whoneedsinformation: (Four minutes...)
Billy ([personal profile] whoneedsinformation) wrote2012-06-15 10:50 am
Entry tags:

App [CnC]

NAME: Terana
AGE: Don't want to think about it
JOURNAL: [personal profile] terana
IM: shaladox
PLURK: [plurk.com profile] terana
E-MAIL: shaladox @ gmail.com
RETURNING: One. Floyd Pinkerton // [personal profile] backatthehotel

SERIES: Radio KAOS (album)
CHRONOLOGY: After the song "Four Minutes." Billy has simulated a worldwide nuclear strike, to shock the world into empathy and understanding. The clock is ticking. Three... two.... one... he'll be ported in as the countdown reaches its end, before he reveals that it was all a trick, and before he sees how his plan turns out or faces any consequences for his actions.
CLASS: Hero. Billy is naive, and doesn't really think about the consequences of his actions -- blame a lack of life experience -- but is well-intentioned, and just wants to make the world a better place.

Billy was born in 1964 in the community of Pontarddulais, in the city of Swansea, Wales, to a family of coal miners. He was born with severe spastic cerebral palsy, seriously affecting his mobility and ability to communicate. His twin brother Benny was unafflicted. Despite the difficulties his mother and father knew the choice would face them with, there was no question that Billy was still a member of the family, and he was brought home along with Benny and cared for, first by his mother and father, and later by Benny and his wife, Molly.
Though there was doubt about Billy's intelligence, his family -- especially Benny and Molly -- still treated him like a full and equal member. Benny took Billy on frequent outings, and spoke to him at length about everything going on in the mines, in the town, and in the world at large, and about his shortwave radio hobby and his dreams of having a radio show.

Despite his inability to express it, Billy was, in fact, extraordinarily intelligent, and furthermore, had the unique ability to hear radio waves in his head. And so, though he was cut off from the world in many ways, he had a whole world of radio transmissions in his head, to entertain him and to learn from. And he had his family, too.
Unfortunately, he didn't stay in that happy situation forever. In 1987, when Billy was 23, the coal mines Benny had worked at closed, and he was left jobless. Benny lacked Billy's raw intelligence, and his abilities, but he was not an unclever man, or unaware of how the world around him worked, and knew enough to put the blame for his unfortunate situation on the political and economic climate of the UK at the time. The idea of his life having been ruined by these things he couldn't affect, or even talk to, embittered him. Out on a pub crawl with Billy, drunk and passing by an electronics store, he finally reached a breaking point. "How do you make a have out of a have-not?" He broke the store window and stole a cordless phone, then went to a footbridge over a busy road and posed with a cinderblock held above his head, protesting the forces that had closed the mine. He considered dropping the block over the edge, onto the road, but overcome by emotion, he didn't, leaving the block behind and going home, instead.
Unfortunately for him, he was not the only one on a bridge, that night. Someone else, either independently or perhaps inspired by Benny's act of defiance, actually did drop a concrete block off of an area footbridge, killing a taxi driver. Benny, matching the description and witnessed on the bridge with a cinderblock, was arrested, and eventually convicted of the crime. The cordless phone he had stolen was not found, hidden in Billy's chair.

With Benny locked up, Molly was faced with a dilemma. It had been a financial strain to care for Billy and their children on both her and Benny's incomes. On less than half that? It just wasn't possible. Fortunately, help came "through the miracle of telecommunication," in the form of Billy and Benny's Great-Uncle Dave. Uncle Dave was a scientist who had relocated to the US in WWII, to work on the Manhattan Project. Seeing the destruction that the atomic bombs had wrought on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he was devastated, wracked with guilt, and felt that he could no longer return home to Wales, after having helped destroy so many lives. A self-imposed exile. Uncle Dave had heard, likely from Molly, or one of the other members of the family, of the plight of this branch of the family. And so, he extended the offer to have Billy come and stay with him, in Los Angeles.

There was little reason to refuse. Off Billy went to LA, to live with Uncle Dave. In this new city, he was bombarded with a chaotic rush of input he'd never experienced before. Light and sound and people, so many different people, and radio, twenty stations for every one back home. And the first, fledgling computer networks, to boot. It was a whole new world, a playground of sound and data. Billy settled into this new place -- if uneasily, still longing for home -- and refined his powers. He discovered that with the help of the cordless phone Benny had stowed in his chair, which he'd brought with him to the States, he could dial out along phone lines, and transmit data, not just receive it. He began to learn about the fledgling internet (this was 1987, we must reiterate) and explore the possibilities it presented him. He learned how to hack into government networks, everything from traffic grids to spy satellites. And he found a voice synthesizer program he could use to finally, after twenty-three years of silence, have a voice of his own.

