Three Phones and an Elevator


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Scene Title Three Phones and an Elevator
Synopsis …and that's nowhere near the limit of the destruction. Ygraine acquires perhaps her most unusual 'stray' yet, and winds up stashing her in a dubiously safe haven….
Date January 14 2011

Le Rivage and the Ruins of Midtown

It's frigid out there. Well below freezing, and worsened by wind chill. Then you add in the snow, the filthy slush spattered everywhere by passing vehicles, and the melting slime trekked into the apartment building by people coming through the doors.

One such heavily-muffled figure tramps into the elevator, only reaching up to unfasten the chin-strap and then remove her anonymity-granting black-visored motorcycle helmet once she is inside the little mobile room. Revealed when she lifts off the protective headgear is a wealth of brightly red-dyed hair, bound into a tight braid before disappearing within the muffling folds of a scarf, and the bulk of her reinforced biking leathers. Even so, her pale skin is pallid white from the cold, and it looks rather as if she is suppressing a shiver….

Another such heavily muffled figure follows soon behind. This teen is not wearing a motorcycle helmet, but rather chattering merrily into a cellphone. Shirley (that is her name) gives a polite nod to the other person in the elevator while chatting. "Yeah, Kimberley, I am, like, in the elevator right now!" Is a fragment of the conversation that can be heard.

The teen presses one of the floor buttons, and takes a look at Ygraine, "There's this motorcyclist woman with me in the elevator right now. I thought only men drove motorcycles. It's, like, kind of weird to see a lone woman with a motorcycle helmet. You know, without a guy." Okay, talk about stereotypes, Shirley. "But yeah, as soon as that woman chooses a floor, we can go up, and I will be there!"

The half-frozen Briton had indeed forgotten to push a button - but she delays long enough to look down at Shirley as commentary is volubly passed on her. The look comes not merely from a somewhat greater height, but also from the elevation of a world-weary woman abruptly feeling her age as well as the bone-biting cold. Then she extends a finger of her free hand, and punches the button for the top floor.

As the elevator starts to rise, Shirley keeps on talking about a whole load of different things. Then, suddenly, "Kimberley? You there?" She takes the cell away from her ear and notices that the screen is cracked, and the whole cell phone seems to be broken. "Like, what the hell!" The teen calls out, staring at her cell. "How the fuck did that happen?"

And, to make things worse? Suddenly the lights go out in the elevator. It starts to shake a little before, well… it noticeably comes to a standstill. "Oh fuck" Shirley complains, looking up at where she last saw the Briton. Not that there's light to illuminate matters. "Do you know what's going on here?" The accidental culprit asks, "I mean, this isn't supposed to happen, right?"

There is a little bit of smug hubristic glee when the noisy teen's phone packs in… then other things start to screw up, and the elevator grinds to an unpleasant-sounding halt. A momentary pause, then a British voice, dry and somewhat tired-sounding, says "No. No it's really not meant to do anything like that."

A rustle of leather precedes a gentle click, and a low, cool white light - Ygraine having produced from one of her jacket's many pockets a sister to the crank-powered torches delivered to the Ferry. But even this is rather dim - and it soon illuminates its owner's worried frown.

"So, what do we do now?" Shirley asks the older woman, her hand banging against the wall. "We're stuck, aren't we?" Slight panic is showing in the teen's voice, which has noticeably cracked beyond the point of calmness. "They're gonna get us out, right? Right?" She asks, desperation and panic filling her words clearly. "How long do you think it'll be until they find out?"

With the elevator having been broken for a stretch of at least two weeks in her first few months in the building, Ygraine opts not to answer that directly, instead quickly using the fading torch to look for any obvious problems or reasons for hope. But no… there are no mysterious packages, sparking wires, or anything else of the sort to provide an easy focus for explanation.

"I can get us out, I suspect", she says quietly, but she first moves to tap at the - wholly dead - emergency button. A patter of button-presses confirm that they all seem to be equally defunct, and she then pries absent-mindedly at the panel to see if she can open it up. "But please - don't bang on the walls. I really don't need a head-ache…"

"You can get us out?!" Shirley's tone of voice is both surprised and hopeful, and she looks at the dimly lit face of the Briton. "How?" An interesting question, especially considering the times. There's at least half a dozen ways an Evolved could be able to leave the elevator, so it is not a question without merit. "Please get us out, though… this is scary, my watch broke too!"

In fact, every piece of semicomplex technology and more advanced inside the elevator is broken by now. It's very clear that this isn't your regular elevator breakdown. "Do you think that perhaps some sort of Evolved is doing this?" Bingo, Shirley. In fact, it's you! "Should we call the cops? Oh, wait, my cell is broken, I can't call anyone…"

So much for getting to relax in a hot shower. By now, Ygraine should be at home, flipping music on and divesting herself of wind-chilled leathers… instead, she's trying to muster the energy needed to set her brain and body back to activity rather than lethargic relaxation.

"It could be an Evolved, though I've not seen this particular ability before", the Briton muses. "Gah. I'm not thinking." She stops fiddling with the panel, and pulls out the STOP button - not that it has any audible effect, admittedly, but she can hope that the mobile components are now properly braced with brakes. "Now… let's see if we can get these doors open, and see if we're close enough to a floor to get you out."

"Well, there's, like, thousands of different kinds of abilities, right?" Shirley asks with wide eyes, watching the Briton do her business. Not that the teen has any idea what the Briton is doing. But that's a different matter. "How should we try to get those doors open? I mean… there doesn't seem to be any electricity here for the doors to be opening like they normally do…"

"In theory, it's limitless", Ygraine says softly. "Or functionally so." The torch is clipped to the lapel of her jacket, before further rummaging ensues - and a small pouch of tools is fished out from within her jacket. From that, a screwdriver is removed, and she sets about inserting it into the dimly-seen seam down the centre of the doors.

"It's a matter of mechanics. These are all meant to be designed so that the doors can be sprung open. There should then be a latch on the inside of the doors at each floor, so that anyone on this side can get them open if there's a fault…."

"Aha!" Shirley calls out as she looks towards those doors, trying to take a look at the Britons activities before the doors spring open. It's not too difficult, as the mechanics for that aren't all that complex, so they didn't break down. "Okay, so now we need to look for a hatch, right?"

The teen asks as she looks at the door, it starts about one and a half feet above the elevator cabin's floor. "We should be able to climb up there, if we can get it open!" Shirley is getting pretty stoked about getting out of there again. "Thanks for helping me figure this out, I figure I'd have been stuck for ages if you hadn't been here!"

Ygraine chuckles softly. "You're welcome", she says dryly. "Here's hoping the latch works, or we'll have to go up and out. And that'll be a lot more of a pain to manage. But… yeah. Most people don't know how this all works, and even if they do, many of the inner doors aren't at all easy to get open. Few people carry around tools with them - how fortunate for you that you got stuck with a biker who does as many of her own repairs as she can, eh?" As she talks, she leans forward, peering up with the slowly-fading torch, trying to catch sight of the necessary mechanism to open the remaining barrier to freedom.

