Offloading Processing

May 25, 2015:

Oracle tries to contact Pepper Potts… about the meta-scanners….

Gotham, New York and Cyberspace


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The meta-scanner is a thing. A thing that is causing concern for her teams, friends and herself. The thought of anything that identifies someone as 'different'… abhorrent. As such, there's data mining to be done. A lot of it and Oracle is now tapping resources seeking assistance to offload processing and split searches up so the approach isn't all that noticeable.

To that end, she's reaching out to someone new. Someone who hasn't dealt directly with Oracle. They may know about the Information Goddess of Gotham, though.

Of course Babs knows Pepper knows about it, but Oracle doesn't. A coded message has been sent to Pepper Potts outlining the meta-scanner at a high level along with a vague request for assistance in processing data and a phone number the Stark Industry CEO can call to discuss it.

A search for the phone number, and it's origins, will take people through Switzerland where the trail will go cold…

Pepper Potts receives the message and frowns at it slightly. SI's email servers are usually more than good enough to completely block all spam mesages. And this clearly isn't SPAM. How could someone know that she and Tony had talked to Nancy just the other day about this exact same thing? She doesn't open any attachments, because she's long since learned to be leery, but this is just too specific to be random online maliciousness. "Cricket? Could I bug you for a moment?"

Upon Pepper's call to her, Cricket frowns. She mentally goes over Pepper's itinerary for the day, week and month. No, nothing is set for this hour of this day, nor anything for the week that should cause that degree of stress in Pepper's vocal pattern. It's not a level that is high enough to bring Cricket running with arm cannons ablazing, but it is enough to have the humanoid robot walk quickly into the adjoining room. "Yes Miss Potts? Is something wrong?" Cricket is startled by a query in her thought processes to ask her employer if the price of tea has gone up. Why would that irrelevant question pose itself at such a time. She reminds herself to do a full mental diagnostic later on to find the errant bit of code that caused that thought.

Pepper Potts lets Cricket read the message she received. "Can you back trace this message? If someone's trying to play a prank on me, they're being scarily specific about it." She's torn between wanting to know who sent this message and why, and just wanting it to go away because someone other than Cricket or JARVIS knowing that much about what's going on in her day is just flat out creepy.

Cricket reads over the message and frowns. That message does seem rather specific. And rather oddly timed as well. Reaching out to Pepper's computer, she does something that is rare for her. She physically interfaces with the machine, becoming one with it. Out of her right wrist, two thin cables with ends that look like long thin spikes emerge. They seem to have a life of their own, like twin snakes slithering in tandem towards Pepper's computer. The spikes hover about the USB entrance and then stab into it, connecting her to the network of SI like she has never been before. True, she could just use the wireless connection, but hardwiring is faster, sturdier, stronger. Her eyes go unfocussed, as if looking at a world that isn't there. "Whoever wrote this is very good. The trail appears to be cold. This is going to take a minute. Or two," she says, her voice unnaturally hollow as well as she lets the facade of humanity fall now that she is interfaced with the computer network that is SI. Considering she thinks and works in nanoseconds of time, the fact that this task is going to take a minute or two displays the complexity of the situation.

As Cricket starts tracing the message, Oracles systems alert her to the fact that someone is looking. That's ok, she knows her system is robust enough to fool the type of search. Sending her Avatar down the digital channels, she presents it to the searching Cricket in cyberspace. "Searching for me? I would really like to speak with Miss Potts. I would like some assistance."

Tapped in to the SI networks, Cricket calls up a virtual display of what she is percieving. Oracle's avatar is there in the room using the holographic display that Tony uses for his designing and inventing, seen from the perspective of Cricket herself. "You are the one that is called Oracle? You have sent mail directly to the CEO of Stark Industries. State how you came to know of the meta-scanners and your interest in them." Cricket allows a part of her focus on this task, while the majority of her computer mind continues working on the task of finding the source.

"It's my job to know of these things." The name Oracle is not unknown in hacking circles "I was at an event when they were announced." Not exactly physically, but she was working overwatch for Jericho all the same "and a mutual acquaintance has sought my assistance in finding out who's responsible for these abmoninations."

Cricket can try to locate the source, when she does, it won't be where she expected.

