Eclipse Phase | AUSTIN, TEXAS | 2015-2019 A.D.

Interludes - Sandy

Neurasthenia Ascendant

Neurasthenia Shenjingshuairuo freefalls across the interim of the docking umbilicus from the Planetary Consortium Shuttle to the airlock of the Hindustan Aerospace Limited (HAL) LaFrance rig known simply as ‘The Rig’ by the Scum who stole it and tug it through outer-system space. The taut and supple 25 year old biomorph of Thanatophobia Boulstridge-Shenjingshuairuo still impresses in it’s easily identifiable FOOD NOT TITANS collective smart-vacsuit.
“Good day-cycle, Mother” the Anglo-aristocratic accented Mandarin purrs out from Neurasthenia like high-born honey and tea.
“How did you find me…Daughter?” is the immediate, businesslike response from freefall reorienting, suspicious Thanatophobia. Now aligned with the gravitational attitude of the newcomer. Her Mandarin clipped and staccato.
“Shinkei and Deuteranopia, are doing well. Tetsujin has never been more active and productive, but it lacks your civilizing touch.” continues Neurasthenia in ingratiatingly mellifluous Beijing Mandarin, with a cynically raised eyebrow at the uncivilized mazework jumble of habitat modules they are meeting in. A far cry from the exquisitely refined luxury of the hyperelite torus the Ego known as Thanatophobia was cloned and raised in.
“What do you want?” Thanatophobia tersely replies in English through clenched teeth. Her high-bred and carefully refined aristocratic english accent severe.
“I’ve come to visit you, Mother. And I have business in The Stars’.” Neurasthenia lilts and she audaciously floats into her mother’s personal space and hugs her. Her mother unwilling and stiff. Not returning the gesture. In the nano-sphere infiltrator nanites bridge the skin contact, cheek to cheek and begin subverting Thanatophobia’s machines with alarming suddenness.
“You’re not going to exploit ANY of my reputation for for whatever devious Consortium nonsense you’re obviously here for, Girl!” Thanatophobia sneers, pushing her daughter off into open cabin-space aggravatedly as she re-anchors herself to the Hab-wall hold-bar. “And I’ll not be seen on the Mesh lovingly embracing you as you so clearly hope to broadcast.”
After a moment anaylyzing her daughter’s behavior, GLORIANA, Thanatophobia’s Muse, appears in Augmented Reality, Entoptic space next to Neurasthenia, now anchored to the opposite wall with a foot hooked into a hold-bar. “Her kinesics are blank, I am supposing a software at work. Masking her body language. Pulse, respiration and skin galvanics are flat as a sleeping infant. It’s really high end personality masking. Venus manufacture, perhaps? That explains why she’s here in-corpus, instead of Ego-cast. Didn’t want to leave behind this morph’s mods. At first I thought that inhabiting this 38 year old body was a cheap memetic attempt to cow you with an authoritative appearance. That seems unliekly now, given that she would know that your age, you would be un-susceptible to such a ploy. Her manipulation game is much further advanced than that , I would guess.
“At my age?!” Thanatophobia responds mentally to GLORIANA. Her eyes outwardly slightly narrowing
With your experience.” GLORIANA corrects herself.
“And you as well with the flattery and manipulation?” Thanatophobia replies bitterly.
Neurasthenia continues, “I am come to visit with my estranged biological maternal parent after two years of silence and abandonment. The Planetary Consortium has no part in our family’s interpersonal dynamic.” Her Mandarin peppered with English words that defy expression in Chinese.
YOU are come either on behalf of your father or as a lackey of the Consortium, neither of which I will stand for any part of.” " Shinkei and my relationship, while of relevance to you as our daughter, I allow, is NOT a matter of appropriate discussion between us. And I will NOT have it. Furthermore, if this is some ‘mission’ for inner-system corporate, or worse, government interests, it has no place in my life and in this Autonomist habitat." “What’s more, your sneaky little blank-page morph only REVEALS your intent at treachery and deceit instead of masking your true intentions as you had hoped. Your obsequious use of the Mandarin feminine…” Thanatophobia unleashes her contempt for her daughter only to be cut off mid-sentence as Neurasthenia’s infiltrators subvert her mother’s puppet sock and wrest control from her Ego and her Muse, GLORIANA in just under the 90 seconds that Project OZMA’s manual text on the tool estimates that it takes on an average. Cross-loading the Behavioral Psyche Personality Imitating AGI fork into the puppet sock takes considerably more time however and cant be done in an airlock.
“I trust that you have spoofed this interaction successfully and patched everything over nicely?” Neurasthenia asks her Muse TITANIA.
“I deployed appropriate exploits for the childish security these Anarchists employ. If anyone were watching, and noone is, they are observing a very heartfelt reunion with your mother filled with reconciliation and tears, and your gracious offer to come aboard your shuttle to receive some gifts and heirlooms from you and your family.” All is prepared for your implantation of the Imitator Intelligence into this morph’s ’sock. Shall we move to the shuttle interior and begin the process?" TITANIA replies with military efficiency.
“Immediately. Before one of the local Terrorists wanders by and starts asking questions.” replies Neurasthenia as she slings her mothers paralyzed body into the umbilicus of her shuttle.
Following her mother’s morph into the Ozma shuttle, Neurasthenia locks her in to the shuttle’s Ego Bridge apparatus and leaves it to do the work of enslaving her mother to the AGI. Free-falling over to close the door, she reviews the entoptics of the shuttle’s Infosec AI’s gethered dossier on Taharqa Horemakhet, ‘The Pharoah’, underworld criminal and artifact thief and figure of reknown, who is also known as Shekkina Assiyah, Martian circuit-fighter champion and evangelist for the Church of Kemetic Orthodoxy. It seems here in the outer-system boondocks, she is also known as ‘Sandy’. “How cute.” cynically observes Neurasthenia, wondering if it’s a reference to the red sands of Mars or just a poor-mans pseudonym for the foreign-sounding ‘Shekkinah’. “Those Africans and their neo-judeo-hebrew nonsense…It’s almost as un-stomachable as their psuedo-Egyption lunacy” she remarks to noone in the blinking, beeping, dark silence of the shuttles interior.
“Don’t worry, little black Sand-O” sneers Neurasthenia, “the tigers will eat you long before they spin themselves into butter. And it will only hurt a LOT!”