Point of Intersection


faulkner_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Point of Intersection
Synopsis The paths of two of the survivors of a terrible tragedy cross again by chance.
Date October 8, 2020

Near Eric Doyle Memorial Library

The onset of evening brings a warm glow from street lamps. Pools of an orangey yellow fill sidewalks and spill into streets so those who still walk everywhere don't have to be in the dark anymore. Jac Childs still remembers a time when the electricity that powered the lamps was intermittent enough so that most of her walking seemed to be in the dark once the sun was down. She's glad that's no longer the case. It means walking home from the library, as she is this evening, even less of a gamble.

Two large and heavy books are resting in the teenager’s arms, with the one on top balanced and opened, several pages in. It's possible there is at least one more in the backpack that rides against her back, given how it hangs from her shoulders. Jac’s attention splits between the open book and where she's walking. It's probably a skill she's practiced at a lot, since her pace is steady, not shuffling or swaying.

Isaac Faulkner shuffles along the sidewalk, heading towards the Doyle Library with a book tucked under his arm. The street lights are a convenience he'd never really appreciated much, before, but now he's thankful for them…

…and also a bit annoyed about it. The fact that he has to be thankful for street lights is yet another irksome reminder of his diminished state. He, unlike Jac, is not paying a great deal of attention to where he's going — only the bare minimum needed to keep from stepping off into the road or walking into a shrubbery or something; he's got his hands tucked into his pockets, the hood of his grey hoodie up, and his gaze is on the sidewalk as he walks.

Blue eyes tick up as fingers turn a page, then drop down as the paper settles into place. Movement ahead of her is registered a step later, causing Jac’s eyes to come up again but too late to fully avoid a collision with Isaac Faulkner. She stutters a step, twists enough to not take or give the full brunt of two opposing forces.

Books and teen spill onto the sidewalk, but at least it seems no real harm has been done.

“I'm sorry.” Jac is quick to apologize as she begins to untwist and start picking herself up from the ground. “I'm sorry, I should've been looking.” Fingers inspect tender spots on elbows as she gets herself turned around into a seated position. Her head tilts, turning a vaguely anxious expression to Faulkner. “Are you okay?”

Faulkner looks up a split second before impact, some instinct warning him of proximity… but not quite quickly enough. He twists to avoid the worst of it, but again, not quite quickly enough. He's pushed back a half-step, but the girl ends up on the ground.


"I'm… fine…" he says, grimacing. "I…" he trails off, grimacing again. "Sorry. Wasn't watching where I was going," he mumbles… then he frowns. "Wait…" he says, eyes narrowing; this girl, he's realizing, looks awfully familiar.

“No, I…” Jac’s claim for fault stumbles, interpreting Faulkner’s wait for meaning anything else. Even though she remembers him from somewhere, maybe it's one of those faces she's seen enough times in passing, she shakes her head anyway.

“I wasn't paying attention,” she repeats. Hands find the two books she'd been carrying, drags them close enough to pick up. The teen directs a side eye up, catching Faulkner’s look. Her brows knit, confusion rippling over her concern.

"You… you were on the plane," Faulkner says slowly, regarding the girl for a moment. He lets out a flat chuckle. "You doing some research, too?" he asks, one eyebrow rising; his gaze shifts towards the books, trying to make out titles.

Jac’s eyes narrow slightly at the statement, and she stands for a better look at the man. “You were too,” she settles on, after a moment. She'd seen him running back into the wreckage, and he'd been kept in the same area in the Canadian hospital. The books in question are held against her chest, afraid she might drop them again. They're obviously older, hefty reference books that have probably been buried in a basement until she rooted them out.

“Yes.” Jac shifts the books so that the titles can be seen. The Merck Manuals and Biological and Medical Aspects of Electromagnetic Fields. Just a little light reading.

"Good," Faulkner answers. "So was I." His gaze returns to the girl's face… and he pauses. "As we've not been formally introduced — I'm Isaac. Isaac Faulkner," he says, offering a nod.

Then, trying not to let too much hope show: "Having any luck with the research?"

“I'm Jac,” the teen replies. Her arms shift, adjusting the weight and her hold of the textbooks. “Childs. I… um.” She hesitates on answering, a perplexed look crossing her face. The research and work that she's been doing hasn't exactly led to anything they didn't already know, but that's how the deductive method works. Still, she half cringes as she tries to grin, shrugging.

“Not exactly? I mean…” Jac looks at the books in her arms, then swivels a quick glance to the library not too far away. “I have some ideas to try. Theories.” She turns back and looks up at Faulkner, brows over blue eyes knitted with uncertainty. “Are you?”

