Making Connections

Summary:
June 26 2014: Jericho reaches out to Doctor Hank McCoy with some news of the alarming sort.

Hank's Lab/Near Sal's Bar

Wherever you go, a phone call from the right person, or the wrong one, can take you somewhere else entirely.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*None]


"We should talk. It's important. Please call, can't really say more here. Signed - A friend of Nancy." That was all the email said. Annoyingly vague, really. Doesn't say what about or who it is, though if Hank bothered to try to trace the e-mail's source, it appears to have been sent from some kind of (very odd) mobile device located at Sal's Bar, the bar where he first met Miss O'Neal, so there is that. Included in the e-mail is a number which appears to connect to a scrambled, encrypted VOIP server. Secure 2 way communications. Whoever sent this is just the slightest bit paranoid.

*

After the initial emailed conversations, Hank did indeed try to do a bit of investigation into the one who was emailing. While -he- wouldn't consider himself a hacker, he certainly knew enough to see that this one knew what he was doing in terms of security. He didn't respond right away, but eventually he did decide to call…using a restricted number on a burner phone that he picked up not too long ago. Just in case, of course.

*

The other line connects on the first ring. The voice that answers it is a clear baritone, one that Hank may remember from the bar. It belonged to the piano player that Nancy called Jeri… well, he may remember if he wasn't paying attention to other things.

"Doctor McCoy, I presume?"

He only gave this number out to one person so he feels fairly confident that he knows who is calling. "My name is Jericho Trent, I'm a friend of Nancy O'Neal's. I apologize for the vague, mysterious mode of contact but I needed to make sure our lines of communication were secure. This seemed… well, less intrusive than trying to find you physically." There's a short pause. "Which seems like it'd be remarkably difficult, by the way."

*

"Yes, this is Doctor McCoy. I have to admit, this is quite out of the ordinary."

There really aren't many ambient sounds being heard through the phone as he's calling from his rather secure lab room.

"A friend of Nancy's. If you're trying to contact her, I can assure you that she's safe and working on control. I can certainly pass on a message if you'd like as you are quite correct in that finding me could prove to be quite difficult."

*

That draws a chuckle. "I have better ways to contact Nancy, if it comes to that. No actually I was hoping to reach you about something I'm desperately hoping is unrelated… but is still pretty bad. I'm… forgive me, Nancy's spoken at some length about you, I'm given to understand that you're something of an expert in mutant biology? Is the phone you're using capable of receiving data? I've a file you need to see. Rather large one, I'm afraid."

*

Beast will have to remind Nancy not to give away their whereabouts. That's mentally stored away even as the conversation continues, "It's a focus of mine, yes. I'm not entirely sure that the phone can handle a lot of data…and I would need to hang up the call in order to look at the file. I can assure you that any emailed transmission is about as secure as one can get."

*

"Email it is then. Incoming." You've got mail. It's… actually a fairly extensive file. Lots of compressed text and diagrams. "Let me give you the cliffs notes version. I've been trying to help Nan with her… Snake problem. Along the way I ran across this in a few forms. Now, computer science is really more my thing, not advanced biology and organic chemistry, but I've been told by people I trust that it is a retrovirus that has been engineered to target the X-Alpha gene complex and break down the DNA of anyone who displays… well, again, terminology not my strong suit. Three or more primary alleles, my friend said. I took away from that 'sufficiently mutant.' Now I've already turned this data over to the one source in the authorities I think I can trust but… let's just say I'm concerned that even if whatever countermeasures they develop are not compromised, they may develop them far too slowly. You seem to have an interest in this sort of thing, and you're helping Nancy. And she trusts you. So I am extending mine."

*

"Snake problem?" is asked as Hank goes over to his computer to look at the file. He opens it and scans the information inside, "Do you think this was something possibly based off of Nancy's abilities?" Is that how he found it? "It will definitely take some looking into, thank you. I suppose you won't tell me -where- you found this, hmm?"

*

"I found it several places, actually, which is part of the reason I'm contacting you. And yes, Snake problem. Or to be less oblique, trying to get Hydra the hell off her back. I've some fairly extensive, ongoing experience with what being hunted by them entails. To put it bluntly doctor, it sucks. People have tried to kill me twice in the last five days alone." A pause. "Granted, I'm not usually quite that popular, but still."

There's about three hundred pages of text in the file, clearly not written by a layman. "That's a combination of data I've raided and a write up from the doctor who analyzed it for me. As for where I got the data? To be honest, Doctor McCoy, I stole it. Hydra's been selling this stuff to a variety of criminal organizations as a way of testing it. It's… been pretty bad business. I'm fairly certain at this point that this is a separate cell from the one that's targeting Nancy, though that actually makes things a bit more difficult. Cells don't share information, so I'm been basically having to pursue Nancy's problem and this separately."

