Sound Things


elisabeth_icon.gif squeaks3_icon.gif

Scene Title Sound Things
Synopsis Curiosity is a motivator to learn more about sound abilities, and brings Squeaks to Elisabeth's door.
Date February 20, 2010


The housing part.

It took a few phone calls and a couple of brief conversations to set up a time that Squeaks could visit the residential part of the Raytech campus. Maybe she can convince the grown-ups to at least let her be able to visit the living places to see her friends. But that's a question for another time. The more immediate wondering she's got has brought her to stand in front of the door that she's been told is where Liz lives.

With her mouth twisting to one side, the young teen knocks lightly against the door. It's the polite kind of interruption, with just a touch of timid energy.

Notification of visitors is definitely one thing Elisabeth appreciates about living in a secure building. She opens the door just moments after the knock and smiles at the young teen. "Hey there! Come on in." She gestures past toward the living room — it looks pretty sparse, but it's furnished. There just aren't personal touches yet.

Aurora comes bolting out of one of the bedrooms squealing. Blossom is held by his neck in the crook of her arm as she skids to a stop in the room. "Squeaks! Squeaks! You gotta see it!" She grabs the teen's hand and tries to drag her exuberantly.

“Okay.” Squeaks’ voice is quiet and has some of those skittish tones also. But she enters the apartment and slinks by Elisabeth so she can wander into the living room. That’s the direction she’s headed anyway, until she’s captured by Aurora.

The littler girl is given a wide-eyed look, and so is Liz a half a second later. “Okay. But real quick?” The teen lets herself be dragged along, while directing another wondering look to the audiokinetic. “I wondered some things,” she explains to both, but really it’s meant for the grown-up. “But I can see first.”

Aurora, thrilled with the older girl's arrival, drags Squeaks to the door of the bedroom and points. "Lookitlookitlookit!" The little one is vibrating with excitement.

The only thing Squeaks can see is a bed. Now granted, it's a canopy bed with pink and white sheer curtains down the sides tied back to the headboard. But it's just a bed, really. "My Grampa gived me a princess bed!"

Elisabeth for her part, is just laughing. "Once you admire it properly, she'll let you come back," she assures Squeaks. Liz might have to encourage that to happen, but that's okay. It makes her happy to see the little girl so excited over something so normal.

“That’s way primal,” Squeaks declares as she’s shown — dragged — into Aurora’s bedroom. Her eyes wander, even if there’s nothing else to see yet, and flick to Elisabeth again then focus again on the bed. She takes a few steps forward to look, to really for reals look, but without touching. “You have the best grandpa ever. No you just need a crown and a princess dress and you really really will be a princess.”

Thrilled with Squeaks' response, Aurora bounds onto the bed to bounce in the middle of it. She and Blossom are apparently having a shindig in there, and she tells Squeaks, "Daddy says I'm a rainbow. Me an' Bossum are drawin' what our castle looks like wif rainbows!"

Easily satisfied by the simple act of agreeing that it's the best bed ever, Aurora allows Squeaks to escape back to the living room.

Elisabeth is still chuckling and she's sitting comfortably in one of the chairs when the teen comes back. "So what's up?" she asks, blue eyes seeking cues on whether there's a problem.

“You’re very busy then.” Squeaks watches Aurora and Blossom jump on the bed, head nodding slowly to show she understands the importance of drawing and rainbows. “I’m going to talk to your mom so you can work on that and I won’t interrupt.”

Excuse given to return to actually why she’s in the apartment at all, the teen backtracks into the hall and finds her way back to the living room. There’s no problem, just some vague wondering in her expression, and a curious look directed over her shoulder again before she answers. “Do… do you… You can sound things. You did something… at the project. In New Mexico.”

Tilting her head, Elisabeth nods. "That's right… it's not quite like your ability. At least as I understand it from the other version of you. My ability is broader in scope, I guess is the best way to put it." She looks curious, waiting for the rest of Squeaks' thought.

“But maybe close enough to learn things?” Squeaks' reply is directed more at herself, thinking out loud. She puzzles over her own thought for a good long second. “There's not a lot who do things with sound. My brother does, but he just makes it stop.” It's useful, but not what she's looking for.

“In New Mexico, the machine sounded wrong,” she explains. “It hurt. And the frequency wouldn't fix it. But I used my sounds to make it sound right. I never tried before, just did what I always do. But I wondered… I wondered could my sounds do more than just echo? And I wondered too if, because you do sounds, if you could help?”

