Listening for Needles in Haystacks


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Scene Title Listening for Needles in Haystacks
Synopsis Abby's call for Nora across the miles is answered, but questions are not.
Date January 27, 2011

Pollepel Island and Speakeasy Hotel and Casino

"Nora, Nora, gimme your answer true"

It's been like this for most of the day, Abby holing up in the speakeasy, a spray can of insect killer, skipping out only to get food and back again. She could have gone back to Pollepel to have this conversation but it would mean multiple boat trips back and forth.

"I'll be happy, just to hear back from youuuuu"

She's parked on the questionable bed in the questionable hotel owned by her husbands employer. Not that she knows that. She just knows that it's inexpensive, doesn't have the chance of hunter bots hunting you down and the chair under the door will give her enough warning if some asswipe tries to come in and rape her.

"It won't be a long conversation"

She's singing into the walkie talkie, every hour on the hour, hoping that the sorta technopath might hear her. At least Abigail isn't a bad singer. It might be worse if she was a bad singer. She pauses to reach over, grab the bug spray and depress the button, coating a … well it's something with many legs that ceases to move. "It probably won't be a sensaaaation and I'm running out of words that rhhhhyyyyyyme"

It's not until sometime after dinner in the evening when the singing makes it through to listening ears. There's sshhhhhh of static that comes through before Nora's voice comes in.

"Tell me something only you would know," the teen's voice comes through cautiously, almost suspiciously. She's curled up on her cot, blankets wrapped around her thin frame, though she's now halfway out of bed, one foot toeing the floor in search for her boots in case something is terribly wrong and she should go get help. This is not a voice she expected to hear while channel-surfing.

There's answer…


In truth, the EMT on the other end hadn't really expected there to be an answer. So Nora's voice crackling over the walkie talkie makes her drop it in surprise. That and the volume was up a tad too much. But as she fumbles and fishes around the floor for it and eventually has the electrical equiptment back in her hands, Abby's depressing the talk button.

"Uhh. Oh, uhm"

What would she know about Nora that.. only she would know. She didn't know that other woman that well at all. "Benji needed twenty-six stitches above his eye, and I had to redo four of them because I wasn't happy with them and I really didn't want him to have to go around with a really bad scar and ruin his handsome face. Or well, Howard calls it pretty, and that he's a little effeminant but Howard can be a jerk and is probably jealous, but I still couldn't let Benji run around with an ugly scar. Uhmm, uhm, you are pretty good at breaking noses too on accident" Please let that work.

There's a moment of silence on the other end as Nora considers the response. "All right." Nora reaches down for the boot her toes have located, holding it on her lap.

"Are you okay? Is this an emergency? Should I get someone — Barbara or Eileen or someone?" she asks, pulling her foot up to slide it into the boot, preparing to leave the warmth of her bed. Then she chews her lower lip, considering the possibilities. "It's not Howard, is it? Is everything okay?" A bit more emotion creeps into her voice, though there's something slightly off from the teenager's normal tone and demeanor.

"No, no, not an emergency. Heavens Lord no. Don't go running off in a blind tizzy. If it was an emergency I wouldn't have rightly been done singing to you over the radio" She points out to her. "But it is about Howard, but I mean, not an emergency or danger that way either Nora, I swear"

No relieved sigh comes through the radio in Abby's hand, though Nora does exhale on hers, carefully editing it out. She draws her feet back up onto the bed, one in a boot and the other merely a sock, knees pulling up to her chest as she wraps her arms around them. "Okay." The word is drawn out and soft, a bit curious and cautious all at once in tone. "What about Howard?"

"Do you have any way of contacting him?" There goes another thing with mulitple legs scuttling across the floor and it soon ceases to exist with a soft hiss of a floral scented spray. "gotcha you little bugger, no running over my feet!" Obviously, not meant for Nora but it'll go through anyways.

"He had a compass, He said he got it from some.. carnival or other, and I know that it can suss out those who are evolved within a certain distance. Don't suppose Benji or even that red headed guy who needs his hair washed might… know how to find him?"

Nora is quiet, longer than she probably should be for the few words that make it through the walkie talkie in Abby's hand. "I don't know where he is. I haven't talked to him since he left the island." The words are neutral — too neutral, really, lacking any of the flavor of Nora's usually animated voice and delivery.

"Has anything changed since he left? That this is suddenly important? I can't guarantee getting a hold of him — he needs to be listening for me, or trying to get me, for me to catch him, and…"

And he's Howard, goes unsaid.

"There's robots, ones that crawl through midtown, and they use the same technology pretty much that's in the compass that Howard had in his jacket when I fixed it" You know, the one she claimed to be oblivious about as to what it really did. "Don't suppose you happen to know the range on it… do you? I mean like, how far away does it stop detecting evolved people? I mean, if you know the answer, that's okay, I just.. I was hoping that i might have been able to find Howard and borrow the compass for a day or tow" Find out for sure the distance.

