Sky Tour


gillian2_icon.gif maria_icon.gif

Scene Title Sky Tour
Synopsis A new power comes with new lessons. Gillian always wanted to try flying, and she gets her chance in a chance meeting.
Date July 14, 2009

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 conditions for a visit to the park are optimal. With all the rain in the last month, the dry and fairly warm (but not too hot) weather leads many people to flock to open areas. There's people filling the chess tables, and with her current style of playing, Gillian didn't want to deal with the onlookers or the comments on how rare it is to see twins that look so similar. The clone would be the one that got sent running to go pick up a chess board from the nearest store. It's about time she bought one anyway. The pieces she picked up happen to be crummy and worn, so even they could use a replacement.

Alone in this area of the park, but able to get a glimpse of city life through the mind's eye of the two replicants she keeps out, she paces quietly. The shade nearby trees keeps the sun directly off her pale skin. Despite being alone, she could hardly be called bored. With all the thoughts and experiences replaying through her head, there's no shortage of entertainment. Every book she's read in the last month exists in her head, every picture she's seen, ever experience whether horrible or beautiful, are just a few thoughts away.

It's just past noon, she's out of her lab at Biomere, Inc. Maria grabbed her lunch and stepped out of the building like she's done just about every day since she came to New York and started working. Central Park isn't far away from the building near Columbia University, and it's a favored destination. Once clear of the front doors, the short travel starts. She just slowly rises from the pavement underfoot and floats to a sufficient height before accelerating to the posted speed limit for the street she'll fly along.

But once she reaches the park, a more direct route is taken. Paths are eschewed in favor of going straight to an unexplored area of trees. That there are chess boards and maybe people around them isn't thought about. She's just focused toward settling onto a branch about twenty feet off the ground and enjoying her food. Once such a perch is spotted, she floats gently down to rest there in a sitting position and slides the messenger bag off her shoulders.

The nearby chess boards aren't too terribly close, really. But the person pacing under the trees while waiting for her clone to get back — she hasn't even made it to the store yet! — certainly is close enough to hear the slight rustling of a tree branch. When she looks up, Gillian expects to see a squirrel, or a really big pigeon. She doesn't expect to see a woman. Visibly blinking, she keeps her eyes up at the woman perched in the tree branches, with a messenger bag, not unlike the one hanging at her own side. She's not flying. "Do you often land in trees?" she finds herself asking as she looks up. There's only one time Gillian's been in a tree like that. Maybe the woman has the same ability as Magnes.

Brown eyes look down at the source of the voice addressing her, the woman of five feet and three inches frames a calm enough reply, though Maria's eyes may seem to roll a bit. There's a slight projection of a 'what, you've never seen a flying woman before?' attitude about this one, as if what she just did were the most natural thing in the world. She slides the messenger bag around to the front, reaches in, and pulls out her lunch. A sandwich of some sort.

"They're good places to sit and eat, enjoying watching nature."

"Most you'd have to worry about is animals attacking you for stealing their spots— but that happens down here, too," Gillian says quietly, continuing to look up. It's the distance that keeps anything bad from happening. To answer the glare— yes she has. Got kidnapped out of a car and carried off by one before, in fact. That'd been quite some time ago, now. "I have a friend who likes to have conversations in trees," she does add on, thinking of Magnes. One of the times she'd been in the park recently, she'd seen him.

That one draws a chuckle. "I'm bigger and faster than they are," Maria answers. "Once I took a vacation to the Rockies and camped out on the face of a cliff near an eagle's nest. It was such a feeling, being able to do that without the help of machines." The woman's face looks blissful as she speaks now, recalling it. "The eagle wasn't so keen on sharing at first, but I soon convinced her."

"What do you and your tree-loving friend talk about?" For her it might be the beauty of nature and the freedom of doing what she does.

"Nothing so cool as the mountains and eagles," Gillian admits truthfully, leaving out all the things they did talk about in the vagueries of conversation. Bringing up how the friend had just messed up part of Japan and made the news wouldn't be a good topic starter. And eagles and going on mountain vacations… that's way more interesting. A slow intake of breath, she tries to focus on her friend, but the most that happens is a slight hovering hop until she's back on her feet again. She's still gravity's bitch at this moment, it would seem.

"Do you often take vacations to the Rockies? It's pretty far."

"I'm rather fast," Maria shares. Just how fast, that she keeps to herself. She's fairly sure if Humanis First or some other variety of nutjob hatemonger targets her she can outrun what they've got, but she isn't about to tell them what they might need to plan for. Instead, the woman watches Gillian's attempt to leave the ground and smiles. "Are you like me?" she asks. "A person with the SLC?"

"Not exactly like you, but— I guess," Gillian says, shrugging her shoulders a bit as she looks away for a moment, as if checking to see who's around. It's frustrating when there's abilities she knows she has, and can't get them to cooperate. And mostly she's hoping to avoid people watching. Little can she explain she has a temporary affliction, and super speed is one thing she's good at— it's kept her from worrying too much about Humanis First too. Another hop, where her decent to the ground slows considerably, but doesn't get very high. "So you move fast, you hang out with eagles… Do you fly?" It would be nice to fly.

