bao-wei2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Untapped
Synopsis Elizabeth finds the thing closest to a New York City sewer-gator when she passes through an old train tunnel.
Date April 8, 2011

Lower East Side; Abandoned Subway Tunnel

The tracks are empty and dirty. Some patches of the walls and ceiling have fallen away, leaving behind chunks of rock intermittently. The tracks curve a little in places, but stay mostly straight for long areas.

These stretches of subway tunnels spread for miles, some of them consisting of little more than collapsed railway passages filled with broken concrete. Other entirely vacant but debris-filled ticket offices, railway platforms and tunnels seem to spider-web beneath the city, collapsing into exposed steam tunnels and sewage passages that can make traversing these lightless subterranean realms hazardous for many reasons, from toxic fumes to collapsing floors or ceilings.

As she moves through the abandoned subway tunnel alone, Elisabeth is not exactly an easy target. She moves quickly, with a very clear purpose of getting the hell out of the tunnels as soon as she can. She's got a flashlight that she moves through the dark with, moving the light nearly constantly. As if to try to make herself not utterly terrified down here, she's singing under her breath — at the moment it's Pink Floyd for anyone who might recognize it. "It's a sin that somehow, light is changing to shadow and casting its shroud over all we have known…"

Liz is well on her way before she might notice something increasingly odd; the floor is wetter, slicker- and eventually, she can see the telltale signs of ice. Being April, and a city, the weather has not been conducive to sheets of ice for at least a couple of weeks- especially not down here. The air is also colder, bitter to breathe in, and chilling the tips of fingers and the features of her face. Not at the point where it is a problem, so far.

It becomes a problem, though, as she moves along; the funnel that is created down here, by air whistling about the old tracks, finds itself quickly turned to a wintery cold. Something that she has not felt in the city since January. Where her flashlight roams, it flickers and shines bright and glassy, skimming over a trail of crusted ice that takes the form of dragging prints; they leave craggy hollows in the ground, where a man's heels may be, save for the fact that these hollows are about a meter apart, and as wide as a seat.

Up ahead, she can hear a distinct and troublesome scraping; something grinding against the dirt and arched bricks of the walls, intermittent and lazy.

Unfamiliar with this particular route — she took an alternate way before — Elisabeth is surprised at the ice. She stops singing and pauses as the air takes on that biting chill. Even her fleece jacket isn't enough to combat this. The sounds from ahead, though, are most assuredly disturbing. And there are any number of awful things running about New York right now. Her first instinct in the dark is to flee — run like a mofo back the other way. Her second instinct, hot on the heels of that, is to pull out the 9mm that is holstered in the front of her jeans and start walking that direction. If it's a robot, she's gonna be a dead Evo or something. We're close enough to Midtown to make the blonde aware of that thought. And she walks very, very carefully and quietly, wrapping herself in a silence field that doesn't allow her sounds out but allows her to hear and parse every single sound wave coming at her from down here.

The scraping goes on as if unbothered; there is something ponderous about how it comes down the tunnel. Steps taken, perhaps an investigative movement, some more wandering along. It sounds innocuous enough, like a cow poking around a creek bottom. As Liz gets nearer, she can hear a rumbling coming with it, and with close listening it does form itself into a speech pattern, if stilted and gravelly.

"Ni zenme kan… Wo juede, wo juede." The pattern of noise folds into actual words, but only for a nonsensical moment or two. The atmoshpere gets colder as she goes, and as she turns the curve of the track tunnel, the thing that has been making these noises and leaving these tracks comes flickering into sight. It looks like someone left an ice sculpture down here, for whatever reason; granted, who would make a sculpture that looks like a hunchbacked, horned, bristly ogre? Even before Liz can study its spiny hide more closely, it will probably occur to her what- who- she has stumbled upon, provided that she was kept up to date on the city's rogue gallery, as per Endgame files.

Bao-Wei Cong seems stuck in his own world, right now, having not noticed any previous movements, sounds- he is wandering along, hobbling with one clawed limb dragging over the wall, spiny tail hovering behind him once or twice when he pauses to peer at the ground, digging at it with his other limb. Silent as she is, Liz is treated to something like Animal Planet- for Evos, of course. 'Natural' habitat, you know.

Oh…. dear God. Elisabeth knew really only that something happened to the man. Something awful. She was never exactly sure what. And now she's not even entirely sure the man is a man anymore. Nor is she sure she should even allow him to see that she's here. But it's a bit late for that, because her flashlight falls on him even as she identifies what she's looking at. Shit. Shitshitshit.

The flashlight creeps along the floor and through one of his legs- partly- as it refracts and glitters up through the rest of him. The ice is clean, almost brilliant; an aurora of muted colors pings through him, light shimmering through against the walls. His head turns, tilts, swivels far, far downward, like a reptile distracted by a bug. Something inhuman about the reaction, certainly. Perhaps also because he takes a second to follow it to its source.

Bao-Wei turns himself with a step to his left, glittering golden eye ticking up to find the mote of flashlight heading his way. His jaw opens, letting out a rasp, the iris of his eye contracting in the light. His teeth clack against one another when his jaw closes again, splinters falling from the mane at his neck and face. And for what seems forever, he peers down the tunnel at her, icy expression perturbed. Perhaps it is always like that.

Elisabeth lets the field around her drop, her hand faltering in its aim. She doesn't drop the weapon entirely but she doesn't fire either. "I…. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to… intrude." Is the man himself even still in there? she has to wonder.

He has been in there, but even a man like Cong can lose himself once in a while. That day could be today, even partly. The simple fact that she is speaking to him rather than shooting at him goes a very long way. It stares for a while longer, before putting his brow down and rattling his head. The clacking and cracking breaks off more of the brittle growth on him, mostly those that look rather like the drippings of icicles all the way to waist height.

