Let's Make Some Noise


elisabeth2_icon.gif squeaks3_icon.gif

Scene Title Let's Make Some Noise
Synopsis What does an echolocater do?
Date March 7, 2019

Jackson Heights

Elisabeth's Raytech Apartment

It’s a little bit after lunchtime when there’s a knock at the door. But like the last time, it’s expected, even though the unpredictability of the phones and messages is a challenge. Squeaks, though, doesn’t want to lose further privileges that allow her to at least visit people at Raytech and only do the projects that she brings. Unless her mom’s said it’s okay. It’s one of those projects that’s brought her standing in front of Elisabeth’s door today.

The young teen takes a full step back as her hand drops to her side. The desire to knock again is strong, but she should give the audiokinetic time to answer. Not like her siblings, who’ll get three or four series of door-knockings while she’s waiting outside. So the energy that she’d normally spend tapping her knuckles against the door is instead used send some clicks down the hallway.

The door flies open and a 6-year-old throws herself around Squeaks' legs. "Hi Squeaks! Bye Squeaks!" The tiny tornado that is Aurora Harrison bolts for the elevator to press the button enthusiastically many times. As if it'll make the elevator open its doors faster.

Elisabeth appears in the doorway, blonde hair caught up in a ponytail and dressed casually in a pair of leggings and a long sweater. "Aurora Morgan! Slow down!"

She grins at Squeaks even as the dervish jumps into the elevator. "Bye Mummy!"

Rolling her blue eyes, Liz just lifts the cell phone in her hand to her ear. "Harm, she's… yeah, okay. See you later." She's laughing as she hangs up and finally cheerfully greets, "Morning, Squeaks!"

There’s little enough time for the half step back from a suddenly opening door that she manages before there’s a much smaller girl tangling her legs. “What — Bye?” Squeaks is known by the siblings to have high levels of excitement at times also, but seeing it from their side of things is a way different experience. She looks after Aurora, then swivels a look up to Elisabeth, baffled.

“Hi,” she answers, chancing another look at the elevator just in time to see Aura jump into it. “Hi,” the teen repeats herself and shakes her head. “She’s excited. Am I too early?”

"Nope. Right on time," Elisabeth replies, laughing. "She's on her way upstairs with the promise of baking cupcakes with her brother and sister. Apparently they are settling for Harmony as their partner in this effort instead of Grampa cuz he's gotta go spend time with Nana. Or this is the closest translation I've been able to manage out of the rambling discourse of today's plan."

Shaking her head, the blonde gestures Squeaks inside. "C'mon in. If nothing else, we've got at least an hour before Miss Million-and-One-Questions returns to find out why we haven't come upstairs to help eat cupcakes." Liz grins. It makes her ridiculously happy to see Aurora so outgoing and secure.

"So," she ventures, "I'm not quite sure where we should start. I thought maybe the first thing to do would be to figure out a little about what you want to be able to do and then once we figure that out, we'll expand from there. I have a decent idea of what you can already do from what you told me the times we've talked about power."

“Cupcakes.” For all of a second, that seems like it should be investigated more than the actual reason that brought Squeaks to Liz’s apartment. But she doesn’t turn for the elevators or try to figure out where the Harmony person and the yet-to-be-made cupcakes are, she tags after the audiokinetic.

“What I want to do.” That’s a concept she thought about but never came to any real answers. “Mostly right now I use it for seeing… mapping.” But that’s already known. “Sometimes I can get a really good picture, but not very long because it all goes fuzzy. Like after we made sounds at the thing that exploded. But I wasn’t doing it for seeing things, I was trying to… attack it?”

"Hmmm," Elisabeth murmurs. "You told me that the sound didn't feel 'right' — it didn't feel right to me either, it was… unbalanced, I guess is the word I'm looking for. On our end, it didn't resonate in tune exactly. I had to force them into sync."

She thinks about how to demonstrate. She certainly doesn't have any crystal here, and she's not sure she can actually create the note she wants and then also 'damage' it with her power at the same time — emulating what they felt is complex. A frown creases her brow as she ponders.

"Let's try this." She rummages in a drawer in the kitchen and pulls out a glass and a rubber band. It might work. Maybe. Stretching the band lengthwise around the glass, she plucks it and gets a short, somewhat twangy note. "Can you sense anything in that sound?" she asks curiously.

Tilting her head slightly toward one shoulder, Squeaks watches from the living room. Her head tilts toward the other shoulder when Liz plucks at the rubber band, and her eyes squint a little bit. “Not like the way I can see things. But it’s… it doesn’t sound like music?” She wonders if that describes it best, then shrugs slightly.

“The machine’s noise… when they turned it on it was like actual stabbing in my ears.” The girl illustrates by pointing fingers at each ear, like she was going to plug them but without doing that. “Then Richard put his helmet on my head and it make the sounds quieter, and I could hear two different sounds, the machine echoing off the building, but it needed one more to make it good. Not painful”

Dropping one hand, the other motions to the rubber band and glass. “It makes a sound but it’s maybe not big enough?” Squeaks is guessing at that idea.