The mechanism is easily found, but somehow, the latch is hanging loose. Not as it should. Clear sign there's a problem there too. "Did you find the latch?" Shirley asks hopefully, "Does it work?" The second and equally important question that was bound to follow up. "If we can't get out that way, will we have to climb the elevator cables like they do in the movies? I mean, I don't think I can do that!"

Ygraine sighs quietly, allowing herself to burn off a little steam by vigorously jiggling that accursed latch for a few moments, before pulling back.

"No. If we can get up there, we should be able to access the next floor." If it's not also been sabotaged, the paranoid voice inside her mind suggests. "But we'll have to see if I can even get out. Oddly enough, they don't tend to leave the roof hatches unlocked. Now… try not to freak out, please."

The Briton still sounds rather weary, even as she steps onto the wall and walks up to the roof, leathers creaking as she sinks into a crouch to peer at one of the ceiling panels - apparently quite comfortable with now being perpendicular to the rest of the world.

"Whoa!" Is Shirley's reaction to seeing the Briton walk up walls. "That is awesome!" Not exactly freaking out, so yeah, she's listening to Ygraine? "So I'm guessing you're Evolved then?" It's … probably a save bet by now, yes, Shirley. "Do you have, like, adhesive feet… or can you change the direction of gravity, or what?" Curiosity kills the cat, Shirley…

Ygraine looks around, laughing softly. "No, I don't have sticky feet. And yes, I am Evolved. My registered ability is 'object adhesion'." Not that that's necessarily a complete answer to Shirley's query, of course.

Sighing a little, she peers at the ceiling in the fading light, then lifts out the concealing ceiling panels, to reveal a firmly-secured hatch. It rattles a little when Ygraine puts her shoulder to it, but the handle doesn't move and it's clear that it's held in place from the far side. "I think I'm going to have to unscrew this", the Briton grumbles.

"You got registered?" Shirley asks, raising an eyebrow, even though Ygraine is unlikely to pay attention to it. "I mean, registering is, like, the way the government tries to oppress people by shoving them into boxes and storing data on those boxes." A little more serious now, but still reasonably cheerful, "I wouldn't want to be pushed in a box, and I'll just deal with the disadvantages of not being registered."

"They've been fingerprinting and intimately documenting even allied foreigners for a good while now", Ygraine says quietly, as she lays out her tools on the ceiling. "When they finally got around to extending registration to foreigners as well as citizens… I had a simple choice between never coming back in through an airport, or signing up."

As she talks, her tone absent-mindedly musing, she selects another screwdriver, and sets about attempting to begin dismantling the fixings holding the hatch in place. "I happen to think that it's an horrendous piece of legislation, and that people should be doing more to overturn it. But there's this strange - to British eyes - reverence for the actions of the central executive. Even though there's a constitutional right to take matters to the Supreme Court, and even though it was designed as part of the system of checks and balances, people have been taught to fight all their battles in the corruption and money-throwing orgies of national elections."

"… oh, yeah, that would suck." Shirley agrees, the remainder of the talk going far above her head. But she pretends to listen, nodding her head every so often. The hatch, then, is easily lodged out of place. Just a few screws, and it can go off. "Are you getting closer to getting us out, missus?" Shirley asks, "My friend, Kimberley, is waiting for me…"

With her torch continuing to dim - in spite of some rapid cranking to restore its power - Ygraine spares a moment to peer down, her pale features distinctly ethereal in the faint light. "I could just leave you here", she says dryly, though her lips do twitch up into a smile before she turns back.

Carefully completing the dismantling of the hatch, she puts her shoulder to it to nudge the barely-used portal open before setting it aside on the roof and cautiously peering out. After all, there might still be a problem up here…

Everything looks perfectly normal up there. Well, as perfectly normal as an apartment complex elevator shaft with a broken elevator in it gets. "Buy you promised you'd get us out!" Shirley responds to the older woman, though her tone sounds worried again… a little panicked even. "You can't leave me behind… I'll die of thirst and hunger!"

Quite failing to hold back a mischievously amused little giggle, Ygraine pulls her head back inside then looks down to her companion once more. "I don't think I promised", she says with a smile, setting about packing away her tools before rising to her feet and walking down the wall to bring herself level with Shirley - though still at 90 degrees to her.

"Now… want me to carry you, or do you want to go through the direction-shifts yourself?"

"I… think carrying me would be less likely to make me nauseous." Says the girl who's to blame for the entire situation, even if she isn't aware of that yet. "While the direction shifts would be more awesome, I don't quite think that's a good idea." Shirley nods to herself, and looks back to Ygraine, "My name is Shirley by the way, Shirley Keane."

"Ygraine FitzRoy", the Briton provides, after a moment of considering the barely-visible young woman. She does, however, step down from the wall, part-crouching as she reaches to take her companion by knees and shoulders.

For now, Shirley doesn't panic. She lets herself be picked up by the older woman, and looks at her, "Thanks for helping, I worry what would've happened hadn't you been there. Have you ever worked in elevator maintenance or something that you know all this kind of stuff?" She asks as she looks at Ygraine's eyes, "I mean, I wouldn't have known any of this, and I don't think a lot of people do!"

"I'm a hopeless nerd", Ygraine confesses somewhat self-consciously. "And… as you might guess" - she steps onto the wall, shifting her grip to keep Shirley at least approximately the right way up under the girl's own perspective - "I've got something of an interest in what routes up are blocked off, and how." Not that it has anything to do with having considered various ways of getting away from pursuit, of course.

"Aha, that makes sense." Shirley decides verbally, shifting around a little as Ygraine shifts her own grip. "Do you think the door above will open, or will that be more difficult?" The teen asks, "What if it doesn't open, then what will we do?" All very valid questions… let's hope it doesn't come to that, shall we? "I just hope everything will turn out alright. Shouldn't tell this story to my dad, though… he doesn't like Evolved."

Ygraine snorts, then offers Shirley an impish grin at close range as she comes to a halt right next to the vacant area previously blocked by the hatch. "Just tell him that a foreign dyke in leathers picked you up in an elevator", she suggests dryly.

The teen laughs at that suggestion, "I don't think that would be a much better story, really!" Shirley looks at the hole, "So, how are we going through there, missus FitzRoy?" She asks as she peers at it. She doesn't exactly seem to be worried, just curious.

"With most fathers, it'd take their thoughts away from any question of Evolved status", Ygraine suggests with another grin. "Well, I'm hoping that you can use your hands and pull yourself through. Or I can play with directions for you, but I'd rather not risk you throwing up. It takes some getting used to…."

"Well, it might, but I think he'd still ask… he really doesn't like the Evolved… mom died in the bomb, and I don't think he ever got over it." Her tone is quite serious at this point, "I think if he thought he could get away with it, he might even start doing bad things to the Evolved." Unbeknown to the teen, her father is already doing such 'bad things'

"I got nuked", Ygraine says quietly, trying to position Shirley so that she can best start moving - preferably before the unfortunate torch finishes dying. "Was heading North on Broadway, that day. Fortunate I wasn't facing the other way, so far as it goes. And that I was in full leathers, with the visor down, so when I hit… well. I can sympathise with… wanting someone to pay. But you've got to find something cosntructive to do. Not just focus on old wounds, and the desire to share misery."

