2009-11-15: Master And Padawan



Date: November 15th, 2009


The Jedi Master gains an Apprentice.

"Master And Padawan"

Undisclosed Studio Apartment — AKA Geek HQ

Having just finished his call to the bodysnatcher, Gene tears off his headphones as he takes a deep breath as he finds himself alone in the hideaway place Elena and Eric have found for him (and maybe them too). "I hope I know what I'm doing here." Putting the laptop to the side, the young man gets up from the place he sits against the wall and moves toward the fridge. He goes through the various drinks, finally pulling out a water for his parched throat.

Despite the cooler temperature of the apartment, Gene is only wearing a t-shirt and some pajama pants, perhaps used to the cold or warmed by his laptop.

Fortunately. Bert missed Gene's little alter ego at work. She ventured out to the corner store and back. So when she returns, she catches that vocalized moment o'doubt. "You mean you don't? I thought you were the man with the plan and the answers," she quips with a sack full of some geeky staples of snacks. Venturing into the kitchen, she sets the bag onto the counter. "What's the scoop so far?"

For now, few people know exactly all the stuff Gene is doing or what he does, but he knows it's just matter of time. Hopefully, if he share enough here and there, it won't seem AS bad right? Turning toward Bert, he gives a small smile as he pushes himself up on the counter, drinking his water as she speaks. Giving a mere shrug to the quip, Gene replies with a rather full report… Which is a subtle sign of trust from the normally defensive young man.

"I'm trying to see if I can hack into the system proper, but I have a feeling that I won't be able to do everything I need to do. Just in case or if I have to do something in person, I am using my connections to get some Evolved that should be able to help me finish the job. We have Eric and Elena, which are a good start. Then I found a woman that can make visual illusions… That according to her can fool camera. Then I have another woman that has the ability to possess other people. While not really the most heroic of abilities, if I can get her into the right body, we'll be able to get all the information we need."

"Wow.. It's like a regular group of X-Men. Only real, and cooler," Bert says, sounding impressed about the little update. "Just tell me what else you need from me. I can always contact a few people I know back at Building 26, see what my status is, and what I can do to get back in good graces, if need be." It's clear she wants to do more than appearing to be a freeloader here. "If I can get back in without encountering Senator Wynn.."

"No… Going in with Wynn being around is dangerous. Besides, if they have some sort of intel suggesting you turned against them, they might do something more lasting than imprisonment," Gene points out as he narrows his eyes. No one is capturing or shooting his friends. No one.

After thinking about it for a moment, Gene pushes off the counter. "Well, there is one thing you can do if you want. My gift is rather… unique. Unlike most people's mojo, after I build something, anyone can use it, as long as they know how. If you would like, I could start teaching you some of my designs for hardware and how to use my computer programs. Just tell me what you want to do," Gene offers with a shrug and a small grin before he moves toward the laptop once more.

"But.. I.. I feel like I'm not contributing right now. I want to do something to help," Bert says, sounding insistent. Maybe even a little frustrated too. "You do have a point though. There's no telling what they'll do since I've been missing a few days and didn't put up a fuss. Maybe they'll think I've been kidnapped.." Since she did leave her place a mess and she disappeared without so much as a by your leave.

At the offer, Bert perks up. "That would be excellent! I always wanted to work more directly with you at EvoSoft, and I had no idea just how far your genius extended. I don't even know where I want to start!"

Nodding as he slides down the wall to land on his butt, Gene places the laptop upon his lap and pulls stuff up. "So, would you like to start it soft or hard?" he asks with a big grin, clearly enjoying the idea of talking his technology.

Bert follows after Gene, a skip almost in her step before dropping down next to him. "Hit me!" She says, clearly eager to do something while stating she's up to the challenge. "I always do better hands on anyway. Test me, sensei!"