Elisabeth nods thoughtfully. "Okay…. so on your end, you were creating a wavelength that would create a chord. Something that would bridge them. Whereas on my end, I was literally manipulating one of the wavelengths to merge it with the other to make them resonate together. Interesting…"

She pauses and then says, "I wish we had a piano. I can create sounds — even layered ones, but working with you like this it might be easier with an external source." She tips her head. "I wonder if the college has a music school. Or hell, even just an aud— oh geez. I'm such a dummy." She grins. "C'mon, I know where to go!"

((Gonna give you room to pose and the next one is gonna encompass ya moving locations!))

Nose wrinkling, Squeaks nods at what Liz explains. “I don’t think I can change sounds that are already there, but I can add to them. And my own I can make faster or slower and usually they can’t be heard by anyone. Sometimes they can though.”

She hesitates very slightly at the suggestion of going anywhere else. “Okay. But I need to call and let my mom know.”

"Absolutely," Elisabeth agrees immediately. "Let her know I'm just taking you over to the church to use their organ for sound waves." She smiles. "Gillian and I really need to catch up."

Once the call is made and permission is given, Liz grabs her heavy jacket and slips her feet into boots. A quick call upstairs to let Harmony know to keep Aurora with her is made and they head out.

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church
Jackson Heights

Dilapidated it may be, the priests of this parish have clearly made caring for the building and its parishioners a priority. The blonde seeks out the church's office and asks permission to use their organ in the sanctuary, and although it takes a little conversation, once Raytech is mentioned things roll smoothly.

The sanctuary has been restored as much as possible, pews sanded and repaired and burnished to gleam in the light that comes from the stained glass windows that remain intact. Some of the windows are simply clear glass, as if the stained glass that was there before couldn't be repaired or replaced with an equivalent. The carpet is a threadbare maroon shade, but everything seems clean, if shabby.

Elisabeth's touch on the keys of the organ are reverent and she glances at Squeaks. "I'm going to play something short just to see what you can sense in the tones… it'll help me figure out the differences in what you hear and what I sense is there, okay?"

There's obvious wonder given to the old church, a place she's never been inside. Squeaks takes the opportunity while Liz is talking to the priests to explore a little, by wandering a few steps into the sanctuary. As her eyes try to see everything all at once, her ultrasonic clicks and squeaks give her the rest of the picture.

Her curiosity tapers off when Elisabeth returns and walks by, the sounds only she can hear stopping. The teen follows, and she eyeballs the organ as the plan is explained. “Okay,” she agrees.

Smiling slightly, the audiokinetic adds, "When we're done, you can wander as much as you like." Elisabeth hadn't realized that Squeaks would be interested in the inside of the church. As she settles onto the bench seat at the organ, she pauses to think about what songs she knows that might have the chords she wants to test out the young woman's ability.

Realizing that perhaps she's overthinking it a bit seeking out an actual song, though, Elisabeth picks several three-note chords and holds them to see if Squeaks can hear each of the notes. "Can you tell me in each of these how many different sounds you hear?" she asks, not mentioning what she's doing and keeping both hands on the keys so that it's not just 'oh you have three fingers on keys so there must be three' kinds of cues.

She gives four different chords, just to get a baseline idea.

With a half turn, Squeaks tips her head back as if she’s going to look up at the ceiling. It’s the closest thing to a reply that she offers, deciding it’s better to listen first. And with her head back, it helps with hearing the sounds.

As the first chords begin resonating from the organ, her head tilts slightly. She takes several steps away from Liz, a slow wandering that moves her closer to the center of the sanctuary.

Lifting a hand to about her shoulder height, Squeaks points upward. A second finger joins the first, and a puzzled look that has her head turning to look back at Liz. “Two,” she guesses. Her face scrunches and she eyeballs the organ. “Maybe more. Maybe… There might be more than two.”

Elisabeth looks thoughtful and nods. "Okay… tell me how this one feels?" She picks one of the ones she's already tried and leaves out one of the notes that composes the chord. Just to see if Squeaks can tell one is missing.

“Something is different.” Squeaks’ answer comes very soon after the notes are played, and she turns to face Elisabeth. One eye squints and her nose wrinkles as she thinks about the sounds being made. “It’s not right… Not bad, but not right.”

Pursing her lips, Liz nods again. "Okay. So that tells me… you can definitely sense harmonics. When I came in, you were doing something. Testing out sounds? Would you mind doing it again, so I can feel where in the spectrum you are?"

“I was looking at the room,” Squeaks explains. She traces in the air with a finger one line of pew and the edges it has nearest her. “I can see things the way the sound bounces off them.” As she finishes tracing, she looks at Liz, then turns to the open side of the room. On a breath, those sounds happen again, clicks and squeaks much like a bat or dolphin might do, but well above the range of normal hearing. Again, her finger traces invisible lines that follow the edges along walls and seating.