"That's why I like trees," Maria shares. "I do what birds do, so I like exploring their perspective on the world." Her eyes close, that blissful expression remaining as she goes on. "It's so much freedom, to just take to the air and go. I wish everyone could share it, I really do."

There's nothing about her at all which suggests she cares one bit who sees and hears her speaking of all this.

"Really," Gillian repeats after a moment, closing her eyes and putting herself back in the memory. The problem is, he'd been touching her at the time it'd happened, so he had done most of the work. "Think I have to get closer to you," she finally says, letting her eyes open again and looking up. "But you could share it with me." Public displays of ability may not be her favorite thing in the world, but considering how many people she's nearly outted in public just cause she made their power act up, it's only fair that she get caught in similar situations— and this time she kinda wants to. Cause if she can fly… It may not be much use for the operation, as it'll be in the basement most likely, but who wouldn't want to fly once if they could?

Not a word is said, the woman just rises off her chosen branch and floats forward far enough to extend her legs and settle gently onto the grass. Maria, dressed for a professional job of some sort, strides forward to stand just a few feet away. "You copy abilities somehow?" There is curiosity, and a touch of wariness. Maybe someone before was trusted and turned out to be bad. Or allegedly bad. In her mind are images of flying around Mount Fuju with Hiro Nakamura, then her horror at seeing him linked to the Bomb of '06.

"Would you believe me if I said it's only temporary?" Gillian asks quietly, as the woman lands nearby. There's a hesitant step forward, but no more jumping around, almost as if she's afraid she'll just start shooting up into the air. It's a legitimate worry sometimes, with this ability of hers. "You're a professional type, huh?" she comments on the clothes. "Ever decide to say fuck off to the lobby and just land on the roof?" Would save on time, unless the job was in the basement.

"I taught someone else to fly not long ago," Maria replies guardedly, "he claimed his power got switched somehow and he was left with flying, which he wasn't good at. So we experimented, and he got the hang of it fairly soon." Hiro Nakamura and Mount Fuji flash through the shorter female's mind again, then the Biomere building and the roof as a smile forms. "It's tempting. But usually I just fly right up to the front doors and float down, walk in like it's the most natural thing in the world." To her, it is.

Standing upright before Gillian, things about her demeanor can be picked out that weren't visible before. Her back is straight, head up, hands by her sides. She carries herself like someone with a military or police background, a person who perhaps held a degree of authority.

Switched. That sounds familiar. Gillian's eyebrows raise, but she doesn't comment too much on it, besides— she already knows who the woman must be talking about, how his ability got switched and the rest of it. What she doesn't know would be how the… she doesn't even notice that she's hovering a few inches off the ground. The perspective may have changed, but maybe it's her smile, and the words, that distract her. "I'd be easier to get around— definitely." In some ways even easier than running on water. She can skip the stairs forever, if she wants to. "But— yeah, kinda the same thing happened to me. Just more complicated." And potentially destructive. One wrong ability and she could nuke the city. Just like the person she got the power from…

"I see," Maria replies with a grin forming. "You're doing it already. Look down, Miss." Her eyes dip toward Gillian's feet, then come back to her face. "How does that feel to you, taking that first step?" She can remember it well. The fear and terror of being swept off the mountanside years before, and the sheer amazement when she stopped falling and just hovered there. Then the experimentation which followed, figuring it out and fine tuning. Ten years freedom from gravity's pull, on demand.

Her messenger bag is dipped into, a Power Bar is pulled out. "You'll need to start carrying these on you," she recommends.

If anything, the feeling could be comparable to running at high speeds— or the moment just before and just after, cause she's not moving just yet. Gillian looks down, a smile widening on her face. Unfortunately it's not likely she'll get that much experience with it— but the idea is heartening. The other Gillians are jealous from where they are in the city. "It feels— pretty neat," she admits, unable to really describe it beyond that. It's life changing. When she looks up at the power bar, she actually laughs.

"I have to carry those for another ability I picked up." Reaching into her carrier bag, she pulls out a handful. Victor's ability and this ability probably have a lot in common— only his is defined by gravity. Dropping all but one back in, she unwraps the one and takes a few bites to perpare— anticipating an empty stomach growl like happens with super speed. "So how does it work?"

"Well," Maria begins, thinking of how to phrase it. With Hiro it was different, he already flew but needed control. This is going from scratch, so… "You've turned the car on, but your foot isn't on the gas. It's on the brake," she starts. Gillian is watched for her reactions. "So if you were driving a car, what would you do next?"

"Well I'd either switch gears and drive, or… put my foot on the gas," Gillian responds, then has to smirk. "This is kinda like trying to teach someone to clench their own butt cheeks, isn't it?" Her brother, the one who doesn't run at high speeds, can be eloquent at times. The gas, huh? All of a sudden, she shoots upwards. There's a startled yelp as she zooms past the treeline and above Central Park. It takes her a moment to find the brake again, when she stops, falls a couple feet, and then hovers, pulling her bag against her chest lest she lose it.

