gillian_icon.gif f_niles_icon.gif

Scene Title Attenuation
Synopsis While trying to make her way back off Staten Island avoiding as many people as possible, a certain person of fluctuating power runs into someone who happens to be looking for her.
Date May 14, 2009

Staten Island: Coast

The coast of Staten Island is as much of a presence as its inland, with rivers that invade right into its heart as well as cutting off the circulation of transport from the rest of New York City. The coastal regions reflect a lot of this borough's rural nature, with rough shores and plantlife, broken brick, and general abandonment. The harbors are left to the devices of those that freely come and go, a conspicuous lack of official presence - a number of them notably overrun by the developing crime syndicate, but there are still quite a few, particularly on the coasts nearest to Brooklyn and Manhattan, that are accessible to the lawful public.

An overhead haze still lets through a few rays of sunshine as the day moves towards noon. The streets aren't nearly as empty as Gillian would prefer after the new revelation of what's going on with her and her ability. Warnings to avoid people have led her to stick to the back alleys, which in normal circumstances are the last places she would walk. At least she's not fully metal and having to hide under the guise of clothes. Dark hair frames in her face, bangs nearly in her eyes. Unnaturally reddened lips stay parted with each breath as she moves down the alley, trying to figure out the fastest way off Staten Island, that avoids the most people. None of these options are going to be easy for her…

Especially considering the prevelence of people with special abilities in the one place in New York that's easiest for those in hiding to hide. A hand slips under the sleeve of her light coat, touching a watch at her wrist. A broken watch.

For the past twenty minutes or so, she's had a tail. Niles caught sight of her as she crossed one of the busier sections and fell into causal pursuit. He's a patient man. She's given him one or two openings where he could have approached her, but he wants to be sure he has the right woman.

Once he has gotten a good look at her face, the tall, lean man quickens his pace and falls into a trot. "Hey, excuse me, excuse me, miss?" He's dressed well - better than most Staten residents, but that could just mean he's a well-off criminal with connections. But he has a charming British accent, so he must be safe, right?

British accents actually do not strike Gillian as safe at all. In her experience, accents often come attached to people who try to hurt her. Blame Ethan for that belief and cinema in general, actually — damn stereotypes, but it mostly came from the dangerous, knife carrying man who worked with Vanguard. At the voice, she turns with a start and steps a few large steps away from him. "What?" There's a crackle, a spark, and a hint of static build up in her hair. Just a hint. For the moment.

"I'm trying to find a way off this island, but no one will give me any direction." Niles does his best to look edgy. He casts a suspicious glance over his shoulder and rubs his hands together. "It was a mistake to come here."

He works his jaw to the side and then looks back to Gillian. "I'm sorry if I startled you. But half the people here I try to talk to end up pulling knives or guns on me."

"Oh, yeah, it's… not really the place to sneak up on people," Gillian says, letting out a quiet breath as she looks up and down the alley. There's people a distance away, but he's right. "People here are kind of shitty," she admits, running a hand through her hair, though the static makes it stick to her hand a little. The air shouldn't have a lot of static in it, but she doesn't seem to notice.

"Usually to get off the island you want to take one of the ferries, but some of 'em charge a fucking arm and a leg. Some are pretty generous, though. The coast is a little further this way," she points. "About a mile. Then you have to walk around until you find a boat you can afford."

"Well," says Niles. He rubs his chin. "That sounds like a dangerous prospect. No wonder the police aren't trying to guard this place." Niles clears his throat and glances around again, hands dug deep into his pockets. Funny. He doesn't feel boosted.

"This way, you said?" He motions up the dock. "Thank you. I appreciate it. You wouldn't happen to know the name of a reputable ferryman would you? I don't want to end up robbed and dropped into the river." A fair concern.

