2009-11-11: Shadow Trekking



Date: November 11th, 2009


Following Peter's visit, Bert hitches a ride on the Eric express to rendezvous with Gene.

"Shadow Trekking"


Piano music with odd snyth undercurrents plays in the background as Gene watches his screen. Blade Runner plays on the laptop, a pivotal science fiction in the minds of many. The studio apartment he is in doesn't have much in the way of furniture, sleeping bags rolled out on the floor. There seems to be a lot in the way of consumed food and Mountain Dew, a couple of cans by Gene as he leans against the wall and seats himself on the floor. For now, he is alone, watching with a cool and almost blank expression to the screen.

After her shower was interrupted by Peter, Bert was 'picked up' by Eric and dropped off to meet Gene. Traveling by shadow is disorienting, but it's better than being followed or tracked. She took care to leave a nice mess in her apartment, as if there was a struggle. Just in case. In her hand is an overnight bag containing a few necessities, her laptop and a few thumb drives full of information. She raps her knuckles against the doorframe, already in, courtesy of Eric. "Hey," she says softly before venturing closer to Gene. "I've got some stuff for you. It's not much, but hopefully a start."

"Bert… I got the message," Gene starts, closing up his laptop and pushing himself up with the wall as support. Looking over Bert first to make sure his next words aren't a lie, he asks, "Glad to see that you aren't hurt. You were saying something about things going wrong?"

"Uhm, yeah," Bert states as she opens up her overnight bag, rummaging through an inside pocket. A couple of flash drives are withdrawn and handed over to Gene. "I can also give you the location of the building. That's.. all the information I could get before I screwed up royally. I'm so sorry." It almost sounds like a pleading apology for leading the wolves to the door. Almost. "I.. went to speak with Tracy Strauss, one of those being held. You'll probably know her as a lobbyist. Anyway, I went to apologize to her, and I.. well she grabbed me, and I had a crisis of conscience. I unfastened her restraints and let her out. It started a huge mess and she used me as a hostage, but didn't get very far."

"What?" The young man clutches his head with both hands, almost ready to scream like the child star of Home Alone. He doesn't though, thankfully distracted by flashdrives. "Are you a fugitive now too?" he asks, his tone concerned despite the lack of eye contact.

"No.. not really.. But I've essentially been fired. This happened yesterday and early this morning when I went to work my access to the building was revoked and none of my passwords work for remote access to the servers." Bert heaves a heavy sigh and looks a bit like a kicked puppy. "I'm sorry, I know this screws things up, but hopefully that information will still be useful. They've moved some of the captives.. and.. I feel so.. I can't even begin to describe it. I got too trusting of Tracy, but you didn't see how they had her locked up. Shackled with her arms spread out and baking under heat lamps. It was like a desert in there." She looks to Gene, pleadingly, "If you're mad, I don't blame you. I'm mad at myself. She killed someone before they got her locked back up. But.. I know the servers and they can't have done any major revamps in twenty-four hours. My access may be gone, but I can give you what you need to try and hack in."

"If you had just waited, we could have just saved her with a well-thought out operation. Not that those fare any better sometimes. I had my genius plan, but SOMEONE messed it all to hell when they didn't follow orders." There is a pause before Gene looks up with an apologetic look. "Not you, someone ELSE that didn't do what they were supposed to." Gene winces again. "I mean, thank you for all your hard work." Gene is seated with his laptop now, so when he tries to hug, he puts his arms around Bert's legs instead. There is a short pause before his hand rests on the back of a calf. "You must do a lot of walking in the NSA or something."

Bert looks frustrated with herself, and sounds it. "I know that. It was a weak moment, okay? I'm new to all of this! Everything I've learned about spy stuff, I saw in a movie, a game or read in a book or comic." She doesn't say anything as her legs are hugged, but flushes a bit at Gene's hand on her calf. "Yeah, a lot of walking as well as climbing ladders and crawl spaces to rig up surveillance.. speaking of which.. When I got barred from the building, I came home to find my apartment under surveillance. Bugs all over the place, which I took care of. They even put a LoJack on my motorcycle. I left that in place, and there's been a van parked out front. So it's good Eric has ways of moving about. I dunno how I would have gotten here otherwise."

"Well, I have a high powered motorcycle that you won't see until five or ten years at least. Just to let you know, since you're no longer working for the government…" Dramatic pause. "…I'm Evolved too." This dramatic fact would likely have more impact if Gene doesn't comment as only Gene can. "I likely should take my hand off your calf now, shouldn't I?" Thankfully, he is socially aware enough to know that is foolish question to ask and goes back to working on the laptop. "As for being used to the spy stuff, same here. Most of my awesome comes from the stuff I design, which is roughly ninty percent of Evosoft's hardware. I'm not the Intern for the R&D… I am the R&D. The other guys there just get me coffee and do all the boring stuff that I don't want to do."