Shirley does her best to crawl through that hole… "This is kind of weird." She says at a soft tone of voice, and when she's on the other side, she looks back, "Okay, I'm here. Your turn to come up now!" She calls out while she searches for and pulls down the latch to open the doors. They open… partially. The hole is big enough to go through, though they seem to have broken down halfway through. "Weird, I opened the doors, but they, like, didn't go all the way." A pause, "And yeah, I agree on that. And besides, it's not like most evolved had anything to do with the bomb, right?"

Assisted by some judicious flipping around of gravity, Ygraine slips easily through the hole, and rises to her feet on the roof of the elevator - glad to see light coming in through the opening, to supplement her torch. "I'll give you a boost up", she says, though she does shoot Shirley a distinctly pensive look. "And no… there's no real proof it was even deliberate, on anyone's part. Might just have been a matter of loss of control. It's not as if most people have much idea of what their abilities really do or mean, let alone the possible implications of them…"

"Why are you looking at me like that?" Shirley asks a bit surprised, "And a boost up would be appreciated a lot!" The teenage tech destroyer starts to make her way to the opened hole, "Okay, I'm ready to climb up! Just give me that boost when you're ready!"

Ygraine blinks, then chuckles, and moves to take Shirley by the waist, grunting as she hoists the girl up. "Go on. Get through. I'll follow", she gets out between gritted teeth, though she is managing to hold the youngster fairly steady.

As she gets on the other side, Shirley turns around to extend her hand towards the older woman. "I know you don't need this, but I figure I'd extend a hand to help you up a little nonetheless!" There's a few people around, including one young man who's calling on his cell phone, only for it to suffer the same fate as Shirley's mid-conversation as he starts to watch the pair climb out of the elevator shaft.

Ygraine laughs - springing lightly up onto the wall, then swinging herself through the doors. Though she does accept Shirley's hand, she doesn't put any noticable weight on it. Once in the corridor, she flips off her poor torch, in hope of saving it from whatever is causing it so much distress, and glances around. "What floor're you after?", she asks quietly, turning to try to work the doors closer together once more, to reduce the risk of idiots falling through them.

"Third floor!" The teen responds as she looks at the nearby elevator's floor markings, "So! This one… thanks for helping out, missus FitzRoy. But you still haven't…" The lights of the floor flicker a few times and then shut down, "Oh man, what the hell is going on here?!" Shirley looks back to Ygraine, "Do you have any clue what's causing this? It seems like it's following us around or something…"

"Well, you know what my talent is", Ygraine says softly. "So that leaves a rather short list of candidates, doesn't it? But we need it to stop, or it'll cause a lot of problems, I fear." Sighing softly, she glances around as if already worried that trouble might be on its way. "I think we need to get you away from this."

"Wait" Shirley says as it finally dawns upon her, her eyes grow wide with shock, "You're saying I am doing this?!" She sighs, "But… why? How? I didn't know I am Evolved…" She glances between Ygraine and the way to the staircase, "Getting away might be a good idea…." She says softly, "If I'm doing this, then…" She starts to sniffle, and a few tears form, "Then how am I ever going to make money as a software engineer?"

Ygraine shrugs, pursing her lips as she frowns a little. "You might not be. But let's test it. Get you outside, and away from all the stuff in here. See if we can figure something out. Go on - the stairs", she instructs, though the nudge she gives Shirley is gentle, and would be easy to resist.

Shirley starts moving towards the stairs then, sighing again. She starts to walk down, and … she has shut up. There's no sounds coming from her but footsteps and the occasional sniffle as she seems to be crying softly. This is not a good day.

Perhaps a touch cruelly, Ygraine does let her get a little bit of a lead - before flipping on her poor torch once more, to see if it's recovered. Then she shakes her head, turns it off, and hurries after the girl. Worrying about tech can come later, she chides herself, as a rapid thump-thump-thump of boots brings her close to the younger female once more.

Soon enough, Shirley is back at the ground floor, where she waits for Ygraine to catch up to her. As she waits, a nearby lamp flickers a few times before going out, which makes the teen sigh deeply, and mutter a single word, "Why?" It's a simple question, but the answer is probably 'Because.' And that's not going to satisfy her.

"Either it's you, or you're being targetted by someone with a grudge", Ygraine murmurs on her way past to the door, clearly quite serious about getting Shirley outside - and away from all the technology in here. "C'mon. We're going for a walk. I just hope we don't freeze."

"Okay." Shirley follows Ygraine out, hurrying a little as she feels the freezing cold. "So, where are we going, missus FitzRoy?" It's an innocent enough question, "I mean, I should tell my father what's going o…" Sudden pause, "Or maybe I shouldn't…" She follows the pause up softly, "If this is being caused by me, then I don't think I should tell dad…"

Ygraine gestures - quite firmly - for Shirley to stay put, as she moves to stow her helmet in one of her bike's panniers, swapping it for a woollen hat that she pulls down firmly over her ears, and tucking her own phone in there as well before locking the box once more.

Then she rejoins the younger woman, hunching her shoulders against the cold. "We're going to somewhere far enough away from tech that whatever's going on, you can try to figure out how to shut it down without crashing a whole building", she informs Shirley. "So we're going to go and stand in the snow in a park, and hope that no one pelts us with snowballs."

"But I don't even know how I am doing this…" Shirley complains as she looks at Ygraine, "I don't feel any different… how could I tell whether whatever is going on has stopped if I can't try?"

"You learn to feel it", Ygraine says quietly. "In my case, it… came and went. Especially when under stress. At first, I thought I was hallucinating. After all, no one could crawl up a wall, or have the things happen to them that I thought I was seeing!"

She shakes her head, forcing a chilled smile for her companion. "You're far from the first person to discover an ability, if this is you. I think it probably is, but whatever the case, we need to figure out how you control it."

Walking along with Ygraine, Shirley huddles herself against the cold. "But what if we can't figure out how to control it? Or what if it's going to take a while for me to learn to?" She's worried, a little panicky, "I can't stay out in the snow for days trying to figure out what's going on… I'd catch hypothermia!" She sighs, "If this is me… I do want to learn to control it, I just don't know how."

Ygraine manages to find a low, soft chuckle. "Have you ever had tech 'fritz' inexplicably on you before now?", she asks quietly. "At the very least, you weren't doing this until you came in proximity to me. So perhaps all you need is for me to walk away…."

The teen shakes her head, "No I haven't…. not that I can remember anyway." Shirley responds, her brow furrowing as she tries to recall, "Really can't remember any previous incidents like this…" She sighs, "And… what if you go away and it stays… what am I supposed to do then?"

"This is New York. I should probably be demanding all your money just for talking to you", Ygraine says, tone again dry - before she flashes a smile. "What I'm hoping is that we don't need to teach you to consciously control anything. Most… abilities are taxing to use. People run out of the energy required to sustain them, after a while. Most also take some kind of… activation. So if we can utterly distract your brain, there's a good chance that… whatever EM field, or whatever it is, that you generate - that that'll just dissipate."