"Not a lot," Faulkner admits. "Save that our condition at the moment can only be described as deeply abnormal. If the numbers I overheard are anything close to accurate on the white blood cells, we should probably be dead or suffering varying degrees of extreme unpleasantness instead of…" he trails off, gesturing. "…going on evening trips to the library."

He sighs. "I'm not to the theory phase yet. Not even close."

“Abnormal is a… gentle way to put it.” Probably not the way Jac would likely describe the numbers and definitely not the way she's heard them described. “I've been working with someone else from the crash, Zachery Miller?” She pauses only long enough to see if Faulkner recognizes the name or not. “We've been trying different tests, not just blood tests but bone marrow and… and spinal fluids.”

She shifts the books again, glancing along the way she'd been walking. Then, tilting her head as a let’s move sort of motion, she wanders from the middle of the sidewalk to the space along the building front. “It's… everything is high,” she continues while taking a slow step. “Scary high. But I think… there's things to try still. Things that aren't blood or x rays.”

Oh yes, Faulkner definitely recognizes that name. "Doctor Miller," he says, his expression flattening. He regards Jac a bit more critically for a moment… she doesn't look like she's in danger of melting. And, to be fair, Miller had done his part in resolving that entire incident.

Faulkner lets out a breath and moves to follow. "Well. Sounds like you've been proactive about this. That's good," he says, nodding. Then he glances over. "What kinds of things were you thinking about?"

“Well, like the electromagnetic field.” The teen’s tone lilts with a question, although she continues without actually asking anything. “I’ve been reading about it, about the waves and… I mean they’re all over, there’s different types, and we put them off normally, just not so strongly as we are since the plane crash.” Leaning against the side of the building, Jac looks up at Faulkner to see how well he’s following. “I thought maybe one of the causes is we’re transmitting information. Radios use electromagnetic waves to send and receive, so I wonder if that’s why ours are reading so high.”

Isaac raises an eyebrow at Jac's theory. It sounds a little crazy… but then, no more crazy than every other thing that's happened to him lately. He remains silent for a moment, mulling it over. "It's not impossible," he allows, falling in beside Jac.

"If information is being transmitted, though… who's receiving it?" He frowns; it's a pertinent question, but not a particularly useful one. "Better question. What kind of receiver could pick it up, and from what range?"

“I don't know.” Jac approaches the who part of the question first. “I don't even know if we could tell where it's being sent to. Maybe, but… Right now I just want to prove or disprove the theory. After, if I'm right, then we trace the signal.”

As for the other half of the question, the teen looks to the street. Off in the distance, just barely cutting through the darkness, is the tiny beacon that marks the radio station antenna. “WSZR has a pretty powerful transceiver. If a ham radio can't pick up a signal, that one I think can. That's… if it's radio waves.” She looks up at Faulkner again, open and honest that she doesn't actually know what sort of waves they're dealing with. “I mean I don't think we're radioactive, my mom’s houseplants are still alive and no one is sick, so I doubt that our fields are made up of gamma waves.”

Faulkner frowns. "I should hope not. I'm betting at the lower end of the spectrum." The frown deepens, becoming uncertain for a moment. "Maybe below radio waves?"

Is there anything below radio waves? He isn't sure; it's been awhile since he's actually studied electromagnetism. "Or at least, below what most radios usually pick up." He seems a little more confident about that, though a thoughtful look still lingers on his face. Ham radios go lower than normal radios, don't they? Hm. "Keep me posted."

“Ham radios are pretty powerful for their size,” Jac says. Her tone implies she's thinking aloud, using Isaac’s presence and commentary as a sounding board for her thoughts. “They get used a lot because they pick up shortwave signals. They're used for emergencies because Morse code transmits really well over them.”

Jac’s spoken thoughts trail into a brief silence. If it's not radio waves, she isn't really sure what else the heightened electromagnetic field they're all putting out could mean. “Would you… would you be interested in um… boosting the signal?” She looks up at Faulkner, eyebrows lifting along her brow. “It's harmless. Saltwater amplifies the waves and you just sit in it. In a pool, I mean.”

Faulkner does not seem entirely certain about this… on the other hand, nothing he's doing with his time seems to be doing a whole lot either. "Sitting in a pool, huh," he echoes, regarding Jac for a moment.

Then he shrugs. "Sure, why not. When and where?" he asks. He's not convinced anything will come out of this, but right now he's got plenty of time; he can afford to donate some. Then, as an afterthought: "Who else is in on this?"

