conrad_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Echolocation
Synopsis Lessons begin.
Date November 28, 2008

Subways under Midtown

As she makes her way into the darkened subway tunnel, Liz's tension ratchets up. It's not exactly anything approachign a nice part of town, after all. And being as she's clipped in the wing, she's at a distinct disadvantage down here. Walking toward Conrad's meeting place, she keeps her hand on the pistol in her jacket pocket. The left arm of her jacket hangs loose, her slinged arm hidden beneath. She stops in the tunnel, and she looks around warily. "Wozniak?"

Her steps were audible from a long ways away, but Conrad couldn't be positive it was Liz until she spoke. "Hey, good of you to make it." he says, stepping out from around the corner he's been hiding behind. He closes his cell phone and pockets it, having been playing sudoku on it to pass the time. "Got any tails that you know of?" The way he asks makes it sound as if he's not too concerned about the possibility, but is asking nonetheless.

Elisabeth shakes her head negatively, strangely enough feeling a good bit safer once he steps out into the light — such as it is. "Nope. No one's interested in following me around." She smiles a bit. "You take me to all the nicest places, you know. A girl could get her head all swelled by this kind of treatment." She needs to tease, if only to keep her sanity down here. Her voice has a husky edge to it, the bruising of her throat causing the rasp.

"You look like you got your ass kicked." retorts Conrad, ignoring her snark. He steps toward her, hands in pockets and brow furrowed. "'the fuck you been doing?"

"Teaching high school," Elisabeth quips in return. "Only some stupid-ass terrorist motherfuckers decided to come in with rocket launchers and shit. You?"

"Aw hell. You were there for that weren't you?" Apparently that explanation is enough for Conrad. "Well…I'd tell you what I've been up to but for all kinds of reasons I can't. But at least I didn't get my ass kicked." He grins about that and takes his hands out of his pockets, spreading them. "Ready to see if we can't make you a little more dangerous?"

There's an enraged glint in her blue eyes, though it's perhaps mostly lost in the dark. The tone is not lost on him, though, she's quite sure. "You better fucking believe it."

Clapping his hands together once briskly, the resulting 'pop' resounds in the tunnel. Obviously the acoustics down here are more closed-in and potentially powerful than they would be out in the open air. "All right then," Con begins, "tell me what you can do already. And show me." As he says this he strides to a corner and grabs an abandoned barrel obviously used by some homeless as a burn-barrel in the past. Come to notice it, this tunnel is lit by such barrels here and there, in flickering shadow. This just happens to be one that's unlit. Naturally the light fixtures have suffered urban decay and disuse.

"What do you want to see?" Elisabeth asks mildly, using the ability to literally shove the airwaves out to topple the barrel. It's nothing fancy, but it at least lets him see how it works for her. "I've accidently knocked down portions of already-damaged buildings after 9/11, tossed a guy a few feet that way, and blew out some windows."

Standing there as if he had other plans for the barrel, Con shrugs and looks down the tunnel after it. "Well…that's one. What else you got? C'mon. I know you had to do like me. When I, hnnnf," lifts the barrel upright, "realized I could do this shit, I experimented all the time. I just wanna know your range."

Liz smiles faintly. "Actually, I didn't experiment with that one much. I think it's got a range of about 100 feet or so…. that's about how far ahead of me the perp was when it happened. And that time I yelled at him. It was the first time I'd felt the ability manifest, and it just sort of shoved out. I felt it push, and then everything was shattering."

"Are you always this literal? Range! Range! Like, not how far away you can make shit happen, like how many things you can do." In spite of Conrad's tone, he's not really seeming impatient, just kind of…well…it's more like he's taking on the role of a coach here knocking a dumb kid on the head to get them to think. Probably not a side of him that Liz has ever remotely seen. "Before you actually start throwing soundwaves around in here, tell me what you can do. Okay?"

