Grave Matters

June 27 2014: Ange answers a request for a meeting from a certain hacker, who enlists his help in a few matters

Final Rest, Westchester County

An extensive graveyard dating back to pre-revolutionary days, complete with acres worth of graves and several large mausoleums.



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Mood Music:

"Would like to meet, if you've time and are up for a drive - Jericho."

That was it. And an address in Westchester County that turns out to be an old, expansive graveyard. There are some things, it would be reasonable to guess, that the hacker/vigilante doesn't trust over electronic lines, despite his own prowess with computer systems. Anyway it's thankfully still day and Jericho is perched on a large tombstone sipping a fizzy fruit drink - no beer today. Other than the groundskeeper, he's presently the only living occupant of the place.


The drive isn't ever good out of Manhattan, but sometimes, it's very helpful to instinctively know the best path, and as a result, Angelo arrives at the graveyard fairly quickly. He drives quietly along the side road to the cemetery, then in along the access road, parking and leaving his helmet on the bike. He walks along, reading names. Smith. Smith. Annabella Jane 1810-1834. Smithson Roberts. Norville Roberts.

"Hello, Jericho. What brings you here? Secret underground base?"


Jericho smiles. "Nah. Property taxes on those are killer and I'm on a budget."

He takes one more drink of his fizzy fruit beverage and hops off the grave. Enrich Jotter it reads. If Angelo is of the puzzle solving variety he may realize that Enrich Jotter is an anagram for Jericho Trent.

"I like to come here to think… and talk. Sometimes knowing that only the dead are listening is handy." Which it is. No bugs, no listening devices, no crowds. Just peacefully sleeping dead folks.


Well, as peacefully as technology can tell. Ange is not about to try magic to see if they're still hanging around, because (as he still insists) he is NOT an angel, especially not a psychopomp, and usually tries to keep people OUT of places like this.

"So, not a snake base either, I suppose. What's up?"


Jericho chuckles. "No not that either. That I know of anyway. I've been looking in regularly on Anabeth O'Neal for her daughter. She thinks I'm her neighbor from down the hall. I come over, make sure the place isn't a fire hazard, cook dinner, that kind of thing. Anyway, she recently got a new social worker. Old one moved I guess. Julie. She's nice, polite, helpful, dedicated." Beat. "I don't trust her. I was hoping I could persuade you to make a few house calls, maybe see if there's anything you can do for Anabeth's condition and… help me make sure everything stays on the up and up with her."


"And while I'm at it, I can see if her social worker is dangerous to her? Yeah, but it's really kind of a situational power. Also, I don't trust this situation at all. Nothing that happens around her or Nan is guaranteed to be coincidence. Can you find out what happened with the old social worker? I'll show up there as soon as I can make a reasonable hole in my schedule, and see how she's doing medically."

Angelo paces a bit as he talks. There's a moment of light-flashing, with wings, but he doesn't seem to notice it.

"I think, I'm going to have to figure out some more cantrips. I have the someone-else's-problem, the wards, and the Seal. Going to need more than that, I think."


"Probably. I can help a bit." Jericho does notice, his head canting a bit but he doesn't say anything. "I'm going to try to find out what happened to the other worker. Julie's background is as clean as a whistle, sadly. I'm running really on a gut feeling, but I agree with you. It didn't help that when I went to bug the house, it was bugged already. I think we can both agree that there's only one likely group to have done that."

He sighs and runs his hand through his hair. "I can hack Social Service's systems easily enough, have you listed as her regular doctor as of whenever you'd like. I'll still be checking in on her regularly. I promised Nancy I would, but I may have to fly out soon and in any case I'd like as many eyes as I can trust on this."


"That might help, listing me on her records. But as her regular doctor, only if there's not already one listed, and date it as of two weeks ago. I left a card with Ana, but it was one that nobody else can notice except her. Is there anything going on I should know about?"

He considers telling him who he gave the vial of vileness to, but again decides against it — if he doesn't know, then it can't be gotten out of him.


The hacker nods. "I'll do that. I've also put a trace on her just in case… well, you know. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that."

Jericho looks away and makes a face as if thinking of something else. "I'm getting some indications by the way that the plague I brought to you is in slightly wider circulation than I'd like it to be… and I still have no way to trace it to the cell making it. So long as they're still in business this'll be a problem. I don't suppose there's any information anywhere in your analysis that might point me in a vaguely useful direction?"

Which is to say, give him a target, either for more investigation, or a few pounds of C4. Ange can probably read that last part in his features. Both the Nancy business and this seriously pisses him off.


"I'm afraid I don't know what would be useful to you. The NSN wasn't useful, I take it?"

