16th Jan 2020, 8:04 PM
Go to Cici's place

 <<First     Latest>>   

Go to Cici's place
"Isn't that super illegal?," you ask. "They can't put cameras in peoples' apartments, they get naked in there."

"That would be illegal, yes," the bus states. "However: a company can take minute data on their customers for the purpose of analyzing demographics and maximizing marketing efforts. This can include your weight, hair color, or skin tone. This can include your heart rate or your tone of voice to see how shopping or coming home from work affects your mood. This can include extensive analysis of your posture and how much you sweat to better help the company determine when a customer becomes exhausted, and how much distance is too much between individual stores. This can include running algorithms that check for the use of particular words or phrases. A company may buy or sell a customer's internet search history for more personal advertising of products the customer is likely to purchase.

All of this broad demographic data, of course... but if the law requests more specific samples in particular combinations or over certain periods of time as part of an investigation, then..."

Kate shrugs, and points upward at the bus's ceiling. "That. By the time you walk out of a Mondol building, they know you better than you know you. That's a lot of my beef with the guys at The Back Room--like, it's fun to talk about alien hybrids and mind control drugs and shit, but there's real evil happening in our own backyard. We need to fight that shit before it gets weirder."

"...The Back Room," you mutter. "Are they still open?"

"Nah, I think they close at like 8," Kate replies. "...They do have crappy locks, though. I don't think they'd call the cops on us for sleeping there once they hear the full story."

"You're saying we should just... like..." You pause, trying to put it as succinctly as possible. "...Break in to The Back Room?"

Kate gives a slight smile and another shrug. "Yeah. Basically."


"I feel like more crime is maybe not the answer to this specific problem," you finally say.

"It'd be cooler if it was though," Kate says with a wider smile. "Fiiine, let's hit up Cici's. MondolHomes gives me the creeps, but her and her sisters are like... the closest we're gonna get to cops we can trust. It's not like they signed up for it anyway."

Wait--sisters? Plural?

This is getting out of hand.

Kate waves her joint in the air. "To MondolHomes, O Chariot."

"Should we get... like..." You shrug. "I dunno. Hats, or masks or something first...?"

"Dude," Kate replies, "Mondol knows what your farts smell like before they're out of your butt. And they automatically flag anyone covering their face, I already figured that one out the hard way."

The bus eventually begins to approach MondolHomes--which is, indeed, attached like a weird growth directly to the side of MondolMall. Combined, they remind you of a weird fortress. The buildings are uneven and arranged in... some kind of way, but none you can imagine ever approving at a board meeting. It's not aesthetically pleasing, and you can't imagine it's easy to navigate once you're inside.

They're just really tacky buildings shoved wherever.

Like the mayor's office did, MondolHomes has a bus stop almost right in front of it. You and Kate step out onto the sidewalk. "I'll be around," the bus tells you.

"Thanks," you reply.

"The real question," Kate begins as the bus is leaving, "is how much do we tell her?" Kate takes a drink of her beer; yours is still unopened in your hand.

"How much is Mondol paying real attention to?" You pause. You have to think about it for a second. "We could talk her into coming outside, away from the sensors or whatever to talk about it."

"True," Kate says. "We gotta hope that doesn't raise suspicion."

"--and I'm sure Mondol has a brain trust all too eager to tear the place apart and see what makes it tick."

You remember what Mayor Parsons said.

Mondol doesn't know where the house is, but do they know the house exists? Do they know the mayor's trying to keep something from them? If they can flag words or phrases or certain behaviors, then mentioning spooky house or the mayor could grab someone's direct focus. You don't want Mondol to call the cops on you for the arson--but you also don't want Mondol to find out you have a magic nightmare house.

Or they might not know anything at all, and mentioning your magic nightmare house will have zero repercussions whatsoever.

You were fully prepared for a horror movie. You were definitely not prepared for a spy film.

Kate waves a hand in front of your face. "You alright?"

