Pieces Of The Puzzle


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nadira_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif warren_icon.gif wiley_icon.gif


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Scene Title Pieces Of The Puzzle
Synopsis People gather in Central Park with their respective pieces of the mysterious puzzle that went out not long ago.
Date October 2, 2010

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

The weather balmy, central park active, Audrey has set up her shop on the grass near the fountain. She's not going to sit out in the sun and burn her already pale skin. There's a pair of open tents for shade, the kind set over booths and reception tables outside, the green corners fluttering in the breeze. Under one is Audrey, standing up behind a table that's spread with green felt and the few pieces of the unknown puzzle already laid out. She watches them like a hawk, in case anyone who's bold enough to take a piece should think to take it.

With forced leave from work, Audrey needs something to do and Parkman hadn't said that she couldn't do this. She had Cooper take pictures of the pieces that she and her, Parkman had received so that they wouldn't have to leave where evidence was locked up. Other pieces had been mailed to her, images of them emailed to her and from all that, with actual pieces as the reference, she'd managed to reproduce the pictures of the pieces. And now they were on the table. roughly four inches each and hard to miss. Not enough of them present to require more tables or even attempt to start putting it together. Another table had bottles of water, cookies by the dozen business cards with just the PO box and the email address to be used to send pieces of puzzle.

Some people milled about, it's been an hour since she set up shop but the severe nature of the woman behind the table with her blunt haircut, pinched face and crossed arms made for perhaps some people avoiding her right off the bar, put off by her demeanor. Behind her is a white board, and on it are the words that she current has in her possession on the back of the puzzles.

Others. Cause. Children. Lethal. Like. You. Indiscriminate. Better. This. Golden. Rule. Can. Not. Just to name some of them.

A camera, good quality one that looks to have had a great deal of money sunk into it, waits at the ready for folks who may bring their piece but not want to actually relinquish their piece. Cracking open a bottle of water, Audrey takes a deep sip, looking around to see if anyone is going to approach after the last couple who stopped by interested, leave. Her phone rings, clipped to her belt, and requiring the brunette to turn away from the group and flip her phone open, a terse greeting spoken into the mouthpiece, bottle of water in her other hand.
Adelaide has left.

Wearing his black suit, jacket unbuttoned, and tie swinging over his white shirt, Warren's got his hands in his pockets when he approaches the tent, looking down at the puzzle pieces. His eyes flush a reflective silvery color, apparently not too worried about anyone seeing him use his ability, analyzing the pieces with a great deal of intrigue. "This puzzle is massive." he decides, leaving it at that so he can just keep staring.

Walking swiftly, the wiry figure of Wiley Schnook appears rounding the corner of a walking path that leads to the fountain. He pulls from his pocket the jigsaw puzzle he's brought to the party — 'skill?' is written on the back. He had, of course, wondered if it meant something at the time, if it was a jab at the fact that his following, his flock, were only his believers due to his ability, rather than due to any skill on his part to lead.

"This the place?" he asks a stranger, moving toward the table to peer at the white board behind Audrey, before noticing the woman is on the phone. He turns away so as not to try to eavesdrop, offering a shy smile to anyone who looks his way.

Tasha walks with Lynette, two puzzle pieces in her own hand, hers and Colette's. That a third one had made it to their mailbox with Tamara's name on it, Tasha is unaware of; Tamara must have known she was getting one and gotten her own mail out of the boxes in the lobby on that particular day.

"So this is definitely a first for me. I've lived in New York my whole life, and never have I gone to a group puzzle building activity in Central Park," Tasha says with a smirk as she and Lynette approach the group.

"I once went to a group mural painting in Los Angeles, but it was hardly shrouded in mystery like this puzzle business." Lynette chuckles a bit as she walks with the girl, nodding a bit, "So it's a first for me, too."

On the other side from Warren, having propped up a cheap folding table of his own for the extra space that isn't needed yet, Evan paces back and forth as he studies the layout. His own piece is there, along with the ones that he picked up from Nadira and Elle early on.

Squinting, he points to a set of like-colored pieces. "Too many of these are missing, I think," he offers to Audrey, evidently the organizer du jour. "I'd leave them for last if I were you."

Nadira studies the puzzle, arms folded over her chest. It's not particularly something she's been thinking too much about, especially since the last time she'd discussed the puzzle. "It's too big. Never going to find enough of the pieces to fill out out." She's distracted, clearly, mostly mumbling to herself. She idly wanders to get a cookie.

