Subject of Risk


caliban_icon.gif lola2_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif

Scene Title Subject of Risk
Synopsis Lola's retreat from d'Sarthe's soft opening is complicated by Caliban and Nicole.
Date September 2, 2010

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.

Lola is unaware that anyone even noticed her. With a cap over her head and hair, a light sweater over her blouse, armed with a bag over her shoulder, she weaves her way through Central Park, taking the most mainstream route away from the area - she really doesn't want to wander off in the park at night. People tell stories, after all.

So she makes her way along, walking quickly as she has for awhile, the walk of the paranoid. But other than the occasional glance around looking for rapists, she is unconcerned. Maybe she'll hit up a real bar tonight.

One of the disadvantages to having a wife — or a girlfriend, in Caliban's case — is that if you aren't careful you can wind up tethered to them. In this case, Abigail is an anchor; he can't drift too far. Far enough, though, that the pavement under their feet doesn't belong to Gideon d'Sarthe. Off what was once Tavern on the Green, Central Park is neutral territory and the only authority he and Nicole have to worry about are the police.

He maintains a safe distance between them, following Lola fifty feet behind, his arm linked with Nicole's. When he speaks it's in a low voice that only the woman at his side will hear. "What's your range?"

On their way out the back, Nicole discarded her champagne flute in favour of a small fork designed for something like fishing baby dills out of a dish. Halting Caliban only long enough for him to block the line of sight between her and whoever might be watching, she crouched down in front of an outlet by the door, as if she'd dropped something. The tines slip into the outlet and only the smallest of audible inhales betrays that she'd siphoned electricity from the building. The fork is left on the floor as she straightens up again and hurries out the back with her chaperone.

The woman's breathing is deep and even as she walks with Caliban. She's ensuring that her fingers on his arm don't cause her to discharge what she's built up. It takes effort, but it's a practised effort.

What she hasn't practised is sharp shooting, as it were. Her eyes cast to the ground so her heavily mascara-laden lashes obscure the way her cobalt eyes glow instead an electric blue, Nicole shakes her head. "The only sure thing is touch. I don't want to risk you." Her reply is simplified, keeping the answer to only what he needs to know to satisfy the question. He doesn't need the variables, only the expected result.

For comfort's sake, Lola tucks her gun into the waistband of her pants as she walks, the bag hugged close to her. Her movements are probably somewhat difficult to discern. Put four bullet-holes in you, and see if you don't walk around armed for the rest of your damn life, too. Swinging the bag up over her shoulder, she continues to walk along, toward the exit of the park. Nothing suspicious as of yet - certainly no faces that she knows.

Shuffle shuffle shuffle along, ever closer to the edge of the park, ever closer to people and cars and shops.

"On the subject of risk," says Caliban, lifting his chin to direct Nicole's attention toward the gun as Lola slips it into the back of her pants. "It's either me or you, and there's little point in saving my own skin only to have Linderman flay it off me when I tell him he can find his personal assistant at the morgue. I can bring you closer, but we have to move now."

Swallowing down the apprehension thick in the back of her throat - or maybe that's bile - Nicole nods. If he wants the truth, he should be more worried about what her sister would do to him, than their employer. Hopefully he'll never have to find out. She picks up her pace, trying to replace fear with determination.

Lola turns a corner, continuing to walk. She can't be far from the exit now, she's just walking walking walking, easily. Walking with purpose, walking the walk of the paranoid, but walking all the same. She checks around her - notices the people behind her, far along as they may be, it's late at night in a not-so-safe area. But she's far enough ahead, she thinks, so she just continues on her way.

There's nothing outwardly suspicious about Caliban's appearance — or Nicole's. They're both well-dressed, obviously recent departures from d'Sarthe's soft opening, but the absence of daylight makes it difficult to identify them in the dark, or she might have some warning about what's coming. When Linderman's personal assistant and publicist are approaching you from behind and you're supposed to be dead, the victim of an assassination order personally signed by the taller of the pair, it's wise to stop walking and start running.

Fifty feet becomes twenty-five. Twenty-five becomes twenty. Twenty becomes fifteen—

"When you're ready," he whispers into Nicole's hair.

Whisper quiet is Nicole's quivering response, for Caliban's ears.

Fifteen becomes ten.

"Bread and butter," Nicole murmurs somewhat cryptically. It turns less cryptic in the way she nudges Caliban to the other side of the path as though they're going to go around Lola on either side. She doesn't want him close enough to touch.

A deep breath. Ten becomes five. A small, keening sound of effort accompanies the way Nicole throws her arm out toward Lola. Electricity crackles and pops loudly as it arcs down the skin of her arm, between her splayed fingers, and finally travels its circuit to Lola.

Lola shrieks. It's pretty simple. It's a shriek.

In an attempt to get as far away from the source of the pain, she stumbles away from Nicole - but of course there's Caliban, and a hand reaches out to try and stop her stumble-fall against him. This, of course, completes a nice little circuit that will pass Nicole's touch of love to Caliban. It only lasts a moment, however, as Lola can't keep herself up with a hand on him and in a blind, adrenaline-fueled attempt to just get away she manages to complete the move - all of this within a second or two - toward the brush and the bushes.

From the nearby street, heads perk as they hear the scream. Someone, if not several someones, have heard. As for Lola? It's difficult to say. Burning cloth and flesh are stinking up the air. There were flames along her sweater where the initial contact was. Anyone can say what her current state is now.

Residual sparks crackle and singe Caliban's jacket where Lola's hand connects with his arm, which jerks away sharply at the touch. The effect is a little like getting shot with a tazer — the current overrides his neurological system and has him staggering backwards. His heel catches on the curb and he goes down into the grass, thin streams of smoke rising from his sleeve but otherwise — for the most part — largely unhurt.

He made a slight miscalculation. It happens. As Lola disappears into the bushes, gun still tucked down the back of her pants, he lets out a sharp curse under his breath and tries to heave himself back to his feet.

Doesn't work the first time. His body is still recovering.

Nicole is torn for a moment between trying to help her comrade to his feet, or going after their target. She decides upon the former, hurrying toward Caliban's prone form and crouching next to him, pulling him into a seated position. "What do we do now?" she hisses. The brunette huddles against the man, appearing frightened to the small crowd that will likely begin to gather.

And indeed the crowd is beginning to gather - there are people hurrying toward the couple from the nearby street, and are already in view of them, and will soon be upon them. No doubt there are mobile phones being dialed, authorities being called, and if someone can get close enough possibly a video for YouTube. Or maybe not. It's really hard to tell, isn't it?

"Lick our wounds with a bottle of good wine and charge it to Daniel's credit," Caliban answers, wrapping an arm around Nicole's waist as she helps him climb back to his feet. The assembling crowd prevents him from following Lola into the brush, wrestling her gun from her and doing Kain's job for him, as he'd intended to, but this is the kind of environment he thrives in. Or is supposed to, according to the business card he carries in his wallet.

They'll pass it off as a botched mugging, and dressed the way that they are, being who they are, there's not one Good Samaritan pressing in around them who will question their story.

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