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2/26 :

For the past week, we have been probing the Exile community for any information they might have regarding these machine substations in the Real. It is a slow and painstaking process, for we do not wish to attract unnecessary attention. I especially wish to avoid any chance of these Exiles connecting me to the crew, for ones such as these would mercilessly exploit any knowledge of us. Extortion is something we cannot afford to suffer.

Today Toro was approached by a carefree blood drunk who delivered him a message. His mistress, a blood-drinker female by the name of Entropi, bade him invite us to meet with her within several hours. I believe she was trying to catch us off-guard, although I feel that those hours were more than generous. If our positions had been reversed, I would have had Toro brought to me immediately without giving him a chance to contact his crew or his leader. Those hours were more than enough time for me to compile a significant background file on the blood-drinker mistress and to plan our approach. She was a former high-ranking officer within the Merovingian’s infrastructure, only a few steps below Malphas and Flood himself. Rumor has it that she earned that right through her service during Invalesco’s short-lived uprising. However, after more than a year of commanding the Merovingian’s troops, she grew bored with the position (as her kind often do; I consider Malphas an abnormality as far as blood nobles go) and retreated into the depths of her own fantasy realms. After that point, rumors of her activity are almost insubstantial. Yet I imagine whatever favor she had previously earned with the Frenchman was quickly used up and she was cast out from her virtual paradise. To fall from the couch of luxury back to the depths of servitude cannot have been a pleasant experience for her, I imagine. Thus it is no surprise to me that she would approach us with such a dangerous proposal. Nor that she would play a dangerous game.

I sent Kabarr to do the talking. His quick, tactical mind will do well for thinking around her mind games. Also he is calm enough to not be goaded into any mistakes. Not so with Toro. I asked him to wait in the lobby, in case his brute strength was needed to break them out of there. The brother and sister accompanied Kabarr. I trusted them not to miss a single detail of what transpired inside. Their prowess also means that they would not be at a disadvantage unarmed, should we have been betrayed. Gaia watched from the other tower, where she could recall them if danger threatened (although it proved unnecessary). Young Phasmata was the only one I kept out of the Matrix that day. She is still a fragile girl and I cannot risk putting her in a high-stress situation. I can never forget that these young, talented minds are not tools; they are my children. Phasmata oversaw the operation from the operator’s chair. In this situation, I trust her paranoia to alert the others if we were betrayed. And I? I watched from my tower of solitude, unable to help or assist should something have gone wrong.

Fortunately, Entropi has not betrayed us yet. She offered us exactly that which we sought, a list of machine outposts in the Real. However her price is very steep. Perhaps too steep to warrant risking my children’s lives. I will have to sleep on it before I send them our response.

2/27 :

Our answer was yes. However, retrieving the access keys from the Archival Society will not be an easy task. We will need to fill a hole in our group that we have lived with for quite some time. We will need some exceptional hackers if we are going to pull a heist on the Archivists. I have found two candidates who are just that: exceptional.  One is named Phoenix. The other, Diced. They are both redpills so we will not have to worry about the awakening process. An added bonus, they are both enlighteneds (although Diced’s irreverence is an attempt to protect himself from the dangers of responsibility). They both are in Zion at the moment, serving aboard hovercraft crews. Phoenix’s record is spotless. Diced’s is riddled with reports of insubordination, reckless overconfidence, and illegal gambling. I think both will fit in very well with our family and I sincerely doubt that either will refuse our invitation. I will send the hovercraft to pick them up tomorrow. So it is that our family of seven becomes nine. My five children will become seven.

I have given a great deal of thought to this heist. I do not wish to anger the Archivist Society in any way. Yet stealing from them is the best way to do so. In my mind, they stand alongside the Knights Templar and the Illuminati. I would no sooner snatch a relic from them than a key from the Archivists. Nonetheless, this is the only way to pursue our quest for knowledge. I think a concerted effort from five sites will be able to penetrate the Archivists network quickly enough for us to release before they have time to trace our signals and launch a reprisal. Proceeding clockwise from North, I foresee myself, then Phoenix, the strongest, then Kitasu and Kisoku as a pair, then Diced, then Gaia. Hopefully together we will be able to accomplish this task. Although I am relying heavily on the assumption that Phoenix and Diced will join us. If they do not, we may have to resort to hired help. Tomorrow will tell.

