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June 21, 2015:

Rowan brings something for Babs to look at and decode.

Clocktower - Gotham

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NPCs: None.

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Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Rowan doesn't often call for Babs help personally. But he has today. And it sounded urgent. Well calls is a bit much perhaps. He's told her that he's bringing something to her and he hopes she can take a look at it. From his description it's computer-y but sounds kind of… dangerous. Well, at least potentially so. He said he'd understand if she didn't want to look at it.


Babs is intrigued. Dangerous tech stuff, seems to be right up her alley. Besides things have been getting a little routine… not dull exactly, just routine, having a challenge might liven things up.

She's told Rowan to come straight in, and up to the monitoring room, she's got a workspace already arranged… no network access and she's backed up her beloved Clocktower systems and sent the back up to an offsite facility. If something goes wrong, it might take a little while to retrieve it, but she can have the Clocktower running again.

She's waiting for him, by the door of the lift.


Rowan comes in up the eleveator. He's carrying an ashcan sized piece of machinery that looks like its seen better days. Specifically… the top's been ripped off and it's sparking. "Hi Babs." Rowan says quietly. He's got a spear in one hand and the machine under his arm. "Okay… here it is. It's uh, tech from my world. I'm fairly sure. Nameless were guarding it. I was hoping you might be able to interface with it… might be dangerous."


Gesturing to the workspace, Babs peers at the device and then back up to Rowan as he talks "Tech from your world…" Now she's interested. "I might be able to, I won't know till I look though. Dangerous, how, Rowan?" There's many ways things can be dangerous, either digitally or physcially, she needs an idea of what she's got to watch out for.


"Well it might have residual programs to comrpomise your systems." Rowan starts. "It might summon more guardians. And I might not have disabled the emotional manipulation hardware and it might start messing with your head." So you know, not your usual hack. Rowan puts it on the table for Babs to examine. The electronics are very very compact and advanced in ways that are only theoretical here on this Earth.


"Emotional manipulation hardware…." Babs eyebrows rise "o.k… " she speaks slowly. "The area I've prepared isn't connected to any systems, I'm not overly concerned about compromised systems" There's still a chance that some unknown technology will learn to breach the 'air gap' ….

Taking her time to examine the device, Babs speaks absently to Rowan "Would you mind bringing my laptop over? The one on the bench behind us, there's a small zipcase on top, I'll need that too." Pausing a moment, the redhead considers "How much about the tech do you know, Rowan?"


Rowan brings the laptop and tools she needs over. "How to break it mostly. It's Overlord Tech. Psybernetic. They have intergreted mind-machine interfaces for about everything. Boosters to enhance psychic abilities. Controls for… well, everything. These are broadcasting nodes. They're used back on my world to pacify populations by playing with their emotions and memories. What they're doing here I'm not sure. I was hoping you could figure it out."


"Psybernetics" Babs murmurs as she opens the laptop and case "Of course you know how to break them. I'm assuming you'd just hit them a lot?" There's no judgement, she's working her way through what needs to be done, all the while examining the insides. "This type of tech… we just don't have it yet… even the way that it's built. It's been spoken of and I know someone who was working on something that used psionics, but nothing… nothing… like this."

"I'm looking for a physical interface, Rowan. But if this is psionic, maybe the interface is psionic as well?" She keeps looking and reaches to turn the object over to get a better look, maybe the interface is there.


"There should be a physical access port… here…" Rowan points. "Course I don't know if the hardware will fit. It broadcasts wirelessly on radio frequencies as a backup but you're right, mostly you'd need psybernetic implants to do this kind of thing." The dragon warrior looks at the device nervously. "Just be careful." His spear is still out.


That had been Babs concern, whether she'd have something that would fit the connection. Looking at the access port, it looks like some form of optical connection and she searches her tool kit for something that suit "I guess even with all the advances in technology, connections are still connections." she murmurs and glances at Rowan "As careful as I can be when trying to access unknown tech." Inserting the connectors, the redhead connects the laptop and accesses the console program she's created for just these types of situations. "Now… let's see…."


The interface comes up for Babs on the laptop screen. Now… it doesn't want to let her in. In fact its asking for user credentials. Lets hope Babs hacking skills are up to snuff. Rowan in the mean time seems tense. As if he's expecting things to go Very Wrong (tm) at any moment. "Well… that's a promising start."


