The Last Equation

The year is 1999. A group of agents with the FBI quickly discover a routine case is anything but. Thrust into a world that's as incomprehensible as it is deadly, can this team hope to hold back the darkness?

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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Silver Priest » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:53 am

Nik

Sandy leads Nik to Wei's dorm room. It's small and messy, almost every surface filled to the brim with books, notes and empty containers of food and drink. There's not even a full bed; instead a modest futon sits in the middle of the floor admist the mess. It's definitely a college student's dorm room.

A rickety desk holds a gray computer and monitor; notes are spread out along the rest of the table, piled on top of one another. It's going to take some time to go through all of them.

Before Nik can settle in, two more people poke their heads in. They're a young man and woman, both looking to be students themselves.

“We heard about Michael,” the man says. He's a heavyset guy with goatee. “It can't be true!”

Sandy looks irritated for a second before plastering on her smile. Nik can tell it's well rehearsed. “I'm sorry, but this is an active investigation. I'm going to have to ask you both to leave and not disturb it.”

The other woman,a brunette with freckles, ignores her and shakes her head, looking right at Nik. “ Are you police? Mike was set up, I'm sure of it!Me and Anthony have known him for over a year. He couldn't have done something like this!”

Vanessa,

Something about the scene allows Vanessa to keep a shred of doubt about the numbers leading to madness, at least at the moment. It's probably a good thing for her mental state, though even she knows it's something of a delusion.

Blanet appears torn by her words, but he finally frowns. “Look, I've been on the force for decades. I'm willing to help you people. I've always cooperated. But I'm risking my pension here. I'm willing to help... to a point. But I need to know you're risking something as well. And chances are your badge can do more than mine.

“I can either access and change the computer records or try and access the handwritten ones and either change them myself or convince someone on the inside to do it, but I can't do both. You'll have to pick up the slack
.”

OOC:   If Vanessa wants to leave the scene now, she can. There's no particular need to immediately change the numbers. Just something to keep in mind.  
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:14 am

Image

"Fair enough," Vanessa tells Blanet. "I'm not skilled with computers. My partner is somewhat, but you're probably better at it than he is. If you can change the computer records, we can change the written ones. We'll just have to make sure all the changes are consistent. The 9 right before the 8 in the middle becomes another 8. The 1 becomes a 4. The middle 3 at the end becomes an 8. That should be subtle enough. We can take some time to do this, as they're not likely to get out any time soon. It's best to make sure we do it undetected." She then lets Nik know that she'll meet him at Columbia. After giving her cell phone number to the rest of the team and letting them know she's going to join up with her partner to follow the leads in New York, she drives out to Columbia.
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby HoneyDog » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:05 pm

Nik is intrigued. "It’s okay Sandy" he says. Taking the call from Vanessa, he asks Sandy to meet her and bring her here when she arrives.

After Sandy has left, Nik asks the students to sit down where they can. “Okay, firstly, tell me who you are” he says.
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Silver Priest » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:29 am

Vanessa

Blanet agrees to deal with the computer records, and the rest of the FBI team promise to keep in touch. With their own findings. Vanessa knows she'll be expected to as well, but hopefully she can think of something that does not expose the rest of the team to the Unnatural or get them suspicious of her true mission.

Arriving at Colombia, Vanessa finds an attractive and sharply dressed woman waiting for her.

Agent Marchand? Hi, Sandy Beema, PR department. Agent Siilasvuo told me you were coming. He's waiting for you in Mr. Wei's dorm room. If you would follow me.” She leads Vanessa inside, making polite small talk.

Nik,

Sandy clearly does not want to leave and allow Nik to poke around on his own, but she also does not want to disobey an FBI agent. She smiles once again and complies.

Aside from a chair at the computer table, There's really nowhere for anyone to sit, but the students clear a space and Nik can sit on the futon.

“I'm Molly. Molly Frank. This is my boyfriend Anthony DesJarden.We're both also graduate students, though for different professors than Michael was.