3/01 :

Exactly as I expected, Phoenix and Diced joined us. As always, I regretted not being able to be there to meet them in person when they first came aboard. They have been getting along very well, much better than I could have hoped. The chemistry between them is unmistakable. We will rely on them greatly to support us at opposite ends of our configuration. They will be our pillars of strength in the trial ahead.

Kitasu and Kisoku are not prodigies when it comes to dancing through computer systems. That is why I am placing them between Phoenix and Diced. Gaia and I have the aid of experience and age on our side. However, age is a double-edged sword, I cannot hope to be as fast as young Diced. We will all have to rely on and support one another tomorrow. Yes, we will have to make our move tomorrow; we cannot afford to push Entropi’s patience any further than we must. I have set Kabarr and Phasmata to observing her from afar. Hopefully if anything is amiss, they will notice.

I have selected the five locations and we have been preparing and rehearsing for the past two days. Phoenix’s calm cheerfulness and Diced’s playful joking bring a smile to my face. I look forward to seeing their progress after months if they have adapted so well in just a few days’ time. We will each take a six-hour break for rest (I am already an hour into mine as I write this) and then jack-in. For better or for worse.

3/02 :

Our success is heavily outweighed by the sadness in my heart. Our preparations were fruitful, our methods perfect. We retrieved the keys, not just the one for Miss Entropi, but instead a whole collection. Yet the Archivists rebuttal was quicker than I had expected. As misfortune would have it, they traced our point woman first, Phoenix. I have heard of Captain Archer before, but never seen him. His lethality is brutal. There was nothing that could be done to save her; she was already dead (Toro reported an electrical surge through her jack that killed her instantly, as well as destroying the hardware of her Chair). I fought their trace programs for as long as I could, giving the others time to jack-out (Diced was the most difficult to get to his hardline, he had to be retrieved by Kitasu and Kisoku, yelling and screaming obscenities all the way), before I made for my own hardline. I arrived just seconds before my own death would have caught me, but still several seconds too late. I saw the vehicle round the corner. I saw the captain looking down his sight. I saw straight into his large, dilated pupil. And he saw me well. I was gone before the bullet penetrated the glass. Toro claimed that it only trailed my jack-out by mere milliseconds. I was either lucky or blessed by the protection of an old friend. However lucky I may have been, I doubt that the Archivists will ever forget my face. If I ever set foot in the Matrix again, I have no doubt that I will instantly become known to them and disappear without a trace. I have no regrets about that; I would have sacrificed myself willingly to save my children. Banishment from the Matrix is a small sacrifice considering the alternatives. No, my only regret is that I could not sacrifice myself to protect them all.

Diced has taken it the hardest, although he tries the hardest to hide it. He has taken a great loss this day, even if he only knew her mere days. I can see the sorrow behind his eyes and hear the despair hiding behind his jokes. Her death will no doubt stall his progress for many months to come. I will let him take the time to come to terms on his own. Yet he cannot avoid the responsibilities that he has shouldered. He can blame me all he wants, but he must remain committed to his duties. I will bear his hatred for as long as I must.

Tonight we rest. Tomorrow we deal with Entropi. Kabarr has confirmed it. She has been meeting with others and offering them the same information she has offered us. I doubt that any of us will leave with what she has promised. Our only option is to outmaneuver her, not an easy task considering her kind was born to play games of deception and deceit. Luckily, she has unknowingly provided us the means to betray her through her own request. We have not just the key she wanted, but keys to various other doors. Tomorrow we will need everyone to play a part. Even our competitors. Even Diced.

3/03 :

My suspicions that Entropi was planning to betray us were correct. Unfortunately for her, we had entirely circumvented her plan.

Kitasu and Toro, our two strongest fighters, brought the key to the arranged meeting location. Phasmata, stealthed, waited outside the building to observe our competitors as they arrived. I do not know if it was thanks to Toro’s heavy cologne or blind luck, but nobody noticed Kabarr enter along with Kitasu and Toro, climbing along the ceiling above their heads with the other keys and his knife. At this point, the three of them vanished from the Matrix feed (as they later confirmed, they were brought through several doors to the location of the trade). At this point, we were relying on Gaia inside the simulation and Diced on the hovercraft to trace their broadcast signals and locate their position in the city (which they did successfully sometime during the following events). Kisoku remained on standby until they were located to provide covering fire if necessary.

