes shone with a light of their own.

~ ~ ~

“You’re sure this is necessary? I hate seeing ‘Tavi like this…”

“I am afraid so, Ms. Scratch. It would not do to force her into something against her will; she must come to us.”

“What about me, then?”

“That was different. We did not expect our enemy to act as swiftly as they did. Naturally, once we took you into our custody, we could not very well allow you to endanger this discovery. Of course, you agreed of your own free will, did you not?”

Vinyl Scratch exhaled softly, “I suppose. This was too interesting to pass up, now that I’ve seen a hint of what you’re working on. I can forgive you for that. But ‘Tavi’s in danger, those ponies that were after me probably think she knows something! I swear, on your name, if she gets hurt, I’m going to make you regret ever meeting me. I don’t know how, but I will!”

A gentle laugh filled the room as Vinyl's companion smiled down at her, “Do not worry, we will not allow her to come to harm. With a spot of luck, we shall capture those who would meddle in affairs beyond their limited understanding, caring only for short-sighted goals. It saddens me, on occasion, seeing how far some of our subjects have fallen in a few short centuries.”

~ ~ ~

Fear and irritation fought a silent war within the confines of Octavia’s mind as she trotted up the ramp towards the bank of massive elevators connecting the lower city to Middle Canterlot. On one hoof, somepony had been following her for the past two hours. On the other, they were not even bothering to conceal themselves, as if it did not even matter if she took notice of them!

If the ponies that have Vinyl know where I am going, why would they bother following me? Either I arrive at the appointed time, and they get what they want, or I do not, and they lose nothing… Of course, more than one party must be involved. Very well, ruffian, I will show you the meaning of haste!

With that, the grey mare broke into a gallop, cello case beating out a clipped rhythm on her ribs. This sudden burst of speed brought her onto the station platform just as the noon elevator began to depart from the third line. Octavia weaved around a cluster of passengers exiting the second line and leapt aboard the departing elevator, panting slightly, her disheveled mane falling over her face. A shake of her head set it to rights as she turned to glare at her pursuer, who stood below the departing elevator, speaking into a portable comm.


Spoiler:
The lift entered the lower levels of Middle Canterlot, heavy clamps emerging from the walls to lock it in place. Octavia stepped onto the station platform, glancing around the room, which somehow managed to feel claustrophobic despite being nearly 80 meters wide. As the passengers disembarked from the elevator she had just left, others filed onto its companion, the 4th Line, which was due to depart for Lower Canterlot in another ten minutes. The air hung heavy and stale, despite the efforts of rows of large fans circulating fresh air down from the surface of the pier, hundreds of meters above. Octavia hesitantly glanced towards the large, open blast doors, which opened into the lift station lobby. After another moment, she trotted through, looking about the wide, low-ceilinged area for a corridor leading to the surface of the pier.

Suffice to say, Octavia had rarely had reason to travel through the interior of the pier; the apartment she had shared with Vinyl was part of one of the surface towers of Pier 2, farther along the curve of the mountain, and her favorite bar was in Old Canterlot, near the palace complex, as was the last remaining physical concert hall.

Hesitantly, she chose a path at random, setting out down a smaller corridor marked with faded words: HEDGEROW LANE. Somepony had scratched through the name, and a crude scrawl beneath it read 2 BiT AlLeY. The passageway was perhaps three meters wide, the ceiling less than a meter above her head. At places pipes emerged from the floor, at others old packing crates were stacked against the walls. Irregularly placed doorways in the walls opened into small, dark shops and homes.

One flickering neon sign caught Octavia’s attention; Gearwork’s Gadgets, it proclaimed.

What horrid taste. I suppose I shouldn’t just rush in unprepared to rescue Vinyl…

With that, she stepped inside, avoiding a puddle of what she fervently hoped was water. Octavia glanced around the small shop warily, taking in the rows of dented metal shelving, piled with the miscellanea of an industrial civilization: outdated NI helmets, rusted bits of machinery, dusty electronic components, and in the back what looked like older models of-

“Oi. ‘elp ya?”

