Is That Sudoku?


cat_icon.gif gillian2_icon.gif helena_icon.gif jay_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif

With NPCs provided by Harlem.

Scene Title Is That Sudoku?
Synopsis Two rooftops, one bus stop, a spy, and a skater.
Date September 19, 2009

Greenwich Village

In a time that seems long ago, Greenwich Village was known for its bohemian vibe and culture, the supposed origin of the Beat movement, filled with apartment buildings, corner stores, pathways and even trees. There was a mix of upper class and lower, commercialism meeting a rich culture, and practically speaking, it was largely residential.

Now, it's a pale imitation of what it used to be. There is a sense of territory and foreboding, as if the streets aren't entirely safe to walk. It isn't taken care of, trash from past times and present littering the streets, cars that had been caught in the explosion lie like broken shells on the streets nearest the ground zero. Similarly, the buildings that took the brunt of the explosion are left in varying degrees of disarray. Some are entirely unusable, some have missing walls and partial roofs, and all of the abandoned complexes have been looted, home to squatters and poorer refugees.

As one walks through the Village, the damage becomes less and less obvious. There are stores and bars in service, and apartment buildings legitimately owned and run by landlords. People walk the streets a little freer, but like many places in this scarred city… anything can happen. Some of the damage done to buildings aren't all caused by the explosion from the past - bullet holes and bomb debris can be seen in some surfaces, and there is the distinct impression that Greenwich Village runs itself… whether people like it that way or not.

Within Greenwich Village, at 14 East 4th Street, there stands a building known among the locals as the Verb. Their abbreviated name for the Village Renaissance Building which functions as an apartment complex with a bar called the Rock Cellar in the basement. The place does decent business, but the ownership is unclear. Some corporation or other runs the place. Cat's careful not to have it connected to her name.

Some time ago, however, a problem arose. When told of it she began to more carefully review the camera footage of the exterior and planted video cameras in the penthouse windows to surveil beyond the normal range. To capture all of 4th Street outside and in front.

Now the time has come to try finding out who the observer(s) watching her building are working for. Comm gear has been provided to the people helping her in this effort so they can stay in contact. One person is stationed atop the parking garage next to the Verb. Another is stationed on the roof of the Verb itself. Both of these are intended to keep watch over the area in general in case of trouble. They know it's possible their quarry could have backup ready to move if they see him approached; Helena and Cat have personally witnessed what happens when HF has one of their own in trouble. They have binoculars, long lens cameras, and video recording equipment too.

On the street are Cat and another person chosen to be with her when she makes the move. She's clad in nondescript attire, chosen to not draw attention, and obscured her identity with a Yankees cap pulled low and mirrorshades hiding her eyes. She's some distance away from the quarry, watching his location from the shadows.

"Are we ready, guys?" Cat asks through her comm gear. "Soon as this crowd of pedestrians moves in front of us I'll make the move, use them as cover against being seen by anyone else watching."

Leo's the one atop the parking garage. He's got a monocular himself, though eyesight really does serve well enough. "Ready," he reports curtly, through his little link.

Just across the street from the Verb is a bus stop; often used by both the residents of the building and by others in the area, there's the usual gang signs scratched on the plastic walls of it and the occasional bit of graffiti that's eventually replaced. A bus schedule map hangs upon one wall, and leaning up against it on the bench is a man with greying hair, a loose flannel shirt and suspenders worn, a newspaper unfolded in his lap that he's reading over. He wouldn't be noticeable at all except as someone passing through, except he's been seen over and over again the past few weeks, with a careful eye - and possibly a camera - directed at the building's doors, and taking notes on a notepad.

And he hasn't been the only one. It took some time to realize what was going on, but they did, eventually.

Helena is up on the roof. She's wearing dark clothing to keep her visibility minimum, and at Leonard's insistence, she's wearing a bulletproof vest under her sweatshirt. Tucked close to the lifted lip of the edge of the roof, she watches the goings on from her great and comfortable height. The good thing about Helena's ability is that she doesn't have to be up close to make it work. She speaks softly into her comm. "I'm good up here."

The one chosen to be down with Cat would be Gillian. There's a simple bag at her side, non descript attire, though she's wearing a pair of glasses (not sunglasses) and a baseball cap, matching the one Cat's wearing, in fact. They must both be Yankees fans. The bulletproof vest didn't protect her last time, but that doesn't mean she went without it. The brown sweatshirt has a bit of a bulge in places, thanks to it. Dark jeans. "You know I'm ready," she says, trying to avoid obvious glancing around.

