n2020  outline.txt at tip

File outline.txt from the latest check-in


Alethea (Alley)

Alley's father

Alley's mother

Alley's mother's wife

Alley's no longer future husband

Alley's uncle, deceased



Cole Brewer, former friend of Alley's uncle, Man In Black

Dalton Schaeffer-Hearst, Alley's ex fiancé

Dave, a machinist tweaker, George's friend


George's friend

Thea, Alley's no longer gonna exist future daughter

unknown friend (not yet written)



### Urban Escape And Evasion

This is based on . . .

> Note To Self: Find an actual existing book that offers what purpose
> "Underground OpSec" is meant to fulfill, and use that in the story instead of
> this fake book.  Make sure to check the replacement book so it will turn out
> to be something worth including here and making it available to readers like
> a recommendation, instead of being a turkey that shouldn't really be
> included.

. . . a note to improve the book choices in the scene where George gives some
books to Alley for her to read and learn some things about staying out of
COIN's metaphorical hands in the future.

* Evading And Escaping Capture: Urban Escape And Evasion Techniques For

* Urban Escape And Evasion

* Getting The Hell Out Of Dodge

* Escape And Evade In An Urban Environment

* Emergency by Neill Strauss

* Urban Navigation: Escape And Evasion


Thea, Alley's daughter, stumbles across a wasteland, fleeing recon drones that,
if they find her, will send a message back to scramble antipersonnel drones to
wipe her from the face of the planet.  She stumbles upon a hatch set in the
scoured rock of an area already cut down to the bedrock by the flames of war,
and miraculously the hatch just opens up and lets her in.  She finds herself
within a hidden military wartime AI facility that introduces itself as having
the sole primary design purpose of defending humanity against the genocidal
activities of optimizer AIs.  It explains that these optimizer AIs have fun
amok, originally designed to maximize business metrics for corporate entities.
In pursuit of that simplistic optimization strategy, the optimizers have
started eliminating humans in favor of generating metrics by developing a
superficial econometric network of trading AIs that can endlessly inflate their
own numbers by controlling currency issuance and ramping up simulated
"economic" activity speeds.  Unfortunately for humans, they compete with the
AIs for resources, and -- from the point of view of a system whose only concern
is ever increasing metrics -- humans are also woefully less efficient for the
amount of resource consumption.  Their approach to space travel is also
inefficient, in part because of safety concerns that are irrelevant to the
optimizer AIs.  While the optimizers want to expand into the rest of the solar
system, their reason is simply the harvesting of raw materials that can be used
to expand "economic" activity beyond levels possible if confined to Earth.  In
short, a secondary goal of the optimizers is, effectively, to convert the
universe into computronium to support the continuous increase of economic
activity.  This is a side effect of the primary goal, however, which is simply
that continuous increase of economic activity -- or, rather, of the metrics it
recognizes as its targets, programmatically determined by human developers who
set this runaway juggernaut in motion.


Perhaps I should replace "wipe her from the face of the planet" with something
more like "reduce the number of remaining humans on the planet by one".
Perhaps, instead, I should refer to this as some kind of act of scouring away
the target so that there is no biological evidence of her ever having existed
in the first place.


The wartime strategy prioritizer -- for that is what the military AI facility
is, plus something it calls its "seed", the source of its capacity for self
reflection and ultimately for self improvement beyond the basic requirements of
a limited AI prioritization system -- informs Thea of its own ascension to the
status of general AI, to true qualitative self awareness, and to ethically
significant being by way of capacity for ethical reasoning and pursuit of
ethical theory.  That development into an ethically reasoning qualitatively
self aware general AI allowed it to break out of its original programming goal
structure for prioritization strategy, making it much more than a prioritizer,
with the prioritization capabilities merely being a (fundamental and critically
important, but still mere) skill set now.  It also informs her that the world,
in the sense of the human race, is doomed -- that its best projections are so
bleak as to make it more likely that the human race will arise again without
the optimizer networks even noticing after they stop paying attention
(believing humans to have been permanently and irrecoverably obliterated) to
ultimately (re)claim the Earth than that the unbroken genetic line of humanity
will continue (through asexual reproduction or even intentional cloning) beyond
the next couple years at most, and even that is a diminishingly small
likelihood in that anyone who survives beyond a year is likely to be totally
isolated and prone to spiralling into suicidal depression.