Octavia turned to face the unicorn that had just emerged from the back office, “Excuse me?”

The green-coated mare repeated herself, “Whadya want?”

“I’m looking for something for… personal defense. Nothing heavy, preferably concealable.”

“Ha, purdy mare like ya ‘round here’ll need it,” the mare snickered, scratching her close-cropped mane with a forehoof.

Octavia did not deign to respond to that, instead asking, “As I asked, what sort of small arms do you have?”

“Errything legal ‘n all. Needlers, slugthrowers, viblades.”

“I suspect you have something more than that, Miss…?”

“Gearwork. Gilly Gearwork, not that it matters. Now what makes ya say that, mare?”

“I can see the barrel of a HVL in your office.”

“Wha- Horseapples, yer a dirty spah, ain’tcha?”

“Nothing so crude. I would merely like to purchase something with a bit more… kick, and you appear to have stock to suit my needs.”

“Yah can pay?”

“Of course. Now, if you’ll tell me what you have, we might be able to talk about payment.”
“You’re lookin’ for concealable? Ah don’t have much like that, hun. Just an old Pear & Coach plasma dealie. Damn thing’s dangerous to have around, just warnin’ ya.”

“That’ll do fine, so long as it doesn’t fall apart until tomorrow.”

“No guarantees, hun. Anyhow, that’ll be five hundred.”

“No. Three hundred at the most. After all, you just stated that it is in a state of disrepair.”

“Just ‘cause it’s broken don’t mean it ain’t a P&C. Four-sixty.”

“Three hundred and eighty. I don’t have time for this.”

“Hun, I’ll give it to ya for four-thirty, and throw in a pair of optical specs.”

“…Deal.”

Gearwork returned to her office, and began rummaging around in a metal cabinet. Meanwhile, Octavia swung her cello case onto the counter and opened the latches. Flipping it open, she glanced briefly at her precious instrument, assuring herself that it had remained undamaged through the events of the previous night. She tapped a patch of felt in the lid, which opened to reveal a small stack of translucent plastic chips. She slid out seven; four blood-red, the other three cyan. With a small click, she closed the compartment and shut the lid, snapping the latches closed. As she dropped the credit chips onto the counter and hefted her cello case, the shopkeeper returned with a pair of dark glasses and a rather bulky black stocking levitating beside her.

“There ya go hun. The P&C is already linked with the specs, just point ‘n shoot,” she said, grinning, as she scooped up the credits.

Octavia slipped on the stocking, feeling a bit of pressure as a pair of bands slid around her leg, securing the plasma pistol. There was a very noticeable bulge on the outside of her right foreleg, but apart from the cleverly disguised vents and barrel, it wasn’t obvious what was under the stocking.

Of course there isn’t a single pony in the city who won’t instantly assume that it is a weapon, but hopefully they’ll think it is legal. Princesses, but it has been a long time since I’ve practiced. Even then, I certainly never used a plasma pistol! Still, with a neural interface and a link to these specs, that mare is correct in that it will be simple enough.

Octavia lowered her leg and reached up with the other, taking the specs and settling them on her refined muzzle. She linked with them activating the security protocols to keep them firmly under her control. As the HUD came online, a small, rotating crosshair appeared in the lower range of her vision, aimed at the floor of the shop. With the assurance that both of her purchases were functioning (or at least as much as she could get without test-firing the P&C), Octavia stepped out of the shop, Gearwork’s “Come on back, ya hear!” barely registering on her conscious mind, and continued down the passage.




Last edited by Flying Dice on Sun Apr 01, 2012 6:35 am; edited 5 times in total

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Flying Dice on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:37 am

Nopony cares about my crappy story!


Heh, going to keep working on it anyhow, because that is better than research or studying.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Debesh on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:42 am

What are you talking about? I literally logged on ten minutes ago! Haven't even gone through all the new posts yet.

