Silver Black Phantom Bike


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Scene Title Silver Black Phantom Bike
Synopsis A meeting is made after Doc Chesterfield finds out how Alia escaped custody.
Date February 21, 2011


Harlem stretches from the East River all the way to the Hudson, miles of tpacked residential districts filled with refugees and vagrants, a neighborhood stricken with crime and poverty. Harlem was, and has been for generations, one of the urban hearts of New York City. Before the bomb, this borough of Manhattan was the center of the Afircan American community in New York City. Now after the destruction of Midtown and the wake of social devastation brought in by the bomb, the borough has seen better days. Much of Harlem suffers from the same plight as much of New York — Overpopulation and crime in the wake of the collapse of infrastructure in 2006. With major traffic arteries cut off, power and water only recently restored, the area was in chaos for those first few terrifying weeks after the blast.

Before the bomb, Harlem had been shaping up, cleaning up its crime rate and working towards becoming a safe place for its residents. All of that hard work was laid to waste in a single night. Many of the buildings on the southern side of the neighrhood bordering on Central Park were gutted by arson in the chaotic weeks following the bomb, and the vast majority of them haven't been torn down yet, leaving the southern edge of the neighborhood a burned out and dangerous ruin. Even if it wasn't for the fires, the looting, vandalism and crime that spiked shortly after the bomb only made things worse for the Harlem residents, followed by the electricity and water stoppage from the damage done to the city's infrastructure.

With the major highways mostly repaired, Harlem is in a process of reconstruction and revitalization. Most of the neighborhood's historic landmarks still remain, and the region surrounding 125th street continues to be the urban pulse of Harlem as a whole, and from that street it's hard to tell anything has changes. It is the center of the reconstruction movement, constantly packed with repair crews, construction workers and maintence teams.

It's been a few days in coming, this encounter, since it was arranged. She waits in a quiet section of Harlem, one picked for the small likelihood of observers nearby, for the other musician to arrive. Obscuring her appearance is still easy, because it's February in New York and still cold. Cat is wearing layers, one of them a parka with a raised hood drawn tight to partly cover her face, the others making it not so immediately obvious she's got womanly curves. Eyes sweep the area, tracking anyone who might be around, faces are all committed to her instant memory.

Instant super memory will have a nice little snapshot to hold onto for eternity in the form of a bike speeding down the street a block away. The kind that is propelled by feet and legs, not the motorcycle variety. No instruments are strapped to the bike, which is good, because a misscalculation suddenly sends it flying. The front wheel catches on something and it starts to flip forward, the kind of crash that would ruin just about anyone's day—

Except there's a sudden shift in her weight, and she jumps off the bike and lands a few feet away. Ruffled and unbalanced, but amazingly on her feet.

The brunette's hair falls to her shoulders, which house a silver hand knit scarf, and she looks back at her wrecked bike, with a twisted tire.

"Ah man," she exclaims as she steps closer and kicks at it. With her back to Cat, the identifying piece of clothing she said she'd be wearing can be seen… A hooded coat with a logo for the Grateful Dead on the back.

It's a bit of a divergence from the plan, that the drummer would have this particular disaster on the way to their meeting. Cat observes with calm interest, debating in her mind whether or not to approach given the potential of eyes drawn to her. The decision made is to wait a few moments, see if anyone approaches her or raises a fuss about her acrobatic display, though she steps forward and nonchalantly meanders in that direction.

As one boot is placed before the other, Cat's mental commentary is her moves remind a bit of Monica Dawson.

Or sheer luck! Though her reaction was a little quick for that. Adel bends over and grabs the bike, which doesn't weight terribly much, and hefts it over a shoulder as she looks around, trying to find the face—

A face covered by a parka.

Not seeming to recognize anyone, she looks up at the street signs and continues the rest of the way on foot. With a twisted wheel and a chain hanging from her poor, poor bike.

The only sign that she'd been in a crash on her is the slight uncomfortable limp to her walk. She didn't land perfectly.

As they're now headed toward each other, the woman in parka and the bike-carrying Grateful Dead fan who limps, Cat continues along that course and when just a few feet away chooses to speak. "That was impressive," she begins. "Thought sure you were gonna do a header into the pavement and wreck your skull, woman." A bit of a grin flashes, her face being more readily visible for Adel at these close quarters now, as she asks a whimsical question.

"Were you headed out to see Uncle John's Band, or just a Sugar Magnolia?"

"Oh, I've always been more an Eyes of the World girl," Adel says, with a wide grin as she puts the bike down and rests it against the building wall. No one will really want to steal it now, but she still doesn't want to move to far away from it. "My skull's totally not wrecked. It would certainly suck to crack my head open in that way, too." She rubs her head as if just thinking about it hurts a bit.