Elisabeth looks thoughtful. "Well… maybe," she agrees. "I'm not as familiar with what you do and how you do it — but I'm certainly willing to try to help. My mom might be interested in that too … although I don't exactly know when she and dad will be back. They've… got some serious stuff to figure out." The blonde grimaces. Her dad had words for her.

"But yeah, of course I'll work with you. Have you done any reading on how echolocation actually works? I'm going to need to grab some books on that — the teachers I had in one of the worlds were really detailed on helping me sort out which kinds of sound I was using and helping me figure out the best applications for it." Elisabeth smiles slightly. "I won't make you study waveforms and stuff. For now, anyway." She's gently teasing but it's actually a lot of science involved.

The teen shakes her head slowly, probably surprised to realize that she actually hasn’t read anything about echolocation. “There’s lots happening. And my mom — Gillian — says I probably got my ability without knowing it happened. And I just used it not knowing I was. The library probably has books about it… about echolocation. So I’ll read about it.” It’s something she does anyway, but somehow in all the excitement, she never thought about researching the topic.

“Just from practice, from doing it, I make these sounds.” Squeaks pauses talking to demonstrate, the squeaks and clicks are obviously beyond a range that normal humans can hear, but maybe the audiokinetic can. “And it… it makes a picture, like a map, and I can see all kinds of things even when it’s completely dark. Does your mom… is she like you?”

Elisabeth tips her head and listens, not just with her ears. "She's got a power very much like yours. More like yours than mine, if I understand it right." Familiar enough with the other version of the young teen, she was ready for the inaudible sounds. She seeks out the wavelengths and then nods thoughtfully. "So… you're definitely in the ranges that I've heard the other Squeaks use. I can't interpret the way that you do — when I sense the waves moving, I can sort of map walls and like obstacles in my path, but not to the degree that you and my mother appear to be able to." She smiles slightly.

"And yes… I think I can help you explore what exactly your power can do. We'll both do some reading before we meet for a lesson, though — you on echolocation so we're using the same words to describe things and I don't misunderstand what you're telling me. Okay?"

She wonders idly… does she need to actually do something to help Squeaks like this? She's not taking money for the lessons, so probably not… huh. Something to think about.

“Like mine.” That’s something to puzzle about, but not until another time. Maybe she’ll even get a chance to talk to someone else about the sounds. Squeaks’ head bobbles with a nod as she listens to Liz. “I think the Doyle library has some books. And also they have reading time and classes for kids.” She looks over her shoulder, in the direction of where Aurora’s probably still jumping on the bed. “Lots of kids go there.”

"She'll definitely love that," Liz agrees. "I really need to get there to see your mother anyway —
It's been a long time. I'm sure we'll be able to find the books we need. If not here…" She pauses and considers. "I'd bet there are universities that still have acoustics labs that we can tap if we need help." It's not something she really thought of until that moment… but the university was where she got help in Bright.

"So when would you like to start, Squeaks? I'm not exactly in high demand, so you can pick my brain whenever you like." She sounds happy to be able to help.

“Brooklyn College maybe has something like that.” It’s a guess, the teen hasn’t ever been to the campus before. There’s no telling what she’d find there. Her head swivels back so she can look at Liz. “There’s also the big library, Brooklyn Library. There’s way more books there.”

She stops to think about when she could start, her face going a little scrunchy. “Maybe… Maybe the next-next weekend? After my new intern thing starts, because my mom might be worried about too much extras with finishing enough school and doing that.” It wasn’t much of a problem with Raytech, but there’s no way to know what she’ll be doing with SESA.

Elisabeth's smile is gentle. "Anytime you're ready — I have things to get settled for Aurora too, so I think that timing will work out fine." She pauses and adds, "I'm flattered that you asked, Squeaks. Thank you." It's hard to be back and not have things that need doing — she's used to scrounging and foraging and patrols and just generally being busy. Having no set purpose is difficult for her.

“You’re welcome. Thank you for saying you could help.” Grown-ups always seem to be very busy with a lot of things, and Squeaks wasn’t sure about asking. But now she looks less skittish and even makes a quick grin. “This is going to be so primal. Did you want to meet here? Or maybe the library, I can ask about that. Or my house maybe too.” There’s plenty of options, but her slow-building excitement has started forming bubbles of questions.