"...Yeah," you reply. "I'm still thinking about it."

"Well, we can't just keep standing here," Kate says. "That's loitering and Plaire said nooo crimes."

You grin. "I did. I fucking meant it, too."

The two of you make your way to the front door. Kate tosses what's left of her level down and stomps it out on the way there. "Just act cool," she says. "We're just numbers on a spreadsheet 'til we fuck up."

"Fuck," you whisper. "It's like a sci-fi hotel in here."

"My thought was always a sanitarium," replies Kate, "but that works too."

You approach the elevator.

There's no buttons.

A stiff male voice pipes in from the uh... everywhere. "Which direction would--"

"Up," Kate says aloud.

The elevator begins to hum.

Very softly.

Uncomfortably quiet for an elevator.

The whole place is uncomfortably quiet.

You stare at a big digital display while you wait. MondolGroup logos revolve around the tube-shaped screen, fading in and out of existence.

The elevator opens. Not even a ding, it just... opens.

The two of you step into the elevator.

"Third floor," Kate says.

The doors close and... again, no sound.

No shaking. You don't even feel like you're moving.

You're barely in the elevator a few seconds before it re-opens. You and Kate step out onto the third floor of MondolHomes.

You follow her down a... strangely angular hallway until you reach the door she's searching for.

She knocks.

. . .

After a brief pause, Cici opens the door.

You start to greet her--

when you notice she's not wearing her eyepatch.

And her hair's a little different.

She's also not... quite as toned as--

"Bebe," Kate says.

"Kaaate," replies the woman who looks almost identical to Cici, apparently named Bebe. "What's up?"

"We need to talk to your sister."

"Alright, alright, I see how it is." Bebe smiles and disappears into the apartment. You faintly hear her yelling, "Cici! There's some weirdos here to see you."

And, a moment later

the real Cici appears.

In chicken pajamas.

"Plaire!," Cici announces. She then turns to Kate.

"K...aaate? Right?"

"Yeah," Kate says with a slight smirk.

"You guys make it out okay?," Cici asks. "I held 'em off as long as I could."

"Y-Yeah...?" Kate hesitantly replies. "About that..."

 <<First     Latest>>   


Rate this comic:

average rating: 5

16th Jan 2020, 8:32 PM
"Cici needing to sleep over somewhere for a night" should require little explanation considering the police pursuit from this evening. Explaining Plaire's need for lodgings will be only slightly trickier: who WANTS to sleep in a spooky house? Might not even need to spell out that it IS the spooky house, since Cici already knows.
16th Jan 2020, 8:40 PM
If slightly-more-direct explanations are necessary... Kate's a rocker and Cici's informed Plaire of the bands she listens to. So we could communicate via incomplete song lyrics (even if Plaire doesn't know the songs, Kate might). Mondol likely already knows Cici's musical preferences, so it wouldn't even set off any Weird Behavior Alarms if any surveillance devices end up picking up the songs being referenced.
17th Jan 2020, 10:14 PM
I feel like that's one way to get a grade-A "suspicious" ticket.
16th Jan 2020, 9:00 PM
So, we need to talk to CiCi without triggering any "someone should actively listen to this conversation" flags. That means speaking in the most *aggressively normal* manner possible, about entirely mundane things. We can ask her to let us into the library because there's a book we need to borrow right now-- as long as Mondol is as shitty at what they do as they seem to be, they probably don't have a *contextual* flag for why that would be a weird thing to say at this particular time of night. She should hopefully pick up on that using context clues, which is one advantage that human minds have over AIs.

Edit: To be clear, we should specifically avoid words that might have been added to a list that would trigger someone to actively listen, such as "fire" or "grocery store" or especially "arson." Use *innocuous* words.