Body armor is de rigeur for such a thing as this, Cat also has hers in place and concealed under clothing. She knows the stuff works, there are crystal clear memories of having been shot while wearing it. Blocked the bullet as expected, but felt like being struck hard with a sledghammer and left a nasty bruise. "Showtime." She speaks into the gear as the loose crowd passes where she and Gillian are standing. Feet move, she steps out and blends with them. Just another person heading for the bus stop where their quarry is.

It might've been advisable to have Leonard with her on the street, but in the end it was decided to have Gillian with her. One advantage that brings is both of them having hair long enough to cover their ears and decrease chances of it being seen they have comm gear. "Keep eyes on in case there looks to be hostile movement in the area, check for signs of anyone watching our target," she recommends. It isn't far now, that bus stop.

That's what Leo's wary of. That the man at the bus-stop is the goat tied out to lure the tigers from the shelter of the jungle. He's in dark fatigues, boots, plain t-shirt and jacket, flak vest underneath it. Not yet cold enough for his watchcap. And he's low enough that he can be on the street in a leap and a bound, if it comes to fighting. Or just reach down and grab their prey, if need be. "Right."

The thin crowd of people moves along the block easily towards the bus stop, just as other similar groupings move up and down the same block. Cars drive by in light traffic, stopping occasionally to shout at the car before them, someone waters his plants up on the fourth floor balcony of the tenement opposite the building, the man in the bus stop works on the Daily Sudoku. Just seems an ordinary day on this street.

Helena keeps to watching the street from her bird's eye vantage point, and not just that, but the buildings around her, too. You never know when there could be a sniper. Hel is quite conscious of the probability of tiny red dots making an impromptu appearance. "Everything looks good so far." she promises.

The hair certainly does give an extra shield. If she hadn't been planning to visit today, Gillian may not have been involved at all, but she agreed to it. There's a slouch to her shoulders and a wariness across her face, but each step has a kind of determination to it, as well. She sticks next to Cat, following toward the bus stop.

Stepping into the bus stop shelter, Cat doesn't say a word. Her demeanor takes on a semblance of being tired as if she'd been walking for a bit to get here. She settles onto the bench next to the watching man, but not so close as to invade what's commonly called personal space. Nonchalantly, she makes an attempt to see what's written on that notepad he's been using. Legs cross at the ankles, hands rest in her lap, and she leans her head back a bit.

Leo is settled at the edge of his roof, quite prepared to fling himself off as necessary. He's half-crouched, leaning, dark eyes squinted against the westering light.

As the woman steps into the bus stop shelter, the man there glances up— shifting as if to edge further over and make room for her, there's clearly some degree of recognition. Not in the way that he looks at her, but in the ever so subtle slide of the notebook under his arm, his attention dropping very studiously to the newspaper as he grunts, "Bus's late."

Helena is listening on the comm. The man's casual remark prompts little more than a soft snort from her, and she continues to scan the streets and buildings.

"I hate late buses," Gillian says in response to the admission of the bus being late, actually making an effort to have her voice not sound raspy. It doesn't quite work, but she sounds like someone with a cold as she sits down beside Cat and settles in, reaching into her pockets as if to make sure she has everything she needs to get on the bus when it arrives.

Unfortunate, Cat thinks, when Gillian sits next to her and not on the man's other side. But there may be value in that, it could help seem non-threatening in case hostiles are watching elsewhere. That it won't look as if the man had just been trapped. Such is her thought process, even as she makes mental note of how he tucked away the notepad.

"That stinks," Cat agrees softly, "but it also means we aren't late." She goes quiet for a moment, then asks "What's in the newspaper today? Good stuff, I hope." Her vocal tone suggests she usually finds the news depressing.

Leo's a little grouchy urban gargoyle, where he's crouched atop the garage. He's glowering past his monoular, brow furrowed and grumpy.

"The usual." It's curt, not rude, but not encouraging. The pencil in the watcher's hand appears to be for Sudoku. Clearly not for the notebook, oh, no. It couldn't have anything to do with that. After scribbling in another number, he brings his arm up, checking his watch.

"Usual tends to be pretty crappy— that or watered down," Gillian says, still trying not to sound like herself. It still sounds strange. A hint of energy starts to unravel from the knot in the back of her head. There's not much she can augment in the woman sitting beside her, that she knows off, but she can see if even a small thread of energy gets tempted to go anywhere in range.