"I hope you're right…" Shirley says softly, ignoring the commentary about money… not that she has a lot of it, though. "But what if your hope is wrong… what if you will need me to consciously control this thing I… I'm apparently doing?" She looks at the sky as she walks along, "I… I just want to be normal again…"

"Everyone's a mutant", Ygraine says quietly. "For some, their genetic variations are simply more obvious. But.. whatever you are, you're not without choices. There are… methods of cancelling out abilities. The government's said to have access to a 'negation gas', among other things, that can temporarily annul a person's more unusual talents. So you could always walk up to a cop and ask for that to be used on you, if you really feel you have to…."

Shirley shuts up again as she keeps walking, apparently thinking about something. She doesn't let on what she's thinking about, but it's probably not hard to guess she's thinking about what she'll be doing next, and what Ygraine just said. She sniffles a few times again, and tears do yet again flow on her cheeks…

Sighing into her scarf, Ygraine hesitates only a moment before reaching over and giving Shirley's shoulder a one-handed squeeze. "Hey… careful, now. You'll risk freezing your eye-lashes together", she warns, venturing a smile. "I'll give you what help I can. But I don't promise to have all the answers."

That first comment seems to cheer Shirley up again a little, as the sniffles end, and a slight chuckle can be heard. "So. If we can't find a way to control this in a reasonable timeframe… then what?" She asks softly, "Am I going to have to become a hermit so I won't destroy any technology, or worse…. will I have to… to make an end to it..?"

"Make an end to it?", YGraine asks in surprise. "This isn't terminal, if that's what you're asking. And I've heard of precisely one power that supposedly couldn't be controlled - and no one seems to know what actually happened with the Bomb. It… might take time. But if you're going to stay away from technology, you're going to need to get messages to other people. Your friend Kimberley, for example, will be wondering where you are by now."

"O..okay." Shirley whispers softly to Ygraine, "And… she's not that important a friend… If.. if I'm not going back home… I'd prefer to leave as small a trail as I can…" The teen seems to be serious about this, "I don't know for sure, but… I am afraid of what my father would do if he found out…. he might try to kill me…" She sighs again, looking down at the ground, "I… I'll need a place to stay…"

"If you want to leave a small trail, then would you mind it not pointing squarely at me? I live in that building, and if anyone's asked to name a woman in motorcycle leathers whom you might have met in an elevator there, they're likely to come up with me", Ygraine says dryly. "Right now, if you disappear, I'll be the prime suspect for the police."

Shaking her head, she sighs worriedly. "If we can manage to send a message for you, then we might manage to avoid anything pointing to Le Rivage, but it won't be too easy. And… are you serious about your father being that bad?"

"He's with Humanis First" Shirley whispers softly, almost as though she is afraid to utter that organization's name. "And… I understand your concern… I just… just don't know how to solve this. I've never ever thought about anything like this before… I … I didn't even consider that this might come up… let alone consider what to do if it did…"

Ygraine actually stutter-steps briefly. "He's…? Christ." A hear-beat's pause, then "Merde" is merely the start of a burst of heart-felt French.

"Ahhh. Right. You're not kidding, are you? Okaaaay. And I don't suppose he adores you so much that this kind of revelation would shock him into revising his opinions wholesale?"

"I'm afraid not…" Shirley whispers, hanging her head. "I'm pretty sure he'd rather kill me and pretend I never was like this than that he'd admit his own daughter would be, well… Evolved." The teen looks back up, "Which is why I can't go back. And why I don't want him to be able to trace me… do you understand that?"

Ygraine sighs, reaching up to tug her hat more firmly down over her ears, before nudging Shirley's elbow to turn her down a side-street. A children's play area might not be exactly what she'd want, but it at least offers clear space without immediately adjacent technology. "In there. And we can try to figure something out. Because I'm afraid that right now, any enquiries about you will lead straight to me. Which would be very bad for me, if I were to help you to disappear, and not much better for you. So… we need to get you a working phone soon, or have an email sent via your mobile, at the least. But let's see if we can get you distracted, and get your ability to shut down…."

Shirley sits down on one of the swings, sighing and looking down. "I .. I understand." The teen mutters before looking back up at Ygraine, "Okay, so… maybe we could agree on the general gist of the message, and then you can send the email from my address after I tell you how to put it?" She asks, "And I'm afraid my phone is dead." She pulls it out again, big cracks in the screen, and it even smells a bit like burnt plastic.

"That doesn't matter so much", Ygraine says, though she does shoot the unfortunate device a startled look. "If I remember right, you can route emails via your account with your mobile - err, cell - provider. I might have to do a bit of searching on how to do it, but… anyway."

She closes her eyes, hugging herself as she suppresses a shiver. "Gah. Right. What were you feeling when things started to go screwy? When you arrived in the elevator?"

"I was just… talking with Kim… looking forward to going to do some shopping together…" Shirley responds as she slowly starts to swing the swing in an attempt to keep herself warmed up. "I know that it wasn't any different from any of the other times Kimberley and I went out shopping together…"

"Well, you're different, then, or there was something that triggered this some time before", Ygraine says reasonably, trying to stay calm and keep her mind off her nose's complaints about freezing solid. To try to remedy the latter problem, she hitches her scarf up, the warmth of her breath washing over her lower face.

"How old are you? If it's not too rude a question…. Some people find that this sort of thing appears as they're growing up, along with all the other physical and mental changes, and all the stress and hassle the process brings with it."

"Sixteen." Shirley responds to the question asked, while it's late puberty, it remains puberty. "Maybe that's it, maybe it isn't… I just can't tell…" The teen sighs, turning her eyes to the sky as she swings, "Why?" She asks, "Father, //Why?"

Ygraine darts a glance upwards, then offers a smile - and though it's largely visible only in the movement of her cheeks and the expression of her eyes, it's clearly audible in her voice. "Why did He curse you with a problem? Or why did He dump you in the lap of a stranger who knows a small amount about it, and who won't panic, call your Dad, or set the police on you for vandalism? Things aren't exactly as bad as they could be, you know."

"I… guess…" Shirley responds, looking back to Ygraine. "I just… didn't ask for any of this. And I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with, well… with this kind of mess." She keeps swinging, not because she thinks it's fun, but because she's slowly getting colder, and hoping to get some body heat out of this…

Surreptitiously, Ygraine flips on her torch, keeping it within its pocket so that she's the only one likely to notice the glow spilling onto her wrist. It is not, sadly, encouraging.

"Hrmmm. I think that we need to get that message sent as soon as possible", she muses. "What'll best satisfy Kimberley, as an explanation for you disappearing? And is there anything you could send to your Dad that would buy some time?"

"Maybe the same story will work for both… I could claim I've ran into Clint, my old boyfriend, and that I decided to go to his place for 'a while.' Let's keep the details vague…" Shirley seems to be thinking aloud, "Dad never had contact details for Clint…."

"Does he have a name for him? Does Kimberley? And would you mind the cops being brought down on his head as the prime suspect if you are reported missing?", Ygraine asks. "While passing the buck to other people is personally welcome, I don't want to just get someone else in dire trouble. But this does sound like it might buy time."

"He's a jerk anyway." Shirley says softly, looking back to Ygraine, "And both of them know who Clint is… he's a classmate, and he's been over at my place a few times. I think I wouldn't mind Clint getting into some trouble… he can't take no for an answer. His last name is Jameson, by the way…."