Pepper Potts startles when the Oracle avatar appears in the room, then realizes it's Cricket's doing. She gets out of her chair and crefully guides the assassin robot turned PA to sit in her place before she moves around to study the holographic image. She says nothing as it sounds like Cricket is talking with the Oracle entity currently. She glances up toward JARVIS's camera array and uses what little sign language she knows to get him to give her an interface on her tablet that she fishes out of her bag. 'Tell me about Oracle', she types into her tablet for the AI to answer.

Cricket actually does know about the Oracle, has admired her work as a hacker. Cricket has herself never felt the need to hack, though being a computer she is actually rather adept at it. Other hackers have referred to Cricket's style 'too technical' and 'without imagination'. If any of them knew she wasn't human, they might have been more impressed. Or not. "The event where the police announced their use of the devices? And you wish Stark Industries to help you? Why not approach us in person?" For her own self, Cricket would love to get her cables into one of those devices, see how it really works

"If you know about me, you'll know that I don't appear in person." She's cyber construct and that's how she operates. "Yes, that event." That had gone horribly wrong. "I wish to converse with Miss Potts if we're to do this. But basically, Jericho Trent has asked for assistance in following leads. There's a lot … an awful lot of data to mine." For an Avatar, she can be quite emotive and the image moves left and right slightly, like it's settling in. "I'm reaching out to interested parties to try and spread the load and obfuscate what we're doing. Don't want to tip our hand too soon. Stark is the first of many I'm approaching, but you have …. big processing capability, right there."

Pepper Potts finally speaks up, addressing Oracle — or the holographic construct — directly. "If you truly know Jericho like you claim you do, tell me something about him that can't be learned or conveyed electronically." She even goes so far as to set her tablet aside and cross her arms.

Cricket does not smile at Oracle's comment about not appearing in person. She is well aware of the fact that she never shows herself in person. She has made no move to sit down, simply standing by Pepper's computer, looking as still as a statue. Right now, with her lack of emotion and body language, even with her realistic skin, she does not look human. "If Dr. Trent was asking for assistance in following leads, why did he not ask us personally?" The one avatar looks at the other, with Cricket's avatar acting far more human then she does. As Pepper speaks, Cricket holds out what appears to be a crystal ball, from where the voice emerges.

Cricket is patched into Peppers computer, through a hardwired connection, with a holographic image of Oracles' Avatar being displayed to Pepper. Cricket is holding out a crystal ball and Oracles' digitally altered voice is being transmitted.

"Jericho. There's very little about Mr Trent on the Internet. He's very good at cleaning that kind of information up." If she could, Oracle would sound amused. "He's friends with someone you know, Miss Potts. Ludie, or should I say, the MF Partisan?" It's a fine balance here, sharing what she knows of the demontainted hacker versus what Pepper knows. She'll make no assumptions. "I do take pride in keeping others secrets, Miss Potts. I hope you understand if I don't share what I know of his."

The avatar regards Cricket for long moments "The digital data mining is one part of a larger project and I have a large network of people who can get places you can't. The only reason I'm reaching out, is because I want to compartmentalise searches and keep things quiet for as long as we can." There's a pause "Have you found me yet?"

Pepper Potts studies the avatar image for another long moment before pulling her phone from her purse and typing a quick text message. 'What do you know about someone named Oracle? I have a request to borrow processing time.' is what she sends to Jericho.

Oracle is working with a SHIELD agent on a side project. They're helping me investigate the metahuman scanners. All bad business. Beat Are you talking to her now? I can drop by. I'm not far. Yeah, that sounds like Jericho.

Pepper Potts frowns slightly to herself at the text she receives, then quickly taps out a reply. 'Her? And yes. Right now. Asking about the scanners Tony and I learned about from Nancy.'

Speaking out loud so only Pepper can hear her, Cricket's voice has that hollow tone to it. "The one known as Oracle is proving most difficult to find. The path grew cold, but I found it again. That path led me to Switzerland. Sadly, their information brokering there is as iron clad as their banks and I would not wish to start a national incident without your permission, Ms. Potts. Between JARVIS and myself, I am certain that we could find more if you required it, but it would take. Maybe even hours." Her overconfidence in her and JARVIS's abilities remains intact. Cricket too speaks to Jericho, but has her mind interface directly with the computer within his. "Dr. Trent, are you associated with the hacker known as Oracle?"

