Watch For Alligators


abby6_icon.gif bao-wei2_icon.gif

Scene Title Watch For Alligators
Synopsis Abby is looking for a certain terminal geocaching, and happens upon a lurker.
Date June 9, 2011

Ruined Tunnel Networks

Without electricity in this portion of the subway tunnels, there's no ambient light to help people along. 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. A large pile of rubble blocks the way to one of the stations, somewhat conspicuous because the ceiling seems stable around it. Almost as if this blockage had been intentionally made somehow.

These stretches of subway tunnels spread for miles beneath the ruins of Midtown, some of them consisting of little more than collapsed railway passages filled with broken concrete and heat-melted steel girders. 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.

There is something liberating about needing to literally go underground. From the abandoned stations, to the water and sewage pipes, to even the lost parts of citydom lost, encased under the one above. New York City is, after all, a partly manmade structure in itself. Everything is somehow, undoubtedly, interconnected. Freedom comes when you need to burrow deeper, and the signs of life and of people become more scarce, and the sounds are only those made by breath and heartbeat. But even then, sometimes- you don't actually have a heartbeat. Or lungs.

It isn't terribly deep where Bao-Wei is; deep enough in the tunnel systems to have found a sunken tunnel full of crisp rainwater, to dunk himself into and leave a half-frozen space in his wake. Now, he is taking a rest insofar as a rest is simply not doing anything. His mind needs rest, his body not so much. What he finds is a tall, spacious room- a space in the tunnels where one pipe spills down over a wallface into a stream flowing on down. The rainwater brought him here, and after the time of trudging along, he finds himself peeling metal bars from the end of the stream, knocking them apart and down the wall he perches upon afterwards.

Chunks of ice flow down the wall with the water, before he moves out of it and clutches himself up against the ceiling. There are no stray drops of water that fall to the ground, but the motion does give the spines on him a rather windblown look. For now, that is where he remains, flattening out upside down, like a reptile on a rock. Maybe waiting. Maybe sleeping- the golden eye in one of the pitted eyes has dimmed enough to all but disappear.

Stray, homeless, people off the grid. They come through here with some small amount of regularity. whether it's because they have places down here where they squatt, they're trying to avoid the robots up above that might detect them be they SLC or not. Or sometimes, they're traversing and just plain got a little lost.

Like Abby.

Who has a thing of chalk out, a heavy duty flashlight and is grinding her teeth as she consults a hand drawn map. Somewhere she lost track of the marking and the signals that lead her to the terminal. Coming in through a different route, unwilling to go topside again for fear of coming into contact with another robot like she did with griffin, by now, Abby's just trying to find a good place to hunker down for a few hours, rest, and then trace her way back while leaving marks with the chalk. People can get completely lost and die down here, if they're not careful.

But the room that Bao has settled himself into soon finds Abby entering, if only because it's cool in there and she's been getting a little warm under the collar with worry. Oblivious to the company that she's intruding in upon.

With the steady summer swelter up on the surface, the underground itself is cooled down; in this tall room, it is even moreso, to the point of being not unlike a cooler the longer that Abby stays inside. Not freezing, but just below the point of autumnal chill once it sets in. Abby's intrusion is a subtle thing, even for someone that operates off of sources of heat and non-heat. At first, he does not even notice that she wanders in; it takes him until she moves the map, like a foggy white flag of paper down below. The movement and sound cause him to jerk slightly off-center in surprise, the distant scraping like the sound of a beetle's wings clicking about on its back.

Any sounds that he makes, he does not seem to make note of; the head on his shoulders has swiveled, owl-like, to center a now golden-bright eye towards the woman that has come in down below, with her simple chalk and her simple map. Maybe she's geocaching?

Likely not. What is likely and obvious is that the movement of the golden eye is noticed when she stops any of those little movement and is looking up, way up from under golden eyelashes at the thing that really doesn't look human, and probably, likely, is an evolved.

Or you know, an alien. Possibly an alien. Time travel is really maybe aliens are real. Or demons.

"Sorry" Spoken, not squeaked. still holding her map. "You wouldn't happen to know a good place to stop and rest for a few hours down here, or you know the way to where Grand Central used to be?" Hopeful.

For a span that seems quite endless, he sits up there and stares at her, attached to the ceiling and craning his eye to look down. He moves again, eventually, turning that jerky movement into something more fluid and scraping his way over to the wall, where he is able to aim downward along the side of it. He will perch there, for the time being, less awkwardly and more intent on studying the young woman as much as is gracious. Bao-Wei opens his jaw with a click of his facial features, jagged teeth opening up like the lower jaw of a deep-sea fish.

Hm. A steady stream of air filters out through his face before he speaks, the exhale less necessity and more drama. The rumbling voice does not seem to have a source, except from deep within him.

"Grand Central?" Curious, even a little bit dubious of her question's purpose. Cong sets his arms ahead of the rest, attaching them more firmly to his spot on the wall. His eye roves, wild for a few seconds to dart hither and tither in the socket. "Never a good place to rest, honestly. Many maintenance tunnels nearby, however… Grand Central? I think perhaps it is that way." He rattles his head once on his stout neck, peering off in the direction of where the water is draining out of. The bars, as per his entrance, are already cracked apart.

