Art Crawl!

Participants:

alexander_icon.gif daniel_icon.gif helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Art Crawl!
Synopsis Members of PARIAH go out to promote their cause through urban art forms. Unfortunately, there are some critics.
Date September 13, 2008 (About 3 AM)

Chinatown

Though it's less than two miles square, Chinatown is home to some quarter of a million residents. Cramped, ancient tenements are the norm, though the fourty-four story Confucious Plaza standing at the corner of Bowery and Division does boast luxurious accommodations by comparison. Mulberry Street, Canal Street, and East Broadway are home to streetside green grocers and fishmongers, and Canal Street also boasts an impressive array of Chinese jewelry shops.


It's about three in the morning. The meeting in front of the building was brief, just Helena confirming where the teams were going to go. One was sent to Brooklyn, another to SoHo. Daniel, Helena, Alexander, and Peter were going to cover Chinatown. "Make sure you have one look out at least while the others are tagging. And make sure you've got adequate cover while you work." Some of the taggers are genuine artists, and do more then just //Fortis Et Liber'' on the walls if given the opportunity.

In Chinatown, Helena spots one of those second story brick walls with a walkway along it, up against one of the tenaments-slash-storefronts. She knows she can provide adequate cover for them while they work, though she'd like a turn as well. "What do you guys think?"

At the moment, the street's pretty empty except for the sound of an occaisional car, or the yowel of an alley cat.

Alexander can barely write his name with an ordinary pen. HE's not gonna get all Klimt and shit with a can of spray paint. "Ah'll keep watch," he volunteers, quietly. He's got a black bandana tied over his head - that hair sticks out like a sore thumb with any kind of light. In his usual fatigues, t-shirt, and army parka. Very Travis Bickle chic.

He had cleaned up well enough, back to his button-down dress shirts and slacks, his leather coat having the paint of last night washed off of it in preparation for the paint of tonight. Walking alongside of Helena, Peter kept his head down, hands in his pockets. He listened to her as she explained the situation, arching a brow when she suggested a spotter, though this time he doesn't speak up a dissenting voice. He lets Helena take charge, to see where it goes.

"Sounds like you put a lot of thought into this." Peter looks up, towards the roof of the building, then around, "Where's the billboard you were talking about?" He arches out brow, tilting his head to the side, eyes scanning the rooftops. While he does, Peter tilts his head to the side, looking intently at windows, doors and alleyways. His brow tenses, then relaxes. "Nothing but strays around here," He doesn't elaborate as to stray what, "Your call, Helena. You're in charge. You know what I'd do." He cracks a smile, testingly.

Daniel, air mask on but unbuckled, says, "I'm up. Is there anyone in there, do you think? I could go in through the bottom floor and up inside the wall…" He is very knowledgeable about what to do with the pieces. He has his paint cans actually in a sling across his shoulder, like a real tagger might.

"You'd do everything yourself if you could get away with it." Helena eyerolls in Peter's direction. She considers a few moments and says, "Peter and Alex can get up there the easiest. I can provide some cover, and Daniel can keep an eye on the street. Alex, are you feeling like an art student today, or would you rather just be the conveyence man?" She refers to getting all the cans of paint and such up quietly without having to burden anyone on the way up.

"I can do a little bit of drawin'," Alex says, quietly, flashing her one of those conspirator's grin. His accent is much less noticeable than usual - apparently he tones it down for the driving shifts. "But mostly, I'll get the gear up there. Got some experience climbing," he says, eyeing the ways up.

Daniel nods silently, buckles his mask up, and disappears through an adjacent wall. Sliding down into the ground like a diver into a pond, the very tippy-top of his head is barely visible through a slat in an ancient grate, giving him an excellent view of the street.

Peter eyes the cans of paint, tilting his head to the side. He then looks back up to the walkway. Reaching up to rub idly at the back of his neck, Peter nods to Helena and then looks back around at the buildings and alleyways, checking to see if anyone is watching from the nearby windows. Quirking his head to the side again, Peter shrugs, and reaches out a hand for Alex, resting it on his shoulder. He looks up to the walkway again, then closes his eyes, brow tensing. There's a sudden feeling, for Alex, of falling. Like walking down a flight of stairs and missing a step, that momentary feeling of losing ones balance and plummeting. This is accompanied by the sound of air rushing to fill the space where the two were, and at the same time vacate the space they arrive in.

