Second Impressions


mack_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Second Impressions
Synopsis Peyton drops off supplies and fills Mack in on the whereabouts of their fearless leader.
Date November 25, 2009

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

Beneath the library, in the labrynthe of tunnels known as home to the Mole People- errr, End Game, rather -the sounds of progress echo through the hallways like ghosts of Christmas past. Well, okay, maybe its just some loud banging and shuffling noises; maybe in his mind, Mack just wants to pretty up dirty work, okay? Anyway, there he is, slowly dragging debris out of a few rooms all in a row. Mostly tables, wall material; whatever, really. Empty space is being made, here, and apparently at some point there has been or is to be some sweeping. A few big grey plastic trash cans are here, one of them almost filled up, though he apparently can't bring himself to throw away any books- these are stacked neatly outside the room he's working on. It may be cold outside, but this is tough work. He has stripped off his nice jacket and button up; they're draped over a railing to the nearest stairs.

"Hellooo, don't shoot, it's me, Peyton," calls the young woman as she follows the noises to where Mack works. She carries bags, and in the lobby is a shopping cart full of more supplies. She had found the shopping cart, stowed it away in an alley near the edge of midtown, and after shopping, loaded up a cab's trunk with the new supplies, then transferred them to the cart, and then walked the cart to the library — no easy task, given the shoddy roads that have seen no maintenance since the bomb three years ago. "Hey, Mack," she says when she finally finds the source of the noise. "Did Cardinal tell you he's going away for a while?" she asks tentatively.

The girl yells out before Mack even hears her. He jumps a little, but he recovers before she rounds the corner, Thank the Maker. He's working in a pair of trusty old jeans and a wifebeater, but its good she yelled- he is still wearing his holsters. Dust covers so much of his upper body that his white wifebeater is a drab gray and his tattoos are almost invisible underneath. "Hey, girl. Naw I haven't heard from him since… the other night. Off on vacation?" He looks curiously at her bags but doesn't ask any questions yet.

Heading to one of the tables, Peyton sets down the bags, and hops up on the table, legs swinging. "Um. He's off on some mission I guess. So is Liz and Claire and Abby and Magnes and Cat, and pretty much everyone else I've ever met it seems like," she says with a shake of her head. "Do you know who the Vanguard is?" She's only recently learned, so she doesn't expect it's a household sort of name.

"Heard the name around from my days on SCOUT, but I never looked into 'em myself, no." Mack seems happy enough to take a break. He stands up one of the broom ends and leans on it, using his other hand to pull free a smoke and light it. If he's going to get cancer cleaning out these catacombs, he's damn well going to smoke while he does it. "Take it that was a mistake?"

She shrugs. "I never even heard the name til the other day, when Cardinal came to tell me he's going to fucking Argentina," she says. "Liz is in Russia with Cat and Abby and Claire's in Africa. Apparently the Vanguard has a nuclear weapon hidden somewhere they're supposed to find and try to keep from going off." She says it coolly enough, but her eyes hold worry.

Mack gives a 'hmm' sound as he drags on his cigarette. "Wonder if its a 'weapon' or a 'person'. Whatd'ya do if its the second? Me and Will used to try to figure that out… well, shit, they're all off runnin' around the fuckin' globe and they leave us here to clean out the cobwebs." At this, Mack spits. Of course, its just going to end up absorbing into dust as he brooms it later, meaning he'll be the one to clean it up, but the gesture is made all the same. He pushes the broom up against the wall and takes his other glove off, stuffing it in his back pocket. "Whatchya got?" He points to the bag.

"Buncha air beds and some bedding for them, some more LED lanterns, throw rugs, tarps and caulk for leaks, fun stuff like that," she says, with a chuckle. "Some of it's down in the lobby in a shopping cart," she says, as obviously she couldn't carry that all in by herself with just her hands. "I don't think it's a person. It didn't sound like it was a person," she says with a frown. "Anyway, he said to work with Sparrow on the tunnels and getting this place more livable, and some woman named Tamara's in charge while he's gone. So if she says to do something, we're supposed to listen to her." She tilts her head. "Do you know a Tamara? I've never even heard of her."

Mack shrugs. "Never heard the name, m'self. But I barely even listen to Cardinal. I'm also the one that tends to make terrible decisions, so we can just keep that between us, huh?" Mack frowns as he thinks about it, then drops his smoke into the pile of stuff he's just swept up. "Want a hand carrying the rest in?"

"Sure. Or we can just wheel the barrow, right?" she says with a chuckle, but begins to head back toward the lobby of the library. "So did you ever figure out what the heck happened to you that one night? Or is it a mystery for life?" she asks over her shoulder. Curious about his power, Peyton doesn't want to come right out and ask him how it works, either.

Mack follows a few steps behind, absent mindedly wiping some of the dust off as they walk. "Don't know for sure. I'm pretty sure there was something in my drink, but the question is- did they know way too much about how my mutie shit works, and succeed? Or were they trying to kill me and fail? I don't like it, but I couldn't find anything out for sure. I'm kinda in the wind right now. Working down here, nobody knows where I am, you know?"

Peyton frowns at that. "Do you do anything that would make you someone people would want to kill? I mean, besides just being a mutant at all, since that's enough for half the population, it seems, fucking bigots," she babbles a bit. Reaching the wheelbarrow, she takes out a few bags to lighten it up, and lets him grab the actual handles. "How many people would know what you can do?"