The name means nothing to her, but Ygraine nods slowly. "Just be aware - if he's suspected of kidnapping an under-age girl, he's not going to have a light time of it from the police. This won't be a telling-off for getting caught with a beer, or the like." But… rather some jerk than the Ferry, as far as the Briton's concerned, so she doesn't push the point too hard.

Shirley nods slowly, "That's okay…" She says softly, "If I'm going to have to disappear, I'd rather leave a trail landing on some jerk than a trail landing on the people who're trying to help me out…" She smiles faintly, "Can you arrange for that message to be sent..? I think we should, well… we should go somewhere save or something…"

"I'd best leave you here for a bit, once we've got a text for it sorted out", Ygraine says, reluctantly unzipping her jacket and delving inside to produce a small notebook and comparably diminutive pen. "But I will be back, I promise. And quickly. Then… then I fear we'll have to walk some distance, unfortunately."

"That's okay… I don't mind walking." The teen responds, swinging the swing up and down. "I'll be waiting here, then. See you again very soon?" Another swing, and another, as Shirley looks at Ygraine. She starts to hum a tune to distract herself.

Approaching Shirley, Ygraine holds out the little book and pen. "Words. I need your words for this", she says with a smile. "And I'll try to think of where I can stash you while I try to figure out what the heck to do about you."

Shirley stops swinging as she starts writing down the message… 'Hi Dad/Kim, I'm going to be staying with Clint for a while! Don't worry about me, I'll be okay.' "Here you go." The teen responds, handing the notebook and pen back. "I kept it simple, and a bit vague, to avoid making up details that are flat out impossible. I hope that''s okay with you?"

Ygraine nods thoughtfully. "Okay. I'll send that exactly as you've written it. And I will be back soon, I promise." Backing away, she holds the girl's gaze for a few moments, before tucking away the note and zipping up her jacket again, lengthening her stride as she hunches into the cold once more.

A quick wave of goodbye as Shirley starts swinging again to keep herself warm, waiting for Ygraine to return as she swings.

A little under twenty - frigidly cold - minutes later, Ygraine comes back into view. She looks relieved to see Shirley still waiting for her, and hurries across. Unzipping her jacket as she nears the girl, she produces a large take-out cup, wisps of steam coming off it in all directions as it hits the cold air.

"I hope you like hot chocolate. And please, don't burn yourself. It'll feel really hot…."

"Hot Chocolate" Shirley says excitedly, getting up from the swings to grab the cup, taking a few careful sips from it. "You weren't lying when you said it was hot!" She says cheerfully, perhaps the first cheerful sound she's made after realizing she's turned anathema in the eyes of her father. "It'll cool down to a more drinkable temperature soon enough, I'm sure. Considering the weather…" And she flashes a grin.

Chuckling, Ygraine grins - clearly glad that her gift has been well-received. "I've already had mine. But I thought you'd appreciate one. So… how do you feel about some wilderness survival training? I can offer you varying degrees of insanity for hiding out…"

"Wilderness survival training..?" Shirley clearly is a little confused by that. "I wouldn't be opposed to it… but … why?" This time it isn't a why directed at God or at the Universe. Making it possibly a slightly more answerable 'why.' "I don't really know anything about wilderness survival, though…."

"If you're not to crash everything in whichever location we put you in", Ygraine says ruefully, "we need to keep you out of range of anything technological. Now… the neighbouring buildings here don't seem to have gone haywire, so we've got at least some kind of idea of range. And simply walking down the street, cars weren't stalling as they passed you. But if we sat you in a building with power and lights, it seems that they'd go haywire after a short while…"

"I guess…" The teen says softly, taking a few more sips from her hot chocolate. "Yeah. I suppose that would be a pretty good idea…" Shirley gets up from the swings, "So, when do we start?"

Ygraine sighs heavily. "Well… if the weather were warmer, I'd be a lot happier about this - and even then, it's risky, to say the least. Feck." Closing her eyes, she sighs. "I've got Arctic-grade survival gear, after… last Winter. It seemed wise to pick it up. So I can put you in a bag certified as warm far below the present temperatures, and give you energy bars and food, and leave you somewhere. And that way no tech gets screwed up, and you shouldn't freeze, and I'm merely abandoning you on your own somewhere I hope no one will go until I figure out some way to actively help you."

A long, stunned silence. "Sleep outside?" Shirley asks after a few moments, "In this weather?" She doesn't seem to be putting a lot of faith in that arctic-grade survival gear, apparently. "Do you want me to get hypothermia?"

"Arctic grade. You zip it up over your head", Ygraine says unhappily. "And it's not exactly an option I like, but if you're serious about your Dad finding you equating to a death sentence, then we can't take you anywhere that people will notice technology shutting down. So… the best I've come up with would be the Ruins, or somewhere underground. Temperatures in the city are several degrees higher than outside, so you want to stay within the bounds of it to get that benefit. And inside a building - even a shell of one - is going to give you some protection against the wind. I could give you a stove - but I've no idea if the valve on that would work for long. We need to try to find out what breaks, so that we know what you can have around you…"

Shirley nods slowly, sighing. "I guess you're right…" She agrees, reluctantly. "So…. what do I need to know for this, and how long will it take you to pick that stuff up?" The teen takes another few sips from her chocolate. "The Ruins, you say…? You're talking about Midtown..?"

"Yeah. The nuked, irradiated Hell-hole", Ygraine says with a grin. "It's safe now, but officially off-limits. But I can get you into places virtually no one else can reach, if you want. Or… if you have any better ideas, please tell me."

Shirley shakes her head, "Nope. No better ideas here." She takes a few more sips from the chocolate, it's not nearly empty yet. Small sips every now and then keep the body warm in cases like this. "So… yeah, let's go."

Dubiously eyeing the swing, Ygraine purses her lips. "It seems that you don't break everything near you", she observes. "I wonder what the… boundary is. But you definitely seem to be… problematic for electricity, unfortunately."

"Yeah, that's true…" The girl responds, looking back to the swing before glancing back to Ygraine. "It'd also help to figure out what the 'range' of this … effect I radiate is." Shirley sighs, "Nothing I can do about it until I figure out a way to shut it down, I suppose…"

"Even if you just know your range, and what you affect, it'd help. Knowing whether we could hop on a bus, for example…." Ygraine sighs. "Right. I'll go and see if I can find somewhere to stash you, while I see if I can come up with anything better than testing your limits and getting you to try various concentration or distraction techniques…."

"Yeah, you're right." Shirley agrees. "It'd help to know, but right now… I just want to go sit down somewhere, and grab a bite to eat… it's getting closer to dinnertime." She glances over to the sky, "But I suppose we can worry about food once we're in the Ruins…"

"I can grab you some supplies, to go with the cold-weather gear", Ygraine says. "But I'll need to leave you again to grab it - or you'll have to walk up and down, to avoid staying in one place too long…."

The teen shrugs, "I'll go with whatever you think is the best idea, missus FitzRoy." Shirley looks around, "I mean, as long as I'm trusting a complete stranger, I might as well go all the way with that trust thing."

