Storks in Snohomish

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Storks in Snohomish
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From the Journal of Magnus Lasker, dated March 2079

In which, my faith in professionalism and my doubt in humanity are both restored.

Failure has a way of calling things into question. Perspective becomes distorted, and fundamental principles can seem illusory. In these times of doubt, inaction is anathema; the only correct solution is a redoubling of one's dedication and ambition, despite the uncertainty.

And so, psyche still battered from my rout, I accepted a job from an orc who would make a BTL dealer feel virtuous. Once the usual pantomime of financial wrangling was out of the way, the job description was laid out plain. The Johnson had "acquired" a prenatal orc whom he wanted swapped with a genetically augmented fetus held in an upscale private hospital in Snohomish. While I have no qualms about manipulating the ignorant, this seemed a crude approach. But my task was not to evaluate the underlying strategy, I had a simple task ahead and more than enough time to prepare.

The team seemed to be a notch more experienced than my last, a smooth socialite and operator by the name of Waku, a cyborg warrior called Paz, and an edgy young elf with an abundance of magical energy who called herself Grimoire. We began quickly, untangling the skein of puppet strings that controlled the hospital through on the matrix. To my delight, it soon became clear that we were dealing with quite the forward-thinking security organization. NeoPD has apparently been hard at work designing an advanced predictive threat analysis system, one which I admit to being somewhat jealous of. The system itself trawls through the ocean of incidental data and reconstructs a real-time picture of the operational security status of the organization it protects. By piecing together a constellation of seemingly unrelated clues, the system can identify threats well in advance of their reveal.

My initial analysis suggested that the system works and works fairly well. Clever, fascinating, and unfortunate for the mission in which I was engaged. But there are two sides to every coin. Predicting the future can be a tricky business. If you are right and act on it, then by definition you are wrong. Likewise, it is all too easy to predict one future and neglect the rest. And so our strategy was hatched: instead of trying to avoid the sight of this thousand-eyed beast, we would simply get it to look the other way. We would launch an alternate run at a different target, and in predicting this threat, the piercing gaze would be averted from our true target. So the team turned to a secretive man called "Janus". An expert in predictive algorithms, our new acquaintance revealed that this plan could indeed be put into motion, for a small fee, of course.

The hit itself was fairly clean. Waku turned out to be as invisible as he was charming, and with a bit of digital assistance as well as a sensor net distraction by our cyborg out in the nearby forest, he had no trouble getting to the target. Unfortunately, as usually happens, we discovered that the embryonic test subject was no longer in its designated location. The creature had apparently contracted some sort of infection and had been moved to a different location for treatment. Luckily, with a bit of matrix work and some smoke-and-mirrors with the attending physician, the false infant was inserted and the augmented one retrieved. Exfiltration went without issue, and our combatants causing a ruckus outside retreated to safety.

All in all, planning and professionalism led to a clean execution, and I can take some solace in the fact that my previous failure was not, in fact, a reflection of an absence of ability. My doubts have been muzzled, and I can feel the calm embrace of confidence returning. Perhaps it was good that I failed quickly and quietly. Overconfidence magnifies mistakes, and I have been thoroughly cleansed of that malady for the moment.