Though she has no puzzle pieces anymore, Delia Ryans is very curious about what the finished product looks like and the message behind it. She parked her bottom in a spot away from the masses, under a tree and prepared with a book, has been reading quietly. It's one of those times that she wishes she was a little braver, she could have stood up to the man that took her pieces away.

Of course, there are plenty of others in the park today.

Some slow as they make the circuit around the fountain, peering into Audrey's little set up like rubberneckers who are curious enough to look but not curious enough to ask questions. Others ignore her completely, too wrapped up in their own little worlds to care about what's going on at the tents. Mothers, nannies, families, anyone and everyone who can be imagined to enjoy a Saturday afternoon in Central Park while the weather is still tolerable. Still others come alone, to walk and remember, to sit and think.

Two such people sits on the concrete edge that borders the lake, facing the fountain and the tents. Beside him sits a much older man whose fingers tremble as he crumbles crusts of bread for the birds at his feet to eat. The younger man at his side, dressed in a turtleneck sweater and a pair of black slacks, holds the small paper bag from which his older companion draws out the stale bits of bread. Straws of blond hair peak out from under the flatcap he wears to shade his face from the sun.

"It can be done, everyone with a piece must have gotten it for a reason." Due to just how solidly silver they look, it's nearly impossible to tell what Warren's currently focused on, but his head is still scanning over the table. "I just hope it's not an elaborate prank."

A streak of hot pink and gray and creamy white suddenly appears, going not around the fountain but across the fountain, moving across the water before suddenly a puzzle piece is tossed on the table — a moment later the blur moves to the whiteboard, the letters comprising the word unhappy appearing almost all at once rather than one at a time, for eyes too slow to keep up with super speed. It takes a split second for Daphne's feet to stay still long enough to do that, and people looking in the right place might see her form solidify long enough to see the pixyish woman before the marker is dropped and once more, the blur moves away.

Wiley gives a skeptical shrug in Warren's direction. "Not everyone things like you do, sir. Some people probably opened it up and thought it was some weird joke and threw it away. Some people might not have gotten them — people move, people die, people get sick, people get evicted and thrown out of their apartments, and you're putting an awful lot of faith in the postal service to believe they are 100 percent accurate," he says cynically.

"A group mural would be fun. Do you paint?" Tasha asks Lynette curiously, even as she moves forward to put her puzzle pieces down on the table, glancing up at the whiteboard as the word 'unhappy' seems to appear out of the blue — or rather, out of the gray and pink streak. "Huh," she says, but moves to pick up the marker, as Audrey is still on the phone, adding the words 'both' and 'wouldn't' to the board.

"Not very well. But that was more like… paint by number. I can stay inside the lines," Lynette says with a gentle chuckle. The blur that comes by and drops a piece doesn't get a blink out of the woman, but she does watch it blur away again. "I could stand to have this group project over and done with, though."

"Ow!" exclaims Evan, taking a step back and grabbing one elbow with the opposite hand just after the vaguely Daphne-shaped blur zips past him. Did she hit him on purpose, or by accident, or was she just close enough for the air in her wake to push him around? Who knows. In any case, he recovers quickly enough to grab a couple more pieces as they're blown off the edge of the table and put them back into place.

Nadira circles around the pieces a bit as she studies them, then shakes her head. "Someone's messing with us. Seriously. Whomever put all this effort into this is sitting there laughing at us right now. It seems like so much work from so many people to come up with one message."

Reading a few more pages in her novel, Delia glances up just every once in a while to see the puzzle as it's being formed. Her eyebrows twitch together a little bit and she tries to make out some of the bits that they've already put in. "It's so huge…" she whispers to herself. Spying Tasha and Lynette a little ways away, she lifts her hand and offers a small wave. Hopefully they'll see it, if not, she'll just visit them later… much much later.


Her phone closes when the conversation on the other end is finished, glancing to evan as he tries to talk to her and state the obvious while she's conversing with someone on the other end of the digital line. Warren and his changed eye's gather raised brows from Audrey and a wrinkling of her nose at the obvious display of some kind of an ability, sliding her phone home to rest on her belt. Hair blows to the side as Daphne does her thing in and out, depositing word and puzzle in her stead.