"You rest, where you can rest, and hope that the rats don't nibble off your toes" Abby points out. 'There's no good place topside either" She's thankful for her own personal heat now, in this room with Bao and the ice that he's clearly made out of. "Don't suppose you're in the mood to set me on the right place are you?"

"I don't have any toes." Bao-Wei states, clearly and apparently for the record. He watches her as a bird might, from a distance and with vague disinterest. She is there, so he'll be paying attention accordingly. "It is that way. Sort of. It is south-east of here, that tunnel there-" He gestures now to where he came from with one front limb, a talon ticking out at the air. "-is south. You would have to be able to find your own way east of it…"

He wasn't trying to be vague before- he doesn't get many people willing to stick around when they stumble into him. Take what you can get. "** I would show you where you are, on your map, but I fear I would likely destroy it.**" She'll need to take his word on directions, if that is what she needs.

"Are you a water mimic or an ice mimic?" Probably not the question that he's anticipated or the words anticipated to come o ut of her mouth, looking down to the map to note where he said to go. "Feel free to tell me to bugger off that it's none of my business. People tend ot be down here to hide and be alone instead of…" Being pestered by southern brunettes

Cong stares for another few moments down at her, pondering quietly to himself. There's something about her manner that strikes him as a little bit too familiar. Something that someone else has said recently gets behind it, no less. Something that Bella mentioned, in her short time to come see him. And something that he told her, about coming and goings.

"If I had taken offense to a visitor, you would know it. As you can imagine… I don't… get many that wish to stick near." He says quite blandly, even for him. "Or that many looking for a place like Grand Central." Bao-Wei's voice goes stilted, almost expectant.

"If you made a run at me, You'd be a cloud of vapor, no harm intended. I also think that we wouldn't be standing here speaking, if you were going to take offense at me" She points out, folding up her map, tucking it into a jacket pocket, and slipping off a strap to fish around for a bottle of water, hydrate up a bit.

"You always down here?" No comment as to why she wants grand central.

"I am …around, yes." Cong is not terribly accurate with his explanation either, if it helps. "Down here, somewhere. You can see that I stick out in a crowd." The last word growls out, gravelly in his chest. "Ice mimic. Though I can move freely in water, save for the trail I leave behind me."

Bao-Wei turns himself partly away from her, crawling his way across the wall towards one of the others, parallel to where the water is coming down. From there, he makes his way down like a gecko, coming to a stop only on the ground, a fair distance from her. The spines make him seem taller, but still, he is already bigger than the wide ceiling made him appear. Tall, lumbering, seemingly ungainly.

"Have you learned to return back to looking normal? Have you tried at all? Or is this… it?" Abby inquires, studying Bao as he moves and shifts, taking in the whole of him with raised brows.

"I caused this." He warns, scuffing into a crouch along the stone floor. "I can go back, but it is painful. And I still have the pallor of a dead man." Bao-Wei's gaze settles somewhere off past Abby. "When it comes to being flesh and bone, and feeling yourself frozen from the inside out- I would rather have no nervous system, no organs, no pain. When I turn, I cannot completely quell it. It comes back, on its own."

When he finally lets his eye settle on her again, rather than the air, the bend of his brow gives him a definitely pensive look.

She'd demonstrate her own but she doesn't feel like destroying the clothes she has on. even she has a limited supply and old navy doesn't have shirts and pants on that cheap. Not long sleeved ones in the middle of summer. "I'm sorry, for what it's worth. I hope though, that you're happy enough, with whats happened. If it's any consolation, you're not the only one who did something to themselves to bring about… such a change'

"I did it out of desperation. I can find the beauty in the executions, and the poetic justice in how it happened, but I did not intend for this. I am as happy as unfeelingness can let me be." A sigh of air is pushed out of the ice mimic's chest, compressed until the moment of release and fogging the air. Bao-Wei rumbles again, the vibration steady.

"I have but one person looking out for me. Had. I suppose that she is being hidden somewhere, perhaps distant. Perhaps by people such as you."

"I'm Geocaching" Bold faced lie by a woman who's not good at lying. But she doesn't look like a transient, or a terrorist, or a thief. She narrows her eyes a fraction, looking at Bao before she's turning, showing her back heading for the way that she came in. "Don't get too lonely down here. Careful of the robots, if they get down here. I need to get back up to the surface before it gets to morning" Get to the Terminal or hole up somewhere. She's got a blanket and an inflatable pillow, food to last a few days and water.

"I can handle those blasted things." Comes as a somewhat angry grumble. Cong adjusts his crouch, though it comes off as some irritated stamping instead. "Forsaken clockwork menaces, is what they are…" At this point he may be talking to himself. Until he looks after Abby, that is. The eye swivels about in the socket again, trailing her movements.

"Watch for alligators." Why yes, he can still be tongue-in-cheek.

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