Edit edit: Actually, if we can be *less specific* but specific enough that CiCi understands us, that might be even better. We could just say "we'd like to check out a book now. Like, right now" XD Presumably that will at least tip CiCi off that we wanna chat outside Mondol-ville.
16th Jan 2020, 10:48 PM
+1 saying we want to check out a book NOW could get us away from the surveillance. Hope the surveillance can't do lie detection.

Could we get the key to the library that way to sleep there to avoid the surveillance?
16th Jan 2020, 10:52 PM
+1 to that it could get us to talk without listening or surveillance on us would still talk with are back to the Mondol group building in case of cameras out front, would also give her the low down and ask if she could help steer a conversation to getting us to spend the night by having her or Bebe ask rather then Plaire or Kate in case that triggers something with Mondol
16th Jan 2020, 11:24 PM
+1 to asking to check out a book, like, right now
16th Jan 2020, 9:17 PM
How about just saying "We need a sleepover" or "We want a sleepover" and say NOTHING else (edit: actually that might be bad no small talk might be suspicious) Cici already knows about the concert and the police and even if she doesn't know about the arson charges she could realize this might be a problem with the police.

Would saying need instead of want be a red flag for the monitoring system? Maybe yes if it is trained in gangster speak ("Sleep with the fishes" etc)

We also have to avoid saying names. Oh no Bebe said "Kaaate" I am certain our names could be flagged. At least Kate's and maybe Plaire's. Kate is being framed right? Let's hope Kaaate is not similar enough to Kate.

Hope the cameras don't recognize Kate's face and body and call the cops. The cops did chase us while we were getting on the bus, so if the surveillance recognizes Kate's face or her name the cops could be called immediately no other flags. The police want to catch us NOW no other evidence required. Edit: actually it seems cameras are illegal except for demographic purposes so never mind

Edit: read the town brochure before bed?
16th Jan 2020, 11:25 PM
+1 to reading the brochure before bed
17th Jan 2020, 4:23 PM
"Plair needs a sleepover." Sounds great.

+1 on reading the brochure

If there is an aquarium present, sleeping with the fishes might be innocent, especially if in a babytalk tone. It is actually something my daughter has said about trying to sleep by the fish tank.
17th Jan 2020, 12:10 AM
Bebe. Cici. Don't tell me one of 'em's called Didi.
17th Jan 2020, 12:53 AM
Of course not.

She's Lily.
17th Jan 2020, 5:59 AM
Don't forget Ada, Evie, Fifi, Gigi, Kiki, and Mimi! I wonder if they have a brother named Jojo...
17th Jan 2020, 2:31 AM
Portal In Time
(Some of this is copied from Discord)
The bus was stating that Mondol recording in the apartment is illegal, unless they have a reason to do so legally.
Like being suspects for arson.
We could get away with sleeping at Cici's for the night, but if we make it a regular thing Mondol might consider it enough to justify setting up surveillance in her living room.

If we're telling her some of the more sensitive information, like how the mayor confirmed the Spooky House Will Kill You In Your Dreams, let's do it by typing it into Kate's phone and passing it around.
17th Jan 2020, 3:56 AM
If we want to tell Cici more information, we can ask for her to, "Come outside for a brief walk because it's so nice out tonight." That'd let us tell her more, explain the situation, etc. and ask for more direct help (whether that be staying at her place once, letting us spend a night in the library, getting her personal advice, etc.).

As far as what to tell her, I'd have no problem with her being a confidant to our schemes. She seems to have a good idea of how bad the government/corporations are and is in a position to help us more directly than others. The one thing I'd want to be careful about is avoiding telling her so much she could get in trouble if interrogated by the mayor or MondolGroup.

EDIT: Maybe Cici knows either a good-cop or detective that she could recommend to help investigate this case. We have next to zero money (remember cops are privatized) but the knowledge certainly couldn't hurt.
17th Jan 2020, 4:25 PM
After establishing this is a sleepover, and getting all parties to agree, a walk would be perfect after fingernails... to escape the fumes for a few minutes and let the apartment air.

(Of course conversation outside will happen on different topics than inside)