SATURDAY NIGHT SCREAMSHEET 2: here at Vircades Project we spent good money on a subscription to the a time-traveller's news digest, but all we got in return a bunch of celebutante garbage. Still, I was able to turn it into an adventure, below the jump...
KASHA SEEKS LEGAL INHERITANCE
Network 60 Daily Update
...legal complications following the death of Enrique Solo (54). The SoloGene founder, eccentric billionaire and uplift pioneer left no will. His two children (Leo and America Solo, both 14) and his former partner (Ms Jara Mitchell of Fort Worth TX, 42) have both put forward claims on his estimated $4.5 billion worth, while contesting a number of patents with SoloGene.
The intervention of Kasha has further complicated the affair. The celebrity cat has made claims to membership in the Solo family and produced verified online message transcripts indicating that Mr Solo wished him to have an inheritance. He further alleges that SoloGene is responsible for wholesale tampering with Mr Solo’s personal cloud server data store, removing evidence of Mr Solo’s intentions. Independent security experts confirm that some tampering certainly took place but cannot clearly identify a culprit. Kasha’s belief in SoloGene’s complicity is backed by the chat logs, in which Mr Solo himself alleged that SoloGene was intentionally acting to prevent further development of the cat uplift patent.
INVESTORS PRESS SOLOGENE FOR ANSWERS
...Following the announcement of the successful Kasha project, investors have eagerly awaited the release of a successful cat uplift product onto the market. Indeed, the original announcement caused SoloGene stock to rise almost 430% and funded their major expansion through the last twelve quarters. Few of these investors expected immediate results and were simply happy to see SoloGene remain profitable through its period of expansion.
Five years later, shareholder patience has run out. Many admit to investing out of a simple desire to see uplifted cats reach the market, rather than any economically pragmatic reason. The “cat fancier” faction among the shareholders was willing to live with low dividends and high research costs in pursuit of this goal. But with no obvious progress yet made, they want answers from the board. Kasha’s recent accusations have fuelled a fire among investors that may yet burn SoloGene to the ground.
PETULANT AMERICA SOLO DEMANDS “SENTIENT CAT DISSECTION”
Outraged Citizen Monthly
America Solo shocked the world this morning with claims that Kasha the uplifted cat is “nothing but a fraud.” “My father was not an honest man. The so-called uplift-cat is nothing but a bio-computer AI implanted in a bio-drone. Impressive tech but no more sentient than a Mr Wacko(™) doll.” She further called upon Kasha to submit to medical testing to disprove her allegations. Kasha’s lawyers replied that such testing could not be adequately carried out without invasive surgery and severe risk to their client. Kasha himself used last's nights Tonight Show appearance to make wry comments about America Solo’s own intellectual faculties. “She loves Bop Metal, after all…”
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
EYE OF THE TIGER(CAT)
Kasha is the most famous feline in the world, more famous than box cat and head-stuck-in-a-tube cat and monorail cat and that cat panicked by the sight of Donald Trump. Five years ago, SoloGene founder and genetic pioneer Enrique Solo unveiled the first intellectually “uplifted” cat. The process had been invasive and complex, difficult to replicate and peer-reviewed mainly by members of his own research team, but the results were undeniable: Here was an intelligent cat. Within two years, Kasha was capable of holding conversations. Three years in, he was charming the Tonight Show audience with his slinky fur and cute anecdotes about jumping fences and stalking (drone replica) parakeets.
Then Enrique Solo died without leaving a will.
THE LEGAL BATTLE
The battle for Enrique’s billions was initially contested between his children (America and Leo, often - accurately - referred to as ‘the twins’) and his partner Jara Mitchell, whom the kids very much blame for the breakdown of Mr Solo’s marriage and their mother’s subsequent drunken car accident. The kids have the honest support of Travis Porter, Enrique Solo’s chief legal advisor and confidant for over three decades.
Confusing matters further is the intervention of SoloGene, the company Mr Solo founded in Palm Beach two decades back. Mr Solo’s made his money selling his stake in the company during their post-Kasha public offering, but he retained a number of patents the company would very much like to take under their direct control. The board’s lawyers have backed America and Leo’s claims in exchange for certain guarantees regarding those patents, but would switch sides without hesitation if they saw a need.
