Down the rabbit hole

June 18, 2014: Logan is persuaded into a bargain with Oracle

Logan's Home

A faded flophouse



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Mood Music:
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It's late and a summer rain mists off the pavement. Of late, Logan has been avoiding the various bars and watering holes that he typically inhabits while visiting New York. Something about being threatened by some black ops hood the last time and being attacked by his clone the time before that. Rather than do his drinking by himself in a bar, then, he's decided to do it at home like a self-respecting alcoholic.

He carries a large, overstuffed paper bag under each arm as he marches from the corner liquor store to the steps leading up to the new flophouse he recently took residence in. Despite the chill weather he wears little more than a rain-soaked wife beater and a pair of jeans. His head bowed against the rain and the light wind, he makes a brisk pace home.

Just as he nears home, a motorbike courier pulls up there, the blacked out helmet hiding their identity. The bike is paused, a small parcel taken from the box on the back and deposited into his post box. Without a word spoken, or acknowledgement of his existence, the bike roars off, leaving behind only engine fumes, and the parcel. It is a small box, addressed to him, wrapped neatly in brown paper. Inside it, a small communicator, a wireless gadget, high tech. A note attached, printed, "Wear me." Perhaps a whimsical reference to Alice in Wonderland. An invitation down a rabbit hole.

"Are you fuckin' kidding me?" Logan calls after the long-gone courier once he's managed to put his groceries down and fetch the mail out of the box. He grumbles in annoyance as he tears into the wrapping and finds the gizmo inside. He turns it over in his hands a few times, glancing back and forth down the street. If it's a ploy to get at him then it's certainly a unique one. And he can't help but let curiosity get the better of him.

He shrugs and puts it on, tapping it a couple of times noisily, "What?"

The long-gone courier is a trail of exhaust smoke and nothing else. The moment he speaks, he gets a reply, "I would rather you didn't tap me quite so hard." The amusement in the voice, a female digitalised one, is evident before she goes on. "Logan. I am Oracle. Welcome to the rabbit hole. You need direction. An aim. A purpose. I can give that to you."

"I'll bet," Logan mutters, lowering his hand from the communicator when he's asked not to tap and scooping up his groceries to head inside, "I don't know how you found me, Miss Roboto, but I'm not much of a company man. Did my time workin' for the man and it ended badly - which

"I find everything. Oracle Roboto. It has a ring to it, I may consider that…" Once again, amusement flickers through her digital voice, and Babs leans back in her chair, her fingers playing lightly with the wheels for an instant. "I'm not asking you to work for anyone. I was proposing a …mutually beneficial arrangement. I give you information… and ask you to help me save innocents at the same time. I bind you to no bargain here, Logan. Only the proposition that we might ask each other things, at times."

"Hmm," Logan considers this for a moment as he climbs the six flights of stairs to his apartment in the near-abandoned tenement, "That could work. I'm not known for my altruism but I don't mind lendin' a hand here and there. Don't let that out though - last thing I need is potential employers thinkin' I work for charity."

He nudges the door to his room open with his knee, still speaking, "What d'ya mean by things, anyway? Don't have much of a life story that I can keep straight enough to share and judgin' by the fact that yer a robot voice in an earpiece I don't take it yer the most revealin' soul."

"I am far more than that but I protect my identity. You will know me only as Oracle, an avatar, if you like. Your life story needs no sharing to me, Logan, I have it here, in front of me. What is findable, at the very least… and I will find more, if you want it." A pause as she leans forward, pulling up a file on her screen, one finger pushing the glasses up her nose, her face thoughtful. "You are older than you look, and there are a few interesting files on you from the 1960s… Does that tell you a little of what I can, and do know?" The smile transfers through the digital voice, and she adds, "Preventing and stopping crime. The usual hero stuff, you know."

"Yeah, tells me yer offerin' to share some stuff about me I mightn't know in exchange for me playin' ball," Logan murmurs thoughtfully, "I'll tell you, that's the nicest way it's been put an' I can think of worse arrangements. I'm not gonna have to wear a unitard or somethin', though, am I? I don't go for spandex."

The laugh is soft, despite the digitalising. "Consider it a friendly carrot, and if you want to wear spandex, I won't object… too hard." A definitely feminine response, even if he can't see her. There is a sound outside his door, footsteps and the noise of a box being dumped on the doorstep. A hammering at the door and the footsteps recede rapidly, running down the stairs. Another courier? Certainly another brown paper wrapped parcel. "Well, if you do, make sure you turn that laptop on." A nice little one, compact, set up to go online securely, swiftly.

"I hate computers," Logan tells Oracle flatly, scooping up the box from his doorstep and placing it on the table before he unwraps it, "I remember when these things were the size of a house and took an hour to put two and two together."

He holds the device up and looks it over carefully, "You've come a long way, baby."

"I live by mine." The laughter is there, a faintly mocking edge to it, vanishing as briefly as it came. "You can use that to reach me, should you need to. This one holds thousands of times the power of your house sized one." If he opens it, it boots to a screen, a communication one, with the Oracle avatar floating there. "I believe this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

"If you say so," Logan answers, opening the laptop and sitting down in front of it to look it over carefully. After a moment, he navigates to the task bar and opens up a game of Solitaire. A grin spreads across his weathered face, "Hey, this thing's got card games."

The laughter is almost real, the digitalisation of her voice done to change it, not to make it strange. "It does. It can practically put your dinner on for you." She leans back in her chair, studying him as the image of him appears on her screen. "You don't look a day older than you did at the end of World War I. How interesting…"

"Maybe its Maybeline," Logan answers, glancing up momentarily - it's almost as though he's looking straight through the webcam at Oracle for a second, "Anyway, this arrangement works for me. I always did better with polite suggestions over outright orders and you seem like a nice enough girl."

"Or genetic engineering." The laughter is back and Babs leans her elbow on the desk, her chin on her fist, as she studies the man thoughtfully. "Orders only work if you are in a position to enforce them. I prefer my lone wolves to come willingly…" She straightens, lifting her hand to push her glasses back up her nose. "I'll be in touch, Logan. Let me know if I can do anything for you."

"You can order me a pizza," Logan suggests, tapping a few keys on the laptop experimentally, "I'm starvin' and I don't feel like cookin'."

A few clicks, and it is done. Her avatar spins on the screen and a dominos logo flashes up. "On the way. I do hope you like a veggie hot…" Her tone suggests teasing, and the avatar folds, vanishing into a dot at the centre of the screen. When the pizza arrives, it is meat heavy, with chicken wings on the side, delivered by an irritated Dominos youth.

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