"Fuck." That doesn't come through the radio to Abby, but Nora announces it loudly to the empty room she's in, and she reaches down to find her other boot, stretching her leg out to pull it on. A moment later she's heading for the door, her hands out to feel her way through the darkness.

"It does what?" she says finally. "Sorry, I was distracted for a moment." Nora steps into the hallway, fingers trailing along the wall as she heads in the direction of the dining hall. "I really don't have any idea what you're talking about…"

"There's some sort of hunting robot out in the midtown ruins, and it's tracking down people, tracking down Evolved people the same way that the compass that Howard has, detects people who are evolved. I'm trying to find out the range, at what distance will the robots not be able to detect if a person is evolved or not. I thought that I might be able to borrow the compass that Howard has, you know, the one that looks like a watch. I'm not surprised you don't much know, it seems not everyone in the network knows yet"

Nora's soft-soled boots make for soft footfalls down the hallway, faster than she usually walks though she has one hand out in front of her, to ward off anyone who might come tearing around a corner.

"I've heard about the robots," her voice says quietly, calmly, too calmly for it to be her actual voice. "I don't know anything about a compass that points to an Evolved person. And I haven't seen the compass around, so I can't help you there. I'll ask Benji, but if Howard has it, you're more likely to find him off the island than we are."

"Oh my god Nora… I just saw a rat"

That's Abby's real voice and a squeal. Give her a snake, she's fine, bugs… well as long as she's not around Teo, they're good as dead. "It looks like a pocket watch, Benji should, well I think he would know about it. Don't suppose Benji would know where Howard might hang out here on the mainland? Where I can pin his arse down for five minutes nora this is a big rat…." Abigail's still on her bed, staring contest with something furr'd and long tailed that's come out from the bathroom. Likely from somewhere in the wall.

Nora winces at the squeal that resounds through her skull. "When I find him, I'll ask, and I'll get back to you." She sounds almost prim, like a receptionist manning the front lines via the front desk and phone lines to an important executive. Nora's nose wrinkles at the thought. "I can't really help you otherwise. I don't know anything about the compass or the range, and I don't know where Howard is hanging out, no, but I'll see if Benji does."

She pauses. "How do you know the robots have compasses in them?"

"YOu haven't learned yet, but from my years spent healing everyone and everything that god sent across my little patch of sunshine… it got me some people that tend to like keeping me informed or use me to shuffle information around. Also help when I need to find something out for the Ferry. Information is money, and… and I knew who to talk to." She's watching the furry creature move, definitely a rat, that is so a rat.

"Ah," Nora says. "Well, I'll see what I can find but no guarantees. I don't know where the compass is. I don't know where Howard is. At this very second, I don't know where Benji is, and I'm not that good at finding things right now. I'll pass it on. Stay tuned, I guess. K-N-O-R-A on Pollepel Island." The last bit is a joke. "Hm, that's too many letters by one, isn't it?"

"It may be one too many but I still like it. Is there… is there a specific time that I should turn the walkie on and listen? I didn't know when so I storta stayed in most of the day and sang out into the abyss. It's like… trying to get wireless's attention but more hit and miss"

The rat's finding better things to do, making it's way back to the bathroom and likely to wherever it was that it came from in there. "If Benji knows where, knows anything, you can reach me over this thing or I'm stay at the speakeasy, under Martha Ranier"

Nora chuckles softly. "Maybe one day I'll be able to handle all the noise out there and be alert 24-7 and only catch the relevant stuff, and edit all the shit, but for now it's too noisy unless I am looking for something, have a focus, you know? I can find a needle in a haystack, but if I don't know I'm looking for one, and if I'm not bored and just looking around for the sake of looking, then I'm not listening."

It's an odd mix of imagery, haystacks and looking and listening all rolled into one, especially coming from the blind girl. "But I'm still learning. How about 9 tomorrow morning?"

"I can do nine, I'm up way before then, but I'll make sure be here at nine, in case you have any answers. If you don't then, it's not the end of the world Nora. I promise" Abigail smiles, looking towards the old television and nodding her head. "You go take care, be safe and don't go tripping or impaling your hands on any sewing needles in haystacks you hear?"

Nora nears the dining hall, stepping in and listening for voices to give her a destination to steer herself. "I'll try not to," Nora's voice comes soft through Abby's walkie talkie. "Be careful of rats and robots, yourself."

"Robots, I'll just burn em. Rats… Well, I got a shoe" And that's what she'll use. 'This is the nun, signing off, or, however you're supposed to do it" More bug spray. She'll clear this room of vermin if it kills her.

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