Work In Progress (Open)
Jin sat in one of the booths of the cafe staring intently at his laptop. He had talked to Morrigan and now he needed to find a place to start his search for someone who did not want to be found. It would not be the first time to be given such an endeavor but never has so much been at stake.
He could not fail the clan.
With a sigh, he tried his best to make a workable list of all the known vampires with command. Those alive and those no longer amongst the living. It wasn't much but it would tell him who to watch and if they were going to have people die then at least their deaths could mark the path and possible location of the killer or killers. Morrigan would probably be needed to help fill in others that he had missed but he would ask her later.
Taking an absent sip of his tea, Jin regarded the chart in front of him with a single minded focus.
The intense looking figure in the booth had been unmistakable. His friend looked intent on his work, so Artemis decided to let him be for now. There would be time enough to catch up with Jin a bit later. Truth be told, he was feeling uncharacteristically anti-social himself. His trip had not yielded the information that he was looking for. That plus the many unanswered questions that it did leave was an almost unbearable torture.
Quietly taking his seat, he stared pensively into his coffee. Returning after so long, and without the results they were hoping for, Artemis was not sure he was ready to face all those he had left behind.
A triumphant grin lit up the pretty blonde's face as she crossed to the counter. She knew exactly what she wanted and it was only a couple minutes before she was settling down at a table with her mocha coffee and, most importantly, an order of mini vanilla scones. Surrounded by her bags she glanced through her lashes around the room as she nibbled with a happy sigh.
"You do realize the speed limit was meant as a rule, not as a guideline, right?" She asked her companion as she ordered her cup of cocoa.
"Rules... broken. Besides, it's not like I'd ever do anything to hurt that car. So... by default, you were safe too. That and I wouldn't want to explain to Kem why you were out an arm or something."Â?
If you didn't know Aishe had a good sense of humor and could occasionally bend a rule or two it would be easy to assume she was a total stick in the mud.
Waiting for her chocolate she wandered to one of the terminals someone had left up and started looking for a back door it was always fun to mess with computers she didn't have to fix later.
"Besides, you could have driven."Â?
Or not, Pak had -really- wanted to drive tonight.
Artemis reached into his bag an pulled out a laptop. He could work on his latest hack...er multi computer interfacing software. MCI would be great for intelligence gathering or other covert operations. If only he could get it to work properly. The idea was simple, using WiFi networks, such as the one in this cafe, gather the IP address of computers in the area and then backdoor your way in. Artemis being Artemis, of course the software was meant to do much more than that. Once through the back door, he could not only access the data on multiple systems, but he could also display whatever he wanted to on their screens to disguise what he was really doing. The problem was the program would randomly shut down and restart various computers that he connected to. To further compound the problem, one of the first systems he tested this on apparently had an ad ware program. Displaying random porn pop-ups on all the computers on an Irish pirate ship off the cost of Italy and then accidentally overloading their network and shutting down their navigation is bad. Being forced to use alternative forms of communication and stealing their whiskey, not so much.
With a grin, he reached back into his bag and pulled out a flask to pour some of the a fore mentioned whiskey into his coffee. He had an idea. Digging through the isolated data files, he found the ad ware from the ship. He could imagine Jin's face when the porn started to pop up on his screen. Artemis had his finger over the 'enter' key, when he glanced up at his friend. Jin appeared to be really focused on whatever it was he was working on. Perhaps he should leave him be for now.
And that was when he saw her. Pak Pao.
"Oh shit" was the soft mumble that escaped his lips.
Artemis glanced down at himself. Aside from the glass beads in his hair that was bound in a pony tail at the nape of his neck, he was wearing jeans and a white button down shirt and black leather boots. He looked like a hippy cowboy with a rebel complex. He really wasn't ready to see her.
That was when Artemis realized that in his surprise and general distraction, he had actually hit 'enter'. The software had begun to try and access computers in the area so that is could display the ad ware.