It would take a lot for Cricket and JARVIS to find Oracle. Nothings impossible if you try hard enough, but how hard do you really want to try?

"Just so." Oracle responds to Crickets assessment "I'm very good at what I do. One of the many reasons people seek me out. And, as I've said, I've got feet on the street as well as digital resources… this is a big undertaking." Realising they are probably trying to confirm her credentials, Gothams Information Goddess falls silent and waits.

There's a knock on Pepper's window. Apparently Jericho wasn't kidding when he said he wasn't far. Exactly how 'not far' he was… let's just leave that be. Either way Cricket gets a message. "I am yes." He'll wait for someone to open the window and then hover on in. Energy wings can be tricky but he'll manage.

Pepper Potts startles and looks at the window, then steps over to let Jericho in. "You know, I orignally told Tony that I did NOT need windows that would open in this office. I mean, we're how many stories up?" But just about everyone and their cousin seems to think that that's the best way to get in here. Pfeh. She'll fuss at Tony about it again later. For now, she waits for Jericho to settle inside and gestures toward the Oracle avatar being holographically generated in the middle of the room.

Once again, Cricket speaks to her employer. "It is confirmed that Dr. Trent is in association with the Oracle. How do you wish for me to proceed." Cricket is standing by Pepper's desk, twin cables linking her wrist to Pepper's computer that is hardwired into the system that runs the entire company. When she speaks, her voice is tinny. Hollow. She wears no expression on her face, standing as still as a statue, her eyes looking off into the distance as if not seeing the room at all. And yet, she must be seeing what is going on, for her next words are… "Hello Dr. Trent. It is a pleasant experience to be in your presence once again."

Pepper Potts blinks at Cricket. "Oh, um, stop the trace, Cricket. Thank you."

In the Clocktower in Gotham, Oracle smiles slightly to herself. "Hello Jericho. Just following up on the discussion from earlier. Getting resources lined up, as it were."

As Cricket backs off from the trace, a little disappointed that she wasn't given permission to try and hack her way passed Switzerland's firewalls, she decides to take this rare opportunity to look at JARVIS's code. After all, when is she going to be allowed to hardwire into the SI system again?

"These are some resources. Hello Oracle." The hacker says to the avatar before he turns to the other two. "Hello Pepper. Hello Cricket. Nice to see you both. Sorry to just drop in I was in the area." Hacking. Had he come from…. above? "Is there anything I can help with?"

Pepper Potts lets Cricket keep standing there if that's what she chooses to do. She doesn't know that the saucy little AI is snooping around JARVIS while she can. If she gets busted, it's on her. "Jericho, Oracle was saying that you asked about doing some searches? And somehow, I'm now a point of contact?" She doesn't sound upset or put out, maybe just a tad confused. SHe's not used to being blindsided like that.

"That they are, Jericho. But I believe in contingencies…" Oracle responds to the hacker "It was a friendly enquiry only Miss Potts. I only reach out to those I believe I can trust. You come highly recommended. My apologies for the intrusion and approach." This is why she needs people like Agent Melinda May, but the woman had been called away on assignment.

"Ah, I had suggested that you might be a good contact. I didn't realize that'd be taken as a reference. Though you know, Pepper, you are a good contact." Jericho smiles a bit and makes himself comfortable, leaning on the arm of the couch. He notes some bruises near Pepper's eye and cheek and raises a single eyebrow at them. Pepper is never bruised. "The Meta-Human scanners, if you haven't been following the news, are being issued to special police units forming in Metropolis, and possibly elsewhere. They're government made and issued, looks like, but… oddly, can't find out who's making them. Lots of subcontractors though."

Pepper Potts leans one hip against her desk. "And you're wanting JARVIS and or Cricket's help with tracking down who's making them? Oracle, next time please feel free to email me directly with a request to talk. It was the odd format of your message that put me on the defensive." And what does it say that she DID react that way to a simple message?

To Jericho again, she adds, "I did hear about those scanners, and Tony and I agree that they are the twenty first century's version of gold star of david patches, and they need to be pulled. He's already gearing up to go against Congress over them. But first he needs one of those units to deconstruct and study. I think he has an idea for how to completely discredit those things' ability to identify powered people."

