Strange Days


brewster_icon.gif sieghilde_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

Scene Title Strange Days
Synopsis When a section of overpass collapses in Red Hook, most believe it to be the consequences of poor war-time maintenance. But Silas is there, with some speculation, and the answer to the question: Who you gonna call? (SESA.)
Date July 6, 2019

Red Hook, New York

Before annexation into the 12th Ward of Brooklyn, Red Hook was a separate village. It is named for the red clay soil and the point of land projecting into the East River. The village was settled by the Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam in 1636. Red Hook is part of the area known as South Brooklyn, though it is northwest of the geographic center of the modern borough. Red Hook stands as the most fully reintegrated neighborhood in the Safe Zone — barring the extensively redesigned Yamagato Park. It is home to the Safe Zone Municipal Building and is ostensibly the seat of government for the resettling of New York City. As such, Red Hook is one of the few neighborhoods not to suffer rolling brown-outs, though unscheduled power outages due to the poor condition of the electrical infrastructure are still common. Most of Red Hook is comprised of converted factories, mill buildings, and other brick and stone structures dating back to the turn of the century.

It's a beautiful day in Red Hook. The sun is high but the hemisphere and the season staves off the worst of the heat that it could hold, for now. Business is usual, but traffic is thin, on account of, you know. The war. Post-apocalyptic population thinning means that traffic isn't too bad, at least while infrastructure holds. So few people can afford to have cars in this town.

Today, Silas is exploring. There's a series of new restaurants that have opened up, and it is entirely reasonable for him to be checking out the competition, if competition he still considers it. Cafe Seakor is one of the newest additions. It features Polish foods imported through theoretically legal means, despite the politics surrounding the EUSR and the difficulty of transport through city limits, period. Right there on the menu, under his finger, they boast of salmon caviar. Down with the entrees, various selections of beef tongue and Polish sausage, smoked meat sandwiches. Poppyseed cake for dessert.

It's very niche. Leads a person to wonder how long such an institution is likely to survive in a city as small as this one. Then again, as cities go, this remains one of the largest that the United States might boast.

"Oh, I've heard of you," says Mr. Barna. He is the proprietor of Cafe Seakor. Heavy at the waist but burly at the shoulder, he cuts an imposing figure, but today he has no intentions thereof. He grins at Silas. "It's a small industry, you know. Are you still thinking about it?"

Silas is caught a bit offguard; him knowing people before introductions are exchanged just means he's been doing his job well, but them knowing him is… not something he's really used to just yet. Ugh, must've been that piece they ran after the Jackson Heights fire. Or maybe one of the construction guys visits here… or maybe Barna's just shrewd and has been doing his homework, same as I am.

Well, any way he cuts it, Barna's got him figured out; point to him for that. He's leading with a smile, too; another point to him as far as Silas is concerned. So Silas musters a grin of his own to match, though he lets a bit of surprise show in his eyes. "Starting a place up? You betcha," he chuckles, offering a nod. "Right now the industry's small… but the Safe Zone's only gonna grow, hopefully. More people means more money… and people are always gonna be looking to eat."

It's admittedly a rather optimistic view of things, but hard work goes a long ways towards smoothing out rough spots, and Silas is prepared to work like a mad bastard if need be to make this work. It's still not a guarantee, perhaps… but what is?

"Speaking of which… I've gotta say, you've got a pretty good selection here! I'm impressed," Silas says, grinning affably.

"Much appreciated, Mr. American," says the Polish man, who probably considers himself as American as he is Polish, but. whatever. hashtag immigrant life, hashtag marketing.

Mr. Barna flips up the hinged section of the counter and steps out from behind it, seeming to barely fit through with his prodigious girth. Barna nods as an older lady patron squeezes in behind Silas. And then the moment she's functionally out of earshot, he leans in. "You know, that American restaurant on 5th is run by a real asshole," he says, and it turns out that 'functionally out of earshot' might be harder said than done; his voice is very loud. And up close, the beige plastic of a hearing device glints from his ear. "Keeps trying to get in on the pierogi action. I'm quite offended, actually, in part because everybody fucking knows pierogi, Polish cuisine is much more diverse than that. So.

