Uná danced into the game room and pulled out her headphones looking around. Grinning she spotted Jasper's dark hair and slid gracefully over to her. "Hey Jasper! Whacha playing?"
Since her simulation in the Danger Room, Jasper hadn’t done much that anyone could tell. Rare physical appearances in classes, even less social interaction. Her days were monotonous, that everyone could see. She stayed in her room most of the day, or the library, and at night she’d wander the halls. The roof was her favourite place to frequent. The silence and emptiness of the space was something she enjoyed, and it reminded her a little of herself before the lightning strike that turned her into what she’d become. But what was she now? A mutant, with few goals and less motivation.
She barely needed to try now, aside from the expansion of her powers. The rapid rate of growth would have been alarming to others, but to her it was simply something she did for the sake of herself. Her safety was tantamount, and she was likely to need to end something before it could start some day. Erasing her existence was just another bonus.
When Una made an appearance Jasper was sat cross legged on the floor in front of one of the couches that face a television. The console had been moved slightly, an extra cable in the back and the controller in her lap was wired into it. One the screen flashes of gore followed gunshots, corpses falling to the ground as she stared at the screen. Her gaze didn’t so much as flick over to look at the young woman that spoke to her, but one hand lifted to push her bangs out of her face a few moments later. ”Zombies.”
The round ended just after she spoke and the pause screen flicked up onto it before Jasper turned her eyes on Una. ”What is it?”
Less a question, more of a statement. They’d never spoken before, and Jasper knew she was the least likely to be sought out for social purposes. Most were unsettled by her and she kept it that way on purpose; Una was just another that might need an extra nudge.
Raising an eyebrow at the turse reply. Actually that's downright friendly from her. She's not going to buy the I don’t have my charger line. "Oh okay right to business. See I found this device and I'd like to give it back to whomever it belongs to but I can't get it to open and it won't turn on. I don't see anywhere to charge it either. I thought maybe you could open it for me and I can take it to them?"
Uná held out a thin dark device that resembled a phone or tablet.
Jasper’s hands left the controller to take the device from the girl. There was something odd about it, and the energy that pulse inside this was different than it should’ve been. Large for a phone, small for a tablet, thin and without a visible screen. Whatever it was, she was sure the moment she saw it that it wasn’t something someone would just lose. This was advanced, even by the technopath’s standards. The television flicked off in front of her, the game entirely forgotten as her hands roamed over the device and her powers revved into overdrive.
The technology in her hands reminded her of the Danger Room, the difference it had from other pieces she’d handled in the last several years. Whatever lie Una came up with wouldn’t have been enough for her now that she had it in her hands. Coding rose to the surface of her skin, bright green against her otherwise rather pale complexion. ”Where.”
Sometimes Jasper forgot she needed to ask entire questions, but with her mind so full of the puzzle before her she didn’t even think of the possibility. She’d merely wanted to know where this was found, if only to explore the possibilities of its environment.
Her mind prodded against it at first, sparks dancing along her skin. From what she could tell the device was dormant, in a state of sleep much like the console that rested not too far away from her now. Whatever it was, Jasper didn’t really want to give it back. "Where did I find it? I was out on a 'meditation exercise' from Professor Everose and ran across it on the grounds. Almost stepped on it."
Uná leaned over and tucked her hair behind her ear watching Jasper work. "Your skin is bitchin'. That is so cool! Anything yet?"
Uná expressed her excitement in finding out what was on the device with a grin.”Hm.”
Jasper had never been the most talkative, even before her death, but this was a new low for her. Her concentration was focused almost entirely on the object, with such intensity that she didn’t see Una lean in or even realize she was there before she spoke. Her gaze flicked up from the device to look at Una next to her. There wasn’t anything in her eyes apart from insatiable curiosity, the general apathy that came with her entire being, and just a hint of moral ambiguity. The marks on her skin didn’t fade when she moved, the shimmering code adding an almost sickly tone to her skin where it was exposed. The glowing was also visible through the sleeves of her shirt, the dark material lightened by them.
Her eyes however, remained the same blue-grey that they always were. They watched, quiet and steady, curious and emotionless all at once. Was ‘bitchin’ a compliment? She made a mental note to look into the terminology later, as she couldn’t remember it from before she’d isolated herself from humanity. Her head turned back towards the object and she watched it, a light pulse of electricity down her hand and into the device.
