Tic Tacs (Another Side)


vf_aislinn_icon.gif vf_ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Tic-Tacs (Another Side)
Synopsis Some lessons stay the same, as Ygraine teaches Aislinn about free running and not falling on her ass.
Date November 14, 2011

The Hub

Of the assorted features possessed by the Hub, wide-open spaces with room to run around while performing crazy stunts are in decidedly short supply. Fortunately, for the kind of work-out Ygraine is seeking, the twistier reaches of some of the more out-of-the-way tunnels serve rather well. The crazy stunts, however, are in evidence.

Though she’s not remotely following her old competitive diet, since she dragged herself out of her scared retreat and opted to join the scavenging crews Ygraine has been doing her best to get back into shape. And for the former professional sportswoman, the standards are high. Thus, she can presently be found drenched in sweat, hands on knees as she glowers down a stretch of corridor, ruefully shaking her head.

If there's anyone who probably shouldn't be running or pushing themselves, it's Aislinn Graves. She's in well enough shape, but the condition she was left in the day before after having to practically sprint multiple city blocks to get away from a crazed gunman. Sore, out of breath, heaving and weak… Steve had tried to make her promise that she wouldn't go out anymore. That she would stay put within the hub, where she was needed.

Nothing doing.

"Where she was needed" isn't any one place. Sometimes, it's helping someone who's hurt themselves are is sick. Sometimes, it's by her sister's side, keeping her company while she figures out what she's going to be teaching the next. Sometimes, it was helping to nurture and harvest what few plants they could grow down here, even with her ability. Sometimes, it was going out scavenging, to find stuff to cover them when she can't get the plants to grow.

Today, it was being out in the tunnels, trying her damndest to make sure that if anything like yesterday happened again, she would be able to get away without absolutely wrecking herself.

Free running and navigating obstacles has never been her forte. That's what brings her out this way today, sprinting down the line, sliding across pieces of track. So focused on this, her heart practically leaps out of her chest when her eyes settle on Ygraine. She tries to skid to a stop.

Instead, her feet skid right out from under her and she just finds herself on her ass.

Ygraine’s too tired and breathing too hard to be as alert as she might otherwise be. Consequently, she gets little farther than reaching for an ability that isn’t there, and staggering slightly as she commences an attempt to hop out of the way onto a wall that just doesn’t pull her to it at all.

Then she’s laughing, offering Aislinn an apologetic look as she steps forward to extend a hand to the fallen woman. “My bum hurts,” she informs her in a rather unconventional greeting. “I’ve been doing that far too often today. But are you okay?”

"Leave me here t' die," is Aislinn's response, groaned out in an accent somewhere between Irish and Scottish. Everything was already sore. Now it just hurts. "You tell everyone 'bout your bum, Ygraine? Or am I one a' the lucky few?" Opening her eyes, Aislinn offers a smile up to Ygraine as a hand reaches up to her forehead.

Slowly, she sits up, running a hand through her messy hair. "How do you do this all the time, Yggy?" With a cough, she leans back a bit and looks up at Ygraine, taking in a deep breath. "I'm amazed no one's managed t' kill themselves just, like… down here."
Ygraine sticks her tongue out. “I was empathising,” she informs the other woman, her tone dry. “It’s part of my cunning plan to try to seem human and blend in with you all. Repeatedly falling over while trying to improve my skills is also part of it. It would be terrible if I were to seem too competent, you see….”

Glancing around, she sighs, then offers Aislinn a smile. “I do this so much because I’m a crazy masochist, who remembers that she used to be kind of crazily fit. We don’t have the resources to let me get back to that sort of level, but there’s a good bit that can be done down here. Particularly to work with my ability. Negated, I can’t practice anywhere near every move I’d like to. But I can still do quite a lot, thankfully.”

Aislinn stares at Ygraine for a long moment, her expression flattening. "You shouldn't joke like that," she says a bit quietly. "Not when the Vanguard or- someone is out there pickin' us off like flies." And that's not even considering the terrors of the virus that awaits them outside of their vacuum sealed tunnel home. "Someone might take y' a little too seriously someday. Bad enough we have strangers makin' people stand on edge."

With that, she pulls herself up to her feet. "Okay, yeah. I forgot you used t' be like, a professional of somethin'." Aislinn turns, looking down the tunnels, at the surrounding remains of civilization. "So, what's your routine down here an' all that?" She taps a foot, lookin back at Ygraine - and then poking her in the stomach. "How're you keepin' more fit than most a' the people in our little bubble hell?"

“Obsessive masochism,” Ygraine answers, tone again dry, if a little sheepish - allowing herself to be poked, though she does peer down at the finger in question. A slight shrug, then she lifts her gaze to meet Aislinn’s eyes.

“Seriously, when you loathe just about everything that’s happened for the past couple of years, and loathe the fact that virtually everything you tried wound up as a failure… loathing’s a good way to go, in getting yourself moving. Or it is, for me. That this hurts, and that a nutritionist would almost certainly tell me it was unwise on this level of intake, doesn’t really matter. Being as fit as I can will slightly boost my odds out there - and that’s about the one really useful thing I can do. Every group I’m with has a slightly lower chance of having happen to them what happened to yours. And the more I can do myself, the less I should need to ask of anyone with me.