"Are you trying to make an American restaurant? We should talk." His eyes dart left and right. "Get that man out of business. Yes? Think about it. If his place folds, they'll need a new tenant…"

The drift of Mr. Barna's speech feels choreographed, very deliberate, as is the meaningful swoop of the man's brow. He leans in, conspiratorial. He expects Silas to begin formulating some type of response. But the thing is, that Silas might well find himself distracted. As his hearing is somewhat better than Mr. Barna's, it is hard for him to ignore the dim yet unmistakably deep rumble coming from outside, a tremor through the plateglass, more of a feeling than a sound in the bones of Silas' skull. Behind Mr. Barna, restaurant patrons look up in confusion.

'Mister American', huh? Minus a point there. Seems Barna has an agenda, too, or at the very least an axe to grind; he hasn't been to the place on 5th yet, but he's not entirely sure the man's as much an asshole as Barna claims. Well. Might be interesting to drop by sometime and ask around a bit.

Still… there might be something here. Fiddler's Green has a nice home all set up and ready to go, but if he can get a lease on a good location… hmm. Branch locations are gonna be a way down the line; don't get hasty. Still, while he's not exactly keen on the idea of ruining someone's livelihood (unless they deserve it), he's always a sucker for gossip.

He affects a considering air for a few moments, working on formulating some carefully non-committal response; he's just about ready to speak when…

What the hell is that?

Silas frowns, regarding Barna with a quizzical expression; the lack of realization on the old man's face prompts him to turn towards the plateglass, looking out through the window. He glances back to the old man. "You hear that? What was that?" he asks, glancing again towards the window.

"What?" asks Mr. Barna. "No, I'm a little hard of hearing. I don't think you said anything." In characteristic scheming businessman fashion, his focus zooms in on Silas' face, trying to guess at what the American is playing at. A spy? No, not even Mr. Barna thinks so. "What are you talk— ouch."

That would be because a woman, one of his own clients, erupted into a shriek and bolted past him, terrified that maybe the roof was going to collapse, or something.

It's an understandable fear. The floor suddenly quivers underfoot, just the faintest jolt of movement; enough that the water in the other patrons' glasses shivers at the meniscus level. New York City doesn't have earthquakes. New York City doesn't have earthquakes. Silas has lived in more than one timeline of Earth, and in neither of them does New York City have earthquakes. Through the window, he sees the woman who had run out past them stop short and look to the right, down the street; her eyes unmistakably move upward, and her mouth falls open. And without another word, she turns and flees left.

"Shit," Mr. Barna says. He turns toward the rest of the patrons. "Under the tables!" He shouts. "Harry!" That'll be the chefs in the back, probably. "Turn off the stove and get your ass in the door arch! Be safe!"

There's something off about it. The rumble in Silas' ears. Maybe it's just the life he's led; panic doesn't blinder his understanding of reality as much as it does the others here, even if they did all survive a war. Getting under cover is probably not the worst idea, but even if it were an earthquake, indoors in the slow-rebuilding infrastructure of this city hardly feels like a guarantee of safety.

Silas goes still as the floor quivers. He still remembers the earthquake drills from elementary school — Barna's hasty instructions are spot on — but something about this… something's making the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

His eyes sweep over the room, looking for some trace of… something… but it isn't until they reach the window again that he finds a clue. The woman who'd run out a moment ago, staring down the street. Then up. She'd seen something out there. Something… big? Something that was enough to send her running, at least.

Silas is very good at slipping out in moments of distraction… so that's what he does. While everyone else is scurrying about, he just picks his way towards the door, making for the street.

The door swings open easily for Silas, though not before he gets to see his own ghostly reflection, quivering uncharacteristically in the plateglass just once. Like listening to the throb of a blizzard's winds pass by.

But he doesn't even have to step outside to see: there's no fucking blizzard. The sunshine beats down on pavement. He stops in time for a pedestrian to scuttle by him, not running full-speed, but nonetheless clearly interested in fleeing in the same direction that the consumer of Polish sausages had moments ago. And when Silas looks down the road, not far at all, to find the origin of their flight, he sees that there's an overpass there, the one with the green paint faintly discolored by age and limits in maintenance. It hangs over dusty storefronts, not much less; a couple of people running off, trying to drive away.