"It's a shame we're both too young to have seen them play when Jerry was alive," Cat laments quietly, taking the opportunity to segue and address topics more directly at hand. The grin returns, she seeks to match it with eye contact. "You know, I recently had a friend come back from an unexpected emergency, she'd taken up an interest in Meat Loaf."

Silent afterward, she waits to see what reaction this draws from the drummer.

"Oh, man, who isn't," Adel says with a grin. "I mean Aday would have been an awesome surname to hijack, but Adel Aday just sounds so weird, and Adel Lee Aday wasn't much better— And Adel Loaf— definitely not." It seems she's as much a ramblier, as she segways along seamlessly. The limp is mostly gone when she steps forward and puts a hand out in offer. "Adel Starkey. Nice to meet you."

"A true drummer's name, that one." Her gloved right hand extends to take Adel's and shake it once, then release, just long enough to feel that her gloves aren't in any way cheap, they might well be something like Isotoner or better, and her grip is much firmer than most women's without being painful.

"It's a distinct pleasure to meet you also, Adel. I'm Cat."

"Good thing Dire Wolf wasn't my favorite or you might have taken it as a threat," Adel says with a laugh, pulling her own hand back, which doesn't even have a glove. There's nothing expensive about her clothes. In fact half of it looks like something one would pull out of a bin in good will.

"But yeah, drummer definitely went better with Starkey, but I can play the guitar too, and keyboards, but drumming's my passion."

"Oh, you're more than just a drummer, Adel," Cat rejoins with a quiet laugh, one which indicates she knows things. "You're also into rescues, and giving lost women your clothes." It's left to hang out there, letting Adel herself finally add the pieces together and figure out who she's talking with.

But at the same time, her memory abilities are triggered by the woman's chosen name, sounds of Ringo's voice and drumming style and even the lyrics of tunes he wrote himself running through her head.

Instead of denying it, Adel bounces a little on her toes for a moment, a gesture of excitement and joy. "Someone had to! Though I'd hoped she wouldn't talk about it too much. There's people who would grab me off the street of they knew and then I couldn't perform very well. I somehow don't think we could pull off Live from jail when we're not even famous yet…"

"Indeed," Cat agrees drolly, "someone had to. I'd have done it myself if I'd had any idea she was being moved and when, to where." Her facial features have taken on a harder line, there's that steel to her eyes now which says she means just what she claims. "So I have… curiosities, Adel Starkey. How did you come to such noble pursuits? Who's your source of information on where to be?"

A pause.

"Rest assured, Alia isn't trumpeting what you did for her to the whole world. Only to a few people who find her very vital, and missed her terribly when she was gone. You may have heard of me," she tacks on, "Cat Chesterfield, alleged flouter of the Linderman Act, wanted fugitive. I know all about people who'd grab you off the street."

"Afraid those secrets aren't mine to tell, Miss Chesterfield," Adel says, with a hint of apology in her otherwise cheerful voice. "I knew what I knew and I did what I had to do, and that's all I can tell you right now." Arms spread, almost in a dramatic fashion, before she takes a step back.

"I can assure you I am totally on the side of the flouters, and a non-card carrying member, to be exact. Something I'm gonna have to stop being so the band can be totally famous… but that's another story."

"Doctor Chesterfield," Cat corrects gently with a smile, "if we're going to be all formal. If not, Cat will do very well. I understand completely, of course, people in this line of work have to be careful who knows what. After all, if the wrong person knows things, one might go to a meeting and suddenly find out she's been set up for ambush by soldiers who aren't there to make arrests." Her eyes say this is a personal experience, not just an example being cited.

"But at the same time," she elaborates, "isn't it a shame that people in the same business aren't aware of each other, Adel? Perhaps you'll speak to your own friends, tell them I'd like to meet with them. That's your decision, completely, but I'd welcome it."

Pause again, three beats long.

"Thank you so very much for springing Alia." Sincerely spoken, shown in face and eyes.

"Oh, if this were a trap I'd be okay," Adel says, even as she glances around a bit as if to make sure there's enough room for whatever plan she might have. The confidence is there in her voice, though, as if she doesn't doubt she could. "And I didn't think you'd betray me anyway, Doc." Though there's no explaination of why. Naivity is a possibility.

"You're welcome. Like I said… it needed to happen, and you can probably imagine all the terrible scenerios that would make it necessary." Cause there are so many. "And I'll tell my friends, but I can't promise anything. Just cause I'm confident I'll be able to get away doesn't mean I'm willing to risk them, you know."