The moment that brief falling sensation ends, he's up on the walkway with Alex by his side, looking down at Helena on the street below. He looks over to Alex, grimacing as he pulls his hand away from the young man's shoulder, "You should be able to lift anything you need from this height," Peter estimates, looking down, then back up to Alex as he slides a pair of clattering spray paint cans out of his coat pockets, along with some folded pieces of cardboard.

Helena actually makes the climb manually, muttering something about hating it when he does that, although which he she means isn't apparent. She stops about midway up, hanging onto the fire escape ladder and letting herself lean a bit outward. Overhead, the clouds are slowly starting to move, she's trying to create a quick fog that is still within the scope of believability.

"Damn, boy, you like a Swiss Army Knife," Al says, admiringly. "Endless bag of tricks, huh?" He sets about hauling the heavier cans of paint up….they drift up on their own, rather than by any physical means.
Daniel is easy to miss, in the shadowy darkness. A bug scurries through his head, then scuttles away in a panic, what the hell was /that/?

Further up the block, in the silence of the night, faint strains of sound can be heard. Why yes, there are some people who do actually stay awake at this insane hour. There's the sounds of music from very far away, some kind of heavy beat suggesting hiphop, though it doesn't seem to be moving. Clouds continue to gather, the sky growing misty thanks to Helena's efforts.

Cracking a smile as he sees Helena climbing up, Peter walks across the catwalk to an area with plenty of space to begin. Setting down his spare can of paint, he holds the piece of folded cardboard in the other hand, using it to shape sharp edges with his medium. It starts out simply enough, spraying in sharp white lines the word, "F O R T I S" in large somewhat stylized text. "It has its moments," Peter says with a crooked smile, seeming to enjoy being able to put his abilities to use. As he continues to work, he switches to the other can — black — and makes dark outlines around the white, making the word pop out from the wall with the contrast.

"Nice job, Hel," Peter says as he watches her focus, feeling the gradual change in the weather inside of himself as he starts working on the conjoining word, "E T," these letters too outlined in black, made to be sharp and strongly pronounced, so that it could easily be read from the street below, or even the building across the way.

Al doesn't seem incline to break out with his artistic side. He's mostly listening keenly, lest they be snuck up on.

Helena lifts her eyes to those above. "I thought you were gonna go all Art School Confidential on us, Alex." she calls upwards softly, and grins past him at Peter briefly before she looks back down the street. Daniel's not within her sight, which means he's doing his job, but it also makes her nervous.

Daniel begins to move slowly through the earth, changing his position from inside a building's grate to higher in the wall, his eyes mere shadows beneath the tangled ventilation pipe than hangs off the edge of the building. He stays in one place exactly three minutes, then moves, then stays there exactly three minutes. He practiced this, after all.

By the time Peter gets to "L I B E R" he's staring at the wall, looking at the bricks with a puzzled and confused expression. One hand sets down the piece of cardboard, and his fingers stay playing with the bricks, touching the surface of wet paint as if feeling for something. Finally, he backs up, bumping into the railing as if jumping back in a startle. That's when Alex notices it, Peter's eyes clouding with a milky white hue. He's seen it just the other day, and now here it is again. Dropping his spraypaint, Peter motions towards one of the buckets, curling his fingers as it violently rockets off of the catwalk towards him. A shearing sound roughly splits the can apart in a shower of battleship gray paint that sprays through the catwalk, raining down onto the street below. Globules of paint float in the air, as if suspended without gravity. Peter tilts his head to the side again, then motions towards the wall, and the paint flies at the brick, exploding in small pops of paint globs.

