Red Letter Key


cat2_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif

Scene Title Red Letter Key
Synopsis Cat did all the hard work, but Gillian guesses the password.
Date January 22, 2010

Village Renaissance: Cat's Penthouse

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

The wheelchair may not be a necessity, but when she has to walk more than half a block, it certainly seems like it. With a decent sized case resting in her lap, Gillian wheels into the elevator with the assistance of the people in the lobby, who rang up to inform the lady in the Penthouse that an old friend was here to see her. Gillian even, for a change, used her real name with some confidence. They're all free to live as they want to live now.

The elevator doors open with a ding, and a squeaky wheelchair moves forward, this time guided only by her own arms. She doesn't go that far like that, waiting til she's past the doors before veering off so she can touch the wall and stand, supporting the bag on her good side. The wheelchair is rented. "Hey, I heard you'd been staying here again," she calls into the penthouse, grimacing a bit now that she's back on her feet.

Found in the music zone, Cat's got a guitar around her neck. It's plugged in, she's been playing as evidenced by the last chords of Back In Black fading out. The voice draws her attention; the instrument is set aside on a stand. Moments later she's crossing to where Gillian stands. "Hey," she greets. "Tried to see you at the hospital. You escaped earlier than I thought you might." The entertainment area isn't far away, she gestures toward that space. "Let's get you sitting down. Want food, soda, beer, or wine?"

"Yeah, I was itching to get out of there. I couldn't escape my parents when they tried to come visit me," Gillian says, leaving the wheelchair uncollapised by the elevator as she careful walks deeper into the penthouse where she can take a seat somewhere. "As much as I would like to get drunk, I don't think it's allowed while I'm on pain killers. Stupid medication." She rubs a hand over her face. "Soda and whatever you got handy to snack on should be good. This is my check in with the Phoenix peeps. I have a new phone." She settles into the couch as she rattles off the number, then adds, "You're the only person I don't have to wait to get something to write with."

"Mixing them isn't good," Cat agrees. "Morphine derivatives?" She leans against the wall, remaining on her feet until Gillian is inside the entertainment room and comfortably seated. The number is repeated easily after being rattled off. There's a small refrigerator present, placed so Cat and guests don't need to go all the way to the kitchen when they want things. The place is big, after all. She opens it, pulling out a twenty-ounce Pepsi bottle and a sandwich from Piccoli's. The food is put into a microwave to heat up.

"Where are you living now, or planning to?"

"I'm actually staying with Peyton. I know you've met her a few times. Ever since I helped with finding that police officer I've been hanging out there off and on," Gillian explains, setting the bag aside so it's no longer resting on her lap, as she pulls her shirt up enough to check the bandages. No blood. Good sign. She lets her shirt drop again, as she continues, "She offered to let me stay there, and I don't feel up to going over to Staten right now. I kinda wish Brian would move the Lighthouse with all FRONTLINE and stuff starting to go in there. I'm afraid they're going to end up taking the kids." Which bothers her more now than it ever did before… Something about the way she talks about the kids.

"Peyton," Cat repeats quietly, "did she tell you about the dream invader? Helena got attacked by it, so did Peyton, Wendy, and Aaron." The mention of Staten Island and Frontline, then, takes Cat on another tangent. "He really should," she asserts with voice sharpening a bit, "get off of Staten Island. Camps are being built."

"Eve told me about it too, actually," Gillian says, frowning a bit. "I haven't had any weird dreams yet, but…" They also said people who'd done Refrain might be more prone… But she shakes her head. She'll worry about it if it happens. "Pey and Aaron have a system together, so one person is always awake if anything happens. Should be okay." But the last part she says makes her eyebrows raise. "Camps are being built? Where'd you hear that?"

The microwave beeps, Cat extracts the heated food and hands it off along with the bottle. "From Rebel," she relates. "Sit and eat, I'll be back with the goods, to show you all of it. It's a puzzle, really, that I can't figure out. Yet."

