Intersection of Dreams and Reality


adam_icon.gif brennan_icon.gif corbin2_icon.gif daphne_icon.gif rebecca_icon.gif

Scene Title Intersection of Dreams and Reality
Synopsis Diners at a streetside diner find themselves victims and witnesses to a strange phenomenon that causes a dangerous aftermath.
Date June 10, 2010


The sun, when it peaks out from behind clouds, glints off the plate glass windows and chrome exterior of the Empire Cafe, an iconic hallmark at the intersection of 10th and 22nd streets. The temperature has passed the 70 mark, and the city has returned to near normal. Approaching noon, it is a busy time in Chelsea — there is the hustle and bustle of pedestrians making their way to lunch or to shops or to work; the traffic never seems to cease, with cars or crowds of walkers taking their turns to cross the busy street. Gone are the overcoats and hats, scarves and mittens — instead, the people of Manhattan are dressed like they should be in June: lightweight suits, jeans and t-shirts, and some people can even be seen sporting tank tops or shorts. The clouds make for a touch of humidity, but after polar temperatures, the weather is balmy and pleasant.

Pleasant enough to eat outdoors, a luxury long forgotten over the course of the spring that never happened. Daphne Millbrook sits at an outdoor table beneath one of the umbrellas that will shade her from the temperamental sun when it chooses to pop out from behind one of the clouds. She flips through a laminated menu, glancing up from time to time, always aware of her surroundings.

Michelle has a craving. Has a craving for a specific sandwhich from a specific diner. Given that he's been a kidnapped AWOL husband for two months and she has been a most gracious wife, he's going to go to the moon and back for this sandwich. PLus he has a suspicion what this craving indicates. Pulling up, just as someone else is leaving, he's thanking his good luck that traffic has been on his side, lights all green and now parking!

He digs through a pocket for quarters to feed the meter, consulting the request for lunch that the people in the practice had. He should have brought a cooler. Twenty minutes on the meter, the physician is moving off towards the diner proper.

Who she's waiting for would be a man in a suit. Grays and browns, and rather than the colorful ties he used to wear, he's not wearing any at all. Corbin Ayers may be trying to settle into his old life again, but some things are difficult to get back— and it's not just his old job. His feet are quick as he approaches, getting closer to the small woman with white hair and slight bruising under her eyes from impact with a car door.

"Sorry, I— I guess I just have to accept that you'll always be more punctual than me." It's said as he pulls his chair out and sits down across from her, glancing at the menu. How long has it been since they'd had lunch outside? "Feels more like New York all of a sudden." And less like Siberia.

Stakeouts are rarely fun, rarely productive, but a necessary evil for private investigators. At least you can bill for the time. Rebecca Nakano is actually on her way to one herself when she comes across the Empire Cafe. Knowing she has some time before she actually needs to begin, she feels like she can stop for a bit. She has been seated and is eyeing the menu herself, but really nothing is jumping out at her.

Her mind is filled with possibilities, fear and even a little excitement. The offer from Elisabeth Harrison to join their little collective has sparked a renewed interest for Nakano as she is just barely treading above water as it is right now, financially speaking. This may be the opportunity she needs to finally dig herself out of this hole.

Words finally come into view and she makes her selection. She takes a deep breath. This business proposition could also fail. This is the mental tennis game she's been playing with herself for two days now. It doesn't look to be ending any time soon. She leans back in her chair and finally takes a moment to glance at her surroundings.

"Well, true, I mean, I just woke up ten minutes ago," Daphne tells Corbin when he drops into the seat next to her. "The sweet potato fries are supposed to be really good, but I hate sweet potatoes, so… you know, you'll have to tell me if that's true or not if you like those."

Her dark eyes dart to the sidewalk as she sees the long stride of Doctor Harve Brennan, her brows knitting together a bit. "Hey, Doc," she calls, offering a wave but not summoning him over, in case he doesn't want to speak to them — given how Corbin, Brennan, and she know each other, he might prefer to just give a polite nod and keep moving. She's been known to do the same when addressed in public. For her part, she looks much healthier than the last time the doctor saw her, but for some bruising beneath her eyes that his medical expertise might note upon closer inspection — from afar, she's the picture of health on a spring day in New York City.

Down the street, a siren wails and car horns blare at someone too slow to make a left turn. Tenth Avenue traffic moves north and south while the 22nd Street traffic comes to a stop. A group of school children, looking to be around 7 or 8 years old, are led on some field trip by haggard looking teachers counting heads and carrying heavy bags full of paper-bag lunches.

