Doomed To It, Chained To It


hagan_icon.gif gray_icon.gif

Scene Title Doomed To It, Chained To It
Synopsis Sylar and Hagan discuss art (or the lack thereof) at a gallery.
Date November 17, 2008

Harlem — The Vector Gallery

The Vector Gallery sits as a polished, neat, storefront establishment that seems to shine with modernity next to its historical neighbors. Tonight the normally dim-lit gallery is pulsing with life. Art seems to thrive even in dark times, especially graphic art which is what this gallery specializes in.

The ceilings of the gallery are especially tall, which allows for the display of large, graphic canvasses of the best that the graphic art community has to offer. The people who mill about are dressed nicely, but there are very few designer brands to be seen. Graphic art is seen as the dark stepchild of the art world. It's not seen as legit because it is done soley for profit and the content is not entirely chosen by the artist. But people who tout the graphic arts point out that creating beauty and striking images within a framework is more difficult than the literal blank canvas.

Hagan O'Sullivan hates these things, especially when his work is being displayed - as a centre point no less. His ad fills the far back wall and is a deceptively simple billboard-shaped ad for a woman's perfume. With skillful twists and curls of striking graphic colour, he's managed to capture a scent.

Said awkward artist is standing not far from his piece. He's wearing a dark gray suit with a blue shirt beneath. His hair is mussed terribly and he's clutching a glass of wine like a lifeline. Right now a short, portly woman with fancy graphical eyeglasses is chatting him up. He looks like he'd rather be anywhere else.

Across the room in the well-lit space of the gallery, Sylar picks up an offered glass of white wine and murmurs a polite 'thank you'. They say that the best hiding places are the ones in plain side. In this day and age, that's simply untrue. Those are possibly the worst ever places to hide and it's for that reason Sylar will often change his appearance when stalking through public places for whatever the reasons are.

Tonight, however, he's very much himself. And he fits in splendidly. A dark grey suit with a black shirt beneath it, no tie in sight but this neighbourhood hardly calls for formality these days, even in an art exhibit. Sylar is well groomed, well put together and doesn't seem at all out of place, if a little more quiet and alone than everyone else, as he roams casually through the space, dark eyes on the images displayed on the walls. As if he really were here to look at the art. When he comes to the centered piece displayed at the very end of the gallery, that's where he stays for now, back turned towards the rest of the people milling around.

If he notices the other two people nearby, Sylar makes no indication, bringing his wine glass up to sip. However, impossibly good hearing can't block everything out, and he glances sidelong at the woman, whose back is to him, as she chatters on and on towards the ruffled looking artist. Sylar's gaze flicks up over her head towards Hagan, raising an eyebrow in supposed sympathy.

"Yes, yes. It took me years. Ages. Decades. Eons. I started it back under Emperor Nero. He gave me my first grant. And all he asked is I help him drown his mother." Hagan barks this out to the woman who looks taken aback at first, then chitters like a bird. His lip curls faintly and he swallows what's left in his glass.

When he notes Sylar looking his way, a lightbulb goes on. "Oh, but if you'll excuse me, it's my agent. There you are, Mister De…" he looks around and spots a fellow artist's microwave popcorn ad. "…Bacher. Red DeBacher. What do you think of the installation?"

Chittery bird woman, thusly dismissed, toddles off to harass another artist.

When approached, Sylar seems, at first, to freeze in place, expression blank. But then his gaze darts towards where the woman has wandered off and back towards the artist, puts two and two together, and an easy smile begins. "Gabriel, actually," the taller man says lightly once she's out of earshot. "Gabriel Wilkens. It's nice to meet you, Mr…" He makes a calculated guess - in that, he gestures towards the little informative plaque next to the display, and finishes with, "Mr. O'Sullivan?"