“But my routine? I can share it, if you like. Mostly, it’s running and tic-tacs, with some basic acrobatics thrown in. And a lot of falling over. But if it can possibly help you… I’m glad to share. I liked Rue and Liza. And I’m truly sorry they didn’t make it back.”

The look on Aislinn's face says so is she. "Yeah, can't help with that. Nutritian was never my field." There's a small quirk of her lips. "Maybe next run - whenever that is - someone'll find some powerbars or a canister of protein or somethin'." It's a joke, of course. Most of the scavengers wouldn't waste their time with stuff like that. "I get the obsessive masochism, though. It gets so… boring isn't the right word. Tense? Stir crazy? Back in the Hub."

She turns her attention back out to the tunnel around them. "Tic tacs? Like the little breath mints?" Probably not, but that's the thing she goes to quickest. "Look, okay. Explain it t' someone who's experienced runnin' is around a hospital on her break. " I get it's not just straight line runnin'. So what's your trick?"

Ygraine manages a low laugh and a wry smile. “Believe me, I’d love some protein and nutritional supplements. Hah. Umm, yeah. Parkour and free-running originated in France. I suspect that ‘tic-tac’ was just onomatopaeic: how they thought it sounded. It’s one of the simplest moves, intended to help you get up higher then you normally would be able to. Getting over stuff is one of the most basic things, in both free-running and in moving around the city at speed. It’s a risk for your suit, when you’re out, but better that than many other things.”

“Sooo….” She gestures to a wall. “Wear flexible footwear, preferably with some good cushioning for some heavy landings, and remember that it’s possible to interact with - to use - a lot more than just the ground. You know the old Newtonian physics thing of “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”? Quite a bit of free-running’s based off using and controlling that. As an example, in a tic-tac, you jump at a wall, so that you can kick off it, pivot, and get higher than you would be able to otherwise. The wall you push off doesn’t need to give you anything to stand on; it just needs to be something you can push off from. The “tic” is the first wall, that you jump at and drive yourself away from - tic - and the “tac” comes when you make contact with your destination, and grab onto it to scramble over. It’s simple… but the big thing’s overcoming a lot of stuff you’ve learned over the years about having to have your feet on the ground to work with your environment, and tackling things straight-on.”

The younger woman shrugs slightly, looking rather sheepish. “Or I can put you through your paces with a little basic circuit-training. Sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, shuttle runs, footwork drills…. Stuff that lets you stay firmly on the ground.”

Aislinn looks down at her boots, wiggling her toes in them. "Look, all I have are the boots that ended up back in K-Mart's bins last month, an' I doubt anythin' 'Dessa or Liza left behind would work." She's not sure about Rue, she didn't know her as well as the others. They're pretty standard working boots - not steel toe, but certainly not the kind of flexible Ygraine is talking about.

She shakes her head. "Okay. So, free runnin' might be outta the picture. How bout- just a run. Drills sound smart too, actually. I need t' start stretchin' before I go out an' all sorts of other things." She takes a deep breath, closing her eyes. She nods as she listens to each of Ygraine's explanations, the meaning of tic-tac and everything in between.

"So yeah. Circuit training." A tap of her foot, and she crosses her arms. "That sounds like a good place t' start at least."

“We can see what we can do about footwear. Might be able to trade for something. Even just to train in, in here. Swap with someone your size…” Ygraine hauls her gaze back up from Aislinn’s feet. “But sure. I can certainly give you some training. And demonstrate some of the things I’m talking about, too. Even if I can only get you basically familiar with a little of the very simplest stuff, it could help. Especially if you wind up out with me, and I use my ability on us. I, ahh, try not to use the streets, when I can help it. And a lot of the best of what’s left out there is still there because it’s so hard to get to. I can cheat with a lot of that. But the more people have an idea of how to cope with a bit of an orientation-shift, the better. And… parkour’s about as close as I can get to teaching that.”

A quick head-shake, then the gravity-cheat offers an apologetic grin. “But circuit-training and stretching. We can start with the latter part, which might help us to identify what you most need to work on, too.”

"I'm not wearing someone else's shoes," Aislinn grumbles. Technically, everyone's shoes were probably someone else's shoes at this point, unless the teams decided to try and raid Saks Fifth Avenue or something non-critical like that. But trading shoes with the living, something about it doesn't sit well with Aislinn regardless.

The stretching routine doesn't come too hard to Aislinn. She isn't a free runner like Ygraine, but being out on scavenging teams has helped her keep limber - just not in the sort of shape she needs to be in. The run, though, leaves her exhausted, and by the time the two of them are done, she's decided she'd rather sprawl out on the cold, dirty ground on purpose this time, rather than another fall. Not without a ratty old sheet to separate her from the grime somewhat, but she also doesn't entirely care. "How th' fuck do you… do this… all the time?" she asks breathlessly.