"Right, well I was meaning hardware or software… But considering we don't have access to much in building equipement save the times I want to risk going to EvoSoft, we'll start with the hacking. It's safer anyway. So we'll start with this decrpytion and copy virus that you likely heard of in the NSA. You know, the Snagglepuss?" Gene shakes his head. The names they give some of these things is just horrible. Still, he gives a description in case Bert forgot about it. "Once on a computer, it decrypts the security, then just takes any information it can get and pulls it out, sending it to another source, usually an online database that can be accessed from multiple points at the hacker's leisure." Gene shows Bert the code… Or at least the original code.

"Anyway, on its own, it's okay, but whenever I look at something, first thing is how do I maximize is. In this case, hard to improve the function of the virus, but what we CAN do is use other programs to make it what I like to call.. The Tangled Web Virus. This program basically uses different computers, makes its own network of sorts and uses a concert attack of different computers working at the same time to pull the information out from different locations."

"Yeah, I had to use that a time or two." Before she knew just why she was listening in and on who. Bert shoves those thoughts aside. She's going to redeem herself, dammit! "Nice. Can't say I ever got into the art of creating viruses or using them, just repairing the damage. I never had a use for them. Before anyway." Now is another story. Her eyes are on the monitor, going over the code, following well so far. "This is similar to a project I was working on," she says after a few moments of silence. There's a guilty edge to Bert's voice. "It was going to be used in tracking situations, to be loaded on portable devices."

"I never really had much use for them either. Then I realized there was only so much simple decryption can go. You do it manually, unless you have a good deal of knowledge about the system or where to go, you'll get shut out before you get to the information you need. At least that's what I've found for the high tech stuff I've been up against," Gene admits, not really feeling guilty about his hacking. After all, if he was doing it to help people and no one got hurt, it shouldn't be something to feel bad about, right?

As Gene moves to the new program, he looks over toward Bert, hrmming in thought. "Tracking? I might need to use that. Not for the public at large… But for that bodyswapping woman. She has a… checkered past to put it lightly. While I'm giving her a second chance, I feel I need to keep an eye on her. After all, if she does anything bad now, it's my fault for not stopping her when I had the chance."

Bert nods her head in a hesitant manner. "Alright. I'll work on that. What sort of device would you like for her to carry, or what will she have on her person? So I know how to modify if needed." She sighs some, eyes still on the screen, "I don't blame you. People do deserve chances, but if she's as checkered as you say.. can't hurt to keep an eye on her. Especially in such a precarious situation." Now back to the hacking! "Show me what you want done, and since I know the systems at Building 26, I probably have a better chance of running the virus through."

"I'll be priming computers of people around DC. Getting them to ready to decrypt computers and download the files. The goal is a little lofty: Taking the entire network to take apart and study. I figure if we shoot for that and get most of it, we'll stil come out ahead. I need to know the entry points, places where the Intranet is connected to the Internet and as much as I can about the firewalls in place. I'm hoping that by having the viri and multiple hackers perhaps, I can get in, get everything, and get out. That brings me up to a second thing you can do. I want you to get online, see if you can find people that have the skill to help us with this. We keep hammering away, hopefully it will force them on the defensive."

Gene pauses at the talk of tracking devices, hrmming to himself. "Device for her to carry? Oh, you mean a tracking device that you can use GPS to monitor people with? I already made a few watches that do the same thing. I can teach you how to use and hack into the GPS systems to use those too." Yeah, despite Gene's heroics and good intentions, it's clear that he's done a large number of illegal things on the Internet.

Bert is following this so far without problem. What a cake-walk! (In theory.) This is the easy part, the planning stage. Now pulling all of this off successfully? That's another story. "Right. They should have just arrested me instead of blocking my access to the building and locking down my logins." Maybe they don't realize she's no longer blinded by Ivory. She'd be less of a liability that way. Turning her gaze from the computer, she looks at Gene with a half-smile, "You really are a genius." The half-smile turns into a knowing grin, "You've done this before, do I even want to know why or what?"