"Pardon, that was dreadfully rude of me, but that…thing of a woman wouldn't leave me alone." Hagan steps forward to snatch another glass of wine off a passing tray. "Gabriel, yes. Sorry again. You can tell her I'm a giant liar if she starts calling you Red. And it's just Hagan, please. I'm not important enough for a 'Mister.'"

"It's meant to be dreadfully rude to monopolise an artist's time, I think," Sylar says, lightly, attention turned back towards the image displayed. "So in the karmic scheme of things it probably balances out. This is your work?" And he points towards the image, looking back towards Hagan, even if his gaze does dart around a little more than just towards the Irishman beside him, as if scouting out the crowd of people. "I can see why it might attract unwanted attention."

"Yeah, it's rubbish that earned me a lot of money. People think anything that commands a large sum is worthwhile. It doesn't belong in a bloody gallery. Look! The bloody perfume's got…lemongrass in it. Doesn't that go in Thai noodles?" Hagan points to where he skillfully invoked the scent of lemon with vector curls. "It's all ridiculous anyway. A gallery for advertisements. Shrine of commercialism." From the way he swigs that wine, he seems to be in his cups.

"Oh." Sylar pauses, attention returning to the conversation. "I'll admit I don't know a lot about this medium. I'm meant to be meeting my girlfriend, she's a graphic design student." He shrugs his broad shoulders, observing the image for the first time since he wandered this way - in fact, paying real attention to the artwork displayed for the first time since he'd walked through the door. "It's still art. Art with a price tag. I don't mind seeing beauty here if it means I don't have to look at the scars of New York City." An attempt at an apologetic glance is sent Hagan's way. "I'm sort of a native. You're English, right?"

"It's quite a thing isn't it? When advertisements are our escapism, our beauty," Hagan motions to another artist's work of New York in happier times, advertising Nescafe. Then he prickles at the last bit, but forces himself to calm. "No…no I'm not." Another swig of the wine. "I'm Irish. And I've been here since before it all went to shite. I have to say it wasn't exactly a towering art deco shrine before it got all reduced to rubble. I once got off the subway and found a large lump of phlegm in my hair. It started growing its own ecosystem."

"Oh I'm sorry, of course you're Irish," Sylar says, and as with most of his apologies, it sounds bizarrely false, bringing his wine glass up to sip - although his hesitates at that last part. "That's true, this place has its flaws. But you have highs like fashion, towering businesses, Wall Street, Madison Avenue, and then there's poverty, dirtiness, namelessness. It's a divide. A divide made only wider by a consumer culture," and he gestures towards Hagan's advertisement with a twist of smile, "what we can and can't buy, but everyone still wants it. You only help it along by making it prettier."

"To be honest," Hagan's not really sure why he's treating this like confession. Something to do with the non-scramental wine. "…I got into it because I was good at it. I stayed in it because it makes me arseloads of money. It still does, but it doesn't go far these days. The whole consumer bullshit makes me sick." And other days it's just excesses of alcohol. Like today. He swallows another half a glass. "And what is it you do then, mister archangel?"

Good question, and Sylar smiles just a little at the allusion. One could say it's a bitter smile, but one would probably have to not be drunk to say so. "I'm a watchmaker," he says, simply, eyes on the colourful ghost-like vectors on the design in front of him. "Mostly means I just fix them, but I can put them together too. It's not exciting, or rewarding, but like you, I do what I'm good at. That's really what any of us can do, right?"

"Really? Then you're a victim of consumerist culture. Does anyone still buy proper watches these days, or has Swatch Watch killed the artisan watchmaker?" Hagan pulls back his sleeve to reveal a sturdy, if not particularly nice watch that looks like it dates from the 20s. "This belonged to my grandda. He hid it under the floorboard for twenty years so my grandma wouldn't force him to sell it."

