Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Situation Report 15 October 2008

This is Downy Birch blogging while Quarter Circle and Iron Maiden are out at a secret test site working on the MRRV prototype. We had hoped to be testing it in actual patrols already, but there are still a few glitches that we want to iron out. A walking tank is not something you want to malfunction near civilians.

Leap Year and Bear Cub have been trying to track down the mysterious Man in the Shadows. It seems to fit best in their fields of expertise, being a matter of a more mystical nature. This character seems to be one of the most elusive we've faced. Apart from maybe ROWAN, which (or who, or what) appears to have disappeared from the face of the earth since the first few incidents. Of course we still don't know if the Man in the Shadows is a threat or not.

We'll return when we have something new.


Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Shadow Update and Ninjou's First Patrol

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner, but once again there has been very little to add to what's been on the news. We don't know anything more about that mysterious scream and the prowler sightings, what the tabloids have dubbed The Man in the Shadows. (A pretty accurate title, for once. But none of their speculations about him have any truth in them. We've checked, obviously.)

Here's a message from Iron Maiden:

Hiyaa! Just wanted to let you know I'll be running the first real patrols in Ninjou in the near future. So if you spot an MRRV that looks different from the regular police or military ones, you can make a safe bet it's been piloted by the greatest, cutest mecha pilot in the known world! It'll be perfectly safe, but stay out of the way, cause this little baby's FAST. Maiden out!

Nothing to add to that. Sightings of the shadow guy are still very welcome. Of course it could be another diversion from ROWAN, but this feels different...

-Quarter Circle

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Screams and Shades?

Lots of people reported hearing a loud, unnatural scream last night around 5 a.m. It seems to have originated somewhere in the eastern suburban area. We're looking into it.

We've also had a few reports about a suspicious character, most likely a man, lurking in shadows early this morning, also on the east side of town. We're also looking into this. It's too early to say whether there is any connection. It might just be a "harmless" prowler...

-Quarter Circle

Monday, 8 September 2008

Q&A Does Raison D'etre

Another question we're often asked is: "Why do you blog?"

People often wonder about the security implications of talking this openly of our actions during times of crisis. Aren't we giving vital information to the bad guys? Aren't we putting ourselves at risk by letting everyone know where we are and what we're doing?

Of course there is always an element of risk in a job like this. And we do avoid giving out the most sensitive details until we consider it safe to release them. But the benefits, we think, outweigh the risks.

First of all, we believe in openness. We think the world would be a better place if all official bodies were more open and information was free. We're an independent organization, of course, even if most of our funding comes from the UN, so we can do pretty much what we please (as long as we stay on the good side of the authorities), but we hope we're setting an example for others as well.

Second, we need the public to trust us. Letting them know what exactly it is we're doing is an important part of that.

Third, in times of crisis it is crucial that the public is informed, and that the information they're getting is correct. Since we deal with situations that the police and other authorities have not been trained to deal with, we often have insights into the situation that they don't.

I think those should be reasons enough. There's probably many more, but I'll leave it at that. Just one more personal note concerning the ideal of openness: YOU can help keep information free by choosing free (aka open source) software and using open file formats, as well as releasing your creations, in whatever field you work in, under open licensing schemes!

Till next time,
-Quarter Circle

Saturday, 6 September 2008

What's in a Name?

Since ROWAN and other threats are still keeping quiet, I'll take a moment to answer some of the most common questions we keep hearing. Again. Since, as you know, much of our old blog contents was lost in the recent electronic attack.

One of the questions we're asked most often is the origin of our name. Well, there's five of us (plus Centre, of course), so we came up with a five pointed star as a our logo. Hence the 'five points', i.e. us. And Hoshi is Japanese for 'star'.

And no, it wasn't Leap Year, our resident Japanese sorcerer, who suggested that (actually, I don't think he's ever liked it much). It was yours truly, who, as you might know, is totally fanatic about Japanese popular culture, and loves those cool long multipart names they give to anime shows.

As for our real personal names, well, sorry guys, but you know it's classified information. Besides, our codenames are so much cooler. ^_^

I'll be back soon with more info about your favourite special ops team. Till then, peace out!
-Quarter Circle

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

No News Is Good News, Right?