Jac exhales, grinning briefly with relief when Faulkner agrees. “Zachery Miller. We’re testing the theory soon. Depending on the findings will determine how to proceed. If it's busted then, obviously, we won't continue but if it's confirmed or plausible…” Only testing will reveal how it plays out. “I really want to use the radio tower, especially if it works, because then we could really get a clear signal just by the size of it.”

The mention of Miller again provokes a look… but, as before, Jac doesn't seem to be suffering from any horrific melting diseases. "Alright," he says, trying not to grimace. He runs a hand down his face, composing his expression into something more neutral. "Keep me posted, and I'll be there."

“Thanks.” Jac’s expression melts between relieved and confused. On the one hand, there's another person willing to entertain some weird science. On the other, “You've got …I don't know. Something you don't like about Doctor Miller?”

Isaac glances sidelong at Jac, then looks away. He is silent for a moment, considering. "Doctor Miller worked on… someone I knew," he says slowly. "There were complications. She was terribly sick for awhile."

He lets out a slow breath. "To his credit: he made it right. He went to considerable lengths to do so, but in the end she recovered fully. It's just… it's hard to forget that kind of thing. When someone you care about is as sick as she was."

“Oh.” Jac frowns faintly, apologetic in the way offered by those without understanding. She's never experienced anything like what Isaac describes, has no point of reference really. She's only known Zachery to be eccentric and persistent, almost to a fault. “I'm glad your friend is better. And that… Doctor Miller was able to make it right. He's… kind of like an onion.”

"There is that, yes," he sighs… though the like an onion comment draws a faintly amused glance. "Like an onion? Gives people indigestion and tears? I suppose I could agree with that," he deadpans, only the faint flicker of a grin he can't quite hide giving away the joke.

“Some people like him as is, others learn to tolerate.” Like an onion. Jac shrugs at the analogy she chose to use. “When I first met him he… pretended to have a heart attack or something. It was really stupid. But then, when we were all in Canada, he was the only one to actually include me in collaborating and not just write me off.”

Isaac is silent for a moment, considering; after a moment, he nods once. "One way or another, we are all in this together. And working with a doctor who actually knows what this is like, on our side of things, could potentially do us a lot of good." He glances over to Jac again, and this time his expression is dead serious. "Just. Tread carefully," he says mildly. "Make sure you're aware of the risks."

Isaac's face looks like he's eaten something rotten for a moment, and he sighs, raising a hand to rub at his forehead. "That's. All I'm going to say on that. We've got issues to solve, and god knows conventional science doesn't seem to be having much luck. Maybe… maybe a little mad science is what we need right now." His expression firms. "But I intend to be careful about what risks I take. I'm not going to be able to do myself or anyone else any good if I'm dead."

“Yeah.” What Jac really means is I know, but she's making an effort to take all the reminders of caution with a grain of salt. She knows it's well meant, even if she feels chaffed by it. “We aren't doing anything crazy or dangerous. There's no electrical currents being sent into water to see if we can boost anything and no one is injecting ballistics gel under anyone’s skin. I think we’re pretty safe.”

"Yeah," Isaac agrees distractedly, his expression focused off somewhere in the distance as he considers… then he blinks, eyes coming back to Jac. "Yeah," he agrees, mustering a wry smile. "Sounds safe enough."

He exhales. "You need my contact info? For the experiment?"

“Oh.” Right. It's possible that Zachery has that information, since he's got most everyone’s contact info, but it can't hurt to have it herself. Jac shifts her books so she can dig her phone out of a pocket. Once it's in hand, she thumbs on the screen and fusses with it until she's gotten to one for new contacts. “Here,” she says, holding the phone out to Faulkner. “I'll text you, after you're done.” So he's got her info, too.

Isaac nods, taking the phone; his fingers tap rapidly on the screen, entering his number and tapping the button to save. "Sounds good," he says, passing the phone back, then reaching into his hoodie's pocket to withdraw his own phone; a few swipes across the screen unlock it. "Ready."

Thumbs tap quickly against the screen of her phone, and a very brief, utterly concise message is sent.

its jac

Once it reads as delivered, the young woman looks up from the phone. It's returned to her pocket, brows raised as she looks at Faulkner. “I'll text you once I know if I'll even be able to use the radio station. Or… whatever else I come up with.” Maybe she can find a way around using the radio array. “Anyway. I need to get home.”

"Got it," Faulkner says, nodding and tucking the phone back into a pocket. "And I," he says, grimacing, "should probably do the same. It's not getting any earlier. So long, Jac. Good to meet you under better circumstances than last time," he says, giving a lazy wave before turning to walk away.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License