For a long moment, nothing much moves.

Then Silas sees it. A flicker above the underpass, black, slivering down the side as if the green metal were the shell of a pen that sprung an ink leak. Only the blackness undulates, flowing briefly against gravity, flaring for an instant — and the air shivers again. Another groan reaches into the air, and even at the distance, he can see something's off. There's a silver car above, going along the overpass, and it starts to skew, even as the structure below it begins unmistakably to tremble like a living thing, channeling faint vibrations to the concrete beneath his feet.

Okay. Okay that is officially weird shit.

Something funky is going on here. He… should probably follow the example set by pretty much everyone else with an ounce of sense in their heads and get out of here.

He should. He really should. But on the other hand… this is really weird. He debates trying to stop the next person he sees running from that direction… but it'd probably be easier to find out himself.

He lets out a sigh, and then off he goes… walking steadily towards the overpass. Curiosity killed the cat, he grumbles to himself. But they say satisfaction brought him back. I can at least get close enough to get a better look at what's going on here… then, of course, I can run like hell if necessary.

It takes exactly a gentleman of Silas' unique experiences to respond to loud noises and unnatural events by: running toward the imminent chaos. But maybe it's exactly Silas' life that allows him to discern the difference between actual threat to life and limb and an intrigue that simply requires caution. The earth is vibrating. The air itself. But he's seen New York damaged, nearly destroyed by a variety of phenomena, from natural disasters to — significantly less 'natural,' and this is not what it seems.

That sound again: just beneath his hearing, a visceral impression. There one moment, gone the next. Then a black shadow pulses again. Right in the sunlight, unobstructed; seems more like the absence of light than its diffusion.

Above, the silver Honda is leveling, gamely straightening its course.

Silas is getting near enough to slow his walk, when suddenly it happens.

The overpass snaps. Like a paper-mache and toothpick model constructed by an over-ambitious twelve-year-old.

Adrenaline screams up in Silas' veins, fight or flight with nowhere to go; no need to go. And the sight of it seems to play out in slow-motion. The impossibility of it. The hapless car is falling down, but then, for one surreal instant, it seems to be falling through; he can see the nose of it protruding through the ragged edge of the shorn-off bridgeway like a hologram, a ghost, a badly-rendered movie effect. Something folds, staccato, like three sections of a film reel poorly patched together. And abruptly the car collides violently with the ground.

BOOM, a helpless bounce of tires, glass shattering. He sees the briefest flash of pale palms flinging up inside, helpessly, the whiplash jolt of motion going through the driver's spine.

But more bizarre, unbelievably: is that the section of bridge, only perhaps nine feet wide, lands on top of it, squealing and chiming and groaning like a dragon. The back end of the car is utterly crushed. And overhead, nearly no dust at all comes down from the broken cross-section of the structure.

Um. Silas is pretty sure that overpasses aren't supposed to work like that.

Well. This overpass isn't working like anything anymore, obviously, except an abnormally huge paperweight. He stands stone still, adrenaline singing in his veins; his eyes flicker from the overpass to the fallen car. The back end of it has been just about crushed into foil. Sure hope there weren't any kids riding in the backseat! some incredibly helpful portion of his brain thinks, supplying him with a selection of lovely and excessively vivid images to go with that thought, most rendered with far too much red for his liking.

Nope. Nope nope nope. Diving into an infernos is one (admittedly dumb) thing, but charging headlong into this — whatever this may be — is leaping boldly into brave new realms of stupid. Nope. He nods slowly to himself, reaching into his inside pocket and pulling out his battered secondhand cellphone.

Time to call someone who gets paid for this. Happily, Silas has a phone number saved into his contacts that could be useful here.