"…Nobody ever does, I should hope."

Well…. .he's talking back, so that means she shouldn't go and shoot at him at all, right? Or something. Wary still, and struggling with her own demons in the dark down here, Elisabeth slips the pistol back into its holster. "Does…. what? Intrude? Or m-m-m-mean to intrude?" she asks, not quite certain engaging the man in conversation is the best idea. "You, uhm…. is there…. anything I can do for you?" she asks hesitantly. Because whatever else the man's done, he's living in the sewers and subways and isn't exactly human anymore gives the woman pause.

Bao-Wei doesn't answer the first part- maybe he isn't sure himself. His broad shoulders shrug forward in a superficial stretch of muscles he does not currently possess. As for her independent query, he gives her a narrowed look of his eye, turning the rest of the way around, and a step more, uncertain of something, uncertain of where he is standing, towering up against a curved brickface.

"You can find me something more rewarding than slowly losing my mind." Can't be what she wanted to hear, if she meant what she asked him. Cong's voice is deeply hollow and grating, made even moreso by the tunnel. "Bella can only do so much for me, the ocean can only roll me so far before it brings me back…" At this, he seems to fold back into part of the state he was in when she found him, looking off blindly at the air, eye twitching along to follow the invisible trails of phantoms.

Elisabeth clears her throat and raises her eyebrows. "What … do you want to do?" she asks curiously. Hell, standing here in a dark tunnel with an ice monster isn't any stranger than most of the rest of her life is. "I don't know if I have anything rewarding, to be honest. But… you know… there's kind of a war going on out there, so … if you thought you wanted something to do, I might be able to … I don't know…. come up with something?" she says, kind of uncertainly.

"I know about the war." Bao-Wei's response is curt, and suddenly lucid, somewhat angry, somewhat bothered. "I helped start it, you stupid little woman." He picks his chin up and looks around at her another time, pupil flickering in the light. The talons of his forelimbs scrape roughly together like sets of overlarge knife sharpeners.

"I've been helping Sheridan, and that snotty European woman, since, but as women often go- they are forgetful of me, sometimes. Never out of spite, I am afraid." Rambling on, rambling on, possibly about things he should not be. Does he know this? Possibly that too. "I am a resource, untapped, unconstrained, unappeasable." Elisabeth gets the idea. "I am always around. It will be easier to find me, come spring, because of the cold…"

Well, yes… yes he did. "Well, fine, then," Elisabeth murmurs. "How'm I supposed to know whether your silly bitches from aboveground are actually telling you anything?" Moody audiokinetic. But barring that, the blonde tells him, "You should go to the lower levels if you don't want that." She pauses. "You know about robots loose in Midtown, right?" she asks. Because if not, well… "I wouldn't wish that fate on anyone." Even this poor bastard.

"I've heard of them. It is a small world, underground. I wish to see one, one day-" The bend of his jaw creaks, into what could be considered a monster's toothy smirk. "Midtown is not usually my grounds. If I need to pass through, certainly- they sound simply disastrous, yet fragile. I wonder if they are coldproof. Do you know?" Bao-Wei's attention draws off toward the other end of the tunnel, before swiveling back.

"I take favors in exchange for favors. Not the most material system, but what use would I have for money?"

Elisabeth considers and admits, "I don't know whether they're coldproof." But an idea is swimming around in the back of her head. "And no, I suppose you have little use for money. What do you have use of?" she wonders aloud.

"Perhaps this is something that I should consider testing." Bao-Wei turns his head down, voice expressing as much thought as it can, since the ease of facial muscles has long left him. It is much easier to inflect his moods than to work the crags of his face without a mirror. One set of talons finds the raised ridge of old track on the ground, and he gives it a perfunctory tap, the ping of metal echoing along the chambers.

"Spaces. It pays to have places to hide. Favors, from one to another, to be determined. Many of my investments are in things that I have yet to …cash in."

"I'll keep that in mind," Elisabeth says quietly. "If I have something that might be of use to you, where do I find you?" Because she's not simply jumping on this little bit of fortune. She needs to think about whether it's good fortune or not.

"Follow the cold. Otherwise, there is a drainage tunnel far below Canal street.." Chinatown, makes sense. "I have a- nest, for lack of a better term- down there. One of a few. Though if you scrawled on these walls with chalk, I'd see it eventually. Bella is the only one that knows all of my haunts." And nests, as he has described it. Unsurprising that he has only one person to know everything- a monster can't have visitors all the time.

Elisabeth nods slowly. Bella Sheridan. *sigh* "All right. …. Good luck," she says softly, uncertain what else to say. And her flashlight turns back toward the tunnel. "I'm, uhm…. you don't mind if I go that way, do you?" She points, the direction she'd intended to go to get where she was going.

Not at all, apparently. Bao-Wei hoists himself into a straighter stand, canting his head to look up the sweeping arch of the tunnel. One after the other, he lifts his limbs up to latch onto the nearer part of the wall, taking the rest of him upwards until he is climbing over the side of the tunnel like an oversized crab. Almost entirely upside down, he scrabbles forward on frozen roots, leaving a slug's trail of ice where he goes. When he passes overhead, she can feel the Antarctic breeze whisking along with him.

"Be on, now."

The blonde watches him move, her eyes cautious. But she nods and starts moving again with her flashlight. "Thank you," she replies. That he's been polite has mitigated a lot of her terror of him, but not all. He is not a nice man. Elisabeth smiles just a little. "Be well," she tells the man turned monster courteously.

All she can really do is be polite in return, isn't it? Bao-Wei is sensible enough, when unprovoked. Not a nice man, no, but a logical one, surely. He gives Elisabeth only a parting rumble before shoveling himself along the top of the wall, scraping off into the dark like a massive and very ugly gecko.

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