"Yeah," Cat replies to the other woman's opinion. Up close now, she makes a mental assessment of this man who's been among the rotation of watchers. His apparent age, whether or not he seems to be someone with a military or police background, apparent state of physical fitness. "But the Yankees are in first place again. Headed for the Series," she believes with a small forming smile. Then she nods toward the Verb. "Know anyone living in there, Doc?"

At this point Cat's thought process is simple. See if she can work an angle to start getting info from him, size him up for whoever he might be working for just by proximity and observation, and wishing Kinson were here to invite him to 'tell us what you're up to here'.

The man that's been watching the building, however, seems less than cooperative with the building's owner. "Nope," he replies shortly, the sleeve slid back down the watch and the pencil drawn back over. The last Sudoku number's scribbled in, and he starts to fold the paper carefully into fours.

A car pauses as it's cut off, and the other man leans out a window to scream curses in the wake of a few-second blast of horn. The guy up on the balcony finishes watering his plant and leans on the rail, watching the city below. A street sweeper slowly moves along the sidewalk, broom in hand. Life goes on.

"Is that Sudoku? I never could do that," Gillian says, playing the sudden roll of a nosy bus-stop person. He's being uncooperative, and there's really not much that she can offer besides… "I stuck to crossword, mostly." There's a glance under her hat and through the non-prescription glasses to Cat. The kind that says 'Okay, now what?'

"Sudoku's interesting, sometimes," Cat allows, before becoming quiet and apparently thoughtful for some moments. Her hidden eyes watch the man calmly, she doesn't move in the slightest. "It's cool you don't know anyone in that building, Doc. Because a friend lives in there, and she told me she's been having some ex-boyfriend troubles. Guy won't let go, you know the type. Says he's been hanging around the place, like he's stalking her, and she's scared. Afraid if she steps out she'll get raped and killed, be thrown into a dumpster."

Ideally, nothing happens. It all goes peaceful. Yeah, right. Leo's still lurking, crouched on the roof. Reminds him of old stakeouts, gathering evidence. Enough to make him miss the force. Again.

"Yep, it is." The paper's tucked under the man's arm, and he starts to push himself up to his feet slowly, a dry little chuckle spilling from his lips as he suggests, "Should call the cops, then. Can be a dangerous neighborhood if you're not careful."

Helena continues to watch, scanning the rooftops and the street. Trying to look for patterns - and anything out of place. "Nothing." she tells the others over the comm. "Anything by you, Leo?"

"A lot of places are dangerous these days," Gillian continues the conversation as she looks toward the road, perhaps willing the bus to take longer. The knot in the back of her mind starts to retract again, pulling together and tying back up. She glances at her wrist, a force of habit, even if she no longer wears a watch. "We're you waiting for the bus, too?" she asks.

Her voice is kept quiet, calm. "Well," Cat states, "that's part of the problem. See, her ex is a cop, and his friends are cops. If she tries to go to them, they'll sit on it and he'll find out. It's a really bad scene. Now, Doc, you look like that guy, and you've been seen around here a lot lately. You and some others. Watching, taking notes. Now's the time when you sit and spill what you're up to. What's in that notebook you have under your arm?"

There's no Kinson around, so her only real option is just to lay it on the table after a fashion. He's watched by those hidden eyes, she being still where she sits and ready to put that Krav Maga training to use if he produces a weapon or makes any kind of hostile move.

It's a good thing it isn't Leo in charge of this. He'd be flinging the man around like a gorilla with a suitcase, oh, yes. And he still wants to grab him, take him somewhere quiet and convenient to ask those hard questions. He's just looming up there like a cutr-rate Batman, awaiting a signal.

"Sorry, miss," says 'Doc' with a shake of his head and the faintest ghost of a smile as he shrugs helplessly, "You've got the wrong guy. Bus's running late, so, I think I'll catch the subway. Ta." Newspaper and notepad tucked under his arm, the man steps out of the bus stop's shelter, turning towards the general flow of foot-traffic…

…and then there's a sudden tumble of chaos and impact as the rasping glide of someone's rollerblades crashes them right into the man that was just moving to make an escape, newspaper fluttering into the street, notepad in the gutter, and the cellphone he had half-concealed in one hand skittering off to land beneath the bus stop's bench as everything goes down in heap.

