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Scene Title "They"
Synopsis They see you. They hear you. They're watching. They're listening. But who are "they?"
Date May 12, 2009

Global Telecommunications Grid

We could've handled that better.

The voice echoes over the whining shriek of data streaming through a narrow aperture into a restricted network, felt in the way someone with their eyes closed might notice a door left partly ajar by feeling at a wall. The response that comes has none of the cloudiness that the younger voice emanates.

He is not ready, he was hearing but not listening.

Information dribbles through the backdoor, creeping in to the restricted network like a slow leak, eventually filtering down through linked terminals in segmented forms, finally arriving at its destination, a traffic camera watching a busy portion of Manhattan's streets south of Midtown — Chinatown. On street level, the lens focuses to a narrow point, and the spherical camera pivots to focus on an adjacent building rather than the street.

Why did you tell him to contact K.Apila? That really seems like a bad idea, y'know?

Zooming in to view the ground floor of the building across the street, the camera spots movement of men in sleek black suits questioning a secretary. The lack of audio gives no context to the conversation, beyond what body posture and hand gestures can give. One of the men slips outside, flipping open a phone as he moves on to street level. Immediately, the data stream slithers back out of the camera, crawling up into the terminal and then towards the wireless network card, broadcast back into the telecommunications grid, bounced off of a satellite which is receiving the phone call.

Because K.Apila will teach our merry thief humility. Then, he will either be ready, or he will not.

"— going to be exactly what it looks like." The agent mutters into the phone, using his free hand to scratch at the back of his head. "Guy matches the description of Case, but he's still in the holding cell. Even after the breakout, they left his cell intact." The black-haired agent gives a shake of his head and breathes out a tired sigh."

"You're certain?" The voice on the other end of the phone is far richer, deeper. The digital being coalesces in the satellite and transmits back down to the surface of the earth, leaping into the other cell phone and then from there to a webcam connected to a desktop computer on an open network. The camera flicks on, and as a grainy image comes into focus, the dark-skinned man seated behind the desk reclines in his leather chair, eyes falling shut tiredly.

We should tell the others what we're doing. Who we are. We can trust— some of them. The young one doesn't sound convinced of his own words.

"Sir, I'm positive. We're looking at the restaurant's security camera footage right now to see if it was him." When those words come over Roger Goodman's phone, there's is a crackling pop in the mind of the disembodied technopath, and data streams bounce back into the atmosphere, feverishly scouring the surface of the globe for an access point in the desired location.

The cameras are on a closed network. You won't find anything. Patience and determination in the older's voice, something the younger technopath seems to be lacking, but far less lacking than Reed.

II wish I could just

You cannot, but you should not see that disability as a weakness. See it as a challenge. You're still learning, that is good. Disconnected from the conversation, the two disembodied beings meet at the satellite, overlooking the half-shadowed blue-green sphere far below them. …perhaps your earlier idea has more merit than I initially surmised. T.Monk's assessment comes with a lingering hint of doubt.

They caught Case before. They can do it again. Confidence in youth, a dangerous mix. Trust me, we're going to need someone who can go where we can't.

You are right. Pride, not reluctance colors T.Monk's response to R.Ajas. Send them further instructions. I think we should also communicate with K.Apila. I think it might be time for us all to meet.

There's a moment of silence across the data streams, and then a reluctant question. What about Malware? Silence again, this time more uncomfortable for R.Ajas. I just think

All things in due time. T.Monk's response is not entirely dismissive, but it does give his reluctance to her inclusion a fair amount of weight. In time, we will all be needed. But for now, let us tread familiar waters.

'Kay, I'll slip them what we've figured out. Should… I tell them about Reed?

No. One thing at a time, comes the measured response, carefully selected in the milliseconds it took for the data to transmit the notion in such a way for R.Ajas to be able to parse it. I'll contact K.Apila, I'll leave the police to you.

Gotcha. I'll go hit up their phones. T.Monk can feel the dissolution of information as R.Ajas leaves the satellite, leaving T.Monk alone to stare down at the world below him through the mapping camera installed on telecommunications satellite. Through its cyclopean eye, he watches the world, the gathering of clouds and the play of shadows on the continents.

We are like angels, here. Aren't we? And with that thought, T.Monk listens to the noise of the world below, and waits for the right time to confront his past.

One thing at a time.

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