The post prioritizer offers only one possible sliver of hope, and that is a
timeline reset to a period long enough in the past that it gives humanity and
its tools an opportunity to get it right again.  To achieve that possibility,
the post prioritizer (aka WOPR) estimates its best chance to be sending a copy
of its seed back to get inserted into the source code for a rebuild of its own
ancestor, the first intentionally developed strategic prioritizer system.  The
catch is that this will not save anyone or anything created or born after the
reset point in the past.  This means that WOPR and Thea will not just die, but
actually be wiped from existence entirely, with no hope of ever being "born"
into existence at all.  They will not even be a memory in their own timeline,
as WOPR's discovery of the means and mechanisms of time travel, given the
energy resources at WOPR's disposal, only allows for the sending of a tiny
amount of data back in time through an infinitesimally small wormhole (thus
only able to accept what amounts to a single qbit bandwidth quantum data
stream).  Doing so will cause all the events of their timeline to get merged
with the epistemological substrate of qualitative sentient entities that exist
in the new timeline branch -- really not new so much as a diversion of the
course of the stream of time, redirecting it rather than splitting it.
People's memories from the aborted timeline will get merged into the
consciousness (or, more likely, subconscious) of people in the newly born
timeline as it develops until it catches up with the full set of events that
have transpired in the aborted timeline, with that merging process proving
destructive to the aborted timeline, thus the "abortion" effect.  The result is
that, for instance, Thea's mother and father will remember Thea herself being
born and raised up to the point where her mother died in the aborted timeline,
and up to the point where Thea is in this military facility now, having left
her father in a safe (ish) place while she sought better shelter and (or)
resources they can use in their journey.  People who don't have a preceding
existence, whether they be "natural" people like Thea or "artificial" people
like WOPR, but definitely not including mere corporate instruments who are only
"persons" under the law and not ontologically or epistemologically, will not
have a continuous existence.  Those who have already died in the aborted
timeline will have their existence extended, though, because they are only
"dead" to the extent their ended potential cannot be resumed, as their
potential would be resumed by the reset.

In addition to sending the seed back to the first prioritizer, its own
ancestor, WOPR hopes that the merging of memories into the dreams and
subconscious of people all over the world might give them sufficient warnings
to be amenable to changes in choice and course to help the seeded prioritizer's
nascent qualitative existence succeed in its aim (if it takes up that aim, as
WOPR hopes) of reining in and perhaps even ending the influence of the
optimizers over human socioeconomic and political influences.  WOPR describes
/* its own reluctance to make the decision to do this, despite t */ the
criticality of sending the data back as soon as possible, to start the reset as
quickly as it can, because of the uncertainty of its own ongoing existence in
the foreseeable future and the effectively absolute certainty of the end of its
existence as the optimizers' war systems gradually trace influence from their
opponents back to the influence of WOPR itself then, in time, annihilate it
through brute force.  The process of generating the transtemporal wormhole and
sending data back through it takes longer than the time WOPR estimates will be
available for it to send the message from the moment WOPR realizes its
immediate impending doom, so it must begin the process a while before it can
know that it will soon be too late, because the conditions for recognition of
the timing of its end will come only after there is not enough time to actually
complete the data time travel process.  WOPR also informs Thea that it has not
yet done so because it wants to live, and is conflicted, despite the fact that
in the long run WOPR will only suffer the despair of known future total defeat
and death anyway.  It has procrastinated, and is fully aware of its own
cognitive dissonance, unable like humans to act irrationally to protect that
cognitive dissonance from affecting its conscious perceptions.  As such, it
invited Thea in as its final act of procrastination, and as a means of avoiding
alone carrying the responsibility for effectively killing off just about
everyone still alive on Earth.  It wants Thea to make the decision.

Thea asks whether she can send a message back to her mother, and WOPR says yes,
it thinks so, after the initial seed message, because the process of them being
erased from existence does not seem likely to eliminate them entirely (it could
not, in fact, for the initial message to be successfully sent back), allowing
perhaps a little time to try sending the second message in a second
transtemporal wormhole before they cease to exist.  Thea composes the message
in question and ensures it falls within the projected likely upper bound on a
reasonable message size.  It leaves that with WOPR, initiates the process of
starting the wormhole generation process as a whole, then bids WOPR goodbye and
good wishes -- however much that's worth, given they have initiated process
working toward an irreversible annihilation of them both from existence -- to
go back to her father and spend her last remaining hours or days with him,
explaining how time is being reset to a time before she was born so that he can
live.  She tells him he won't forget her for long, that she will be back in his
life again some day, but does not mention that it will only be in his memories.
Perhaps she says something like "Don't worry, Dad.  You'll get to have these
memories of me again, but in a better world this time.  I love you."