Another can lifts up with a raising of another hand, as if Peter were some mad conductor at a symphony. He motions for the can again, and it rotates in the air, a whirring sound like a mechanical saw sounding as a hole is sliced across the front of the can while nothing is present. He directs his hand toward sthe wall as the paintbucket is crushed like an aluminum can, squirting a line of paint out that snakes through the air, forming patterns of green added to the gray. There is a dissatisfied sound, and the spray-paint cans lift up into the air, along with the piece of cardboard, all moving in unison now like some bizarre puppet show. Peter's head rolls to one side, a brow raising, his arms motion and direct like a man possessed. Something is beginning to come into focus, through the haze of paint and color, but it isn't clear yet.

"Aw, goddamit. I hate it when the spirit comes on him," Alex grouses, with a complete lack of reverence. "Boy can't do anythin' the normal way," he says, coming up to Peter as if to offer support. Not that he expects him to collapse and start speaking in tongues, but really, one never knows.

As Daniel continues to move outward, he'll start to hear the music more particularly. It's hip hop alright, but the lyrics aren't in English. They're in some form of Chinese, and there's the accompaniment of male shouts - exultations as well as declarations of disgust. Apparently it must be a game of chance going on.

Helena lets out a yelp when the paint can turns, half expecting it to pour on her, only instead to find Peter doing his thing. She stares up in fascination, murmuring, "I'm not sure whether to be awed or freaked out." Clearly, she's both.

There's a sense of movement in the street, a doorway to a storefront opens, and several young men come pouring out. They are in various stages of intoxicated.

Daniel steps backwards into the building, and sideways, and then /sideways/, back into reality, and he pops the air tube out of his mouth, pulling his mask up just a fraction of an inch to murmur into a radio: "Drunken people headed your way. They're speaking Chinese. Local paper game just breaking up, it looks like. They're at Peter's eight, forty yards back and closing. Button it up."

Both of the spray-paint cans run dry, falling discarded to the catwalk with a rattling clank. Peter then scowls, and by the way he moves, he seems oblivious to Alex's presence, as well as Daniel's warning. So he continues to work, uninhibited by the sounds around him, holding one hand out towards the wall, the bones in his hand beginning to glow a violent orange-white coloration, with mottled swirls of red and orange swirling just beneath his skin, as if his body were now somehow containing a raging inferno of light and heat. He motions to the wall, sending out a brilliant wave of crackling white-hot flames and light that scorches the brick, baking the paint into the stone and blackening it in places. His other hand raises, shaking violently as it too begins to glow with the same intense orange light, rippling tongues of flame like solar flares leap from Peter's palm, lashing black score marks across the wall, adding depth of field and shadows to the bubbling paint from the charred black.

There was going to be little hiding that display.

"Holy fucking shit, David Copperfield," is Alex's staggered assessment of that little display. But he reaches in to grab Peter's shoulder. "Pete, come out of it. We gotta get a move on," he says, glancing along and down.

"Don't do that, he'll throw you off - " Helena starts, and winces. Peter could tromp all of them combined, and he's in the thick of an artsy fartsy trance. She toggles her radio with her free hand. "No can do. They won't be able to miss what's going on. Come back, we may need you." Yeaaah. This has gone a little sideways.

One of the young men points at the flares in the distance, and they all start to shamble toward it in various states of cognizance. One of them seems slightly less drunken at the others, and narrows his eyes as he heads belligerently in the direction of the miscreants.

Daniel was instinctively going behind them, but he pauses and says into his radio, "Where do you want me?" as quiet as he can, this is going to have to be the last commuication as they're getting awfully close to his hiding place.

Peter doesn't feel the hand on his shoulder, or if he does it isn't a firm enough stimuli to break him from his trance. Looking at the wall, Peter rolls his shoulders and raises both hands, yanking a spray paint can out from the bandolier Helena carrier, and two more from down on the street. They all begin moving in a slow circle, spraying out at alternating points as one of Peter's hands occasionally flares brightly with a crackling snap of heat and radiance, burning shapes and shadows into the wall. Something seems strange about Peter, though, his behavior far more erratic than when Alex had seem him painting the night before. He stumbles, moving like a man on marionette strings, his hand glowing to a sun-like white before he begins fingerpainting with the overwhelming heat, using the tip of his index finger to draw black charred lines in jagged, broken shapes, all while the spray-paint cans work away from him, where the paint can't be ignited in the air. Peter isn't going to be of any help just yet…

"Fuck man, we gotta bail. Like now." Alex is nearly beside himself. To the point that he's trying to drag Van Gogh here bodily away from his little Crayola orgy, using both muscle and power.