"I don't think It's going to be solved with just a handful of piece. If anyone thinks so, they're delusional. But it won't be solved unless others come forward with their pieces." Audrey takes a look at the new piece dropped off, a look to Evan's pieces. "Will you be leaving those or will you be needing me to take a picture of them so that you can keep them?"

Warren's turns his head to look in Audrey's direction with those reflective eyes, then reaches into his jacket and pulls a piece out to offer her. His piece says evolved. "You can take a picture, I need that piece. Puzzles have a unique effect with my ability. Normally I'm inspired to build or repair something, and it's usually an easy task to figure it out, but a puzzle with so many missing pieces… it's one of the few true mysteries of construction."

Wiley tips his head, looking at the words on the board rather than the puzzle pieces. "I am willing to bet 'golden' and 'rule' go together," he says in his quavery voice. "Which pieces are those? See if they do, perhaps?" He nods toward the pieces, but he doesn't reach to move them around or start looking for the proper two. Instead he shoves his hands into his pockets and stares at the words, looking for more correlations, if any.

Tasha, however, frowns at the words, and moves forward to peer at the various pieces. "I never liked puzzles," she admits to Lynette. "I wanted to make my own pictures, not put together someone else's, you know?" One nervous hand comes to her mouth, then she turns to Warren. "Not giving your piece doesn't help though — then we all have this big puzzle with missing pieces. How does having one missing piece without the others help you?"

"I'm generally alright with a puzzle. But without all the pieces? Well, it certainly makes it a challenge, doesn't it?" Lynette does spot Delia there… but she's not approaching the girl here of all places. Later. She does step closer to stare at the pieces, though. Because this thing has been bothering her.

While Wiley and some of the others try to fit the words together, Evan turns a few pieces over to confirm whether they're all right side up - oh good, someone did already think of that - before returning his attention to the artwork on the front. Only when Audrey pipes up does he snap out of it again. "Oh, I e-mailed you pictures - that was you, right? - but… yeah, I guess you can keep them, I've got the e-mail copies too. And if this big set gets lost or anything, then mine would probably be pointless anyway…"

Taking a step back, he approaches Nadira, tilting his head to one side. "They might well be," he replies to her, "but it could also be someone's weird idea of a test of character. Personally, I'm just curious how far we can get with it."

"Three of these pieces were actually given to me. The rest have been recreated from photographs and being met up and allowed to photograph them. Some people just don't want to give them up" Evan's pieces are glanced to and she concedes, realizing his pieces and some of hers are duplicates. FOlks are gathering, trying to arrange them and she just stands back, letting them do it, just keeping an eye on things.

"Well, I don't appreciate people I don't know trying to 'test' my character. I'm not a fan of being judged." Nadira points out, shifting a little as her phone buzzes in her pocket. She reaches for it, pulling it open after checking the caller ID. "Hey!" A pause. "No, I'm not busy in a bit…. talk? Is it something bad?" A frown. "Okay, well, hopefully it's not too bad…. Tartarus? I guess we could. Dinner might work better for a conversation, though…. yeah, that works. Okay, I'll see you in a bit. Thanks." She shoves the phone back into a pocket, glancing at the pieces again. "Well, gotta go get ready to find out about semi-bad news…"

"This is only the tip of the iceberg, this puzzle is massive, there could be someone out there with more. And I'll need this if I find a postcognitive." Warren explains, not bothering to fix the few pieces he can see that fit together. "I'll be going when you have your picture."

Tasha moves to sort of push like-colored pieces toward one another, but none seem to fit that she can see. She chews her thumbnail and shakes her head, stepping back again. "I wonder if it's some kid for like a social studies project. Did you ever have to put a postcard on a balloon and see whose in the class got the farthest? Or like, where you get those chain letters from people seeing how many times the email can make it around the world by a certain date?" she asks Lynette, turning to see where the woman is waving and smiling when she sees Delia.

Her pushing of similar hued pieces brings 'this' close to 'golden' and 'rule' and she does piece them together. "All right, I'm done," she says with a smirk.

Meanwhile, Wiley frowns at the words again, and shakes his head. The message will be lost — much like the message he had to share with the world has been lost — because of people who threw away or ignored the pieces. He shakes his head. He's done his part in bringing the message together by bringing his piece, and turns to head back the way he came.

She had already been reaching for her camera, taking the piece from Warren and setting it off to a gridded portion of the table for this purpose. The front captured, flipped over, the back taken. A few taken, things adjusted on the camera before the puzzle piece is passed back to Warren. In a few days it will be added to the growing pile.

