Echo's Number




Ray, NPC'd by Chinatown

Scene Title Echo's Number
Synopsis "Echo" is given a gun, but there's an issue with his phone not receiving calls.
Date February 13, 2011

Queens - Inside The Dome

"Here, you get a gun."

The edge of metal nudges roughly into Kincaid's arm, a sort of whap whap that hopefully— probably— means that the safety's on. By now, Ray's voice is familiar, even though the wind stealing it out of his mouth in tendriled condensation is considerably different to the narrative that's been muffled by the mattress of the bunk bed or through the walls. Their fitness sessions have been little more than flustered cycles going around, swinging punches and laughing about it. Ray works out like a madman, of course, but seems to need his privacy— a convenient reason to give him a reasonable berth, and thereby keep his own.

Not that there's been much to do, besides worry. And see the occasional older operative come by, gruff and battered, and tell him nothing; nor, it seems, Ray. Though where he'd got the gun from and from whom, that probably would have been nice to get those words in person, rather than an interrupted smoke break in a parking lot heaped with sloppily melting drifts and drowned cars.

"We get to play soon," Ray says. "Orders from the top, Echo."

With the gun handed over, Kincaid ejects the clip to check the number of rounds, then making sure there's one in the chamber, all while leaving the safety on. Inspecting a gun is often a good idea, one he was taught as soon as he handled it. Only a fool doesn't know how many bullets he has to start with.

"This because of all the chaos over on the other side of the river?" The information never follows easy channels, but 'Echo' always listens when he can, always tries to learn more about what's going on, about who 'the top' is. Real names, whenever they come up.

So far all he knows is his bunk mate, Ray.

And Ray has stayed away from names ever since. Protocol, probably. He doesn't watch as Kincaid checks over his sidearm, choosing instead to stare into the wide, empty wind tunnel of the street. "Kind of." The skin around his eyes tightens, and he cuts a glance back at the other man, the pistol in his hands, gives a sudden nod, curt, of approval. "The battle never ends, mind you. But I heard it was fucking slaughter over there. The minute they're given two fucking seconds of independence, flogging humans to death with their powers is what those mutants do. Wholesale slaughter, man.

"We're lookout duty, you and me. A step up from waiting in the fucking car. They're gonna bring some bombs. We'll have more tactical details tomorrow morning, I guess." He abruptly stoops down to claw lithe fingers through the snow. Tries to mush it into a ball, but it won't pack properly, too much moisture in it. "I fucking hate sitting at the kiddie table sometimes, but at least I'm not doing this shit alone."

Us versus them. The classic battle of fear and difference. Uniting people in a common hatred and turning the whole world into a minefield. Kincaid may want to say many things about this situation, but everything calls for discression. At least he's closer to finding out what they're up to.

If only he could have stopped some of the slaughter he suspects happened. Battles are rarely one-sided.

"Yeah, you're not alone, Epsilon, so there's that at least. Better the kiddie table than the short bus, though," he says with a forced grin as he fidgets with his gun, looking around the corner. "Did they say what we're on look out for? Other than 'anyone'?"

"Anyone," Ray answers. He squares his shoulders without releasing the snowball that refuses to take shape in his hands. Moulds the edges with his fingers, but it keeps crumbling, shearing wetly apart, chunking apart across his wrist. Must be freezing his hands, too, but the young man doesn't seem to care, his short-shaven head ducked down to look at it. "It's coming to a head, Joe. No mercy on either side. Without guns, we're outgunned, and we sure as fuck don't always know where we should be shooting.

"Anybody who isn't keeping their head down is looking for a fight. Reminds me of fucking Al Kut. A dead cat's never just a dead cat, or an old man talking on the cellphone. Even the kids. Everything's a weapon and an excuse to kill you. Don't forget that, brother." Water flicks chilly off his fingers, and he finally scores them dry on his pants, roughly, two audible scuffs of friction. "You'll get a bulletproof vest, but that isn't going to stop them if the mutants come out of the woodwork."

Perhaps it's the detail of all the potential dangers that causes Kincaid to grimace. He'd certainly hope that's what the man believes, as he diverts his eyes downward and uses his free hand to dig around in pockets, as if looking for something. In the low light, it's not easy to make out the slight change in eye color, but his right hand starts to tremble a bit where he holds the gun.

Without his triple doses of coffee every few hours, there's always the threat of trouble.