The doctor rubs above his eyes.

"Wait. One thing. Look for registered entities doing research with the H1N4 and H1N7 retrovirals. The only way to get those is to be legitimately researching gene therapies. See who's been ordering them, and also ordering large numbers of live chicks. These things are live-incubated to get the titer volumes they'll need to make their modified virus. Or, places where they've had thefts of the retrovirals."


"I'm running the NSN but you were right. It's a reference for an encrypted search and doing that kind of thing without just using brute force and bringing the entirety of the Army CID down on you takes a bit of time. Any additional vectors of investigation, as it were, would be helpful." Jericho nods as Ange passes over the info. "Okay, I'll start on that too, let you know if I get anything. By the way, I passed the viral data over to a Doctor Hank McCoy. I figured we needed as many people working this as possible."


"I know that name. Genetics of mutation, a number of important papers. We've used some of his work at the clinic."

Angelo looks a bit impressed.

"You have good contacts, don't you?"


That makes Jericho smile. "Sometimes. I'm afraid I've only spoken to him once and I was damn lucky to get him to agree to that. You may have an easier time. Mostly my contacts help me do things like hide or avoid getting shot at… or occasionally get me shot at for unrelated reasons." He waves it away, clearly not wanting to involve the good Doctor in the convoluted mess that is his life any more he's already tangled him up.

"Maybe you two can coordinate a response. SHIELD's got samples of the stuff too, if they'll play ball with you. Angelo, my gut says they'll use this at some point if we can't get to the source fast enough. Best to have something ready for if they do, I think."


"Yeah, I'm hoping they'll make the antiviral," Ange says, hands clasped behind his back, "because we don't even begin to have enough resources for that. And I'm good one-on-one, but I'd be emptied out pretty fast if I had to null that stuff once it's deployed."

The doctor looks over at Jericho, pensively.

"Can you get me a referral or an introduction to Dr. McCoy?"


"And from what you told me, that'd be bad, since it could mutate 'in the wild.'" Jeri shakes his head again.

"One mess at a time. I'm getting close to Mark, so I'm going after him soon. I do appreciate your agreeing to look in on Anabeth. She and Nan deserve a good ending if we can manage one."

He pauses and thinks. "The guy was really guarded and let's be honest, dropping someone a line, asking them to call you and generally being as paranoid as I usually am usually justifies being really guarded. But he did offer to help me out a bit. Yeah, I can drop him an e-mail. Or give you his. It's publicly listed. Would you like that?"


"Just let him know I was the one who did the analysis, and that I'll be contacting him. He'll be able to work from that. I'll send him a contact message at his public email."

Ange paces a little more, then starts stretching against one of the taller monuments. Fidgety guy.


"Can do." Jeri stops leaning against his grave and straightens. "Something wrong, Doctor?"

Angelo's antsy-ness has put him on edge and he starts to look around, one hand going to the sidearm he keeps in a shoulder holster. He scans the graveyard for a moment but doesn't see, hear or feel anything.

"This isn't one of those Big Guy things is it?"


"Hm? Oh. Yeah, it is. I'm trying to loosen up. This whole weaponised death and potential plague thing is making me a bit tense."

Angelo has the good grace to blush a little, but he still stretches out with a few audible popping sounds.


"They make pills for that y'know." The way he's grinning, it seems Jericho just made a joke.

"I'd get tense, but every time I do one of my friends drags me - literally drags me - to some form of relaxation. Last time it was a spa. Won't say it wasn't pretty damn relaxing but I don't do spas." He chuckles. "Still, I feel you. This is capital B bad business. All of it. Anyway, I think I should get going soon unless there's anything I can do for you. There's some badder-than-usual folk in town that are adding to my usual workload of Project N13/Hydra Virus/Don't Get Shot."


"Anything you need help with? If not, this is one of my rare nights off with nothing planned. I'm almost sure something will come up before I get to enjoy it, but anything is possible."

Angelo starts toward the motorcycle, avoiding stepping on the resting places of anyone who might object.


Jericho accompanies him, his own Harley parked out front. "No, at the moment this is kind of like baking. Everything's in the oven and I just need something to be done. Except with baking, I'd get a cake out of it and with this I'm just gonna get another chance to get shot at." He chuckles wryly. "I'd rather be baking."

Reaching his Harley he starts it and puts his helmet on. "You take care Doctor. Thanks for all your help, really. I'll contact Doctor McCoy for you tonight."


Angelo puts on the helmet and starts his bike up. A "peace" salute goes to Jericho and he heads out in the direction away from New York City… apparently, something interesting elsewhere.

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