Hey Doc, draws his attention and Brennan stops a moment so he can do the gopher popping his head out of the hole scan. Not many possibilities really until his eyes land on Daphne. A smile lifts the corners of his mouth, another one for Corbin as well whom he only met in the wee hours of the night and doens't much remember the man. Both get a lift of his hand regardless and with no beckoning, his pause is just a pause and he makes his way towards the door of the diner proper.

"Yup, New York again," Corbin says quietly, grinning a little as he raises his hand to wave at the Doc. That's one person he did research about afterward, to make sure that he turned out okay enough after being left behind. Working at the Suresh Center and publishing novels makes him easy to find stuff on. "Always running into people when you least expect it."

A big city, and a small world, all at the same time. "It's funny you only just woke up, though," he adds, smiling as he looks over the menu, as if he's making an inside joke that only he knows about. "I fell asleep on the cab over." Thank god for the return of public transportation.

Decked out in an apron and wearing a Phillies baseball cap, Adam is behind the counter in the diner, cooking up some eggs or something. He doesn't appear to be enjoying himself. That isn't to say that he looks miserable, but he looks like someone who's tried his hand at something and it's just not giving him the response that he wants, which is what has occurred. He says to himself, "I knew I'd make a horrible cook." which isn't to say he's horrible at it. No one's going to come back just for his burgers, but no one's going to stay away either. "Perhaps I should try to be a chef."

Seeming to be rather nervous about life in general at the moment, as she keeps pulling out her Blackberry and checking for message. She isn't even sure what she's looking for, though she does get an occasional email which promptly gets ignored as she tucks the phone back into her pocket. Rebecca drinks from her soda and taps her foot on the ground. Why do these types of life changing decisons have to be so hard to make.

The information that Elisabeth gave to her a couple of days ago, continues to ring through her head. The heaviness and possibilities of it all. Does she really want to know everything? The answer is simply yes, but again the things she'll probably be told makes it a completely different animal altogether. She told Liz she'd have an answer by the end of the week and the end of the week is creeping closer, moment by moment.

"And New Yorker attitudes," Daphne says to Corbin, smirking a little given Doc's friendly but not overly-friendly return greeting to them. She does understand, and God knows she can be accused of being down right rude in some of her encounters — just ask the man sitting across from her.

Behind her, the light turns yellow, and the school children ready to cross the street along with other pedestrians, business people, shoppers, tourists alike, while the north-south traffic begins to ease to a stop and the drivers in the east and westbound traffic begin to ease their feet off their brakes —

And for about half of the population at this particular juncture at this particular time, the present hustle and bustle — the familiar noises of the clatter of knives and forks; the smell of bacon and eggs or sweet potato fries or carbon monoxide; the view of the yellow cabs and the buses and the loved one sitting across from them or the bouncing rear-end of the girl walking in front of them — fades away, and they are plunged into another time and another place.

The other half of the population sees:

the sudden collapse of half of the people nearby. Pedestrians suddenly crumple to the cement, their friends crying out in surprise as they plunge to the sidewalk. Diners nod off in the middle of a bite of French dip sandwiches, some falling from their chairs or slumping forward into their salads. The awake children are screaming as their friends fall, mid-crosswalk, looking to the oncoming traffic and seeing that not everyone has stopped for the red light.

Suddenly there is the crunch of steel, as car after car plows into another — luckily, at slow speeds, though the drivers behind the moving vehicles plowing into the stopped cars look to be asleep at the wheel.

One car swerves suddenly to avoid a child, and barrels toward the diner, where Rebecca Nakano, Corbin Ayers, Daphne Millbrook and half a dozen other outdoor diners have collapsed.

Brennan drops, hand on the door one moment, crumpling like the others as something takes over his senses and meets the cement with his body, seeing something that others can't see, blocking the door to the diner from opening.

From an outsider point of view, Corbin's sound asleep. It would look funny, if many hadn't done the exact same thing. Leaned over the table, his eyes move rapidly behind his lids as if dreaming, his preception and body lost in the unknown. And completely unaware of the car heading towards them.