But he's tried to keep a few caffiene pills on hand, for emergencies. This time, he's unable to find one, so he bites down on his lip and says in a tense voice, "This whole thing is messed up. Christ, I hope there's no pyrokinetics in here. Fire's the worst… And that vest won't help against it, either."

Fear and anxiety. It's better than the truth.

Or fear and anxiety are the truth. A grin stretches across Ray's face, wide enough to be a grimace, but bloodthirst shows int he loft of his brows and hides anything else that Kincaid could guess at. "I knew a guy who burned to death," he says. "Yeah, it is. Pyrokinetics.

"The ones that throw lightning, too— mix some incendiary with that," he claps his hands together, cupped palms and an acoustic whop-whack, stirs with a forefinger that he can probably barely feel anymore. "And that's a recipe that'll eat your skin off your muscle and down to the bone. But it's the fucking mind-control shit that I hate most, you know?" Blase, after the review of history he'd given to Joe for free. He shakes his head irritably at the snow and then bends low to yank a rusted spar of snapped-off rebar out of a drift, throwing it instead.

Easier to throw shit around than to build anything, after all. "What was the one who did your parents? You mentioned it. I think."

"Telepath was behind it, but they died because of fire," Kincaid says quietly, grimacing as if he's seeing it all over again. "Pretty much like you were describing. Don't really like fire too much. Thought a pyro was to blame for a long time, but— I found out differently eventually. I spent so long wanting justice, or revenge, or something, and by the time I found out who had been behind it…"

There's that grimace again, the blue in his eyes coming in more than he may wish. At least he can look away from the other man in a semblance of watching the streets. While he does, though, he bites down on the inside of his cheek— until he draws some blood. More pain to distract from pain.

His teeth are a little pinkish when he finally asks. "Think we could have a smoke while we keep watch?"

Ah. Ray nods his head about the telepath, a shadow falling behind his own eyes, before they cut away. He knots his hands into fists and stuffs them into his own pockets, silent for a long few seconds. "Probably not. It isn't a good idea to have some burning shit near your face when it's go-time. But you can smoke before we go if it's better for your head. We're gettiong up at 0600, though. Picking up the armor and the artillery, and some batteries for your phone.

"Heard Valentin tried to drop you a message the other day but it didn't go through." He shrugs with his shoulders down to his arms. "Your old number. Or you just losT the fucking phone? The one we've been using to touch base with you these past couple." Ray steps backward, retreating to terrain that's a little less gummy gooey awful from slush, twisting his head back to look at the apartment building they've been squatting in.

There's a surprised look on Kincaid's face at the mention of his phone, someone calling him, and the first name drop since Ray gave his. Valentin, though, could easily be a code name, considering the holiday, the saint. "Oh— yeah, I lost it pretty much the same time you guys hit me with a van while I was shooting the girl you didn't," he says carefully, not lying, but wondering exactly what number they'd tried.

He never gave his real name. His real phone was ditched, pretty much as soon as he had the chance— along with his damning registered Evolved card. Kincaid's luck held that no one happened to have dug around the snow drift he buried them in.

"Do you know what the message was?"

There's a laugh at that, some kind of affection or the beginnings of it. "Don't worry so much, Echo," Ray says. "It was some throwaway bullshit just to see if the messages were going in. I don't know. Doesn't matter.

"You don't have to do anything with it, anyway." What's meant to be reassurance might wind up playing the part anyway. He aims a playful punch at the other man's shoulder, has no way of knowing the jarring wave of sensation that rocks down into Kincaid's hand from the point of impact. "I forgot — I was going to tell you this before. But I got the fucking television to work. The little portable one.

"Don't hang out here too long, or you'll miss the assholes on CNN bitching about the conservative government agenda before it's time for shut-eye. Early morning tomorrow." He squares his shoulders and gives Kincaid a grin that has warmth to it, at odds with the cold electric energy that tends to permeate Ray's eyes and gait.

The jarring wave also comes with a wave of nausea. The downside of nerve damage is the varying effects caused by it— Kincaid mostly remembers the pain, which is what he tries to keep control of using his ability, but there's other sensations that occur. Uncontrollable twitching is one of them, which is why he switched to hold the gun in his left hand.

The punch, and the pain that followed, caused a less common one— blurred vision and sudden sense of vertigo. Luckily be shakes it off, but not before the metallic taste of blood fills his taste buds again.

"We'll have to get me a new one, so I can stay in the loop, but until then— I think I'll enjoy a cigarette and watch a little news to make sure the world is still there before hitting the sack."

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