He leaned in to look very closely at his screen, as if this would somehow inable him to better "see" what was going wrong with his computer.
"Two women...one goat?" He muttered incredulously at the image before once again trying to make it disappear.
Next came, Big Butts, Big boobs, Cougars on the Prowl, Hot Teens...
Jin paused slightly to tilt his head at the portrait of the Asian girl naked except for a dÃ‡'u lÃƒÂ¬. Why would one have sex with a straw hat on?
At that, Jin leaned back in his seat. From his new distant view, he reached out and started running the virus check. All the porn pop ups were making it impossible to get to the start screen. He was about to try going through the task manager when the computer just shut itself off.
Was there some reason why his computer had been hacked? Perhaps those responsible for the deaths in Anantya were already here...but they had no reason yet to follow him or even notice him. Unless the person knew him. Still porn? That sounded like a random hacker playing a prank while possibly trying to steal an ID. Jin's computer was usually pretty well protected from such things.
Could the hacker be here?
Jing raised himself up higher in the seat. Pushing his tinted purple sunglasses up to his forhead, he looked around. Everyone seemed normal enough, some new people had just walked but everyone else was either chatting, playing or drinking.
Jing's eyes narrowed as his search led him to the back corner.
((OOC: Pak, feel free to try and kill him before I get there if you like. I might help. Anyone else want some porn? ))
She pulled up a stool to the same terminal Pak was at and turned it so she was angled out toward the coffee shop. Easy to turn around and chat with Pak, but she could also people-watch.
Catching sight of a familiar figure she smiled and waved at Amberelle, who she hadn't seen in a very long time. She wasn't sure the woman saw her though and she didn't want to interrupt her if she hadn't.
Turning back to Pak Aishe blinked at the computer screen and all of the pop-ups. Her eyes widened for a second as she realized what they were and she felt her skin grow warm.
"What did you do?" she whispered at Pak. "We just got here!"
She obviously didn't put it past Pak to cause this sort of disturbance. Glancing at the other computers along this row showed that theirs wasn't the only one affected, and even people with laptops seemed to be frowning, scratching their heads, and looking around.
Apparently Kem was still holding a grudge or something. Or Aishe could have been being mature and responsible. Either way, it would mean Pak wouldn't get to drive the BMW, despite the fact that there were -no- zombies for her to run over tonight.
She looked to Aishe in utter astonishment when accused of creating all the sudden pop ups. Granted she had been looking for something to break but this wasn't her style and Aishe had to know that. Well, it was, a bit but not with porn, right wing talk shows were much more irritating.
"-So- not my fault!"Â?
Instinct kicked in and Pak tried to fix it though. But the ad ware just kept getting in the way, you couldn't do any thing. She drummed her fingers on the table top trying to figure out a way around it.
It might be affecting every machine in her but this was a Windows system which meant.... when in doubt reboot.
Why she took this as a challenge was anyone's guess but damned it, it was. Pak put her game face on, shut the computer she was at down hard and brought it back up in safe mode. At least it stopped all the idiot pop ups. After a bit more digging about she was able to shut down the network in the cafe and kill the WiFi.
"OK that was more than a little annoying."Â?
It might possibly have been funny if she'd been the one to do it and it already had possibilities for annoying the hell out of Kem. Pak really wasn't sure if she was pissed or impressed or if she should hire the culprit.
Well there was one way to find out. Pak climbed up on to the table top, al a Dead Poet's society, and in her very best T-Rex I have ultimate authority voice calmly announced,
"Who ever did that gets exactly thirty seconds to identify themselves or they get a thirty second head start if they want to run. After that the place goes on lock down and I start interrogations."Â?
She paused thoughtfully for a second thinking that might have been too harsh.
"Or interviews. Possibly both."Â?
