A Central Park Castle Vignette


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Scene Title A Central Park Castle Vignette
Synopsis As the title implies: a vignette. Three crane-bearers meet at an appointed time and an appointed destination.
Date September 19, 2010

Central Park: Belvedere Castle

He waits in the shadow of the castle amongst the dappled shade that overlooks the its emerald green pond and the manicured English garden surrounding it. Dragonflies buzz between lizard's tail, bullrush and blueflag iris and skim iridescent wings past the spider's silk stretched like dewy tightrope from one plant to the next, a highwire act put on by the orb-weavers fat and glistening in the light of the early afternoon.

Judah's crane sits in his hand, its neck broken and bent from too much handling, but his attention isn't on the paper bird.

This is the first time that her 'emergency pack' has ever been brought out of the apartment. Filled with spare clothes, a selection of energy bars, bottled water, chocolate, a good first aid kit, and a range of useful items the camel-back has been prepared for grabbing and running with in event of an emergency.

If only Ygraine herself were anywhere near so prepared. Though clad in the anonymous black of her unmarked bike leathers, she has left her helmet locked in the panniers of Alfred - revealing a pensively worried expression even around the shades that mask her eyes. Her normally-confident gait slows as she surveys her surroundings… before her gaze clearly alights upon the half-familiar figure of Judah.

Pushing her shades up to settle atop her head, the Briton strides towards him, venturing a smile, one hand raised in greeting. "Long time no see, Mr Demsky", she offers as warmly as her present uncertainty allows.

Glancing at her cell phone to ensure she's not late, Tasha's short legs move fast, cutting across the manicured lawn and toward the miniature castle jutting out of the ground and looking over the expanse of Central Park. A courier bag bounces along her hip, the bag shoved to the brim with a coat that is wrapped around a gun, along with other necessities (like gum and a water bottle).

She blinks as she recognizes Judah, adoptive father of both her roommates, and then Ygraine. She raises a hand in a tentative wave as she makes it to the two near-strangers. Her brows immediately quirk into a worried expression as she glances from one to the other.

"You guys, too?" she asks, her voice just a touch breathy from hurrying the last few yards.

"Us too," Judah confirms. His mouth is set into a permanent scowl that shows no teeth except when he's snarling, and today his hackles aren't up.

His tail isn't tucked between his legs, either. Dark eyes alert, he looks between the two women, the crane cradled clumsily in his fingers, and then tucks it inside his jacket pocket. A breeze ripples the hair that crowns his high forehead and has begun to thin out in his early forties. "What's this about?"

Delving into one of the many pockets of her jacket, Ygraine draws out a little ziplock bag, the see-through plastic showing a crane that - save for being neatly folded flat - has received rather better care than Judah's.

"This. Did you get one as well, Tasha? Mine… unfolds to show a picture of Tamara, and says she needs my help. I didn't recognise the hand-writing, and I have no idea how it got into my apartment last night past three locks and two chains. I confess to being ever so slightly spooked", the Briton worries, her accent crisper than usual thanks to tension.

Pensively eyeing her companions, Ygraine offers a one-shouldered shrug. "From those here, we would all seem to be people I'd expect to… strive to protect the young lady in my picture. Though there's one notable absentee thus far, from this I'd have thought would be called upon."

"Colette's already gone somewhere to help someone, Sable, in the past," she admits, and it's clear she's worried about the other teenager, her eyes darting back to Judah's almost apologetically. "I didn't think anyone would ask me to go back. It's not … I don't know how to do much, you know? But if it's to help Tamara, I'll do it."

She swallows audibly, clearly a little less in the dark than the other two. "I … I think it's the same thing that Colette was asked to do, anyway, I might be wrong, but I think we're supposed to go back to the past to keep something from happening. Colette was really scared about it — time travel. I haven't… I haven't seen her since she left, but she said someone was going back to do something bad to Sable and she had to go with Elaine to keep it from happening."

Her dark eyes drop, worried, perhaps, that Judah will be angry that Tasha let Colette go.

If Judah is angry, his ire isn't directed at Tasha. He makes a low, irritated sound and blows it out his nostrils. Fingers pinch the bridge of his nose, his eyes close and the skin on his brow furrows, rumpling. Nearby, a dragonfly alights on the topmost point of a swaying cattail and gives a flicker of its wings, seeming to tremble with the same nervous energy the detective keeps contained inside of him.

His lips do not so much as twitch until his mouth opens to speak again. "Wonderful," he says in that tone. The one that suggests this is exactly the wrong word to use.

It's not Tasha's fault. His own, maybe, for being surprised. Colette's been doing this — whatever this is — for the last two years.

It takes a good few moments for Ygraine's mind to process Tasha's revelations - and to decide how to begin to respond - though her eyes track and settle upon that trembling dragonfly. "Sable?", she asks it, before looking back to Tasha. "Ah… the past? With Elaine? Good grief. That… this… I suppose they'd be a good team for… wow."

Shaking her head, clearly trying to gather her thoughts, Ygraine momentarily closes her eyes. "I'm Evolved, but… not remotely in the same league of power or versatility as Colette", she says quietly. "I'm fully fluent in French. I can ride anything on two wheels faster than most people think is possible. But… what on Earth might be the reason I'm included in this group, I have no idea. I'll help, however I can. I… want to protect Tamara. But is that the only reason I'm here? That I'm likely to be willing? Are we a carefully-chosen team, or just… the people who'd be crazy enough to go?"

At the litany of skills Ygraine lists off, Tasha's brows rise, and she looks to Judah a little wide-eyed before shaking her head. "I don't think Mr. Demsky's crazy, but obviously he'd do anything to help Tamara, and so would I, but I really don't know what I can do," she says, her voice a little quavery with nerves.

"I … I brought a gun," she adds in a lower voice, eyes furtively glancing around to make sure no one can hear her. "I think we're the people who can, and maybe people who she'd trust, if we need to talk to her. I guess Colette isn't here because she's already busy." Tasha doesn't quite grasp that the fact they're going back to the past means that Hiro could certainly wait until Colette was less busy — but it's perhaps a favor that she doesn't realize that, or she'd worry there was another reason Colette wasn't chosen for the task, or that the task wasn't held off until a later date.

Her teeth click on her thumbnail nervously before she realizes what she's doing and shoves her hand into her jeans pocket.

One moment, the archway leading into the castle is empty. The next: occupying it is a small, solidly-built man with black hair swept back into a short ponytail at the nape of his thick neck and thumb's width worth of beard beneath his lower lip/

Judah's hand instinctively goes for the side arm he wears beneath his jacket, but before he can free it from its holster, the stranger raises his in a gentle, placating gesture. The voice that accompanies it, however, is firm. "My name is Hiro Nakamura," he begins, "and Colette is well.

"Allow me to explain—"

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