"Hello, you have reached the SLC-Expressive Services Agency," the machine informs him, its voice female, bright, polite. "If this is an emergency related to SLC-Expressive individuals, please dial one. If you know your party's extension—"

Fortunately, she is not one of those recordings that carries on even after you buttonmash the '1,' insisting on finishing all the menu options. Once Silas picks the button, there's a single ring and a human operator speaks. This time, presumably, a gentleman. "This is SESA," he says, sounding out the acronym instead of warbling the entire mouthful of Official-sounding Syllables into the receiver. "What is your emergency?"

No crisis of conscience is required. Even if Silas is momentarily hazy with adrenaline, he recalls the next instant; the agent who had passed him the number had assured him that any emergency that he witnessed technically related to an SLC-Expressive person. Better safe than sorry. Worst comes to worst, delegation would happen after. (Possibly, they just assumed from the look of him, and his origin story, that he'd be a magnet for interesting problems.)

(So far: true!)

As he prepares to speak, he can see something odd in the rubble. It no longer moves, apart from the slackening silhouette inside the dust-clouded windows of the ar. No further rumbling, shrieking; the silence is heavy as the compression of eardrums after an explosion, or a gun got discharged too close to your head, the aftermath of a storm, the low after the high. But there's a subtle wrongness about the narrow cross-section of overpass sitting there, the car with it. Even more than the order in which they fell.

Behind him, no one else seems to have noticed. Thin cries of panic starting, half a block behind him. Complaints about deteriorated infrastructure, tardy maintenance, irresponsible road evaluations, corrupt engineers, the last Mayor, before the war. That a mutant must be responsible for fucking earthquakes in New York, now.

"Yeah… I'm standing at, uh," he fumbles for a moment, glancing about to the street signs to give him an address; once he's got it, he rattles it off, "…and somethin' weird is going on here. Like, X-Files weird. Figured I'd get someone equipped to do… whatever needs to be done about this… faster if I called you instead of 911."

"It started with this… rumblin' noise. Sounded like an earthquake, almost, but… I dunno, there was somethin' off about it for that. Also last I checked there weren't any fault lines in New York, either. There was this overpass that was… twisting, it looked like, and there was this weird shadow over it, too; l and part of it sandwiched a car. It was…" He starts to say it was the weirdest thing he'd ever seen, but… hahaha no. Not even. "…weird. Really weird." He's not exactly doing the weirdness of what he's seen justice with his description, he knows, but he's conscious of the fact that there is such a thing as sounding too weird, especially to government agencies that probably get their fair share of prank calls; he's doing his best to pitch this weird enough that they take it seriously without sounding like he's a recent escapee from Bellevue.

"A chunk of it fell atop a car, too; a silver… Honda, looks like? Back end's crushed into foil…" he says. He's starting to inch closer, now that whatever it was that happened here seems to have settled down a bit, the adrenaline coursing his veins urging him to do something. He'd seen someone in that car when it had fallen, and checking on the driver would count as 'something'… but there's also something still bugging him about this, and getting a little closer probably wouldn't be too dangerous, right?

Walking away would be a lot less dangerous, a voice in the back of his head grumbles, but oh well. Hopefully no more fakequakes go off and phase a building on top of him or something.

There's something to be said for the first responders that arrive before the first responders arrive — being utterly professional on the job is the job, with just the briefest lag-time, of distraction, to suggest that she's splitting her attention.

There is just the briefest awkward pause, no intelligible 'Seriously, though?' It's SESA. They must hear worse.

"Thank you sir. Please give me your name. We will need you to find a safe location to wait. Two SESA agents will be arriving to interview you, separate from the Military Police. Do you understand? Your name and a safe place."

Whereas the question might have seemed pedantic under other circumstances, her voice is paced very carefully, her tone impossibly calm. "Where should I tell them to find you?" Around him — that is, around the intersection of Roantree and 4th — there are a few options. He could go backward, the Polish restaurant. A couple of other places open and operational too; a bar, an electronics repair shop. An apartment block.

In the meantime, more X-Files shit catches his eye, in the chunk of overpass settling gently into the car there. A metal rod that should have been inside the concrete, fortifying it against tons and tons of passing vehicles over years and years of traffic, bridges over the surface, over the median median itself. And inside, the hole where the metal should have been threaded through sits empty, whereas its fellows sill hold their proper bones ripped, twisted.