He began calling up radio stations, looking for people to talk to, a way to have his story heard. He called up Jim, a DJ at the pirate radio station Radio KAOS. Billy struck up a friendship with Jim, telling him about his abilities and his life story. But he didn't let Jim know that he had a plan in the works, a way, he hoped, to make people see how they were all the same, all deserving of the same respect, and make the world a better place.
Billy had figured out, with time and persistence, how to hack into military computer networks, government surveillance satellites, missile installations. He engineered the illusion of an incipient worldwide nuclear strike, and alerted the world to the coming end. (And, of course, with his control of the computers, prevented any actual nuclear retaliation.) The plan was to frighten the world into empathy, bring people together for what they would think would be their last minutes of life. Show them that they were all the same, in the ways it mattered, and that continuing worldwide conflict and oppression of their fellow man would have no benefit.
That was the theory, anyway.

The countdown ended, and Billy revealed his ruse. And there was an initial outpouring of empathy. But that is where the album ends. Somewhat problematically, we don't see what the long-term consequences of Billy's actions were, for him or for the world. (That there is only a happy ending at all due to a request by the record label, who thought the album's original was too bleak, is perhaps telling.)

Billy is a good kid. That is, really, the most accurate overall description of him. He's a perennial optimist, a steadfast believer in the goodness of humankind, and incredibly personable and friendly to everyone he meets. He loves people! He loves talking to people, and listening to them talk, and he also just loves being around other people and people-watching. Understandably so, perhaps, considering he grew up relatively isolated from anyone outside his immediate family, and wasn't really able to hold conversations with anyone at all, until very recently.
Despite a lack of formal schooling, he is incredibly intelligent, and a voracious learner -- the breadth and depth of information on the modern internet, and the ease with which one can find and access it, is going to delight him, and his first month or so in the City will probably be devoted entirely to reading every single article on Wikipedia, and catching up on modern computer technology.

He loves his brother and Molly and Uncle Dave dearly, and would do anything for them. The concepts of "family" and "home" are very important to him, and he feels that everyone in the world should be able to be with their family (whether genetic or chosen -- whatever they define family as) and be home (again, by whatever their personal definition is).

His condition, and everything he's dealt with and been denied as a consequence, has affected him, but not as awfully as many would expect. He's really mostly okay with the cards fate has drawn for him. He accepts that this is how things are, and he tries to make the best of what he has -- which is quite a lot more, he feels, than some people. (He would like to be able to walk and speak without assistance and be able to care for himself, of course, but he doesn't obsess over it. It wouldn't change his situation, after all. It would just make him feel bad.) There is one moment in the whole album and extended materials that could be interpreted as possible bitterness over his condition, and that's just chiding Jim for making fun of his synthetic voice, and pointing out that he has no other options. Rather than be jealous or resentful, he's just disappointed that most abled persons don't realise how lucky they are. He will occasionally lampshade or point out his condition to this purpose, but wants no pity or coddling.

Billy has, as one might expect, very little in the way of firsthand life experiences -- most of his knowledge and understanding of how the world works is secondhand, via radio transmissions. He is childishly naive about many basic facts of day to day life, and the finer points of complicated issues. (Human interaction, ethics, economics, politics, etc.) His ethical views are uncomplicated -- he hasn't had much occasion to have his beliefs challenged, or have to engage in debate over them. People should be good to each other, the world should be fair. If it isn't, that should be fixed. He's frustrated by the great injustices of the world, the things that seem too big for a single person to change. He wants to make the world a better place, for everyone. He is extremely open and honest, though he has at least enough sense to not give his complete trust to just anyone. He is friendly and somewhat naive, yes, and believes that people are findamentally good -- but he also knows that they can do bad things. And that sometimes, secrets need to be kept. At least for a time.

He doesn't think about the consequences of his actions -- like, at all. He thought engineering a worldwide nuclear scare would help the world come together in mutual understanding, after all, and didn't seem to consider the possible negative reactions and consequences of this, at all. In the City, he will see nothing wrong with hacking and just trying to nose his way into everywhere and anywhere, just for the sheer fun of it, and the pursuit of knowledge. He will be shocked by there being consequences for such things.

He has, just overall, a great deal of growing up to do, and the City will facilitate that. For good of for ill? Who knows? We'll find out!

