The Reason for the Name


hana_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Reason for the Name
Synopsis Teo learns they don't call Hana 'Wireless' just because it sounds cool.
Date November 8, 2008

Teo's Apartment

There was a boneless lump of cold-virus and Sicilian curled up under the mountain of blankets up until — fifteen minutes ago, when Wireless' call came in through the cellphone. Which was an apt combination of electronics and moniker, he thought, albeit blearily, tumbling off his mattress and into the living room. Water on face, then into the kettle, coffee out of the cupboard and a sweater pulled over the one he was already wearing.

The morning— morning already, he notices — bites cold into bare toes and long fingers, shows a watery porridge gray through the window, dimly illuminates dozens of books and lakes on his cramped living room floor, interrupted only by the swinging shadow of Pila's cage. She's up early. Bird, and all that. An obnoxiously cheerful note escapes from her bill between peeled seed shells, oblivious to her roommate's concerns or impending visitor.

The morning's chill is met with a distinct lack of acknowledgment from Hana, despite the motorcycle that is her preferred mode of transportation. Said bike and the helmet she wore while riding it are left behind in the parking lot; Hana is as indifferent to the slightly mussed state of her hair as she is to the bitter bite in the air. Her black leather jacket and black pants stand out sharply against the gloomy morning background, and the rap of Hana's knuckles on Teo's door is equally crisp and distinct, regardless of the early hour. Sleep? What is this 'sleep'?

Sleep is for humans, or so some snide persons would say. If Teo were one for that sort of humor, however, he'd probably have his membership with a different activist club. Palming his Para-Ordnance P-104, he unlocks the door and pulls it to the end of its night-chain, sees the woman on the other side looking as sharp and ready as the blue hen twittering on the other end of his room. His own face shows tired but otherwise alert through the gap, neither tousled nor groomed, his expression pleasantly blank and hovel empty behind him. He recognizes her, inevitably. It crosses his mind to ask for passcodes, a tingle of paranoia in the droning static of everything else. Instead, he unchains the door. "Buongiorno."

Hana doesn't prompt Teo for any passcodes, nor give the lack of challenge any apparent concerned thought. She merely inclines her head to the Sicilian's greeting. "Good morning." For certain values of good, at any rate. When the door is unchained and opened, Hana acts on the implicit invitation, moving into the apartment. It's given a brief, but far from cursory, glance before her attention returns to Teo. "I might apologize for intruding— " That Teo looks like he needs sleep seems to merit some level of acknowledgment. "— but you did say you wanted to talk to me." Albeit not to her as such, at least the first time around.

If Teo's need for sleep merited more levels of acknowledgment, they'd be pretty far off-track, he realizes. A time for all things. Locking and chaining the door behind her, he makes rapid tracks to coffee himself. In the briefest moment, the room smells like it: cheap powder, herbal warmth, the vapor rising translucent into his face like a skein of cotton shredding from the wind.

"I did. I didn't know you could hear us," he states, mostly because that much wasn't necessarily self-evident, and partly by way of compliment; he blinks at her through the thin light from the ceiling, pale eyes studying her in a manner that might have been intrusive if it weren't dark enough to excuse it, not quite a stare. "You hear about the bug in Abby's purse?"

Hana follows him deeper into the apartment, watching Teo prepare his cup of coffee; she gives it what is in truth a cursorial glance, a slight shift in the lines of her expression indicating dry amusement at his remark. "There's a reason for my name," is Wireless' summary explanation.

For her part, Hana seems content to remain standing, comfortable with it. She regards Teo almost equally intently, dark gaze level and direct. "Yes," she continues, as the subject is changed. "What do you want me to do about it?"

He asks with his hands and a quirk of his eyebrow: would she like some? Doubts it, but isn't one to forget to offer. "Locate whoever's on the other end of the satellite bounce. Ideally." His mouth goes crooked, making a smile out of a vague-humored line: 'ideally.' "Maybe who bought it, where, when— whether it's standard-issue FBI shit, HomeSec's, or something favored by someone else. It's the first and only thing we have on whoever's picking on Abby and Alex, and fuck knows who else." His fingers tighten on the mug, more out of habit than need for comfort: checking if his nerves can pick up the radiant heat through the density of dollar-store clay. "Hel and Cat probably have better ideas. Or other ones. Do you know if they got in touch?"

A slight gesture on Hana's part answers the offer: no. Presumably 'no, thanks', but there's only so much a simple movement can convey. "If it sends to a server, and they query it, I can trace the query. Which is how most trackers work." She tilts her head slightly, considering the other desired information given. "I may be able to determine how long it's been on, if the server retains records. I can give some indication whether it's official or not depending on where the signal is funneled through. But I can't do anything without having the signal to work from," the technopath concludes. She can't isolate this particular needle in the haystack that is NYC without some clue of where to look for it. At Teo's final query, Hana shakes her head. "I do not. Neither have spoken to me yet." In any fashion.