While she does it, Elisabeth tips her head and closes her eyes, seeking out the waves of sound that Squeaks is using. She nods slowly and then looks back at the teen. "So when the sounds bounce back, is it … a picture in your head of the room?" she wonders aloud. "I can feel the waves you're using but they don't do for me what they do for you — when I do it, I get… a sense of how big the space I'm in is, and I can tell where obstacles and open spaces are. But that's about it. Just enough that if I'm in a pitch-black place I can avoid running into stuff."

“I can see the things,” Squeaks explains again, putting a little bit of emphasis on see. “It’s like lines that show me… like…” She chews on her bottom lip as she pauses to wonder at how to explain. “Like when you use lines to draw a cube on paper. But it’s all kinds of things that I see, even in completely absolute pitch blackness.” She turns to face Liz again, uncertain if that’s a good description. “If I go slow, I can see a lot of things but not very much details, and I can do that for a while. If I go fast I can get a lot more details, but I can’t do it very long. It gets staticky and buzzes for a while.”

Elisabeth considers that explanation and then nods. "All right. That gives me a bit of an idea what you're sensing. Pretty neat, that. You should definitely talk to my mother. She probably doesn't know much more about how it works than you do, but at least you guys should be able to learn a bit together, right?" She smiles.

"Okay…" Leaning back a bit on the bench, she sorts through the options. "I know what you described doing to the sounds from the portal. The discordance is what it seems like you were sensing. So… can you project your ability at a target if there aren't already sounds happening? I'd like to see what happens if you send your sounds toward me and try to make them… attack me, the same way you said you attacked the portal sounds." She's reasonably confident in her ability to negate the attack if she needs to, but she wants to see if Squeaks can do what she herself can with the ultrasound ranges.

“The same way?” Squeaks’ eyebrows pinch together as she tries to remember what she did for the portal machine. After a minute or two of puzzling about it, she tries to recreate the sounds she did before. Like before, her clicks and squeaks sometimes dip down into a level that could be heard without the use of an ability, but generally they stay in the levels well outside what a normal human can hear.

The small, ultrasonic noises maintain a steady pace, not fast enough to give significant detail — as Squeaks had described how she sees things — but not slow either. It’s the same middling emission she’d made to help balance the portal. And it’s directed at Liz, but seems to only be noise that’s sent at the audiokinetic.

Elisabeth closes her eyes and seeks out the sounds Squeaks is using. She tips her head slightly, and then asks quietly, "Can you push those harder, Squeaks? Make them…. come at me faster?"

She's trying to find the right language to encourage the teen without confusing her… and she has a notion that if Squeaks can, it's a good idea to train that one so it's always within her control and not used by accident.

The sounds taper off. Squeaks looks puzzled, but in the way of trying to find a solution to a problem. After a few seconds, her expression sets to something like understanding and she nods. Faster makes sense, somehow, and that’s kind of what she did before except not at the machine’s noises.

Once the teen has taken another breath, the ultrasonic clicks and squeaks start all over again. She’s hesitant at increasing the speed at the start, but as the sounds continue the pace increases. More and more, the clicking and squeaks reach a buzzing sound that even Liz can hear without the help of her ability, and Squeaks holds it for several seconds before it cuts off. Her hands press against her eyes, like trying to rub away sun spots.

“That was maybe too fast,” she guesses. Her hands come away and she turns a squinty look to the audiokinetic. “Try again?”

Liz's feel for the sounds grows as she continues to study them and there's a subtle wince at the buzzing just before Squeaks stops. "I'm not sure about too fast… but my eardrums felt weird," she admits. "Like… pressure." She purses her lips and considers, "I think… if we can find the right way for it to make sense to you, you might actually be able to use it to do some stuff that I do. I'm not sure about that, but we can practice and try it out. I want to see if one of the labs at Raytech has the equipment we need for this. I am betting they do, since Warren developed the Banshee there." Her tone is dry. "For full testing we should probably use the lab anyway so that you can see what your power is doing too."

She didn't think of the labs before coming to the church or they probably wouldn't be here. She's very used to not having equipment access.

“I can't do the fast kind for very long, things get all staticky.” Squeaks takes a second to think about how to explain that. “Like what happens when the radio station cuts off but not just noise.” But that something happened gets a thoughtful look. Maybe a little uneasiness too. “I tried to hold it, but it's hard to. Maybe it should not be constant?”

A nodding head joins the suggestion of the labs. “Probably the labs would be a good idea. Do you think we would be allowed to?” It's not at all Raytech work, so she's likely to get the okay from her mom. But Richard she doesn't know.

"Sure, we'll be allowed to," Elisabeth replies easily. There's a bit of a cheeky grin. "Perks of being the boss's girlfriend or something," she quips. And then chuckles. "No, seriously. It'll be fine. We'll let your mom know what's going on and that it's me working with you on your power not Shenanigans." Because she thinks that will make a difference for Gillian. She really needs to catch up with the other woman in person.

"Just give me a couple of days to talk to Isabelle and see if we can find some of the books I want for this. I don't… " She pauses and then sheepishly admits, "I bet they already have a sound engineer on staff. Lemme check on that too." She's really not sure what's available at Raytech.

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