“We're his friends,” says Anthony. “Look, I don't know what you've heard, but I can tell you without a doubt that Micheal couldn't have done this. The dude has severe anxiety issues, he takes pills for it! And he hates to drive! Hell, he's never even been to New Jersey, he's from California! And he does not own a gun, and knowing him, he'd freak out just touching one. I'm telling you, someone is setting him up.”

Molly nods vigorously. “We both met Mike about a year ago. Before that he almost never left his room or had any friends to speak of. It was a struggle to get him to interact at all. But eventually he warmed up to us. We'd go out to eat, get some drinks now and then. But he was a quiet person. Sharp, but... he couldn't hurt a fly
!”

Questioning the two students furthers leads to repetitive answers of the same, and both confirm Wei's thesis had to do with encryption and 'unbreakable codes'. Neither of them saw it, and both report that Wei's project was slow and uneven. It was really proving an enigma for him. But Anthony eventually mentions something interesting.

We've not really seen Mike for a few weeks. This is not unusual; he'd get in his moods and want to work on his projects, but he'd always snap out of it and become more social. Well, for him. But about a month ago we were all smoking in my dorm room. Uh, I mean...” Presuming Nik does not immediately put the cuffs on him, he continues. “Mike was pretty happy. He was saying something about how David was steering him in the right direction, and how they were going to make history. At the time I tuned him out. The last thing I wanted to talk about then was school. But I had never heard Mike mention this David before. I thought it might have been another friend, or maybe a boyfriend, he was gay but closeted. I was going to ask hi, but right after that he barely said two words to me.” And Nik can see the guilt. The what ifs crossing the faces of Wei's friends. The ymay not have believed him a killer, but he was still dead, and they were wondering what they could have done to prevent it.

The talk is interrupted with the return of Sandy, Vanessa in tow.

OOC:   You guys are back together now. It's about 5 in the afternoon, and getting dark.  
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby HoneyDog » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:45 am

Nik introduces Vanessa and tells Sandy politely but firmly that they will contact her later when they require assistance.

When she is gone, he fills in Vanessa on what was said and continues his questioning.

“Thank you for telling about this, every piece of information helps. Can you tell me if Michael had a favourite spot he would go to, such as a café or the library, anything like that?”
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Silver Priest » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:51 am

“Not really. He'd go the cafeteria sometime, or out with us, but as far as I know he never went out alone. Oh, uh, He spent a lot of time in the lab downstairs. I don't think he read much, actually." .

Seeing the new agent, Molly pipes up “We'd really like to help. I don't know what's going on, but I do know Mike wouldn't have hurt anyone. If you need help going through his files or anything, we could dig through them for you. I'm positive something is in here that proves his innocence!”
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:07 am

Image

"Thank you for the offer," says Vanessa. "We'll let you know if you can help us with the files, but first we have some questions. Do you know if Michael Wei knew the Ridgeways at all? Did either of you know them?"
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Silver Priest » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:26 am

Both shake their heads.

"[b]Michael[/b] would not have known of them either. Like I said, he kept to himself. Unless one of them was like a student here or something? But how would he have known where they lived? It makes no sense."

Both agents are aware that none of the Ridgeway family have any readily apparent connection to Colombia, or indeed New York.
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby HoneyDog » Thu Dec 06, 2018 3:58 pm

Nik gives the couple his card.

"Look" he says, "you've both been really helpful, but we need to take it from here. If you think of anything else, no matter how small, call me anytime. I'm sorry about your friend" he adds, sincerely. It’s quite possible that Michael Wei had no control over his actions, Nik thinks. He stands and begins to usher the students from the room.
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:23 pm

Image

"We'll let you know if we need further help," adds Vanessa.
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Silver Priest » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:52 am

The pair take the card and leave, leaving the agents alone in the packed room. There's quite a bit to search through, and it very well could take late into the night.

