2007-10-20: Cold Hard Facts

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif Cam_icon.gif Micah_icon.gif

Summary: Help comes in the form of sleuthing when Micah uses his unique skill-set to find information about Cam's parents and some truths are unveiled.

Date It Happened: October 20th, 2007

Cold Hard Facts


Sanders-Dawson-Hawkins Residence

Queens, New York City

Time to find out the truth — at the hands of an eleven-year-old boy genius who can talk to machines. Niki has scooched her chair closer in for a better look at Micah's laptop for when it's ready. She lays a hand on Cam's arm - low, far from the acid burn at his shoulder - and squeezes for comfort. Who knows what they'll find about his parents. "So you're just gonna… look, for their faces, to see if they show up," she says to Micah — not skeptically, exactly, just as if she's making sure she understands. Which she's not sure she does.

Cam starts to get up to follow Micah, though after a moment's hesitation stops to finish his milk as well, though carries one last cookie with him to eat on the way to Micah's computer. He glances up to Niki at the reassuring squeeze, smiling but obviously just a little nervous… more likely that Micah won't find anything than that he will. Then he looks back to Micah.

"Pretty much." Micah says, glancing at his mom as he returns with the laptop and small handheld scanner. Setting it all up on the kitchen table, it's only a moment before the laptop is up and ready to go. He doesn't elaborate too much to his mom about his plans. What do they say, don't ask don't tell? When the scanner light turns green, it's run lightly over the picture. On the screen, the image comes up, and then immediately gets cropped down to 3 separate images. One of each person.

"Uh huh." Micah makes it sound so simple, but Niki still has suspicions to the contrary, amazing as his information-delving will probably be. She glances from the images on the computer to her son, a slight warning in her gaze. "I want to help Cam as much as you do, Micah, but don't go looking where you shouldn't. You could get in trouble."

Cam blinks as the image so quickly separates into individual pictures, but he doesn't say anything. He glances up to Niki and bites his lip, looking back to Micah. Instead of commenting on that, though, he asks, "How long do ya think it'll take?"

Micah laughs lightly and rolls his eyes. "Come on, mom. I don't leave any traces of what I do." At least none that he's aware of, much less have ever been used to track him down. The screen flickers and each of the images sizes down and fall into their own windows. Underneath them, lines of code run for a few moments before pages of websites start flying by at a rapid pace. And then, they all stop of very similar looking pages. Each bearing the FBI logo. "Whoa." is all he can manage, looking at the information displayed before glancing at Cam. "Did you know they are on the FBI's website?"

That only makes Niki feel a little better, counteracted by the fact that if Micah knows not to leave traces, he's… definitely doing something illegal. Great. Before she can say another word, all systems are go. Concentration takes over Niki's face as she tries to catch glimpses of the information flying by and building up on Micah's computer screen. What she finds causes her to gape in shock — and before long, she reaches out to lower the laptop halfway, sudden and decisive. "He doesn't need to see all of this."

Cam, at first, is staring at the computer in awe as the information flies past. "Awesome." Then he blinks as the FBI pages come up. "They are?" That much is true, at least. He had no clue, or he probably wouldn't have asked Micah to help. Then when Niki closes the laptop he looks up to her, and back to Micah, "See what? What's it say about them?"

"He wants to know, mom." Micah protests as the screen is lowered. Besides, you can't keep everyone safe all the time. That's one thing Micah has learned in his life so far. There's a passion in his eyes too as he looks at Niki. "Besides, isn't the truth better than letting someone believe their dad is dead when he wasn't." Ok, so that slipped out. And it shows on his face with an apologetic look that is quickly wiped as he turns towards Cam. "What I saw was your dad is wanted for murder, and they think your mom helped him."

Niki shifts about in her seat to better face Cam, though one hand stays on Micah's computer. Her lips purse in a little half-smile as she tries to figure out how to phrase what she wants to say to— asdfasdfgasdfg. "Micah," Niki looks sharply at her son, the hint of a smile very much gone. Honesty is one thing, but she wasn't going to be quite so blunt. She sets her jaw hard for a moment. "We'll talk later," she tells him; as for Cam, her look is sympathetic, and her voice gentle. "You might be right. They could be missing… because they're hiding. And, that kind of life isn't safe for a kid." TRUST HER, SHE KNOWS. Unless they're missing because they're in jail. With reluctance, she pushes the laptop screen back up with a few fingers. "Did you know about this, Cam?"

Cam looks at Micah a few moments, long enough for Niki to try her softer approach. He shakes his head emphatically to the question, "No! They're wrong. Dad doesn't kill. First thing he ever taught me, killing draws the cops faster than anything, you get the job done right and nobody's gotta die." He's saying it a little frantically, upset at the very idea… and no longer hiding he knew his father was into something, at least.

Micah nods his head slowly. "I'm sorry." is said quietly. It wasn't meant to be disrespectful or anything. It just…came out. Cam's fantic outburst causes the youngster to become more curious of what is really going on. Of course, then his mom brings the screen back up. Even a blind man would be quick to notice that Micah doesn't type. Instead, his hand is held slightly over the touchpad mouse area. But information sure is flying by fast again for no typing. "Interesting."

Niki wastes no time in trying to calm down Cam. She leans toward him, face-level. "Maybe they are wrong! Or— maybe it was an accident. Look, it's just a bunch of words in some file somewhere. That doesn't make it who they are. But they still broke the law if they're some kinda thieves." It's a simple explanation, non-judgmental, considering… well, considering. She looks to Micah and the computer. "What did you find, Micah?"

Cam looks to Niki as she leans in, and her words seem to sink in. He calms, even if it takes him a few moments to do it. Rubbing his eyes as if afraid tears might fall, though none have, he says, "Sorry, I just…" He trails off, unable to explain his fears. He looks back to Micah then as well.

