It Might be Better to Show You


jaiden_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title It Might be Better to Show You
Synopsis A discussion of time travel, Evolved powers, combat training, and future threats.
Date September 21 2010

Jaiden's Apartment

The door to Jaiden's below-ground apartment opens into a 20 x 20 living room. There is a small section of wooden flooring near the door for people to take their shoes off, while the rest of the apartment is furnished with a heavy pile carpet in a rich royal red. The living room features an enormous sofa which could double as a spare bed, and often does, a coffee table, a leather chair and a built-in bench which serves as an entertainment center and offers additional storage. A short hallway extends to the back of the apartment with two doors on the right and a large bookcase against the wall between. The first opening to the left leads to the kitchen - a sleek modern design that provides all amenities for basic cooking and beyond - enough to hold a feast out of. A large 4 burner stovetop, dishwasher, microwave, convection oven and refrigerator as well as a well-used coffee machine live here, giving one the tools needed to prepare simple, filling meals. The door on the right leads to Jaiden's bedroom. This room is painted in warm colors, the small windows allowing just enough light in to make it seem larger than it actually is. It has a queen sized bed with a thick pillow-top mattress; perfect for snuggling. In addition, sitting on the night table is a laptop computer that gives ready access the Internet.

The bathroom is across from the kitchen, offering direct access from both the living room and bedroom, furnished with a full size tub and shower, as well as lots and lots of fluffy towels.

Behind the bookcase, though, the Apartment becomes something else…

Set up for an extended stay for several people, the back wall has two doors that open into small rooms, the right holding a bathroom and a pair of showers, the left hiding a makeshift armory with rifles, shotguns, pistols and ammunition, caged off in a locked enclosure. Wires from the generator upstairs are fed into a circuit breaker that powers the lights and the pump that draws water from a re-purposed well. Several cots are set up - unmade for now, but with pillows and blankets stacked on a nearby shelf. Another shelf near the entrance has canned and dried food, bandages and medicines and the like in neatly labeled bins.

Booted footsteps clomping solidly, Ygraine trots rapidly down the stairs into the subterranean portion of the Underground. Coming to a halt on the wooden section of flooring set aside for the purpose, she props her rump against the wall and stands on one leg to begin unlacing her footwear, but she pauses in that awkward pose, gaze running around the room.

"Jaiden? Are you in here?", she calls out, voice mixing amusement with some worry.

"Hey there, Ygraine. Come on in." Jaiden calls from inside his apartment, the door already ajar, the smell of something baking coming from within. Something sweet. The man is sitting on one of the barstools at the bar in the kitchen, his right shoulder seemingly two times larger than his left thanks to the bandages beneath the t-shirt, his arm in a makeshift sling.

"Don't worry about this…" he lifts his shoulder with a wince. "Give me a week and I'll be right as rain."

Removing her boots, Ygraine pads in stockinged feet through to see her host - and double-takes. "Ow. What happened? That looks like… torn flesh rather than a joint injury", she says worriedly. "Or have you had surgery of some sort?"

Jaiden shifts in his seat to face the door, apparently halfway through unbandaging himself and cleaning the wound. "You want the real story or the 'official' story?" his left hand lifts to give half of an air quote, his right still in the sling. "The story I'm telling people is that a line gave way and hit me with a chunk of metal in the shoulder, which is why I'm closed upstairs for the week. The real story is that I was shot saving a friend's life about ten years ago, thanks to Mr. Hiro Nakamura."

Jaiden watches her as he drops that name, to see if there's any reaction.

Initially, the reaction is simply to stare - though it's clear that Ygraine's mind is attempting to process a few things. "Line, metal, shoulder. Right. And… bloody Hell. Who did that to you? What actually happened?" The Briton sounds worried more than surprised.

"I think it might be better to show you." Jaiden shifts out of his stool and walks over to where his bag is buckled closed. A bit of fumbling and it's opened, a few bits coming out here and there until he finds a newspaper from 1999, and a dossier. These are brought over to the bar and laid out, the man tapping his finger on a picture of a hockey arena on fire. "What actually happened, and I am not crazy, I want to put that out there now, is that Iw as taken back in time to January of 1999 to save a woman's life. Apparently someone is going back in time and screwing things up, and I was sent back to prevent one of those screw ups. This fire…" he taps the picture again. "Was the result of an assassination attempt."

Padding over to peer at the clipping, Ygraine skim-reads it for a few moments, then looks up at Jaiden, expression solemn rather than disbelieving. "And… did origami have a role to play in all of this?", she asks quietly.