The more the static starts to build up Gillian's hand stays near her face as she rubs at her eyes. God damnit, she got plenty of sleep last night, she shouldn't be feeling this way. No feeling of boosting, definitely, but something is getting a little awkward with the woman he's speaking to. "Fuck, I don't know, I mean— I know a bunch of assholes, but— " There's a hint of frustration starting to come through, a shifting of her feet, fidgetting of her hands. And it's almost like she's having a very difficult time thinking of a name. She knows names. She lived on Staten Island the last few months, travelled back and forth more than a few times on limited cash…

Niles is a fairly perceptive guy. He survived in prison by reading people, gauging their emotions and searching for their weak points. He doesn't feel anything strange, but she clearly does. "You all right, miss?"

He's fairly good at feigning a look of concern. He's felt what she's feeling. The skin-crawling sensation like there's a monster inside of you that wants to get out, wants to lash out and expend pent-up energy.

The grimace of frustration rakes over her, driving deeper and deeper with each moment, until Gillian finally takes a firm step backwards and moves as if she wants to kick the wall of the building. It never quite happens. Lips part again, hands dropping away from her face as something seems to rush over her, a shiver that makes her gasp. A crackle of electricity once again flickers through the air. A sound he's probably intimately familiar with— only coming from someone else, rather than him.

A expulsion of electricity pulls out of her as she actually groans in surprise, a crackling form pulling out of her back and moving a few feet away from her. "What…?" she gasps out, breathing a little heavy from the sudden rush that just came over her, and the relief that followed.

"What the fuck..?" Niles drops back. There's a crackle of blue-white energy around him in a growing aura, but he doesn't lash out. Who knows what would happen if the replicants collided? It would likely be highly unpleasant for both of them.

His expression darkens. Either Edward lied or he got this girl's power all wrong. Or, something else. Something involving an enigmatic member of their group. He stands in a defensive posture as he watches her and thinks what to do next. He was still entertaining the idea of killing her, but if she's mirrored his power, that makes this more difficult.

For the moment, it's difficult for Gillian to process much of anything. One set of eyes see an electrical discharge from the man who'd been speaking, who sounds just as confused as she is, while the other side slides toward the ground as she nearly throws up in the alley. Nearly. Hands on her knees, she stares at the ground, while staring elsewhere at the same time.

The electrical version of her looks around, 'eyes' widened and looking rather panicked, but definitely not moving as if to attack. She even looks down at her own hands, as if she's never seen them before. "Holy— fuck— How— I can't— what— ?" Oh, she's got an idea of what the hell just happened, which she confirms when she tries to look at the same place from two different angles. Him. Looking like… she glances back at 'herself' for an instant and buckles to finally go ahead and throw up on the alley floor.

There's little more surreal than seeing yourself… normal and as an electrical body.

This…changes things. Niles now knows that Edward lied, or the primary motivator for killing Gillian is gone. If she's not a power booster anymore, then why go through the messy business of murdering her? "Listen to me." His tone has hardened somewhat. "Or you are going to be suffering worse than nausea. You are receiving mental feedback. No doubt you can sense where in the area electricity is flowing the easiest." That's how he can travel, how he avoids sources of water. "For god's sake don't focus on any of the sources, or your replicant will go there and you may have a hard time getting your head back in one piece. I had a telepath to help me."

He takes a deep breath and rocks back on his heel. "Relax your mind and focus on something you are seeing with your physical body. Call the replicant back. Search for the sensation of the current flowing through your own body. It should be the most receptive thing in the area." Save his body, which is attenuated at a frequency only slightly different than hers.

As soon as he mentions thinking of areas electricity flows easiest, Gillian's replicant wants to go that way, starts going that way, until he tells her to stop. She closes her eyes for a moment, focusing on a single source of input and tries to settle it. Not very long ago, she'd told the person whose power she has that only the person who originally had it can really teach her anything. The more he talks, the more it seems like she was right.

When she opens her eyes again, this time to focus all her attention on her hands. Call it back. The most receptive area happens to be her. But she can feel other places it could go. That's weird too… But if she gets rid of it, it won't feel this way anymore. "How are— how did this— what kind of ability— ?" she finds herself asking, as the replicant draws back, laggingly, and then comes in contact with her shoulder. Words are cut off with another groan, one that brings her to her knees in the alley, as it settles back inside her again.