Elisabeth ohs and rolls her eyes. "Aside from that, it's a ….. well, it seems to me to be more like hypnosis. Like… I haven't been able to tell anyone to do anything that's against their basic makeup. So no making people commit suicide. But I can usually talk down a jumper, or convince someone holding a bunch of people hostage to let them go without hurting anyway. It doesn't seem to work as well on pure sociopaths, nor over telephone lines. I seem to need to be in proximity. A bullhorn works too. I can do one target specifically, or I can use it for riot control — keeping a hallway full of terrified kids calm, for example, and exhorting them to run like hell while remaining calm as they get crushed." She grimaces. She didn't quite mean to say it that way. It's just… raw.

Doesn't seem like Conrad minds that, he just grins a little and nods his head, crossing his arms. "Right. Okay, so that's all you got so far? Sonic concussions and uh…I dunno what to call that other one. That's a new one on me." And maybe something he can learn from her in this process, though that's secondary.

There's a nod, and Liz replies, "Yep, that's pretty much it. I practiced the latter part pretty extensively, the concussion waves not so much — hard to do in public places, right?" She smiles faintly, glancing around the tunnel. "How did you learn to focus your powers on enhancing your hearing? I mean… mine's pretty good, but I don't enhance it." She doesn't *think* anyway. But now that she's thought about it, maybe she does. Just a lot less than Conrad does. "Did your powers take your hearing?"

"Yeah, I blew my own ears out before I learned how to y'know…protect myself from that shit. But in some ways it's a good thing. Oh. Reminds me…" Con fishes a pair of earplugs out of his pocket and walks toward Liz to hold them out to her. "Might wanna put these in. Nice thing about me being already deaf is no kind of sounds hurt my ears anymore. So if you set off a boom right next to me it might throw me back but I'll still hear just fine when it's over with. You'd have a lot of ringing." He sniffs and thinks, then asks, "You only able to use it with your voice?"

Reaching out to take the earplugs, Elisabeth nods slightly. "So far as I know. I've never tried with anything else." For what she was doing, that would make sense. She slips one earplug into her ear on the right; it takes a little longer on the left, as it's an awkward angle. "You've got an awful large repertoire."

"How do you know? I haven't even shown you yet." Conrad steps back and waits for the earplugs to expand and do some good before he cracks his knuckles and turns around toward the barrel. He takes a wide-footed stance and begins unleashing on the object. To the world outside this tunnel it probably sounds like a series of explosions, a veritable box full of bombs going off.

The barrel itself is buffetted first on one and then the other side by sonic booms, all in the span of an eyeblink. B-Boom! And it flies and flips and bounces around the tunnel. Con stomps a foot on the floor and a tremor shakes the tunnel briefly, expressing itself as a crack in the floor that splits the tiles, concrete, and rebar in a line aimed right at the barrel. And then a final sonic boom focused inside the barrel blows it into ribbons, sending bits of trash and metal flying wildly.

Letting the echoes of that onslaught fade into the distance and the debris and dust clear a little after it's begun raining from the tunnel walls, Con coughs and turns to face Liz, smiling. "How'd you like to do that?"

"I'm assuming it from the questions you're asking me," Liz replies candidly. And then he cuts loose and shows her what he can do, and she's left staring in intense concentration, trying to feel what it is that he did. "Where did your initial noise come from? Did you start it from nothingness?"

"Yeah pretty much. You don't really need an initial noise, but it can help." explains Con, pointing at the crack in the floor. "See that? That's the one thing I used a created noise for. I stomped on the floor and just juiced up the contact from that as…I dunno, I guess a seed of the sound. Like when I make a sound and amplify it, it gives me a focus. So I can use my voice, clap my hands, hit something. It all makes sounds I can use. But I can also just make a sound out of nothing. Somehow it's always rougher to control those sounds. I use em for sonic booms and concussion waves, but those don't take a lotta control. Takes more control to crack the tunnel floor in just the way I want without shaking the whole place down on our heads. Y'know?"