Adam appears as if he was in the process of quitting, or rather, just walking away from the grill without talking to anyone. It's at that point, he notices all the people asleep or whatever the case may be. He hmms to himself, carelessly tossing the apron onto the counter as he looks around and jumps over the counter. "Well, I guess it's not poison." he says to himself, then he sees the car moving towards the sleeping people. He seems to ask himself whether or not he'll intervene in a logical, rational manner, "On the one hand, it's a lot of effort. On the other hand, they'd owe me." his lips purse a moment as other people begin to panic. He glances at the door, which appears to both be crowded with people and locked somehow. Then towards the car. In his mind, his deliberation takes place over a considered period. Really, it takes very little time and he picks up a stool, metal end out and rushes at one of the windows of the diner. The ensuing spray of glass probably cuts some people, cuts him too, but we all know what happens there. Once outside he runs straight ahead to the car, moving to the side to grab the steering wheel and jerk it away from pedestrians. "This better be on camera somewhere." he says to no one in particular.

If there is one advantage for Rebecca in this situation is that her keen eye for detail gives her about half a second to figure out something is wrong before there is suddently nothing. Nothing except what occurs in her mind, left only for her to see. She slumps down as her legs give way and she's sprawled out on the floor, her Blackberry skittering across the plaza, coming to a stop, spinning a few circles before it also seems come to a stand still.

By the time Adam manages to wrest the door open and yank the steering wheel out of the hands of the sleeping driver, a cab comes through the intersection, smashing into the car that Adam is half-hanging out of, throwing the centuries-old fry cook into the white resin dining tables of the Empire — he lands on his back, Rebecca's food and table upside down on him, his body cracked and bruised and already regenerating — luckily for him, the few people closest to him are all snoozing and not there to notice that he is regenerating before their eyes. They also didn't notice he just saved their lives.

No good deed goes unpunished, as it were. Luckily for Adam Monroe, the punishment of broken ribs and collarbone is one of ephemeral pain.

Less lucky are those with no power to heal themselves. The car upended more than a few of the tables and umbrellas, before plowing down a couple of newspaper stands and finally hitting a street light that puts a stop to the forward action of both cars.

The pedestrians scrambled to get out of the way, dragging the sleeping bodies of those who fell so mysteriously — suddenly the cheery hubbub of just moments before is instead a chaotic din of screaming and crying. Some people are beginning to wake up, while others still lay unmoving amidst the chaos. The intersection is a tangled mess of chrome and steel, with more than a dozen cars jammed together in a way that will take hours — once everyone's awake — to clear.

A flutter of her eyelids occurs when Rebecca starts to come to herself again. The scene that comes through her brain replays for a moment before she realizes that she's lying on the ground. The business of the intersection is not the same as she remembers and she's not entirely sure how or why. She slowly begins to sit up and it's then that she sees the wreckage that was left in the wake of whatever has just occurred. She finally sees Adam lying there and she crawls over to him, asking "Are you okay? Do you need me to call 9-1-1?" completely unaware that he's the last of those here that will need medical assistance. All the while, her mind is racing with "What happened here?"

The chair he was in tumbles, and Corbin ends up on the ground, some scrapes on his cheek and arm, but otherwise no where near as bad as it would have been if the car had tumbled in. He finally starts to rouse, blinking in confusion, ears ringing a little and the sudden shift of volume, and head hurting from the scrape. Blue eyes dart around, as if searching for something, and then—

Falling asleep suddenly may actually become kind of normal to him, but waking up on the floor in an outdoor cafe with sounds of chaos and honking horns… His eyes start to look for the woman who was supposed to be sitting across from him, before he got thrown into some strange dream. "Daphne?"

Adam looks up at Rebecca as she crawls over to him. His eyes adjust for a moment and he says to her, "I saved your life." there's a pause as he sits up and looks around, beginning to stand, he tells another woman, "And your life." he walks over to Corbin and Daphne, "And yeah, I saved your lives too."
         "What the hell do you think you're doing!" an irate driver gets out of his car, walking to the back to inspect damage, then looking to see the driver of the SUV behind him with his head down on the wheel. Looking around, the man notices that half of the drivers seem to be waking up or still asleep. "What the hell… this is some sort of … Evo shit!" he yells, as people begin to clamor out of their vehicles, half of them on cell phones as they stare at the wreckage in front of them.
         The two drivers of the two cars crashed in front of the diner begin to rouse themselves — one, a young woman in her twenties, has a tear-streaked face and bloody forehead. "Oh, my God, my baby… my baby! Someone save my baby!" she screams, the open door of her car allowing everyone to hear the distraught cries — though there is no baby to be seen in the car.
     The cab driver lifts his head from the steering wheel he had been resting on, the blare of a horn suddenly cutting off when his weight is lifted. "Oh, my God, the fires… call 9-1-1, my house is on fire!"
         Daphne is slower to wake than the others — perhaps thanks to the head injuries she is recovering from, having slipped from her chair and onto the ground, she sits up — she's scratched from some debris, a plastic chair leg on her chest that she shoves off. "Ew," she tells Adam, as she watches a bloody wound on his arm suddenly mend itself. That's all she has to say about him saving her life, apparently. "Corbin?" she says, turning to look for her lunch date.