*

Hank continues to browse through the files even as he speaks, "Hydra. Yes, she mentioned that to me. The hydra really wasn't a snake though. It was a mythological creature who was a bit more dragon-like than snake-like…with multiple heads." He manages to catch himself before offering, "Thank you for this. I'll definitely look into it and see what can be done in order to stop it…or negate it if it should come to fruition. It's quite possible that even letting out the knowledge that we're aware of it could stop the continuation. After all, it's no longer a secret, is it? It's no longer a surprise."

There's another pause, "Are you safe? Perhaps if you take some time off from looking through this, you'll no longer be hunted…"

*

Pity Hank can't see Jericho ‘cause his eyebrow just tried to climb off his head. "I… thank you for your concern Doctor. Not often people show much. I'm afraid I've got something they want as well within me, and they're not really shy about asking me to come in so they can do some lethally invasive surgery to extract it. It's part of the reason I'm trying to help Nancy. I really do identify with her problem and living with a bullseye on your back… well, it's not a great way to live. Anyway that's neither here nor there. Do what you think necessary. Anything to stop them or slow them down would be helpful. Ultimately I'd like to um… 'shut down' the cell making this stuff if only so the knowledge of how to make it is destroyed. I still haven't been able to trace back the sales to the criminal underworld though. Working on that, among other things."

"At any rate, I'm as safe as I can be in my present circumstances, thank you. And thank you for listening. I know this all sounds a bit… odd. I wouldn't have bothered you, though, if I didn't think it was important."

*

"We might also be able to render this virus ineffective if we come up with an antidote that completely nullfies it. I'm going to need some time to comb over the documents you sent before beginning work on this, but I'll get the warning out. I think that if they find that the virus is no longer useful, it might be easier to sniff them out." Hank makes sure to save the file to his own computer.

"Are you certain you're safe? Do you need this item removed or is it something that needs to remain within you? I mean, if we can somehow get them off your back, that would be the best thing, no?"

*

"It's experimental cybernetic hardware, Doctor. It is in theory something that can be removed though no one has had it as long as I. It was supposed to be taken out of me years ago and wasn't. Long story. And I couldn't agree more that getting them off my back a priority. Making me a non-issue, somehow, changing my identity in a way they can't track or just shutting the cell that's hunting me down. I'm working on that too though I'd be lying if I said I don't appreciate all the help I can get. I'd also be lying if I said I've been super successful at getting them off my back ‘cause here we are a year later. As for safe? Uh… well that's a relative term. I'm pretty sure someone will try to kill me again in the near future, so not safe like that. I'm not in any immediate danger at the moment. That's kind of been the best i could hope for in the last year."

*

"I'm sure that there are ways to alter an identity…the FBI tends to do it when necessary, but it usually means severing all ties to a former life. I can imagine it must be quite difficult to make that decision to do, but it's possible." He'll have to ask Nancy a little more about this friend to see if they could help in other ways as well. "I'll see what I can do, even if I can't personally offer you protection from anyone. I would imagine that if they see you as a non-threat then they'll stop."

Or kill him. One of the two. "Are they tracking you by that cyberware?"

*

"I don't think so. It's hard to be sure with them but I feel fairly confident that if they were the contract hits would be coming a lot faster and more accurately. And… I do appreciate your help Doctor McCoy. Not often someone offers. My present problem with simply disappearing is that there seem to be law enforcement sources feeding information to them. That or they have some pretty unprecedented access to law enforcement computer systems. Not sure which to be honest. They've placed me on terrorist watch lists before… and that was before I was actually doing illegal things, so there you have it. In any case, you can contact me again this way, should you wish to or require my help. I'll keep you appraised of any relevant changes in Nancy's situation… though I also keep her appraised of that, so I imagine you'll hear them from her first."

*

"I appreciate this and know that if I can help you, I'll do the best I can. Thank you for looking out for Nancy as well. She needs more friends, I think…even if she can't be out and about too much right now. You're a good friend." Hank is still sort of flipping through the files and is a bit distracted. However, he also opens another window, "I can try and see if I can cut off some of those leaks as well. It's not my forte, but…" his slow grin can almost be heard over the phone, "I know people."

*

"Honestly Doctor, I'm glad she's not out here right now. She's already told me about how she doesn't particularly like fighting and if she'd been out with me, or her trainer, she'd have been tangled up in one of the hits too. And thanks. I appreciate anything you care to do for me. And I do mean it about contacting me if you need help with anything. Good luck with that virus, and give Nan my best."


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