Song Atoroshi, a half-Japanese 32 year-old who grew up in a small town just outside Pittsburgh, before both corporate and family events forced her family to move. Greensburg, PA was once the site of many tech startups, the DreamNet company the largest of them. But when they were all shuttered, the town fell apart. In its glory days, however, Song’s father worked as the company’s security in chief, in charge of keeping the system’s users safe. He also provided her with a distant, seldom-visited home—and family in Japan, where his family’s own company has operated for decades.
She and her two younger brothers passed through childhood just as many of the country’s remaining physical schools were being closed in favor of virtual education, a fact of contention between her more traditional mother and her technologically progressive father. She also happens to suffer from Sobel-Kraun’s Disorder, which to varying levels, can cause those afflicted to reject any sort of virtual reality. Due to these factors, she had a troubled adolescence as she tried to fit in. Still, she managed, and found friends and joined a tech club by high school.
When not keeping in touch with her family or precious younger half-sister Yoko back in Japan, she’s been doing virtual “field work” in VR systems for the FBI’s Cyber Division, and prepping herself to upgrade to the Dreamscape, once her mental training is complete and she’s cleared for duty. That is, after all, where her partner works. But she never expected to be suddenly contacted by Charles Lenderson, the creator of DreamNet, before she even dives in again long after a few failed attempts to adapt to it in her youth.
Marcus Cormish, her partner, is an only child from two “boring parents” in Hartford, Connecticut. He outgrew his punk friends and their shenanigans, but never did so with his need of stimulation of some sort. In his case, a few hits an hour of nicotine from his favorite toy—his e-cigarette—does the job. A frequent customer at the Lucid Diner across from the department, where he goes to wax philosophy and rant about his totally justified reasons for being an eternal cynic, he otherwise finds little to do in life other than his DreamNet work.
In the vast nighttime dream world, he makes contacts, keeps up to date on the latest hacks and trending exploits, and on his off-hours, participates in gaming activities. Though he rarely admits as much, he is actually quite wise and logical in his crime-solving, and it isn’t often that he lets any emotions get in the way. Outside, in old fashioned reality, he’s made a bit of a name for himself in the department, and his relatively new partner, Song, is someone he meshes well with. He doesn’t see her as a little sister, or someone he needs to protect, but rather, a mutually respected friend and someone he can actually talk to. Which, for a guy who hates introductions, might just be a relationship that will get him out of the hard shell that he’s made for himself.
When Charles contacts Song through him, he gets (mostly) willingly dragged along in a series of events that will test their partnership and his own abilities, and bring up a few lingering regrets of his own past.