Back to Normality


barbara_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Back to normality
Synopsis A fugitive safehouse operator joins an ex-patriate Briton for a bit of ceiling-based electronic maintenance. About as normal as New York gets, these days.
Date August 15 2010

Grand Central Terminal

With the topside of the iconic Grand Central Terminal in ruins, it's its basement level that sees most activity, as covert as such activity may be. Entrances are sealed (at least, to those who don't know any better) to the upper levels leading above ground, whether with rubble, or with manmade additions of gates and blockades, and so most will find their way to this place via the countless tunnels that run like arteries in what could appropriately be termed the heart of Manhattan's train system.

Electric lights shine pallid white in the arching ceilings of the basement concourses and foyers, running off their own generators and so power is only used conservatively. Here, the wide open spaces are used for storage that is destined to be moved either towards the arching doorways opening to platforms and subways for shipping out, or waiting to be dragged down to the subbasements for longer term storage. The floors, the walls, the ceilings are differing kinds of tile and vary in cleanliness.

Tables have also been set up so that supplies can be sorted, shifted, packed properly. Folded cardboard boxes awaiting use can be discovered in most corners. Signs on the walls in the form of crude spray paint indicate where things might go, from food, to clothing, to medical supplies, and some things even more exotic. This is a place of motion and organization.

Last but not least, a makeshift recreation room has been set up for the workers of the Grand Central Station, and this can be found within what used to be known as the Whispering Walls. Famously, this interstitial space was known for its strange acoustics, wherein one could whisper to a companion from one far side of the corner to the other by talking directing into the curving corner, where sound would travel along the curve of the arcing ceiling. This, of course, still works, but now the space is no longer simply a foyer - there's a semi-portable kitchen area offering simple food and beverages, a television (which gets no reception, but is hooked into a VCR and a DVD player, with a modest library for both), a card table, a few comforts such as couches and armchairs.

Upon one of the walls, is a rough but well-meaning mural, a mock up of an aquarium - an addition that came after the Ferrymen claimed this space as theirs. It seems to grow in size every several days, with new aquatic characters added each time.

Beneath the ruins of Manhattan, the dusty, echoing quiet of the subterranean world of old tunnels and tomb-like stations is too eery for most to contemplate entering. Amidst the tomb-like underworld, however, lies the Ferry refuge of Grand Central Terminal. A haven of activity, a place of rest, and perhaps most importanly, an island of light amidst the darkness.

At present, however, the inky, tangible gloom of the surrounding tunnels has pressed into one of the main concourses… save for a puddle of light up on the arched ceiling, where a rather odd little scene can be seen. A woman sits cross-legged, upside down, one end of a torch in her mouth, while she fiddles with a screwdriver within the part-dismantled fitment of the main electric light.

Grand Central terminal is quite the sight to behold to someone who has never set foot within its confines before, much like the Thompson Commune might have been to an outsider. For that reason, to Barbara Zimmerman, it feels both entirely alien and strangely familiar all at the same time.

She's come here today in an effort to refamiliarise herself with the city, as well as get familiar with the layout of the land, as far as the Ferry went - she knew she'd be here for a while, and there were still people she needed to talk to, needed to see - the least of which being her sister. Among others. She wasn't dressed for such a meeting if it was sprung on her, wearing long cargo pants, a tank top, and her hat, but she would manage.

But for now, what catches her attention is the woman on the ceiling. Not… really hanging. Sitting. An idea that wasn't entirely unfamiliar to the redhead, but still very curious. Coming to slow halt beneath, she looks up. "Do you need any help with that?"

Ygraine pulls the torch from her mouth and looks up / down, cracking an upside-down grin at Barbara. "Hi there", she says, squinting a little into the gloom. "You're welcome to come up if you want. An extra pair of hands might make this go a bit quicker."

For her part, the Briton is in breeches, boots, and a backless halter top - her new tattoo of the two dragons once again on show. Oddly, it looks as if everything about her and her kit is breaking conventional rules - the toolbox sits open, the contents apparently quite content to stay in place.

An eyebrow is quirked up at Ygraine, Barbara chuckling as her hands move to her hips. "I'll have to go find a latter, then, unless you can help me up." There's a little but of sarcasm in her voice - but the fun kind, at least. "Even down here, I haven't seen to many people making use of their… abilities," she remarks, making what seems like a very reasonable assumption.

Ygraine shrugs amiably. "I'm very nearly as weak as they come, in many ways", she says with a laugh. "So it seems to make sense to put it to use when I have the chance to do so. And it's a +lot+ easier for me to try to fix ceiling fitments than it is for anyone else."

As she talks, the tattooed woman - whose voice clearly carries the tones of an educated Briton - rises to her feet and walks quickly around the curve of the ceiling, then starts down a wall.

Barbara doesn't give so much a surprised expression as an amused one when Ygraine starts down the wall. "I can see how you'd think that. That would have been fairly handy to have…" Her voice carries just a hint of a Canadian accent, a by-product of having lived there for so many years now. "But, no harm in doing what you can, right?" A hand is extended as the Brit reaches the floor, the redhead smiling. "Barbara."

