hana_icon.gif siobhan_icon.gif

Also Featuring

kapila_icon.gif rebel_icon.gif

Scene Title Firewall
Synopsis The trap is sprung, lines are crossed, and it comes down to a battle when angels of the modern age cross swords.
Date October 13, 2010

Up here, the air is as cold as the water. Everything has had a string to it lately, the weather may as well too.

Sea spray comes drifting over the bow of the rusted old barge that has taken Hana Gitelman far from the lightsof civilization. Here in the dead of night, situated at the crown of the world in the Arctic Circle a vessel used to transport goods up the east coast in use by the Ferrymen has been re-routed for this specific assignment. Under the glow of foglamps cutting through the dark of night, Captain Siobhan DeMare is a silent, concerned silhouette at her perch near the helm of the ship, gloved hands resting on the rusted railing of the balcony, the fur-trimmed collar of her heavy jacket upturned to the back of her neck, watchman's cap keeping her wavy hair held down.

"D'you think she can hear us?" The question is posed by a burly man in the same level of winter-protective gear, his arms crossed over his chest and head bowed, dark eyes squared on the figure at thew bow of the ship. Captain DeMare turns to look over her shoulder, brows furrowed, but returns her attention to Hana's back a moment later.

"Non," she suggests as her eyes fall shut. "Well, truth be told I do not know. But what we have to say, it does not matter… she is here for something else; something personal." As Siobhan's eyes slowly open, her attention has changed down to the rusted surface of the railing, one gloved thumb stroking rust off of the surface, flaking away with each motion.

"Where she is, here does not matter…" Siobhan explains with a slow shake of her head, then tilts her chin up, looking towards the clear, starry night's sky.

"Je ne peux pas savoir la volonté des anges."

Thousands of Miles Above the Earth

Electromagnetic radiation bombards the islands of territory between telecommunications satellites. In that dark, deep space between transmissions there is an island of information all its own, emitting a signal unlike the satellites, just outside of Hana's reach. The Company's satellite system in high earth orbit is finger's grasp away, a clawing touch outside of her long reach.

Like a spider sitting in the center of his web, Hana can feel the data lines of another entity resting himself across multiple satellites, like the roots of some great tree Rebel has spread himself out, utilizing the communication hardware to boost himself out to the Company's satellite. He in turn, is almost like a bridge, offering that last bit of dangerous reach towards the last remnant of the Company's physical influence.

But down below, beyond where the angels of the modern age drift on their solar-reflector wings, the threads of a trap draw tight.

The metallic chill creeping inward through gloves, the caress of ice-laden wind across her face, make no more impression on Hana Gitelman than the spoken words of her compatriots. The digital ether is as cold in its own way, a paucity of emotion that fails to leach away her own. Shock and regret born from the realization of Rebel's contamination have long since shaded into an anger carefully harnessed. It's the energy of this emotion that supports the reach of Wireless' abilities, dark wings more fit for a Fury than an angel.

If everything goes as planned, she is only the safety net, the backup who will see the task completed. Yet since when do any of them live lives so blessed?

Rebel, she says, a simple and emotion-devoid greeting, as digital senses examine the network that is his existence and creation, the crosstalk of satellites near and far, building a virtual image of the situation. The shuttle is coming neatly into place, if everything can just hold together a few minutes more…

…There's another shoe coming. There always is. She can feel it, suspicion crawling up her spine.

Or maybe it's just the interminable waiting — sixteen hours to get here. Sixteen hours still yet to go.

Navigational systems optimal. Positioning thrusters operating at 95%. Airlock system functional. It's the repetitive noise of a man distracted by his work, and al three of the cognitive minds within Rebel are hard at work piloting and maintaining a vessel that he has no business operating. The lives of every single crew member aboard resting on his delicate control.

Through the void his trinity of voices echoes, intent and focused on the tasks at hand. We have reached optimal distance from the satellite systems. Firewall is in place and security systems active. No attempted intrusion detected. We have unfortunate news, comes all at once, three different personalities explaining their own important tactical assessments. It, perhaps, figures that when Micah Sanders' voice is more dominant, that the troubles of the crew are brought ot light.

The microwave emitter was damaged during the launch escape. Linus Agron is going to need to perform a space walk in order to appropriately utilize his ability to destroy the satellite. Nothing worth doing was ever easy, Rebel has said. That maxim seems to be holding true even here, with lives on the line.