I will continue telling the story through the knowledge of their collective stories and reports, tales that I would not hear until much later in the night. Kitasu, Toro, and the stealthy Kabarr were taken to an underground subbasement. The other buyers joined them there, no doubt brought from different starting locations through different means. There they were searched for weapons and their “gifts” were seized. It was at this point that Entropi made to leave with the items using our key to open a door for herself. It was at this point that Kabarr tried to kill her. His knife stuck in her back, she dropped the items (including the data, which she had brought with her for some unknown reason) and retreated through the door (with the key), slamming it behind her. Kitasu claims that she yelled either “Years!”, “Yours!”, or “Tours!” before escaping, although the others do not recall hearing anything. At this point, they all confirm that a bright flash filled the room and all the Exiles fell to the floor. Everyone in the room scrambled to retrieve their weapons and a small war broke out. Kabarr used the keys to open a doorway out of there. He claims a man pushed past him and vanished down the hallway before he had a chance to react. He pulled the wounded Toro through the door and turned back for Kitasu. He was running for the door, but a woman was running to cut him off from across the room. Kabarr had no choice but to tag the woman with a neural dart to buy Kitasu the time he needed to reach the door. It was at this point that he noticed that the woman was carrying the disk. Kabarr ran to retrieve it and then retreated through the door. Toro confirms this. The three shut the door behind them and then took Toro to a hardline. Kitasu later claimed that armed security had begun pouring into the room from an unknown source, nearly cutting off his escape. Kisoku was watching the building from an adjacent rooftop, but said that she did not see anyone enter or exit the building. During the whole ordeal, Phasmata waited to enter Entropi’s quarters to search for the data, although that intrusion proved unnecessary and she was immediately recalled. All six were able to exit through hardlines without any further complications. All six unharmed, with the exception of Toro’s minor bullet wound, which was healed without incident. I believe this concludes my documentation of their stories. I have tried to record the events as accurately and detailed as possible in case I need to return to them in the future.

3/04 :

Kabarr returned to the building the next day. It was no longer there. In its place was a long-abandoned construction site.

Kitasu is not happy. He feels that our actions were not honorable. Yet there are times when honor will get you killed and I know that he understands this. I appreciate his ideals and dedication to his own soul-searching. Sometimes I fear that I have lost mine.

The disk held exactly the information that was promised. The coordinate system is unfamiliar to us, but using feature matching of basic geographic elements, we have been able to match one site to Zion’s records. The other locations I assume fall in the suspiciously unmarked regions of our maps. No ship of Zion has ever returned from those areas to report their findings. I certainly have no interest in sending my crew into unexplored enemy territory. However, we may not have to. One matching region. Region 915-4. That is all we have to go on now. I am hoping that a return to Zion might gain us some leads. I am certain that however far this region 915-4 is from Zion, there will at least be some information in their archives that will help us to navigate there safely. If not, we may have to explore it on our own.

3/12 :

Unfortunately, increased sentinel activity has made it impossible for my children to head back toward Zion. However, I have found a new task to keep them occupied. I feel that it is very important to keep them occupied in the light of recent tragedies. It will give them purpose in their mindfulness and help them to grow. I have discovered a potential within the Matrix, a bluepill. I think that the crew is a stable enough environment now to warrant awakening a bluepill onto the ship. Caring for and teaching him will keep them occupied and hopefully a new mind joining the family will renew their cheerfulness.

His name is Gregory Pierce and he is a historian and aspiring philosopher, it would seem. While his background might not be immediately marketable to the duties aboard the ship, he appears to be very bright and attentive to details. He is slightly older than the normal awakened; yet I think that he will transition well to his new environment. I have read some of his papers and I think that he shows great promise toward expanding his mind. I have a feeling that he will adapt to the awakened world quickly and begin his pursuit of enlightenment soon afterwards.