Ygraine pauses briefly, tugging off a fingerless glove before accepting the hand for the offered shake. "A pleasure to meet you", she says warmly, though she peers somewhat quizzically at the woman for a moment, as if trying to place her face. "I can take you up there, if you like. Though it's likely to feel a bit weird as I shift things around for you."

Barbara looks upwards at Ygraine's little workstation. "If you need the help. I'm not the handiest person on Earth, but I'm not useless." Gaze moves back down, hands on her hips. "I was just stopping in to get a better lay of things. I'm rather… surprised by how big this place is, I have to admit."

"There is rather a lot of it", Ygraine agrees with a rueful smile. "I've done a fair bit of exploring, including some bits that are… less accessible. If you're at all curious, I could give you a tour of the bits I know… but for now, an extra pair of hands would be rather useful. You can hold wires out of the way for me, if you don't mind."

As she talks, she gently attempts to guide Barbara towards the wall she just walked down.

"Now.. if you put your foot up onto the wall, and hold onto me. I'll take as much of your weight as I can, but you're going to feel rather weird. Quite seriously disoriented. The wall'll suddenly become your new 'down' - gravity'll pull you towards it rather than the floor. It'll take your body a few moments to adjust, and it'll feel… weird."

"A tour isn't a terrible idea," Barbara notes as she lays her foot against the wall, steady but with a bit of apprehension. "How long does this disorientation last?" she asks with a little bit of hesitation, foot firmly planted. That was certainly an interesting application of a power, though not one Barbara hadn't heard of before. "I've rather… new to town, I guess you could say." She steels herself for the impending change in direction, if she understands the woman correctly.

"Only a few moments, unless you're particularly susceptible", Ygraine says with a slight smile. She nods… then the world flips. There's no sensation of movement or rotation. Abruptly, what was down is now back and what was forward is now down. Hair, clothes, soft tissue, and the body's own sense of the pull of gravity are instantly tugged that way. Even the brain and other internal organs shift.

Fortunately, Ygraine is indeed taking a good deal of Barbara's weight, and she closely watches her red-headed companion. "See what I mean?"

Barbara wobbles a bit, more from the awkward sense of disorientation than anything else, waiting before she takes any steps forward. "I… yeah, I see what you mean. If you don't mind giving me a moment?" Barbara's arms move out a bit, as if she seeks balance when she really doesn't need to at all.

One the sense of unease, the dizziness, and the general odd feeling fade, she begins to feel more adventurous, slowly beginning her way up the wall. "So, you change the gravity? I've neveractually known someone who did anything like that."

"I think that I actually alter a quality about you and another object, so that gravity entering you flows into that other object rather than in the standard direction. I form a link, of sorts", Ygraine explains gently. "So… much more subtle and of much less use in most circumstances than the telekinetics you'll run into."

For Barbara, there's no on-going sensation of strangeness. Her body is still recovering from the effects of the abrupt jerk, but now it feels absolutely as if she is standing on the ground.

"I think I get it," Barbara says with a slow nod. "It almost sounds like magnetise someone to a surface." A poor analogy, but that's about the idea she has in her head - even if that's not the exact ability. Her footfalls are returning to normal pace as she walks forward, a glance "up"wards to the floor. "I'm not quite sure I could get used to such a vantage point, which." Hands slip into pockets, eyes moving to the makeshift work station. "Have you figured out what's wrong with it, yet?"

The floor presently looks like a wall, and Ygraine is guiding Barbara towards the curve that will take the pair of them up onto the ceiling itself.

"This next bit should be much easier. A far gentler transition. And it looks like it's just a case of old wiring finally giving out. I think that I've shut the power off to the right section, I've earthed either end, and I'm replacing the most decrepid-looking sections of wiring. I'm hoping that'll do it. If something's gone in the main cabling somewhere, then it's rather beyond my skill - so I'm hoping that it is just something in the light fitting itself."

Offering her hand once more, she helps Barbara onto the ceiling. "Oh! I'm Ygraine, by the way. Sorry. I'm dreadful at introductions."

Barbara smiles, returning the hand shake as they reach the apex of the roof. Or the valley of the floor, as it would seem at the moment. The second transition seems to affect her less, though she does get instinctually wobbly for a moment. "Nice to meet you," she says with a bit of an amused tone as she shakes Ygraine's hand once. Her attention turned down to Ygraine's work, she kneels and cocks an eyebrow. "I'm not an electrician, unfortunately, so I can't say for sure. But I can help, at least."

"Well, here's where we find out whether some of my attempts to explain my ability in terms of electricity demonstrate some understanding, or a woeful lack of it", Ygraine says with a swift grin, folding herself down beside the light fitment. "Now… I'll point out what I'm intending to work on, and that should help you to see what I'd like held out of the way. And feel free to talk. I'll have the torch in my mouth again, so any conversation'll have to come from you, I'm afraid…"

"Electrical demonstration?" Barbara repeats, sounding like she doesn't quite understand what Ygraine means. She lets that sit, though, instead focusing on the task at hand. "Aright. Just point, and I'll follow up," she says with a nod, indicating that she at least understands /that//. There's a moment of silence as she thinks of a line of conversation to talk on, smirking a bit. "So, you're form England?"

