In the Shadow of Angels

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Scene Title In the Shadow of Angels
Synopsis Hana consults the angels in a test of truth and illusion.
Date February 27, 2009

Somewhere above the Arctic Circle


It wasn't that long ago when Hana was last here. She is again the only thing that stands out amidst a landscape of endless, rolling tundra, low rises and shallow ditches covered with ice-crusted snow.

It's been two days since her release from Primatech; one day since her power returned, flooding her mind with a cacophony of digital chatter painful in its resumption. She'd forgotten what that felt like, the sudden explosion of a world's inane IM conversations, the endless updating of GPS coordinates, the background of innumerable television channels and radio stations.

She managed to hold her own against it, this time. Experience helped.

Hana can't be said to have recovered fully from the restored burden, but she slogs through snow nonetheless, all machinery, all technological devices having been left behind. There is nothing here but the technopath herself; no lights, no homes, none of the gadgetry people bring along with them.

The fatigue, mental and physical, is welcome in its way; but it does nothing to solve her problem, the conundrum that has been first in Hana's mind ever since she departed the four featureless walls within which Goodman had held her.

How can she prove everything around her is truly real, and not the product of a telepath-induced hallucination?

That her power returned in full force is one measure; not even with years of memory to draw upon does Hana believe her mind, or the art of a telepath, could simulate the breadth and depth of the world's digital activity. But if she resumes her previous mantle, an incorrect assumption could devastate everyone she knows. The only people who matter.

Helena, perhaps not; the girl who resembles the person Hana once could have been is beyond the technopath's reach, and therefore beyond contamination.

Teo.

His request led to her capture, but the fault is purely Hana's; she has every desire not to visit anything remotely similar upon the Sicilian in turn.

The Ferrymen, Phoenix, are more abstract obligations, but just as weighty in their respective fashions.

Thus, she comes to a halt amidst snowy wastes, briefly rubbing a gloved hand over the face protected by fur-ruffed hood. Lifts her gaze to the dark sky, seeing not the star-speckled blackness, crystalline lights and velvet shadow vivid in a way no city-lit heavens could be, but the intangible, ephemeral, ceaseless conversations of satellites high above.

The texture of their communications, distant and serenely emotionless, is a memory Hana holds sharp and clear. But the flow of information is ever-changing; the network her mind wanders is at once vastly unknowable and comfortably familiar, poor replacement for the shades of those loved and lost long ago.

Could a telepath imagine this, even with access to Hana's own memories? Could Maury Parkman create an illusion so pervasive, even were it fed by the technopath's own mind? Could she construct a flow of information she herself would believe implicitly, feeding it to her ability and reinforcing illusion as truth?

Hana understands computers. She knows how to filter the endless barrage of information her power taps; how to use it, ignore it, withstand it. But surely she could never generate such a level of noise independent of any input.

She knows she cannot isolate the distant voices of satellites while still in the city, not and hear beyond a whisper; having sought and found them, in the endless permutations of their digital speech, she must really be here. Her power functions. Her direction is her own.

This is for real.

But if this is real…

Hana tears her gaze from the heavens, drops it to the hand that has extracted a business card from a coat pocket.

…what, then, is that? Truth? Illusion?

She has no intention of ever going near the man who runs Pinehearst. No desire to do business with the likes of Goodman. Rather, she intends to see them both collapse into ashes — Company and Company rival alike. Someday.

But that doesn't mean Hana Gitelman isn't going to dredge exhaustively for as much information as she can find on this newly-revealed secret organization.

In the digital shadow of Earth's mechanical angels, the technopath bows her head, closes her eyes, and sends her awareness searching for exactly that.


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February 27th: Old Leads
Previously in this storyline…
Sharks

Next in this storyline…
Rendezvous

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February 28th: Filling In The Blanks
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