Avoiding The Noose


devon2_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Avoiding The Noose
Synopsis Jaiden tests Devon's abilities at losing an unknown and unwanted follower.
Date June 1, 2011

Outside the Endgame Safehouse

The sidewalks are busy, morning drawing the worker bees from their personal hives to join the larger collective in survival of corporate and consumer America. Those in suits or slacks with polos, some with briefcases or satchels or purses, all going to earn the day's dollar. There's enough of an assortment that a teenager in jeans and t-shirt, carrying a backpack off one shoulder, doesn't stick out much. He could easily pass as someone's courier or a student off to classes at one of the universities. He could even be headed to summer classes at a high school, if one were to venture a guess.

However, such guesses would be wrong. Devon, as he weaves his way through the morning commute of foot traffic, is headed toward a different setting all together. His feet carry him toward the safehouse, still several blocks out, with a sureness of the destination. It's not the most direct route, but it will get him there eventually. One hand rests gripping the strap to his pack, the other riding in a hip pocket. His eyes slant off toward the passersby in cursory glances to keep from running into the random stranger before flicking off to the next.

During his time on the run, Jaiden has made it a point to always be out when the crowds are. It's easier to move when there's a lot of people, strangely enough, or rather, it's easier for him to move where he needs to be without fear of being followed. Moving with the crowd like a fish, he's able to step in between spaces that open up for a brief moment. He likes to call it moving with intention, and he does it well. Being out when the crowds are also gives him an idea of what 'looks right' in the area. Sure, New York, a city of millions is always changing, but there are often patterns that look the same, or faces that look the same. People heading into and out of buildings - the blonde from that brownstone. The brunette from the subway at 9:00. All are noted and perhaps not remembered, but at least noticed.

Devon moving through the crowd does get noticed since it's a face Jaiden recognizes. Sipping his coffee, he slips into the crowd and starts to follow Devon through the crowds, sidestepping buskers and beggars, hurdling one pile of trash, and all this without spilling a drop. Let's see how good the youth is at losing a tail that he doesn't know he has.

Devon doesn't seem to notice he's got a tail, his path remains unremarkably unchanged as does his pace. A wide step around a business mogul headed the opposite direction, a weave around a local dog walker. Nearly an entire block is traveled that way without notice for anything beyond the normal. Not that the teenager is unaware of his surroundings, experience in such a short time had taught him to be wary, and when that niggling feeling of being followed is finally acknowledged, the younger man's eyes flick to the curbside. The cars parked there might afford some view to confirm, though the press of people don't allow much.

Not seeing Jaiden behind him, nor seeing anything that would feed his suspicions, Devon moves on to the next block and swatch of sidewalk. His eyes flick off to the side again, hoping for a break in the pedestrians for something to stand out, then settle ahead again. It wouldn't do to run into someone coming from the other side.

Jaiden's not making it difficult to see him - this is a test, after all - but he's not waving his arms to make himself visible either. Probably a good thirty feet behind him, Devon may catch a glimpse of the Australian looking into a store window, but when he looks again, the man is more than likely lost to view. Perhaps drawing closer, perhaps drawing away, perhaps it was intentional to be seen. That will be determined later.

For now, Jaiden draws closer, hoping that Devon is learning even as the noose is tightened.

Slipping his arm through the other strap of his pack, Devon ducks between two parked cars and out into the street, eyes sweeping in both directions to assure he won't become close friends with the bumper of a moving car. He's not certain he'd seen anything, catching shadows and reflections from the corner of his eye everyone can look like anyone else, but he can't help but feel slightly uneasy. He crosses the street without incident, without a look over his shoulder despite the strong desire to. Once his feet hit the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, he makes a slight adjustment to his course, turning down an access road that takes him away from the safehouse rather than toward it.

Good move on Devon's part. Jaiden smiles to himself and continues along his original path, taking note of Devon heading down the side road while continuing along the main one himself, toward the safe house. A few twists and turns has Jaiden heading down the access road a few blocks behind Devon, and a quick right has him shunting back to the main street, hopefully to catch sight of the man again. If he's lost Devon, Jaiden can say he's pretty good at this. If not, well…something to practice on later.

