Unpredictable Associations


edgar_icon.gif feng_icon.gif

Scene Title Unpredictable Associations
Synopsis In an attempt to deal one more blow to Ethan Holden, Feng Daiyu struggles to catch a speedster in a snare.
Date February 14, 2011

Long Island City

The saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Residents trapped on Roosevelt Island thought that by making their way to Queens there'd be some semblance of safety or security, that across the river would be a better place for them to be. Unfortunately for the masses that pushed so hard through the Roosevelt Island subway system to make it to Queens found themselves emerging in a landscape they may not have prepared themselves for. The landscape around the 21ST-LI subway exit on 41st Street in Long Island City looks like something out of a third-world country, not America.

A car burns across the street from the subway exit, charred black and white with ash, tires melted into molten pools of blackened rubber that billow with pitch black smoke. Brass shell casings litter the street and bullet-holes pockmark a concrete barricade erected in the middle of the street in some attempt to cordon off traffic in the area. It is the aftermath of something tragic, layered atop the tragedies of the riots that plagued this urban sprawl just a few months ago.

Seated atop a concrete bench facing the street, the black-clad form of Feng Daiyu looks like he belongs in this war zone. A rifle of some sort contained in a zippered nylon back of matte black leans up against the bench at his side. A heavy ballistic vest with a throat guard covers his chest, shoulders and arms with a layered flap of kevlar that hangs down on both sides of his legs and across his lap. A shotgun is set across his lap, a white cloth darkened with grime laid partly over it. In Feng's hands, he holds parts of a disassembled handgun, a small wire brush cleaning the inside of the barrel.

Behind Feng, an old man in a heavy, black winter jacket stands with his arms wrapped around himself, trembling from the cold and head ducked down into a bowed posture. He watches the streets, keeps an eye on the distant pop of gunfire or the odd sound echoing around the dome's interior. Tall residential tenement buildings surrounded by stick-bare trees decked with ice and snow serve as a chillingly picturesque backdrop when juxtaposed against ashes, smoke and cinders from the burning car.

Feng Daiyu told Edgar Smythe that he would meet him here, at the train station, on Valentine's Day.

With the sun reaching down towards the western horizon, burning dirty and red through the grimy surface of the dome, it's about nearing the time of their appointment.

Edgar is nothing but cautious. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find anyone more careful than he is. Perhaps that's why his arrival is announced with the clankclankclankclankclankclank, a strange sound that could best be described as maybe an old style alarm clock or school bell. When the speedster stops, it's revealed to be nothing more than a can stuck to the bottom of his shoe, flattened in the middle but curved to mold around the shape of his boot in one high speed step.

Before greeting the agent of asian persuasion, the can is pried off and tossed down the street. What Edgar is wearing is… an interesting medley of color and style. It's easy to see how the scruffy man might have fit into a carnival or a circus. His pants are the same fabric as before, polyester, though this time they are a tanned leisure style with orange stripes. His shirt is no less garish, a lovely brown and pea green background with orange flowers. The entire ensemble smells of mothballs, with no power, he wasn't really able to get rid of the stink.

Dark eyes alight from the handgun as Feng considers Edgar's sudden appearance, sliding the wire brush out of the barrel and laying it down on the cloth at his lap. Exhaling a breath through his nose, Feng looks over to the old man standing behind his bench, a pair of blood spattered white sneakers now on his feet, socks as well to help keep out the chill. Feng had taken him shopping, and the dead — along with those not present in their homes — no longer need their possessions as much.

"I kept him safe, we had a deal and I upheld my agreement." Snapping the slide onto the top of the gun, Feng cocks it back and lets it click into place. "I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more about how you know Ethan Holden…" Feng's fingerless gloved hands take the magazine from the cloth, slapping it into the bottom of the handgun, drawing the slide back again, this time to chamber a round. "He and I go back a long ways, I never knew him as one to trust easily— or quickly."

Accusatory, suspicious eyes level up on Edgar again. "You said you weren't friends?"

