2010-06-19: Out Of Practice

Starring:

Cam_V5icon.pngMicah_V5icon.png

Date: June 19, 2010

Summary:

When a friend is out of contact, Cam gets suspicious, Micah uses his ability, and the pair end up doing some detective work.


"Out of Practice"

Motel Room, Metropolis Illinois

It's now months into Cam and Micah's travels, and they've seen some fantastic places. And some not so fantastic places, like where they find themselves now. Metropolis Illinois, where other than a 15-foot statue of Superman and a 9-foot statue of Lois Lane, doesn't really offer much of interest. At least, not unless they want to buy a Superman pinata or something of the like. Just a town trying to bring in tourists with it's name, for the most part. As the two return to their motel room, Cam says, "Ok, yeah, this wasn't a great pick. Next time you get to choose a spot."

"Meh. It's okay to have a few quiet days anyways," Micah says with a small shrug as he touches the laptop, infiltrating the Lane computer system for hits (as per Mark's request). As usual, he comes up empty. Removing his hand he plops on the bed and offers a kind of fleeting shrug. "We should go to like… Louisiana and sail down the bayou." His eyebrows furrow a little as he thinks about things. "Or not." Too close to New Orleans. To blood-relatives he feels so disconnected from now. He forces a smile, "You can pick again. Although I'd really like to check out the Houston Dinosaur Museum or whatever it's called…"

Cam shrugs a little in response, sitting by his own laptop and opening it up, "Why not the Bayou? We can stay away from your family easy enough, we just stay away from the city. And I can take the heat for a *few* days, especially if there's a lot of water in the air so I can make myself ice packs. I handled it ok in Florida." Speaking of which… he types a URL into his browser, bringing up Gmail. "That's weird. Sam said he'd email me back after his trip, he should have been back days ago. Maybe he left me a message in-game." Sam being a boy the two met at Kennedy Space Center. He and Cam share many of the same interests in the space program, and in World of Warcraft, which Cam loads up now. Of course, Cam spun a totally fictional story about why their parents weren't with them for Sam and his parents, who are now convinced the kids' father was a doctor that had to consult on some emergency surgery, and spent the entire launch sitting in his car teleconferencing his consult via laptop.

"Okay well maybe the bayou then. It'd be a neat trek, and kind fun, I think. Plus, I've always wanted to see it, but we never did for one reason or another." Micah shrugs again as his eyebrows furrow just a little, "He probably messaged you in-game. I don't think anyone's emailing anymore with all of that social networking stuff anyways. And I like technology, but don't think I'll ever understand facebook. I mean honestly, who needs friends that aren't really your friends— they're like fake-internet-friends…"

Cam nods quickly in agreement at the talk of Facebook, "Yeah, definitely! I like Twitter, it's cool. But Facebook just seems boring to me." He shrugs a little again, and says, "I guess people use it just because it's 'cool', makes them look like they have thousands of friends." He maneuvers his character to a mailbox, opening it and frowning. "No message here either. That's weird."

"Maybe he forgot?" Micah offers as he lays back on the bed and closes his eyes tightly. "People forget things. Or. Maybe he got grounded from the computer. Man. That would be the worst. Although I'm pretty sure I could devise a sneaky way online still." His lips curl into a mischievous smile as his eyes open before he shakes his head. "What was he messaging you about? Just to let you know about his trip?"

Cam nods a little again and says, "Yeah, you're probably right. I guess I just get a little antsy when people disappear on me." It's something that's happened a lot in his life. His own parents (twice if you count them going to jail), Niki and D.L. both multiple times including the last, Micah twice… In any case, he shrugs and he closes up the laptop again, sitting back, "Yeah, he said he was going to visit someone, but didn't say who. Or where, even." He shrugs again, and then says, "Ok, I picked a few times, so Bayou and then Houston? Then we can go somewhere cooler, like Alaska."

Micah offers his foster brother a small smile. "With good reason. Nothing about our lives has been remotely normal according to anyone. Not even before we went out on our own. Honestly, it makes sense." His smile turns a little regretful, but he brushes it aside. "So no details about who he was visiting at all? That's… weird. Did you want me to see if I could find his laptop… does he have a cellphone?" He shrugs a little. "And yeah, we can head to Alaska or something— "

Cam nods quickly then and says, "That'd be great, yeah. He doesn't have a cellphone, his parents won't let him until he can pay the bill himself, but he's got a computer, obviously. I'll forward you one of his emails so you can get the tracing." He opens up his laptop and does just that.