ANYWAY

I've read some stuff that had synthetic music in it, but always more of a background thing than anything else. It'll certainly be interesting to see how real musicians deal with the issue.
In (un)related news, why all the OctyScratch stories popping up?

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Dsarker on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:43 am

I don't want to get too invested in it, because I don't want to see what happens when the ponies create Slaanesh.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Debesh on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:43 am

Free copies of The Spellbook for everypony?

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Dsarker on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:45 am

Free re-enactments of The Spellbook for everypony, with them as the participants, whether they like it or not.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  MC Dirty on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:47 am

FD: As a fellow fan of Allegrezza, I approve of this heartily. To tell the truth, there's not much there to comment on right now. The setting is certainly interesting, but there hasn't been much, well, story so far. It is rather well written, though, so I can't wait for more!
I would like a title, of course, so I can archive this properly.


Last edited by MC Dirty on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:49 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Slag on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:47 am

I think the story is rather nice, but I couldn't really think of anything else to say, so I ended up not saying anything.

As for them creating Slaanesh, that took several decades of depravity. Seems that the ponies haven't got all the way to 'porn and nothing else' quite yet.

I think that some ponies would rather enjoy having numerous extra appendages, especially earth ponies who would finally be able to grip and manipulate things easily.

And I seem to have been ninja'd multiple times. Good god, why does that happen?

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  MC Dirty on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:50 am

Slag wrote:I think the story is rather nice, but I couldn't really think of anything else to say, so I ended up not saying anything.

As for them creating Slaanesh, that took several decades of depravity. Seems that the ponies haven't got all the way to 'porn and nothing else' quite yet.

I think that some ponies would rather enjoy having numerous extra appendages, especially earth ponies who would finally be able to grip and manipulate things easily.

And I seem to have been ninja'd multiple times. IT KEEPS HAPPENING
I TOLD YOU MAN
I TOLD YOU ABOUT NINJAPOSTS!

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Flying Dice on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:52 am

Let me just say this: I worked some elements of My Little Aurora into this, though in dramatically different ways than I originally planned. The plot will be taking an abrupt turn away from cyberpunkish contemplation of navels the nature of reality into Aurora-inspired SF with some elements of cyberpunk. I'm mostly concerned about the Type-II immortality thing: I needed something to explain why they, and Equestria, were in this sort of situation, or rather, how they got there, that would be slightly less jarring than "and then they were high-tech ponies!", but I'm not sure how well it will work. Obviously, I went for the least obtrusive form of immortality, because it served as a useful mechanism to explain both the reason they're still alive, and the reasons behind the sudden drive to develop advanced technology, while not getting into Mary Sue territory or making plot and actions irrelevant because everyone is an invulnerable god(dess). Oh, and damn but there were a lot of commas in that sentence a few sentences ago.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Slag on Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:59 am

Type-2 immortality exists IRL in a few organisms. The problem is that most organisms seem to have been given almost planned obsolescence (you know how a lot of modern gadgets seem to fail within a month or two of their warranty expiring? That's planned out) and scientists are having a terrible time trying to fix that problem.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  MC Dirty on Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:01 am

*points to his post*
MC Dirty wrote:I would like a title, of course, so I can archive this properly.
I'll just call it "Untitled (07-12-2011)" for now, then.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Dsarker on Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:03 am

Dear Valued Customer

Unfortunately, we are unable to replace or repair your Universe© product 'Life' as its warranty has previously expired.


Yours truly,

The Universe.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Necro910 on Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:12 am

Dsarker wrote:Dear Valued Customer

Unfortunately, we are unable to replace or repair your Universe© product 'Life' as its warranty has previously expired.


Yours truly,

The Universe.
Dear Universe,

______ you, you ______ _____ ______, you _______ my _______ ________ like the ______ _______ _______ you are. Go _____ _______ yourself.

Sincerely,
Satisfied Customer

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Flying Dice on Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:54 am

Going with Moonlight Voyage for a title (random ship name generator + story relevance on four fronts = good title, in my book).