Activity stirs at Jasper’s touch, but to the naked eye, the small device still appears cold and dark. Her assumptions are correct. It was in a depleted state. The pulse of energy from her fingers seems more like it was absorbed rather than taken directly like a phone or computer with contemporary circuitry. She can sense it working, but it gives up nothing, remaining blank and quiet. For a moment nothing happens until she begins to sense it drawing more power from her other hand on its own. It’s a subtle feeling and not one with which she’s unaccustomed. However, it’s clear that whatever the device is, there’s no doubt that Una didn’t randomly just pick it up.
Jasper felt the power drawn from her hand and lifted it higher to peer at it closer. She could feel something stirring inside it, but no secrets had been revealed to her yet. She placed her other hand carefully on the floor next to her, palm flat against the carpet as she drew power for herself from the cords that lay beneath them. Just like the device, Jasper wasn’t one to give up her secrets so easily. As it pulled power from her she replenished her own source, and while this wasn’t a feeling she was used to, she was willing and able to give it what it needed. If only so that she might invade and steal its secrets away afterwards.
The next thing she tried was a gentle prod with her mind. There were defenses to test, and codes to read before she could truly find her way into it. Chinks in armor that whoever created it would have missed. If the device had had a port she could have easily sent it a virus to force its hand but this was far different than she could expect. ”No more lies Una.”
The young woman's voice was blank and chilled, but clearly she knew better. Una might be able to fool others, but much like Heidi, Jasper would put the pieces together much quicker than anticipated. ”No one dropped this.”
Sighing Uná rolled her eyes. "Fine. I did find it, just not outside. Plus no one was around. I found it in the dance studio. I thought about leaving it but then I was curious. I do want to return it...after we take a look at it."
Uná raised her eyebrow at Jasper. "If you can't get it to charge or get in I could just take it back to where I found it and leave it there. Word was going around that you hacked the DR so I figured you could get in. But if this is too much maybe, I should just put it back?"
Uná looked worried. "For all I know it could be a weird new tablet Forge made and it's got technical golbity-gook on it that Professor North was looking at using to modify the DR Sims. Or it could be a grocery list."
She shrugged and held her hand out for the device.
Rumors? Of course there were rumors. Jasper didn’t make it a secret that she could get anywhere she pleased, but neither did she advertise it. Those few who had earned her ire had experienced several unpleasantries afterforth. However, her prowess with technology was the only of her abilities that anyone knew about, aside perhaps from the professors and Heidi. Her room mate had often come back to her drawing electricity from the outlets beside her own bed, and might even be the only one that put the puzzle pieces together.
With Una’s words though, it seemed she was trying to appeal to the girls pride. While she didn’t experience enough emotions now to consider herself ‘human’ in that sense, she would not have herself doubted. ”There’s no one better than me.”
A true enough statement, as she was one of the few of her kind. Human hackers were little in comparison to a living virus, and even less to a computer that adapted far faster than anything they’d ever seen. Even beneath the cold there was a spark of pride. The code on her skin glowed slightly brighter as her focus returned to the object. Unbeknownst to Una, the electric charge she gathered beneath her skin should prevent someone from touching her while she worked, her body growing ever more still and her eyes closed.
Jasper’s mental impulses don’t have any immediate effect at first glance, but the sensation returned to her psyche is not that her probing is being resisted, but rather that it’s not being heard. The familiar sense of the Danger Room she felt at first is not misplaced. It’s hard for her to exactly place why, but it is somehow similar, and as she reaches further, eerily more specific. She can sense that moving further is not a matter of testing defenses, but rather that whatever technological structure is at work, is tailored only for certain people- access is biometric.Jasper had said she was the best, so why wasn't it working? People often brag and lie. Didn’t you just do that?
Uná tipped her head at Jasper’s glow intensifying. She watched Jasper trying. She was getting impatient. "Anything?"
The technopath hated being bothered. She loved puzzles, and usually those who brought them were looked on in good favour, but this one? Good god would this one shut up already. To avoid zapping the other girl, she took a deep breath and calmed for a moment, the speed of her heart matching the pace she worked. Slow but not deathly so. Having found the way to access, she needed to find just who it was that this was coded to work for.