As a reply, Jaiden points toward the table by the door where a small origami crane sits, wrinkled and dirty from being folded over and over again. "Yes'm. It did."

A low chuckle, then Ygraine delves into one of the many pockets of her biker's jacket, withdrawing a ziplock bag. Visible through the transparent plastic is another crane - neatly folded flat, but otherwise largely unharmed.

"I got this on Saturday. Went on a… trip on Sunday. To New York, just under five years ago", she says quietly. "To save someone again. Ran up against… someone openly using Evolved abilities at a level I've only personally witnessed once before."

There's a sigh from Jaiden, the man leaning back against the bar with a wince. "Looks like you got the better end of it, then. My perfect record of not ever being shot - ruined!" There's a soft chuckle as he straightens, carefully unwinding the bandage from his shoulder - no sense in stopping what needs to be done.

"The man I faced - Russian named Nikolai - could control liquids. Gasoline, blood, water…not to the level I could, luckily, but still…the molotov cocktail chasing us around the bleachers was certainly interesting. He didn't seem overly powerful…just your average evolved."

Tentatively, so that she can easily be prevented from doing so, Ygriane moves to help Jaiden. Bandage-wrapped joints she is very used to, thanks to her sporting past.

"That… sounds quite astonishing", she says sincerely. "And something I'm glad I missed. I'll have to look up what, if anything, was reported about our 'incident'. I haven't quite dared yet. But… the woman we faced killed at least one cop. Took her uniform and squad car and went hunting. Her power… I honestly don't know what it was. Technological animation, perhaps? She ripped major cables up through the sidewalk and road, and animated them to attack people - us - at a distance. She also yanked a pistol out of someone's hand at range."

Jaiden accepts the help with a nod of thanks, the bandage unwinding going much easier. What is revealed is a shoulder that's been shot with a grazing hit, entering just around the top of the bicep and then exiting through the trapezius. It's bruised and ugly, but hasn't hit bone or nerve, so aside from about a week of healing, he should be fine and have an interesting scar to tell. His arm does hang, though, the man not moving it in the least as he reaches for the alcohol to clean it.

"If…" he winces as he starts to swab the blood away, hissing through his teeth. "If there was anything that happened out of sorts, Hiro took Kaylee back to edit some things….from my understanding."

"I doubt that Kaylee can raise the dead, nor repair the… evident structural damage", Ygraine murmurs ruefully, moving around to peer at the exit wound with half-clinical, half-upset expression. "We were between Fordham University and the New York City Opera, if I have my orientation right. Not exactly a scuzzy back-road in a slum where 'weird shit' and gunfire might be glossed over."

Lifting her gaze to Jaiden's face once more, she gently shakes her head. "I've never seen a… recent gunshot wound before. Just old scars. But I've seen too much of the aftermath of crashes, and that does look to be clean, I'm glad to say. Do you want a hand with it? I can do things like apply iodine and check for signs of infection, at the least."

"That'd be lovely, thanks…" Jaiden slumps a little, setting aside the gauze he was using on the stone counter. "I've got a friend who's a emergency nurse who's coming by tonight to do a check up on me. Already got me on a series of antibiotics and a tetanus shot." He frowns. "I hate shots."

"And as far as Kaylee….she probably didn't hide it. Rather, she made it something else. A bus crash, an explosion of a gas main…something. Mine didn't need any covering up, thanks to people being hurt and a few killed there anyway."

"The murder of a cop and a brief gun fight involving her car… all too credible a story in New York", Ygraine says ruefully, as she busies herself with the kit, then sets about cleaning. She's no nurse, but after you've hit the deck a few times while wearing no more than a lycra skin suit, you learn a good bit about delicately cleaning injuries.

"The cables torn out of the road, and the point where she whacked a building with them… probably harder to disguise. And I have the impression that she'd already had a prior go at taking down her target, and might even have killed the cop at another location as well. She didn't seem to be at all bothered about leaving a trail…."

Shaking her head, Ygraine sighs - but takes care to turn her head, rather than blow upon the exposed wounds. "We… to be blunt, we were seriously out-classed. There were three of us, but I was the only one with an ability - and my range is about six inches. Maybe nine or ten if I try really hard and don't mind it being unreliable. I don't own a gun, let alone carry one - and it turned out that she could pull them out of people's hands anyway. I wound up throwing a tin of boot polish and pretending it was a grenade, after serving as a distraction for a few moments. That we got away intact was… surprising."