"Yeah," he says distractedly, eyeing that metal rod. "Yeah, I understand." Being somewhere else when the police show up appeals to him on general principle.

"John Dantes is the name." As to where he'll be at… hmm. Going back to the Polish place doesn't really hold a lot of appeal to him, and he doubts that bringing SESA agents will do anything good for Barna's blood pressure. An electronics shop? Wouldn't be a bad idea to check out, maybe, but not right now. No, there's only one real choice here, and that's the bar. "I see a bar from here, Sly Dog; I'll meet 'em there."

He lingers just a bit longer, casting one last long glance over the scene to see if he can pick out any more oddities… but only for a bit. He can already hear sirens in the distance, and traditionally that's been his cue to leave. Off he goes, striding briskly towards the bar.

The operator answers smartly, "All right, John. They'll be there in ten minutes."

Post-apocalyptic traffic in New York means: nearly no traffic, most of the time.

When Silas gets to the bar, it still contains several patrons who are either so drunk they haven't heard the commotion or — possibly came in here specifically to get away from it. Hard to say. Disaster is so commonplace in the context of reality now, and everpresent in the minds of those who live in the United States, that it coudl go either way. People are jaded. People need solace. Alcohol performs any number of functions.

It's a simple bar. The telvision says NO SIGNAL, and the barman is standing up on a step-ladder trying to fix the antennae — which probably just came loose in the rumbles. "Hey," he calls out to Silas. "What the fuck is going on out there? And what can I get you?"

A simple bar with no pretensions, the faint smell of booze and old wood and cigarettes hanging in the air like a benign ghost of nights past; add the everpresent sound of the waves and the smell of salt, and he could be back in the dimension he came from. That thought actually manages to draw a twitch of amusement to his lips; people are people, wherever you go, and be it in this timeline or the next, some things will always be the same.

At the barman's question, he shrugs. "Beats the hell outta me. I just happened to be outside and got a look at it, and it's some weird shit; part of an overpass just fell," Silas says. "Gimme an orange juice, for now. I've got a meeting coming up, I'll get an actual drink after I'm done," he says, glancing around the place; there's a table in the back corner free. Perfect.

Silas and his 'congratulations you weren't squashed by an overpass' orange juice don't have long to wait, before two suits come in through the door.

Despite them both being suits, they look extremely different. One is a woman, a little short, her hair bleach-blonde, East Asian, heavy eyeliner matching the black of her jacket. The other is a man — and maybe the woman isn't that short after all, her companion is merely enormous, a dark-haired man built like an axe. He might have played football in his youth, but these days he has a little bit of a gut cleverly disguised in the French tuck of his shirt in the front of his trousers. They go straight to the counter, barely get there before the barman is redirecting them to Silas.

And abruptly, the Wasteland refugee has two companions.

"Brewster Coburn," says the huge man, offering to shake his hand.

"Sieghilde Ozean," says the relatively tiny woman, also offering to shake his hand. "We were on our way back in from New Jersey. Are you injured?"

"You move fast," Silas says, rising as the agents walk up and offering a smile. He shakes each hand when offered — firm shake, three pumps — assessing the two agents as they shake. Coburn is big, taller than Silas and a hell of a lot more powerfully built; he's got a sloppy tuck on his shirt but a firm handshake even so. His partner, Ozean, is a much smaller woman, though she's not actually as short as she looks standing beside Coburn. She's quite pretty, in a severe sort of way.

"Me? Nah," he says, shrugging expansively and giving a jovial grin. "Thanks for askin', though," he says, settling back into his seat and gesturing for the other two to take a chair as well. "In any case, pleased to meet you. John Dantes, but everyone calls me Silas… seems like there's a 'John' everywhere you look these days," he grumbles. "I'd offer to buy you drinks — 'specially since you just got back — but I imagine you can't when you're on duty, right?"

"Unfortunately," Brewster agrees, with a grin. He likes this fellow already. Maybe it's partly because they're slightly closer in age. How is it that half the time-travelers, and every other person you meet in this city, is a sexy twenty-thirty-something-year-old with a really good complexion. No offense, Silas. You have a nice complexion too. "But thanks for the offer."