"Tasha. Darling. When I was young enough for chain letters, it was the early 90's and I certainly did not have email." Lynette delivers this with a smirk, though, amused. "But it could be. I hadn't thought of that possibility. I was assuming… activist. Or trickster."
Cripes, he's late. He wanted to see if he could get the puzzle thing together, but he's late. Great. Just great.

Jaiden finds a parking space, somehow, and, in a quick jog, heads to the park where people are supposed to meet according to the posters and the craigslist thing.

Evan purses his lips. "Good luck, whatever it is," he says to Nadira. "And if we do get this put together, and find out who sent them in the first place? I'll let you kick his ass first." That said, he starts back toward the tables, only to slow down as he spots someone else approaching at speed.

From her place under the tree, Delia looks up from her book and slowly gets up. She brushes off her pants and starts heading toward where the puzzle masters are doing their thing. "It looks like there's a lot of pieces missing. I had two… but they were sort of stolen. My words were been and boorish." She offers a slight smile and a rather apologetic shrug of her shoulders. The book in her hand is curled a little in both of her hands, the cover twisting outward to display a rather bawdy image.

Warren takes his piece back, then slips it into his jacket. "Your scowl looks familiar." he states with a raised eyebrow to Audrey, his silvery eyes fading back to a natural blue. "I'll keep in touch." With that, he slides his gloved hands into his pocket, then starts heading away from the table.

"Stop talking like you're old or something, Lynette," Tasha says with a smirk. Lynette is one of the few people who are an exception to the 'don't trust anyone over 30' rule — Raith is another. Her brow knits, and she moves to take two darker colored pieces to connect — when they do, she turns them over to look at the words. children, and indicriminate.

"Hey, Delia," Tasha says to the redhead she'd left at Gun Hill not so long ago. "If I'd known you were coming, I'd have asked you to come with Lynnie and me." She looks apologetic as she smiles at the tall woman.

As activity in the tent picks up and the pieces find small homes in pairings, more people slow to peek into the little gathering. One of these dips in - a young man dressed for jogging. He pulls the tendril headphones of his iPod out of his ears and squints at the board and then the pieces. "What's going on?" he asks, taking the time to stretch while he's stopped. "Some sort of picnic?"

Jaiden is 29, therfore is on the cusp of not being trusted. As he runs up to the table he detours to the tree Delia sits under, giving her a smile. "Hey there, Delia." The gathering is forgotten for a moment, his hands in his pockets. "How's the gathering going so far?"

Lynette looks at Tasha with a smirk and a chuckle. "No, really! I used to type book reports on a typewriter." Horror or horrors. As others approach them, she turns only to be met with the girl of her dreams. So to speak. "Delia," she says, smoothly, "What a surprise." And she even gets a smile! To Jaiden, she adds, "Frustratingly, I'm afraid."

Evan turns and nods to Jaiden, moving to the side so he can get a look at what's bene put together so far. "I can almost say," he offers, pointing out the scant few edge pieces, "that the war is within measurable distance of its end." Stepping back further, he rubs his eyes and looks around, eyes eventually alighting on Delia's book. What the heck does that title mean, other than 'guaranteed six-figure sales in the first printing'?

Smiling up at Jaiden, Delia's cheeks get a little bit of a pinkish glow. "Hey Jaiden, uhm, I didn't know you were coming. I would have uhm…" Her voice drifts off and she shrugs, "Maybe asked you if you wanted to come jogging with me." She stands next to him and smiles widely at Tasha and Lynette, "It's okay, I left home almost right after you came by. I needed to blow off a little bit of energy and running up and down the stairs isn't too quiet." Looking down at the puzzle, she wrinkles her nose a little and shakes her head. "My words aren't in there… who knows how many other pieces are missing. But.. it's two pictures, right?"

"There's always the roof. I don't live on the top floor, so I don't care if you run up there," Tasha says a little mischievously before she eyes Jaiden, arching a brow at Delia, as if to say 'This must be the dream guy, right?'

However, she turns to look up at the runner whose joined them to check out the progress of the puzzle. "A bunch of people got random puzzle pieces with words on them, and so people are trying to put them together. There's words on the back, so we're guessing there's a message of some sort, once it's all done, but I don't think we have most of the pieces," Tasha explains with a shrug.