Nor said anything that was overheard, Teo gathers. Makes sense; the lawyeress was scrambling to amass a guard for Abby. By now, he suspects, those who'd been following or watching either himself or the healer have scattered. Mostly, because Hana's hear. She's got a way about her, indicates that she wouldn't be here otherwise; her severity implies tactical sense. "Cat figured it didn't have a mic in it from what I could recall for her.

"That sounds promising." Does it? He isn't altogether sure. He's been running away from police for most of his life, but this spy-versus-spy shit normally exists in an adjacent genre of fiction, not his. "Think we should smash the thing or just let it sit in Abby's bathroom?"

Cat's more than capable of assembling watchers for Abby; Hana can delegate, or at least stay out of the way, when needful. The woman dips her head. "Leave it for now; I'll need to take a look at it in person, or at least from close by. It may also be worth attempting to trap the trackers in turn. If they aren't watching closely… they may not know it's been spotted." A twitch of her shoulders accompanies that last remark; without knowing who their opponent is, she can't guess the odds of that. "A mic is unlikely," Hana agrees. "That's easier for me to notice against the background."

Finally, Teo drinks his coffee. He waited long enough for a dollop of suggar to dissolve and the fluid to cool enough that it doesn't take an eighth of an inch off his esaphogus. Exhales after it. It's not as cold in here as his toes are complaining: his breath doesn't show in the air. Ducks his head fractionally in acknowledgment; recording frequencies, she'dve noticed. "They'll know something's up if she leaves the apartment too often without it," he says.

He doesn't mention: if they haven't figured it out already. "How much time do you need to work this out?" A beat's pause. "Do you think you could bug Abby's apartment too? With her permission," he adds, belatedly. Teo realizes he should probably explain that concatenation of logic better, but fatigue and the skulking cold virus cloy his judgment, along with a vague notion that, if she wants to know, she'd ask.

The shrug Hana gives now, though still fractional, is a little more visible. "It's easy to ID the server. Finding who's ultimately on the other end may take time, especially if they aren't official. Hours, days. It may never come clear." She speaks matter-of-factly, her tone almost disinterested. Almost. The subject's still in the hypothetical stage, not yet at the point of frustration. One dark brow arches at Teo's second question, the expression followed by a faintly incredulous blink. "Is there some reason you think I can't?" A moment's pause ensues, before Hana adds, "What exactly do you want it monitored for?"

"No," Teo answers simply, something akin to amusement changing his face when incredulity changes hers. Professional pride? For all that ego constitutes a cardinal sin, he doesn't think that constitutes a bad sign under these circumstances. "They drew her out to put a bug in her purse. Now they know where she lives, eats, sleeps, keeps her clothes—

"I wouldn't put it past them to borrow the opportunity and leave more shit at her place if she steps out, and I'd rather not see that happen. I'd say this place too, but—" —a shrug moves through his shoulders as he glances around the small space. "On average, I'm a little more aware." Just a little: he holds forefinger and thumb together to show how much. Likewise, he doesn't have overmuch invested in the notion as yet. Abby might not go for it. He doesn't know how Abby's feeling now; she was exhausted and tired last he saw. No state for discussion.

Bugs are generally wireless, and all things wireless by definition fall into Hana's domain. The pride isn't unwarranted. Teo's evident amusement is met with a slight narrowing of the woman's eyes — she isn't amused, by any measure — but no real offense. "If it transmits, I can watch for it; I just have to know to watch." Which is why this bug escaped her detection. "If a bug is strictly passive, I'd have to pay an actual visit, but I can still disable it." The woman tilts her head. "That may be more acceptable than more electronics?" Harder for sneaky people to find and compromise, too.

Teo's young enough that the incipient glare slaps an incipient expression of mollification over his features, his good humor fading from mirth to instead characterize how fast he blanks out his prior expression. Whippersnapper back in line, ma'am. No problem, ma'am. He never loses his overall sobriety, gives her the acknowledgment of blue eyes.

"It may be," he acknowledges, with a nod. "Be nice to get a picture of the fucker's face, but he probably wouldn't be careless enough to break in without his head covered. Al probably has something on him, anyway.

"I guess that's it, signora. Unless — you don't have enough on your plate…" evidently remembering something, blearily belated, he glances to and fro along the kitchen counter as if he actually expects to find some forgotten object right here: he doesn't. "There's a Federal Communications Commissions officer trying to ask Phoenix to rat PARIAH out. It can probably wait."

That dark brow arches again as Teo's voice trails off; although Hana's attention certainly hadn't wandered from him ever, it sharpens a bit as he starts to study the counter. His elaboration comes just a scant hair before her demand for one can start, so the technopath takes a moment to consider the issue in silence instead of speaking. "Maybe. Maybe not. I wouldn't be quick to assume that." Hana's eyes narrow, but their intensity isn't directed at Teo this time. "What interest would the FCC have in PARIAH?" It's partially a rhetorical question. Meant to make Teo think.