Jaiden is a good patient, only wincing every once in a while when one of the more tender bruised areas are hit. It's healing nicely, with a bit of a scab starting to form. A part of him wondered if he could see light through it at any point, but honestly, that's not something he's willing to ask a friend to do.

"I think I got lucky, to be honest. The guy I was with just had a gun and his power. It was like he was tapped and had no idea on how to use it to the fullest effect which was lucky for both of us." There's a sharp intake of breath. "I think that I'll be going back again….now that Hiro's seen what I can do…for one of the bigger ones."

"You think so?", Ygraine asks rather worriedly. "I… only discovered anything like this was happening when I got the crane. Well, not even really then - and the individual teams seem to be put together with some kind of care. Tailored to the person being assisted. But I suppose that if this is targetting change, it might well not be aimed solely at individuals… and even if it is…."

She coughs. "Sorry. I'm still trying to get my head around it. And feeling guiltily glad for how well I came out of this one. Last time I went on a major 'mission' I was seriously concussed and hardly spoke a word for three days."

"It certainly does make ones head spin." Jaiden says after a moment, looking over to survey his wound, noting that it's definitely clean, with a little bit of bright blood flowing. Ready to be wrapped. "The day after the crane arrived, a boy…probably fourteen or so…showed up on my doorstep to explain what was going on. Sort of."

Jaiden shifts, reaching for the first aid kit for some gauze to start wrapping it up again. "We've already done it….all the stuff that we're going back to do. Hiro taking us back just started the loop. And whoever's causing the problems? They're targeting the ones who went back to stop the problem. So…." There's a grunt. "I'm a target now, and the lady I saved, Elisabeth, is going back to save me sometime in the past. Whoever's causing this problem, we're really going to have to chop off at the knees, cause if this keeps happening, who knows what'll happen in the future. Or the past."

"That… sounds recursively problematic. If being involved in a rescue makes you a target, then the loop could be never-ending", Ygraine murmurs, reaching for the gauze. "Let me know if this feels too tight or too loose", she instructs, setting to work.

"And… this Elisabeth. Blonde, pretty, current or former cop?", she asks curiously. "Or am I thinking of another one?"

"That's her, yep." Jaiden leans forward slightly to put a little more pressure on the bandage as it's wrapped. "Apparently she does something - in the future, or did something in the past, to make her a target. I went back and saved her, so now I'm a target. I just hope whoever's doing this gets found because…dammit, going through time is difficult."

"I can't pretend to know more than the tiniest fraction of what she's involved in, or has been in the past, but I can thoroughly believe that she'd be a significant target", Ygraine murmurs as she carefully wraps the bandage - bringing her ability into play to avoid the gauze slipping as she works.

"She's been… at the very least around the edges of things for about two years, I'd say - and that's just what I'm aware of. And she's seemed to have connections to quite a few people who did or are doing significant things. I can absolutely believe that she'd be a focus of attention, unfortunately."

"When Hiro had a bunch of us show up to explain what was going on…as well as he could, at least, there were lines spreading all over the room. Connections on top of connections, relationships criss-crossing. One falls and the whole web goes away….which can be catastrophic for us." Jaiden stretches, letting out a breath, the shoulder bound tightly now. "Thanks. You've got good hands. It'll be a bit before we can do any practicing or training…maybe a week, but once that's past…" Jaiden grins. "We'll teach some folk how to fight."

"Actually", Ygraine says with a wry smile, as she puts things neatly back into their places in the kit. "I was wanting to pester you for some private training. I'd been intending to do so even before I got… recruited for this last jaunt, but now it seems all the more advisable."

Closing the lid, she hops up on a bar stool and faces Jaiden. "I know a fair amount about basic self-defence. Some of the really vicious stuff that a good class can teach - how to use an ordinary set of keys to put down an average attacker, and the like. The savate… that gives me some more 'serious' stuff to use against people who know how to fight, and aren't just going for a grab on the street or the like. But we… seem to have a growing chance of coming up against people who are either… powered, or else combat-trained and with kit to match. And to deal with that, I need to be able to cut loose a bit more, with my own ability. And for that, I need someone to help me to practice."

Jaiden thinks on that for a moment, worrying his lower lip with his upper teeth, stroking his chin lightly through the day or so of stubble that's perked up since he shaved last. "You can play with gravity, yeah? I could see that as bein' really useful in a fight." He nods after a moment. "Give me a bit to get back on my feet, but then, yeah, i'll help you learn a few things and see if we can't use that gravity manipulation to your advantage. What kind of range do you have on it, if you don't mind me asking, and how…um…quick…can you make it work?"