Gene pauses for a moment before he looks up, finally meeting Bert's eyes with his own, speaking of his offer like it was as simple as walking a dog. "You want me to make you a new motorcycle?"

"I uhm.. yeah." Bert says as she blinks before settling down with her bag, withdrawing her own laptop. "So, you've got a power too? I know I should be shocked and stunned, but somehow, I'm not. So what can you do?" It's strange how casual sounding that is as she boots up her lappy. "I could go back. Maybe talk directly to the Senator about what I can do to get back in.. but.." She pales a little, "I'm afraid of going nuts again and being .. well.." Need she say more? A ghost of a grin is flashed towards Gene as he explains the R&D situation. "Again, why am I not surprised? I should have figu.. what?" She waits, lets this stew and digest. "You mean like a bat-cycle or something?" Because that.. would be the ult. "I could never dream of replacing Ernie, I just left the LoJack on to humor the Feds."

"I don't want you NEAR Wynn again," Gene states, his voice icy cold. His mood sours with such speed, it may be scary. He takes a deep breath in and out before he goes on, his tone lightening to almost be at its original state. "If you have the ins, I can take it from there. I don't want anyone else getting because I asked them to be in bad spots."

At the mention of his ability, Gene shrugs. "As for my ability? I build. Artoo was from scratch. My car was from scratch. At age 14, I assisted with the technology that would make the Predators possible. Also build a working Terminator, though he isn't nearly as durable as the movies." He assumes that Bert is familiar with the unmanned recon vessels that the Air Force is using in other countries as they speak…. Maybe even this one. He shrugs, looking back to his laptop as he reviews more of the information. "Yeah, I could build the batcycle. I've done something similar before. Just something to think about."

Bert blinks and looks as if she's going to back-pedal away from Gene at the change in tone. "O-okay," she says. "I guess, maybe it's good then that I screwed up and got barred." Lord knows she couldn't continue to avoid Wynn forever. "Truth be told, I was scared every day I went back, every moment that I'd run into him, or that he might show up at my apartment." Fortunately, she's not going to be ill again over this.

The disturbed and wary expression Bert was giving for the change in tone disappears. She now is eying him, looking quite impressed. "I knew you were a genius, but damn. That's a pretty awesome ability to have. I still can't believe all this was going on around me and I was stupid to it all." She shifts her gaze to her laptop screen and starts pulling up a lot of the programs she uses, err, used, at work. "Since you're this genius boy wonder and all, here's what I used for work. It's my personal laptop, otherwise I'm sure these programs would have been remotely killed."

Like most of Gene's most bitter enemies, Ivory has no idea of the young man's hate for him. Hopefully, it will not turn Gene to the Dark Side of the Force. Still, Bert does a good job in distraction Kensington, quirking a brow. "Well, I /was/ phobic that if my gifts were discovered and used by the government they would abuse them for selfish gain." Suddenly Gene raises his volume and shakes a fist. "PEOPLE ALWAYS TOLD ME I WAS BEING PARANOID. I WAS JUST WELL-INFORMED!" Coughing as his outburst was sure to disturb Bert, Gene speaks with a meek smile. "Anyway, if I can see the programs you have…" With that, he puts down his laptop to make reachy motions with his hands. You know, like a three year old asking for his favorite toy.

Bert manages to laugh at Gene. "I can see why you would worry." She helpfully hands over the laptop to the man. It's a lot of monitoring programs, access to the network, camera feeds, etc. The programs of course do require the secure and encrypted login. "I should have brought you my laptop and logins before I got sacked. That would have been more helpful." She heaves a sigh and lets Gene have at it with her laptop. "The information on the flash drives contain lists of names. I can give the main building address of course.. I just don't know what else to do, or what comes next."

The information is set in front of Gene and the young man immediately goes for the programs. He talks as he clicks on the laptop as he is seated on the floor. "We'll, considering you know their IT practices, that is the key. After all, knowing how and when they change encryption and what sort of people don't check their logins often… The smaller things are what are key. Your information may matter in this more than my ability to hack."

Gene pauses as he opens them up and suddenly… His eyes get a little odd. They glaze over slightly, yet the pupils dart back and forth like he is speedreading. He tears through the code, moving through it line by line. Suddenly the conversation is put on pause.