The trio of boxes on the screen flicks off, replaced by the a full screen view of a web page. "It's someone's blog." he says, flickering his eyelids a bit as though issuing commands to the laptop. The screen scrolls a bit and right there is a picture of Cam's parents. "That was taken on a ship that was crossing the ocean headed towards Cape Town, South Africa. The man says they were listed as accountants of the ship's owner." The article ends with the man noting he disembarked in Cape Town and never saw the two again. As Micah reads, he starts to realize that this time he's on the other side of the table from how his own situation turned out. "Hey, if they got off in Cape Town, maybe they're planning on trying to find you." Hopefully that will cheer Cam up a bit.

Niki smiles at Micah's optimism. It's contagious — she smiles at Cam, too. "How about you tell us what happened when they disappeared," she suggests gently. Knowing more of the story means it's easier to find a happy ending, but despite her words to Cam a few moments ago, seeing those FBI rap sheets gives her doubts.

Cam does indeed cheer up some at Micah's suggestion, "Yeah! They had to get outta the country fast, but now they'll stop and try to find me again." Then he looks back up to Niki and sits back a bit. He bites his lip, and then asks, "You… um.. saw the ice on my shoulder, in the park, right?" Of course, if they hadn't, the ice left behind when Cam showered probably gave his power away.

Micah wondered why there was ice in the shower and just dismissed it as the normal weirdness that goes on in the Sanders household. "Exactly. Maybe I can put a few posts out on boards and point them towards you." As the offer is made, he gives his mom a look to assure her he wouldn't post information linking Cam to them. "I didn't. But I was too busy trying to stay alive."

In the midst of looking warily at Micah, perhaps for the very reason he gives her a reassuring look for, or perhaps another, Niki is thrown off by the the twelve year old's question for a second or two. It seems all non-sequitur-y, but she gives him a quizzical look and answers, "I guess so…" She doesn't sound too sure. She saw it, but didn't think much of it, given everything that was going on. She tilts her head ever-so-slightly, waiting to hear more.

Cam grins to Micah's offer, "Thanks." Then, he bites his lip at Niki's answer, and holds out his hand. An ice cub forms on it, out of thin air. Said air around Cam grows very cold for the few seconds before and after it appears. "I can make ice, and freeze stuff. When it first started, was scared I'd freeze my mom and dad, so I ran away. Went back after a while, and they were just… gone. Asked 'round and heard the FBI tried to get them, but they'd got away."

Well that's about on par with Micah's power, if not a shade cooler. (Pun intended) "That's cool!" he grins, watching his mom's reaction with interest for a moment. "My power is talking to technology." As he says that, the laptop screen flickers and message comes up reading 'That's right. Micah is our friend.' A little bit of laughter comes from Micah as the screen reverts back to the blog page and he turns back to the original topic. "Well, if they made it to Cape Town, then at least you know they're alive."

It's not the first time Niki has seen something so unusual, a surprising ability like that, but it doesn't make it any less remarkable or crazy when she sees it again now — especially when it's someone so young doing it. She's shocked, at first; transfixed, staring wide-eyed at the little block of ice. She reaches out to take Cam's hand (despite his confession on his worries about freezing his parents!), just so that his hand rests on hers. "I've seen this before. But— yours is cooler." She grins a bit. "At least you know that they didn't mean to leave you behind. What's the date on that blog, Micah?"

Cam grins as both say his power's cool, all the more as he gets the pun. He then says, "Thanks." He laughs too at Micah's computer's message, and says, "That's awesome too! That's how ya did the search?" Obviously in a better mood now than a few minutes ago. Of course, he has a good idea where his parents are now. He drops the cube into the empty glass of milk, and then looks up to Niki as she takes his hand, smiling as he nods to what she says, "Yeah."

Micah nods quickly. "Yeah. It's pretty cool sometimes." he admits, glancing back to the screen. "It says July 20th, 2007. Recently." Not that long ago then. Maybe there's hope yet. He watches the cube fall into the glass with a grin before nodding in agreement with Niki. "Yeah, I'm sure they would have taken you with them if there had been time."

Niki closes her hand over Cam's where the ice used to be. "Three months ago." A frown threatens her lips, but she manages to keep it at bay, just barely. July. An awful lot can happen in a few months. "I think that's enough detective work for one day," she announces, sliding out of her seat to stand. "I bet you two have homework," Niki adds matter-of-factly — even though it's paired with a curving grin. As she winds her way around the table, she kisses Micah on the head and says, "Don't forget to help with that math."

Cam blinks, but then nods a bit again at the mention of homework and says, "Yeah, I guess a bit." He looks back to Micah and says, "Thanks for helping."

Yeah, but a lot can /not/ happen in three months too if you're laying low. Micah gets that much from comic books. People always lay low for periods of time and then reappear when you least expect them. "Awwwww…man." And Micah was just starting to have fun too. Gone. Destroy. Replaced by….homework! His face somewhat contorts a bit at the kiss to his head. "Mom!" Yeah, not in front of company! "I won't." Turning back to Cam with a grin. "Least I could do. Now….about that math."

Before she gets very far, Niki, holding onto the small wall that frames the otherwise wide open entrance to the kitchen, looks back at the kids. "Just know that you'll be safe here any time," she tells Cam in earnest, serious; no demeaning-voice-for-kids, here. "Child Protective Services called and left a message this morning, but we're gonna try to make sure you don't go anywhere you don't want to." Then, she heads on into the living room - where she finds some backpacks with awesome things like text books and notebooks in them. She heads back into the kitchen to deposit them on the table - *thud* - and winks once before disappearing into one of the rooms.

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