Nothing to Say


diego_icon.gif hana_icon.gif mallory_icon.gif

Scene Title Nothing to Say
Synopsis Stillwater's unofficial interest in PARIAH's recent activities gets attention.
Date October 24, 2008

Stillwater Security

This is pretty much Mallory's first job, aside from a brief stint at Subway where her manager did not appreciate her attitude nor her customer service. It's also kind of officey, so Mallory's stuck wearing a skirt and a button-up shirt. Her shoes are scuffed and square-toed. Still, she shows up promptly and keeps to herself mostly. She's tucked away in a little cubicle, watching the PARIAH viral video for what must be the twentieth time.

It's one thing for the police to study the video so intently — they have very official reasons to look for PARIAH. It's another for this IP to keep poking at it, time and time again. And in light of recent developments… well, Wireless has been keeping all things PARIAH-related on her radar, as it were. So she pokes back.

Halfway through the twentieth (give or take a few) replay, the video feed just… stops.

Mallory frowns at her screen, tilting her head to the left. Okay. Interesting. She leans forward to set her fingers to her keyboard and starts to type; she's brought in a couple of her own programs to install on the Stillwater machines for help probing places she oughtn't be. She starts one up, snuffles twice — this could hurt — and tentatively reaches, extending her consciousness through the computer, down the line, tracing a path to the IP and trying very, very hard not to pick up on too many other videos.

"No, god damn it, no! I'm sick of playing games with these people. If they wanna play this game, well.. then lets play it." For some reason, Diego seems perturbed by the conversation that's heard by much of the building as he exits his office. The cellphone is clapped shut, and he makes his way through the maze of cubicles to one of the 'the kids' area's. He doesn't really look at what she's doing, but he asks anyway. "Maaallory.. tell me you have good news. I could use good news. Good news?" In fact he's not even looking at her at all, but instead a paper from some report it seems like he'd rather not be reading.

Mallory's quest onto the video server meets neither difficulties nor opposition — it's just like any other reach into the Internet cyberrealm, for her. The noteworthy information is that only PARIAH's viral video has ceased streaming; the file seems to have been disabled, simply turned off. Hana keeps her own probes out of Mallory's way for the time being, studying the puzzle slowly moving its way towards the video server.

Mallory guides her path along the pathways; they're corridors, narrow ones, and she hits the block of Hana's defenses. Alright. Circling back, she goes down another pathway, finds it unblocked; and another, and so she's about to go back down the defended doorway when Diego's voice manages to cut through to her. She's been staring blankly at the screen; she jerks back to the physical and blinks at her boss, trying to recall what he said. "Uh… pardon?" One hand absently reaches up to touch her nose.

Diego is busy rubbing one hand over his face when she responds. Blinking himself, he looks over at her. "Was just wondering if you had any good news for me. I could really use some good news." Leave it to the boss to interrupt things once they get interesting.

Mallory winces. That hurt, pulling back that way. "Uh. The Coke in the vending machine on the second floor isn't jamming anymore?"

Diego doesn't initially say anything. He just stares at her for several seconds. Finally, "Right. Yeah, okay." And with that he takes his less-than-satisfactory report away to find a shredder, leaving the computer girl in peace to work once more.

The sudden withdrawal of the other technopath's probe is a curious thing to Hana. She hesitates briefly — which, on the scale of thought, isn't very long at all — before tangling PARIAH's video in a rather nasty encryption and taking the time to reroute her own awareness through the Internet. The better to have a more direct route to Mallory's computer.

Who are you?, asks a small window on her screen. It resembles a chat window, but no incoming username is supplied.

Mallory touches her nose again. No nosebleed yet. Headache, though. She reaches into a drawer to remove a bottle of aspirin, popping it into her mouth and washing it down with, unsurprisingly, a sip of Coke. The window is given a curious look. Her hands touch the keyboard again, and she types out a reply in the window. Nobody important. A pause. Or particularly dangerous. And then she's nudging herself back into the system, looking for the source of the chat window, looking for the connection…

Oddly enough, the chat window doesn't seem to have a source. It exists on Mallory's computer, and ties to no other edifice — no computer, no cellphone or Blackberry, no IP. It just is, as if spontaneously generated from the aether. It also remains quite silent in the wake of Mallory's response.

Maybe that wasn't the right answer.

Mallory's consciousness wanders about; when she realizes she can't find the source, she reverts back to the chat window. You're good. I can't find you.

You don't know where to look, is the reply Wireless sends back to Mallory. There is a brief pause, and then another line of text appears. Are you going to answer my question?

Mallory frowns, eyes unseeing; she's focused on what she's doing. Her consciousness extends hesitantly, reaching out in search of the connection she can't find. Out, then in again, in case she strays too far. Out, then in. I told you. Or you should be able to find out if you're anything like me.

Virtual silence lasts for a few moments; then, if Mallory's search happens to be in the right place at the right time, she might sense the incoming packets that represent text. Then I have nothing to say to you. Another signal is sent, containing a shutdown command for Mallory's computer.

Whether it goes down or not, afterwards, Wireless's presence is gone. And it'll take a great deal of Internet circumlocuting for anyone at Stillwater to reach the PARIAH video again; the more direct routes have been barricaded against their IPs. At least for a while.

Mallory snaps her eyes shut as her computer shuts off; she's not used to opposition like that. Taking a deep breath, she reaches for the drawer with the aspirin again. Ouch.

October 24th: Mallory and McLovin

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

October 24th: Black Holes and Revelations
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