Thinking about the problem, Artemis wasn't too worried about being banned from the cafe. He put extra additives in his coffee anyway. Given his particular talents, he also wasn't all that concerned with being arrested either. However, he had a lot of sensitive information and proprietary software and technology on his laptop. Not just MCI. It would dangerous to let his laptop get confiscated and fall into the wrong hands. He briefly considered using his telekinesis to quietly move the computer to floor and hide it under the nearest booth bench to retrieve later, before deciding that was not the best option. He needed to find a way to get Pak off the table and to the back of the room for a quiet, though probably heated, discussion. Standing up, he walked in front of the table he was sitting at and leaned against one of the chairs. Time to face the music.
" Hello Pak. I am not sure this is the best way to find a culprit who may or may not be in the building. Perhaps we can work on it over here?"
Before he could get to the back all the computers went completely black and then a small Asian woman with wind blown hair stood up on a nearby table and threatened everyone in the place. It would seem that there was to be interrogations; Jin wondered if these were going to be with or without instruments of torture.
Coming to stand next to Artemis, who apparently knew the mordern day Torquemada, Jin crossed his arms over his chest and leaned close to the tall Evenhet.
"So should she even bother looking elsewhere? Because my bet is that we won't have to go very far in order to find the mastermind of this particular prank."
She pinched her nose, but went to stand near her friend. "I don't know you," she muttered good-naturedly.
Oh look, Artemis! She hadn't seen him in - well, a very long time. He was trying to coax Pak down from her ledge... gently. Aishe personally thought the effort was wasted and his energy would be better spent catching Pak when Aishe pushed her.
Which she didn't, in spite of wanting to.
Another person joined them, this time an Asian man with long white hair and a pair of small purple sunglasses pushed up on his head. His words made Aishe laugh softly.
"Oh so you've met Artemis."
"You sure as hell know how to make an entrance. You know that?"Â?
It was hard to tell if she was happy to see him or furious. The one thing she wasn't was indifferent. Out of habit she reached for her cigarette case, but it was in her purse which was on the floor.
"I'm not sure I'm speaking to you."Â?
She hadn't taken her eyes off Artemis though. And it was fairly clear she wasn't ruling anything out at this point. When attempting to take a step off the table top it proved to be a very bad idea not to look at what she was doing. Stupid chairs with wheels, they moved, she set her weight down just wrong, it slid out from under her and she was too surprised to use her own telekinesis to right either the chair or her self. This was not going to be pretty.
He needed to do something before his friends got him thrown in jail for 10-15 years. Hopefully he could move the conversation along before the other people realized that these three had announced that he was a computer hacker.
Before he could make introductions or even say a word, Pak began to take a step towards the chair. He couldn't let her fall. If she wasn't speaking to him before, she certainly wouldn't be if he let her hit the ground. Reaching out with his mind, he held onto Pak trying to slow her fall a bit while he ran, knocking over chairs, to catch her. Kneeling on one knee, he looked at Pak in his arms. Well she didn't hit the ground at least. Relieved, Artemis tried to stand, only to find that he was stepping on his own hair which had come unbound. After adjusting his weight so that he could move his foot, he stood while still holding Pak. Once standing, he surveyed the damage and saw several chairs now lying on the ground. He gave a look of disgust to the offending chair. Why didn't he just stabilize the damn thing. Finally remembering the others, he turned to Aishe and decided that introductions might be the best thing to do first.
"Yes, Jin and I have known each other for some time. Aishe, this is Jin. Jin this is Aishe"
Lifting Pak up and out slightly toward Jin, as a way of gesture, he said, "And this is my....This is Pak Pao".
Artemis caught himself. He knew he didn't have the right to make assumptions. It was best not to push it.
She then nearly fell on her way down from her perch. Jin hoped that the slight slowing of her crash wasn't noticed by the patrons but he doubted they would have seen anything amiss. His friend then went charging across the distance between them and the woman, catching her up in a brilliant rescue.
Except for the part where he stepped on his own hair.
By the time Artemis turned around to make introductions, Jin had schooled his incredulous expression back to a serene poker face.
Adding more affirmation to that of the Evenhet, Jin acknowledged his prior acquaintance.
