Guinea Pigs


melissa_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Guinea Pigs
Synopsis Ygraine wanders into the Den and her and Melissa talk about abilities and experimentation.
Date February 24, 2010

The Den

The upstairs is pretty busy, with people getting last minute meat for dinner and whatnot. Downstairs in the Den is a whole other story. It's quiet, almost //too/ quiet. No radio, no chatter, no sound of anyone moving heavy objects. What there is though, is Melissa sitting on the couch, legs stretched out and propped up on a box. She's got a laptop situated on her lap, and headphones plugged in and over her ears. Her head bobs slightly to what is probably music playing, while she taps on the keyboard at a relatively decent speed.

Clomping downstairs, Ygraine peers around with interest, curious to see what changes might be visible since her last visit to the new safehouse. Removing her helmet and opening up her jacket once safely out of sight of the shop upstairs, she cracks a grin at sight of the Den's guardian… and slowly comes closer, to try to let her presence be felt.

It's a little neater, and the walls have been painted, but otherwise, it looks no different than the last time Ygraine was here. Melissa catches the movement out of the corner of her eye and glances up. She grins and speaks, too loudly because of the headphones. "Hey Ygraine." She does something on the computer then tugs the headphones down so they hang around her neck. "What's up?"

With a creak of leather, Ygraine sinks into a crouch, to bring herself slightly down below the seated woman's level. "Oh, nothing urgent", she says with a swift grin. "Thought I'd drop in and see how you were doing. Find out how much of the hard work I've managed to miss out on since I was last here."

Melissa laughs. "Not much in the way of hard work. I moved some stuff around and painted, but that's all the manual labor that's been done. But I'm doin' alright. For the moment everyone else seems to be, too, so things are pretty good."

Ygraine nods, smile momentarily turning rueful. "From what I've heard, things have been… pretty hairy for a good few people thus far this year. I'm glad that you've missed out on that sort of 'fun'. So… is there anything helpful that I should be doing? Painting the ceiling for you? Hauling furniture? Taking you out for a drink?"

Melissa shrugs. "I've had my share of 'fun', just not here. And I think most of the furniture is hauled. Some of the rooms can still use a thorough cleaning, and more supplies is always awesome, but for the most part this place is going pretty smoothly."

Ygraine cocks her head, quirking another smile. "And no comment on the drink? Not that I can claim to know too many fashionable night-spots in the city, I admit."

Melissa grins. "Only play I know is Old Lucy's, but I really don't need anymore drinks for a bit. They've led to some stupid decisions since I got here. And no, not plannin' on gettin' into it."

Ygraine winces sympathetically, worry flickering across her face. "Nothing with… lasting effects, I hope", she says somewhat uncertainly. "Long time since I've been to Old Lucy's, though I do at least know where you're talking about, I suppose…."

Melissa laughs and shakes her head. "Nah, just regrets. But that happens. No one gets through life without regrets. Sure you got some of your own."

Ygraine snorts and chuckles. "Oh, many", she says with a shake of her head. "Heh. Far too many…. So… nothing alcoholic. Have you eaten yet tonight? I can lay in pizza, or something, for anyone who's here."

Melissa looks amused. "Well right now it's just me'n you. And I'm good for the moment, to tell you the truth." The laptop is closed, it and the headphones set aside. "So whatcha been up to?"

Ygraine creaks upright, then moves to drop onto another of the sofas. "Me? Mostly trying to catch up. Get my head around some of what's been happening lately. And feeling guilty for having done nothing of any particular use at all, for far too long."

"Catch up?" Melissa asks curiously. Then she smiles faintly. "And don't feel guilty. I haven't really done jack since I got here of any use other than diffusing a fight."

Ygraine laughs softly. "That's more than I've done of late. Sure, riding around delivering messages and small doses of supplies is worthwhile, but…." She shrugs. "Most interesting thing I've done of late was blunder across a hydrokinetic. And that was a total accident…. Would it be rude to ask who the near-fight was between?"

Melissa grins. "Maybe, but I don't know one of the names so it's sorta moot anyway. But you found a hydrokinetic? Really? How'd you figure that one out? I'm sure they didn't just walk up to you, smile and say 'Hi, I control water' or anything."

Ygraine's laugh is rather more full-throated this time. "No, no. I… I tend to train at night, to avoid notice. And even though it's cold, I often train when it's raining. Fewer people around, even fewer who look up, and more challenging conditions underfoot…. I… came up onto the roof of a building, and found a woman standing there. In the pouring rain. Having a quiet smoke. And completely dry, with the rain just sort of… sliding around her."

Melissa's brow arches. "Doesn't mean she's a hydrokinetic though. Could be a telekinetic," she points out. "And what kinda training do you do?"