"Really? Good. I'm glad I can still be of some help to this. I want to stick it in their eye, that what they're doing is /wrong/." Bert is firm on this, and she'd also like to plant her foot in Ivory Wynn's backside. "I'll make notes on all of that for you.. which.. I'll do right now.. since you've gone all weird in the face." She tears herself from staring intently at Gene as he sets to work. From her bag, she pulls out a notepad and pen and starts writing down encryption change times, login information, security check timespans, etc.

"Of course your ability to hack is amazing," Eric's voice comes from the entrance of the room as the businessman and shadowcaster arrives as he strolls into the room with a grocery bag tucked into one arm. "He gets that way when he's concentrating. You'll get used to it." He adds towards Bert as he strolls towards the pair and sets a bag on a table. "I brought some stuff for us to eat, and a few drinks." He adds towards the pair.

People are talking. Gene doesn't notice.

"Ah, I see and welcome back." Bert says, glancing up at Eric, then looking back to her paper as she draws out the notes for Gene. "It's a little disturbing. If I hadn't figured on my own that's what he was doing, it'd be tempting to dial 9-1-1." Pausing in her writing, she looks across to Eric and says, "Thanks for coming to get me by the way."

"No problem," Eric waves off the thanks as he smiles towards the woman and nods slightly towards her before he raises his hand and shrugs slightly letting a small globe of blackness appear spinning in his hand for a moment before he dissipates it. "These powers of mine are indeed good for something." He adds with a shrug of his shoulders. "I'm just happy I can help a little bit."

"They're pretty kick-ass. Both of you. I'm almost sad I didn't get an invite to the club o'super powers. I say almost, because just what I've gone through? Woof." Bert says with a shake of her head as she resumes writing. She's glad to be doing something, otherwise she would be kicking herself quite a bit.

"You have sexy, well-kempt calves," Gene replies to talk of super powers. Maybe he has some awareness of his surroundings. Or maybe Gene is just being odd. Both are plausible.

"Well trust me a lot of the fun fades when you are getting chased for it," Eric pauses for a moment before he slooooowly looks down towards Bert's legs. "Hrmmm. You are correct Gene." Pause. "We shouldn't show her to Darkwing. He'll have costumes lined up for her." He adds lightly before he turns a bright grin towards Bert once again.

WELL. What does a person say to that!? Besides.. "Thank you Gene." Bert just attributes the comment to Gene finally paying attention and being odd. So both. Highly plausible. Almost confirmed even. "So I've seen," she says in a grim tone and stops writing. "It's no way to treat people. Not even convicted criminals get treated like this.. and.. costume? Do I get a costume? And you know, I should take offense that you boys are feeling up my legs and staring at them.."

"I was hugging and my hand was feeling, but unless Eric feels your legs while I'm not around, he was just commenting," Gene states, still studying the program. He must be in some between state or something because he isn't going as fast. Clearly this stage does… Something to Gene. "At least I did not test your physical being by poking your breast. I learned that doing to women with super strength, EVEN if it is a valid concern to do some people speaking to you through mental representations, does not usually end well."

"Oh god…oh yes, if my friend /ever/ finds out that you /want/ a costume you might just regret it," Eric says with a snort of laughter. "And no, no offense. I mean I haven't felt up your legs at all so there is no reason for you to be offended. Unless you /want/ me to do that then you can take offense." Eric replies lightly before he winces slightly. "Dude Gene, /never/ do that to any woman. Especially one that can punch you threw walls."

"Excuses," Bert quips as she hands over the notes she's written thus far to Gene. "I, you did what?" Now she's turning to stare directly at Gene. "You.. did not poke a woman in the breast.. do I even want to know why? And who is this friend of yours that does costumes… oh speaking of friends. I saw Peter Petrelli earlier. He uhm. Teleported into my bathroom. That's what you guys do call it right? So many phrases that can be used.. either he's really bad with his abilities, or he still doesn't know who he fully is."

Finally, Gene finishes, his eyes going back to their usual state. "I was dealing with a girl that was mental projection. Considering I was working in a job with TONS of Evolved, I had to make sure that the woman I was talking to was actually the person I was talking to and not an illusion. Not only did I prove she was real, but she acted as the woman expected. If she was happy I did it or didn't threaten to kill me, I would know that it was not her, but someone else."

There is a pause as Gene looks toward Eric. "Wait, did you say she could take offense if she said you could feel up her legs and then you did it? And you are calling ME illogical?" Gene appears ready to say more before he quirks a brow at Bert's words. "I thought Peter was captured. How can he be captured and teleporting into Bert's bathroom?" There is a pause as Gene looks to Bert. "Did you poke him in the breast?"