"Near-instantly, though it takes conscious effort", Ygraine says. "I can do a few things in rapid succession - I've already confirmed that. The more closely-related they are, the easier it is - as with just about any activity."

Pursing her lips, she shrugs, then flips open the kit and lifts out a roll of surgical tape. Inverting her hand, she leaves the tape just where it is - resting, contentedly unmoving, on her palm. "I don't generate gravity. Think of it perhaps as directing the flow of electricity. Electricity enters a conductive thing, and it flows along it to emerge at the other end. I can define which way gravity flows in an object, by defining another object as its destination. So the normal amount of gravity is affecting that roll of tape - it's just pulling it against my hand rather than towards the floor."

Carefully, she tosses the tape a few inches away from her hand - straight down towards the floor… though it falls back up into her grasp after reaching the end of its arc of travel.

"My range is about six inches, reliably. I can affect an object about six inches away, and it's got to be within about six inches of its target. The one I manipulate has to be… comparatively light. My bike's right up there at the limit of what I can affect. The source - the earth, the destination, the new down - can be pretty much anything. Though it's generally a good idea to make sure that it's strong enough to support the mass of the object attached to it, of course."

One can almost see the wheels turning in Jaiden's head as Ygraine tells about the limitations and uses of her power. The magical hovering surgical tape gets a grin as

it smacks solidly into her hand, and the weight limitation is noted. "I can work with this, I think. We can work with this…"

Jaiden slips off of his barstool and walks around the bar to get a few bits of fruit from the bowl by the sink, placing them on the counter within six inches of each other, easily in reach of Ygraine's arms.

"The first question I have is the manipulation itself. Can you 'set' gravity, then move away from it, or as soon as you lose contact, gravity starts acting on itself again? Because I can see some pretty wicked throws being used by you turning gravity off on someone and flinging them. Could you, for instance, tell those fruits that I'm down and have them fly at me?"

"I need to be within six inches of the thing I affect, and it needs to be within six inches of its new 'down'", Ygraine says with a wry smile. "I can't touch someone, and set their new 'down' as the bus going past at thirty miles an hour on the far side of a four-lane highway. So… yes, I could use gravity to bombard you with fruit, but it'd be a very, very short-range attack."

Also slipping off her stool, she reaches out to an apple, brushing it with a finger. "I can play around a bit, of course." Thinking momentarily, she glances behind her to check that nothing fragile is there, then hauls out one of her biker gloves. Holding it a few inches away from the roll of surgical tape, she then draws it away - accelerating rapidly until the glove is whipping across the room, pursued by the tape, which is accelerating with every moment that passes before it catches up with the focus of its gravity.

"Throws… I should be able to do interesting things with, but haven't been able to practice. An obvious one is that I can kill people horribly easily with a kick. I can fracture ribs now, mundanely. But if I, say, touch an out-stretched hand, set myself as their new 'down', and meet them with a full-strength strike as they accelerate towards me? They can't block, since they've nothing to brace against. And the odds are they'll be too disorientated to do anything before I connect."

She shakes her head, looking distinctly distasteful. "The disorientation is… more than most people expect. Your whole gravity shifts. It's not a matter of getting a tug in one direction - the axes of your world snap to a new configuration. Everything about you that is affected by gravity is instantly pulled in the new direction. Clothes, hair, saliva in your mouth, soft tissue, internal organs, your brain…. As a very simple technique, I think I can snap that on, then off, and leave someone recovering from having their brain bounce forward then back and down."

"I think I'll pass on having you practice that last one with me at full blast, but I can see how you'd be a close-combat monster. That trick you did with the glove and the tape, too…" The projectiles hit the wall and bounced to the floor once they were free of Ygraine's influence, the man walking over to retrieve them, putting them within easy reach on the counter again before retaking his seat.

"Okay, so close range we'll practice throws. That's a given, and half-speed punches since yours will basically be full speed no matter what. Strength training….heck, escaping from holds should be a snap for you."

"Depends", Ygraine says ruefully. "If someone with proper training gets me in a good hold… well, they're taught to hold on even when tripped or rammed against a wall or the like, aren't they? And similarly, if I misjudge angles, I could easily do myself some serious damage if I screw up flipping gravity around for someone who's got a good grip on me. But the converse to that offers some options. Someone grabs me the wrong way, and I can instantly put my whole weight on that grip they've acquired…."