“Obsessive masochism,” Ygraine reiterates, also more than a little breathlessly. She directed as much as accompanied Aislinn, but had completed her planned work-out before the other woman joined her. Rather than join in a flat-out sprawl on the floor, she settles for sinking into a slump against one wall, arms draped across her knees.

“This isn’t… the most sensible of… exercise plans. But… it’s the best I have. And it helps with… keeping me busy. Thankfully. But I could work with company. In future. If you wanted.”

"Hey, it's better than the exercise plan most people have. Which is 'what shitty food does K-Mart have today?'." Aislinn grins, sitting up a bit. "You know. When he has anything that's even worth eatin'." A huffed out breath, and she looks over at Ygraine. "You plannin' on goin' out there any time soon? If so, be careful. I dunno if it's some kinda fucked up gun, or some ability, or what, but someone's out there pickin' us off."

Just like they had Eve, Rue, and Liza. And maybe Dessa too.

"I've never really made much of an effort t' stay fit. But if that's how it's goin' t' be," as if it wasn't always how it was out there, "I'm going t' need t' get better at this. No more almost trippin' over my feet trying to make it back." She nods. "Right now, though, everything hurts. So, maybe tomorrow."

Ygraine lifts her head, finding a lopsided smile. “Yeah. The old mantra of ‘no pain, no gain’ led to a lot of clueless people doing a lot of damage to themselves. Pain doesn’t guarantee gain, and can be a sign of real harm being done. But I promise I try to stay on the right side of that. So a rest, now, sounds good to me too.”

Leaning back, she props her head against the wall - the cooling effect temporarily more important than the concrete discomfort. “Up there? I try to move in ways and places people won’t look. Can’t look, when possible. I’ll go through a building on the ceilings and walls, so I don’t get outlined against windows and never make a ‘human’ silhouette in a doorway. By preference, I’ll enter it somewhere around the middle - under cover of surrounding buildings, but well above ground level. I’m unlikely to leave by the way I came in….

“It’s not like I’ve been able to do competitive training with people who could give me feedback on how effective my efforts were… but I figure that even snipers will have habits. Sentries certainly tend to. Places they just won’t think to check for movement. Won’t help me if they just happen to be looking my way when I come around a corner, or whatever… but I can make it as hard for them as possible. And I’m willing to bet that there’s no one out there who’s ever practiced shooting at someone running flat-out up a wall. I kind of hope that sort of thing’ll really mess with trajectories.”

Her hands spread. “Sorry. Rambling, partly to try to say sorry. I don’t know if I could have helped you guys. Quite possibly not at all. But I wish I could lend the wall-crawling knack to everyone who goes out.”

Aislinn takes a deep breath, arms draped across her knees as she stares off down the tunnel. "I'm sure y' do better than others, Ygraine." She looks over at the other woman, offering her a smile. "Hard t' do much about what y' can't see. That goes both ways I guess." Finally, she rises back up to her feet, taking another moment to take a good stretch. "Do y' have anyone you do this with? I wouldn't mind doin' this a few times a week, you know?" It's nice to have to think too much while she runs.

“Nope. No one else indulges in my particular brand of crazy, at the moment.” Ygraine’s smile is gentle, and somewhat rueful. “So if you want to sign up for some of it, I can promise to find time for you in my schedule. I can’t promise any of it’ll actually help, when lumbering around in a hazmat suit. But I figure that even a small percentage carried through to what we can do in those suits, is a small percentage of improvement. And the more of us stay alive, and the longer we do so, the better all our odds are.”

She waves a hand down the tunnel, before looking back up at Aislinn. “Which is another way of saying you’re welcome. Honestly. I’ll gladly share my gymnasium with you. Help you to learn how to do more of the daft stuff I do myself. The company’d be appreciated.”

"Well…" Aislinn watches Ygraine for a moment, and then laugh. "I guess y' have it, then. I know I could never motivate m'self t' keep with this on my own, so…" She hops up to her feet, offering a hand out to the other woman. "Sounds like we're partners then, huh?" Aislinn's smile fades after a moment, turning look back out and down the hall.

"Thanks," she says again. "Gotta… stay ahead of the curve." Deep breath. "But for now I think I'm gonna find my sister. Take a nap. Something." She coughs, turning into a yawn.

“You’re welcome. Honestly.” Ygraine reaches up to accept the offered hand, but takes care not to pull hard as she rises - still accustomed to thinking that she has a lot more muscle than most women her size. “It’ll be good for me to have company in this. Shake up my routine, and make me think some more. It’s… all too easy to fall into a rut. But yeah: I should clean up, and it looks like you could really do with a rest. Just know… thank you. I appreciate being asked.”

"It's nothin'," Aislinn remarks with a bit of a strained laugh. "I'm surprised y' don't have more people doin' this with you! There's not really much in the way of movin' around space in a lot a' parts a' this place, but…" Aislinn stretches again, looking back down the corridor. "I don't think…" She trails off, shaking her head as she brushes off the rest of the thought. A hand reaches up, pating Ygraine on the shoulder. "Nevermind. I'll meet y' back out here soon. Thank you again, Ygraine."

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