A Walk In The Park


conrad_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title A Walk In The Park
Synopsis A step along path to the road less traveled
Date November 20, 2008

Central Park

So it's late afternoon in Central Park. Not really prime time for everybody to be out running because they more often do their thing in the morning or during the lunch hour. About this time of day everyone's getting off of work and going home to do whatever it is they do. Not that it's deserted, just this isn't a hugely busy time here most days. Conrad likes that, so he's out for a walk.

Frankly, he's up to no good.

What most people don't (and wouldn't) think of is that if you take a stroll out here sometimes you catch people being careless with their things. Businessmen enraptured by conversations on their cell phones, or busy rich yuppie women doing the same and leaving their things unattended nearby. A stealthy snatch can net you a good week's pay. So Con's on the prowl, wearing a Phoenix Sun's jacket. If he gets something it's great. If he doesn't, it's okay.

As she runs down the path in the darkening fall afternoon, Elisabeth is not doing the things most joggers do — there are no earbuds in her ears, there is no music pouring from an iPod on her arm, none of those things. She's alert to what goes on around her, keeping an eye on the environment as she sticks to the well-traveled paths. Central Park is not as safe as it used to be these days. The thudding of her sneakers is audible a few moments before she actually gets into Conrad's line of sight. When she rounds the curve ahead of him, jogging in his direction, she doesn't initially notice who he is or anything — it's not like she's people watching. But as she gets closer, say twenty feet away or so, the distinctive face catches her eye. Lord…. you gotta be kiddin' me, right? Maybe he won't notice her! She slows to a walk, though, being as he's not one to just ignore people he might be able to aggravate.

"Well looky here!" Oh shit. He sure did notice her. "Awww you slowed down. I thought you'd just go running off faster." Con says, grinning. In spite of himself, there's a part of Conrad that actually is glad to meet Liz. Even if she is getting in the way of his good hunting. "How you been?" he asks with what most people would believe is genuine concern.

Elisabeth rolls her eyes, more in exasperation than true annoyance. She's sweaty and all flushed from the run, catching her breath as she walks. "If you're gonna yammer at me, walk this way," she gestures in the direction she's already going. Cuz yeah… she knows what he's doing. Trawling. She doesn't mistake his question for true concern. "Fine. What have you been up to?" The answer: No good. It's obvious. But you know…. in spite of the annoyance factor, he's generally a pretty decent sort. If … well… 'diamond in the rough' definitely applies.

Hands in pockets, Conrad complies and walks along with Elisabeth. "Oh nothing much. Just out for a walk." They know the game. He won't admit to anything because if he did she'd get that whole moral quandry thing going on and…it's just better to use the fiction. "Been thinking about you since you went all paranoid on me the other night. And I came to a conclusion. I owe you an apology. So, I'm sorry."

That's a shock. Liz eyes him. "Really." She has that 'uh-huh, right. you're apologizing?' "What exactly are you sorry for?" She'll get this part out of the way before she apologizes to him, cuz… well, she DID sort of try to use her abilities on him. Even though it was sort of not intended.

"Well you're right, we aren't exactly close friends or anything so I was out of line pushing you about your personal business," Con explains, gesturing with a hand as if ticking off on a list. He glances at Liz briefly as he goes over this and they walk, "And you've always been decent to me, even when a lot of other people in your situation would've given me a beatdown. And I guess after a fashion I owe you something for that." And here comes the other part. "But you really are way too sensitive about that stuff. Anybody who reads people'll see it. You suck at lying."

Elisabeth grins faintly. "Not usually," she replies. "I've been lying about it for a long time. It was a rough night." Liz shoves her hands into the pockets of her hoodie as they walk. "I'd just come from the Bomb memorial at the cathedral, which some jackasses crashed so they could use the venue to drop their message. I've never been on the OTHER side of a potential hostage situation," she comments wryly. "And then you drop in out of the blue and start harassing me about shit. And *then*…" She pauses. "Well, then I tried to 'convince' you to just drop it by using it. And that's more than a little inappropriate to start with, but using it on you? When yours appear similar? Dumb move all the way around." Her eyes skim the path around us. "It makes me uncomfortable that you know. You're not exactly known for your tact."