Laughing, Ygraine shrugs. "I hope that I've done at least a couple of things to suggest I might be trustworthy", she says with a smile. "And I promise I'll try not to let you down. And to be quick about getting you to somewhere at least half-way safe…"

Shirley nods, a smile on her face. "You have. You have." She responds, "And if you had wanted to kill me or something, you'd have had the chance, well…. plenty of times. So that's a mark in your favor as well." She grins, "So, am I waiting or am I walking up and down?"

"Let's have you walk up and down, shall we? Should keep you a little warmer, at least", Ygraine suggests. "And I promise to be quick…."

Armed with her chocolate, Shirley gets up from the swings again, "So between where and where should I walk up and down?" She asks with a shrug, looking at the swings, "As long as you can find me, it's okay, right…?"

"Up and down the street here, perhaps? It might let you do a little observation on how things change around you", Ygraine suggests. "I'll be back shortly, I promise. And it's possible I'll have had a stunning idea en route, too…."

As it is said, so it is done. Shirley starts to walk up and down the street, taking the occasional sip of hot coffee while waiting for Ygraine to return. She even starts ti whistle idly to herself,

Ygraine returns a few minutes later. Her attire has changed, the leathers gone - replaced with a long overcoat and loose-fitting cargo pants, worn with what look to be several layers of clothing. On her back is a mid-sized walker's pack, seemingly very well-filled. "I think I've removed all the tech", she says, offering Shirley a smile - then a bar of fruit and nut chocolate. "C'mon. We've got a good bit of walking to do."

The bar is accepted and eaten rapidly, Shirley herself nodding to Ygraine, "Lead the way." She says before taking a few more sips from the cup oc chocolate. "How far is it?"

"Only a couple of miles", Ygraine says. "But I know you've been out here for some time, so I'll try not to push too hard - but we want to have some time to spare, so that we can dodge drawing too much notice to ourselves…."

"A couple of miles… should be doable." The teen responds as she picks up her pace, hoping Ygraine will do the same. "I think that means we can be there in about an hour then, can't we?" She asks with a smile, "Assuming we go at a decent pace… not too fast so we'll tire ourselves, but not needlessly slow either."

"Normally, I'd look to do it in a lot less than an hour", Ygraine admits. "But I'm not running or cycling it today… and the cold air'll have an impact on our lungs. So aiming to be back indoors in about an hour is probably wise. I've got some more food for you… but we don't want to eat too much on the way."

A few miles later, without much interesting cropping up, the Ruins appear in sight of the pair of walkers. "So, this is it then?" Shirley asks, looking it over, "Have always avoided the Ruins in the past, would rather take a long route around it to get where I would have to be." She shrugs and takes a bit of a stop, taking the last few sips of her chocolate, not very hot anymore by now, "That was my chocolate, I guess. Thanks again."

"It's not exactly somewhere you're meant to spend a lot of time", Ygraine says somewhat distractedly. "Though it's thoroughly picked-over by looters by now, and the radiation's long-gone. But when I first came back here in the Summer of oh-eight, the courier company I signed up with was unusual in that it ran routes through the Ruins - it would actually take orders from one end of Manhattan to the other. That was decidedly rare, back then…."

Glancing to and fro, she crosses the street, leading Shirley towards one of the darker available alleyways. For her own part, she seems to have coped with the exercise - even in the biting cold - without undue difficulty, though the pallor of her skin is now pronounced, the visible portions of her face near enough matching the cleaner patches of snow.

"I guess." Shirley nods as she walks on. She's definitely feeling cold, and the flickering death of a nearby street lantern motivates her to keep on walking just as her guide crosses the street. "So, how much longer do you reckon it is until we get to a place where I can eat and sleep?" She asks carefully, marching on and eying the surroundings carefully for any signs of machinery death.

"Not too much longer. I want to get you in from the edge", Ygraine says quietly. "Avoid you being found by any of the patrols that try to keep people out at night. But I'll be stashing you somewhere up high, out of sight of the ground and with walls between you and the outside. It'll be dark, but it'll be dry. And I've got glow-sticks you can use for light when you need them. You know the type - shake them and bend them and they glow for a good while."

Glancing down at Shirley, she offers a rueful smile. "If you really don't like heights, I can stash you down low somewhere - but basements are a lot more likely to have flooded, and to smell worse, and tend to be easier to get into."

"No, I'm okay with heights." The girl responds, still marching on. "Yeah, I know the glow-sticks, they should work better than a flashlight." Shirley chuckles softly, "So, how high do you think we'll go? Three floors? More? Less?" A brief pause to look around, but it doesn't last long. "Will you be picking me up and lifting me up there, or will we be going up there some other way?"

"I can walk you up the exterior of a sealed building, take you in an opening, and then get you to somewhere without line of sight to the outside world", Ygraine says quietly. "You should be hidden from even infrared scans, too, especially once you're in the cold-weather gear. If I have to carry you for some of it, I will - but I'm not that much of a bodybuilder that I want to be lugging you for further than I have to, I'm afraid."

Shirley nods and walks on, telling herself it's not much further anymore.. "Yeah, that makes sense… and okay. I just don't know how I'd enter such high a building without your support…"

"I can reset the wall to be your new 'down'", Ygraine says matter-of-factly, before shooting a look at Shirley. "I might have missed out on virtually everything else that Spiderman got - no super-strength, durability, spider-sense, webs, or the like… but I do get to share what I can do with other people, if I want to."

"Wow… that's pretty cool." Shirley grins, "Much cooler than destroying technology by getting close to it…." A frown then again. "I'm going to miss computers and cellphones…" She sighs, "I really will…"

"Hopefully", Ygraine says firmly, "it won't be permanent. I certainly hope not. But we're going to have to find simple ways for you to test yourself and try to gain control. Find some devices that are just at the limit of what you affect, and see if we can work with those to test you, and develop an awareness of how to change what you do…."

"I guess you're right." Shirley says as they start to get really close to the ruins, "We're staying at the borders of the ruins, or going in somewhat further..?" She asks softly, "Either works for me… just want to know how much further I'll have to walk." By the way her speed has decreased by now, it's probably a fair assumption she's having some degree of muscle pain.

"The army patrols the edge", Ygraine says, tone somewhat worried. "I want to get you in past that area if I can. It won't be much further, I promise…. I can give you a painkiller, or some more chocolate for energy, if you want."

The teen nods, "I'll be okay." Shirley lies. She feels she has to remain strong, so she puts on a strong face. "Let's continue past that patrol?" Even though she tries to hide it, there's a distinct edge of fear in that voice.

Ygraine nods, shooting Shirley a somewhat worried look, before pressing on.

Fortunately, movement from now on is rather slower overall, and contains a few periods of complete stillness. Unfortunately, the pervasive feeling of apprehensive tension is only likely to build for some while, until Ygraine seems to relax a little, ushering her smaller companion around into an alley, then stepping smoothly up onto a wall. Holding out a hand, she forces a smile. "Give me your hand, and hold onto your lunch. Then put one foot up to brace yourself against the wall."

Shirley gives a solid nod, not that there's much of that lunch left. "Okay, I guess this is gonna be a little weird." She puts her foot against the wall, looking at Ygraine again. A nervous gulp and, "Like this, missus FitzRoy?"