"If I fry myself, I'll demonstrate that I probably didn't have a clue what I was talking about", Ygraine says dryly, taking up her tools again. "And yeah, I'm British. Grew up in Scotland, but my family's from various parts of the UK, and I was born and studied in England."

The end of the torch is taken between her teeth, and she leans forward, frowning pensively as she peers intently into the innards of the fitment. Removing her light source once more, she uses her little screwdriver to point out items as she talks. "Right. I'm going to be trying to replace these ones… so if you can hold those ones out of the way while I work, it'd be a great help."

Barbara can't prevent a laugh from slipping through at that, a slow shake of her head as to avoid dislodging her hat and sending it fluttering to the floor above. "I'm from… Canada," she says after a moment of hesitation. "At least, that's where I've lived most of my life." She reaches down and begins to move things aside as instructed, trying her best to follow Ygraine's points and indications.

Ygraine works in silence for a little while, but after successfully replacing a couple of wires, she removes her torch and rolls her neck. "Mmmm. Thank you. You're being a real help. So… what is it that you do for the Ferry? I've done a couple of delivery runs up to Canada, but can't claim to have explored too much of the network up there…"

"I… was a safehouse operator," Barbara remarks ruefully, a grimace on her face as she continues to hold wires for Ygraine. "It was raided, a few months back." She falls silent for several moments. "This is actually my first time back in New York in… a very long time," she remarks, sounding somewhat eager to change the topic of conversation from the incident at Thompson commune.

Ygraine winces sympathetically. "I'm sorry", she murmurs. "I think that I heard of that. Is… is there anything I can do to help you settle in here? Or are you not staying for long?"

"I think I'll be fine," Barbara replies with an appreciative smile. "I have a few people helping me out, and… it turns out I have family in town." A glance is made up to the floor, then back to Ygraine. "Thank you, though." She falls silent again, concentration return to her rather simple task.

Ygraine looks surprised, then smiles. "That sounds good", she says warmly, then reaches over to lightly touch Barbara's hand. "You're all right. I won't let you fall. Now… just one more, and then I think that we should be done."

Barbara blinks and then laughs, shaking her head. "I figured so. It's just… interesting to look up and see the floor, is all. I don't think I've ever experienced anything like that in particular." She gives a nod, making room for Ygraine to continue to fiddle.

"My effects aren't permanent - which is both good and bad", Ygraine explains, as she leans down to peer closely, setting to work once more. "So I promise to try not to kill myself, so that I don't leave you with a bit of a long drop to face. But… hrmmm. This looks like it should be the last bit, so I can take you down in a moment."

"I see." Barbara regards Ygraine with understanding, nodding for a moment before she shrugs, giving out a bit of a chuckle. "You don't seem like the type," she muses, looking back up. Despite that reassurance and the fact taht Barbara doesn't look, sound, or feel anxious, there is a bit of a relief on her face at the thought or returning to traditionally solid ground bel-er, above.

A few moments later, Ygraine sits up, flashing a smile at her companion. "There. I'll just fit the cover back in place, and that's us done. I hope." Looking down, she sets about restoring the light to its normal appearance. "So… do you have any idea what you'll be doing while you're in the city?"

"Looks good," Barbara enthuses with a nod as the fixture is reset in place. "I don't know quite yet, at least as far as work or the like goes. Reconnecting with family. I don't have much else planned." She shrugs, rising to her feet and adjusting her bag. "I haven't really talked to anyone about anything."

Ygraine nods gently, packing away her tools before rising to her feet and offering an arm to Barbara. "Would you permit me to escort you to terra firma? And… I apologise if I'm seeming to push. I'm just curious about what people actually do for the Ferry."

Barbara nods, accepting the arm if only because she's going to need it if she gets as dizzy now as she did earlier. "It's fine," she assures with a shake of her head as they begin moving. "I just haven't done much since I got into the city. I'm still.. adjusting to some things."

Ygraine shoots her companion a sidelong, worried look, but remains focused on the matter in hand as she carefully guides Barbara through two transitions - from ceiling to wall and then wall to floor.

"There. Back to normality", she says gently. "Or the best facsimile that New York can provide for it, at least."

Barbara's dizziness is less pronounced than before, but certainly present. She gives a nod ot Ygraine, instinctively reaching to brush herself off, for whatever reason. "At least that's a bit of normality you can count on, right?" she says with a smile, nodding as she looks back up at the fixture. "I hope it works. I should be on my way, though. I still have a lot to see here."

"I could give you a tour, if you like. Or let you wander alone, if you've had enough of crazy Brits", Ygraine says with a smile. "Either way, it's been good to meet you."

Barbara looks a bit hesitant for a moment, but a small smile forms on her face, a nod following. "I could use a tour, honestly. This place is a lot to take in." The brim of her hat is adjusted, hands slipping into pockets as she turns and looks the head. "Lead the way."

Flashing a grin, Ygraine nods, then gestures grandly ahead. "And here, we have the ancient ancestral hall of the Manhattan Troglodytes", she starts to explain, guiding Barbara away into the dim light of the subterranean tunnels.

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