Date: April 7, 2010
A Rebel and a Betrayer meet online.
"Betrayer, Meet Rebel"
Somewhere in a secret government facility, home to the Delta Protocol, Novak Garbaldi is hard at work. With the capture of his telepathic messenger, Chih Yun, some two months prior — at his own direction, no less — he has been out of contact with Elisabetha and Sarissa. Which is unfortunate, as despite his seeming show of loyalty to the government by turning over the Monk to them, the guard on his person and his activities has not lessened at all. He has been unable to try to contact those two women by other means.
For now he is in a research laboratory, with some other scientific types, working on something called the Delta Formula. A power suppression drug that lasts much longer than the one in more standard use. As he types he feels an itching sensation in his right forearm. He almost scratches that itch, but catches himself. It would be unwise to put pressure on that particular spot. That's where he has stored a certain drug in a pouch he has surgically implanted. One with very specific effects.
So he endures the maddening itch, well-aware that despite the seemingly cooperative and subservient attitude of the other scientists, they view him with distrust, and prejudice. Novak knows they suspect him of being someone with an ability. But they have no proof yet. And as long as Novak keeps his wits about him, they never will.
Though the terminal he is presently using is hooked up to a hyper-secure network that he helped design, intended to prevent all hacking attempts by conventional programmer-types, the algorithm used has a few unique aspects to it. Openings left there intentionally. Novak has heard about the boy who can interface with technology. He doesn't know how that ability works exactly, so he decided to leave gaps in the firewalls that only someone who can see the code as though it were a physical material would notice.
He WANTS Micah to gain access. He just hopes that he'll know when it happens.
After playing another round of Robot Unicorn, and essentially beating the game (except not because it keeps going and going and going and going), Micah rubs at his eyes. Even technopath hero types shouldn't spend so much time on the computer. With a lopsided grin, he closes the window he'd been playing in before closing his eyes and touching a single hand to his keyboard. With a deep breath he attempts to concentrate, clearing his own thoughts and replacing them with something akin to tech-speak.
He's done a search. A very thorough search for one Novak Garbaldi as per Peter's request. And something catches his eye. An opening. His eyes open for an instant as he removes his hand from his laptop and glances around, almost curious if he's being tricked, fooled, or otherwise bamboozled — it's not like this hasn't happened before. And that was unexpectedly easy.
Glancing at the door and deciding he is indeed safe within this apartment where no one knows he lives (other than Gabriel), he returns his hand to the keyboard and finds the pathway again. He's in the Delta Protocol's system. This is new. But then, there haven't been holes in most of the other computers he's accessed. In fact, the hole seem purposeful. He scans the files quickly as he attempts to figure out where they came from. Finally, tracing it to a specific computer, the teen smirks.
A text document opens on Novak's screen and quickly letters appear even though the man isn't typing:
«REBEL: WHO IS THIS?»
It's a curious thing to read from a hacker who could probably figure it out if he wanted to, but Micah would rather be told and then verify it — thereby more easily identifying friend or foe.
Novak pauses in his typing instantly when the document opens, needing no further prompting than that. His reaction time is impeccable. Not computer-speed, though, so he takes a moment to read the message. 'Rebel,' he thinks. He shows no sign that anything is wrong. He's being watched after all. With his head blocking the screen, the hidden cameras situated about the laboratory can't see the document. And his own security system, though it was looked over repeatedly by Delta Protocol's own top programmers, has a unique flaw in it, that causes keyloggers and similar spyware to produce system crashes if someone accesses a terminal through the openings in the firewall. All this, and Novak isn't even a very good programmer.
This means that no one is able to see Rebel's text. And to keep it that way, Novak moves as though to jot down some notes on a pad of paper he keeps at his right side, and 'accidentally' presses a key combination that runs a program that in turn causes the three cameras that could see his screen to run a loop of images of Novak working normally. This is a bit dangerous, because if anyone comes over to him it won't mesh on the other cameras with what is being displayed by those three. But it's necessary.
Narrative over with, Novak finishes writing down 'defragment hard-drive' on the pad, and then turns back to his screen. He types in, 'Novak Garbaldi. I was hoping you would find me.'
Micah is a little surprised by the note. "Seek and ye shall find," he murmurs aloud to himself and the otherwise empty room. With a lopsided smirk he lifts his hand from the keyboard a second and cracks his knuckles, prepping for what might be a long conversation. Placing a hand back on the keyboard, he closes his eyes and goes about his business to identify the computer's primary user. And, as it turns out, it is indeed Novak Garbaldi.
Smirking, he sends a lightning fast message back through the technology:
«REBEL: I'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR YOU.»
Why he's been looking, Micah is actually semi unsure, but he knows he's been seeking information about Garbaldi's whereabouts.
