Dining With Enemy


skyler_icon.gif alia_icon.gif

Scene Title Dining with Enemy?
Synopsis Sometimes, it's easier to share lasagna, then be paranoid
Date December 21, 2010

Hamilton Heights: Skyler's Apartment

Sky's efficiency apartment is a spartan thing. The style'd be called Japanese minimalist, if it wasn't so obviously "I have zero cash and I want the place to look like Japanese Minimalist." There's a big beanbag chair with blankets, sheets, and pillows next to it. There's a shoji screen that separates that off from the rest of the room that looks nice enough until you get close and realize that it's cardboard and copier paper, and hand made. And there's a low, polished wood table that is, on close inspection, an ordinary table with its legs cut very, very short. Probably another Goodwill refugee. The floor looks vaguely like tatami, but turns out to be made of indoor playground matting. And on top of the matting are computers. Lots of computers. A whole network of computers, ranging from one modern macbook air to obvious dumpster refugee computers. Also, there are tools - soldering iron, magnifier, flux paste, solder, a toaster oven.

The kitchenette is more ordinary. The fridge has the usual quick to prepare meals in it. There are a few pots and pans, most dating to the 1970s, like the silverwear and plates.

Bathroom? Itty bitty tub, shower, toilet, sink. Plunger, super-soaker, rubber duck, and so forth. Sky lives simply, at least in her real life.

Skyler sent Alia email. Simple as that. Well, not quite that simple. After all, she did put some pretty stiff encryption on the email, just to see if the kid's got any chops as a codebreaker. The unecrypted part read, "Red Pill" And was followed by the encrypted guacamole. When Alia gets through the encryption, which will probably take her far less time than Sky imagines, the message reads, "Hi. I just got a new apartment, and I'm cooking Lasagna. Join me for dinner + chat?" No address, of course, just GPS coordinates.

It took Alia MAYBE three to four seconds to break the encrypted file. It likely took the young lady more time to find a way cross-town without drawing undue attention to herself. She smiles as she rings the doorbell, space invaders scarf hanging off of one shoulder, warm jacket around her, and a skateboard under one arm. Her ohter hand has… a bag of fresh-baked garlic breadsticks

Skyler comes to the door and opens it. "Hi, come on in." Sky looks Alia over. "You came on a skateboard? You must have gotten through my crypto like water." she says, offering to take the other woman's coat and Scarf. She sniffs. "Garlic bread. Bless you." She grins. The smile falters a bit as she considers that even her crypto might be dated, and easy to break now that a few cycles of Moore's Law have gone by. "Do you have like a cluster of playstation3s for breaking crypto or something?

Alia smirks, and shakes her head. "No." She hands over the still warm breadsticks.

Skyler takes the garlic bread, and heads to the kitchen. "Make yourself at home. Including the computers. There's nothing sensitive on them at the moment." She peeks into the oven. "Timing worked out pretty well, actually. We're just about done in there." She hauls the casserole out of the oven and sets it down, letting the lasagna cool a few minutes. "So how did you crack it?"

Alia smiles, and for her awnser, she simply taps her temple. "Like you through radio-shielding." Alia grumbles the words.
Poseorder is not enabled in this room.

Skyler looks over at Alia, and whistles as she cuts the gooey cheesey goodness in the casserole. "Nice trick." she says. "I didn't realize our abilities were that different." She plates some up for Alia and some for herself. "Do you like wine?" she asks, and gestures with an elbow toward the bottle on the counter as she carries plates and forks toward the only place to sit - the cushioned floor amongst the computers.

Alia flops comfterably on the floor, crossing her legs. "A little." She awnsers the question simply, and waits to dig in until both are settled and ready to eat.

Skyler sets her plate down and goes to uncork some wine. It's okay stuff. Just a budget chianti. She brings the bottle and two glasses. "You're a lady of few words." she says as she pours the glasses. Is that a choice?" She draws her legs up under her in half-lotus and picks up her plate. "Careful. Hot." she says. The lasagna's aroma would have made that clear. Hot, rich with ricotta cheese, garlic, tomato, oregano, and spiced meat, with lots of the big wide noodles the stuff is famous for. Whatever else one says about Sky, she can cook lasagna.