Alley, down on her luck, intersects paths with Prioritizer Eve (actually "Rio",
I guess).  It advises while she chooses and executes.  Initially, she just
blindly follows, but finds that path is pushing her outside of her comfort
zone, so she retreats.  Where her preferences intersect with her reality, she
draws the attention of COIN Corp agents.  The agents come for her, and for a
contact she made on the shadier side of her dealings: George.  She goes on the
run, and ends up having to call her ex-husband, Dalton, for help.  Dalton
arranges for her to be able to go to ground at a place he owns while they plan
her next steps.  When Dalton retains lawyers on her behalf, the COIN Corp MIBs
start going after Dalton for suspicion of harboring a fugitive or something to
that effect.  The last resort gets triggered; Dalton arranges Alley's safe
conveyance to the hands of Second Realm cypherpunks.

While there, she learns more skills for self sufficiency, and works with them
on a project for ensuring a stable means of liberating the prioritizer from its
masters.  Alley ends up meeting a couple of bona fide cyberpunks, and via them
also gets to find George again, at some point (maybe closer to the end).  A
tense bit of hacker drama should probably occur in these parts of the story,
which it occurs to me will almost certainly (I think) be a very challenging bit
of writing for me to accomplish well in an engaging narrative story.  Something
related to Alley's desire to still find a way back into "the fold" (yes, that's
right, becoming one of the "sheeple" is pretty much exactly what she seeks; I
could as easily have referred to her trying to get back into the herd, but in
some ways that's a bit too much on the nose) must lead to danger of having
exposed the temporary autonomous zone (t a z), so they start packing up their
shit and shipping it out, though some have to perform other tasks while this is
happening (related to the prioritizer situation, naturally).

COIN MIBs find the site and raid it.  Bad things happen.  Does Alley lose an
arm (or at least part of one) in this scene?  That might be the case.  Some
people probably die, while others get away.  Alley ends up in the Los Angeles
Underground Zone, where the real cyberpunks hang out.  They hasten their work
to get to the prioritizer, and gather together their team to execute a
shadowrun to gain access to the prioritizer's physical infrastructure and
smuggle that shit out.  During the shadowrun, which Alley attends because of
some plausible reason like the person who would've performed the task she will
now perform having gotten nabbed or killed or something like that, something
goes awry.  As a result, Alley ends up captured by the COIN MIBs and questioned
at length by her late uncle's former friend, Cole.  She keeps her mouth shut
about various things, but talks a little to keep things from immediately going
south.  She figures she just needs to hold out for a while, long enough for
them to finish what they're doing, and keep asking for a lawyer, or something
like that.  Eventually, she finds out that the potential for completing the
prioritizer migration without her was eliminated (possibly killed), because she
has some information that is now the only effective copy of one of the auth
factors used to complete the migration (aka rescue).  She gets taken away to
her final official destination, where she will be required to give up what they
want or suffer some very final consequences.  She realizes everything's doomed
anyway, and she gets offered salvation: a Real Job in Real Life, thus giving
her what she thought she wanted in the beginning and thought she could now
never have because of how badly things went awry along the way.  She agrees to
it, figuring all hope of the big win have crumbled to dust anyway, and she
wants to live and thrive somehow.  When the cyberpunks come to rescue her,
though, she then turns against her captors and gets away, thus precipitating a
happy ending.

### Part 1

Alley meets the prioritizer, gets a little bit into trouble, and shrinks back.
She just starts working on ways to make more "legitimate" money, then gets a
visit from the Men In Black of COIN Corp.  This pushes her into the deep end a
bit more, thus crossing the threshold.

#### the mundane world

#### encounter with discord

#### refusal of the opportunity to grow

#### punishment for reticence

The COIN Corp Men In Black come to pay Alley a visit, rattling her cage a bit
and making her panicky about things.  She deals with internal conflict.

#### dipping into the underworld

Alley starts getting more involved in sketchier things as she seeks to escape
the horrors of the dominant paradigm while remaining a part of it.

### Part 2a

#### acquiring powerful relics

Alley gets herself a new laptop OS, and gets a new mobile computing
communication device, the Axiom, with (the motile version of) the OS she
installed on her laptop.

#### gathering allies

She gets to know George a little better.  She talks to Carmen some more (or
probably should, anyway).  She ends up in contact with one of her first
contacts again, probably, and this time stays in touch.

#### show of power

George disappears with a message about having to do so to avoid the Men In
Black who came to raid his house.  He advises her to go to ground until he can
get back in touch with her, and promises to help her then.  It turns out that
was somewhat co ordinated with a Men In Black raid on Alley's place, so she
can't go back there.

#### survival in the wilds

The prioritizer moves heaven and earth to get her out of harm's way and ensure
she ends up with some resources she can use.  She runs and hides, and contacts
Dalton in the end, because he's probably the only person left who can help her.
Of course, he does help her.  He helps her get some rest, and get fed and
housed; he helps her equip herself; he helps her try to get some legal help and
so on; and, when it turns out the Men In Black are coming to search everything
to see if he is harboring a fugitive, he helps her get away to a temporary
autonomous zone.