A shrug, and Ygraine quirks another smile. "Well, she said she was a hydrokinetic. Talked about it a bit. I wasn't giving her remotely full details on what I do, and it'd be fair to guess she wasn't doing the same with me… but all I saw her do was manipulate water…."

Shifting position, Ygraine purses her lips. "For training… 'normal' stuff like weights, a great deal of cycling, occasionally some swimming. For the, ahh, weirder stuff, I do quite a lot with parkour - free-running. My ability meshes with it rather well. And the parkour stunts and techniques give me good tests for how rapidly I can switch things around - alter my orientation and respond to things not being quite perfect when I land or roll or skid a bit on water."

Melissa nods. "Well you didn't say that part before," she says, grinning. "I've heard of parkour though. Never seen it done. How's your ability mesh with it though?"

Ygraine blinks, then cracks a grin. "Are the walls dry? I can show you, if you like. And hope not to come down on my head."

Melissa laughs and shrugs. "Dry enough. But please don't fall on your head. I know how to put a bandage on someone, but that's it as far as first aid goes."

Ygraine giggles, then leans down to unfasten and remove her boots. "I'll spare you the dirty great prints", she says, as she reveals thick, warm-looking socks. Standing up, she shrugs out of her jacket - leaving herself in a heavy woolen sweater - before stalking out towards the middle of the floor. There, she takes a deep breath, then sinks into a crouch, before leaping up as if trying to touch the ceiling… but as she gets close to it, something weird quite clearly happens. Just as gravity should be fully asserting control and hauling her back down, she 'drops' upwards into a handstand, from which she folds up onto the ceiling.

There, she sinks into a crouch, flashing an upside-down grin at Melissa. Her clothing and hair fall in seemingly-natural fashion _upwards_, free from any hint of conventional gravity having any effect upon her.

"I was serious about offering to paint the ceilings for you", she says with a wink.

Melissa arches a brow, but it doesn't seem to be a shock and awe moment for her. "Gravity manipulation?" she guesses, head tilting slightly, as if trying to look at Ygraine a little less upside down.

"Sort of", the Briton says. "I think that what I do is to… make objects channel it in certain ways, rather than directly manipulate gravitons - or gravity waves, or whatever is really there. Sort of like making things hyper-conductive or resistant, rather than _directly_ shoving electricity through things. But, of course, there's gravity all around us all the time, so my ability pretty much always has a chance of doing something."

Melissa grins. "Okay, now you're confusing me. You saying that you manipulate forces?"

Ygraine laughs and shrugs. "In simple terms, I can make one thing 'stick' to another, with the normal force of gravity. I could, oh, take a pen and stick it to your laptop screen. No matter which way up you turned your laptop, the pen would have the screen as it's "down". But lifting up the pen would be just as easy as normal - it's just held there by its normal weight."

"Huh. That's pretty handy. But uh…Could you come back down? You're sorta givin' me a headache lookin' at you upside down," Melissa says with an apologetic grin.

Ygraine cracks a grin. "You could come up and join me, if you like", she says with a wink - before rising to her feet and taking a run at one wall. That, she rolls down, landing feet-first on the floor… and finishing with a bow. "Ta-da. I can do quite a lot more, but… if I'm making you dizzy I probably shouldn't."

Melissa laughs and shakes her head. "No thanks. I was side-ways on a building for a while. It gave me a headache too. I like down being down. I mean, upside down, I wouldn't know how to move. And I'd be afraid that, like, jumping would send me falling to the floor and landing on my head!"

"It feels quite natural… though your senses tend to disagree. And the flipping-around of gravity is rather weird - it shifts anything it can, to the new orientation. That took some getting used to, certainly…."

The Briton pads across to the sofa, settling onto it cross-legged once more. "Who stuck you sideways-on to a building?"

"Oh sure, it feels natural to you, but you're the one with the power," Melissa says with a grin. "But a guy named Magnes. You know him?"

Ygraine chuckles. "Yeah… I've run into him a couple of times. And what I meant was that your body in and of itself won't tell the difference, with my ability: you have a normal amount of gravity running through you, and it only goes in one direction. Magnes… grabs gravity and throws it around in accordance with his whims. No forming of a bond between one thing and another, and no… limitations based on the natural flow of gravity, so far as I can tell. Superficially, our abilities are similar… but having seen him in operation is part of what helped me to reach my conclusions about exactly what it is that I do."

Melissa laughs. "Well, I'll leave it to you to understand your ability. I don't think I could ever understand it like you do, and I've got my own ability to worry about figurin' out."

Ygraine shrugs gently. "I'll gladly help, if you think I can try to. I've spent a good bit of time practicing my own, and… encountering Magnes helped to persuade me to do so all the more. When I first ran into him, we had a conversation that resulted in him - temporarily - losing his ability, since he realized that he had no idea either what he really did or how he did it…."