Micah opens up his own laptop before opening his email. As he closes his eyes he takes a deep breath, "It could take a bit… I'm getting a little out of practice…" He has. While he uses his ability frequently, this kind of tracking takes a lot of his focus and energy. Laying a hand on the laptop, he focuses hard and follows the email, tracing the IP address and seeking when and where Sam's last email was sent.

Cam nods to that and says, "Ok, cool. No rush." He sits back and loads up WoW again while Micah works. Might as well do a few quests. When Micah tracks the email back, he'll find a desktop PC, not a laptop. And, strangely, someone is downloading everything on the PC. And Micah would probably recognize the software being used to crack and copy the PC. Government issue, used by many agencies, from the former Alpha Protocol to the FBI. It's local only, though, so someone is plugged into Sam's computer by USB at this very moment.

"That's weird…" Micah quips as he pushes his focus further. Anxiously, decidedly, he fights, focusing that ability of his to follow what's being done to that computer and downloading its contents into his own laptop. It's not fast, or particularly convenient, but it is what it is. His face tenses as his concentration increases.

Other than a nice collection of probably illegally-obtained MP3's, Sam's computer is mostly full of game installs, and of course his email, on an old version of Pegasus Mail. The email is really the only thing anybody from the government could possibly be interested in, unless they're really cracking down on pirate music all of a sudden. Cam looks up at Micah's words, but seeing the look of concentration he stays quiet, for the moment. He does quit WoW quickly, though, in case Micah needs the bandwidth.

And Micah definitely needs the bandwidth. Stretching himself further, he focuses on that Pegasus Mail. Weird. The MP3s don't seem worth his time so frantically, he weaves through files and files of data, extracting it onto his laptop quickly. If he can't break the connection between the computer and the people taking the data he can at least see what they're interested in, maybe.

The mail software databases are only about 500mb, so much easier to get than the whole system. If Micah takes a look inside the emails, though there's many many emails inside, there's a folder called Thomas. Here there's dozens of emails going back weeks. Someone called Thomas has been befriending Sam, and it appears to be him that Sam went to see the weekend before.

After managing to retrieve the software database, Micah takes a moment, just one, before he gets to work opening them. He begins to open the Thomas emails in turn, trying to get information about this person. Finally Micah clucks his tongue, "He's been communicating with someone named Thomas he was supposed to visit. I could track down the IP address, maybe get an address so we can follow-up on Sam…" He pauses realizing he hasn't explained, "Someone government-y was on Sam's computer trying to get what I pulled off, I think… it might be good to check out…"

Cam blinks at Micah's words, sitting up a little straighter, "Thomas? He didn't mention anybody like that to me… but that doesn't mean too much, he hardly ever talked about friends." He then nods quickly and says, "Sure. Why would the government want his computer? The AP's been shut down, hasn't it?" He's not thinking more normal reasons like a missing person's case, his experience with the government so far not having been great after all.

"Alright. I will… try to track down this Thomas person…" Micah's eyebrows furrow before he shrugs at Cam, "Well the government isn't all bad all of the time." Although for the life of him, the teen can't currently think of an instance where they didn't. Of course, that's thanks to them killing their parents and all.

With another deep breath, Micah clamps his eyes shut again and runs a trace on the IP using satellite and the distinct computer signature, following the information as far as it will go.

This time it's simpler. It comes to the private network of a Mr. and Mrs. Samson, a couple with an unsecured wireless network. Looking at their computer, they seem to be retired and only use the computer to Facebook their kids, with a Tivo connected to the wireless network as well. Obviously Thomas hijacked their wifi. Tracing other emails comes to similar things, never tracking back to Thomas himself but just to unsecured wireless networks. They're going to have to find Thomas another way. Cam, meanwhile, nods and says, "I guess. I'd rather get Sam out of whatever trouble he's in with them in any case." Then he quiets again to let Micah work.

"I think… I think I might be stuck. It's not his wi-fi. Every network is unsecured and I can't trace it back to him. An address isn't easy… we could read the emails and do some detective work. It'll take time and I think I need a break from this…" Micah manages a small smile. "I haven't been practicing since…" Since that day when they really were heroes and saved Llilian. "I mean, I use it, but it's mostly recreationally." He opens the emails the old-fashioned way. "Maybe we can figure out where they were meeting?"

Cam nods a little to that and says, "Yeah, no problem. Take a break." He grins and says, "Detective work is fun anyway. And doesn't risk you burning out your power." He moves over so he can see the emails on Micah's screen as well, bringing his laptop and starting to take notes. This may take a little while.

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