Sigi smiles too, in easy agreement. After thE WEEKS THEY'VE had crawling around Providence, trying to get a foothold there and offer aide relief to people who might even have needed it, but seemed physically incapable of acknowledging that they needed it? this is different. Seems to be, anyway. "MP seems to think it's a road maintenance failure exacerbated by war events. A couple years back, a few explosive devices were discharged not too far from here." That is a very neutral way of talking about the President firing on his own citizens, and former terrorists, freshly identified as war heroes, taking extreme measures themselves. "That's the outcry right now.

"Did you see something different?"

As Silas listens to the assessment, his expression grows more serious, more thoughtful. "Yeah. I did," he says seriously. "Road maintenance failure won't even come close to explainin' what I saw… but like I said on the phone, what I saw was weird. Real weird. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't been there."

He takes a sip of his orange juice to give them a chance to process that, to get ready for the load of crazy he's getting ready to dump on them. "It started with the noise."

"I was in that Polish restaurant down the street; the owner and I were chatting a bit when there was this… rumble. Somethin' more felt than heard. Like an earthquake, kinda, but… there was something off about it. I glanced out the window, and I saw a woman lookin' off in the direction of the overpass with this look on her face, somewhere between disbelief and horror… but she wasn't lookin' at the ground. She was looking up."

He shrugs. "Between the weird feel of that rumble and the way she was staring, it seemed like something weird was going on…" he says. He hesitates for a moment, then shrugs. "It's always been my experience that when something weird's going on in town, either you find out about it early or it catches you when you're not expecting it. Or maybe I was just lookin' for an excuse to get outta that restaurant; the guy who runs it seems nice enough, but just between you and me, he's got a real axe to grind with some guy running a restaurant down on 5th."

"Either way, I stepped outside and took a look around, and I saw this flicker of something… dark. Black like ink. I think I called it a shadow on the phone, but it was darker than that. More like a void, just bubbling out of the overpass. It pulsed, and there was another bout of rumblin; I could see the overpass twisting, see the pillars trembling."

It is at this point that Silas pauses to take a drink of his orange juice, mostly because he wants to assess how crazy the agents think he is, and give them a chance to get a word in edgewise.

About five sentences in, Brewster starts writing notes in a small handheld pad of paper. He glances up, his big-jowled face solemn, serious, attentive as he writes. Which is because he's being solemn, serious, and attentive. Too much so maybe; at one point he finds himself jotting down 'Polish restaurant on 5th — rivalry?' and then his brow furrows. He scratches it out with a sharp horizontal strikethrough.

Black ink, he scrawls in underneath it. Pausing, he glances up at Sieghilde, whose brows shift upward fractionally in answer. That's weird.

"Was it darker than the actual shadows that you could see?" Sieghilde asks, because that sounds less condescending than, Are you sure it wasn't the shadows? "What state of matter did it seem like?" It had been. Blacker than dark; more like vapor than anything, but indifferent to gravity. Simple science wouldn't explain it. But at least the two agents are giving him enough benefit of the doubt not to laugh in his face. "Are you saying it pulled the overpass down, or knocked it over, something like that?"

"Definitely darker than a regular shadow, yeah. And it was… closest to vapor, I guess?" Silas's expression twists into a look of mild unhappiness and vague distaste; 'vapor' is not an adequate description for it at all, but it's the best he can do with the way the question was framed..

The last question is the important one, though. "Something like that, yeah…" Silas says slowly. "That was the end effect of what it did, anyway. But… here's the thing," he says, leaning forward to look first one agent in the eye, then the other.

"That car out there, with the back end crushed to foil? Silver Honda, I think it is? It was goin' over the overpass," he says, his voice dead serious. "I saw it startin' across the bridge… then for a second, right before it all came down, it seemed to fall through. Just… right through the overpass."

He leans back, giving a small shrug. "Like I said. Weird."

That is. Definitely. Weird.