"Anybody with a internet connection. I'm registered. And yeah, I'm sure plenty of people want me dead. I was kind of second-in-command to SCOUT when Will Harvard put it together. Broke up a couple robberies when people were first figuring out they could use their power to personal gain, and we were the ones who went in when the old PARIAH outfit went down. Well, when they threw their expendables away to die or get arrested and then blew up their fuckin' safehouse, with some of us still inside." Still a little bitter? Maybe. "I've kind of had a habit of being a wrench in people's gears."

"Sounds like it. Well, that's too big of a list to narrow down, but hopefully they think you're dead and aren't going to come after you again," she says. Way to look on the bright side of things, Polyanna! "So you can die and come back to life? How many tim

"Yeah. Hopefully." Mack takes the offered bags, slipping some all the way up to the crook in his elbow to take more of the load. "And no, I can't die and come back to life. If I die, I'm dead. I just… don't die easy. But I'm assuming if you cut off my head or take out my heart, thats all she wrote for me." With one bag-laden hand he gestures to his face. The sunglasses, the faint grid lines that are faded but still there. "And if the injury is bad enough, it doesn't just go away… ah shit, listen to me ramble on. Sorry."

"It's okay. I asked," Peyton says with a shrug, heading back down the hallway to bring the bags to the room with the generator. "I can see what others see. But I have to know the person I'm looking through — or, well, see them, at least, before I can do it," she explains. "I'm supposed to check in with Cardinal once in a while, see if he doesn't need rescuing. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to tell if they need rescuing or not, or how I'll know where they are, but I'll try."

"Well, shit, resourceful girl like you will figure it out. That seems neat… and I'm not trying to sound like an ass. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Literally." This is said as he makes his way back down behind her, setting bags down in something akin to their appropriate places. "Hey, I'm sorry if I was a dick or anything the other night. I don't always make the greatest first impressions."

"The only thing is if I'm walking in their shoes, I'm blind to my own. Not really safe, you know? I wonder if I could ever manage to see both … like Brian, he can see what his other selves see, and what he sees or something at the same time. Must look like a spider vision or fly or whatever." She sets her own supplies down and shakes her head. "You weren't, and even if you were, you know, you were confused and had amnesia and shit. So first impressions, who cares. I'm not the same person I used to be, and I hope people won't judge me for what I used to do for the rest of my life."

"Pretty unique perspective." Mack rifles through bags, taking stuff out and setting it in convienent places. Or at least, his version of convienent places. Of course, if she doesn't like where he puts the stuff, she can tell him. And if someone else doesn't? Well, thats just too damn bad. "Just make sure someone is watching your back, if you can. When you're looking through someone else, I mean. Seeing as I'm unemployed, chances are I won't be doin' anything else anyway."

Peyton smiles. "Thanks. Yeah. People know, if we're doing something that's dangerous and I'm checking to see what's going on — I basically get led around like the blind kids on Little House on the Prairie or something. You know, the ones who were always singing Go Tell It On the Mountain," she says. He probably has no clue what she's talking about. "Yeah, my parents locked all the interesting channels when I was a kid. All I got was old reruns and Dr. Phil." She puts some more items away. "So did you lose your job because of your ability or…?"

Mack concientiously moves to putting things away a few steps away, as he lights another cigarette. "No. I was registered before I started. I was on SCOUT- its an acronym, but we were just a special tactics unit of the NYPD. The city's first stab at forming a task force designed to investigate evo crimes and, more importantly, to handle any tense situations. Like a mutie SWAT team. Even before that, when I was a Detective on the homocide desk, they didn't care. But this was the couple years surrounding the bomb- nobody gave a shit in the Emergency Services field WHO you were- what color, gender, age, evo or non-evo -as long as you did your job. I quit a few months back… it… it was a shitty year."

Having never actually had a job, Peyton can't quite know what it feels like, but she nods sympathetically. "That sucks. I'm sorry," she says, softly. "Well. I don't live here, but I'm trying to help out but I suck at the physical work. Let me know since it seems you're working on that if there's anything you need me to buy, okay? And if you need a hot meal, or whatever? I'm in the Templeton building on the Upper West side, right across from the west entrance to the Park."

Mack smiles, deciding now is as good a time as any to take a break. This consists of finishing his smoke leaning up against a wall; though he at least slides down to sit on his butt. "Thanks, but I still have some money stashed away from being undercover. I'm not much of a handout guy. But if I find something for this place, I'll let you know." Now he flicks the smoke back into that trash pile. "Though, I'm not gonna lie, if you really tried I think you could convince me to let you buy some pizza and maybe a beer. Just sayin'."

Peyton laughs. "Don't worry. I didn't mean it as a handout anyway, but you know. The food here is gonna be pretty basic, and if you're out in the rest of civilization, you're free to stop by. That's all. And a pizza and beer, that I can handle. If you clean up and walk me out of the ruins, we'll stop by a pizza place. Sound like a deal?"

Mack nods, a little grin forming on his lips. "That, I can do." He makes good on his word, using a bandana from his back pocket and a water bottle to clean most of the dust off. And once he puts his button up back on, he actually looks pretty presentable… in a ghetto chic kind of way, anyway.

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