Four Knights Game


broome_icon.gif gates2_icon.gif

Scene Title Four Knights Game
Synopsis Following an initial encounter, Simon Broome plays a game of chess with an unusual man.
Date October 7, 2006

The brisk air of late autumn winds through Central Park. Leaves the color of fire and gold rustle on chilly branches. Eddies and currents of prickling wind stir up leaves on the ground and blow them across brick walkways. Joggers in light jackets rush by, some alone and others running with their dogs. It is a busy day in Central Park, and one that feels so much more ordinary than it truly is. Up the walkway to the chess house, a pair of men stroll side by side, having what at a glance appears to be a casual conversation. Though it's proving to be anything but.

Central Park

New York City
October 7th


"So, you're like me?" The man who introduced himself as Duncan Idaho without breaking a sweat says to the elderly gentleman in a wheelchair at his side. "You know, telepathic?"

Simon Broome is not quick to laugh, but in this instance he finds it irrepressible. "It's a bit more complicated than that for the both of us, I'd wager." He admits with a sly smile. Idaho grimaces and scrubs one hand at the back of his neck, all but admitting such. "It's not rare that two of us are in the same place, but you'd never know it from how quiet the rest of the world is. How normal everything seems from a distance." Simon looks up at Idaho. "How long have you known what you are?"

Idaho is lost in thought, taking too long to answer Simon's question. "Uh, since—not long. I mean—it doesn't feel like a long time." He flashes a nervous smile, noticing that Simon is slowing down as he approaches the rows of chess tables. Politely, Idaho moves to one of the tables and slides a metal chair out of the way so Simon can wheel into position without issue. "How about you?"

Simon's eyes avert to his lap for a moment, then rise back to regard Idaho with a level of scrutiny as he sidles up to the table. "Nineteen Sixty-Two," he says with a hint of weight in his voice. "I must have been about your age, actually. My discovery was… wrapped in tragedy, as many of our kind's are. Someone very dear to me lost their life because of it." He admits quietly.

"I'm—I'm sorry." Idaho replies, taking a seat across from Broome at the table.

"It's alright. Tragedy follows our kind like shadows, I have no doubt you've experienced your fair share already." Broom opines as he retrieves a portable chess set from a storage pocket on the side of his chair. He sets it in his lap and begins retrieving the pieces for use on the table. "Which side would you like?" He asks, holding up a black knight and a white knight.

"Uh, white." Idaho says, fidgeting uncomfortably. "Do you—know many of us?"

"A few," he replies, opaquely, and begins setting the board. "You?" He asks with a quick glance up at Idaho.

"A few," Idaho mirrors, but he can't help but nervously smile afterward.

Simon moves on without further question. He understands the dance of truth and defensive obfuscation. "I'm sorry for your loss, for what it's worth." Broome notes, having finished setting up the white side of the table. "Were you close?" He asks, motioning with his head to the still-visible silhouette of the Deveaux Building.

"No." Idaho says quickly with a shake of his head. "Honestly we—we'd never met. I was hoping to… I don't know. It's complicated."

Broome nods slowly, setting up the black pieces of the board on his side. "That's a very clever ability you have, too. Clouding yourself from other people's minds. I could only just barely see you when you were trying. Someone with less practice than I? Never would have seen you coming."

Idaho smiles, a hint of pride there. "So you're, what, a Jedi master or something?" He jokes, then grimaces worrying Broome won't get the joke.

"Well, you won't find me in a swamp, but… something like that." Broome replies with a bigger smile, finishing setting up the board. "I've mentored some. Those who are interested. Those who seek to use their abilities with good intentions." He motions to Idaho to start.

"How do you, uh, determine that exactly?" Idaho asks, moving one of his knights into position in the middle of the board. "Intentions."

"The old-fashioned way," Simon replies, mirroring Idaho's move to bring a knight out. "A good conversation and an insightful game." Idaho laughs, gesturing to the board. "Do you live here in New York, Mr. Idaho? Or are you traveling?"

Idaho looks down at his side of the board for a moment, lost in a thought unpleasant enough to crease his brow. "Traveling," he says, moving his other knight out into position. Broome nods in thoughtful agreement.

"Likewise. I spend most of my time in Boston, but I travel here to New York for special occasions." Broome admits, finishing the mirrored move and putting his second knight out. He seems amused by the symmetry.

"What's in Boston?" Idaho asks, contemplating his next move. "You retired? Or—I mean you strike me as a professor with a lot of tenure."

"Retired, for now." Broome says, folding his hands over the blanket in his lap. "I'm a microbiologist by trade, once at the forefront of research into sequencing the human genome. I've since stepped out of academia, however."

Idaho moves a pawn up two spaces, but keeps his hand on the piece as he considers the board. It takes him a moment to finally remove his hand from it. "So what brings you out here, then?"

"My wife and I come out to New York for our anniversary every year. We decided to extend our stay." Broome says, once again mirroring Idaho's move with his own pawn. "There's an… event going on next month, I don't want to miss it."

That gives Idaho pause. He was about to move his piece, but hesitates. "What kind of event?" He barely works up the courage to ask, then returns his attention to his pieces and tries to mask his distraction as concentration.

"The world-changing kind." Broome says, watching Idaho slide a bishop out in front of one of the white knights.

"Sounds fun," Idaho says nervously. "When—" He nearly asks, then looks up at Broome and recalibrates his question. "Is it the one on November 8th?"

No one is playing chess anymore.

"It is." Simon admits in a quieter tone than before. "I take it you're familiar?"

"Yeah," Idaho says with a quaver to his voice. "Yeah."

"I see," Simon adds, looking down at the chessboard more carefully. "And do you plan on sticking around for it? Or…"

"No." Idaho says, swallowing down a lump in his throat. He's sweating now, nervous. He's way out of his depth and realizes it. "I—I should go. I'm sorry for wasting your time. This—you're very good at chess." He fumbles the words out, trying to extricate himself from his seat. Broome does nothing to stop him, but on the same token doesn't let the conversation end that easily.

"Mr. Idaho." Broome calls out after him. He stops, turning to look back at Broome. "Stay safe." Idaho lingers for a moment, unsure of how to respond, then flips the collar of his jacket over his neck and retreats from the chess house leaving Simon Broome alone at the table. Even after Mr. Idaho disappears into the park, Simon lingers at the chess board, studying Idaho's moves. It isn't until his originally-intended partner arrives that he looks up from the pieces. The sight of her disperses his stormy expression and brings a bright smile to his face.


"Tell me you weren't playing a game by yourself." Ruby says with a click of her tongue, coming to sit beside Broome in the chair Idaho had originally moved out of his way.

"No, I had a most intriguing guest." Broome replies, beginning to pack up the chess set.

"Well, that's a loaded word coming out of your mouth." She says with a sly smile, helping pick up some of the pieces. "Who was he?"

Broome picks up one of the knights, slowly turning it around in his hand. "If I'm not mistaken?" He looks from the knight to Ruby.

"A time-traveler."

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