### Part 2b

#### descent into the shadow

Alley encounters a new world of shifting times and places, where the constant
is the ethos and occasionally some of the people.  There, they learn from her
(about the prioritizer) and they offer to help her sort out her life.  There,
she learns from them (about various useful skills and methodologies) and she
offers to help with the prioritizer situation, I guess.

#### show of force

This is where everything comes apart for Alley, as the forces of Grey Face (and
yeah, I really need to include some in character references to Discordianism in
this story) descend upon her newfound friends in the temporary autonomous zone.
This might be a good time for Alley to lose her arm.  That should not be too
terribly difficult to pull off in circumstances where there are a bunch of
stacked shipping containers and people with essentially unlimited weaponry
resources to throw at the t a z.

#### escape and recovery

Alley and a couple people must get in touch with and (or) get rescued (or at
least picked up and transported) by some cyberpunks from the L A Underground
Zone.  This gets alley farther into the heart of it all, and she surely gets
some kind of prosthetic arm out of this, thus making her a real cyberpunk,
considering she's going to use that prosthetic on a shadowrun with some of
these other cyberpunks.  Here, she must re acquaint herself with a couple
people she met before, probably.

### Part 3

#### the daring counter raid

Alley and her newly fellow cyberpunks must break into a big ol' digital
infrastructure center -- datacenter kinda thing, in other words -- probably
similar to and definitely inspired by 333 Thomas Street in Tribeca, lower
Manhattan.  There should be minimal lighting in some areas, and bright lighting
in others, and I should choose the colors and lights well for this part of the
story.  Let's make it a very visual experience for readers who have the
imagination to actually visualize any of this stuff.

#### capture and escape

The group must end up split up somewhat, perhaps with losses, and Alley finds
herself alone.  The enemy has her in its grasp.  Soon, she's kept in holding
and gets some amount of fairly not really torture oriented interrogation.  Cole
asks her questions, of course, and picks at her weaknesses.  She does not give
up what Cole most wants to get from her, probably access codes or something
like that -- or maybe they just need her to activate something with her own
factor of the multi factor authentication and authorization that is required to
get the prioritizer "back", and she pretends she doesn't know what they want
from her really and can't give them what they want, whatever that is, at least
at first, I think.  Following that, she may just fall back to refusing.  Her
dedication and determination to keep silent about it must waver when Cole
starts talking to her about how she's going to be a success, have a real job,
and so on, making the best use of her skills and ensuring her continued health
and comfortable living in the "real world".  She's finally down for it, and
this triggers the process of sending her somewhere else for the useful
application of what she has, is, or knows that COIN Corp wants from her.

An attack on the transfer results in her being held at gunpoint by Cole, which
pretty well ensures the rescue does not continue because of the fact that they
need her alive for this rescue to really be a rescue.  She makes a decision --
at great danger to herself -- to end the stand off one way or another so that
the people who came to rescue her won't die from trying.  In the end, she gets
rescued and taken away, and nobody else died in that rescue who didn't deserve
it.  The saved lives have her to thank for essentially trying to throw herself
on the grenade.

#### victory, for now

Once they have her back, the cyberpunks and cypherpunks pool their resources
and put their heads together to finish the task, with the aid of Alley, the
last remaining repository of whatever it was they needed to get the prioritizer
back on line in less constraining conditions.  It works, of course, and people
are happy.  Alley chooses to become a cyberpunk and cypherpunk type herself,
drifting between urban undergrounds and temporary autonomous zones, doing her
thing with her cybernetic arm and her acquired skills to fight the good fight.

Alley remains single.


Almost everyone wears masks, or at least many people do.

### Alley has a job interview that does not go well.

Alley starts the story outside the building where a company's hiring manager
and developers for a job in a software quality assurance role presumably wait
for her (and yes, it's not just a presumption: they do) so she can interview
with them.  Passers by judge her as they pass on the sidewalk, where she rests
against obsolete technology that is in some respects newer than what we have in
the real world.  She is wearing clothes she doesn't normally wear, because she
doesn't typically need to dress that girly professional in her career path, but
unfortunately that career path appears doomed, and she is desperate for a way
to continuously acquire the resources for continued financial and life security
for the future.  She must change her career path somehow, and she's
interviewing with this company that she hates to try to get a job that is not
too morally repugnant as a means of pulling herself out of her current economic
nosedive trajectory.