Of course it doesn't and Babs takes a moment to consider the prompt. "I suppose it's got a security fallback, too many wrong entries… " and kaboom or something like that. "It's a start at any rate…" the redhead glances up and rests hand on his arm "It will be alright. I'm good at what I do, really…." blowing out a breath, she tries the first thing that all hackers know to try - admin / password as the combination. "You'd be surprised how many people either forget to change this from defaults or decide that no one would get it. I'm hoping you're overlords are too arrogant and fall into the second group."


The password doesn't work. Though it's not for lack of trying. It seems that its really trying to verify certain hardware ID's. It may be vulnerable to a root hack though. Get around the protection by accessing the base systems first. The tech's really high end but like many high end things the designers seem to have focused on sophisticated ways of breaking into it and forgotten the simple ones.


First rule of hacking is try the obvious things first.. don't waste unnecessary energy if you don't have to. "Had to try it, Rowan" Babs starts to run a simple program that she's written to poke at the OS and various systems looking for that elusive backdoor. The first part of the attempt is to access the baseOS, and get access to the filesystem… these may have some safeguards, but they're not usually complex or dangerous.


In this case the base file system is guarded with only the most rudimentary of access controls. Getting into it will be easy. The trick is understanding what happens when she does. The file system and tech is clearly based on the same machines that Oracle is using, but it's several generations ahead. It's a bit at looking like a FAT32 file system when all you're used to is DOS. Still she's got access now. There's a lot here. If only she can interpet it.

"Are you in? We need to know what it was doing. What it was set to influence people to do. And why, if possible."


"Mmmmm, I'm in, Rowan. These are the files. I'm going to have to decipher the file system structure and then the files themselves. " Babs glances up at the Blue and gives a faint smile "It's similar to the systems I'm already using."

The file system structure is very similar, folders for the OS, programs and data. It doesn't take a lot to divine that and Babs starts delving down the tree… first to the programs and then into the data once she gets a feeling for it. "These files here… if I open them, we may find what we need… "


Inside them, once the programming language is parsed, are a set of instructions that are almost stupidly simple. 'Wealth makes you happy.' Says the top statement. 'Work for more wealth.' Says the next. 'Acquire as much as possible.' Is the third. 'All good things come from acquisition.' Rowan peers over her shoulder with narrowed eyes. "Those are manipulation commands. Directing the people it affects to try to increase their wealth." Odd. "IF there are enough of these things they could have been driving consumer behavior on a large scale for a long time."


Babs frowns and looks up at Rowan "It's a common thing. There's been complaints leveraged against TV and movies for embedding subliminal messages before." She isn't surprised at this type of manipulation, greed driving consumer behaviour… "Greed, Rowan… the cause of unrest and jealousy… next to fear of the unknown possibly one of the most insidious things we know. How many people would one of these affect? or… what's it's range, might be a better question."

Babs is already looking for telltale signs that she can detect and track - if there are more of these things, then she wants to find them.


"Fairly short." Rownan murmurs. "A few blocks. But this is not the first one I've found. I'm sure there's a network." Babs can track the signal, sure. It won't be hard. But getting the eqiupment to find them over a wide spread area will be difficult. And expensive. She'd probably need a satellite network. Or something similarly advanced. Until then she can probalby start hunting them down in ones and twos.


"How many have you found and can you remember where?" Babs will work out what she needs as quickly as she can. And with the resources of the JL:A, she might have what she needs to do the tracking that the OracleNet can't do on it's own. If not, she'll be taking them out as she can. "Does this mean someone has through, Rowan and is hiding here somewhere?"


"I can probably show you on a map." Rowan says after a moment's thought. "It's been a while. I've been finding them for some time but this is the first one that looked like I might be able to capture it intact. Which was a bit of an adventure. They're all over the Tri-City area in any case. Not found them underwater yet."


Babs brings up a map on her screens, it fills all three of them, laying the Tri-City area out in front of them. Rowan can point to the locations he thinks and Babs will mark them. It's a start a least. "Any ideas who might be planting these?" Finding them is one thing, but finding who is deploying something totally different.


"Agents of the Overlords. Beyond that, no. The tech is advanced enough that I doubt they could be built here." Rowan confides. "Which means that whomever is sending them over is opening regular portals to that world. Which is disturbing on a number of levels but we've seen enough Nameless incusions that we know they can do it. I just hope it keeps while this thing with the Lord of the Deep is sorted out."


"That was my thought too." Babs watches the screens looking for a pattern "If they're using portals, there'll be some signature energy we could track. I'll speak to Agent May, I believe one of her people might have something to help track that." Glancing back to the device, Babs sighs "I'll put that into storage for now, I might need it again… beyond that Rowan, this is going to be a long investigation."

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