"Oh yes," Cat agrees," "Alia told me what they had her doing, what they wanted. We have some… plans." That causes something of a different grin to form, of a predatory nature like a panther in her demeanor. "Georgia Mayes, we suspect, is with Humanis First. And there's this colonel named Heller, he had agents at the show looking for me and someone else. Frontline people, the off the books kind. I'm very interested in that man."

"I think you know more than me about this," Adel admits with her expression of amused happiness and pride lessening as she continues. Her head tilts to the side, like a curious bird, hair splaying out a big on the side. "But from the grin I'm guessing you either wanted to know if I had anything to add, which I'm afraid I don't— I'm more the blunt instrument of the operation— or you want help in whatever plan you got already."

"Perhaps it's a bit of both, Adel," Cat answers. "We each seem to have sources and information the other doesn't, and similar goals. Heller likes to take people hostage as leverage against others, and has a bad habit of tearing screaming babies from the arms of mothers just so he can stand them against walls and shoot them. Simply because he decided they were guilty, no trial, nothing. I'm personally offended by military people committing treason, breaking their oath to support and defend the constitution."

Again there are a few beats of silence.

"We needn't discuss this further here and now, you know we're in similar activities and interests, you'll tell your fellows and they'll make contact, or not. I'm easily reachable through Alia. D.Crypt."

And with that, consistent to her words, she lets the matter drop. There are other things to discuss.

"You're a solid musician, Adel," Cat enthuses. She then proceeds to accurately speak of just how she played, almost beat by beat, for a few seconds. It's as if she were present and remembers every single detail of the show on stage perfectly.

Funny, this: She wasn't at the show.

Or was she?

Not everyone has a perfect recall and Adel had other things on her mind than looking around and studying all the members of the audience. She even managed to miss the activities going on down there, as people feared getting caught by those very same people Cat's speaking off. The off the books FRONTLINE.

"Thanks. Though I'm only as good as the rest of the band, luckily Quinn and Mad Muse are completely primal." There's a pause, as if she realizes she said something odd, before she adds, "I'll pass the word about this Heller guy, and Mayes and see if they know anything— and if they want to do a meet up. Next time, though, I pick the location." She glances back at her busted bike and makes a face.

No public transportation for her, as one of the uncarded— so she has a long walk, now.

Eyes cast down to the busted bike, then back up to Adel. She reaches into a pocket of that thick coat and comes out with something. Cash money, in fact. It's offered up in an extended hand. "No, Adel, thank you. Take this, buy another bike. Get a scooter or motorcycle, even. You saved Alia, and I can't fully describe just how important a technopath's help is in my situation. Giving you new wheels, it's the least I could do."

How often do people get cash money for heroics?

Not often, if the surprised look on Adel's face is anything at all. The money is taken slowly, as if she's afraid it's going to suddenly vanish, and then it quickly vanishes into a hidden inner pocket in her hooded coat before someone decides it belongs to them instead. "Thank you, Doc. This— really, thank you. Now that the snow's should be done I think I will get a scooter." And now she can actually afford one.

And she touches her head after. "And a helmet." In case there's a repeat.

After a beat or two, her hand drops away and she visibly hesitates, going as far as to bite her lower lip. "You should be careful too— not just cause of the vans and the suits and the guys behind the wanted posters. Sometimes it's just as dangerous to know too much— even if no one else knows you know it… You know?"

There's enough cash in that to cover those items, Adel will discover later if she counts it. Proof, perhaps, of a technopath's value: that a wanted woman such as Cat has money, that it wasn't all seized by the Feds long ago.

The drummer's words inspire this panmnesiac to show a grin laced with wistfulness. "Knowing things is my mojo, my brain records it all. Blessing and curse," she utters on turning partly away with intent to depart.

"Especially if I go to a place that doesn't play rock."

"I get that, Doc, I do, but… there's only so much one person can take. Even iPods have a memory limit, you know," Adel says, as if to make a comparison the other woman will understand. "Though I could see how it'd be useful to carry a personal replay device anywhere you go. Probably makes those long road trips bearable… as long as you're not the one supposed to be driving."

Cause that would just be dangerous. More dangerous than running out of memory.

"Anyway, it was really nice to meet you, Doc. Take care of yourself."

"Noted," Cat replies, on listening to Adel's cautions. "It was also a distinct pleasure to meet you." Then she turns and moves away, with her brain calling up that image of Alia in the Meat Loaf sweatshirt. Under her breath she starts to sing.

Like a bat of hell I'll be gone before the morning comes.

Like a sinner before the gates of heaven, I'll come crawling on back to you.

And in response, as she backs away from the older woman of similar height, Adel sing-whispers in a mild tone the lyrics that follow after:

I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram on a silver black phantom bike.

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