Brennan wakes to his head being thunked repeatedly and then physically moved by someone trying to get out of the diner door and not taking the window path like Adam did. Another strong push and he's off the one step and they're free and he's waking up from the same experience that others were. No screams for children here, or that someone's house is on fire. Puzzlement yes, stunned and getting to his feet, hand to where the door connected with the back of his head. His mind races with what jsut happened. SUdden onset narcolepsy? Seizure? Tumor? Not a tumor. Something else.

"I'm okay," Corbin says, though he sounds just as confused as everyone else. So much confusion, mass hysteria. It reminds him of all the spin articles he had to write back in the day— gas leak, mass hallucinations. So many excuses to cover up Evolved abilities that now everyone knows to point and blame at Evolved. Was it a dream? Was it…

The man who claims to have saved them gets looked at, bloody and body adjusted— healing. And his face comes with mental bulliteens, and pictures from an agent he helped bring back.

Oh yes, Adam Monroe, he recognizes you…

But right now he wouldn't go to the Company if he took him in. He'd go somewhere else.

"You should probably make yourself scarce, in a bit, then. I'll pretend you weren't here," he says, simply, as he pushes himself up. "Everyone remain calm. You're a doctor, can you help any injured?" he looks over to the diner, to the man he waved at earlier. Putting someone else in charge is easier than pulling out his HomeSec badge and taking charge himself.
Adam shakes his head and rolls his eyes, "That's what's wrong with humanity. Never lower yourself to thanking people who've helped you." he shakes his head and starts to walk into the crowd, "The whole lot of you should be wiped off the face of the earth by a great flood." he mutters to himself. He tsks to himself, "Just rude." as he leaves.

         "Th-Thanks," Daphne says wit a confused look to Corbin when he tells Adam to make himself scarce. She brings a hand to the back of her head, wincing a little — she's now bruised on the bruise that was still healing there from a few days ago. "People are hurt," she says suddenly, standing as she looks from left to right, trying to decide where to go first. "Did I pass out?" But a quick look around suggests many of them passed out. "Did that guy do something to us? He says he saved us, but — but did he do …" she gestures at the intersection with a confused shake of her head, "… this?"
         Meanwhile, in the distance, there are sirens upon sirens upon sirens, wailing in every direction — some of them getting farther and others closer. Cell phones can be heard chiming and buzzing in everyone's bags and pockets, loved ones calling, probably jamming the lines momentarily. The woman crying about her baby has crumpled to the ground, sobbing, and the cabbie keeps pushing re-dial on his cell phone, trying to call 9-1-1 but getting a busy signal.

"I'm a docotr" verbally confirming it for corbin, quickly patting himself down and only a knot growing on the back of his head, the physician is abandoning the idea of a sandwich and lunch orders so that he can start in on the many people who have ended up hurt thanks to whatever has happened. The badly injured that anyone could see, is loping off and muttering about people being unappreciative, with injuries disappearing as he goes. Regenerator or a healer, one of the two, Brennan refrains from negating him and instead, heads out into the crowd so that he can start seeing who needs help.

The amount of sirens worries Corbin, as he looks concerned, eyes scanning the horizon as he pulls out one of his special phones. The Company issue phones don't use the same networks as other phones, so he hopes to get through on that. "This may not have been a contained incident— I think I fell asleep too. Maybe even dreamed, I saw… something— I think it was just a dream." He says it as if there's no way it couldn't have been a dream. "I don't think it was him, but— this was probably Evolved activity."

Even the Company phone gets a busy signal. If other agents are calling in… He puts it away and moves over to touch her head. "I didn't think you'd need the helmet for lunch," he teases, before looking back at the panic.

Watching Adam leave after claiming to save hers, and everyone else's life, leaves Rebecca a little baffled. She finally pushes herself to her feet and looks around, finally seeing her phone. She walks over and lifts it from the ground. She happens to overhear talks of dreams and she approaches in a concerned matter. "Did you say you had a dream? I.. I had something as well." There's a chill running through her as she recalls vividly the images that flashed through her head."