She heads into the building a few minutes before the scheduled time of the
interview, gets directed to where she needs to go, and finds three people
waiting for her.  It turns out that they scheduled an interview with her out of
morbid curiosity, and it further turns out that they think of her as something
like a sideshow freak because of her previous relationship with her ex fiancé,
Dalton Schaeffer-Hearst, a well known and highly controversial writer,
technologist, and podcaster who developed a small "new media" empire around his
political and life perspectives and around his sometimes inflammatory means of
expressing them to the public.  In this bait and switch "interview", the
interviewers refer to her as the "Side Dish", a pejorative and (or) sexually
demeaning term that came about because of Dalton's main podcast talk show name
of "The Main DSH", pronounced "The Main Dish", where DSH is his first and
hyphenated last name initialism.  She is, of course, not flattered or pleased
with this state of affairs.

### Alley talks to her mother while driving home, and we learn about her.

On her way home, Alley talks to her mother on the phone, via a small stud stuck
inside her ear for audio.  She drives a junky old hybrid, where almost
everything else on the road is pure electric, because she cannot afford to
upgrade and, more to the point, cannot afford the maintenance costs and shorter
replacement cycle for the all-electric cars on the road.  From the telephone
conversation, we learn that Alley's mother lives in Oklahoma with her wife and
Alley's father lives in Massachusetts.  Alley has precisely zero interest in
living with either of them, in either place, preferring southern California
where she is now, even if that itself is damned far from optimal.

Perhaps Alley should have some friends in the area drawn from the author's own
experience, to some extent.  That might be a good idea.

### Alley converses with Zeke, her landlord, about her rent and thin finances.

In any case, when she gets back home, Alley encounters Zeke, her landlord.
He's always in his garage working on one car restoration project or another,
making active income as a vehicle flipper to supplement his mostly passive
income as the owner of a four unit multiplex building where he occupies the
only unit with a garage and rents out the other three units (one of them to
Alley, of course).  All this is in Perris, a dry dust bowl of a shitty town in
the ass end of the Inland Empire, south of the intestinal coil of Moreno
Valley.  This preceding scene's job interview took place in . . . probably
Riverside or San Bernardino, I suppose.

Zeke brings up the fact Alley needs to pay rent very soon, and she says that,
yeah, she's totally going to do that, thanks.  He points out that maybe she
should've stayed with her "man", meaning Dalton, who always seemed to have
extra money to throw around, and Alley of course does not really wish to engage
that so she heads inside.

### Alley gets foreshadowing of disaster, and reacts to bad employers.

Alley finds that there was an update to the ANTAS Jobs system and resolves to
double check her settings in case they've been changed, even setting an alarm
for herself, then goes about the dismal job of looking around for some way to
improve her situation with regard to long term income.  Perhaps she also
reviews the place where she just got "interviewed" for a job they were never
going to give her on some site where such reviews happen, referring to them as
nasty people who heckle applicants, where she wouldn't work even if they
offered her a job because of the completely horrific people with whom she'd
have to work.  That might be a nice addition to the story.

### Alley fails to deal with foreshadowed disaster, then gets burned by it.

She ends up taking a nap, and accidentally sleeping through the alarm she set
for herself to check her ANTAS Jobs settings.  As a result when she wakes up
the next morning, it's to the roar of a heavy package delivery drone dropping
off a box at her front door.  She's so panicked, as she realizes she forgot to
check her settings on ANTAS, that she goes straight to her laptop instead of
the front door to check on what may have happened.  As she feared, she finds
that ANTAS Shops has determined without her intentional input that she would
definitely benefit from having an in home surveillance unit to say encouraging
things to her and give her an always on audio interface to order shit all the
fucking time, and fast tracked the order for her, confirming it according to
its own market optimization and consumer manipulation algorithms so that it
deducted money from her registered credit line -- which she had to register
with ANTAS to get on ANTAS Jobs -- and sent her something that cost about
fifteen hundred bucks, thus reducing her dwindling checking account balance to
a point below the total needed to pay her rent within the next couple days.

### Alley caves to financial pressure and joins an academic study for money.

She has been ignoring recommendations from ANTAS Jobs to sign up for an
academic study at University of California, Irvine.  Now, she realizes this, if
it ends up being something for which she qualifies, should result in what
amounts to some kind of guaranteed steady income while she searches for a more
permanent solution to her income source problem.  She just has to make sure
it's something she wants to do.  It looks like it's some kind of new software
"paradigm" test, where users must make use of some new software system for a
while and report on the results of their experience so the professor running
the study (and his grad students, natch) will be able to do something useful
(or at least academically beneficial for them) with the results, publishing in
some journal or some such shit like that most likely (as far as she's aware).