Another section I just finished:

Spoiler:
Octavia drifted back into consciousness slowly, her mind still bleary from close to two weeks of tightly scheduled shows, to the feeling of Vinyl’s hooves on her body, shaking her. A few moments later, her classically trained ears perked up as she began to process what her lover was saying, “C’mon, ‘Tavi, wake up! We’ve gotta go right now! Oh, for Celestia’s sake!”

At this, Octavia felt a cold splash, and a trickle of water ran down her chest. She forced her eyes open, focusing on Vinyl, standing in front of her with a panicked look in her eyes and an empty glass hovering in front of her. Wait. Not water.

“How could you, Vinyl! That was from the bottle of the ’39!”

“No time, ‘Tavi, we need to leave!”

“What in Equestria is the matter with you?”

“I’ll explain in the flitter, but we need to get out of here right now!”

Reluctantly, Octavia allowed Vinyl to lead her toward the exit onto their balcony. As she shook herself awake, she noticed Vinyl’s NI helmet resting in the corner of the room, a large crack running through one of the visors. As she climbed into their two seat flitter behind Vinyl, she cleared her throat, and Vinyl began to speak as she lowered the canopy and lifted the Oatston-Maretin Model 93 off of the balcony, her magic gently manipulating the manual controls, engaging the agrav field that held the small craft aloft.

“Okay, listen, ‘Tavi. You know that job I took about a week ago?”

“The really big one from some company, correct?”

“Yeah, that’s it. Only it isn’t. They said they wanted me to do a real simple dive, track down some middle manager that had stolen some blueprints, find where he hid the files and any backups he might have made. Heck, they even gave me a full dossier on his life and network activity, but when I found where he was hiding, it-well, it wasn’t right, y’know?

“Not precisely. I have never much cared for the net, apart from sharing my music. What do you mean, dearest?”

“It felt wrong from the start, like somepony was watching me. But when I actually broke his security, it turned out to be serious stuff, military-grade programs. Only this stallion was supposed to be some idiot who decided to try his hoof at stealing company secrets, so by all rights, he shouldn’t have had anything beyond basic security protocols, the sort of horseapples that come included with your average personal connection. According to them, he was some sort of HR type who didn’t have the faintest knowledge of anything beyond word processors and Applepicker, and he didn’t have the sort of salary to afford this sort of security. Worse, even after I cracked it, that feeling was still there, like a tingling all up and down my spine, sort of like when you- ah, anyways, it was starting to freak me out.”

“That still doesn’t explain why we’re flying across the city in the middle of the night, Vinyl. Or why you broke your headset; as I recall, you had to save up for five months to afford that thing. Certainly it doesn’t explain why you had to ruin some perfectly aged whisky!”

“That wasn’t it; it was what happened later, when I found the files they were looking for. Except they weren’t what they said they wanted me to delete, or at least they weren’t blueprints for any sort of zeppelin I’ve ever seen, even if it was supposedly a next-generation sort of deal. I could almost swear it looked a bit like something from a game I used to play, like a, uh, spaceship, or something like that.”

“Vinyl, Equestria has spacecraft. How do you think we got the terraforming groups to New Canterlot, for Celestia’s sake?”

“Not like that though, it had a really peculiar shape, and was a whole lot larger than anything we have. Whatever it was, there was somepony, or something, keeping an eye on it, almost as if they expected ponies to be looking for it.”

While Octavia pondered this herself, Vinyl turned back to the controls with a final remark, “Look, ‘Tavi, whatever is going on here, it is really serious, stuff I shouldn’t be getting tangled in. And whatever it was watching me, it set up that security intending for it to be broken. ‘Tavi, it saw me, and it scared me. I can’t remember the last time I felt like this, and I knew we needed to get away from where we were, from where I connected. If it could play with me like some sort of puppet while diving, it can certainly break my security, and if it does that, it knows where we live. We’ll need to lay low for a while, no more performances, an-“

“Vinyl. Where. Is. My. Cello.”

“Don’t worry, ‘Tavi, I tossed it in the cargo hold before I woke you up. Silly, you think I’d forget something as important as that?”