Her silence a marked contrast to Rebel's pensive musings, Wireless hovers, a detachedly observant presence. Stretched out much like Rebel is, a sensory tendril here, a listening touch there, feeling the ebb and pulse of data through the systems around them. Checking, sampling, one packet here and another there, for errors, corruption, unwanted infiltrations into their painstakingly-constructed cybernetic space. Virtual fingers trail over the firewall structure as one might brush against a fence in passing, infinitely more perceptive in their context than the physical sensitivity of touch.

His work, part of it, but only part; the brunt of their security measures were her construction for a reason. A reason that winds its way through the purusha's virtual corpus like some malignant thorned vine, laden with fruit waiting to ripen into unknowable threat. She would've excluded him completely from this mission if she could, shouldered its responsibilities by herself, but Wireless remains anchored to flesh, burdened by its limitations.

It's been years since she spared time and thought for a heartfelt prayer — twenty of them. Watching Rebel just as closely as she does anything tangential to their domain, Hana doesn't even notice the one that quietly marches through the back of her mind. Just a little longer… time, only a little more time…

The shuttle in in place and has reached it's proper align

The clunk of the other shoe dropping sounds deceptively like the whine of pulsed phone signal delivery.


The reflexive traceback triangulates the call from a disposable TracFone calling out from somewhere int he vicinity of Prospect Park in Brooklyn's southern end. The moment the transmission comes through, the moment that number comes up, Rebel doesn't so much as peer down the line to see where it comes. He opens communications, receives the call, and the voice on the other line speaks with the Devil's forked tongue.


The moment that voice speaks the Sumerian trigger word through the phone line, Rebel's electronic persona seems to shift and change. Immediately he moves into action, shutting down systems in the space shuttle and blocking access to the singular wireless port installed on the vehicle. Thrusters on the shuttle trigger, and Hana can feel the telemetry of the vessel shifting position.

Rebel says nothing.

In his silence, Hana says a great deal.

All of it is meaningless in effect — a very blue streak of bilingual invective, hanging nearly tangibly in the digital ether for lack of direction. An outlet and a focus that lets her push aside who she is now galvanized into motion against. To forget, in however illusory and self-deceiving a fashion, that the security measures she's reaching out to are being turned towards her own family.

Stop this, Rebel, she says, unwitting echo of Melissa's spoken pleas. Don't make me come after you, too.

Electronic communication is deceptively unemotional, masking both pain and threat; there are only the words, and in the emptiness created by the cessation of profanity, they echo.

The shuttle keeps moving, that single thruster burst sending it drifting away from the Satellite at a lazy pace. But at the satellite, while Rebel remains silent, his actions speak all the more clearly. He has thrown himself like a tide against the rocks of the satellite's firewall. The brunt of Rebel's triumverate of technopaths crashes against the satellite's defenses with reckless abandon, triggering defensive measures even as Hana can feel that viral encoding that she'd detected in Rebel taking effect, every bit of logic re-routed through that pre-programmed instruction, spurred to action by nothing more complex than a word.

Counter-intrusion systems operative. Data storage located. Telemetry access route blocked. Accessing via brute force.

He's not listening.

Inside of the satellite, Rebel's three pronged approach is like a parallel series of bridges intruding into the long outdated computer systems. The countermeasures necessary to protect against intrusion by individuals capable of accessing the satellite with their very minds crafted into this very system are designed to not only deter, but destroy technopaths attempting to access via brute force with a virus she specifically designed.

Rebel should know better.

Does know better.

But yet, here we are.

Cold and detached by habit and force of will, Hana trips digital switches of her own, calling down forces positioned in advance. Code gleaned over years of snooping in secured zones — institutional, government, Company — and her exposure to the Company's technopath-killing virus, woven together despite disparate sources with a flair and flavor uniquely her own. If the Israeli technopath's eminently practical style, sturdy functionality over aesthetics, can be called flair. It hadn't been meant for this purpose, this quilted construction — but it was all she had to hand.

Though not as intentionally, deliberately lethal as the virus now rousing beneath Rebel's attack, the virtual walls which come slashing down around the purusha are as merciless as their maker, enmeshing into a cell which — in his single-minded tunnel-vision, and her ruthless choice — separates Rebel from the satellite at the cold-blooded sacrifice of any pieces falling outside the dimensions of that shell.

I will not let you compromise this mission, Wireless says, whether Rebel can hear it or not.

Code which had been designed against her worst-case scenarios — which not even at the nadir of their relationship included this — is now presented to Rebel's single-minded attack, less lethal only in its lack of coordination upon that purpose. If he can't be persuaded back out —

But that longer at least gives him a chance to stop.