"Funny," says Niles. He's dropped the innocent routine. "…Edward said you were a power booster. You are Gillian Childs, are you not?" There's a flippant tone to his voice, though there's nothing especially threatening about it.

He drops down to squat in front of her and tilts his head in a birdlike manner. "How about we play the sharing game, mmm?" A tiny little smile flicks.

The longer she has to take breaths, the better that Gillian feels about the whole thing. It still takes a moment for her eyes to raise up, and it's when her name is mentioned. The rest of what he says processes slowly. Edward. Power Booster. Gillian Childs. "…You're one of those assholes from the future, aren't you?" Because who else would know her name, her power, and Edward. And considering she had just been told about them not very many hours ago…

"Yeah, I'm Gillian, but no, I'm not a booster. Not anymore thanks to one of your other pals."

"Well." Niles tilts his head. "Strange that Edward didn't see fit to tell me that he altered your power, if that is the case." He's calm as anything. That's to be expected, really. The street is narrow and quiet, Staten isn't full of many people who would rush to her aid, she's weak, and he just happens to have a knife at his hip if his power failed to kill her.

But he's not so sure he wants to. "Miss Childs, do you know why Edward Ray would want you dead? Because I am starting to wonder if it would be worth my while to kill you. I'm no fan of the good doctor, and the reason for you causing problems in the future seems to have already been eliminated."

Nothing quite brings up a surge of adrenaline like the idea that someone wants to kill you. Gillian straightens fully and starts moving backwards down the alley, trying to put some distance between them, but her steps are stumbling and he could easily close the distance to get to her before she could get anywhere near leaving the alley. This is why avoiding alleys would be the normal. Dangerous. Easy to get cornered. But she had to avoid people

"How would I know. Ray-man is an asshole who apparently only shares what he wants to with anyone— past or future." From the sound of her raspy voice, which wants a drink to wash down a bad taste, she's not a fan either. At all. "This is all a fucking game to him." What if he really tries to kill her? There's definite worry in her eyes, fear even. And the more everything builds, the more it wants to release.

Niles starts to move towards Gillian. He too has energy inside him that wants out. The difference is, he can control five separate entities. Plus, ten years in prison means his hand-to-hand skills are nothing to sneeze at.

Yet, for all he's following her, he's not doing so with the movements of a predator. "Yes, I agree. And if you tell me what you know of him, perhaps we can help each other. Miss Childs, if I was sure I wanted to end your life, you would have had a fried heart in your chest an hour ago. You could try and use a replicant against me, but from what I know of my own power, that would be most unpleasant for the both of us. So let's avoid that and continue with our chat, mm?"

Chatting is preferred to fighting. Always has been. Gillian still tries to back up a little more as he steps in closer, shifting so that her carrier back is in front of her and held against her, like it might provide some kind of protection. Doubtful, but sometimes the illusion of protection is enough to get some comfort. "All I know is that— a few months ago he was helping us stop the end of the world and now he's… one of him is from the future, trying to do something. I don't know. All I know is he thinks he's so smart, always one step ahead of everyone. Like he knows you'll do before you even do it." Doesn't sound like she believes such a thing is possible.

"I don't think everything's so mapped out that anyone can say what everyone will do."

"Well, that confirms that we are talking about the same Edward Ray." Niles smiles ever so slightly and reaches into his jacket. He withdraws a pack of cigarettes, puts one in his mouth and offers the pack out to her. "He orchestrated the jailbreak of myself and others you are likely aware of. Ten years from now. We were all locked away in Moab because we were simply too powerful to be allowed release. The world is on the surface quite peaceful and perfect, but that perfection hides several ugly secrets. I am here to make certain that my young self does not spend his entire adult life wrongfully imprisoned."

He tilts his head. "You felt my power. It is potent. And I'm sure you can understand, perhaps better than anyone, how much of a temptation an ability like that could be in the hands of a twenty-one year old boy who is angry at the world. What I am, I am because of my ability and the system that took my life from me. If you had the chance to right such a wrong done to you, would you let it pass by and continue to rot in prison? Honestly?"

