2010-04-15: Positional Advantage

Starring:

Carl_V4icon.pngMicah_V4icon.png

Date: April 15, 2010

Summary:

Carl is summoned away and contacts a Rebel.


"Positional Advantage"

Building 27, Governor's Island

Sleeping in the office is never a fun idea, but when the Ferry only runs a few times a day, it sometimes happens. Many people are showing up at work, to get into their various places. Most of the prisoner barracks are now empty, and have been for a long time. Only a small contingent of prisoners remain. Mostly there's soldiers, doctors, and various other people remaining behind.

A knock can suddenly be heard on the door frame of the office, a man known briefly in the halls, one of the guards who seemed close to Jensen, the man in charge of the operation, lately. "Warner, you're both unlucky and lucky. The boat will be leaving in a bit and you need to be on it. We're initiating Eta Protocol." Eta Protocol? That's not something that's been told to most people, but— It must mean something.

It would have been more fun if Jo had been here… but probably more exhausting, too. Carl feels loopy enough as it is, working his mouth to cut through the stale feeling and running his fingers through his hair to straighten it out. "You could have brought coffee with the bad news. Eta— what's Eta?" Always best to learn as much as he can. If it's need-to-know, then he'll be told as much.

Next to him on the desk, a set of desktop monitors display security readouts and log traces, while a Protocol-issue laptop (currently locked) waits for miscellaneous input. There's also a rectangular lump in his shirt pocket: currently a smartphone, though he may swap it out for a pack of cigarettes if he has to get through many more mornings like this one.

"I'm afraid you don't have clearance for that," the man says, a man by the name of Anderson. An ex-marine turned mercenary, hired and brought into Alpha Protocol because of his background with Jensen. They'd served overseas together, both as marines, and as mercenaries.

"It's in preparation for ZETA, which you also don't have clearance for, unfortunately, all I can tell you is we're expecting a terrorist attack on the United Nations building tonight." A glance is cast at his clock. "I got about a dozen more messages to deliver, so pack up anything you want to keep."

Carl waves a dismissive hand. "Right, I get it. See you at Building 28?" The silence following it translates roughly as 'I have nothing else to say, evidently you don't either, go ahead and move on'.

Without missing a beat, he fires up the phone— ignoring the other screens, they're backed up and someone else can grab the hardware if they care that much. He's got something more important to take care of. In this case, sending an encrypted message to a certain old chess rival: (( 7 and 6 soon. Same drill as last year, stat. ))

Elsewhere in New York a young technopath loses Plants vs. Zombies as his own smartphone buzzes, effectively breaking his concentration. With a lopsided smirk, Micah sighs and snaps the laptop shut before receiving the message. He blinks at the message, wholly unsure what to think. It's odd, particularly considering the source. Closing his eyes, Micah focuses his ability and responds exceedingly fast.

«REBEL: THIS LINE IS SECURE. WHAT'S GOING ON?»

By Carl's usual standards, it was from the start. Who knows what Rebel has in mind? The non-determinism of it still bugs the hell out of him— but at the moment, it's the lesser evil. Now he just needs to get as much through the smartphone's mini-keyboard as he can before the ferry arrives.
(( Eta and Zeta imminent, in that order. Agent here says terrorist attack on UN bldg tonight. Agent I trust says Zeta = attacking general public. I'll leave this device behind in proximity to database access - it may be destroyed soon. )) If Building 27 is shut down the same way Building 26 was, anyway…

Micah's eyes open at the message. He stares at the screen, eyebrows furrowing tightly together. It's the fifteenth. Cody had said the fifteenth was significant. Eta and Zeta. Two protocols. Enacted today. With a deep breath, Micah nods, right, if the building is being abandoned, it will likely be destroyed, he was there when they took out Building 26. The memory causes him to shudder, just a little.

«REBEL: RIGHT. I CAN TRY TO FIGURE OUT EXACTLY WHAT'S GOING DOWN. IF YOU HAVE ANY MEANS OF CONNECTING ME DIRECTLY TO THE NETWORK VIA THE PHONE, THAT WOULD BE GOOD.»

With another deep inhale, Micah focuses further, he needs to glean information quickly if its going to be of any use.

Carl furrows a brow, working out a response. The clock is still ticking. (( Risks my deniability. Does it need to last longer than a few seconds? )) Setting the phone down, he unlocks the laptop, bringing up and selecting a set of short-term files. At least he'll have a cover story, if anyone does happen to poke through the right logs or the right security footage.

"Deniability," Micah reads as his eyes narrow into small slits. It's a dangerous business. Chewing on his bottom lip, he closes his eyes yet again, as he sends out an equally fast text,

«REBEL: A FEW SECONDS SHOULD DO IT. LONGER WOULD BE BETTER, BUT I'LL TAKE WHATEVER I CAN GET.»

Beggars can't be choosers.

It's a fair compromise. Carl plugs a cable into the phone, then the laptop, and taps a few keys on each. Then, as the file transfer runs in the background, one more message. (( Ignore what's sending. Study what's not. Go. ))

Micah focuses hard — he needs to think quickly. He doesn't have long so he targets specific keywords, ones that he's most interested in today (and a few he's interested in everyday of the week and twice on Sundays): APRIL 15, ZETA, ETA, ADHAM SAYF UDEEN, and LILIAN MARSHALL. These are the things that interest him the most — he already knows Lilian is connected to today. The fifteenth.

There's immediate information that the young man gets, though most of it heavily encrypted. There's a flicker of binary in his mind, as someone helps him get the email to show in his head, as if it were showing on a screen.

To: Jensen
From: Donaldson

The BETA test in Nevada showed ZETA 01's effectiveness to center from below. The best route of attack will be on the south bound FDR drive. A slow van containing ZETA 01 will focus an upward blast that should destroy the building. Make sure the drivers and all agents on board are ETA, because chances are they will not get out from under it in time.

Use of GAMMA may be required to insure maximum damage.

KAPPA 13 is instructed to remove the asset thirty minutes before appointed time.

ZETA 01 will be kept in location 4 until 4:30pm, and then will leave for location 0. Should reach location 0 at approximitely 5:00pm.

A map pops up after a few minutes. Pictures of the UN complex, FDR drive that goes under the main building, and various vans that they intend to use for the carrying.

And the important thing.

Location 4. An abandoned building on Ward's Island.

After receiving the email, Micah buckles a bit, his eyes open wide as his mouth gapes. Moments later he's zipping off another text to Carl at lightning speed, his eyes clamping shut; there isn't much time — not a moment to waste.

«REBEL: YOU CAN DISCONNECT. I KNOW WHAT I NEED TO DO. THEY'RE GOING TO HURT A LOT OF PEOPLE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP.»

After zipping off the text, Micah stands from his spot on the small couch, places his laptop underneath his arm, and shoves his phone into his pocket. He pulls on a dark coloured hoodie before walking to the front door and murmuring to himself, "They're going to collapse the UN — the world's leaders will be crushed. Save Lilian, save the world."

Well, give the man credit… whatever the hell he just did, he did it fast. Plausible deniability: preserved! Without sending a reply - time enough for that later, if they all make it past the 15th intact - Carl re-locks the laptop, then unhooks the phone and cable, walking out with them to the ferry dock.

What exactly did he find in there? God only knows. As he waits for the boat, his thoughts run in a different direction instead: I'm going to need a new job soon, aren't I.

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