"My brains are pretty much what I am, so if I wasn't a genius, I'd be a crappy Gene." The young Geek God looks toward Bert with an awkward smile in return. "Um, you mean hacking, building high tech stuff, or both?"

Bert giggles a little and resists the urge to reach out and ruffle Gene's hair. He just has that look about him. "Maybe a little of both. I know you a little, but it feels like not at all right about now. There's this whole other side."

Giving a shrug, Gene passes the laptop toward Bert so she can look at the program herself and make adjustments. "Started building stuff when I was ten… That was mostly electronics and stuff like that. I made a battlebot back in the day… The more detailed electronics came when I was sixteen. The hacking I didn't pick up until a year or so ago when Elena needed my help." The most prideful thing he does is give a small but happy smile back to Bert. It's rare he gets someone to talk to. When you have to hide your gifts so often, it makes sharing them that much better.

"Everything related to this stuff, I taught myself. My grandfather didn't want me going to school. He was worried about people finding out. Like the government. If I didn't try and see what was up with that bodysnatcher, the government still wouldn't know about me. And considering I went to jail instead of being on a train, it's clear they don't know about my ability." He sighs, though it's in relief. "And now that my ability isn't killing me, I can enjoy it for what it is."

Bert laughs, "Oh come on, battlebots are nothing to sneeze at. I always wanted to build one, I just haven't had the money or time until EvoSoft." Then other things happened, other cool things to get her hands involved in. Le sigh! "You're so modest about it all too, but then again, I can't blame you for playing it all on the down low. I think I'd do the same, although there would be a strong temptation to show off." A nod is given as she handles the laptop and starts going over the program. "Good call.. I don't recall your name popping on any lists.. well after I started poking my nose in everything." She winces and looks back at Gene, "I didn't know that abilities could do that. Give you wonderful powers, but hurt you at the same time."

"I think that mine was a unique case. I mean, the only Evolveds that died from their abilities I know of were artifical." There is a short pause as Gene goes to another Truth is Stranger than Fiction tanget. "…Long story, let's just say that it was a good thing Pinehearst exploded." At the mention of showing off, Gene gives a weak smile. "It's kinda hard to show my power off. I mean, when I go around with R2-D2, that's about as far as I can go. I techinically shouldn't bring him around, but considering he's got a taser in him, so if things go bad, he's pretty much my best defense. Save you know, manually tasering people."

There is another pause, Gene looking to the wall for a bit before looking back with a regretful look in his eyes. "Sorry about the tasering thing by the by, last thing I wanted to do was hurt you. You're one of the nicest people I know, you didn't deserve… Everything you went through."

"Th.. they can make abilities!?" Bert is so very behind on all of this. It's sad, and depressing really. Almost embarrassing too. "So.. is that what Pinehearst was doing? Making abilities? I didn't know much about them, just that you split to work with them.. wow. I'm such a horrible geek." She does laugh a bit about R2, "But you have to show off R2. What person can resist that little droid? He's universally recognized, even outside of conventions.. speaking of, you should take him down to Dragon*Con one year, but I'm getting off track." Oh the normality of going to conventions. "Why am I not surprised about you hiding a taser in him? Regular Luke Skywalker, you are."

Bert reaches out a hand to settle on Gene's shoulder, "Hey, you did what you had to do and I wasn't in my right mind. Thank you for helping me, and getting me out of that situation."

Nodding to Bert conclusion on making abilities, Gene lets his head hit lightly the back of the wall. "Pinehearst was… doing bad stuff. I joined them when I thought there was someone being held there against their will. A long story short, when I thought I was doomed to die, I took some risks and went there to handle it alone and try and save the day. It really didn't work out as well as I had hoped."

Turning his head to face Bert, the young man says, "That's why I want to make a difference here. I'm glad I was at least able to protect my friends. I'm glad you're okay too…" He reaches up, placing a few fingers upon the top of her somewhat softer hands. He appears ready to say something, but he glances back down to the screen with a faint redness in his cheeks. Pulling his hand to point at the screen, he asks, "Have any questions about the stuff so far?"