Is this like what he felt? Gillian can't help but think as she watches the man. Not just thinking of him, but also Gabriel, who talked of his hunger, the need to know and understand, the sensation that's difficult to pull away from. The tension does start to settle, but not as much as she would like. Mostly because she thinks she understands. "You shouldn't have been locked away," she says, simple, stubborn. "I don't think anyone deserves to be locked up for what their ability might make them do. Hell, I'm hiding out on Staten Island cause I'm afraid they're going to do the same to me…"

And that's why she's protecting Gabriel. That's why she helped Peter escape. That's why… She knows the answer to his question, and she can't help but meet his eyes with a sense of understanding. "I wouldn't stay in prison. I'd rather die."

"Or rather kill?" Niles lifts his eyebrows. "Miss Childs, I don't want to kill you. You haven't given me any reason to. Edward says that your ability is to blame for your part in the future. If you no longer have it…" He lifs a hand. "Well. Then by killing you, all I am doing is Doctor Ray's dirty work. And I have no desire to do that."

His tone is not exactly…kind, but it isn't threatening either. "I have been made what I am, a murderer, a dangerous man because of a system that locked me away out of fear. A system that has a double standard and allows others who are just as dangerous to roam free."

He looks to the left, then inhales from his cigarette. "Stay away from Pinehearst and the Petrellis. And do not marry Peter Petrelli. If you do, then you will not play a part in causing my future to come to pass. And that is as effective as ending your life. If you keep you word, that is."

For the first few moments, Gillian seems to be agreeing with him, understanding him, knowing what he's speaking of. When she helped with the break out in Moab, she shot and killed a woman, to keep that woman from threatening her life and her freedom again. Would she kill to protect herself? Probably— being a victim isn't something she ever wants to be again. She'd also kill to protect someone else. Her lips part, and then he inhales his cigarette, and she suddenly wishes she had one, cause she's blinking, and staring at him.

Don't marry Peter Petrelli. Stay away from Pinehearst. Marry Peter Petrelli.

"I— I marry— but… Pinehearst isn't the ones locking people up, though! Pinehearst was the one who sent me to break everyone out of Moab in the first place… And Peter… This doesn't sound anything like a world I'd try to— "

"If the villain of this story were obvious, Miss Childs, you wouldn't have made the mistake of helping them in the first place," Niles regards her levelly. "Ten years is a long time. People change. Now…" He takes another drag from his cigarette and taps on the end. "…Are you going to promise me that you're going to stay away from Pinehearst, or am I going to have to tell Edward that you eluded me? He will send someone else to take care of you."

He glances off down the alleyway, then back to her. "It's rarely the evil you can look in the eye that you should truly be worried about. It's the kind that greets you with a smile and promises you nothing but good things that you should truly guard against."

"But my sister…" Gillian says softly, before she reaches up to touch her head again. There it is, that tension. This isn't the first time this has happened to her. Why would she think it would be the last? There's a hint of tears in her eyes before she says, "I don't know what's wrong— what's right." There's so many facts and fictions, truthes and lies, promises and deceptions… The last few months have been almost nothing but them… but… "I'm going to figure it out."

It's not a promise, but there's a determination starting to rise up. She's tired of the deceptions and lies. "But I'm not going to let you or any of Doctor Ray's people kill me."

"Gillian," says Niles with a smile full of dark humour. "He doesn't have 'people.'" He rocks back and tosses the cigarette towards a corner of the alleyway. It hisses as it hits a puddle. Then he starts out, back towards the street.

At first blush, the replicator seems to have not said much - but in truth he's given her a rather large piece of tactical advice. None of them are loyal to Edward Ray.

That is a pretty big piece of info. Gillian can't help but blink, watching him as he moves away, following the tossed cigarette as it hisses out in the puddle. She doesn't move to follow him, but she does say one thing, a rather sharp, "Good to see not everyone's a puppet."

But she might be. Again. That doesn't sit well with her. As he heads one way to the street, she backs up a few steps, not looking away from him for a few steps backwards, before she turns. The further away he gets, the more the tension settles. The less she feels like somethings going to jump out of her skin. But that doesn't make her like this situation any more. In fact, each step she likes it less and less.

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