Her expression is intent as she tries to assimilate the explanation. "All right…. so… " She bites her lip, working through what she felt when he did it and how he says it works. "I don't know how to focus the ability on outside sounds." She turns to face the hallway and tries something simple. A snap of fingers. A small sound. And she attempts to use the same principles of shoving the sound waves away from her that she'd use on her voice. The way she visualizes is different. And it takes several snaps of her fingers to even make a small bit of progress, but she does try. The sound waves propagate, but not as fast or as far as Con's would. Still… it's a start.

Con watches the attempts with snapping fingers intently, nodding along. "That's the right general idea. It takes some getting used to. Helps if you think of your voicework differently. Stop thinking of it being the only way you make sound and just concentrate on how it happens. It's just some normal sound coming out of your throat, right?" He points at Liz' throat, frowning at something and shaking his head as if dismissing a thought. "But using this shit is all in your head. It's a whole lot more about what you can visualize and hear happening than it is about what's coming out of your body."

Elisabeth chuckles softly, the sound only a little more harsh than normal. "So if I can visualize the waves as waves coming from ANY source, I should be able to force them to propagate just like I would if they were coming from me. I don't have to be the epicenter." And that clicks in her head, giving her the ability to snap her fingers once more and propagate the waves harder, faster. They shove just a little at him, the force behind them palpable but not enough to do more than be felt.

"Takes some practice. I mean the more you do it, the more you believe it. Believing is everything." Con explains, grinning as she picks it up a little. "See you're getting it. Maybe this'll help you not get your ass kicked so bad next time. We can work on the passive shit like the superhearing and imitating voices thing later."

Elisabeth slants him a look and says, "I did *not* get my ass kicked, Conrad. A building fell on me. There *is* a difference." She sounds a little testy. "Not like I could stop it from happening."

"Whatever." It's clear he doesn't believe her, but isn't gonna press the issue. Conrad figures it's one of those pride things again, the way Liz will deny she's gotta pee so badly she'll do the pee pee dance for an hour. "So, ready to do some more? We get the concepts down and you can start messing with amping up the power and whatever. And after this I can take you out to dinner for doing such a good job." Big grin.

Elisabeth scowls. "You know…. you're about to seriously piss me off with that 'whatever' kind of shit. If you have something to say, say it. Otherwise, drop it." She turns and looks toward the barrel, stomping her foot and using the anger to fuel the shove, just as if she'd shouted — making the amplitude of the concussion waves higher, forcing them closer together to travel faster. Which lends itself to tumbling the barrel arse over teakettle down the tunnel.

"Yeah well, you definitely got a temper. I can buy the scratches and the broken arm, but lookin' at your neck I'd say a building didn't fall down and try to choke your ass out, or leave a fistmark on your face. You ask me it looks more like you just play rough in the sack." Con's no expert on forensic analysis, but he isn't a fool either. Or at least not a complete one. "I'll drop it if you will. It's your business. I just invited you here to teach you to use this power better because I give a shit about what happens to you, okay? So if you wanna get seriously pissed off at me you go right ahead, sister. Because I've never been afraid of you." He finishes that off with a grin.

Elisabeth blinks and looks puzzled. A fist mark on her face? She reaches up to the massive bruise that purples her forehead all the way down the right side to nearly her ear. "This? I think I hit the doorjamb of the fire door that the last explosion knocked me through in the school's hallway. I think I blew through the door at some velocity," she says quietly. "As to being choked…. yeah, someone came at me today. It was a misunderstanding." She sighs. "I'm not mad at you. I'm just mad at the world right now. Those assholes hit KIDS." She shakes her head. "That's not acceptable in ANY context." There's a pause, and she says, "Let's practice a bit more, okay? I really want to get this right."

Okay, so maybe Con misread the injuries. Still. "That's better." he mutters, standing behind Liz and putting his hands on her shoulders, looking forward along with her. "Okay…see if you can clap your hands and how loud you can make it."

It's this kind of practice and instruction that goes on as long as Elisabeth wants. They've got a measure of privacy after all. And maybe he can get her to agree to let him take her out afterward!

November 28th: A Present For Hana

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 28th: Date Night
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