«REBEL: YOU WORK FOR THEM.»
It's an observation, not an accusation and is followed up by a question:
«REBEL: WHY DID YOU WANT ME TO FIND YOU?»
Novak parses the messages quickly, but does not respond fast at all. He considers each message carefully. He strokes a hand over his chin for a moment, and then types his own messages.
«There is information you need.»
A pause, and then:
«I am creating a drug that can potentially suppress an ability permanently.»
«They already have something similar, though temporary. 'Delta Formula'. It can be counter-acted with a second injection of another drug. If you can obtain the counter-agent you can give your friends immunity to Delta Formula. Better not to use it right away, though. Let them 'capture' some of you, and then inject the counter-agent when in custody. Then you would be inside their defenses, and could shut them down.»
Novak then sits back and waits.
Micah twitches quite visibly, even though there's no one to see it. He removes his hand from the laptop. A counter-drug. That's as good as gold in these circumstances. He blinks a few times and then replaces his hand on the laptop, closing his eyes once again.
«REBEL: WHERE DO I FIND IT?»
His eyes narrow as he drums his fingers on the top of his keyboard, determined. So much to do, so little time.
«REBEL: WE TOOK DOWN A DELIVERY CAR WITH A DIFFERENT DRUG SOME TIME AGO. IT MADE ABILITIES GO HAYWIRE.»
Novak almost nods to himself, but doesn't want to give away even that much. Instead he turns to his notepad and checks some chemical formulas. He remembers them well-enough, but just to make sure… Once he is certain he has it memorized, he turns back to the computer.
«Counter-agent is being stockpiled at my apartment. Apartment is being watched. Teleportation may be necessary.»
He waits a moment as he thinks of something else. His hands fly over the keyboard, typing rapidly. There's a time limit on this conversation. The system crashes on the spying computers will only last so long before they remedy themselves automatically. Otherwise they'd get suspicious.
«Alternately, I can supply you with the formula itself. If you have any scientifically inclined allies, you could make the counter-agent on your own. Not easy, but doable. I recommend surgically implanting or otherwise concealing a counter-agent package in or on the body. It can be retrieved or broken directly into the blood stream this way, and won't be spotted by most inspections. Time is almost up. Five more minutes. Nothing more.»
"He's got the counteragent," Micah mumbles to himself rather than Novak. "And Peter can teleport. I could ask Peter. I bet he'd do it." Wrinkling his nose, Micah refocuses again, and access Novak's computer.
«REBEL: I KNOW SOMEONE WHO CAN TELEPORT (WHAT IS YOUR ADDRESS?), BUT COULD I GET THE FORMULA AS WELL? THEN IF SOMETHING HAPPENS» namely the teleporter getting caught «WE'LL BE COVERED.»
Novak types in the address of the Prestige Apartments building, and the number of his specific apartment. If he'd known he'd have visitors he'd have taken down the map on his wall with the 'Sylar' notes at each marked location. Places people have been killed. But maybe he can fix that up before anyone arrives. For now…
«The formula is hidden in the code. Each terminal connected to this one has a piece of the formula. You could retrieve it from the computers themselves, but they have false formulas to confuse you, Rebel. Better to get the real thing for certain. Should be obvious how it fits together on paper.»
He looks at the clock briefly, calmly. Thirty seconds. He types in clipped sentences.
«Need favor. Need location: Elisabetha Belmont. My daughter. Can kill everyone. Even Sylar. Have to get her the»
Then he sees the activity light on the tower start flashing, and the whirring of the computer. He hits the power switch for his computer, switching it off instantly. The lights go out for part of the laboratory too. He waits a few seconds, heart beating fast. Was he too late? How many seconds did they have to see his screen before he turned off the power? How long was he typing before he noticed? He turns on the power again, and reaches for the phone as his computer boots up.
"Hello, I'd like to report a computer error for the techies to look into later on." …. "Oh, they're having problems down there too, hmm?" …. "I'll see if I can find out what the problem is.—No, that's fine. It's probably the update that was made recently to the network." …. "Yes. Alright. You too. Bye." He hangs up. The most important part of that conversation was the part he failed to say.
That was unexpected, the system goes dead, and he struggles to get back on the grid. After a few minutes, he gives up, for now, anyways. Micah bites his bottom lip as he snaps the laptop shut and hmms quietly to himself. "I guess we have a counteragent to get." Standing, he places his laptop on the floor, paces towards the kitchen counter and picks up his cellphone. He closes it in his hand and zips off a text at lightning speed.
«REBEL: PETER. I FOUND GARBALDI. BAD NEWS ABOUT THE PROTOCOLS. PLEASE FIND ME OR RESPOND ASAP.»