6/02 :

To my surprise, I was contacted by a bluepill today. He is a hacker. Aware that something is not right in his world. He goes by the handle of Piqo. I believe it is an allusion to his small stature; perhaps a nickname afforded him by his peers. He does not treat it as a weakness; he instead wears it with pride. I am not entirely certain how he became aware of me, nor is he entirely forthcoming with the answers, but I cannot deny that he seems to have a brilliant, if uncertain, young mind. He would be a perfect addition to the crew. After the successful awakening of Caigne, I am not hesitant to ask them to awaken another bluepill. I think that, if offered, he will eagerly accept. Young Piqo reminds me in many ways of a small mouse. Twitchy and cautious, yet bright-eyed and eager. I will discuss it with the crew and send them to recruit him tomorrow, if all goes well.

6/15 :

I have reached a decision.  Piqo will be the last.  Now that he has been extracted, my children will not return to the Matrix again.  Not until we absolutely need to.  Or until we are absolutely needed.  Again and again I am convinced that the connection between awakeneds and the Matrix remains a blight upon their ability to grow and advance as a society.  Detachment will be their salvation.  I mistakenly thought that they were ready but now I question my judgment.  Kitasu and Kisoku made a great deal of progress after they left Zion.  They both possess a natural affinity for philosophy and greater thought.  As brother and sister, they have the ability to fuel each other’s advancement and push each other to new heights.  The stern Kisoku and the compassionate Kisoku.  Very much the yin and yang.  My only fear is what one might do should the other be lost.  Or even more terrible, what one might do to save another.  Oddly enough, even though they are the most veteran and most capable of my children, I fear for them the most.  Even Toro had made so much progress while we were away from the simulated world that causes him so much pain.  I thought that confronting those memories might be good for him, but I was wrong.  I fear that I have failed him most (aside from poor Diced).  He has raised his walls of anger and aggression once more.  I imagine that only seeing his old neighborhoods and stomping grounds could effect such an abrupt and sudden change in him.  And poor Phasmata I could not bear to lose.  Phasmata who calls me grandfather out of compassion, not out of respect like the Yamamoto twins.  She is so fragile that I cringe every time she jacks into the Matrix, despite her reclusive behavior and rather eccentric rules.  Her inquisitive nature could get her into trouble some day.  Diced… I think that his burden can only heal over time.  I still mourn with him.  Caigne and Piqo are the two with whom I have not had much contact.  An overall seclusion from the Matrix will make their own mandatory seclusion more bearable.

It is decided. They will turn their ship away from broadcast depth.  They will take the jack-in equipment offline until the time is right for a return.  Perhaps a trip to Zion would be advisable for them.  Not a stay, but an information gathering mission.  We still need any information we can find about region 915-4.  However, tensions have been rising lately between the Machines and Zion.  I do not think that gaining entry to the city will be as easy for us as it once was.  Some subtle probing will net us our answer.  Then perhaps my children will have a purpose beyond the simulation to hold their attention for some time.  Until then, a quiet time of meditation and peace will have to endure aboard the nameless hovercraft.

7/11 :

The crew has had a great deal of difficulty traveling to Zion.  They tell me that there is a great deal of sentinel activity in the tunnels.  This worries me being dense so close to Zion.  I have instructed them to lay low in some smaller, less frequented maintenance shafts.  They will wait and see what is happening until I tell them it is safe to go.  I hope for their sakes that they honor my instructions.

8/29 :

Yet, there is good and bad. Terrible news has reached my eyes today. The machines have destroyed Zion. The Truce has ended.

11/17 :

I have made up my mind.  The nameless hovercraft will go to Zion.  They report that the sentinels have been leaving en masse.  It seems as if history has repeated itself yet again.  I have heard reports of a strange man in the simulation.  These rumors make me wonder.

I do not think that this opportunity can afford to be wasted.  If there is any information about region 915-4 in the remains of Zion, my children will find it.  They are to approach quietly and slowly.  At the first sign of a trap or any hint of a Machine presence, they are to retreat immediately.  I have faith that Diced will have no problem repairing and reconnecting whatever damaged hardware they may encounter in Zion.  If the information exists at all, he will find it.  As an added precaution, I have asked Gaia to remove what information she can find of the crew in Zion’s remaining systems.  I know that there must be copies of that data that has been relocated to New Zion (as well as taken by the Machines themselves from the wreckage of Zion, I am certain) but I feel that any precaution that can be taken should be taken.