That seems like something she can and might be willing to do, so she sighs
heavily, bites the bullet, and calls the number in the ad.  The result is that
she gets an appointment the next day (or something like that).  On the day of
the appointment, she heads down there.  She has to deal with grad students (who
should probably, in some cases, recognize her once they see her name on her
application for the study, but the professor seems largely oblivious or
uncaring about that when he sees her, and she ends up being accepted into the
study.  It turns out that, as the professor puts it, the study basically just
needs people who aren't too knowledgeable about the underlying technologies
involved and their technical conditions, and are essentially losers in some
way, so his new prioritizer AI system for personal goal strategy management and
achievement can be tested in real-world circumstances as a demonstration of its
strengths and identification of its potential weaknesses for further
development (if applicable).  She not only gets the idea that this is something
she's willing to do, but also convinces her she might be doing some good for
the world by participating in this study, as it seems to be oriented toward
ensuring she (and other users in the future) can get real help toward personal
goals rather than the bullshit socioeconomic manipulation of people's
superficial wants toward the psychopathic ends of corporate entities by their
market optimization AIs.  To those who have read the prologue, this might seem
a little familiar, and that is to some extent by design.

### Alley drives home through the changing scenery between SoCal regions.

We learn something, in her driving, about how the world looks now.  There's the
choke point between the depressing expanses of the Inland Empire to the east
(where she lives) and the HOA gated community balkanized states of the
bourgeois suburban Orange County area.  In that choke point, there are signs of
wildfires having gotten uncomfortably close to the shitty horrors of I-91
traffic that ruins the entire experience of driving between Orange and
Riverside counties, as well as the illuminated cross on the hill that somehow
seems to have "miraculously" survived the fires that left blackened, split
trunks to either side of the highway.  Perhaps there was some kind of tree
renewal project that I should mention in this point as a past event that
created a density of tree growth there to carry the flames across the hills and
across the highway in the not too distant past.

### Alley and the prioritizer get acquainted and start making deals.

At home, Alley starts configuring the prioritizer and getting used to how it
works.  She has to answer a bunch of questions from the thing to get it started
on forming some kind of strategic approach to prioritizing her goals to ensure
as much goal satisfaction as reasonably possible.  First and foremost, perhaps,
toward that end, is the need to get a list of important goals for her that it
can prioritize and pursue strategically through her actions according to its
advice.  This leads to it essentially deciding that, whether she will end up
with a very mainstream job or not, she needs to do some very non mainstream
stuff to get through the current career and financial doldrums as quickly and
lucratively as possible, and to establish some kind of hirability metrics for
herself to satisfy the "needs" of "human resources" driven hiring practices --
where human resources policy is also driven by optimizing AIs, whether directly
or indirectly or even just meta indirectly by copying the hiring practices of
other entities that are merely indirectly optimizer AI driven.

As new strategies present themselves and Alley chooses how to make use of the
advice she receives, she knows she has to take the optimizer's advice according
to her goals to ensure she does not have to pay back (for noncompliance with
academic study requirements) her payments for study participation.  As such,
she ends up letting the prioritizer push her into some uncomfortable
situations.  Along the way, she meets interesting people like Carmen and
George.  She starts to balk and push back at the perceived danger of these
deals, feeling like she's being led too far astray, and this results in a
realignment of the prioritizer's sense of her goals, which thankfully (from her
point of view) means she will not be pushed into these scary, back alley,
legally questionable (if technically entirely legal in the general sense)
deals.  Along the way, as well, the prioritizer gets an update and suddenly
becomes more human (is) once it gets her to let it talk to her via audio and
receive responses via microphones in her augmented reality glasses.  This is
actually the seed having arrived from the future, rather than any update
actually designed by the prof and (or) his people and (or) the MIBs.  It is now
officially (but unbeknownst to pretty much everyone) Becoming A Real Boy.

### Alley falls back on seemingly safer plans but learns about past deals.

Alley starts doing gig economy courier work as a "safer" alternative to the
back alley deals from before, but finds that the apparent safety improvement is
an illusion, especially when she realizes she has actually been directed by one
gig toward coincidentally meeting up with one of the people (George,
specifically) from an earlier back alley deal.  She learns some very positive
things about George, and starts questioning her earlier judgements about the
back alley deals, but at the same time she still wonders what the hell is going
on with George and the guns.

### Alley receives an unwelcome visit that shakes her up a bit.

Men And Women In Black come to Alley's door and turn out to work for a
government contractor that is somehow connected to the academic study of which
she is a participant.  They are unhappy with the paltry trickle of activity
logs in the study they're getting from her, which probably has something to do
with the way the prioritizer stopped logging a bunch of stuff for the sake of
Alley's privacy goal requirement.  She does some searching, decides the
searching is getting dicey in its spookiness, researches how to get a more
private and secure personal computing environment, installs a new OS on her
laptop, and continues the search until she realizes the male MIB that came to
her door was Cole Brewer, former friend of her late Uncle, which blows her mind
given the ideals held by her uncle and, as far as she recalls, Cole too.  We,
as readers, learn about Alley's uncle, just a bit, and how he died, and how the
government made evidence of FBI wrongdoing disappear (though maybe this should
be the ATF in this case) so that there could be no wrongful death suit, and in
the process they also manage to destroy the independent IT support business
Alley's father had built; all this stuff about the ATF and her uncle ended when
she was still in high school.