Melissa shakes her head. "My ability isn't one that I can really demonstrate, and you wouldn't like being my guinea pig to figure out my limits either. Trust me on that."

Ygraine winces. "Ah. You did hint at that before. I apologize…"

Melissa shakes her head. "No reason to apologize. Just stating fact. My ability is…painful to other people. So there's not much chance to practice with it."

Ygraine bites her lip. "If it's not lasting pain or damage, then… I could give it a go. I've mangled myself often enough on and off the track…."

Melissa shakes her head again. "It only lasts as long as I want it to…I think. But I don't use my ability on the innocent. I won't use it on the innocent."

Ygraine ducks her head. "And I won't try to force you", she says gently. "I… I think I should change the topic now, eh?"

"Don't have to. Doesn't make me uncomfortable or anything like that," Melissa says with a shrug. "I don't have many rules, that's just one of the few."

"Sounds like a good one to have. Someone… once came up with something I could potentially do with my ability. I want never to find out if he was right. If he is, then… killing would be hideously easy. Really, horribly easy", Ygraine says ruefully. "Though at least I do get to run up walls."

"What? Removing bonds instead of creating them?" Melissa asks curiously. "But honestly, it's easy enough for people to kill even without an ability. Something that the government tends to forget all too frequently."

"Sort of. Say… link you to your clothes, and them to you. Freed from all gravitic effects save to be drawn to each other, the only thing holding you on the planet would be air resistance… and any solid objects between you and outer space. Have me do that with, say, something solid and weighing a couple of hundred pounds, and you've got a sort of inverse mass-driver."

Ygraine shrugs guiltily. "With that, I might be able to wreck major structures, by hitting them with things traveling at terminal velocity…. But yes - you're quite right. I've tried to persuade people in the past that their Evolved abilities are arguably the least dangerous thing about them."

"There are exceptions, but yeah," Melissa says, nodding. "Abilities are just a weapon, and like any weapon, can be used for defense or offense. And to treat people with abilities that are completely harmless like they're as dangerous as, say, a terrorist with a hundred pounds of explosives? That's just stupid."

"Certainly until the proposal of the inverted mass driver, I liked to think that my brain was far more dangerous than anything I could do with my ability. Sure, it makes me virtually immune to many conventional security measures… but simple mundane skill can let people bypass defenses anyway…."

"I don't know jack about security, but yeah. There wouldn't be nearly as many robberies and shit if there weren't ways around it," Melissa says, nodding again.

Ygraine chuckles, and shrugs. "That, or there are a heck of a lot more Evolved out there than I'd thought."

Melissa grins and shakes her head. "Nah. People are people, whether they're Evolved or not. So long as there's money to be made by thieving, people will continue to do it."

"How about you - is the Ferry paying your way, or are you holding down a job as well? Or should I not enquire into your activities as an underworld mastermind, while I'm sitting here in your subterranean lair?", Ygraine asks with a mischievous smile.

Melissa laughs. "This would make a piss poor lair if I was a criminal mastermind. Just call me a trust fund baby, I guess. Not quite rich, but interest is a wonderful thing."

Ygraine giggles. "I'll take your word for it. I'm far from poor, but… I don't think that I could live off my interest. What do you do to keep yourself busy, if it's not too rude a question?"

Melissa shrugs. "Work for the Ferrymen. Dance. Meet people. Clean. I do need somethin' else to do though. Startin' to go a lil' stir crazy."

"Dance? Professionally, or just for fun?" Ygraine sounds genuinely intrigued.

"For fun. Never done it for money. I just go to clubs and shake my booty. Still tryin' to find a good place around here." Melissa brightens. "Maybe that's what I could do!"

Ygraine cocks her head. "Set up a club? Or dance in one?", the Briton asks curiously.

Melissa grins. "Set up one."

Ygraine blinks. "Wow. That is a fair amount of money", she says with a grin. "But I admit that I've not found a nightclub I dance in too often, myself. What sort of thing did you have in mind? J-Pop, with a Hello Kitty decor?"

Melissa looks pained. "Hello Kitty? Eww! No! But I only just thought of it so I don't know what I wanna go for yet."

Ygraine giggles. "It was the first thing I could think of that seemed entirely inappropriate for you", she says with a grin. "Though I admit that I can't really judge quite what sort of thing you are into. Counter-culture of some sort, but…."

Melissa shrugs. "I'll have to think on it." She opens the laptop to peek inside and mutters a soft curse. "And I gotta get going. Was good seeing you again though."

Ygraine looks rather surprised, then nods. "Ahh… sure. And you. Hopefully, I'll see you again soon", she responds as she uncurls from her position, leaning forward to grab her boots. "Feel free to issue requests if there's anything in particular you'd like delivered…"

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