A Strand Of RNA


cat_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title A Strand Of RNA
Synopsis Magnes seeks data on a recurring image.
Date September 10, 2009


Before the bomb, Chelsea was most known for being "gay-friendly," home of the stereotypical "Chelsea Boy." It was a place of culture and art, of eclectic ethnic restaurants and cutting-edge performing arts studios.

One of the last places in Manhattan to be reopened to the public, the streets of Chelsea almost give the impression of an urban ghost town. Many buildings are dark, inhabited only by the homeless, if by anyone at all. Their walls have been tagged with graffiti, the windows broken; forgotten cars line the streets, slowly rusting away. Close inspection reveals that their interiors have already been gutted of anything valuable or useful.

Housing in Chelsea is quite cheap; it therefore doesn't stay on the market long, despite the potential threat of residual radiation. The population has become a mixture of all ethnicities, desperation being their thread in common; those who have the money to live elsewhere do. Culture seems to have been washed out entirely on the neighborhood scale, survival taking vast precedence over art.

She's out and about this particular afternoon, a cloudy and comfortable Thursday in Nuked York City. Cat's path is toward the Nite Owl diner, presumably: it's fairly close to her current location and lies in the direction she's headed. Clothing is casual as tends to be for her; backpack, guitar case, rock t-shirt, shorts, athletic shoes.

Yes, that's right: Cat isn't a woman who grabs for blankets and complains of being cold when temperatures dip under twenty-one degrees (70 F). And that diner is where Cat said she'd be close to when Magnes made contact.

Magnes didn't bother with shuffling through crowds and such to find her, instead he's hunched over on a building, watching people walk by the diner with his binoculars, looking out for Cat. At the moment he's in his black sneakers, comfortably fitting blue jeans, his black denim vest with the Superman logo on the back, a black backpack on top of that, and a red t-shirt with a mugshot of Iron Man, and a yellow caption under it that says: Tony Stark: Fascist.

Once Cat is spotted, he jumps down an alley, casually walks out, then makes his way over to Cat, standing behind her. "Hey, Geek-Face."

Her eyes travel to the voice's source and settle on him, Cat refrains from bristling at the term of address. He's greeted with a calm expression. "Magnes. How's life been going?" Her pace shifts to one he can easily match. His attire is noted but not commented on; if she did she might wonder if Tony Stark is someone who works for Nathan Petrelli or was with the Vanguard. Or maybe a neo-Nazi in semi-obscurity. She'll have to look him up.

"It's alright, I've got Claire, my partner isn't yelling at me so much, and I had a very enlightening tarot reading," Magnes leans in as they walk, whispering into her ear, "And I sunk Danko's boat and scared the crap out of him."

Tarot reading. That doesn't draw much reaction from Cat, merely a lift of a brow as she briefly wonders about the odds of a precog having visions in them. She's seen them painted, heard them written into songs, and met Tamara; why not allegedly mystical cards too? Consideration is given to asking where this reading happened, but another topic has seized her attention.

It's a slight grin that breaks out. "Good job, Magnes." But just a slight grin: Danko was only scared.

Magnes turns down a rather long narrow alley that leads into another street, motioning for him to follow as he keeps his voice low. "He got a briefcase from some car, and another guy was prying the trunk open with a crowbar. I thought about getting the briefcase, but as I suspected, they had assault rifles, so instead of making a move on them, I dropped a dumpster on their boat so I'd delay whatever they were doing. After that, I announced with my voice distorter that I was a part of some new organization, and that we have people in Humanis First. Just trying to get into his head a bit."

She walks along, listening to what he says, nodding at places. "Good, good," Cat remarks in answer, her own voice kept low for him alone to hear. "Wise move, too, not going for a more direct confrontation. It's been recently demonstrated these guys are never alone, no matter how solitary they might seem, and they don't have any hesitation launching a sudden attack to free one of their own, no matter the location and risk involved. They've also got rocket propelled grenades."

"But psychological operations are always useful. Sow seeds of doubt, let them question each other, develop distrust. Maybe they'll start using the test on each other, demanding proof of no extrahuman ability, and discover a few with the SLC."

What's playing in her head is stories of how the FBI did a hatchet job on the Klan in the 60s and found success even in cases where they couldn't bring criminal charges to bear.

"I'll give you the location I saw them in before I leave. If it wasn't for the prying the trunk open with a crowbar part, I'd say they were making an exchange, but there's something strange about it that I can't quite put my finger on." Magnes reaches into his vest, pulling out a brown leather bound journal with black marker reading Magnes' War Journal. "Before I get to what I wanted to talk to you about, I wanted to ask if you know any organizations that use tarot cards to identify their members."