The rollerblader in question is probably familiar to a few of those here - Jay. "Shit, sorry, oh my fucking god are you okay?" The profanity is just flying for the moment as he flails around in wild confusion, trying to heave off the guy while simultaneously struggling NOT to break someone's shin with his rollerblades. …Of course, this guy probably deserves it. Today's unfortunate choice in shirt? Navy blue, reading "PLAIN CLOTHES COP". No shit, for real, he'd run out of laundry and this particular gag gift is one he actually had no choice but to wear. Doesn't help, probably, that the white buds of iPod headphones are blasting Dropkick Murpheys in his ear, followed fast by Slipknot. Jay's just winning today, isn't he?

Who said convenience isn't on their side? Smooth move, plain clothes copper. Gillian lets out a surprised sound, the hat tipping back a bit, before she focuses in on what just happened. Okay. In an attempt to help, she quickly gets up off the bench and takes a few steps to follow the man who spilled, to look at the boy on rollerblades for an instant, before she bends down to try and pick up the book. Could just be helping, but most people don't try to flip the book open as they pick it up. And she's a librarian. She knows how to do such things— checking the inside cover of books a hundred times a day. She had the gesture down to an art…

She resists the urge to chuckle as the quarry walks straight into that guy from the Cellar and gets flattened. She spots Gillian going for the book and the phone as it heads under the bench. Cat moves and swiftly snatches it up. A glance then goes to her operational companion, perhaps a signal to walk away with the goods and melt into crowds while the target is busy separating from Jay and collecting himself.

Good. Leo relaxes, fractionally, up on his perch. No need to swing down tothe rescue.

"What the— hell, get off—" One hand comes up in a rough shove against Jay, palm first to try and hurl the young man off of the observer even as his other hand grasps for the side of the bus, scrabbling on the pavement to get his feet under him, "What the hell are you people doing? Get offa me, you bunch've freaks!"

Helena peers suddenly leaning forward a little bit to study the altercation. "Oh, hey," she says into the comm, her tone indicating surprise. "I think I know that guy! Leo, do you remember? He was at the pub. He tried to hit on me, and then tried to crawl into Dee's lap when I wasn't having any. That is the weirdest luck…" She remembers what she's supposed to be doing, and sweeps the surrounding area for anyone who might be watching and hostile.

Flail, sprawl, shove… Jay's heavy. It's partially due to the 'blades, partially due to the backpack with his shoes, and mostly due to the fact that he's in damn good shape and made of muscle and bone. "Hang on, dude, gimme a sec, you're gonna knock me…" And then it impacts what the guy just called him. One hand has already caught the rising man's shoulder and he's trying to use the poor bastard for a ladder to get back upright; the other jerks back and lets fly a fist with a snarl of, "Who you callin' a freak, freak?" …Of course, that's not going to fly - taking a swing throws him entirely off balance again, sends him thudding back down to the sidewalk pretty much between the guy's legs. Getting up is going to be problematic if this guy keeps up the fight. Nevertheless, Jake's still trying - and thus making it rather difficult for the man to go anywhere, though that's purely coincidence.

A few careful movements as she straightens up, while the man is distracted, and she's trying to open up the book enough to finger through a few pages, looking for notes that might stand out. Of course as Gillian's standing, she sees the glance, and gets what it must mean. The journal closes without so much of a smack (another thing she perfected in the library when certain people got annoyed at noise) and tucking the journal away as she walks off, allowing the unwitting accomplice to keep the man occupied.

Freaks. He used the word freaks. Cat doesn't let herself react to that word, but it was heard. Maybe he just used it as a coincidental word choice, but maybe not. It presents a piece of evidence in her mind which says he may be with HF, and this makes her more certain of the decision to walk away while he and Jay are busy. The phone is handled carefully, she may be able to dust it for prints later and scan them, ask Wireless to check them out.

Legs carry her calmly to the next cross street, heading anywhere but the building being watched, as she opens the phone while touching the surface as little as possible, then starts to peruse the menu options. She's going to pull up and view every bit of data she can find in it. Address book, numbers he's called, numbers that called him, the phone's number, his name. Everything.

And she speaks quietly into the comm gear, not intending anyone outside that network to hear her. "Heading for the Bronx. Suggest regrouping there." Business operations at the Verb will continue, but it may be some time before she comes near the place again.

"Not…really," Leo says, frowning, as he peers down. "What was that? We know that guy as just ran into the other guy?" That wasn't planned, was it?