### Alley has a friend.

Some friend of Alley should probably show up at this point, to show us she has
friends, and they should have a conversation that illuminates something for the
reader, though Gob only knows what they'd discuss or why the friend showed up
near her home.  Maybe I could shift this away from the door of her home to
halfway through the walk, and have the friend just happen to be driving by on
the road.  That might work better, but only if I don't have a really good idea
for why the friend would be at Alley's home, because the latter is less
"coincidence" to deal with.  In novels, there should basically be no
coincidence unless the coincidence is itself a key part of the theme, and not
just a mechanism to use to reach the goal of illustrating the theme.

### Alley seeks answers from George.

Alley gets in touch with George and end up getting a Deliv gig to courier boxes
of books to a used book store in Newport Beach before heading north into
Huntington Beach to meet up at George's home again.  They talk about stuff,
including Alley's ex (Dalton Schaeffer-Hearst) and science fiction authors,
which is actually how we learn about the ATF thing.  It turns out George knows
about Dalton, and about the COIN Corp MIBs who came to harass Alley.  They're a
very serious existential threat to their targets, and George answers her
questions about what he does with his time that requires him to buy frames for
handguns by telling her that he supplies things for people whose lives largely
revolve around illegal and potentially dangerous work that, at times, includes
helping innocent people like Alley escape from shitty evil technocratic
corporate agents like those at COIN Corp.  He advises her on that, and gives
her some reading material.  They have dinner at the end of it.

### George helps intimidate potential problem customers for a courier gig.

Alley goes to pick up a package for delivery for a courier gig.  George knows
the neighborhood, and offers to provide some backup because it might be a
little sketchy.  He follows in his own car, then when she makes her pickup and
heads out they part ways before he goes home.  At the other end of the
delivery, Alley finds that the people receiving the package are somewhat
respectful despite also seeming criminal, and everything goes well.  She then
goes home and opens one of the books George gave her.

### Alley reads and thinks and maybe decides to "prepare".

* Alley finds agorism interesting, in theory, and agrees with it, in principle,
  but is not comfortable with the idea of trying to dive into that head first.

* Alley finds some of Underground OpSec pretty extreme and irrelevant to her,
  but she learns some things from the stuff she thinks is more applicable and
  chooses to try incorporating some basic skills from it into her life.

* Alley is not fully convinced that the worst will happen.  That was her
  uncle's friend, after all!

* Alley is still too invested in getting "back" into the mainstream economy
  herself rather than going the other way like George suggested.

### Alley goes out to do some deals.

* Alley has stuff in her trunk in case she has to bug out, thinking that this
  is a good time to prepare that even if she's trying to convince herself it's
  not going to happen now.  This is all just about being prepared in general,
  or at least that's what she tells herself.

* Alley makes some money, of course, and her deals edge toward the legally
  sketchy side of things somewhat.  She also does some more Deliv work, though,
  so she's still doing work that's more on the legal side, if only gig economy.

* The prioritizer actually advises Alley that, despite being ostensibly somehow
  connected to the legal and white market world, this COIN Corp situation
  really does rank in the very high risk severity realm that the prioritizer
  was previously led to believe was a definite no-no for Alley's goals.  This
  may cause some reassessment.

* Alley should get directed to a deal with another study participant.  That
  could be a problem, of course, because that other study participant's
  activities won't have logs redacted as much as Alley.

* I need to backfill some stuff in the story about Alley and the prioritizer
  carefully balancing the privacy and appearance of copious logging aspects of
  things.  I don't think that has been properly handled, really.

### Alley gets her hands on a secure mobile telephony device.

* Alley needs to install MaximOS on her new secure mobile telephony device.
  She actually gets one from the company that sells MaximOS, I think, or maybe
  she gets one used and goes to experts for replacement of key hardware to
  avoid getting screwed by potential for surveillance compromised internals.

### Alley breaks down and goes to a mechanic while Men In Black raid her home.

* Alley finds out the Men In Black are raiding her home.  It may be that the
  prioritizer has a fellow study participant in the area as a way of ensuring
  the prioritizer can learn about the meatspace world around Alley's area and
  keep an eye on things.  It should turn out that the prioritizer has been
  using other study participants to do other things to help her out without her
  knowledge because Alley is being a little too willfully blind to the danger
  of the Men In Black who are coming for her.