OOC:   What's your guys next step? If you want to search make a roll and specify if you're looking at anything in particular. Or are you planning something else?  
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:05 am

Image

"We're going to need to pay a visit to the 24th precinct at some point too," says Vanessa to Nik. "We need to trace that shotgun and find out how it got into his hands. There's definitely something hinky about that. There's a lot to look through here too."
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby HoneyDog » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:13 am

“I think we should finish here first” says Nik. “We should also get this stuff out of here – the notes and hard drives. Let’s get onto McRay – if he’s right about the contagion thing, we shouldn’t leave all this here. “

He thinks for a moment. “But this David is obviously someone we need to talk to. He must know what Wei was working on. We need to see if there is anything here that can tell us more about him. And you never know, he might try and claim this stuff – he might show up here. Shall we see what we can find now?”

He moves to the computer but soon sees that he lacks the skills to access it.

Spoiler:
Computer Science 32: Computer Science: 1d100 78
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Silver Priest » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:12 am

Nik finds the computer itself not locked, but sparse of any documents that seem interesting; apparently Wei did most of his work the old fashioned way. The internet browser brings up Wei's home page, which is also his email. Unfortunately this is password locked, and whomever or whatever messages he sent in the days before his killings are for now a mystery. Nik figures he can get some of his contacts in the FBI to crack it without putting too much risk on Delta Green. These guys were professionals and would do their job without getting curious. But it would take time for them to access Wei's account.
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby HoneyDog » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:57 pm

Nik turns his attention to the notes, starting with the desk, looking for any references to David, the sequence of numbers, or the Ridgeways. Unfortunately he has no luck.

Spoiler:
Search 42: Search: 1d100 84
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:02 pm

Image

Vanessa also looks through the notes, but she has no better luck.

Spoiler:
Search roll (54% skill) looking through Wei's notes and papers:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d100:
77
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Silver Priest » Sat Dec 08, 2018 5:16 am

The pair of agents look through the entire room, but it's tough going, tedious and takes well into the night. For most of the search they find little useful. Wei has a ton of textbooks and scattered papers, but most of it is either mundane or indecipherable to the FBI agents. Something might be important here but at in their present condition they cannot separate the wheat from the chafe.

They're just about to finish up for the night, exhaustion and hunger both clawing at them, when they encounter a stapled set of papers. Most of them also look mundane, but the last page has a series of numbers.

2.21, 621, 40.796901, –73.968158

What is notable about these numbers is they are both circled and underlined three times, the first numbers Wei has placed such emphasis on.

OOC:   It's about ten now. You guys are getting tired. You can do more, but I'm going to rule if you do you'll have to roll and risk exhaustion penalties unless you decide to go to bed. I would allow you to drop off the computer at the FBI offices as a final act for the night, but if you wanted to interview someone or go to the police station you'll start fighting fatigue.  
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:10 am

Image

Vanessa stifles a yawn. "I think we'd better drop off the computer at the FBI field office and call it a night," she says. "We'll take the papers with the numbers with us so nobody else sees them. I don't know what the first two are yet, but the last two look like latitude and longitude - GPS coordinates. Maybe that second one's elevation. We'll have to check it out tomorrow."
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby HoneyDog » Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:01 am

Nik rubs his eyes. Yes, you’re right. Okay, let’s collect this crap together and get out of here. We can check on that shotgun in the morning “
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Re: The Last Equation

Postby Silver Priest » Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:30 am

Job done for the night, the team pack up all of Wei's books and notes,(a process that takes several boxes) and his computer and head out. They drop it off at the FBI's labs, and the techs say they'll crack it as soon as they can.

February 22nd, 2000

Spoiler:
Silver Priest rolled 1d100:
34


The next morning sees Nik and Vanessa awake by 8. Soon after, Nik receives a phone call from one of his contacts. They've cracked Wei's email password and the computer is now available for perusal.

Their is also the matter of Wei's notes. The team were unable to find anything useful last night, but perhaps looking at them in the light of day might help?

There was also investigating the strange sequence of numbers Wei underlined, and the police station he had stolen the shotgun from.
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