Tapping The Core

May 29, 2016:

Investigating what they had salvaged from 'Omnics' nest, Bobby asks Wanda to try something - it yields results

X-Red HQ - New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…



The sound echoes through X-Red. Bobby's been going over the hardware, data and software that the team brought back from Omnic's lair. A lot of it is laying in printouts nearby but there's one thing, one core that's giving him trouble.

And it is a 'core'. It's a cylindical 'hard drive' that Bobby is sure stores data but that he can't read with any of the things that X-Red has, and X-Red has some pretty good toys when it comes to that. This one is stubborn and the worst part is that the ice nerd is fairly sure that it's got the bits of data that pull everything together.

"Okay… need a break. And a drink." Bobby gets up and walks from the work area to the X-Red kitchen. He rolls up his sleeves as he does. He's got that whole 'working slightly too hard' thing going. Button up shirt and tie, sleeves rolled up, top button undone, tie loosened. He opens the 'fridge and grabs a cold beer. Yes. Beer.

A slash of light appears in the X-Red common room and Brin steps out, dressed in her X-Red uniform. On her shoulder, the tiny owl she 'adopted' a few months ago, perched on her shoulder preening a strand of her hair. She's been working. Watching as Bobby takes a beer from the fridge, she cants her head, reaching out to check his emotions. "Problem?"

Wanda, custodian of the X-Red HQ these days (people be afriad), appears from her room with a smile on her face and wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt. The latter has her own image on it, mid-flight. "Hey…everything okay?" She stops suddenly and stares at Bobby. "You have…you have a tie on." Obviously things are not okay. And Brinley has an owl now? Get abducted for a week or two and everything changes.

"Huh? Oh yeah. Sorry. Met with a client this morning and didn't get changed." It was rather a while ago. Bobby's been working at the Omnic data for hours. It's gotten dark while he worked on it.

"Yeah, there's a problem Brin. Hence the alchohol. I can't get into this data core. None of the algorythms we've written have come close to cracking it. It's almost like it's closer to a… brain than a hard drive. Which it may very well be considering where we got it from."

Brin smiles at Wanda and gives a nod of approval to the t-shirt. Nothing like promoting the team!! The little owl peers out through her Brin, golden eyes large and unblinking. "I'll have one, sounds good actually." she makes her way to the fridge as he talks. "Well that gel with what I discovered when I looked at the system in the complex…."

The brunette grimaces as she remembers that encounter. "It looked like 'Omnic' had uploaded part of himself to that mainframe. I wondered how that could have been achieved… "

"Should I be meeting clients?" Wanda asks brightly. "I would not wear a tie though." That's a definite on her part. "See the t-shirt someone sent me? It has me on it. They said they were a fan but I think they are a bit crazy" she giggles before talk grows more serious. "The brain is just electricity" she muses, "Which is all that is in a computer. The same things make them both work. Maybe we just need a computer with the storage power of a brain to be able to transfer them." She shrugs. "I really do not know about such things."

Wanda helps herself to a flavored milk rather than a beer and she can't help but stare at the owl as she does so. "This is all to do with the Reapers…Reavers…the bad people who hate mutants? They are so protective of being human that they want to turn into machines to stop us? This does not make sense."

"You should absolutely be meeting clients. Brin can help you with that, actually." Bobby can think of a number of things that Wanda could help clients with and the face time might both do both her and the business good.

"Too bad we don't have a technopath here to read it." Mike's one but Mike isn't present. "And it's too bad that you can't…"

Bobby freezes and looks from Wanda to Brin and back. "Or… could you?" Wanda's abilities are kind of unpredictable, chaos magic and all. Could she… read an electronic mind? Does it work like that?

"Sure, you should meet with clients. We all have our own we deal with." Brin just gets the pleasure of dealing with all them at some point in time. "We'll get together on Monday and go through the list." Taking the top of her beer and taking a pull, she watches as Bobby freezes and looks to Wanda.

"I … don't see why you couldn't try, Wanda." Brin speaks quietly, considering the possiblity "As you say, brains are just electricity … and if this does resemble a brain …" Wanda's done it before, so why not now?

Wanda has the feeling she is being watched…and she's right. "Umm…I guess I can try" is her barely enthusiastic response. She places her glass of milk on the counter and takes a calming breath. Not that it calms her much. Then she closes her eyes and her mind reaches out for what it can find.

Wanda doesn't need to hold the core. Her telepathy has never required her to touch the target…most of her life she didn't even know it was telepathy. She finds Brin's mind…Bobby's mind…but she ignores them, seeking out something that will be much more alien. Unusual. Her head tilts and her brow furrows. "There is something…" she whispers.

The 'core' pulses once… twice. Then Wanda can sense it. A rush of information. Thoughts. She might even see a stream of ones and zeroes rushing past her. What it may take her a moment to realize is everyone can see it. Somehow she's projected it, brought it into the realms physical. It's a swirling mass of digital data hovering there with something like will and intent behind it. Then it pulses. And speaks.

"I am Omnic. I am the perfection of machine and man made one. Speak, and I shall enlighten you. Ask, and you shall be educated. What is it you wish to know?"

Bobby blinks. He looks at Wanda impressed, then back. "What were you doing in that lab?"

"Crafting perfection." Comes the answer.

"For who?"

"Perfection needs no patron… but in this case, for Hellstrike."

Brin blinks … as the core comes to life, freezing with the beer half way to her mouth. Now that is impressive and then some. Watching Wanda carefully, making sure the woman doesn't overexert herself, the small brunette blinks yet again "There were encoded messages for Hellstrike in the system, I saw them but couldn't read them." she murmurs. She'll leave the questioning to Bobby and Wanda for the moment, preferring to keep her energy to support her teammate if needed.