"I'll keep my eyes and ears open for tarot card symbols," Cat replies. Her eyes briefly settle on the journal he extracts, but she doesn't make any overt effort to see the contents.

"Well, speaking of symbols, that's what I came to you about. Well, that and I wanna see your comic collection, but that part isn't important…" Magnes opens his journal for her, but doesn't actually give it to her, clearly trying to make sure she only reads the pages he wants her to see; namely, pages on The Symbol. "Do you know about this symbol? It appears on so many things, I've never noticed before…"

"I've seen it in several places," Cat replies, having done so at some of the locations he's written of. A brow is lifting, she's clearly curious. "It bears researching, and asking some questions about, to be certain. It doesn't seem out of place to see it in Doctor Suresh's book, or in connection with a biotech firm, though."

"It seems to me like a strand of RNA. You know how DNA is the double helix, twin strands with the connecting parts? This…" she indicates with a fingertip, "looks like a single helix."

"Yeah, but what about the other places where it's not-so-normal?" Magnes points at a picture of the back of a tarot card, then on another page with the Sword Saint documentary credits. "Maybe there's a secret organization, like the Illuminati, that controls everything. Or, well, what can split DNA?"

"It bears researching," Cat agrees, "and I am curious." Which means she'll be looking at and for it. "DNA can be split by lots of things. Generally, when things are said to cause cancer, that's how it happens. Things damage DNA and the cells start growing out of control, interfering with the normal cells. RNA, though, does a lot of things in cells. It carries messages, makes protein factories work, etc. It's usually single-stranded."

She looks thoughtful for some moments, going quiet.

Then she speaks again, the tone speculative. "Sometimes things are just coincidences, but when it comes to us and the patterns which keep appearing, I tend to think connection first now. To have that symbol at the entrance to a biotech firm which concerned itself with people like us, Activating Evolution, and in Ninth Wonders…"

"And on the back of tarot cards. I asked the woman if she was Evolved, purely based on seeing the symbol on her cards, and remembering the symbol from 9th Wonders, and she was. She didn't say what she could do, but she definitely confirmed being Evolved." Magnes closes his journal, though the Phoenix page might slip a bit into her view before it closes completely. "Cells can represent people, and people can grow out of control. RNA can represent Evolved, affecting DNA, aka the people in various ways. I don't know, just a thought… maybe we're all puppets. After what Peter said, I wouldn't find it hard to believe."

He briefly stares up at the sky, before turning to her and casually asking, "Are you really rich?"

"I don't lack for money," Cat answers, "I'd call myself comfortable. More so than most, less so than some others. I wouldn't presume my resources to be more than pocket change for a guy like Bill Gates." Or Linderman, or the Petrellis, or the Kennedys…

"So, uh…" Magnes rubs the back of his neck, as if working himself up to asking a very awkward question. Show her boobs? Threesome with Claire? "I've been thinking about this a lot, and well, do you own an issue of Amazing Fantasy 15? I mean if you do it's not like I'm gonna ask to see it or anything, but… I was told you bought a lot of comics recently."

"I'm not really big on comics, Magnes," Cat replies gently, "but I did recently make some purchases. I have a big appetite for information, and it was suggested I'd find 9th Wonders interesting, so I bought every issue and read them." After a pause, she tacks on "Once."

Then comes a question. "Would I find Amazing Fantasy 15 interesting?" And another. "Would you like me to find it for you?"

"I, uh, it's nothing relevant to you, it's just Spider-Man's first appearance, and it usually goes for like two thousand dollars, so uh, yeah. I'm not asking for it, I just wanted to see it up close." Magnes slides his book back into his vest, then holds his hand out for her's. "You remember everything, right? So, I can fly, there anything you think needs remembering that I could help you with?" He's clearly offering to take her flying.

"An aerial tour of the city is a good thing," Cat agrees, "I'll take you up on it sometime. Right now I'm where I need to be, and food's the issue of the hour." A few steps are taken, then she turns back. "I'll have a look for that symbol here and there, pass along anything I find, and see about locating a copy of the first appearance of Mr. Parker. I saw the recent movies; you might be a purist, but to me the updated version of a bioengineered spider makes more scientific sense than a radioactive one." Comics aren't her thing, but some of the characters are too big not to know some things about.

"Take care, Magnes," Cat offers. Then she's moving again.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License