He'd already been diverted from his people watching, but this seems to get the killer's attention even more. He takes a step closer to peer down at the old fashioned wristwatch. "An Ernest Borel," he identifies, with seeming approval, a hand then coming out to steer Hagan's wrist a little closer. "Wristwatches for men only started circulating after World War 1, you should consider this valuable. You're right, I suppose I would be a victim," and Sylar lets go of Hagan, "of consumerist culture but there are people who'd probably pay you a lot money for that piece, so at least you'd profit. More now than what your grandaddy would have gotten, of course."

Hagan is a little bit stiff when his wrist is held. He doesn't seem a man accustomed to physical contact. "I think of it as a symbol. Most of the Irish gave up everything just to keep on eating. But my grandda, he held on to this because he didn't want to give up this one shroud of commercialism." He looks down at his wrist with a thoughtful expression. He murmurs softly, to himself, "Are we doomed to it, chained to it, chained to our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing?" His eyes go unfocused and he pulls his glass up to his lips and drinks, almost as a reflex.

Sylar tilts his head to the side a little, not immediately recalling the quote, and ever since Charlie, he'd been good at recalling quotes. He downs the rest of his wine as Hagan drinks. "Who said that?" he asks, turning towards a helpful tray-bearer and setting down his empty glass, shaking his head when offered another.

"What?" Hagan blinks. His eyes have gone a little glassy as the wine seeps into his brain. "It's from a book. About nuclear apocalypse and how we keep forgetting where we come from and then in turn destroy ourselves again." He looks towards the door, out past the shiny gallery where hardship is on the surface. "Specifically, how technology secures our doom."

"I'll have to look into it," Sylar says, and if he will or not is up for interpretation. Before the gallery waitress, or whatever it is bearers of wine are called, can walk away, Sylar seems to change his mind, reaching out to take a glass of wine from her tray and handing it towards Hagan. "It's on me," he says, very dryly. "Technology helps secure our doom. I figure we do enough of that ourselves. Knowledge of any kind, really." Or the lack thereof. "Now look at me, I'm the one stealing up all your time. I should let you go."

Hagan takes the glass of wine from Sylar and looks happy to recieve it. "Oh no, no. This line of conversation is far easier to maintain than fielding questions about my 'inspiration' from people who actually believe graphic arts are of value for anything other than manipulating people. But don't let me keep you either. Go off then. Your poor girlfriend's probably wondering where you got to."

"Mm. I hate to throw you back into the ring," Sylar says, glancing towards where a couple of people, perhaps sensing a break in conversation like sharks do blood and dogs do fear, are already mincing over to occupy Hagan's time, "but you're right, she probably is. For what it's worth, I really do like your work." A charming smile, or an attempt at one, is given to Hagan, before Sylar makes a step away.

Hagan weaves even though he attempts to stand still. He looks at the canvas for a moment and twitches slightly at Sylar's compliment. "I still think it's bollocks," a beat, "But…thanks. Now fly away mister archangel. Before they really do think you're my agent and start getting harassed by bony women on the street."

A rough chuckle preludes the reply, "It was nice talking to you, Hagan." And there's no girlfriend, it seems, to walk towards - Sylar heads for the door, just like another artist had done so a few seconds ago, likely for a cigarette break. One James Mathison, who thought it'd be a good idea to sell himself as an Evolved artist when advertising his work on show that night. But any publicity is good publicity, right? Except when it's bad publicity. Really bad publicity.

November 17th, HARLEM — Artist James Mathison was attacked just outside an art exhibit hosted at The Vector Gallery at around 9 30 PM. He was found beaten but conscious when exhibit-goers inside heard his cries for help. Although public statements from Mathison have not been given to the press, it's been reported that Mathison used his Evolved ability to fend off the attacker, who had left the scene by the time Mathison was discovered. Anti-Evolved attacks have been a problem in New York City and it's been concluded that this was likely of the same nature, as Mathison is known to publicly out himself as an Evolved when advertising his work. No suspects have been identified, but those attending the exhibit have been questioned. The NYPD has encouraged anyone to come forward should they know about the attack.

November 17th: A Promise is a Promise

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 17th: Ben From Boston
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License