11/22 :

They were unable to find as much information as I had hoped.  All that was uncovered is a log file from a Zion communications system.  Oddly enough, this log file records a transmission originating in region 915-4.  Even odder, this transmission appears to have connected to Zion’s systems secretly without their knowledge.  A file was uploaded and the connection was severed.  Diced tried unsuccessfully to locate this file.  What has become of it now is a mystery.  Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing the date of this transmission.  It could have preceded their visit by several weeks or several decades.  Either way, this transmission indicates that someone or something in region 915-4 is aware of Zion.  Aware and interested.

There is another point of interest.  A very strange man, stranger than most in the simulation.  He is described of being composed solely of an insubstantial arrangement of wires. A wireframe man, as it is.  For reasons unknown to me, he has been dubbed “The Intruder.”  However, with the potential this wireframe man has exhibited, I see him not as an Intruder, but an Individual.  I see no reason to greet this man with hostility.  Instead, I shall offer the hand of friendship.  Today I composed a draft of a message that I shall attempt to broadcast to him within the simulation.  If I broadcast widely enough, it may reach him.  If I am humble and compassionate enough, I may get through to him. The draft of the broadcast follows:

“They call you an intruder, but I think you are more enlightened than the common housebreaker. I know that they do not want you here among us. I too know what it is like to suffer forced seclusion. I extend to you an offer of friendship and information. I think there is much that could be learned from one another. If you think the same, contact me.”

12/10 :

My plan has yielded a few unexpected results.  I have received six responses from individuals claiming to be ‘The Intruder.’  I sincerely doubt that any of them are actually the one I sought, but I will give each and every one the chance to prove themselves before I submit to their own demands.  In addition to the six Intruders, there have been several extensions of friendship made to me.  I did not anticipate this message earning me new friends in the simulation, but they are not something that I will turn down.  I will see where this takes us.

My children are anxious to investigate 915-4.  I am concerned for their safety but I do not think that I can hold them back for long.  I think that I can justify a trip to 915-4 if it is strictly reconnaissance.  However, they will have to promise me that they will not act until they have spoken with me.  I cannot have them rushing into danger.  I could not stand to lose another.

12/21 :

I continue to converse with my new friends: Doctor Bourdeaux, SEPET, NightTrace. As I suspected, none of the Intruders bore fruit.  However, my plan has proven even more successful than intended, to my great joy.  However, a great many of the ones who began talking to me never responded again after our first few correspondences.  I suppose I am nothing as exciting as they had hoped.

My children have kept their promise.  They paid a brief visit to region 915-4 and then returned home.  The tunnels in that area are impassable due to a great deal of geothermal activity.  The heat in those tunnels would undoubtedly begin to melt the hull if they attempted to traverse them.  Without knowing what is in those tunnels and which way to go, I am afraid that a return visit would be deadly.  So it is that I have decided that the file transmitted to Zion from 915-4 should now be the priority.  If this file can offer us some indication of who or what exists in 915-4, then we can form a more reasonable plan of action.  To that end, my children will return to the simulation.  With the appearance of the Individual, I feel that the time is right.  If a new conflict is forming, we will need to seek out other enlightened minds as allies with which to share the force of the storm.  I have begun compiling lists of names for them to locate and approach.  Equal numbers from each walk of life: Zion and Machine, Merovingian syndicate and freelance, E Pluribus Neo and Cypherite.  Additionally, I feel that the time is right for Caigne to join them.  With Piqo, I remain yet uncertain.  However I feel that he will be ready soon as well.  My children will go forth into the simulation in search of enlightened minds.

1/29 :

Both my children’s contacts and my own have brought news of strange fragmented images being found in the simulation.  At first glance, they appear to be pieces of a thermal map of tunnels.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that these fragments are connected to region 915-4.  However, new fragments are being found faster than connections can be made between existing pieces.  Assembling them will be a daunting task.  Diced has taken this new challenge and made it his own.  I hear that he is designing a foundation for the crew to introduce themselves to others, as well as informing them about the image fragments and our interest in assembling them.  I think that this will solve our problem of “what.”  Now that leaves us with the “how.”  After our last encounter, I am wary of dealing with Exiles, but once again it must be done.  If we are able to locate an access point for one of these fabled secret network nodes, we will need to have the proper Machine interface protocols for hand-shaking with their terminal and retrieving information.  I am sure that something along those lines will not be terribly difficult to find in the Exile underground.  However, I am sure that the price will almost certainly be too high to pay.