"No' friends friends, closer than acquaintances teh be shore— " The Briton's accent is as heavy as Ethan's own, perhaps a bit more gutteral in presentation. The pistol in the Asian man's hand earns a narrow twitch of one eye, he never did trust a man so ready to lock and load. Knives require a little more finesse, even crowbars are a superior weapon. "If yeh go back a long ways, then why don' he stay wi' you while 'e's stuck in 'ere?"

The speedster's eyes narrow a little bit as he looks toward the old man, seeming to consider one action or another before flickering back to the old acquaintance of his current guest. "'E's a man tha' I opened a door for once, ran 'im a pack o' fags next I saw 'im… I s'pose you could call me an errand boy, eh?"

"He is moving up in the world," Feng opines, sliding the handgun in one of his underarm holsters. "Ethan used to be the errand boy, back in the day." Delicate hands move down to the cloth over his lap and Feng folds the cleaning cloth over itself a few times, then tucks it into a side pocket on his cargo pants. The shotgun is lifted up by the pump-action grip, the bagged rifle tugged up by its strap and slung over his shoulder. "Ethan does not know I am here, we have not seen each other in person in a very long time. I have been leaving him messages, however," Feng looks back to the old man, then over to Edgar, hesitantly considerate.

"I have to get the rest of my cache," Feng explains as he jerks his head to indicate the storefront across the intersection, a demolished grocery store likely looted for all that it is worth judging from the smashed out windows and sliding doors hanging off their runners. "If you and our old friend," Feng shoots a look back to the old man, "feel like helping me carry some things, then maybe the three of us could go… rendezvous with Ethan?" Feng arches a dark brow, looking back and forth between the old man and Edgar.

"If you do not mind helping me with my errands in Ethan's stead, that is." One corner of Feng's mouth quirks up into a crooked, good-natured smile as he starts making his way from the bus stop bench towards the four-way intersection, away from the burning car's remains.

A skeptical glance is shot toward the old man before Edgar shakes his head. "No, I can do i' meself. No need teh bother 'im wi' carryin' things when I go' two strong arms." He saunters toward the old man and gently clasps the senior's opposite shoulder with one hand. "I' be better eff I go, we don' need teh 'old this man up no mores. 'E's go' a wife teh look for."

Sure, she's outside of the wall but it's Valentine's Day, he might see her on the other side. Maybe.

"Gw'on then," he says to the old guy, giving the shoulder a soft pat. "I go' some friends 'ere 'swell, eff yeh find a tiny woman wi' blonde 'air an' a bookish fellow, tell 'em Edgar sent'che. They'll take good care'o yeh."

Sheepishly, the old man offers a confused look to Edgar, then to Feng. The Chinese assassin rolls his shoulders into a shrug and looks back to the grocery store, then back to the old man. "You know what you need to do, you do not need me to tell you…" Feng motions away with a jut of his chin, then turns his back on the old man as he walks beside Edgar, headed across the street to the storefront. "It is a few heavy cases, I had them in my car when the dome came up, but…" Feng manages a lopsided smile and a snorted laugh. "Well, vehicles are more likely to be looted, than a store that already has. The last thing these gangs need are heavier weapons, yes?"

Booted feet crunch broken glass underfoot as Feng steps up onto the curb, then through the broken frame of one of the demolished automatic doors, inside onto the tiled floor of the unlit grocery store. With no electricity on the island or in Queens due to the dome, the deep shadows and blind corners of the grocery store seem unusually foreboding.

"How have you and Ethan been faring out here," Feng asks with an askance look back to Edgar over his shoulder. "With the gangs? He's… okay, right?"

Giving one parting glance over his shoulder to the old guy, Edgar steps into the store with a crunch of his own boot. Feng won't be able to mistake the quick sweep of his head as it blurs to scout the inside. Or even the speedster's blue eyes sweeping over his armored form, as though sizing the Asian man up. English vs. Asian… well Feng might be part of the stereotypically smarter stock, but Edgar's probably got some barbarian in him somewhere along the line.

"Nice place…" No there's no envy in his voice, none at all. "So yeh manage 'ere all by yerself, eh?" So fast it doesn't look like it happened at all, Edgar's hands whisk to his back to check that his knives are at the ready. All Feng receives is a smile akin to one a baby gives when being smiles at. Bright and sunny and full of good cheer.

