More or Less Polite


hana_icon.gif f_reed_icon.gif

Scene Title More or Less Polite
Synopsis Wireless tries to talk to 'Robin Hood'. He isn't particularly polite about it, which irks her. Annoying Wireless is rather like playing with fire: one runs the risk of getting burned. Badly.
Date April 11, 2009

At the Crossroads of No and Where

When it rains, it pours. Nearly all of the lost Phoenix operatives have been returned to the fold of New York City; one less headache for Wireless to deal with, except in that another has landed itself on her plate. Rumors, conjecture, and supposition have flown around the web since late last night; in the early hours of the morning, well before sunrise, she has finally set aside some time for the task of ferreting out the underlying truth.

The places hit are easy to find; just track a few of the complaints back to the actual banks. Wireless doesn't spend much time on their actual infrastructure; just enough to identify the virtual spaces belonging to affected accounts (both victims and recipients), sifting through their electronic structures for any clues that software can't see and which might identify the technopath who did this later on. Characteristic methods. Holes left unpatched. Little minutiae that are only detected by getting one's figurative hands on the data directly.

Wireless is very practiced at multi-tasking; she's also watching the patterns of data flow around her, looking for disruptions. Changes. They say criminals tend to return to the scene of the crime — and that is the true root of her interest.

He's taken the moniker of 'Robin Hood', but Taylor Reed is not a misunderstood saint. The play on words from his actions the previous night leaves him wanting for something a little more. It felt just as good taking from those who didn't need it as it did giving it to those who did. But he has that itch to do something bigger. Moving largers amounts of money would have been easier to trace, so that's out of the question. Surely he's got one up on everyone else in this time period, having dealt with more difficult security measures of the future. At least he thinks so.

He's continuing his move from bulletin board to bulletin board, tagging them, so to speak, with his moniker and moving along. He even wrote his own story for AP on his exploits — well, leaving out any real mention of the truth. Websites around the world picked up on the story and ran it as fact. He soon finds himself bored again. Though, he has had this distinct feeling that he's being watched, or at least there are eyes looking for him. He moves from site to site, leaving just a trace of his signature behind as it slowly trails behind him.

The security of the future is aware of the threats posed by technopaths; companies have their own technopaths working to build measures against intruders of that sort. Comparatively, everything here might as well be wide open — but it's a 'wide open' playground that Wireless has years of experience in, her encounters with other technopaths comparatively few and far between. It makes Reed's trail stand out as unusual, practically fluorescent in its difference from the surrounding sea of moving data.

She follows, drawing in the diffuse tendrils of self from where they had been exploring other angles. Snooping in her turn, scanning the forum boards, the news articles; gathering a sense of this stranger. He feels young. Attention-seeker. That might explain why Wireless hasn't encountered him before. Newly manifest, or perhaps newly moved to the area.

A transmission bounces through the electronic sea; independent of any hardware, any fixed source, its direction is all but meaningless. Technopath.

Who are you?

The words stop him for a moment as the binary reaches him. He would grin if he had facial features, but all the same the presence of the other Technopath becomes very strong. He should have guessed there would be at least one here, maybe more.

I think the question should be… 'Who are you?'

Reed returns the question with one of his own. Whoever it is seems to have a bead on him, so he stays stationary, in no danger of being disrupted where he is at the moment.

Digital communication is not like telepathy; it is devoid of tone and voice, of personal emotion. Sentiment comes through in spite of that, in this case — confrontational. It compounds Wireless' impression of this other technopath; as much as confirms it. All she wants is a straight answer; he has to be annoying about it.

Plan B involves intense scrutiny of their ephemeral surroundings; what moves, what doesn't move, what eddies, what flows. Where someone might run, if they decided to execute a sudden and rapid retreat. A view of the virtual landscape through lenses of strategy and tactics. While part of her attention is occupied with planning, Wireless casts out another communicade.

It's polite to answer the question asked first.

If there was a digital way of sticking out one's tongue at someone, this would probably be that moment. Reed knows he's being tracked, traced and his potential movements anticipated.

In some countries, it's always more polite to introduce oneself first. So, you show me yours, then I'll show you mine.

Okay, so he's forever seventeen years old and will probably always act like it. Whoever it is, is probably not going to like him very much.

She tried the 'easy' way, she really did. It was a very simple question; it needed only a simple answer. Now… well, Wireless is in some ways a very simple person. Direct. And even in the virtual realm, direct is a valid response.

Wireless offers no further warning, no suggestion of just how far she's prepared to toss all considerations of propriety, politesse, and even self-preservation out the metaphorical window. She just projects herself forward — not to catch Reed, not to scare him, but to snare him in the most expedient fashion possible: a direct grapple, enmeshing herself with him.

Wireless is confident in her ability to extricate herself afterwards, if it works in the first place. In which state he comes out the other side… isn't her problem.

This was unexpected. She comes at him, but he is ready as he turns to flee as quickly as he possibly can, using the flow of traffic on the net to skirt from one router to the next. He is looking for someplace he can possibly isolate himself and he can disconnect from the net. Of course, that doesn't stop him from being a smartass.

This is no way to treat a guest. Really. How about we stop and chat about this?

It doesn't hurt to ask, does it? He keeps his eyes on possible blocks or traps, but manages to sense them in time to take a detour. He isn't about to get caught so soon. Been there.. done that.

Tried that, Wireless sends in return. He evades, but only because she didn't have time to prepare; the analyst is already planning out what she'll do once he's retreated beyond her ken, in the event she doesn't catch him first. Because the older technopath does give chase; attempts, as she does so, to chivvy Reed in a particular direction, to cut off his options for detours. He's looking for isolation; she's seeking to corner him just such an environment. Not exactly an advantage for him, that common goal.

You had your chance.

Quite probably that his pursuer is correct on that account. It depends on how far ahead of the chase he gets. Unfortunately, the slower speeds of the past are not giving him the distance he needs. He doesn't let her get closer, but he also can sense that she's trying to trap him.

What? No sense of humor? You seem like a nice person. How about another chance?

He slips off to the side, taking a bit of a detour, as he senses a host in this direction. It's a gamble, but he ignores error correction in order to speed up. Knowing that any collision at this point will do damage to his digital persona.

Unfortunately for Reed, Wireless isn't inclined to converse when the conversation serves no purpose — and that's about where they're at. She doesn't even respond to his jibe; it seems to have had no impact whatsoever. Takes a gamble of her own instead, dropping out of the chase in order to flit through network links and attempt to cut him off at a figurative pass.

It's almost like his mind can follow her movements around. He quickly darts to the major router of an ISP, then into a home based router before taking root in someone's personal PC.

Sorry you didn't want to talk. Next time be more polite.

The connection to the internet is cut on the host side, as the familiar red 'x' in the taskbar signals no connection and he sits. He does leave a little gift — a small digital signature at the crossroads where he turns off that bears the name: "Robin Hood." It isn't long before he feels a Bluetooth connection and slips into someone's cell phone.

Disabling the connection poses no barrier to Wireless, but she chooses not to follow. There is, after all, no way of being sure what she's walking into — not with that connection down. Not without knowing whose PC it is. And not extended this far from her physical self for this long. She can do it — that doesn't make it wise.

No. Time to regroup, assimilate the data that's been gathered, and analyze. Wireless takes the time to reach out to other contacts — a few fellow technopaths, but primarily her Ferryman associates. And then the Israeli's awareness drops out of the 'net.

The interconnected network of modern computer systems is an immensely vast landscape, but 'Robin Hood' can expect to find some unpleasant surprises lurking in it later on.

<date>: previous log

Previously in this storyline…
Robin Hood

Next in this storyline…

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