She shrugs, still looking uncomfortable. "There are a lot of options. But practicing them…. I've found an Evolved-friendly gym, and it has practice dummies. If someone knowledgable can help me work out some solo training drills, I can work on those there. But working out what's actually feasible in real terms - that I really need help with. And I'm a bit wary about asking total strangers for it. Because… well. What I've already told you about puts me above the Tier 0 I reluctantly had to register as. Some of the further implications might be well beyond that, though I thankfully don't know if they're possible."

"Miss, you've got me convinced to help you out." Jaiden offers his good left hand to shake, snagging one of the apples when he's done with that. "Another question. If I throw something at you and you're aware of it, can you negate the gravity away from it? Can you set a field up that repels things from you, or is that a bit beyond things?"

Cracking a grin, Ygraine warmly shakes the hand. "In theory, I might be able to in certain circumstances. But… to use the electrical analogy: current only flows if there's a circuit. From what I've seen thus far, I need a complete circuit. I can't affect an object in isolation - I have to form a link between it and something else."

Reclaiming her perch, and helping herself to an apple - though it's currently just studied pensively - Ygraine purses her lips. "I might be able to set up a… field. Create a circuit that… acts as the air turbulence around a moving vehicle does: something that catches objects entering it and takes them along in the flow. But I'm not even sure how to start doing that. And one of my concerns about creating a loop is… well."

She sighs, setting the apple down again, lifting her gaze to meet Jaiden's. "It's a possible Tier 3 effect, to be blunt. I link you to your clothes, and your clothes to you. All gravity entering either is now going around and around in a circuit. Suddenly, the only thing holding you on the Earth is air pressure. And the Earth itself is being pulled away towards the sun, by its gravity - which isn't pulling you that way. So, it's a fight of air pressure versus the sun's gravity. Effectively, it's an inverse mass-driver, if you're on the night side of the Earth. If you're on the day side, then the Earth is moving towards you, so you stay pressed against it."

"Ouch." Jaiden murmurs, glancing at the ceiling. "If we try that, might be best to do it indoors rather than, oh, outside anywhere." To his credit, he doesn't slide away or look at her any differently, but he does chalk that up to future knowledge. The more you know.

"That, I think, is only for emergencies. I hope you never, ever have to do that."

Nodding quickly, Ygraine doesn't exactly look happy. "I'm not certain it's possible, but… it's not exactly something I want to test. There are… too many uses. Give me, oh, a three hundred pound shaped projectile, and line me up with a building. Who needs explosives? Crudely speaking, the Earth's vector towards the sun is about forty thousand miles per hour. I can probably cut that 'string'. But… hey. Should you ever have a nuke you need disposed of, at night, and the spin of the Earth's not going the wrong way or we're on open ground, I can have it in space in next to no time."

Sighing, she musters a weak smile. "So… see why I want to train? Right now, I seem to have… three or four grades. Irrelevant to combat - I can stick an apple to you. Useful - I can make you disoriented. Potentially lethal, but I'm not sure how best to use it - I can have you fall onto my kicks. And really horrible, that I hope I never find out whether I can use…."

"Well, not exactly irrelevant to combat…" Jaiden smiles. "Can you imagine trying to fight someone with a bunch of tennis balls following you around?" The thought of it causes him to grin.

"I can see why you want to train. If that gym doesn't ask many questions, I'll come with you and we'll work on a few things together or, in the case of it not being useful, work out in the green zone or heck, even here."

Giggling, Ygraine nods. "I hadn't thought of it quite like that. As soon as the object's more than six inches from its target, the link's broken. So if I stick a tennis ball to you, you can just toss it away - it just weighs as much as a tennis ball, after all. Oh - and that's a warning about me putting people on walls or ceilings. If they get more than a few inches from the surface, normal gravity resumes its hold. But… yeah. Coco's seems to be a good place to train. Run-down, out of the way, doesn't appear to ask questions, and Evolved-friendly. But a few things trained in private might be wise."

Jaiden slips from his seat and heads around to the sink where he washes his hands (and one of the claimed bits of fruit) before taking a bite. "So, let's schedule a date, then….say Monday next week at Coco's? I'll bring my tracky dacks and we'll work up a nice sweat, and I'll put my brain to work on coming up with effective ways of making your power do things.

"Sounds great. And thank you. And… should you need help with anything - now or… at other times, do let me know", Ygraine says gratefully. "I can certainly bombard you with the various ideas I've had for my own training… but seeing what you come up with independently might be worthwhile. We can pool our ideas and see what the combined results offer."

Glancing around, she then grins. "In the mean time - would you like me to cook you lunch, or something? Let you rest that arm, and say thank you for bending your ear."

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