The other man's heavy, but the observer that this entire sting was planned for proves to be surprisingly good at extricating himself from situations like that. The awkward swing is blocked in a short, instinctive movement, and as Jay slides back down to the ground the man hauls himself finally to his feet, backpedalling a few steps rather than be entangled with the other man still further! 'Doc' is breathing hard, looking around him at the people nearby with a frantic sort of uncertainty, as if just waiting to be tackled from another direction. "Son of a bitch," he mutters, glancing down to the pavement urgently. Notebook, phone— "Oh, son of a bitch…"

There are no phone numbers in the address book… not one. No numbers called, no calls recieved. A quick scroll through the other options, however, swiftly finds the rather full memory stick of photographs taken by the phone. She'll need some time to puruse those, but the building's definately recognizable in many of them.

The notebook, on the other hand, is time-date noted descriptions and actions, apparently of people going in and out. They're quite detailed. Whoever wrote them's trained for this sort of thing.

"I think you're luckier than me, Cat," Gillian says in a whispered tone, before she sticks close for the trip over to the Bronx. She doesn't do obvious glances at the book anymore, focusing on what's in front of her, and using that to make sure the musician doesn't fall into a construction site cause she's looking through a phone. "Whoever that guy was, he had excellent timing."

"I don't think it's on purpose, he's clearly been around this neighborhood before." Helena comments into her comm. "Cat, I could slap on the wig and see if I can pick him up, if you think it would be helpful for me to try and take him somewhere. He's related to some media mogul…it'll come to me."

"No shit," Jay says to the guy who had the gall to get in his way. He rubs at his head. Should've worn a helmet. "Dude, next time you wanna call somebody a freak point that shit somewhere else, all right? Christ on a pogo stick." Resentful green eyes flash at the guy, then flick around and back. "Don't you even start at me, either. Your own damn fault for knockin' me down." Finally, finally he's heaving to his feet, wobbling the whole time. "Figures I'd stick the landing. Argh."

"Marcus Vega," Cat replies as she rounds the corner and heads for the car parked where she left it out of sight from the building yet within quick reach for departure if needed. "He also said he's a journalism student at Columbia. Lives on campus in a room with his brother. Could be an interesting contact to pursue." She continues her examination of the phone. "No record of calls in or out, it's kept clean. No contacts list either." She finds the number to the phone itself, then pulls up the text messaging feature while asking "Did you get a clear shot of Mr. Observer's face with the long lens? They've been difficult to get full face shots of." Her next move is preparing a text message.


This is Cat. Phone used for this came from spy outside Verb. No list of in and outgoing calls. Request info on phone's owner and all records for this phone, if possible. Send to my email. Thanks.

She presses send, then pulls out the sim card to toss it away. Damn things have GPS locators, and she doesn't need that for prints.

"You and your stupid skates just get the hell out've my face, you clumsy piece of shit, or I'll feed them to you," replies the greying-haired man, all broad shoulders and muscle sturdy despite age's wear, lips curling in a sneer as he glances over the pavement one last time. A slam of his fist into the reinforced plastic, and he turns to stalk off, muttering something darkly under his breath.

On the fourth floor, the man watering his plants heads back inside.

What convenient timing. "Could be nothing, but a guy on the fourth floor of the tenement across the street has been watering his plants for an awfully long time and just went inside." Helena notes. "Not sure if there's a way we can check that out without calling even more attention to ourselves. Should I rush and see if I can follow Vega, or would you kick my ass, Leo?"

"Can't really look at a book while walking without drawing attention," Gillian says. Looking at a phone while walking is perfectly acceptable in this day and age, but books? Not so much. "From the brief glance I got, looks like there were time marks, but I didn't get a chance to look very long. Not like I'm going to drop it, though."

The kid in the 'blades snorts at the asshole. "What the fuck ever, dude." No, Jake doesn't have much in the way of common sense when it comes to a fight. Now that he's on his feet, he begins the patdown - make sure the wallet's in place and the backpack didn't rip, contemplate changing out of rollerblades and into shoes… that last one's probably a good idea. He drops down on the bus bench, says to one of the others who've witnessed this, "How /you/ doin'?" and goes about undoing the 'blades and changing into shoes with a sardonic little smirk. He's already put the guy out of his mind.

"Marcus is the father," Cat states into the comm gear, "He's the one who's inferred that despite the natural imbuement of abilities encoded into the DNA sequence, the premise of power corrupting absolutely is still universally maintained. I don't know the son's name yet, but it won't be hard to find out. You can go try to catch him now if you like, but we can just as easily cross paths with him on campus."

Feet keep moving as Cat places phone without the sim card and the memory stick of photos in her pocket. The car is just ahead. "We can read it later," she replies to Gillian with a nod. "Lucky was that guy showing up just at the perfect time. I think that man is Humanis."

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