AUrachne (from the Greek myth of the weaver-turned-spider Arachne and the chemical symbol for gold) is a program originally conceived of by Aaron Garner as a way to conduct research related to the Portland occult underground on the internet. It’s since evolved in to something that will take note of potentially relevant postings on the web and send notifications to subscribed users, but the signal-to-noise ratio is less than exemplary and it’s definitely still a work in progress.

It apparently gives Cliomancers the screaming heebie-jeebies and messes with their past-altering mojo – at least the ones that aren’t new school enough to understand about the internet

Mechanical Benefits (work in progress)

When you’re actively researching an occult event, person, or thing in the context of Portland, roll (Aaron’s CS skill? Your CS skill? Jerri’s CS skill?). The GM will keep in mind the subject’s obscurity and likelihood of ending up online.

If you’re subscribed to the program, you’ll get updates via e-mail when something new pops up (you’ll get a lot of e-mails). If something is going down, the GM will roll (???) in secret. A success means you get an e-mail about it. When you check that e-mail depends on your habits….


After his third or fourth case working for Dave occult underground webcrawler. It started as a research tool (trying to talk to actual human beings about weirdshit could be like pulling teeth, because there seemed to be a 1:1 correlation between how mystical you got and your inability to give a straight answer, so Google it) but Aaron quickly realized that it could be run all the time, in real time, if you could spare the processing power. The prospect of not being blindsided by cat fanciers ever again was appealing.

Unfortunately, he didn’t quite have the chops to do all of that himself. He turned to some programming forums for advice on stuff. Asking for help on the internet follows Sturgeon’s law pretty closely, only with more people calling you a dumb fag, but Aaron started to make progress. Eventually, though, the questions he started to ask to narrow down from “this is a special-interest news search tool” to “this is a really, really special interest news search tool” got someone’s attention.

Trip-Fold (aka 3fold, 333fold, tripfold333, and so on) sent him a forum-based private message that was basically a dadaist rickroll, and Aaron ignored it and moved on. Then Trip-Fold e-mailed him, despite the fact that his e-mail wasn’t accessible via the forum. That message, asking his opinion of some Portland Weirdshit, made Aaron realize that he and Trip-Fold were in the same field. Dave’s organization is, as a rule, not all that tech-savvy, so he started trying to set up a face-to-face meeting to see if he was worth trying to recruit.

What he got was a videochat that was definitely more through a glass darkly than anything else, with Trip-fold using constantly changing audio and visual filters (The first thing he said was “We will control the horizontal, motherfucker!”). The conversation that followed was less than productive. Aaron tried to explain the project he was working on; Trip-fold declaimed his philosophy, which was basically a nerd’s might-makes-right where the tech-savvy were inheritors of the tradition of blood-nobility and would get all droit up in the sheeples seigneur if it suited their fancy.

Considering his own dear mother could just about manage use the gmail account he had set her up with, Aaron didn’t take well to this and told Trip-fold he could go fuck himself. Trip-fold responded by calling Aaron a “cave dweller,” and instantly wiping his hard drive. Since that’s not really something you can do as a hacker, Aaron concluded that Trip-fold must not be just your average asshole, and instead some kind of techno-adept.

Aaron put the project on the back burner while he burnished his programming skills. Next summer he was back at working with Dave, while also taking some classes at PSU to supplement Reed’s anemic programming curriculum. Hip-deep in to the Gambler, he took a calculated risk and struck up conversations with his classmates. Over a friendly game of cards at the pub he got to know Jerri Bressler. Aaron’s age, she’d been in Iraq with the Marines as network support and had the bad luck to win a medical discharge when she lost her foot to an IED. She and her husband were hoping for a white picket in the suburbs, hence her boning up on civilian IT, but the ends weren’t meeting yet.

Aaron and her hit it off, and they went from collaborating on the final class project (a new prototype of Aaron’s webcrawler) to introducing to the wonderful world of consultancy for Dave. They worked on making the webcrawler a reality, titling it AUrachne (a spider that looks for gold), and she helps keep it running. The project also hasn’t seen the last of Trip-Fold, whose culture jamming frequently spikes the noise-signal least one Aaron-directed mocking message encoded in a false positive indicates that some of this is on purpose).

As an aside, Trip-Fold later turned out to be a she.


2 Good 2 B True ThomasHobbes