"This'll feel bloody awful", the Briton says softly. "And please, feel free to call me Ygraine."

Then the world flips, and what was down is now back, and forward is down, and up is… oh dear. It's not just that the wall can now be stood on, or that Ygraine is abruptly taking much of Shirley's weight to prevent her falling over. It's that gravity has shifted. So, accordingly, does the direction in which everything about Shirley is pulled - her hair, her clothing, her internal organs, her brain….

While she doesn't have any lunch left in her body… right now Shirley wishes she had. Going through the typical movements of nausea, there is soon a spray of acid mixed with chocolate. "Sorry.." She whispers weakly towards Ygraine, "I didn't mean to throw up.., and I'll try to call you Ygraine if that's what you prefer, Ygraine."

"Whatever's better for you", Ygraine says, rather dubiously eyeing the vomit - which 'fell' towards the wall, then arced downwards rather strangely. "Come on. The whole of this building's sealed up, but I've a way in up high. Just a little farther, and you can rest, I promise."

"Okay… let's uh, walk up there then?" Shirley forces a smile as she looks up. Or is it forward? This is confusing. "You'll have to excuse me if I seem a bit disoriented, I've never walked up walls before."

Physically, it now feels fine, save for the after-effects of the shift. The wall is down. The gravity sensors in Shirley's body all agree on that point; her muscles are automatically counter-acting it. Only her mind is inclined to disagree.

"Just walk normally, and I'll keep hold of you for reassurance", Ygraine urges, starting up the wall. "You could actually wander off - I don't need to hold onto you. But I will, so you don't feel I'm abandoning you. All right?"

"Alright." Shirley agrees as she starts to walk up. Carefully, slowly, as though she is afraid the world might turn back to normal any moment. Which, admittedly, she is afraid off. "How many floors do we have to go up, Ygraine?"

"Don't think of it in floors", Ygraine suggests gently. "Just walk. Or look at me, if you want. You're perfectly safe. I'd carry you, if you wanted, but that'll slow us down. And I'd like to get you warmed up as soon as possible. So just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and listen to my voice, and we'll get there."

"I'll try not to." Shirley responds, taking the advice to look at Ygraine instead of the wall/floor, and she keeps on walking, even if she's a little scared while she does so. "Sorry for being such a scaredy cat… I'm not used to this kind of thing…"

"I've been dealing with this particular kind of thing for years", Ygraine replies, accompanying her words with a low laugh - and accompanying puff of misty in the cold air. "I'll look after you, I promise. Now… See that, up ahead on the floor? That panel's loose at the far end. I can pry up a corner, and we can slip inside." Onto the ceiling of the room beyond, admittedly, but Ygraine opts not to mention that. "Then I take you into the heart of the building, where no one else will come, and I set you up with light and warmth and food, and you have a rest."

"A small not comes from Shirley's head as she looks at the panel. "Okay, go ahead and pry that panel loose… but please don't let go of me while you do that." Despite reassurances of that not causing her to fall, Shirley is not entirely up to testing that theory.

That request results in a slight pause… then Ygraine gets Shirley to help with clipping the younger woman onto her pack, as an extra form of security. That done, she ends up using another flip of gravity - this one targetting the security panel installed some time after the Bomb - and opens up a gap at one of its upper corners.

"I'll help you through. Put your feet on the wall inside as you go through. You'll find that you're able to stand on it. I'll join you, and we'll then be only moments away from rest, all right?"

A nod from Shirley as she places her feet where indicated. She's silent, lest she open her mouth and throw up again. A glance around once she's inside… this is definitely not how she had expected to spend the day — or night — at any time.

It's an old office building, and seems to have had defences put up to avoid further deterioration of the structure after the initial blast, evacuation and looting. It's a stripped shell, but when Ygraine steps inside and pulls the panel shut, she's already activating a glow-stick. A moment of total darkness, then - in an eery yellow-green glow - she lifts Shirley off the wall and sets her on the floor, gravity reverting to normal.

"Through here. I'll stash you in an old storage cupboard I found a while back. You should be completely out of sight in there, and so far as I know, no one else knows how to get in here. I'll set you up, then go to find out what I can do for you next, all right?"

"When will you be back?" Shirley's next question is, as she looks around the place. "I mean… it's not the best place to sleep… but I suppose it'll work… I'm just. I've never slept all alone in a building before…"

"I'd have left you a radio for company", Ygraine says apologetically as she guides Shirley further into the pitch-dark of the dead building, "but…. I'll be back as soon as possible, I promise. Tonight, barring disasters. Maybe before you even notice I'm gone, if we can get you to sleep quickly. You certainly look tired enough."

A quick nod, "That's okay… not like I can use a radio.." Shirley sighs softly as she follows Ygraine along, deep into the darkness. "And I'll try to sleep… no guarantees I will, though… I've certainly never slept in a cupboard before…"

"It's the size of many bedrooms", Ygraine says with a wry smile, now escorting Shirley along a silent corridor. "I think it held supplies for this whole floor. That's it, just up ahead on the left. I've been meaning to build up a stash of supplies here, but… other things have intervened, unfortunately. So you'll have to make do with just a couple of pounds of chocolate and food bars, and the world's warmest sleeping bag and thickest groundmat, I'm afraid."

"…oh." That's not what Shirley had pictured when she heard the word 'cupboard.' It is a whole lot better than what she had pictured. "I suppose I shall just have to try sleeping in there… not like I can do much else right now…" Those words are pretty much immediately followed up by a stifled yawn.

Swinging open the door, Ygraine then rests a hand on Shirley's shoulder, gently guiding her into what does indeed seem to be a quite substantial space. In this case, its complete lack of any direct access to the outside world is probably a good thing for security.

"I was thinking we could set you up in a corner over there, perhaps? And I can lay out the various things I've brought for you, so they're ready to hand. I can stick around until you're asleep, too, if you like…."

Shirley nods as she walks towards the indicated corner, "Yeah, sure… that's fine." She says softly. "And I'd appreciate it if you would… I think it'd feel me more safe." A wry chuckle, "Safer than my dad waiting for me to fall asleep, anyway…."

That prompts a wince, and a sympathetic look from Ygraine. It's noticable that in here, though it's still bitterly cold, it's much less harsh than outside. Indeed, the Briton tugs down her scarf as she swings her pack off her shoulders and hunkers down to start unpacking it, starting by detaching the rolled-up mat from its underside.

"Ground mat. And sleeping bag. And the side pockets contain food. I threw in some toiletries. And there's a good bit of water. Use the stuff from the bottle for any washing you have to do. Don't sample anything in here, or try running taps or flushing anything. Best to be on the safe side. Also added a bottle of Coke - diet, I'm afraid. But I figured you might like something sweet. And a carton of apple juice."

As the mat and sleeping bag are put down, Shirley makes her way inside them. "Can you help me in zipping this thing up?" She asks as she starts fumbling around with the zipper unsuccessfully. "I mean… I haven't used one of these before…" She stifles a yawn again, "Thanks for the food and stuff… I guess it should be enough to last me through the night at least… see you tomorrow?"