Jasper pushed further into the device's inner workings, building a picture and copying what she could for analysis at a later date. This was a puzzle she would work on for far longer than one would expect, but it was certainly one she would thoroughly enjoy. Especially since she had no intention of giving it back with a way in. ”Oh this is new”
Her voice was quiet, mumbled as if she didn’t care to be heard clearly. It was as if she was entirely ignoring the impatient girl leaning over her - she was. Now, just who was this coded to? Her prodding continued, searching around the local to find just who it was that had owned this before Una ‘found’ it.
The view is a narrow hallway and there are many doors, but it is a dead end, or rather it is a view she simply cannot extend herself beyond due to the rules of the system. It is unlike anything she has attempted to access. The farther she reaches, the more the floor moves, but the doors remain in place as if she were running on a treadmill. It almost appears like a cleverly designed defense, but she is not sure. The process, by design, seems to be to simply exhaust any attempts to circumvent the biometric designation through an endless loop. She will have to somehow replicate the biometric data, but she’s not even sure if a well crafted substitute will even work. One thing is for certain: It would be a lot easier to find out if Una would come clean about to whom the device belonged.
All things considered, Jasper had already gotten further than any regular hacker would have. She trained against the most advanced technology in the world, and had defeated countless systems.This was simply another obstacle that she would overcome in her practice, and in her journey to become impeccable. Already she was a ghost, the only record of her existence within these walls but Jasper wanted to be something governments were afraid to irritate. After several attempts to get around the locking mechanism, Jasper finally opened her eyes and lifted them to look at Una. The glowing on her skin subsided but the electric charge in her skin hadn’t diminished in the least. Calm, cold, and very clearly annoyed. ”We both know you can’t lie about it anymore.”
Jasper began, device still firmly in her grasp while she spoke. ”If you want into it, you’ll tell me who it belongs to.”
Uná watched Jasper work and then the girl looked up at her as the glowing subsided. As Jasper clearly became annoyed Uná attributed it to Jasper’s inability to crack the device. Uná raised an eyebrow at Jasper’s tone. “Yeah I don’t actually know whom it belongs to Jasper that was the whole reason for bringing it to you. Hoping you could unlock it and I could return it. It was a shot in the dark but I’m guessing you can’t get it unlocked and I’m back at square one. I’m not holding back on who it is. I really don’t know.”
Uná searched Jasper’s face. This was a waste of time. I could have been spending time with Nikki.
Holding out her hand Uná said. “It’s fine I’ll just put up fliers or turn it into a teacher, someone will look for it eventually. Just thought if it is that difficult to open it probably was important and like I said I was curious.”
She looked intrigued. “Could be a teacher’s key or a diary. Not that we’d read it. I was kinda hoping it was Veronica’s in case it would tell us why she is such a jerk. Maybe then we could fix her.”
Jasper, who’d been growing visibly more irritated at the lack of forthcomingness from the other girl suddenly stopped. Her eyes widened slightly and the corners of her mouth curled up in a smirk. A few choice words from Una was all it had taken to send her down another train of thought that she hadn’t explored yet. Jasper wasn’t like Heidi, she didn’t think of every possibility in a moment; she had to think and it took more time than she wanted it to sometimes. ”Nothing can fix that bitch. Plus, this, way too high tech for her family.”
Jasper mocked the girl who wasn’t here, just as she would if she was there. It wasn’t something she hadn’t already done, nor something she wouldn’t do. She flicked the memories away and drove into the school security system, checking names and faces of various staff members. When she arrived at a conclusion she looked back at Una again. She’d seen the things her mind created, knew their capabilities and just how real
the world perceived them to be. ”Make Pierce.”
There was a seriousness in her voice that contradicted the curve of her mouth, the mismatched expressions something that would throw off someone who wasn’t expecting it.
Blinking Uná tilted her head at Jasper’s snide comment. Oh I wonder what went on there?
She watched Jasper’s gaze lose focus then come back in. When she said to make Pierce in an odd sort of way Uná shrugged. “That’s random. Why?”