Part of her attention reaches for the shuttle, tests for any entry into its systems. Part studies the web of code, analyzing for the development of weak points. And part remains upon the fly caught within that web.

Please. Snap out of this madness, before it kills you.

Before I have to kill you.


Access denied, attempting alternate route.

Rebel's hollow voice echoes in the infinite space between spaces, through the hollow void. Like a Chimera trapped in a net, Rebel's three 'heads' each gnawing at the digital netting. The thrashing is manifest in the tangible corruption of data files around where Rebel has spread his considerable digital bulk. While at times the trinity technopath may seem small when he inhabits a cell phone or something with miniscule — in comparison — storage capability, the true size of his electronic girth is spread across four different satellite systems, with the majority of his reach stretched between them and this long-range high earth orbit satellite.

Ensnared as heis by Hana's trap, Rebel seems like an attack-dog that has been ordered to kill, violently lashing out in heedless and reckless fashion. The digital confines of Hana's cage slow Rebel's progress from reaching the firewall, even while the satellite's defenses are now armed on having sensed the intrusion. Getting in was never the problem, getting out without being torn apart by the virus was another notion all together.

Access denied, target unreachable. Targeting defensive countermeasure.

All three of the heads of Rebel's reach shift their focus, angling towards the cage Hana has dropped atop them. For the moment they seem — all of them — single-mindedly focused on tearing their way free, which has directed their rage on the prison instead of at the jailer herself.

Across the divide, the shuttle systems suddenly and unexpectedly go dark. The remote access through the communication systems to the navigational controls severed, likely by some attempt to cut Rebel off from the vessel. However the communication lines remain open, even if only thorugh terminals and displays on screen within the decades-old computer infrastructure.

Decompiling blockage.

It's only a matter of time before three minds battling one manage to tear apart their restraints. Drucker seems to be unavailable, and inside of their digital makeup, Hana can feel the virulent code pulsing with activity, feel the handiwork of it woven through Rebel's very being. How one ability interworks with another is always fascinating, how a computer virus could effect a technopath if complex enough. Rupert Carmichael's insidious power, likewise, has presented itself like a complex virus inside of Rebel, one he does not know to even fight.

She spares a thought for the shuttle, then — three thoughts, none of them conveying the sinking grief, nor even much of the snarling fury beneath which Wireless conceals it. Three words conclude her dispatch to them, words by which the woman unleashes her own resolve.

I'll handle Rebel.

A brief, flickering check of her construction reveals to Hana the focus of Rebel's onslaught; presumably, she can extrapolate where his most critical components are. Thin tendrils of her own awareness wind into the vast digital edifice, remaining scrupulously clear of the imprisoned technopath and his contamination. A fractal pattern of partitions begin to whittle the contained space down, smaller and smaller still, one slice at a time. Each slice, an injury; each removed component a dismembered piece of Rebel himself, split off into its own protective — isolating — coccoon of code.

Unable to discern from outside what routines her actions damage in each slice, whether the next will present systemic instability, eliminate enough of the virus to restore rational thought — or as rational the tripartite construct ever was, in Hana's doubtful eyes — or have no effect at all… each leaves an invisible wound upon the executioner's soul. But costs paid by Hana herself have never been considered too high; she doesn't relent.

Damn you, Drucker! Get hold of yourself!

Please, God, let me hear me this time.

The digital scream of modem squeal and white noise is Rebel's dragon-like roar as Hana's technopathic scalpel slices through his significant bulk. Chained down by her protective code, Rebel still stretches across the gap of space for the satellite, reaching and grasping for that code contained within the satellite. Whoever is making him do this, whoever has robbed him of his free-will, wants exactly what was feared the Institute would want. But something isn't adding up, the chess pieces clutter the board, too many kings and pawns.

Hana! Release us!

There, in that scream, Rebel has the barest sliver of clarity enough to recognize Wireless' disembodied form. Three heads turn from the mesh netting holding them in place, roll over like some beaches sea creature and fold in on itself like a flatworm, lashing out at Hana in the same moment a sizable portion of code is excised in the way a Las Vegas magician can cut a woman in a box in half.

否! 中止!!

The Behemoth's voice crackles behind the others, remembering this very tactic from when he battled the sum of the parts that now make up Rebel's whole. An undulating wave of junk data rises up from a Turner Broadcasting Network satellite, a tidal-wave of video feeds, audio broadcasts, text messages and satellite internet packets hurled like a hunk of scrap towards Wireless like an electronic haymaker.