"Oh yes, I know him. Artemis is infamous."
He then waited with veiled curiosity to see whether or not the timely aid would be enough to earn the prankster some sort of reprieve.
Aishe, alarmed, tried to reach out to steady Pak and keep her from falling, but she need not have bothered. In a pretty studly move Artemis had flown across the coffee shop to rescue her friend from herself. At least it was studly right up until he awkwardly stepped on his hair, but what did that matter? He'd saved Pak and it was delightful to watch. Now, if only Pak didn't bite his head off.
Aishe nodded at the man with the white hair and, when introduced to him properly, held out her hand. "It's nice to meet you Jin."
Offhand, she wondered if anyone in the world could possibly scream "vampire" any louder. Then again, she could easily be biased by the fact that he had gorgeous shimmery white hair and she was somewhat in love with a vampire who shared a similar feature.
It was entirely possible that, yes, she had a bias.
Realizing Artemis had caught her, Pak swore to herself. It was harder to be mad when he'd done something right. She could manage it, it was just harder. Taking a closer look around she was fairly impressed at the effort he'd gone to and as a show of thanks dissolved into giggles rather than slapping him. For a second she rested her head on his shoulder but then tried to pay attention to introductions.
"Nice to meet you. Sorry about the mess."Â?
Pak could play nice when she had to. In a very odd show of tact, Pak opted to send to Artemis.
[I am still mad, and I do plan on shouting, but it was a good catch. What did you do to your hair?]
Not comfortable with all the other eyes on their little group Pak snapped at the room in general,
"Shows over. Move along."Â?
It seemed to work because most people did turn back to the terminals, which still had no internet access. Pak, however, was quite happy to let the staff sort that out.
[I stepped on it....The foreman at my vineyards in Italy has a young daughter who thought it would look very pretty with glass beads. Fortunately, she got bored before I ended up with enough beads to make Bo Derek jealous.]
Artemis understood that she was angry and that there would most likely be shouting. But standing in the middle of the cafe was not the place for it. Glancing at Pak, he gave her a quick nod to let her know that he understood the rest of what she had said. With the last of the chairs returned to an upright position, he gestured to the table in the back where he had been sitting.
"Shall we relocate? I can join you after I persuade the staff not to have anyone arrested."
He left them to go and speak with the staff. Suggestion was the perfect ability to have when mischief goes wrong. Naturally, he used it quite a bit. Doing his best Obi Wan, these are not the droids you are looking for imitation, he convinced them that the woman on the table was just acting out a scene in a movie. Oddly enough, they all seemed to have seen that movie. Before walking back toward his companions, he suggested that they run a virus scan on their computers.
Amberelle sipped her coffee and tried to catch the Egyptian woman's eyes with a little wave. She wasn't going to go barging in on them but she was kind of curious what the ruckus was all about. Cats usually were and she was true to form. She just was able to resist the urge to wander over and poke her nose about.
"It is a pleasure to meet you both."
He was at a loss as to which woman would be more socially correct to greet first so Jin decided to go with the one standing on her own two feet. He shook hands with Pak once the dashing hero had relinquished his hold on her.
Once Artemis suggested the relocation, Jin nodded his agreement and then went to retrieve his laptop before returning to the group. A momentary diversion was one thing but abandoning it for very long was truly almost giving a thief license.
He took a seat with the rest and turned to the two women while the Evenhet was gone to make peace with the locals.
"So how do you both know, Artemis?"
This was likely a good story. He hoped they could manage to tell it fast before the Roman got back to squash the more interesting details.
Turning her attention back to Jin Aishe considered. How, exactly, did she know Artemis?
"Well," she said slowly, "First I saw him dancing. And then there were some car alarms. And an ice cream... thing. And a remote control car. You know, come to think of it I know Artemis through a series of random pranks and practical jokes."
She smiled at Artemis, giving it her sweetest. Then she added, "Mostly I've seen him around the Towers. Have you known each other long?"
They certainly seemed comfortable with each other.