Practically able to see the questions simmering under the surface, Elisabeth waits patiently for the eruption of them. She has lots of practice with this part. "We can meet anywhere that's convenient on any given day. I have to get back into day-to-day life, Squeaks, so if you've already got things to do and will be here anyway, we'll use a room here. If you're not, I'll meet you over at your place. We should probably not use the library, if only because we're working with sound. And it's supposed to be quiet there. When the weather gets warmer, we'll use some outdoor spaces too."

“It might be okay,” Squeaks says of the library, but she doesn't argue the point. “I know some places outside too. Park Slope only has some people there, it's like a jungle practically. And there's a beach where a carnival used to be.” And probably a dozen other places she thinks might be good places.

“How do you get back to day-to-day life?”

"Slowly," Elisabeth admits, her brows furrowing together. "I … wish I knew." When she looks at Squeaks, it's a bit apologetic. "I'm used to having a purpose. A course that even when I'm not actively fighting, I'm working toward it. You know? Like…. A map. When I lived in the world where Aurora was born, I still had the same purpose — to get home again. So even though we lived there and I had a job and everything, I knew there was a goal to work toward. Now… I don't really have that. And I don't know what to do." It's hard being back here.
“When I lived in the Underneath my goal was to find enough to eat,” Squeaks confides, like it’s nearly the same thing in her understanding. “And get food that could maybe last a couple of days. Now…” She lets the word hang as she wonders about her goals now. It’s less simple than finding something to eat, but somehow it’s also easier. “When I first stopped living in the Underneath it was weird. And scary, and I didn’t know what to do sometimes. I didn’t know the rules and I didn’t want to get put somewhere. But my family helped me figure it out.”

Elisabeth's expression eases into a slow smile, a genuine one of pleasure. "Yeah… it's kind of like that. And my family is helping as much as they can," she replies. "There are just a lot of things that have changed while I wasn't here to see them… and I've changed some since they last saw me too. We're all having to figure out the new rules about how to be together again. But I think we'll get there. It'll just take a little time." She glances toward Aurora's room, where the little girl seems to be in her own little world.

"Being somewhere that she's actually safe again and can do all the stuff that kids like to do, where I'm not scared that she's not getting enough to eat… those were the important things. Everything else is just stuff."

“There used to be a food shortage, but it's a little better now. There's more foods, and fresh things when it isn't winter. And it's pretty safe here too.” Squeaks’ explanation is casual, she's sure that Liz has been told all this already, but sometimes it helps hearing it again. She looks over her shoulder, all around at the room and it's simple furnishings and just-moved-into appearance. “Could I bring some stories over for Aurora? I read them like a million times already, and maybe it could help make things normal. For her too.”

"That would be wonderful. She loves books," Elisabeth replies. "And if you'd like to hang out and read some of them with her, I would bet she would really love that too." The child had adored the Squeaks from the Wasteland, and though they are different people, they are also similar. Elisabeth wants very much to build relationships for Aurora now that they're home, people she can count on. It's a way to ground both of them in the reality of staying here.

“Okay.” Agreeing comes easily, Squeaks doesn’t mind sharing books and she could probably be okay reading out loud. “I can show her my maps too. Does she like maps?” She looks over her shoulder, as if she’d see the answer for herself if she saw Aurora again. “I don’t know what kids like.” That’s admitted as her head swivels around so she’s facing Liz again. “But I like maps. And reading.”

"Kids like all different kinds of things. They're just small people, and every person's different." Elisabeth seems practical about such things. "She loves to be read to, she's dying to learn to read for herself, and I have no idea about the maps — show her some and see what she does." She grins. "That's pretty much what I do — just expose her to anything and everything and see what draws her interest. Right now… she's big into baby animals, castles, princesses, rainbows, unicorns, and magic. But she's pretty interested in pirate maps lately, for some reason. So I bet your maps will fascinate her for a bit."

Pirate maps. Squeaks’ head rocks with a very slow nod. Treasure Island is one of her favorite stories, and Peter Pan, she’ll make sure both those books make it over. “Okay. I’ll have some things for her, but the next weekend, when we meet.” For a second she pauses, maybe about to add more to that thought, but she changes her mind and points to the floor. “I need to go home. We meet here, unless something happens?”

"Perfect," Elisabeth tells her easily. As she walks Squeaks to the door, she adds, "Tell your mother… that I said hello, please?" She is slowly trying to reach out to the people who are familiar. "I'd really like to see her soon."

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