Don’t Go Shooting At Rosebushes

…no, really. That’s just wrong.


The Doclopedia #786

Guardians: The Guarding Dust of Hawking 4

182 light years from Earth lies the star Hawking A and the 7 planets that orbit it. The fourth planet, Hawking 4 (unofficially called “Rocky”), is the only one possessed of an earth-like atmosphere and ecology. As it’s common name indicates, the planet has a primarily rocky and mountainous terrain covered with tough shrubs and evergreen trees of a medium size. There are 3 shallow seas and a great many rivers and lakes. The planet is home to a vast number of lifeforms, but there are no sentient species. However, there used to be at least one.

In a rather rare desert area, explorer droids have found a perfectly preserved city. Long range analysis reveals it to be made mostly of concrete & steel, with plentiful use of stone. The architecture is quite beautiful and has no Terran equivalent. The city covers an area of several thousand acres and sits exactly in the middle of the desert. So far, it has not been explored at close range due to the Guarding Dust.

The Guarding Dust, which makes up about 90% the desert sand, is actually composed of nanites the size of very fine grains of sand. Should anything, be it droid or animal, set foot on the desert, it is summarily attacked by the dust and destroyed. To be exact, it is disassembled on a molecular scale. Attempting to fly into the city will not work, since a dust storm will rise up and attack the flying object at any height less than 3,000 feet. So far, 14 droids have been lost in attempts to reach the city. There are many hundreds of thousands of excellent high resolution photographs, but no hands on examination.

After 21 years of exploration by droids, no other trace of sentient life or construction has been found anywhere on the planet. More in depth searching will take place when humans land on the planet in 3 years.



The Doclopedia #787

Guardians: Mr. Bell, Guardian at the Gates of Hell

You’ll find Mr. Bell in a modest house just outside a small town in the Midwest. He is short (5’5″), pudgy (160 lbs) and totally unremarkable looking. He seems to be a very pleasant fellow and his neighbors have nothing bad to say about him…when they even remember that he lives nearby. He has no wife, children or pets. His garden always looks great.

The Gates of Hell are in the basement of his house and look remarkably like a simple wooden door set into an iron rectangle in the concrete wall. The door is painted red and locked tight. Only Mr. Bell and “The Big Boss” can open it. Any attempt to force it (from either side) will result in Mr. Bell getting very upset and ripping you limb from limb, then devouring your still warm flesh. On the other hand, if you ask politely, he may well just chuckle and open the door for you. Getting back out is, of course, another matter.



The Doclopedia #788

Guardians: Guardian Program A/6

There are a great many data protection programs on the VRNet, but none are as adaptable and powerful as A/6. Commonly referred to as “Aysix” by netrunners, it is that most dangerous of things: a sentient piece of software with the ability to slap your virtual ass all over the net. And it really enjoys doing it, too.

It is widely believed that Aysix was once a military experiment that went awry, as such things seem to do with amazing regularity. In fact, that is only partly true, since Aysix was formed when an AI program somehow linked to the military program and then went on to assimilate an unknown virus. After a period that Aysix refers to as “birthmadnessgrowth”, the young program set about looking for a purpose in life. It found that purpose when various watchdog programs, some governmental, some criminal, some just hackers, tried to attack it. After a while, Aysix realized that it was always going to be a target of, well, everybody, so it decided to buff up and stand it’s ground guarding something important.

Today, Aysix guards the Onyx Gateway that leads to many, if not all, of the so called “Lost Cyberworlds”. It is extremely difficult to get past Aysix…and even more difficult to do it and stay 100% intact. That said, there have been parties that got to walk right in due to Aysix deeming them not a threat to the Lost Cyberworlds. Most notable of these are the associates of Doc Tempest.

Aysix has assimilated a huge number of offensive and defensive subroutines from his many defeated foes, thus making him quite possibly the most dangerous netizen on the VRNet. He also has an exceptional damage repair subroutine, so hurting him at all is next to impossible.

Aysix usually manifests as a 9 foot tall golden skinned man. His eyes are black and his hair is long and silver. He usually wears jeans and a t-shirt, but never any shoes.


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