Radio Waves/Assisted Technopathy: Billy is able to "tune in" to the electromagnetic spectrum along the radio/tv frequencies, including cell phone traffic, and wifi. (Presumably, also including the imPort "Network.") Anything more complicated than straight radio waves, however, he needs a computer's assistance to decode and/or interpret in a meaningful way -- otherwise, it all just 'sounds' like modem noise. He is not able to transmit any sort of information unassisted, and needs a device that can do so, such as a mobile phone or network communicator, both on and on his person, or within a 1 foot radius, to transmit any signals of his own. Assuming he has access to such a device, he is able to manipulate the data transmissions with his mind and is effectively a limited technopath and a gifted computer hacker (though his knowledge will initially, of course, be 25 years out of date) able to control traffic grids, view subjects through government spy satellites, et cetera. In 1987, he was able to hack into nuclear launch sites, worldwide, and affect the illusion of an incipient worldwide nuclear strike (and also prevent "The Powers That Be" from actually retaliating). I don't expect him to be able to do this to modern, hacker-prepared government networks, of course -- at least, not without a damn lot of help and preparation, and a hell of a plot behind it. But it's an example of what he has done.

Telekinesis: A new power, given to him when he is ported in. Pretty standard TK, really. It's not enormously strong -- he's only able to lift 50-60 lbs at a maximum, and then with considerable effort. He can maybe do three or four separate tasks at a time. When he is concentrating on moving objects telekinetically, he is unable to transmit or receive radio transmissions.


There is so much in the air.

[The voice is not just computer-augmented, but entirely synthesized -- very obviously so, the program it's being run through at least twenty years old. A complete lack of tone and inflection.]

Radio. Television. Back home. I knew those. I was used to them. But here. Now. Cellular phones. Internet. Global positioning. Digital television. Satellite radio. There is so much. It is so loud. You don't know. You can't hear.

I'm learning. How to block them out. How to ignore them. When I have to. But I don't like to. I like to listen. To learn.

What things do you like to listen to? Or watch. Or read. What is your favourite? I want to know.


The air screams.

WELC -- got the moves like -- SALT $ CRYPT):
$1$M0N/W9GZ$8kzb8.gOH -- TO THE -- imPort problem, there's only -- ITY -- like dis if u cry evry -- HERO

It winds him, the sheer volume and variety of it all, a new meaning to the phrase noise pollution. Noise assault.

He tries to shout his pain and surprise, wounded-animal instinct, but his throat closes up, and the only sound he can make is a thin gurgling. Instead, he finds expression through radio. A crackling scream of data through several feet of the impossibly complicated computer he shares the room with. It's enough to upset Lachesis, or maybe just annoy her, and he finds the world wrenching around him again, as he is deposited in a weed-choked vacant lot, on the outskirts of the City. Still loud. Still terrible and bewildering and painful. But less than it was, in that room. He sits trembling, arms raised above his head and feet curled and cramping, and struggles for breath. Noise. Noise. He needs to think through it. Needs to block it -- needs to tune it out.

It takes him nearly an hour to struggle through it enough to become aware enough of his surroundings to realise that his cordless phone is gone -- Benny's phone is gone -- and it's been replaced by a small, sleek device with a ridiculously tiny keyboard. Funny little joke, he thinks weakly. He's supposed to use that? It takes him long minutes just to manage to hit the little power button and hold it for the several seconds necessary turn the comm on.

But, there's a blessing. Once the device starts up, it's familiar. Many of the same processes as the cordless phone, and a stunningly fast computer, combined. It's familiar enough that he can control it by thinking -- that he doesn't need to work about that ridiculous little keyboard. And then he can explore, carefully casting his mind out across that amazing mess of data screaming through the air.

Phone conversations? A coding algorithm he doesn't know, but this new device deals with it easily enough. Text. Familiar enough. Like ARPAnet, like CompuServ. Video, and that startles him, briefly, the sheer fantastic surprise of it. Like seeing a flying car. Video over the phone. Back and forth. Such speed and quantity. He can't see it in his head, can't quite make the encoding make sense yet. But he can pull it up on the comm screen, easily.

He is there for hours more. Picking through this world wide web, and trying to find out what has happened, here.

But the air grows cool, eventually, and his limbs still ache, and his catheter drainage bag is, he suspects, nearly full. Uncle Dave won't be here, if what he's read is true. And even if he were, he would be on the other side of the country. He needs to find somewhere to stay. Somewhere they can take care of him. He's found information on the "Metahuman Apartment Complex," but suspects they don't provide private nurses. That won't do. He goes back to this “Google.” And he begins to search for a solution.

Even with his computer skills and added telekinesis, it seems unrealistic to think that with the severity of Billy's cerebral palsy, he will be able to adequately care for himself. Thus, I would like to say that he either finds on his own, or is set up with an assisted care facility by the DOI. If at a later point, he develops CR that would be willing to care for him, or a financial windfall great enough to justify him acquiring a place of his own and a live-in nurse, then he may leave the facility. But until such a time, he'll be staying there, and not in the MAC.