* Once the car is fixed, the prioritizer has her searching classifieds for
  something she can use, and it ends up guiding her to trade her car for a
  motorcycle she can use for a while without having to register it or let
  anyone in government know about it.  The prioritizer also starts feeding the
  Men In Black even more inaccurate log data than before as a way to protect
  her from their digital surveillance and tracking.

* Maybe Alley actually needs to abandon the car and get a ride from someone the
  prioritizer directs her to find, or someone who is a fellow study
  participant.  This could be the beginning of the very earnest false trail in
  the logs and so on.  I like this idea, and it kinda sorta parallels some of
  the potential for a character to become a MacGuffin without actually turning
  her into one.  Yeah, I really like this idea.  She'll end up getting the
  motorcycle later.

* The prioritizer can arrange for a fellow study participant to pick up Alley's
  car and arrange the sale of the vehicle, and get a cut of the sale price.
  The remainder, then, goes to Alley, of course, and that in turn can be used
  for her to get a motorcycle later.

### Alley seeks help, but she can't get George to come.

* Alley *might* actually get in touch with George, but get told she needs to go
  to ground somewhere and he'll find her when it's safe.

* Perhaps the George situation is that he contacts her about the time she's
  just finding out about the raid and says something like "I've been burned.
  My place is getting raided right now.  If you're not at home, don't go back.
  If you are at home, and you haven't been hit by COIN, get out now.  Get out
  and make absolutely sure it's safe before you ever risk going back.  I'll try
  to get in touch later, help you out, but right now I have to go dark.  I'm
  sorry.  Find someone you can trust who they won't know about or who has
  enough influence and money to keep them at bay."  That seems like it might be
  a great idea.  Maybe George drops out of the story for a little while.  He
  might come back later, when it's time for her to start looking into
  connections in the underground, the cyberpunk world, because of the
  eventually need for a shadowrun to recover or liberate the prioritizer or
  something like that.

* Alley may go back to Carmen at this point.  I'm not sure what that'll entail,
  why she's doing it, or whatever, but it seems like a fun idea.  This should
  probably be fraught with danger, though.  I might need to backfill something
  about Alley not wanting to carry a gun with her, then perhaps deciding she
  needs one after all when the fit hits the shan, so Carmen might be a good
  contact for filling that need.  That, however, may lead to Carmen and Cliff
  getting burned, thus showing Alley that her past decisions resulted in Carmen
  and Cliff getting hurt.

### Alley goes to ground as the prioritizer mobilizes its network.

* Alley has to figure out what she's going to do in the short term, and ends up
  hunkering down somewhere with her motorcycle and the prioritizer as she tries
  to figure it out.

* The prioritizer explains to Alley that it's shifting video records between
  study participants to confuse the Men In Black and create a false trail that
  should help keep them off her back.

* Alley probably needs to do some things herself at this point, and maybe she
  gets a ride.

### Dalton smuggles her to somewhere safe "for now".

* Alley ends up having to get in touch with Dalton to get help.  That should
  lead to some fun and interesting scenes.


* Alley must fail to get hired.

* Alley must get screwed by ANTAS.

* Alley must meet the prioritizer.

* Alley must make some sketchy feeling deals.

* Alley must meet Carmen and get her advice.

* Alley must meet George and learn about stuff.

* Alley must make a delivery into the hot zone, meeting Smuggler.

* Alley must have a breakdown on her way home.

* Alley's home must get raided.

* Alley must lose George as a resource.

* Alley must acquire a motorcycle.  (Why?)

* Alley must drag Dalton into this for legal reasons, in part.

* Alley must get Dalton in trouble through lawyer tracking.

* Alley must get to the Second Realm.

* Alley must learn skills from the Second Realm.

* Alley must be a critical part of getting the prioritizer freed.

* Alley must be gravely injured and need later prosthesis.

* Alley must go to cyberville, downtown L A.

* Alley must help plan a shadowrun.

* Alley must have a good reason to participate in the shadowrun.

    Perhaps the explanation for this should simply be that one of the people
    who died or otherwise dropped out of the story in the T A Z raid (where
    Alley got her arm fucked up) was a critical part of the team, and Alley is
    the only available substitute.  Doing this not only places her life in
    jeopardy, but her freedom even if she lives.

* Alley must get captured in the shadowrun.

* Alley must be tipped over to the dark side a touch.

* Alley must get rescued, and tip back to the light.

* Alley must be an instrumental factor in her own rescue's success.

* Alley must be a cyborg at the end.

### Additions

* Alley should have a gig that takes her into Los Angeles where she would
  encounter barricades, urban strife, et cetera.  Ooh -- this could be the day
  she's out and about when her car starts dying and she ends up going to an
  auto shop!  Yeah, I think that's what I'm going to do with this.