Alia smiles a little as she takes a careful bite before replying. "Expressive Language Disorder. Words… difficult."

Skyler nods. She glances over at one of the computers on the network that rings the room. The one working monitor flares to life and she types, with her hands and mouth full, "Is text easier?" Technopaths. Go fig.

Alia glares at the computer, digging around and finally settling on using… well, whatever you have for either animation or graphics editing software to make a quick aniamted image of chibi-Alia shaking her head no.

That machine? Hell, it's got the second life viewer on it, and a private sim running on it besides. Something Sky's been fooling around with in her spare time. One might note that the sim is of a beach, and is about as good a rendition of one as the renderer allows. If one poked at the system, one might notice that Sky's been tinkering with it, apparently with the idea of improving it for direct sensory feed. Vacation in a box for the working technopath.

Sky looks over at Alia. "What do you think?" she asks, gesturing to the lasagna.

The computer whirrs a moment, one of the various third party second life viewers popping open and logging in to a remote site… then… you see a second 'avatar' show up. This one is… Wow. It looks like Alia somehow actually made herself to the letter. Which makes her a pretty damn short avatar. The avatar smiles, thumbs up, even while AQlia keeps eating.

Skyler doesn't have to look up to see what her computer's getting up to. One of the advantages of being a technopath is not leaving greasy fingerprints on your keyboard and no eyestrain. :) "You've been working on virtual reality too." Sky chuckles. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. But. Pleasures of the flesh first." She gestures toward her plate, lest Alia get entirely the wrong idea. "Something I learned the hard way in my 20s."

Alia shrugs. "Passtime." She comments. There are some useful uses of having a Havok enabled virtual reality though… She chuckles at a stray thought/idea or two, but makes no other comment as she digs into the meal, taking only light sips of the wine.

Skyler sips the wine more generously. "Something on your mind?" she asks, smiling slightly herself. Thankfully, she's just a nerd and not a serious aspberger's patient. Otherwise we might not communicate at all.

Alia shrugs. "Nothing much." The virtual Alia flops over on the beach. No sensory input on that one. YOu'd guess she's just using standard commands by bypassing or emulating the keyboard and mouse input.

Skyler glances at one of the other machines. Drive access lights flicker, and Alia's joined by another avatar, that looks remarkably like Skyler, that pads through the sand, drops a beach towel, and flops next to Alia. The avatar smiles Sky's exact smile, and it's very clear she's not using the usual animation system. Somewhere her mutated viewer is generating the animation data on the fly from technopath direct input.

Skyler takes a bite out of some of the garlic bread. "So. What's the word about me from Redbird?"

Alia grins. "Find out what you found out. Watch." She says the words simply. THere's no real use hiding the fact. Besides, Alia is mildly curious about how much of what she found is what Skyler did, but isn't anywhere NEAR ready to go revealing some of the things Alia DID stumble itno.

Skyler nods. "They're taking all this pretty well. I'm sure you know I found out approximately bupkis. If you're doing encryption in your head, now I know why." Sky finishes her lasagna. "Would you like some more, or should we just go lounge on the beach and chat? I can turn the seagulls and the wave action on. I shut it down because that machine gets noisy when the fans start kicking in otherwise.

Alia shrugs a bit then quietly pushes her plate back and goes very still, since, apparently, going 'on the beach' isn't something she's comfterable trying to do the imput for 'remotely' so to speak. The Alia on screen waves a very realistic wave. You would have to guess that SOMEONE got creative and made her own animation files.

Skyler looks at Alia curiously, and passes her hand in front of the connected technopath's face a moment, then sets her plate down and closes her eyes. Skyler doesn't /go/ into the computer. At best, it's much more like dreaming the virtual world, but that dreaming takes place strictly in Sky's head. Her eyes flicker back and forth as something very much like REM sleep overtakes her, and she looks at her hands in the simulator. "Okay. I think this is working." She points her virtual hand at the shore near the house, and a panel opens up. A few more points and the waves do indeed begin to crash as they should, and the gulls show up and make the usual noise. Wind. Air. Light. Heat. Some rudiments of smell and taste. And of course, Havoc - the physics engine - that tells at least Skyler where down is and propells her in that direction. The hair? Is still weird. Sky's is shorter than in real life, almost a buzz cut. "So what have you been up to, besides watching the world's most boring technopath?