She's looking from Corbin to Daphne and she's already punching in 9-1-1 to see if she can get some help here. The carnage that laid waste here by something, leave some screaming, crying and even some yelling. "What can I do to help?" She feels a tad disoriented still, but she's coherent enough to know that she could probably be put to some use.

"Dreams?" Daphne says, dark eyes wide as she spins from Corbin to Rebecca and back to Corbin — dreams are not innocent illusions or fantasies, not in her experience, not given what she's been through this year, what Corbin's gone through. "But mine was … mine was nice and so … so real. It was just me talking to a friend, and then I woke up and this was all…" a living Nightmare.

She moves to the young girl crying on the curb. "Did you have a … you said you have a baby, was she in the car with you?" she asks the woman, peering in the backseat and seeing nothing but an empty car seat.

"N-no, she's at home, she's at home, but I s-s-saw her — I saw her headstone when I … I blacked out and that's wh-what I s-saw," the distraught brunette bawls, blood and tears streaking her red face.

"I saw my house on fire — but my wife just called and she's fine," the cabbie calls over.

Daphne turns to Corbin, her eyes full of fear. "What did you see?" she asks, then turns to look at Rebecca and the other waking diners, none too injured, thankfully — they do owe some thanks to Adam, even if they were too disoriented to know it — though those closest to the window he smashed will have a few cuts and scratches thanks to him.

"I— I was listening to the radio. The President was giving a speech," Corbin says, though there's something evasive about the way he says it, as if there's far more to that than he's letting through. "It wasn't a nightmare, though. It was just— strange," he explains. "But someone was there that couldn't possibly be there, so I think it had to be some kind of dream." Houses on fire, children's grave's… Some sound like nightmares, others, less so. "I think the most we can do is try to remain calm, wait for the police to get here, and see if we can help anyone who might be injured."

As he says this, he looks around, eyes narrowed, the scrapes on him have already stopped bleeding, more or less. Not deep. He won't be among those who need a hospital. "We don't know how wide spread it is, yet. It might be a good idea to go home, if you can."

"I'm sure it was nothing. Just a dream." God. Please let it be just a dream. That voice. She was certain she knew who it was, but now she doesn't know. She's not going to say it out loud. What that dream was. She can't. Rebecca looks down to the ground, then to her phone. It seems to be working. But no one is answering the 9-1-1 call. The number rings and finally there's a pick up, "Um. 9-1-1. What is your emergency?" Rebecca turns her back on the others to place the call, give an address and not much else. What else could she possibly tell them? "Just.. send lots of help, please." She hangs up the phone despite protests from the receiver of the call. Rebecca looks completely pale as she turns around to the other two.

Daphne's a queen of evasion and she knows it when she hears it in others' words — or lack thereof. She gives a suspicious glance to Corbin which is followed with one to Rebecca — she doesn't know the woman, but she knows she is trying to convince herself that whatever she saw couldn't be real.

Overhead comes the thrum and whirr of helicopter blades, and a glance upward reveals not one, not two, but several helicopters overhead — police, FBI, DHS, news agencies, all hovering like vultures over the streets of New York to find out what just caused the chaos. "Be right back," Daphne whispers, and suddenly becomes a blur, ruffling the fabrics of Corbin and Rebecca as she darts around the corner and out of sight. A few moments later, she comes back around from the opposite direction, having rounded a block or two. "It's a clusterfuck all over the place. This was pretty widespread…" she says when she coalesces into a solid shape just long enough to kiss Corbin's cheek. "I'm gonna get outta here," she adds, taking his advice.

Perhaps it's to make him feel better in the face of all the havoc, but she pulls out the blue helmet from her courier bag and plops it on her head before once more zooming away.

"«Please remain calm»," a voice booms from the helicopter. "«New York City is in a state of emergency. Please try to remain calm. Those needing medical assistance, paramedics will be on their way. Those who can, please get in your vehicles and remove them from the area. I repeat, remain calm. This matter is under investigation. Evacuate the area and go to your homes if you are able.»"

"Daphne wait— " Corbin starts, reaching a hand out toward her. He might be touched that she stopped to put her helmet on, but she did just run off and leave him with helicopters looking down, without even letting him finish and say that he'd be home as soon as possible.

If the Company lets him go home at all.

The phone in his pocket rings, and he reaches up to answer it. "Ayers— yeah, I'm in Chelsea…"

This is going to be a long … lifetime.

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