Sorry for the silence, but there's very little to report, for a change. Of course, in our line of business, that's usually a good thing. ROWAN is still underground. Tests of the new prototype MRRV are proceeding.

All the guys say hi. We're all doing pretty well (even if this still seems like the "peace before a storm" and we're a little anxious about what will come). BC's pretty much recovered from the kidnap incident and his back to his old wild, obnoxious self. Maiden's obviously in seventh heaven playing around in the prototype.

Peace out, and hope it'll last

-Quarter Circle

Friday, 22 August 2008

Introducing Ninjou

Thanks for all your suggestions. We settled on Ninjou for the name of the new prototype mobile rapid response vehicle. It's Japanese for human nature or human feelings.

Not that the machine itself has any kind of human feelings (or any kind of artificial intelligence, really). But it is a step forward. Towards what, I'm not quite sure, but the distinction between the human body (and mind) and the machine world is becoming more and more vague.

Iron Maiden has already been testing the prototype in the field. Results are very encouraging. Response times are much better and movement is, well, more human-like. Which is the whole point of MRRVs really, combining the mobility and reflexes of the human body with the protection, speed and firepower of armoured vehicles.

Of course it'll take time until the technology is perfected and'll be adapted by the military. But it may just be that team H5P will switch to the new model in the not so distant future. I'll miss my old buddy Shirow, though. We've been through a lot. But the Mark 3 is, alas, becoming outdated.

-Quarter Circle, still enjoying this brief "rest"

Thursday, 21 August 2008

The Calm Before the Storm?

It's too quiet. I don't like it.

We found absolutely nothing at the explosion site. There is no doubt that the cause was supernatural. Otherwise there'd have been debris of some kind left behind from whatever exploded. Whoever set it off covered their tracks perfectly. That is, if they even were physically present...

After almost daily incidents these last couple of days have seemed suspiciously calm. If the incidents were indeed diversions, as we've suspected, then perhaps ROWAN think they're safe now, completed whatever it is they were up to.

But they can't just disappear. Sooner or later they'll have to make a move, and we're ready for them.

Meanwhile work is progressing on the new MRRV interface. The prototype is almost ready for field testing. We're still looking for an appropriate name for it and would welcome suggestions from the public. (I suggested Evangelion, but that didn't go down well with the others. Maiden would've gone for it, but Down and Leap were muttering something about nomen est omen. I dunno.)

-Quarter Circle

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The Facts About Yesterday's Incident

Ok, there have been many conflicting reports in the media about the explosion yesterday, so lets try to get this straight.

The explosion, like most of you know, took place in a wooded area just west of town, about half a mile from the nearest suburban residences. Some authorities have speculated that a gas line exploded. However, there're no gas lines in that area. In fact, there's absolutely nothing in that area.

Just moments before the explosion Leap Year sensed a sudden surge of psychic activity. We're almost positive that the cause of the explosion was supernatural. Supernatural events of this magnitude normally only occur when two powerful sorcerers battle. Since H5P wasn't involved, and there have been no whispers of conflicts between known sorcerers in the area, we're left somewhat baffled.

We can't help but feel this may just be another distraction. If so, we at least know that ROWAN has a powerful sorcerer working for them. This makes them an even more serious threat than we thought. Anyways, the team will split up now. Only one or two will continue investigating the explosion, while others will be following other leads and, most of all, staying vigilant. We're not planning to be taken by surprise by anyone.

-Quarter Circle

Monday, 18 August 2008

Back, with BC

Downy Birch here, blogging while Q and Maiden are busy servicing the MRRVs.

We're back at HQ after recovering BC. In the end we found him locked in the back of an unmanned vehicle (probably stolen from the army), heavily sedated. He has no memory of getting there. We suspect a sniper must have hit him with a tranquiliser dart.

Someone seems to be toying with us. This, the berries, even the virus, which in the end did very little real damage, just left us blind and busy for a couple of days... They all seem like distractions. We're missing something.

But rest assured, we will find you, whoever you. And we don't appreciate being played.