The Behemoth's ham-fisted tactics may have worked once, but wiser to the Chinese devil's cunning is Wireless.

There are advantages to still being counted among the living: in the truest sense, Hana exists where her body is.

The imprisoning, slicing-and-dicing construct can be left to its own devices for a few seconds; Rebel isn't that close to weakening it. After all, she assembled it these past few days with him in mind, even if that wasn't the original reason for hoarding potential weaponry. The wave of digital garbage passes through virtual space where Hana isn't, her awareness dropping off the broadcasts it had been riding and snapping, albeit painfully, back into the confines of flesh.

Cold bites into her skin despite the gloves as her hands clench on the ship's rail, head bowing towards, but not quite to, its surface. Then she draws in a breath, tips her head back, and closes her eyes, reaching upwards once more into the sky.

Just as well she took that step away, because as Wireless rises into the ether, another wave deep and terrible crashes upon the scene — nothing more than purest noise, without even the haphazard order of jumbled messages imitating meaning. The electromagnetic pulse of a miniature solar flare ripples outwards from the shuttle, implacably bowling over satellites and technopaths alike.

The bubbles, at least, ride its front rather than being destroyed by it, although rescuing them all later will pose quite the scavenger hunt. Hana has the slight, slight grace of being farther away. Blinking virtual eyes open and shaking her virtual head to clear static, Wireless reaches up again despite the agony of exposure, no less real for existing only on the level of data. Studies her labyrinthine firewall, and the reduced minotaur caged within, patching damaged weave — with code, with her own warp and weft at need.

Dares a quiet, cautious poke at its interior. …Drucker?

When the 'horizon' clears of white-noise bombardment from the miniature solar flare created by Linus Agron, there is no satellite beeping in the distance of space. It no longer serves as a beacon in the night, now it is the dead body of a once great hydra, and while its severed heads — the Munin microsatellites — still drift in their orbit, they are but dead remnants of the system that could have turned the tide of the war on the horizon. For who's favor that tide would have turned, though, is not as obvious with these events than it may have been before.

Wrapped in the fractal netting of Hana's trap, Rebel thrashes like a fish out of water, clawing in the direction of where the satellite was before finally relaxing in resignation. With the focus of his compulsion gone, with rage subsiding and bleeding wounds now realized, what little remains of Rebel's dissected digital essence begins to falter and flicker, like a guttering candle in strong wind.


It has all of the feeble weakness of a fire near burned out, all of the rasp of a cancer patient fresh out of Chemo. There is little left there, in what was already a man cobbled together from the remnants of three. Scraps of Richard Drucker, fragments of Micah Sanders, and the barest threads of the Behemoth cling together in desperation.

It i— ve-y empty -ut here.

His voice cuts in and out, pops and crackles and corrupted data.

I am ti— tired.

I, not we.

Is it over?

It is, is the soft-spoken, grief-laden reply. Part of her attention reaches to the shuttle, to the damage for which she must compensate… but only, all told, a very small part. The rest passes through her own code as if it were the translucent spray of a waterfall, no barrier at all. Gathers digital weft and warp to wrap them around the embers of her uncle, her cousin, her enemy. A cocoon, a blanket, a shroud.

It is over.

Sleep now, could have been spoken in Zahava's voice; is spoken in Zahava's voice, drawn forth from the cherished recollections of her daughter and spun out into digital imitation. I'll take care of everything. A promise, a blessing; beneath that surface, a farewell. She gathers the last piece of Rebel to her, and the others that can be easily retrieved, even as another part of Wireless' consciousness struggles to stabilize the shuttle's trajectory, to guide it in its descent.

It is very empty out here.

No invective now. No one to speak to, no one to rail against, only the impassive purity of digital angels untouched by conflict, by grief; above and detached from all merely human tribulations. They speak to one another, and eavesdropping upon their conversations brings Hana no solace. She doesn't speak to the two who watch anxiously on the ship's deck. Sends only one last transmission to the shuttle: Sixteen hours until we reach Earth. I think the systems will hold now.

Sixteen hours of patient, monotonous supervision — sixteen hours of still and silent vigil. A figure made shapeless by layers of insulating clothing sinks down to her knees, head turned up towards a cloudy sky. The thick ruff of fur edging its hood protects her face from arctic wind and tiny airborne grains of drifting snow, but nothing stops the tears winding their slow and silent way down Hana's angular visage.

The cold freezes their tracks against her skin, even that ice seeming warm compared to the knife-edged grief in her heart.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License