One, two blocks pass before Devon's changed course again, turning down a street that parallels his original and walks in the opposite direction besides. He hasn't bothered, or dared, to stop and look back, or to try to track down the source of the itch. But he uses the environment around him to catch glimpses behind. A mirror here, window there, the reaction of a person heading the way he'd come though that source tends to be unreliable. It's still a busy street, if not as much as the main one, Jaiden might be able to pick him out of the crowd.

Jaiden catches sight of Devon as he's slipping down the opposite direction, the man smiling. He's not doing too bad - sure, he kind of tipped his hand, so Devon may know he's being followed, but he's not going to make it easy. Slipping through the sparse crowds, Jaiden heads back to the main street and then, to the safehouse in a roundabout way, sitting on the steps and waiting for Devon to make an apperance.

It's notably longer before Devon finally does appear approaching the safehouse. Likely the teenager had backtracked further and taken an out of the way route, something that drew him well around the location until bringing him back toward his destination. Even more likely he'd decided he wasn't going to go straight there once he felt sure he wasn't being followed. He walks down the sidewalk, coming from the Australian's left side. He spots the Jaiden on the steps as he nears, brows lifting slightly in unspoken question. It's not often (ever?) he sees the older man just sitting outside.

True, Jaiden doesn't normally sit outside the safehouse, but it's best to encounter someone in an open area. When he sees Devon, he remains where he is, sipping his coffee, until the man approaches within speaking distance, and only then does Jaiden stand and dust off his pants. "Hey there, Devon. Walk with me."

He steps down the two steps to the street and pivots to walk in the same direction Devon was walking, past the Safehouse. "You did fairly well with the tail. People who follow you won't be as obvious as I was, but you had a few good moves, as far as things go, considering you really were out of practice. The doubling back nearly got me, but I caught up with you on that side street…"

Hands burrow further into his pockets as Devon falls into step beside Jaiden. His eyes tick toward the street side then pick a point ahead to watch where he'll go. "Wasn't sure who was behind me," he explains. It's not offered to be an excuse, just admitting to he realized someone was following. "Watching movies helps get an idea of things. I'll do better next time."

"I know you will. You did well, all things considered, and watching movies…that's one of the better ways to get some ideas, but remember the people who wrote the movies didn't have to count on those to keep them alive." Jaiden walks along with him, hands in his pockets, looking all the world like two friends just on their way somewhere which, in fact, they are. Also, walking on the street means anonymity in a crowd - they can talk without fear of being overheard by anyone who matters. "Remember to try vertically, if possible. And with your talent, you can do things other than use streets."

"Yes, sir," Devon responds. Fire escapes can be both useful and unuseful, one of those situational things. His eyes slant toward Jaiden briefly, then flick back toward the street, more concerned with those they pass than where they're going. "If by talent you mean… beyond the normal?" One shoulder raises and falls to shrug. He hasn't manifested yet. "I'll give you a run for your money, next time."

Jaiden squeezes Devon's shoulder, giving him a grin. "Just Jaiden. Sir is my father or for military people. We're in a nice crunch, but right now, when it's just friends…Jaiden. Please." They keep walking, turning one corner, going through a back alley, then another, then over a dumpster blocking a third, to the back door of the safe house, Jaiden watching all the while as they go to make sure they're not followed, hopefully giving Devon a few pointers on what to do when walking. And it all looks so natural that one might think he wasn't watching for a tail, but he was. When they get to the safe house, Jaiden grins. "So, not a bad first try. You coming to visit for the heck of it?"

Devon nods in response, glancing toward the Australian again. "Jaiden," he agrees, "unless something else would be better fitting." He follows, shadowing or walking beside the older man, aware of what's around him with the occasional look or glance, studious in the pointers offered. He's not shy about asking questions if he doesn't understand something, and his questions when they come are direct. "I wish it were more of a social call. I've got a disc for you and Liz to listen to. Met with Price, she gave me a note from Valentin on where and when to meet him."

This isn't a good thing. Jaiden sighs and motions for Devon to follow him. "come on then. Let's get it to Elisabeth first thing."

"Sorry," Devon responds to Jaiden's sigh. He follows behind the older man with a nod. "It's not entirely ominous. It's… well you can listen to the recording."

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