The room is left, Cat gone for a stretch of minutes. On her return, she's got a laptop computer and two printed out images. One is the New York Times website from January 11th with some letters in red. The other is also NY Times site, but dated January 21. Red letters here make up a url. And the laptop has that very site open as a tab in Google Chrome browser, with the source code she opened and looked at after Elisabeth's message to do so, courtesy of Bones finding it, for the image open next to it as another tab. There's also an open application called Invisible Secrets 2.1 which Cat has been using to try, and failing, to desteg the image. She stabs the password field with her fingers and names as metaphorical steely knives, but. she. just. can't. kill. that. beast.

Food is put into mouth, chewed carefully as Gillian leans a bit to look at the articles, counting up the red letters, and then looking at the website. Putting the sandwich down, she moves over to the laptop and reads the source code. "Names are powerful things that can open doors, huh," she says, squinting at the program. "I never really did much with Steganography. But… Finding what program they used is usually the hardest part… Computers are one of my guilty pleasures— and I had to do something while sitting at the Library counter for hours."

The password is all that's needed… Leaning in, she tries the first thing that comes to mind.


"Shit," Cat mutters when she sees the program open the file up and reveal the hidden content, the file titled notalone.ogg. "Click that, please," she asks Gillian, "it should launch WinAmp and play the file." One hand goes to her face, hiding a mildly shamed expression. "Such a fucking simple password, so simple I didn't try it because it seemed too obvious."

"Well, I figure if whoever this is has a message they actually want heard, they wouldn't make it too difficult," Gillian explains, before she clicks on the ogg file and turns up the volume. The laptop speakers aren't amazing, but it's enough to make out the highly synthesized masculine voice.

Only the guilty run.

Only the fearful hide.

We are neither.

We are rebel.

And we are watching.

"Fucking creepy," the dark haired girl says, hissing a bit.

"It's not the voice I remember T.Monk having, and it's not the voice of R.Ajas either," Cat opines after she listens. "And it is ominous," she agrees. "I believe it really is Rebel, they've chosen a different voice for this. I don't quite know the full agenda, but it's clear they don't mind at all having what we witnessed being public knowledge."

With that, she gestures at the satellite image of mushroom cloud over icepack. "I'll spread this around to the others, let them hear. Beyond that, we wait to see if contact is made and assistance asked for. They have a plan. They just won't tell me what it is."

"Well, maybe they'll be sprinkling it at us in red letters until we figure it out," Gillian says, leaning away from the computer so she can go back to her sandwich. "I'm probably going to use the scholarship to take classes, but knowing me, I can't stay out of this now that I'm in it." Even if part of her might want a normal life, she also knows that's not what she wants at all.

"Think I can borrow your computer to look up classes I can take?"

"What school are you planning to attend?" Cat inquires, as she gestures at the screen in a go-ahead way. "I'm biased toward the Ivies, Yale specifically." A bottle of stout is extracted from the refrigerator and opened, she takes a long and slow drink.

As the container is lowered, she muses "Rebel asked me to locate and prepare people months ago. I've got a decent list. Including Sparrow Redhouse. But it's a holding pattern."

"Something local, I think," Gillian says, after chewing her sandwich a bit more. "My parents, the adopted ones, are pissed I vanished for a year. They're demanding once a week family dinners. Even when I'm all wheelchair bound. Which is half while I'm out here today. I'm visiting you on the way to them." And ruining her dinner! "Well, on my way to them in like four hours." Since it's only the afternoon. "I figured I'd borrow your awesome TV or something."

"Columbia," Cat recommends. She has to, it's Ivy League. No other in the city is good enough. From there, she's quiet. Food for herself is grabbed, she continues to enjoy the stout, and soon she wanders away to pick up that guitar again while Gillian scopes out classes and avails herself of the massive HD set.

And at some point before Gillian heads off to see her parents, a request is made of her. To email/text the warning about camps and the url with a note about them being from NY Times website hacks, the .ogg file and a written transcript of the wording to the group.

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