"We'll have forensics come out and look at the rubble," Brewster says. His eyebrows are folded so intensely that he looks deeply engrossed. "And we should widen the cordoned perimeter we have out there, sooner than later. Don't mean to be rude. But if people were involved, and they usually are where physical anomalies are involved, it might not be over." He's already standing, the ox-sized girth of him rising in a way that would have felt like looming under different circumstances. He offers Silas another handshake, his fingers heavy as boulders, distractedly, before he veers toward the doorway. It would be bad press if someone else got squashed, even if only seconds after they found out that was a remote possibility.

Sieghilde, in the meantime, is pulling out her phone. Rolling a finger down the touchscreen, pulling up a SESA app, fancy logo and all, a dozen clearance telephone contacts rocking into view. "Are you good with texting?" she asks. "I can guarantee they're going to run this up the flag, assuming like, even two of five details check out. Be good to reach you in between your Polish restaurant dates." She logs something, quick, adjacent to 'John's name, then looks up at him. Her eyes are very dark under the heavy eyeliner.

"Nice job telling us the objective facts, no less and no more. You got speculation as to what was going on?"

Silas's eyes widen a bit in honest surprise; he likewise comes to his feet and shakes Agent Coburn's hand, watching with a thoughtful expression as the larger man trundles towards the door.

Agent Ozean's voice calls him back to reality; at her question, his lips curve into a faintly rueful smile. "I'm terrible at it. But… it's something I'm working on improving."

Silas nods at her statement about them running this up the flag, lips twitching again into a faint smile at that bit of dry wit about Polish restaurant dates. Her question, though, draws a frown to his face.

"If it's not a natural phenomenon or something… if it's an actual person who did this, like your partner seems to think…" he frowns, trailing off for a moment. "I haven't heard of any incidents of this kinda thing happenin' before; judging by how you and Agent Coburn reacted, I'd say you haven't either, so this'd be the first time they did something big like this." He rubs at his chin with one hand, frowning. "Say it's someone with a power that, I dunno, makes matter insubstantial. Maybe they're testing their power out. Just got their trick, tryin' to figure out what they can do with it, how far they can go. But if that's the case, they're not bein' very smart about it. No: not just 'not smart'. They're bein' reckless about it. There are plenty of places around that no one would notice if they pulled somethin' like this, but they chose an overpass on a street with actual traffic."

"Maybe what happened with that Honda out there'll scare 'em straight, but if it doesn't…" he trails off again, leaving the end of that sentence unspoken. If it doesn't, they might try something bigger next time.

Silas shakes his head as if trying to dislodge that thought, and musters a bright grin. "Well. Speculation's easy; you lot've got the hard job of trying to figure out the actual truth, though, and I wish you luck with it." He makes an understated flourish with his free hand, producing a business card and offering it to Sieghilde. "My card. You've probably already got my number on file, but if not… it's on there. Feel free to drop me a line."

Mutual business card exchange, seems very respectable and legitimate considering — whatever the fuck is going on doesn't quite seem to fit that description. The blonde woman is silent for a moment, her eyes flickering toward the window absently, in search of her partner's shrinking silhouette. Then they return to Silas. She reaches over to accept the business card.

Drawing it from his grasp, she studies the lettering across the stiff paper. Confirms the numbers printed there with the one they had dialed.

He's right. They're going to need luck. And his impressions are interesting, to say the least; they don't seem as improbable as they would have, once. And certainly lend a set of descriptive nuances to the granular details he had tried to stick to before. It makes sense, doesn't it?

"That'd have to be one powerful motherfucker, too," Sigi remarks.

What a time to be alive.

Sieghilde tucks the card down onto her notepad long enough to jot down, in bullet form, a few of his theories. Ability: projective phasing? Insubstantial. SLC ablty expnt. Reckless? "Appreciate you humoring the question," Sigi says. She snaps the notebook shut, the business card inside of it. Tucks it into the inner pocket of her jacket. Surely it's only a matter of weeks before the weather makes black suits intolerable. What ever will the uniformed SESA grunts do? Sieghilde rises to her feet. "I'd say, 'try not to die,' but you seem to be doing just fine."

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