I have renounced my former opinion of The Intruder. Yes, The Intruder is how he will forever remain to me.  His behavior illustrates his true nature.  As far as I can see, he is know different than the Zion operational officer who accidentally discovered more power than he could understand.  I have no doubt that this Halborn did not earn the power he wields either.  I sincerely hope that we do not have another villain to slay for I will not be able to hold my children back from assisting no matter how much the risk to themselves.

2/16 : Meet

I trust these Exiles and their arrangement less than I trusted Lady Entropi and hers.  They are an independent organization.  A small tightly-compacted syndicate with a very efficient operation structure.  Their leader is a seemingly carefree Exile by the name of Pierre.  I am not fooled by his façade of carelessness.  I can spot a snake in sheep’s clothing.  These Exiles will not be an adversary to take lightly.

They chose to meet in a warehouse in Lemone.  It was no surprise, considering the remoteness of the area.  I made sure that Gaia would wait in the warehouse so that she might be able to get our people out of there if anything were to go wrong.  Additional positions were established in a nearby office and a building in Kedemoth.  All three locations lie along a major north-south conduit.  Excellent locations for monitoring communications and local security systems.  I was reluctant to put Diced directly on top of the action, he is not a strong tactical force, but everyone must play their part.  Kitasu remained on standby, keeping watch over the area for signs of foul play. As always, knowledge is your best ally in these situations and the more eyes that look down upon the world, the better. I was unable to direct my resources to the area so quickly, forcing me to wait for updates.  I do not like leaving them on their own, but I know I must if they are to grow.

Pierre wants us to take something from another group of Exiles.  Their competitors, I believe.  Naturally we are given no alternatives and a deadline in two weeks.  Am I paranoid to think that they will take what they want from us and then tell their competitors where to find us for retribution?  They will be able to eliminate their competitors and us without having to fire a single shot themselves.  I have learned my lesson from Entropi.  She was an excellent teacher and I promise myself that I will never make the same mistake again.  I will not lose any more of my children.  We will not wait for these Exiles to make the first move.  We will not give them that advantage.  We will strike first.  We will be quicker.  If we discover that their intention is to betray us, we will defend ourselves before they have a chance to do harm.  Some reconnaissance is in order.

2/21

Piqo discovered signs of the network interface we seek in a machine archive.  Additionally, he discovered references to the highly-sought biological interface that has weighed so heavily upon everyone’s minds.  Other than that, there were logs of program transfers.  Unfortunately, Piqo was not prepared to make a full incursion into this archive at the time.  I suggested that he share the information on a message board and see if someone would access this archive in search of the BIP.  The EPN made contact within the hour.  Piqo asked my permission to accompany them, a request that I begrudgingly granted.  I cannot shelter the boy forever.  Sooner or later he will come to resent the protection that we afford him.  He has proven himself and he earned his place among the EPN on that assault.  They were able to enter the secure facility with a great deal of firepower.  Hearing descriptions, I have become aware of how painfully unprepared he is for combat.  After disabling security, Piqo accessed the archive, but the system retaliated before he was able to transfer the files.  I have no doubt that those files have since been removed.  It appears we must continue to rely on Pierre.

I have been investigating another bluepill, despite my earlier assurances that Piqo would be the last.  His name is Brandon and he is a high-energy physicist.  With recent events, I feel that we may require some unconventional talents.  I have heard stories of Halborn’s strange and unmatched ship.  Yes, I do think that a high-energy physicist may become necessary.  Kisoku has sent him several messages at home and was able to arrange a meeting at a local eatery.  I advised her not to contact him at work; Ouroboros has strong ties with the System and I have noticed the Agents keeping attention on it.  Hopefully their employees are not monitored too closely.  As of yet, he remains unaware, but she thought that he shows all the appropriate signs to warrant an awakening.  It will require a stronger touch than hers.