"If you're feeling brave, see if you can cover your face and lead them off." Helena instructs. You should be able to lose them if you drop out of sight after a bit of a chase. Can you handle that?" She sounds breathless, that's because she's climbing down from the fire escape, landing on her feet with a soft thump. "Alex, there's no point. Come down, I think I'm going to need you." Wind picks up around her, blowing her hair back and rustling garbage.

Staggering from Alex's touch, Peter falls back against the railing again, his eyes widening as he stares at his creation, his vision beginning to uncloud as he lets in a sucking breath, like he had been holding it in the whole time he worked. Seeing first the rent cans, crumpled and twisted on the ground, then Alex holding his shoulder, he is shocked and surprised. But upon seeing the strange and distorted mural that smolders on the wall, Peter's only expression is one of disbelief and confusion. Blood runs out of one of his nostrils as he slumps down the railing and lands seated on the catwalk, breathing in shallow, rasping breaths. Beneath his eyes, dark circles makes it look as though he had a pair of black eyes. This much exertion seems to have put a terrible toll on Peter.

The scene displayed is elaborately and dementedly detailed, painted in something that could only be the progeny of impressionistic and surrealism, created from both the shades of many cans and buckets of paint Peter had drawn up towards himself, but also the deep and charred black of the intense heat and flame he had created. The scene depicts a cityscape, in minute detail down to the shadows on windows in the distance. It doesn't look like a street in the ruins, but the skyline depicts them as being close. Nearby, an old station-wagon is situated partly up on a curb, charred and gray from being burned out long ago. But the primary focus of the image are plants, a lush and enormous plant with leaves of a rich green color. The large, jagged-edged leaves grow in groups of three with long, purplish stems and small star-shaped and very white five-petaled flowers, bunches of round black berries grow beneath them. It seems to be growing out of a fissure the pavement — painted in the charred black of atomic fire — although the base is mostly hidden by a thicket of vines. The vines start near the plant and extend some ways down the street from it, biased towards the right side of the painting, where they curl down and look to be painted in some coiling mass around the "FORTIS ET LIBER" slogan. Strange flowers on the vines are also five-petaled, but the petals are round and form a cup; they're larger and red overall, with a bit of orange towards the center.

Peter opens his mouth to speak, gawking at the painting as he mumbles in a dry voice, "W-what, I…" He looks down at his hands, the last bit of a glow fading from them. It is only then that the sounds of raised voices from the thugs begin to register to him.

Daniel yanks the mask back down. It's easy to be brave when you can become invulnerable. And when a guy wearing a creepy industrial-looking mask steps out from the shadows right in front of you - solid, for the moment, and says, in that muffled voice: "You fucking slopes best bounce on outta here, we ain't got any time for pussy ass motherfuckers like you. Step off, bitches, and keep steppin' all the way back to Japandonesia or wherever the fuck you fell off the boat from." Well, let's just say it leaves an impression. (Did mild mannered Daniel actually say that?)

One of the drunker, more aggressive ones takes a swing at Daniel, which he neatly sidesteps, and with a quick knee plant and firm shove, sends the guy flying to land face-down in a pile of debris. Now he /really/ has their attention. He starts to backpedal, away from the group. NOW it's on.

There's five of them, and they all stop and look at each other, then at Daniel, almost incomprehensibly for a moment. There's a silence and then, three of them start toward Daniel, fully intent on kicking his ass. They don't entirely know what he said save for a few colorful words, but it's enough to piss them off. Two of them look at each other, and make a bee-line for the street where the other three are. One of them makes a demand of the other, repeated with emphasis and gets handed a bottle of Ki-rin beer. (Product placement, hurray!)

"Nice work, Rembrandt. Very Hiroshima. Let's blow this taco stand and go home," Alex says, offering Peter a shoulder. "If you ain't gonna get all Clark Kent and Neo 'cause you just blew your wad with the crayons there, fuckin' say so. We got to move," Al is already hauling Peter bodily towards the end of the walk they're on.