"No," Feng flatly states as he walks between the cash registers towards the back of the store. "I deposited some hardware here, never came back. If people saw signs of movement, they would come to investigate. Lights, noise… you know how it is." The store itself is ramshackle and damaged, shelves nearly stripped clean. It isn't a particularly largew grocery store either, a small business struggling to get by rather than a large corporate chain. One of those tragic mom and pop stores that get bought out, or in this case, have an accident.

That the electricity has been off for a long time is evident in the faint odor of spoled milk and other perishables that must have gone bad in the coolers. Feng winds down one of the aisles, leading Edgar behind the counter of the small deli, through the double doors in the back. "I saw a truck a block away, I can get it running and we can put everything inside. When I said give me a hand," Feng looks back to Edgar with a grin as he approaches the secure padlocked door of the once cold meat locker, "I said that because we will need it."

Producing a key from a small pocket in his vest, Feng unlocks the cooler door and swings it open, revealing a large black plastic case that could probably carry firearms, ammunition or God knows what other sort of hardware he thought was necessary.

The cases probably weigh over a hundred pounds each, a two-man job for sure. "I had a partner when the dome closed on me, Rafe." Feng's shoulders rise and fall slowly. "He got clipped in the femoral artery by stray gunfire when we were caught in a moving riot. He bled out before I could tend to his injuries…" The matter-of-fact way in which Feng speaks of this is simple and certain.

Feng props up brick in front of the cooler door to hold it open. "I'll go get the car hotwired, I'll drive it around back," he motions to a hallway past the cooler, "We'll haul everything out back. Just keep an eye on everything until I get back. Don't touch anything."

The meat locker is somewhere Edgar doesn't venture just yet, hanging around the entrance and pacing a few steps within its threshold. The fact that it used to be a cold place has him a bit more unnerved than the fact that he's being left alone in a spot he could easily be left inside. Once he's certain that Feng is out of sight, he zips inside and takes a look at the boxes. Not touching them yet.

A few quick streaks in and out, another to the front of the store to check on the senior who was loitering around, and then he's back to the entrance of the cooler. Moving at a brisk pace, not running, he makes his way toward the back hallway that was pointed out. His sharp eyes scouring the darkness for any signs of danger before he hits the exit.

The store seems empty on Edgar's super-speed assessment, save for Feng still making his way out through the back hallway. Edgar's brief ascertation of the cases makes them seem benign enough. Moving down the corridor and out towards the back exit Feng said he was headed out of, Edgar finds the Chinese man walking through the bag lot, zippered rifle over his shoulder, shotgun held at the ready and attention more on the dangerous street ahead of him than anything else.

When he hears the door to the food mart open, Feng looks over his shoulder with one brow raised and lips pursed together. "Was there something you needed, Edgar?" Feng's head quirks to the side, looking around the empty back lot, then peering into the dark of the doorway behind him, before watching the speedster again. "Unless you're too afraid to stand guard?" There's a gently teasing tone, there, much in the way Ethan makes wisecracks, just with less British grit.

Feng lets his brows rise towards his stocking cap, walking backwards with a few scuffing footsteps to give Edgar a chance to give some sort of last request before continuing on to hotwire the truck.

"Naw, just gettin' a look around the place," Edgar says as he shakes his head. Chancing a glance around the parking lot, he gives Feng a small nod and closes the door again. Zipping back to the cooler, the speedster eyes the boxes curiously.

Don't touch could mean sooooo many things. Don't touch at all, don't open it, don't take anything if you do open it. It's not like Feng specified. Squatting down in front of the first box, he trails his fingers around the lid, deliberating whether to take a peek or not. "To bomb or no' to bomb… tha's the real question, eh?"

He tests the weight of the crate with both hands, attempting to lift it by himself. About a hundred pounds, the Asian said, it's not that much by Edgar's assessment. "'Undred pounds… ain' tha' 'eavy…" Carefully placing it down on the floor again, he zips toward the front of the store to check for any onlookers.