Alia shakes her head. "You'll know soon. Big surprise for everyone."

Skyler says, "Is this one of those time travel surprises, or another massive outage, or just a really big prank?" Sky shields her eyes against the virtual sun. She's getting close with this beach. Now if only it gave her the warmth and well being in person. Note to self. Order a heat lamp. The computer the server is running on, true to Sky's word, begins to spin up more and more of its fans as it tries to keep itself cool."

Alia thinks a moment, then says, carefully. "Secrets. Lots of them. Let loose one at a time."

Skyler exhales slowly, and blinks as it doesn't quite stop when she stops. She adds that to the bug list with just a thought. Disconcerting to have one's breath sucked out. Sky turns the "lungs" part of the simulation off. "Can you give me broad topics? Like, "Don't invest in the stock market this week?"

Alia ponders, then sighs. "Everything." She grins. "Government, Politics. Shake like…" did the EARTH just rumble. ALia seems unaware of it… likely she isn't set up for force-feedback even in this state.

Skyler would exhale again, had she not turned it off. Sky closes her eyes instead, and considers. "So is there seriously time travel involved? It's supposed to be impossible. Physics and all, you know?"

Alia hovers about a foot off the ground. "So is typing without typing."

Skyler looks at Alia and hovers, feet first into the air until she's eye to eye with Alia, only upside down and maybe six inches from her face. "You do make a valid point." she says at last. Sky makes the motion to take a slow breath. "Do you ever wonder… when you think about the things we can do… do you ever wonder if this is a simulation? Well, not this this I mean the world outside. Where we're really sitting and the lasagna is getting cold.

Alia considers, then shrugs. "If is, creator has mean streak."

Skyler chuckles. "Or at least a really weird sense of humor. I mean, it's an ancient problem. Am I Chuang Tsu who has dreamed he was a butterfly, or am I a butterfly who is now dreaming he is Chuang Tsu. And yeah, The Matrix was built around the whole question." Sky goes quiet. "Straight question, and I'd like a straight answer. All the relative experience stuff gets ten times worse if the timeline can be changed. So straight question. Is time travel real? Out there where our bottoms and our lasagna is? I'm not asking if you've done it or who can do it. I'm asking if it's real, period.

Alia closes her eyes, and considers what she knows, then says it a rather blunt way. "Real."

Skyler draws her arms around herself and shivers, despite the virtual warmth. She looks down. "God." she says softly. "Aren't things messed up enough without people going back in time to change stuff they don't like?" It's not clear whether that's addressed to Alia or not. "Just when I started to get some shit sorted out, too. Some rules for keeping me sane." She blips out of existence and returns with her feet on the ground.

Alia sighs. "Three type of people." She points with her right hand, and thre items spring into existence… they look much like 'day one' avatars. They are labeled with floating text. The first is labeled 'Ignorant', the second is labeled 'paranoid', and the third is labeled 'Sylar'.

Skyler looks at the labels. "Great. Now I'm number 2." Sky snorts a bit as she tries to laugh at her own joke, but fails. "Ignorant, paranoid, or powered sociopath." She looks sidelong at Alia. "So you're clearly not ignorant. If you're an axe murderer, I'll wake up first and stick you with my fork or something." She looks again. "Time travel? Shit. Even I didn't know how deep the rabbit hole really went."

Alia makes one slight correction. "No. Just sociopath. Me? I'm two too." She banishes her creation with a set of pointing that looks almost like a wave of her hand. "I must go soon. Curfew."

Skyler nods. "Yeah. I mean. You're welcome to stay and everything, but there's probably drinking in my near future, followed by a minor existential crisis, so I might be less fun than I usually am when drunk."

Is that a smile on Alia's face. "You'll survive." She states simply, before the avatar logs out… and Alia rejoins her body.

Skyler blips out as well, and her eyes open again. Narrow, then nod. "Yeah. Serious drinking." she says. "Whether you stay for it or not is up to you."

Alia considers… and nods as she grabs the bottle of wine, and pours Skyler's bottle full.

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