Daniel lifts his hands in the ancient 'come on then' pose of the streets, then flips them off with gloved fingers, continuing to backpedal as he physically taunts them, trying to put a bit of distance between them and him - but not so much that they don't start to chase.

Indeed, there are three chasing Daniel, yelling in Mandarin at the top of their lungs. One of them is quite fast, and tries to go for the flying tackle from behind. Hopefully Daniel will be fast enough to either duck or phase!

The two remaining enter the sidestreet, and take a second to take in the scene. Calmly, the one with the beer bottle smacks it against a garbage can, the top cracking off and leaving it open and broken. "We don't need your gwin lao crap here." he says in thickly accented English, though his eyes widen as he spots Helena. "You little bitch!" With a wave of his hand, the beer literally arcs up out of the broken bottle, splitting itself into two slivers, and hurl themselves toward Alexander and the target of his ire.

The sounds of raised voices mix with the sounds of Alex speaking. Peter only seems to understand a bit of it, his brow tensing and untensing as he;s hauled up to his feet. He looks back at the painting, eyes wide in confusion, "W-wait… I…" Peter lurches, holding his head as he swallows dryly again, this time not arguing as he's brought towards the fire escape. Then he sees Helena, walking down the street with the wind blowing around her, unsettling the grabage and debris in the streets, then he sees the thugs approaching her — and recognizes them. "Damnit." Unhooking his arm from around Alex's shoulder, Peter closes his eyes and lowers his head… then looks up and around confused. He tenses his brow again, lowering his head, he can't seem to work up the concentration.

Not spotting the projectiles launched from the man down in the street, Peter staggers over to the ladder, grabbing onto the side and slides down towards the street, landing in a crouch. He wheels around, holding out a hand towards one of the thugs in a menacing gesture, "Get away from her."

Then… nothing. Peter looks at his hand, then holds the side of his head again. His breathing hastens, and fear begins to sink in.

"You c'n blow me, hoss," Alexander says, amiably. He makes a contemptuous gesture with one hand, as if brushing away an importunate fly, and the liquidart is deflected smoothly. He's not fast enough to take care of Helena's as well, though. He hurls himself down, not even bothering to use the ladder, landing in a perfect three point crouch before bouncing up again. "Buddy, you ain't got the power to threaten a healthy roach at this point. Get Helena, get the fuck out of here," he says to Peter out of the corner of his mouth, as he moves to interpose himself between the thugs and Helena and Peter. The debris around him has begun to rise and hover. Cue the ominous Akira music, someone's about to get pissed and destroy Neo-Tokyo.

Daniel is more than fast enough. He practices this. The diving tackle goes right through him, and before the tackler can react, he's solid again and kicking them hard, right in the small of their back with the heel of his shoe. CRACK! THUMP! He dodges around the corner in the confusion, taking advantage of the fact that the other thugs don't seem quite sure they saw what they saw, only that their friend is laying face down screaming in pain.

It's hard to see what exactly happens, Helena lets out a yelp, her hand going to her cheek as she whirls in the direction that the liquid sliver had been hurled. Her head whips back as she glares at the pair, and with an angry gesture of a now bloody hand (getting cut on your face always bleeds more then what is actually amounted to for the size of the cut), the wind picks up, and the one holding the bottle gets slammed back, skidding out into the street, followed by rolling garbage cans and debris.

Daniel's pair aren't that much brighter. They try to double jump him, holding out their arms and attempting to grasp him from either side.

Trying to control his sbreathing, Peter looks over at Alexander, watching the way he moves, knowing what his power can do. He tenses his brow, walking over to Helena, though his gait is awkward and fatigued, as if his legs simply didn't want to carry him any further, "//Lena/…" He says, out of breath, resting a hand on her shoulder, "C-Come on…" Even now, when he can hardly walk, he's trying to urge her back behind him, looking at the one man left in the alley. Peter draws in a few more deep breaths, shaking his head, and Helena can see just how worse for wear he looks.

