She sat on the couch, a black piece of plastic emitting the occasional burst of static and garbled weather report. She’d adjust the long antenna every now and again. The static faded in and out. “Old friend of yours?”

“Just dug it out. Old amateur radio equipment.”

“I didn’t think that was a thing any more. Who needs radios when you have telepathic omnilinks and ultraspeed network links? Bouncing off the ionosphere sounds quaint these days.”

“It was exciting back then. Staying up late enough and developing the technical wizardry to actually talk to someone in Russia. I wouldn’t even know how to start doing it. Back when it was a novelty, not a nuisance. Just ask anyone who’s tried to play an online game without Russians.”

A distant voice crackled over the speaker. They sounded mad. Then they didn’t sound like anything at all.

“What was that?”

“He’s been jumping around the band all day. Short bursts, then silence.”

“Maybe you should get closer to the window.”

“Wouldn’t help. The signal’s coming from far enough away that a few extra feet of air can’t hurt. Even if we stuck our heads out the window, he’d still be faint and distant.”

“Can’t we do something? He sounds like he has something to say.”

“Everyone has something to say. What makes him so special?”

“Aside from the fact that he’s apparently desperate enough to scream into an antique instead of complaining online like everyone else?”

“Fine. We’ll walk down to Adder’s. But you’re doing the dishes if this is a bust.”

“And if it’s exciting, you’ll thank me.”