2/23 : Hack

We are sending Phasmata and Kabarr to covertly enter two of the Exiles’ operations centers: one in Moriah and one in Camon.  Those two are most skilled at the subtle subversion of infiltration.  For the first time, Piqo will be the central focus of our operation.  I think he’s earned it.  I can tell that he is proud too.  Our two covert operatives will be inserting a virus into the local systems at each location, allowing us to browse their files.  If any of the files that Piqo uploads to Diced indicate that Pierre intends to exploit us, we will have to eliminate them before they can eliminate us.  But we must take special care to complete this carefully and silently.  Toro isn’t happy about not being on the front lines for this mission, but I think cooler heads are required.  Our resources are stretched very thinly on this operation with the two locations to watch, in addition to Piqo’s hacking site and the streets in between. We need to have advance warning if anyone spots any black vans with tinted windows. We can only afford to assign one person as lookout for each location. I hope it will be enough.

2/25 :

Diced’s examination of their data has proven to me, without doubt, what must be done next.  It appears that Pierre’s team has already done their research on us.  They knew what we are and what we are after.  It was no accident that they have information on the location of the interface.  They used their Exile contacts to gather enough information to entice us into participating in their plan.  They already have preparations in place for recording our attack on their competitors.  That information, along with the detailed files they have on my children, is enough to spark a violent conflict between our groups.  I cannot allow that risk to my family.  Pierre and his people will have to go. Fortunately, they are not the only ones with detailed information.  I know where they eat, where they drink, and where they indulge themselves.  And thanks to them, we know now where the interface is being stored.  It will not be pleasant, but this situation will be resolved by the end of the week.

I decided yesterday that Kabarr would be the best candidate for inviting Brandon to join us.  It is not the best time to bring a new mind among us, but with the recent attention, it could not be delayed any longer.  Unfortunately, there was nothing that could be done.  The agents’ response was too rapid, much quicker than I would have anticipated.  It is possible that they have adapted to standard awakening procedures and are better equipped to prevent them now that the Truce has fallen through.  Or it could be that I was correct and the system has been monitoring Ouroboros employees.  Either way, Brandon Hale is now off limits to us.

2/28 : Snipe

I am not happy with what we have done, yet I feel it was unavoidable.  Their plans to expose and murder us were already in place.  If we had not acted, their hired mercenaries would already be hunting my children.  Six bullets saved us all.  Those bullets were my children and I am the one who pulled the trigger.  This is not the life I wanted for them.  They were to be free.  Free from blackmail, free from extortion, free from tyranny, free from misconception.  But have I doomed them to a different type of suffering?  Ostracization?

Pierre and his associates, Lamont, Martine, Grigio, Elise, and Fang must be killed.

3/12 : Heist

3/31 :

Now that they have the interface technology and the map is being assembled, there is the issue of surviving the heat of the geothermal vents and fissures.  I have done my best to locate the necessary supplies they will need to reinforce the nameless hovercraft’s hull.  Heat retardant insulation is not an easy thing to find.  Pieces of hull stripped from destroyed hovercraft can be used to provide extra protection for the external hull.  Temperature sensors will have to be installed underneath the new external hull to give them warning if there are any breaches.  Once the interior of the ship is exposed to these high temperatures, their systems will begin failing and they will all be trapped there, where no other ship can reach them to save them.  Their safety is more important to me than any piece of information that we might find.  I will not allow them to leave unless I feel that they have every possible advantage that I can find for them on this planet.

They will have to leave the Matrix for some time to make these alterations to the frame and exterior of the hovercraft.  It may take them some months but I think that this time apart will again do them some good.  As with metallurgy, repeated heatings and coolings make a stronger metal.  They will have to say their farewells and leave for the coordinates I have provided them.  It is a secluded area where they will not likely be disturbed, although I have cautioned them to keep one person near the EMP detonator at all times.  If they are found by hostiles, they will have to scatter to the tunnels until I can arrange transportation for them.  I have focused what sensors I can on that area so that they may have all the advance warning that they can.  Also so that I might detect their EM pulse if that becomes necessary.  It will be the only notice I shall get if something goes wrong.

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