Daniel lets them go right through him, stepping back to plant solid, unimaginative kicks at the backs of their calves, knocking them off their feet one, then the other. "Step." he says, and his meaning is undeniable. He points off down the alley, then turns, silent again, and stalks through the wall, headed back - quickly, towards the eye of the storm.

There's a little flick of a hand from Alex, aimed at that last fool in the alley. Complete with two fingers extended, very Qui-Gonn. and down you go.

Helena tusn and looks at Peter - yeah, that cut along her jaw is pretty small it just bled a whole lot. She looks momentarily angry, but then swallows and nods. "Okay." The hydrokinetic is slammed to the ground, conking his head and lying flat. "I hate it when things go sidewise." Helena sighs, and toggles her radio. "We gotta get out of her. If you're done having fun, meet us at the edge of the block. Let us know if you need help." With that, she tilts her head toward the mouth of the alley to indicate to Alex and Peter that they should go, but not before she gazes at the mural Peter produced. "Woah." she says, eyes going wide.

Peter grimaces, shaking his head, "Sorry…" His brows tense, weakly apologetic as he looks back to the alleyway. The dark-circles under his eyes are very slowly beginning to fade, though it is fast enough to look unnatural. "Those are the guys from…" He looks towards the prone men on the ground, "Come one." He keeps one hand on Helena's shoulder, more for his own support than for her.

Daniel does not reply. He meets them at the end of the block in silence. No problem. It was just four guys, why would there be a problem? As they approach, he pulls off his mask. "Helena…you're bleeding, are you all right?" He brought a first aid kit. Always prepared, our Daniel. "What was that back there?"

"YOu know these fools?" Alex says, visibly trying to clamp down on his power so he doesn't raise dust like Pigpen just by walking. "Man, you look like twenty miles of bad road. Spirit came on Pete here," he says, not casting a second glance back at that little piece of public art.

"I'm fine, Helena says. "I just need to wash up and maybe slap a bandage on. It's just a little cut." She encourages Peter to lean on her, in turn patting Daniel's hand gratefully. "Let's head back. I think there's no question about what's on that building drawing attention. Even if it got a little messy." Helena seems pleased with the outcome. "Let's go home."


Headline:
PARIAH GRAFITTI DRAWS ATTENTION

Photo:
The scene displayed is elaborately and dementedly detailed, painted in something that could only be the progeny of impressionistic and surrealism, created from both the shades of many cans and buckets of paint Peter had drawn up towards himself, but also the deep and charred black of the intense heat and flame he had created. The scene depicts a cityscape, in minute detail down to the shadows on windows in the distance. It doesn't look like a street in the ruins, but the skyline depicts them as being close. Nearby, an old station-wagon is situated partly up on a curb, charred and gray from being burned out long ago. But the primary focus of the image are plants, a lush and enormous plant with leaves of a rich green color. The large, jagged-edged leaves grow in groups of three with long, purplish stems and small star-shaped and very white five-petaled flowers, bunches of round black berries grow beneath them. It seems to be growing out of a fissure the pavement — painted in the charred black of atomic fire — although the base is mostly hidden by a thicket of vines. The vines start near the plant and extend some ways down the street from it, biased towards the right side of the painting, where they curl down and look to be painted in some coiling mass around the "FORTIS ET LIBER" slogan. Strange flowers on the vines are also five-petaled, but the petals are round and form a cup; they're larger and red overall, with a bit of orange towards the center.

Text:
The pro-Evolved terrorist group PARIAH made its presence known this morning as residents of the Lower East and West Sides were treated to the sight of grafitti declaring the group's motto, ''FORTIS ET LIBER'' (in Latin: Strength and Freedom). Members of the group, or grafitti taggers who apparently share their goals have left the declaration on building walls that are within site of heavy traffic areas of SoHo, Little Italy, and Chinatown respectively. However, the Chinatown artwork was particularly eye-drawing, as photographed above.

Many of the local residents expressed concern over the vandalism, though a small percentage, mostly teenagers and twenty-somethings, expressed admiration of the artwork. The police have made no comment at this time.


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September 12th: Breathe
Previously in this storyline…
Breathe

Next in this storyline…
Right Where I Belong

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September 13th: Right Where I Belong
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