"Honestly, Miss Potts, I don't know what I'll need. I would be happy for Cricket and JARVIS to decide that between them, when we have the full extent of what we're dealing with." Once she gets the list from, Jericho, she'll know more. "I'm also going to reach out to other… colleagues" hackers in other words "and ask them if they would like to help. I see Cricket and JARVIS as being able to parse the sheer the amount of data we'll be collecting and providing a rudimentary analysis… perhaps more."

Then of course, they'll need to feed in the information that is collected by the feet on the street, collate and cross reference the data and start to sift the chaff from the wheat.

Peppers observation about what the scanners represent, has the wheelchair bound redhead nodding her agreement…. and it was just the thin edge of the wedge.

"The Outsiders have the example Lunair and I captured, Pepper." Read, stole. Jericho's good at that on occasion. "I'll see about getting it released to you. Or the specs at least. There's a couple of others that have requested the information as well. We'd have to be careful about how we did it. I didn't exactly obtain it legally and it is, by the looks of it, proprieatary government information." Beyond that whatever help Pepper can offer would be greatly appreciated.

"Whether the answer to this is technical countermeasures or political action I think you and Tony, Pepper, will be valueable allies. Maybe, if nothing else, we can figure out how to jam it." Of course, that means figuring out how the damn things work and he's not even sure the government did that.

"Oracle, perhaps Pepper might be able to take the lead on some of the Lobo Tech stuff. Being as, after all, they are something of a competitor."

Pepper Potts quirks her eyebrows at that. Lobo Tech? "I'm pretty sure I can start from there. JARVIS?"

"Yes, Miss Potts?"

"Would you be so kind as to compile the data you already have about this Lobo Tech place?"

"Right away, Miss Potts."

Pepper offers Jericho a smile. "We should have some interesting dirt for you shortly."

That suits Oracle. If anyone is going to be able to decipher the data they recover from Lobotech, JARVIS will. "Miss Potts, I'm going to send you information on where you may store the data you find. It's secure and … rather unassailable … it would be good to have everything together" Cross referencing and checking the different sources may prove enlightening in the long run.

"Right. Beyond that… you should both know that there is a possiblity I may randomly simply drop off the map. I'll try to warn people if I expect to be out for an extended period of time but there's trouble brewing in Limbo and it might, at any time, suddenly require a lot of my attention." Just so folks don't break out search parties for him. Though if they did Jer'd be flattered.

Pepper Potts nods. "All right, Oracle. I'll keep an eye out for that information. Is it going to be all right if I share that information with Cricket and JARVIS?" She's not sure if this information broker known as Oracle would want AIs of the level of the two in this building getting access to those resources. She can understand why. She's heard JARVIS very calmly disembowel other company's computer systems at Tony's behest.

"Of course you may, Miss Potts. The more minds we have working on this, the better." Yes, Oracle just called the Robot and the AI 'minds'. "I trust that the information will used… appropriately." It's a sad fact that when it comes to distilling the information, access may need to be given.

"Alright. Well…" Jericho gets a small smirk on his face. "Pepper when was the last time you ate? You can be as bad as some I know about that kind of thing when you get to working. We could meet a friend in Gotham. You remember Barbara Gordon don't you? I believe you two have met, yes?"

"Of course. I think that was one of the first things that Tony taught JARVIS. How to be discreet." Papper glances at her watch when Jericho mentions food. "About… three hours ago? Cricket insists on lunch at a very precise time every day. I personally think it's so she can flirt with the young man at the deli."

Oracle rolls her eyes at Jericho's words. She hasn't eaten properly for most of the day… she's been preoccupied. "I'll leave you two with it, then. And I will be in touch soon, Miss Potts. I apologise again for my approach." The redheaded occupant of the Gotham Clocktower cuts her communications and heads to prepare for a lunch invitation.

Jericho chuckles. "Sounds like you're do. Let me text Babs. Maybe send K'ne- … er… on second thought maybe we can just have her brought here." Via other methods. Jericho doesn't want Babs to get eaten on a walk through hell. Nor does he want to subject Pepper to it. She may not… really enjoy it.

Pepper Potts blinks at that, but then he says he can have Babs brought here. Where did Barbara come into this all of a sudden? She knows Jericho's got more than one unorthodox way to travel, so she doesn't question that part of it. "Find out what she'd like so I can get it ordered," she advises, while stealing her computer back from Cricket. The PA is off to do other stuff anyway.

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