"…so it was a logical groping," Eric says slowly before he hrmmms and shakes his head slightly. "I guess I can go with that." He adds after a moment before he shakes his head. "No no, I was telling her that she /could/ take offense /if/ I did feel up her legs." He says cheerfully towards the Genius. Then a blink as he looks back towards Bert. "….wait wait. Yes I thought Peter was /captured/. I mean some guys hit him with a helicopter and the last I heard they dragged the body off! How can he have met you?"

Bert just.. facepalms at Gene's explanation. She's not sure she wanted to know or not! "No more touching my legs for now, plskthx." She's been touched waaay more than she likes and by someone she didn't allow entirely of her own free will. "Peter was captured, but, I think.. I think the same spell I was under, is happening to him. That's maybe why he's free to run around. He seemed surprised he could teleport, since he wound up in the bathroom." While she was showering. "No. I didn't poke him. I threw a bar of soap at him." MOVING ON. "He was kept in a room of his own, but maybe they don't realize he can teleport, or maybe they thought he can't.. I don't know.. I figured out he's some sort of Pokemon master of abilities on my own.. but all I can really point back to is he's got to be under the same influence as I was."

Thankfully, Gene is smart enough to only nod to Eric's statement. "Why is it that I am a good guy and I am getting yelled at by the heroines except for Elena and Peter, who seems to be a tool of The Man, never gets in trouble with anyone but Elena? It's like we are cosmic opposites," Gene oberserves. He thinks about this matter for a moment. "Guess I'll just have to find out what the heck is going on when I hack into the government's website."

"I think you're right Gene. If you or I had teleported into a bathroom we would have been beaten half to death with a loofa," Eric says thoughtfully before giving a slight sigh. "I guess being a good guy doesn't pay. He's working for them now though Bert?" A pause then. "…that could make things difficult. Especially if someone is planning a rescue attempt for him and don't know this information. We'll have to get word to someone as soon as we can about it."

"Who said you were in trouble now?," Bert quips towards Gene. "I did threaten him with a loofah, and he got roundly shouted at." But she could tell it was an accident, so didn't beat up the guy for it. "I think so. That's my best guess. Doing what, I'm not sure, but he's definitely on a leash of theirs somehow. Hmm… it may not be as difficult as you think. Have Elena lay hands on him and fix it like she did for me." Oh if only Bert knew of the history between Peter and Elena!

Gene just looks at Eric. He's not touching THAT topic.

There is a wince from Eric, covered quickly but not quite quickly enough. A dark look before he closes his eyes and starts to turn away from the young man and the NSA analyst. "Yeah. He would love that." He murmurs before he turns away and starts unpacking the grocery bag. "I'm going to get something from the kitchen. That and laugh at Peter being likened to a Pokemon." Pause. "Laugh /a lot/ about that. Yes. You can bring her up to speed on Peter."

"I gave you a pointed stare, Eric, which meant you were supposed to do it." Gene folds his arms as he grumps about the buck being passed back… Which means that he passes it to someone who isn't even present to return the favor. Turning his attention back to Bert, Gene replies, "Ask Elena. I recommend you do so AFTER bribing her with food. Maybe WHILE bribing her with food. And then REWARDING her with food."

"Good food!" Comes Eric's voice from the kitchen. "She likes pizzas! Whole ones!"

"I feel bad for him. I just don't know how to help him other than letting Elena do to him what she did to me." Bert then falls silent, looking between the two men, bewilderment on her face. "I am so lost." This is what happens when you tune in late to the game!

"We'll see what we can do later. Right now, just know that Elena is not happy with Peter. Now if you both excuse me, I need to make this government stuff have some zing to it. Then maybe start an online riot to make an opening to hack into the Government." And with that, Gene gets out his laptop and beings to type furiously on the keyboard.


Coming back into the room with a bottle of Bawls that he thunks down in front of Bert without a word the young man sighs and shakes his head. "Elena and Peter were an item." He says towards Bert with little preamble. "About a year and a half ago he…did something that she didn't like. At all. A bit of a betrayal you might just say. She left him and went to collage out state, about four or five months after I left for Oxford." He adds before he shakes his head. "Its complicated. Like it usually is…anyway…drink your Bawls and lets let Gene work."

Now that you mention it, yes. Of course Bert was sort of razzle dazzled into believing doing Ivory Wynn's bidding was the bestest thing EVAR. "No problem-o." As much as she wants to watch Gene at work (play), she pushes up from the floor after the bottle of BAWLs is thunked down in front of her. She smiles her thanks to Eric before twisting it open and taking a chug. What to do now, and such a loaded question. "Alright. Maybe we can talk strategy while he's doing that." Or do nothing but try and relax. The latter sounds quite excellent.

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