He isn't in a state to, not really. Fortunately, however, Teo did some thinking about it before. On and off, almost constantly the past few days, between moping about his brother and quelling panic at half a dozen other unexpected deaths and intrusions on his daily routine. "According to this man, he and one other operatrice from the FBI see the distinction between Phoenix and terrorists and they've been assigned to catch the real killers. This may only be because he hasn't seen us blow up government-operated laboratories yet.

"To be honest, I see more cons to giving them PARIAH than pros. Easy." He glances down at his drained coffee mug. Carries it to the sink. "But it's nice to think—" he doesn't say 'know,' "that there's a government operative or two out there who sees the line. I don't think he knows who I am," he adds, bluntly. The faucet hisses a slim column of water into the mug, then he turns around.

Hana shakes her head a bit. Maybe she's just too suspicious. "I could see the FCC having an interest in me," she points out, "if they knew I existed. But they regulate communications. They don't investigate terrorists." The woman's gaze goes distant for a moment, perhaps calling up a memory. Or upon a computer. "Even their 'Homeland Security' branch is focused on nothing more than having services available in a crisis and restoring function if it is disabled." Dark eyes return to Teo. "I would be surprised," she concludes, a bit more quietly, "if your agent is actually FCC. And that begs the question of what he really wants."

Long hands spread in the air, neither agreement nor objection. "He doesn't think this falls in his spectrum of duty, either. Or so he complained about, at considerable length.

"I figured that was why he's with the FBI guy, handling the communications part, support, maybe logistics, while the other one does… what the Federal Bureau of Investigation does best." Teo looks at her, then. Not that he'd ever looked away, but there's a fractional jerk of his head on its stem: a new concern.

And though Wireless has always felt further away than Phoenix's more immediate concerns, no doubt partially by her own design, he does feel concerned. "He likes to play with ham radio networking. Doesn't even own a cellphone. He said he'd teach me how. You can probably look him up," Teodoro says. He closes a long hand over the back of his shorn-short head, scratching his fingernails with his hair. He doesn't look like he's hesitating, but he is. She's wary, thinks she might be hunted; that bodes dangerously.

But it means something, that it had come as strongly on Hana's insistence as Noah's, that Phoenix leave violence as their first resort. Hel said. Hel doesn't put those details in just to be funny. "Christian D. Powell."

Hana nods slowly, tucking the name away in her memory. "I'll look into it." She turns slightly as she falls silent, expression distant, thoughtful. "Radio?" the woman echoes. "Analog or digital?" That one is a rhetorical question, nothing more than Wireless musing aloud. After another beat, she shakes her head, returning her attention to Teo. Entirely unaware of his mental musings regarding herself. "It doesn't make sense on the surface. But I suppose it's possible," Hana allows. She doesn't believe it — but she'll admit the possibility.

"Digital, I believe," Teo answers, despite being quietly and evidently aware that her attention had turned inward. "Ham radio networking. He might even appreciate you getting in touch with him that way, if you're so curious, though I'd appreciate it if you waited until he and his FBI compatriot get out their newspaper ad to Phoenix. Or start leaving notes on our graffiti.

"At least from what he's told me, there aren't many civilians who are supposed to know about the project or his presence yet." The Sicilian studies her for a protracted moment, out from underneath eyes lidded heavier than they had been a moment ago, though he's less sleepy now than he was before. Thinking, or perhaps worrying, or doing absolutely nothing at all besides waiting.

Outside, the Harlem's getting brighter. That doesn't mean so much; here, there's nothing in the night that there isn't in the day.

"All the better," Hana remarks cryptically at the confirmation, inclining her head to Teo. "As long as there isn't any danger to Phoenix— " Or, by extension, to the Ferrymen as a whole. "— I'll keep my distance," she agrees. "I wouldn't want to draw undue attention to any of us."

His eyes thin at the edges: a smile that doesn't quite reach Teo's mouth. "Si. We have enough of that already. I think that's about it. Really, this time." A dollop of wry humor. He scratches his jaw on the top of his forearm, rucking up the gray sleeve of his sweater. Thinks of today, then tomorrow, of Church, and then of his mother, as a son is occasionally wont to do. What would she say? Slap him on the back, give him a handshake, get him a month's free pass of peach torte from Ugolina's bakery down the street. Surely. "I have to teach in a few hours. I don't mean to be rude, but I figure if I'm to embark on life as usual, I should start sooner than later."

Hana nods briefly, acknowledging the humor. "And I should get to work myself," she concurs. "If you need anything else from me — just send a message. You don't need Helena to do it." Yes, she heard that too. Hana looks at Teo for a moment longer, expression fairly amiable, then turns and sees herself back out the door.

November 8th: Confession
November 8th: Trust is Like Ice Cream
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