"Oh so you're out now." Conrad grins widely to behold Liz and then continues walking. "Welcome to the club. It's not such a huge deal. I lived with knowing what I could do for over ten years before somebody else actually noticed." He scratches his nose and looks around, then mutters, "Guess I better get us a little privacy." And there's that same sense from the diner of them being in an enclosed zone of silence as they walk, just the scrunch of trail gravel beneath their feet in spite of the now-silent wind and traffic playing about outside their personal space. "How exactly are you supposed to be similar to me? All I sensed was some kind of buzz the other night and I didn't even know it was you, but now you got me wondering."

Elisabeth shakes her head vehemently. "No, I'm not. And I'm not planning on being. So keep it to yourself, *please*." And then the bubble encloses us and she relaxes a bit. "I don't know if anyone would notice, generally. I used it pretty extensively when I was a negotiator, but not for much else." She considers the explanation and then says, "I manipulate sound too. But so far, what I can tell is that I can do concussion waves. And some form of hypnosis… I can convince people to do things."

"You're kidding. Concussion waves? You just started, didn't you?" For whatever reason Con comes to that conclusion. Perhaps that's one of those first things you learn. "The hypnosis thing, that's kinda weird. Cool. But weird. I don't do that…" he shakes his head as the walk. "How's your hearing?" He asks, looking at Liz more directly. "Can you hear heartbeats?"

Elisabeth looks confused. "No, I didn't just start — I just don't USE it for much, honestly." She smiles at him a bit and says, "Uhm…. my hearing's just fine, but no… I can't hear heartbeats. You can?"

"Ya. If I try I could hear your bones rubbing together while you move. You'd be surprised how many noises come out of a human body. Especially the older they are?" Con shares a look like Liz ought to know what he's talking about. "I can almost cut it down to approximate ages, if they don't have some kind of disease or something. Why're you so scared of what'll happen to you? I'm registered and haven't kept up with it since they started registering. I'm walkin' free. What's your kink?"

Tilting her head, Liz looks curious. "Now there's an application that I hadn't considered. Mostly I use it to keep my class under control when they're wild," she says with a grin. And then she shrugs. "The one person I know who's Evolved, he was…. well, essentially tortured. And they're starting to pick people up and confine them just for their abilities. And I have no desire to be in a cage for no reason, or jabbed with a billion needles."

There's a thoughtful hmph out of Con at that. And he walks quiet for a second before saying, "Yeah well that's how come you get groups like PARIAH. But I'm no terrorist." He takes a breath and changes tracks with, "You oughta try some passive stuff. The super-hearing doesn't happen the way most people might think. It's not some Superman bullshit. You have to actually reach for the sound and focus it, and make it louder in your own ear. That's how you begin." He's using the hand gestures one might expect with that, a grasping and holding motion. "But you gotta be careful because if you focus something too loud it'll kill your natural hearing. Without my ability I'm deaf. My actual ears gave out years ago."

Elisabeth blinks and looks surprised. "Really?" She had no idea! But now she's intrigued. "You think it's something that I can adapt what I can do to? That's…. an interesting idea." She walks along with a thoughtful expression. "How do you make this silence bubble? How does it work?"

"Oh yeah." It's funny how Con seems not to notice he's even doing it. "That's actually pretty easy. It's like…like…" he struggles for a way to express it and finally settles on, "like if you had wings I guess and you just used em to close everything up. It's not so much I'm keeping all the noise out, I'm really keeping all the noise we make in. Like, every soundwave here, ends maybe what? About ten yards away. But just naturally doing that makes all the outside noises end there too. Now if I concentrate on it a little I can let the outside noise in but still keep us quiet, but that's harder than just killing all the sound both ways. Lemme tell you it's real handy. I have private conversations in public all the time."

There's a bit of a natural teacher in Con. Like somebody who enjoys showing someone else something new. And while he's enjoying this exchange, he interjects, "So. Anybody else know your little secret?"

Elisabeth tilts her head, considering the explanation and nods slowly. "All right…. so you're basically manipulating our soundwaves back on themselves. That makes sense." At least, it does to her. She'll have to practice attempting it. She nods slowly. "My friend, the one that I mentioned who'd been … in the hands of Homeland Security. He knows. That's it. I don't want to put people in a position of having to report something, and since most of my old friends are cops, they're sort of stuck if they find out. They'd be breaking the law. Not a cool thing to do to a cop, you know?"

One colossal roll of the eyes from Conrad at that. "Oh Please. Don't gimme that bullshit. Cops break the law all the time. They park in no parking zones, ignore meters, speed, beat their wives, and take things that don't belong to them. It happens all the time and they turn a blind eye. Hell, I would too! You having your moral compass stuck to Goody Two Shoes," he pokes Liz in the shoulder for every syllable of that, "is why you don't have a badge anymore, I'm willin to bet. Which only leaves me wondering what you plan to do with your little power now that you've got it. You wanna leave it where it is or learn to use it better? You gonna make it part of your life or is it gonna just be a nice little extra in your quest for a husband and two and a half kids?"