The runner, glad to have an answer to at least go on, steps a little closer to see what words have been put together and what still remain mysteries. "Weird lookin' picture," he says with a shake of his head before he points to the piece with can printed on the back. "It's got faces. How did you all find each other? I mean, if they got sent to a bunch of people. You all live in the same building or something?"

"Craigslist, flyers, chat boards and good old fashions paper advertisement" Audrey offers to the runner, standing behind the table and watching people fiddle, fit them together, leave some, and take pictures of others who want to take their back. "I'll be around for another hour then I'll be packing all this up but you can take a card in case you come across any more and want to mail them or email pictures"

Turning to look over at the woman in charge, Lynette tilts her head a bit before she queries, "Is there a way we could leave contact information? I don't know about anyone else, but I want to know what this is if you end up finishing it."

"I've been putting up some fliers too," Evan adds in, "but just here and there when I had time. I don't know how many of these people would've gotten together if it was just me." Yay for people with good organizational skills and way too much free time (even if they wish they didn't).

The runner digs a smart phone from his pocket and snaps a few pictures before he opens a memo and starts to type, fingers flying deftly over the keys. "I'm a reporter with the Times - I can't promise anything, but maybe my editor will run something." He looks to Tasha, then Audrey. "Can I have your names? For quotes?" It would seem he's already takka-takka-ing what the two have told him.

Backing away slightly, Delia uses the large Australian, Tasha, and Lynette to lose herself from the reporter's view. When he speaks directly to Tasha, the redhead pulls her ballcap down a little and steps nonchalantly closer to Jaiden. The smile given back to the young woman confirms her silent question, the nod that follows it isn't even needed, but it's there. The tall redhead leans over to take one of the cards, inspecting it carefully before slipping it into the pocket of her hoodie.

Her eyes widen just a touch when Tasha realizes the man is a photographer. She can't give her real name in front of people like Delia and Lynette, and yet if she uses her false name and is in a photo, it could be a problem. "Wow, the Times?" she says a moment later, to try to give a reason for her nervousness. "That's great. Tasha Oliver. But no photos with me in them, okay? I'm only 17 and my parents would kill me if they saw me answering random Craiglist ads clear over here," she rambles a little, backing up so that she's behind the reporter and not likely to be caught by his camera.

Audrey offers a pen and the back of a business card to Lynette. "Put your information down there, if you like, I can try and keep people up to date if they like." There's a glance to the runner. "Audrey Hanson." She doesn't tack on Agent, she's not doing this officially on the job with full credentials. It also might scare away others, being in the vicinity of a big bad homesec agent. A card slid his way so that he can take it and she's not required to spell her name letter by letter. "If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me at these numbers"

Lynette does take the card to jot an email address down and also gives a fake name there, just in case, but she passes it to Audrey, "Thank you. I'd appreciate it." She does take one of the other cards for herself, tucking it into a pocket before she turns to Tasha again. And she seems to take it upon herself to act as a sort of guardian from the photographer, as she slides an arm around the girl's waist, gives the man the dismissive sort of smile most people give unwanted solicitors, and helps guide Tasha out of range.

Evan is plenty familiar with this routine, exchanging cards with Audrey and handing one of his to the reporter as well. There's a moment's hesitation - how much of a risk is there that someone will look him up and notice he isn't registered? - but he quickly decides that it would look more suspicious if he suddenly started acting reticent now. Security through obscurity has gotten him this far…

The reporter eagerly takes one of Audrey's cards as well as Evan's, but he seems more interested in taking pictures of the puzzle pieces than the people gathered. "Thanks," he says with a nod, pocketing the phone and cards together. He nods to everyone in one sweeping motion before he grins and jogs off.

People seem to be trickling out, but others linger to study the pieces a bit longer. Toward the end of the gathering, the men sitting feeding the birds stand and make their way around the fountain, and like so many before them, their steps slow when they near the tent with it's tables, white board, puzzle pieces, and camera. The younger, taller man leans to say something to his older companion, and, giving his shoulder a reassuring squeeze, turns into the tent. He doesn't look at Audrey or anyone else who still may be hanging about eating cookies and socializing, but rather goes directly to the array of pieces. A smile curls into one corner of his mouth, and he picks up a lighter colored piece. lethal is written on the back of it. He carefully arranges it so that it sits diagonal to skill?, at it's upper right-hand corner.

When he looks up from the puzzle in progress, his pale eyes twinkle, and he nods to Audrey before returning to his companion to help the older man through the park.

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