“I guess not, Vi- Scratch. Thank you, dearest.”

“Aww, I love it when you’re feeling all mushy. C’mere, give us a kis- What the hay?”

“What?”

“Autopilot just cut in, I don’t know how, though. I shut it off, and the flitter is a closed system. The only way it could be manipulated would be if… somepony had already planted a transmitter and control module in the onboard computer before we took off! Oh Celestia, this isn’t good! Hang on, ‘Tav-“

Vinyl’s voice cut off as the canopy clicked open, and was instantly ripped away by the air outside the protective shield of the inertial compensator. The white-coated mare’s brilliant ruby eyes widened in terror as the agrav and compensator shut down, and she was flung from the flitter, her unbuckled safety harness flapping uselessly in the high wind. Octavia reached out, screaming her name, but couldn’t hear her voice over the howling vortex of air forming inside the cockpit as the extreme forces exerted on the craft began to rip it apart, her vision fading as the falling mare disappearing into the night. Octavia struggled to breath, to reach in futile hope for the secondary control panel in the back of the first seat, to do anything at all. As the last threads of thought slipped away, she slumped forward in her harness as the flitter plummeted toward the city below, bits of alloy streaming out behind it.

((PS: THEY DON'T DIE. )

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  MC Dirty on Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:06 am

Now, that's what I'm talking about!
So, not only is Vinyl a DJ, but she's also a hacker? This is interesting, this is really interesting!

FUCKING CLIFFHANGER, WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Slag on Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:22 am

Scratch: AAA hacker, not paranoid enough.

Word to the less wise: if you have a feeling someone's tracking you, and you're in a high-connectivity environment, you do not rely on any form of technology to escape. You hoof it by foot to the best of your ability, and if you absolutely must use a device you physically destroy any part of it that could allow someone to remotely interact with it.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Flying Dice on Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:32 am

Thing is, she is good, but she only really did small jobs, sort of like private-eye work, to suppliment her income, as well as testing new protocols for security firms. She isn't used to dealing with ponies who are really damn serious and have substantial resources, and honestly is too innocent to be that suspicious.


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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  MC Dirty on Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:34 am

Slag wrote:Scratch: AAA hacker, not paranoid enough.

Word to the less wise: if you have a feeling someone's tracking you, and you're in a high-connectivity environment, you do not rely on any form of technology to escape. You hoof it by foot to the best of your ability, and if you absolutely must use a device you physically destroy any part of it that could allow someone to remotely interact with it.
Or, in her case, hoof it by... hoof.
Anyway, I see your point, but it just shows that while Scratch is generally a good hacker, she hadn't tried any really dangerous jobs so far and/or is so good that she normally doesn't get tracked. Which explains why she behaved so carelessly when she did get tracked.

Edit: CONFOUND THOSE NINJAS, THEY DRIVE ME TO DRINK!

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Flying Dice on Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:38 am

I took Ninja Stealth Arts 431 last semester.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  MC Dirty on Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:09 am

I went ahead and changed the topic's title to make it easier to find. Hope you don't mind.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Flying Dice on Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:24 am

Fine by me, I was going to remember to do that sometime this week.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Armok on Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:17 pm

I don't usually like pony scifi, due to the unrealism of everything not being magitech to the point it's no longer scifish, but this is actually pretty good!

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  Flying Dice on Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:52 pm

Fairly short addition, only ~1100 words, in the third spoiler in the OP. Thinking about how I want to play the rest of this section. Thoughts/critiques?

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

Post  MC Dirty on Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:21 am

All in all, I think it's quite nice, but the degree of security measures is incredibly overblown and clichè. I get that very specific security measures are a staple of cyberpunk, but there's a line between "realistically specific" and "oddly specific" and the ledge in front of a window slowly retracting definitely crosses that line.
That's just my opinion and, again, it's a really good addition to the story, but there are just some parts that bug me.

Also, have a Dropbox link.

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Re: Moonlight Voyage (Octascratch in SF/cyberpunk)

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