A quiet chuckle drifts up from the ground to Gillian's ears as she watches this, and Maria remarks "The idea is to apply the gas gently and get a feel for how the car handles before picking up speed. Just like pulling out of a parking spot," she adds. The woman is looking up, watching she who hovers and craning her neck. This is uncomfortable, so Maria opts to alter the situation.

Moments later she's off the ground, floating up to match Gillian's altitude.

"I think I did the same thing the first time I drove," Gillian says, taking in quick breaths as she glances down at the world below. In some ways it's beautiful— but looking closely there's flaws and reminders of what could go wrong with the ability that's allowing her to fly. A slow inhale makes her look up. "All right— I should try to take it slow until I figure out how to turn and stuff… Right? This can't be that much different from running on water, really. Except I can't really stop when I do that."

The woman floating next to her studies the face for a moment, surprised. "Running on water? Like… you go so fast you literally don't have time to sink? That's…" Amazing. Maria ponders this over a quiet stretch before finding words again. "So when you stop, you're not going fast anymore, gravity takes over and pulls you in before flotation takes over." An easy concept to grasp, followed by a realization. "You might not sink anymore," she suggests. "You might be able to stop now."

"Yeah— the one that needs power bars," Gillian explains, holding the bag tight against her chest still. Okay— how to go left. There's a sharp jut to the left, but she holds it back before she gets more than a few feet and hovers. "It would be nice not to worry about sinking to my death every time I try to cross the river," she admits, looking back down. It's a very good thing she's always been a fan of heights, but the lack of anything between her and the ground… That's a new experience. "Maybe they're the same kinda thing— do you see faster when you fly? Like— become more aware of things that might be in your way so you can get out of the way?" Left was one thing— right must be… She moves to the right, until she's back where she was. This movement is much smoother, and slower.

"Why would you sink to your death crossing the river with superspeed?" Maria asks, a bit confused. "People are lighter than water, we mostly float, so if you were in the water you should still be able to swim, and maybe even swim with that same speed." And, while watching Gillian's turns, she makes a suggestion. "Put the bag on your back. When I fly, I stretch out horizontally and put anything carried there so it doesn't hang below."

"As to sight, I'm not actually sure. What I do know is up in the air, off the ground, there's nothing much blocking the view, so visibility goes a lot farther. If I get up to speed, around Mach 2, I make sure to be so high I won't run into buildings and make a point not to do it in cities. Of course, just like a car, once you're at speed it takes time and distance to slow down."

Makes sense to put it on her back. Gillian checks the latches and zippers one time over, then flings it until it's set on her back. Nothing falls to the park below, successful mission, at least. Even if— "I think it would depend on the water. Those rivers can be pretty hazardous." She knows from experience— which she survived somehow. "So faster should be higher. Guess it makes sense running through the city faster than a car would need extra senses, a lot more to run into. Not sure how fast Mach 2 actually is but I don't think I can run that fast." Not that she's clocked. She just knows she's faster than cars. Maybe as fast as one of those bullet trains. Little does she know she's actually going a couple hundred under Mach 1.

Left and right are figured out. There's a shift forward, and then a shift in reverse, before she says, "I think I figured out the controls, as someone might say…" Well, mostly.

"It takes practice," Maria confirms, "just like driving that car. Getting the feel for how much gas to apply, how much brake to use when you want to slow down, how long it takes to stop at various speeds. I'm immune to g-forces and thin air too. But not so good at carrying things. I can handle up to the weight of my own body, but it makes me need to eat more. You could say I use fuel faster," she explains. "Speed does the same. I figured out over time how much I need for different things."

"Mach 1," she adds, "is 1,236 kilometers per hour."

So in short, turning metal and trying to fly may not combine well. Or it would combine really well and she could take out a building. Gillian is sure Knox would want to try that out, considering how much he loved the idea of super speed ending in sudden iron form… "What's that in American?" she asks, aware that every other country pretty much uses the metric system, and America could be considered a backwards country in that case… "Speed is similar, have to eat more than normal afterwards— or before. Better to do it before." And if she burns the caleries, it make sense that she'd not gain weight by eating more— "Do you— want to take me on a tour of the… sky, or should I let you get back to your lunch?"

"768 miles per hour," Maria translates with a chuckle, "or one mile every five seconds. I looked up all the technical stuff long ago. There are variations in the speed of sound for different altitudes, I don't remember them all, the basics are good enough. "I couldn't tell you how much you'd need to eat in pure calories, you aren't me. But I can tell you what I need, and you could probably do the math to figure yours out."

"Sky tour, coming up," she answers with a grin. Lunch, after all, can be eaten on the fly. She still has the sandwich in hand, and as she ascends at a slightly faster pace than previously shown, a bite is taken."

Up. Up shouldn't be too difficult. Shaky as it may be, Gillian ascends with her, keeping up pretty well. "I guess the hard part will be landing," she adds on after a moment, raising her voice a bit. The sky should be cold, and part of her expects it to be loud, but that could be because the closest most people get to flying would be freefall. Tour of the sky, here she comes.

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