"Sometimes things do tend to go that way." Not the way they are intended or planned. Bert squeezes Gene's shoulder once before retracting her hand. "I'm sorry about the way things at Pinehearst turned out. I guess when dabbling in such matters, people get a bit of a God complex and lose sight of the good they can do." She has the good sense and tact to not press at the redness on Gene's face. "You are making a difference. One step at a time," she says reassuringly. "No, no questions yet. So far everything is easily understood and no different from what I'm used to doing."

The Geek God nods at Bert. "Guess you're right," he says, his voice sounding faintly hoarse for a couple of seconds. "Arthur Petrelli was a bastard, bottom line," Gene states, rarely one to curse, but there it is. As his 'student' announces she is able to understand the program, he nods. "Right. The idea to ensure the computers work together is what I call a primer program. If one computer is an hour or two ahead, it destroys the chance of what I call 'Concert Virii'. If you understand how are sent out and hit together, then you've got it. Heck, I might not have much to teach you… Which is good. If you can be the hacker, I can devote myself to make new tools and of course, a new car."

Gene hrms for a second, getting distracted much like Bert did with talk of Cons. Maybe it's just something that happens from being on the Internet too much. "You know how Tracy found out about her ability? Her sister came to me asking about her and so I did some research and found out about Tracy. Then Tracy comes up and I tell her that she likely has an ability and she should get checked out before its too late. She gets all mad at me for pushing and FREEZES off my car door. And you know, she has NEVER paid me for that car door. Ever."

"Petrelli.. wait.. as in THE Petrellis? Nathan Petrelli, New York Senator? His brother Peter, in trouble?" Bert just /stares/ at Gene. Petrelli isn't a very common name, although she's sure there should be more and unrelated. She pulls her attention back together to Gene's tutelage. A nod here and there is made to show her understanding. "Right. I'll be glad to take over the reigns on this, so you're free to do more important projects. Hacking really isn't that hard if you have a little know-how."

"She's got a sis.. oh.. that would explain her nephew comment.. I didnt' believe her at the time," Bert says, a guilty look flashing across her face. "Maybe if we can de-crazy her too from the Senator, she'll repay the damages."

"Yeah. They have their hands in a lot of pots. Well, all of 'em except Arthur. He's got a strong case of dead." A beat passes before Gene adds, "I think." As Bert talks about Tracy, he shakes his head. "This was before she was involved with Wynn. I doubt she will. She doesn't like me and still doesn't. I think I'm just bad with people, but I guess being home schooled and having like two friends for most of my life will do that for you."

"I.. I see." Bert says, but isn't entirely sure she does. If Gene says he's bad mojo and has a case of the dead, she won't pry further. She'll take him at his word. "Ah, so she wasn't a very approachable person before." SHe's not sure why, but that makes her feel /a bit/ better. For some weird reason. "I don't think you're bad with people. You're very likeable, you just have more experience talking with electronics."

Talk of Tracy causes him to shake his head. "Not really. And glad you think so. I mean, I get along fine with you, Eric, Elena, Mikhail, and even a few other people and there are others that are… Well, they are just lame." He reaches down to get his water, finishing it off as Bert replies.

"See, you're fine with people. Or maybe we just speak your language." Now the quips are coming a little easier for Bert as she delivers a play punch to Gene's shoulder. "This is in good hands, I just need a bit here to study the program and get fully familiar with it. Pretty soon this'll be like navigating a MMORPG half-asleep."

"Right," Gene replies, rubbing his arm with a smirk. "Let me know when you're done with that… I figure the next most useful thing is to teach you how to pilot the Gene-Copter. It's roughly the size of a motorcycle, but it's the toughest, most tricked out unmanned copter you'll ever…" Gene gives a yawn as he stands up, merely moving to his sleeping bag to curl up for the night.

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