Elisabeth laughs at him. "Well, yeah, they do. But I still don't want to put anyone in that boat…. not to mention, I'm not sure I want to broadcast my personal business to the rest of the boys in blue, you know?" She shrugs. "Call it whatever you want, I'm just paranoid. A lot of them are still pretty bitter. Evolved cops have it pretty hard. I'm an ex-cop, but still." She pauses. "I'm not stuck on Goody Two-Shoes. I'm stuck on…. scared to death," she admits. "Been there since the bomb. Starting to come out of it, though, I think. Because most of what's going on in this town, especially right now? Not liking that shit a bit. Cop killing, threatening innocents. This is not the way to make things better. It's going to become kill or be killed if people don't quit."

"Makes you wish there were a better way, huh?" asks Con, somehow making that sound a bit rhetorical. "Well. If you want…and I'm not sayin' you have to or anything, but as a favor, I'd be willing to help you learn how to use what you got."

There is a better way. There has to be. But Liz hasn't figured out just yet if she's willing to jump on the vigilante bandwagon. "Why would you do that?" she asks him instead. Her tone indicates genuine interest in his motives here. "I…. think I'd be interested. But what do you get out of it?"

They're still walking, so he takes his time answering. "Call it an investment. I like to think if some bad shit went down, you'd fall on the same side I would. The one without prisons and a police state, y'know? I dunno, what kind of answer would you believe?" Con figures Liz for the skeptical type. He's pretty sure that's hard to get wrong.

Elisabeth smirks faintly as she walks with him. "Well…. sounds to me like you're expecting bad shit to go down." She glances at him and nods slowly. "So am I. It's already started. So yeah…. if you're willing to teach me how to use it more effectively? I'm willing to try to teach you how I do what I do in return. If you want."

"Oh! Didn't expect that." admits Conrad. He stops walking and turns to face Liz, offering a hand. "So it's a deal?"

Elisabeth stops walking and turns to face him, laughing at him with genuine amusement now. "Didn't expect what? That I'd say yes, or that I'd offer to try to teach you what I can do too?" But she nods slowly and puts her hand in his. "It's a deal."

"The part about what you do. I dunno if I can even learn to do that. But what the hell?" Con shakes Elisabeth's hand and remarks with a grin, "Damn you are so hot in sweats. I hope you can fight because a girl like you out here in the park looking like that is just asking for trouble alone. You know that, right?"

Elisabeth rolls her eyes at him. "Now you sound like my high school students," she tells him. "Sweats do not make ANYONE look hot. Seriously."

Con takes a step back and eyes Elisabeth critically, saying, "Well you don't have much in the way of tits, and I don't usually go for blondes, but hey." He winks and pulls out his cell phone. "Got a number I can reach you at?"

And there he goes again. Just when she thinks he might be a decent kind of guy. Shaking her head, Elisabeth recites her cell phone number for him. And then says, "I don't have mine on me, so I won't have yours until you call." She doesn't run with her cell phone? "I don't like to be interrupted by the damn thing when I'm running," she says with a grin.

"How good's your memory?" Con asks, pulling up his own number on the phone, eyes on it.

Elisabeth shrugs. "Good enough. Go ahead and tell me." She'll recite it mentally all the way home.

Con recites his phone number three times, as if to make sure Liz pays attention and gets it right. Then he closes up his phone and puts it in his pocket. "Call me or don't. I get a call from somebody I don't know and it's not you, and I throw the thing in the garbage and get a new one. So it better be you that calls me." He grins about that.

Elisabeth smiles slightly and repeats it back to him after he recites it. "If you don't hear from me in two days, call me. Because it means I didn't recite it well enough to get all the way home," she tells him. "I have a good memory, but it might not be THAT good." She shrugs. "Guess I'll be talking to you this week," she tells him with a smile. As she turns to go, she recites it once more to verify she's got it, and then she turns to head back up the path.

"Right." Con retorts sarcastically, turning to walk the other way as he drops the silence bubble. "Look, if you forget the number, I'll see you in the Nite Owl sometime anyway. I like midnight breakfasts there."

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

November 20th: Living Legacy

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 20th: Coffee Klatch
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