THE CLAWS COME OUT
Nobody expected Kasha’s entrance into the court fight, although they should have. The cat’s legal status is incredibly complex. Is he a dependent of Enrique Solo? Is he sentient? Is he a citizen? Kasha is also a millionaire, having become independently wealthy off the back of his television appearances, his “Neo-Adventures of Tom and Jerry” voice acting work and his licensed fashion and feline health products.
Kasha’s essential tactic for operating in the human world has been to use his celebrity as a sledgehammer, blasting through all potential problems. When he asked for a bank account, the bank didn’t see a complicated legal problem, a minor or a cat; they saw Kasha, the Nietzsche-quoting, riff-talking skit-participating TV star. Potential legal issues evaporated before his fame. He now exists in a strange legal state: having exercised adult human rights without ever actually legally possessing adult human rights. This is the battlefield on which Kasha’s legal claims will likely be fought.
Kasha’s main concerns are Enrique Solo’s Palm Beach mansion - in which he currently resides - and the patents relating to his own creation. A few billion dollars would also be nice. The cat accuses SoloGene of intentionally sitting on the uplift patents, preventing the “development of the feline species.” His legal team also accuses them of underhanded tactics in the case against both him and Jara Mitchell.
SoloGene is hiring freelancers to screw with the opposing legal teams. The company came of age during the era of corporate warfare; collusion and conspiracy is the default mode for the board in times of trouble. They did hit Mr Solo’s cloud server stores. They exposed evidence of sexual crimes on the part of Jara Mitchell’s chief legal aide, derailing her case. They’ve taken action to pre-emptively bribe officials and intimidate animal-rights advocates.
This is where the team get hired. Braxton Bannon, Hollywood (FL) lawyer to the B-movie stars, hires the team to protect his latest furry client and strike back. Their mission profile:
- Locate and “neutralise” the fixers and ‘runner teams attacking servers belonging to the rival legal teams, planting evidence and trying to fix the verdict.
- Recover, if possible, any evidence lost during the SoloGene attack on Mr Solo’s cloud server data store.
- Conduct covert negotiations with Ms Mitchell’s faction, in preparation for a possible alliance.
- Counter-attack! Undermine SoloGene’s case. Discredit anti-uplift campaigners personally or ideologically. If possible, move to separate the twins from either Travis Porter or SoloGene.
Bannon initially uses a burnout fixer called Owen Growley (British, drug addled, thin) to make contact. Once they’ve had a few successes and proven appropriately discreet, they may be invited back to the inner circle to meet The Boss.
THE SUDDEN BUT INEVITABLE COMPLICATION
Kasha is a charming, erudite model citizen in public, with an easy Kelsey Grammer-esque charisma and all the right admirable opinions for someone in his situation to hold.
Here are some things Kasha talks about in private, with trusted employees:
- Boasts about the sharpness of his keratinised penile spines.
- His plans to build a “Torture Palais” maze for rats.
- Wistful fantasies about installing the twins with “on-command nerve pain stimulators.”
Kasha is totally awful. Just the absolute worst. A complete neo-prick. A neon-tinted utter bastard. An honestly terrible person. Literally inhuman in his generalised, sadistic evil. Obsequious and fawning to people he needs, dismissive and abusive to his employees. If he ever actually came into his money, he’d probably use it to hire doctors so he could tie captured irritants to hospital beds and eat them living over a period of weeks. Or build a human-scale rat maze full of caltrops and water bottles full of laxative. Or commission statues of himself surrounded by a harem of “easy pussy” baseline cats. The parakeets weren’t drone replicas, no sir.
(Of course he poisoned Mr Solo. Slowly, over a course of years, for no reason except to see if he could get away with it.)
SoloGene hasn’t released a product based on the uplift technology because all their successful prototype uplifted felines turned out the same way. The proof Kasha is a real postfeline neo-cat and not some biocomputer is that no programmed biocomputer could be this arbitrarily horrible.
The team may find themselves wanting to walk away. They might then find themselves caught in a maze of their own.