Wanda is as surprised as the others by what happens though whether she can contribute to questioning is another matter. The flow of energy…the visualisations…the subconscious effort to keep this communication flowing is drawing most of her concentration. She has already started to glisten with perspiration. The witch starts to tremble in her seat. "Hellstrike is not perfect?" she manages to get out, her mind probing deeper into the core. "Are you perfect? How can the imperfect create perfection?"

"I am not perfect. I was born flesh. But I can aspire to more. I can gift others with perfection, or more than they had."

"This guy is nuts." Bobby mutters.

"She is also perfect. She can reach into the very mind of the machine." The consciousness opines of Wanda. "I could have gifted you with the perfect body. Sculpted. Lovingly hand crafted. A rose wrought of steel."

Bobby rolls his eyes. "I think she's fine the way she is. What does Hellstrike want?"

"He wants your kind to die, Mutant. And he's close, so very close. The operation will begin soon. The signal will be given."

Bobby glances to Brinley. "What signal?"

Wanda has a sudden series of numbers and letters blasted at her mind. A coded signal to be transmitted via numbers stations around the world very soon. Tomorrow? A week? Not much longer.

Brins eyes widen as the 'brain' speaks of Wanda and casts a look to Bobby. She'd rather the connection be broken right now, but they need this information. "Of course he does…" she mutters in response to what Hellstrike wants. That's no real surprise, not at all.

At the mention of the signal, her brow furrows and she steps out for a moment to retrieve her tablet. "Didn't those men in Germany say something about waiting for a signal…" she scans through the notes and shakes her head as she looks.

Thankfully Wanda misses the insulting of her looks or she would have slapped some chaotic feedback into the mechanical mind. Instead she is just hanging on for dear life to keep the channel open. Her breathing slow and shallow…at least until her mind is abuzz with a code that causes her to open her eyes wide in shock and fall from her chair onto the floor with a thud. Needless to say the communication cuts out. "What happened?" she asks, pushing herself from the floor and then grabbing the edge of the counter to pull herself at least to her knees.

When Wanda falls Bobby rushes over to her. He'll notice the 'hologram' went away later. Right now he's just kneeling down next to her. "Wanda?"

Then she speaks. Thank goodness. "Whew. I'm not sure. It did something and then you fell over. Did it attack you, or…?" Bobby's powers aren't at all like that so he's not at all sure how it works. "It said something about a signal. When I asked about it, that happened."

Brins moves too, startling the little owl who grips a strand of hair with its beak to stop from slipping. Not that Brin notices. "Wanda…" but Bobby's got her and Brin knows better than to crowd. "I'll get water…"

Returning with a glass of water, she waits till Wanda can take it. "That looked pretty serious."

"There was just…so much…" Wanda tries to explain as she crawls back into her chair and gratefully takes the water. She gulps some down before coughing at drinking too fast. "Numbers…letters…I think it was the code…the signal. Pen and paper…or a computer. While it's still fresh." Her eyes squeeze closed for a moment. "And it's long. I'll try to remember it…"

Bobby steps away for just a moment and returns with a pad and paper, setting them in Wanda's hand. "It gave you the code. I guess I'll remember that the next time we're doing this kind of thing. I'm sorry. I should have known it might not just repeat it for us. Are you hurt?" When she writes it down Brin can set up the appropriate listening programs or get Mike to. They can also give it to the authorities. If they have the 'go' signal they're one step closer to being able to shut this down for good.

Taking the glass from Wanda so she can write, Brin pulls up an app on her tablet and starts to copy some of the information in. "I'll see what I can do with those, Bobby but I might need Mike. Depends on how complex they are. The app might need some tweaking." Which is way outside Brins expertise.

"Go easy, Wanda. You're doing just fine." The small brunette sends out a 'wave' of reassurance to her team mate. She's done good.

Wanda scribbles down the numbers and letters in her head as fast as she can. They come at her in waves, almost disappearing before the pen can finish copying them to the paper. That wave of reassurance from Brinley was sorely needed as the witch's mind began to 'overheat' from what is was processing. With a final gasp she finishes and pushes away the paper as if dropping a ten ton load from her back. Sweat is pouring down her face as she gasps for breath and then grabs that glass again to finish it off in one go. "Head…so hot…" Her fingers tapping against the side of her skull. "I will…be fine…" she attempts to promise.

"Is there anything we can do?" Ordinarily Bobby is the King of Cool. Cardinal of Chill. Sultan of Sub Zero and so on. Mental heat though is not something he can do anything about and he does feel a bit bad given that it was his request that got her here, important as it may turn out to be.

"Brin, can you get that to the affected cities and make sure we get an alert if that signal goes out? Contact our mutant allies there too, particularly in Jotunhiem and the Oni district."

Brin heads to the freezer again and comes back with a bag of peas, handing them to Wanda "Put these where it's warmest. If it's still hot in a few moments, I'll get one of the Rescue medics in to have a look." Hot brains. How would have thought.

"Already on it, Bobby." the brunette murmurs. This is the sort of thing they've been waiting for and her contacts will be glad to have something more concrete to work with.

Wanda takes the bag of peas and plonks them atop her head. A shake of her head towards Bobby. "Do what you need to do…with the signal." A shiver as the freezing bag takes effect. "I think I will lie down in case you need me later" she smiles, getting groggily to her feet. "I do not like that machine" she adds as she staggers off towards her room.

"I don't either." Bobby says quietly. And now that they have the information there's a good chance he's going to go play trap with it. Pull, anyone?

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