"Hopefully before then. But I want to be sure you have enough. Use the light sticks sparingly, and there should be more than enough", Ygraine assures the girl. As she talks, she sets about unfurling the sleeping bag, then demonstrating the somewhat complex fastening - one intended to let the user zip themselves wholly inside, if desired, leaving only a small aperture for air.

"I'd appreciate it if you took off your boots and jacket", Ygraine says with a smile. "It's a pain to wash. But you can keep the rest of your clothes on if you want to."

The boots and jacket are removed, and placed down next to the sleeping bag as Shirley enters it. She fumbles around with the zipper, and finally manages to close it up. "Goodnight…" The girl whispers. And it doesn't take all that long before the little gremlin seems to be asleep.

Ygraine loiters for a short while - taking the chance to grab a bite to eat, herself, while watching Shirley with some concern - before rising and picking her way out of the room. The door is carefully closed behind her, then she slips away through the building, skulking back out into the high world above the Ruins… only to rapidly head down under the streets, a dark figure now sporting a breathing mask and night-vision gear as she scuttles along the roofs of old tunnels, taking routes impossible for most people without climbing gear.

Some time later, the courier - now somewhat grubbier than before - slips out of the dark and approaches the perimeter of the Grand Central Station hideaway, cautiously identifying herself to those on duty at one of the Ferry's handful of remaining safe locations, and requesting access to a secure means of getting hold of a Councillor. Unusually, the courier is no longer carrying any of her usual selection of phones….

In time, however, a call is duly put through, Ygraine attempting to get hold of Barbara or Lynette at the Island….

The response from Pollepel comes after a bit of a delay, and the question to speak with Barbara or Lynette is passed on as quickly as it can be. With Lynette still on the mainland, that meant that answering the call fell on to the shoulders of Barbara Zimmerman. She doesn't normally answer direct radio contacts, but being between affairs to tend to at the moment, she responds as quickly as she can to the summons. It takes several minutes, but eventually, her voice crackles over the radio.

"This is Barbara. What can I do for you, Ygraine?"

By that point, Ygraine is appreciatively nursing a mug of coffee - and she starts a bit when the speaker beside her abruptly comes to life. A brief scramble, then she's restored the headset to its proper position and is able to provide a reply of her own.

"Ahh, hello there. Non-immediate emergency, I suppose you could say", she says, tension making her accent rather more crisply pronounced than usual. Over the radio, she probably sounds like some female wireless operator from a WWII movie. "I have a young stray for the home, with an unusual affinity I've not come across before. She appears to disrupt technology in a fairly tight radius around herself. Seems unable to turn it off. And says that her surviving parent is a member of H-F. If she's bait for a trap, I've not seen any signs of it yet, but I've got her stashed in somewhere only I know about, I believe, that should be near-impossible for just about anyone else to get to. It's purely temporary, however. No facilities at all."

There's several moments of thoughtful silence from Barbara's end, and the "hmm" that Ygraine gets in return probably isn't exactly what she was hoping for. "I'd tell you to see about getting her to The Garden, but it's been shut down for the moment. She's not actually in the Terminal? I would alreadya dvise against it nomrally, but we can't risk any of teh equipment getting damaged there… Is it all technology?"

"Three phones, several lights, one elevator, two sets of powered doors, and her own watch - and that's just what I know about", Ygraine says ruefully. "She sat on a swing for a good while, and it didn't fall apart, so it's not universal, but she was even screwing up some of my crank-powered tech, though it seemed to die much more slowly. I'm not sure of range, but it's at least a few feet. We had to walk near here, which wasn't too bad for me, but for her… she's exhausted. I wrapped her up in some of the survival gear I acquired after last Winter, and I've stashed her up where no one'll look, but… I want to get her somewhere safer, and soon."

There's a bit of a sigh from Barbara as she falls into indecisive silence. "That's an interesting one. Sort of like a reverse technopath, destruction instead of embracing technology. I'm hesitant to give her a free pass to Pollepel without talking to anyone else first, as much as I'd like to. So, I'm going to see who I can talk to about coming to see her. See if Brian or someone else can get out there as fast as possible. If you and whoever gets out there thinks she trustworthy enough, bring her on over."

"Any ideas on how?", Ygraine asks, tone somewhat apologetic. "In this weather, even I don't want to cycle that far. And I'm not even certain a bike would hold together under her. It'd stand a chance, at least. But if she's within a few feet of, ooh, an anti-lock braking system, she'll probably destroy it. I've had a brief shot at figuring out if there's a way to damp it down, but she's not aware of any emotional state or event that triggered it, and we're drawing a blank on how to shut it off. Not that I can constantly keep testing it. I simply don't have enough items to use up…."

Closing her eyes, Ygraine pinches the bridge of her nose. "Sorry. Right now, she's stashed in Midtown. She'll be safe for… a while. She's got food and the temperatures'll need to fall a lot further for her to be in danger. But getting people to her won't be too easy. I suppose we could arrange a meet in the tunnels. I could get her down easily enough…."

On the other end of the radio, Barbara smiles. "I'll see what I can do about getting in touch with Brian. He's everywhere, you know? I'm sure he'll find a way easy enough. Getting her anywhere might be a challenge, but without being there and knowing exactly what she can do, I'm doing the best I can, I'm afraid. At any rate, I'll leave this to further evaluation by yourself and him. Keep me posted on how things turn out, if you would?"

Ygraine nods to the radio as she replies. "Sure. I'm just… grasping at straws a bit. I was just going home to have a shower, and I found myself dealing with this and walking across the city instead. I'll hang around here for a while longer, and see if we hear from him. As soon as I'm back with her, I'll be out of contact again, unfortunately, even I take a burn phone with me en route."

"See if you can figure out how far away from her things start working again. It'll be a big help in figuring out what to do from there," Barbara offers with a bit of an apologetic town. "If you have stuff to spare, that is, that doesn't come from the terminal. Once you do, stay near here, but out of it unless you have to otherwise. Or if it's the both of you, always have one a bit away from her, so we can get in contact when we need to."

"From what I've seen, she can permanently destroy things. And surprisingly quickly, certainly in the case of phones", Ygraine replies ruefully. "But I can filch one of the burn phones I've delivered here in the past, and make sure to keep it well away from her, at least until we've got a meet set up. Okay. I'll… see what I can figure out. And I'll hang around here for a couple of hours to see if Brian can be got hold of. After that, I'll need to start heading back to her, so she's not alone for too long."

"Hmm. Well, alright. Figure out what you can without sacrificing too much equipment, then. Maybe go buy some cheap toy walkie talkies or something?" Barbara thinks for a moment, and though Ygraine can't see it there's a bit of a shrug. "I'll be sure to warn Brian. Be vigilant while in midtown, with the military about I'm sure they're sending patrols through on occasion. I trust you both to handle this just fine. Unfortunately, I have some things to tend to, and I must be off."

"I'm used to dodging patrols, myself, but it's harder with someone in tow. And I doubt I'll make it out to go shopping today. But if need be, I can tackle that tomorrow. And… thank you. Take care of yourselves, up there." Ygraine puts some genuine warmth into her voice, to overcome the fatigue, before signing off and eyeing her coffee. Ah, well. She's got time for another cup after this one, if she's to give word of Brian a chance to reach her….

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