The zip from cooler to the blown-out storefront gives Edgar a little time to think on the weight of one-hundred some odd pounds. It isn't terribly heavy, but it is terribly difficult to move fast with that much weight carried, at least for long periods of time. He's fireman carried people before, though, and moved at a rapid pace. This shouldn't prove to be that much more difficult, just slightly more awkward.

From the blown out storefront, Edgar can see the car still burning by the subway entrance, a flock of pigeons scuttling across the icy sidewalk, and the sunlight beginning to fade behind the grimy walls of the dome. Far off pops of gunfire punctuate the twilight hours, reminding Edgar just how dangerous it is out here.

At least the old man seems to have moved on.

Fingers running along the seam of the crate, Edgar narrows his eyes at the lock. He's somewhat unimpressed at the level of security, somewhat. "Oh Mister Ethan-Friend… 'fraid yeh 'aven't earned the righ' teh meet my wife yet. You ain' goin' nowheres… but these… they migh' come in useful." Ethan's friend or not, the carnie's never been one to trust a man right off the bat. Hell, he doesn't even trust the other Briton not to stab him between the eyes if the opportunity struck.

Pressing his lips together while one corner rises in something of a grim smirk, he grabs the handle of the first case and begins to run through the store. He blasts out the door in a blur and begins to spin. He's not wearing a skirt like a Dervish, but the small cyclone that results drifts away from him when he let's go of the case and watches it fly~. It's a heavyweight hammer throw!

Edgar's also not stupid enough to bring the case back to where they're staying.

The case whirls thorough the air, spinning end over end as if flies in a high arc over the roof of one of the midrise tenement buildings, then disappears out of sight on the other side. A chill wind blows across the street, sending loose pages of newspaper blowing across the frigid road. Having watched the first of a few of those heavy cases fall out of sight, something causes Edgar to hesitate on turning away.

The sound of an explosion, a ball of fire, and a plume of smoke.

The shockwave rattles the broken glass in the storefront's frames and the explosion sends a fireball up along the back side of the tenement building, along with a choking plume of black smoke that belches up afterward. Birds scatter from the nearby trees, wings flapping steadily as they alight to the skies following the riotous sound. The noise of the explosion echoes oddly around inside the dome, not dissipating the way an explosion normally does. It reminds Edgar of the other night, of the apartment building and the chapel.

This time it was his doing.

Only losers watch their own explosions, so while the building burns, Edgar zips back into the store and grabs a couple more of the cases. "Oh Feng.. You bad bad bad slanty eyed little man…" It's like the Riddler's trap for the Batman in that one movie with all the color. The Robin guy in one cage, that would be the rest of the cases. The girl in the other, that would be whoever might be burning in the building. Good thing Edgar's faithful to Lydia, the girl isn't really given a second thought. There's a third cage here too, unfortunately Edgar doesn't know who in the Batverse Feng would be represented by. Maybe Kato.

The rest of the cases are dragged toward the river and plunk plunk plunk as fast as the speedster can speed.

Remarkably, they float. At least for a little while, the matte black cases bob up and down in the strong current of the Hudson, only to submerge with a stream of bubbles not long after once the air inside them becomes lessened enough for bouyancy to fail. Whatever it was Feng was hoping to transport, it was some sort of high explosive.

With the four remaining cases brought to the edge of the river and sunken into the deep, Edgar is left to consider the glow of fire burning what is now a good distance away to the east deeper into Queens. From the shores of Hunter's Point where he'd speedily taken the crates one by one, Edgar is left to wonder exactly what it was this friend of Ethan was planning, more importantly where he'd been going.

There isn't a truck nearby to the grocer's, nor is Feng anywhere around the abandoned cars on the sides of the road. He's just gone, and in what amounts to a few scant minutes with all of the super-speeded movement that Edgar was performing as well. It leaves only the consideration that he'd never planned to come back for Edgar, or that his plan might have had something to do with the explosives.

Unfortunately, you can't really plan for Edgar Smythe. Even Edgar doesn't know why he does what he does most of the time.

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