2007-03-04: A Picture Is Worth 400 Years

Starring:

Adam_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif Eliana_icon.gif

Summary: Responding to an advert in the paper, Adam meets Eliana in Central Park and finds she has some interesting information.

Date It Happened: March 4th, 2007

A Picture Is Worth 400 Years


Central Park, NYC, NY

Normally, meeting someone in Central Park after the street lamps have been switched on is seen as a Bad Idea. But sometimes you just have to let the chips fall where they may, and since Eliana was given the task of fielding the message Adam left in response to the add, this is how the chips have fallen. It's not exactly hard to locate a woman with short pink hair sitting on a bench after most of the law-abiding visitors to the patch of green have gone home. And that's where Eliana sits, going over what she's already written in her moleskin notebook. No doubt Jack is nearby, just in case, or waiting to make sure that whomever made that call isn't some raging lunatic out for blood. Or worse.

And so he is. Jack isn't much for stealth, but he knows how to hold still. He's crouched in the shadow of a large, stately deciduous tree. One hand is propped against the cold earth. The other is wrapped around a smooth, sleek automatic pistol. Jack's grey eyes are hard and wary. There's little chance he's going to let anything happen to his lady tonight, not if he can help it. He's even mostly sober.

Bad Idea or not, it's nothing strange to Adam. The man on the run from the Company. Not to mention the NYPD, if they even still remember. Adam straggles his way through the park, passing and nodding the the last few people he passes. "Evening." he says to one, who nods and keeps walking. Slowly he makes his way to the place he was given directions to go.

Eliana looks up from her notebook occasionally, scanning the faces of the few people who pass her as best she can. In the light of one of the street lamps, she can't be too easy to miss, but there's no harm in Eliana doing a little passive searching on her own. Who reads in the park this time of night, anyway?

Twenty feet away, the minutes pass so slowly it aches. Jack is not a patient man by nature. He's wired to hit things, yell at things, and drink, in roughly that order. Though he's learning more civilized behavior by sticking with Eliana, he's still not really cut out for this.

Adam steps up into the light of one of the street lamps. The soft glow illuminates his features, and causes his dark brown hair to almost have a glowing aura around it. His blue eyes scan the area, spotting the pink-haired woman and he moves in that direction. "You know, it's not safe in the park this late at night." he casually chats. "You never know who is good, or who is bad. Or if someone could be carrying a samurai sword." It's a subtle hint. Or at least as subtle is for Adam.

Eliana tries to look as nonchalant as possible as she closes her notebook and slips it back into her coat pocket. The truth of the matter is, Eli is having a hell of a time keeping her heart rate down. Adam has a point - it's not exactly the most comfortable of meeting places or times. "Whose to say I don't have a trick up my own sleeves?" Eliana says with a sly sort of smile as she slowly gets to her feet. "First things first…why'd you call that number?" Hiro's alive, and there's only one other person who might have answered that ad that the rag-tag gang would /want/ to talk to.

Finally, something's happening. Jack settles into a more stable crouch and snugs both hands around his pistol. Peering down the ironsights, he carefully lines them up with the newly arrived man's chest. Breath coming fast, pupils slightly dilated, adrenaline is Jack's stock in trade at the moment. He wants to know exactly what's going on as bad as the next person, but prudence dictates that he not trust a man who wants to meet at night in Central Park.

If there's one thing Adam is good at, after 400 years, it's reading people and their responses. That sly smile. The witty retort. His eyes dart around to scan the immediate area while his head stays fixed in one spot. "I suppose you could." he says, grinning at her. "Well, you know…not many people have the qualities you were asking for. I figured, if it was a group meeting, I might find some other people who share my passion about Japanese culture and swords."

What's more interesting is what Adam looks like. It doesn't take Eliana long to determine that yes, he is the man Sydney suggested finding. That sly smile becomes more genuine, and Eliana pulls out the notebook again. She lets it fall open to a digital photograph tucked between the pages, pulls it out, then replaces the notebook. "I'm actually more interested in art," she says casually, lifting up the picture for Adam to see. It depicts Hiro and a man who looks a great deal like Adam facing off, each in feudal Japanese garb. "And why you're in this piece. And how you know my friend." Meaning Hiro, of course. Eliana's tone, like her smile, has become less nonchalant and more curious with the slightest twinge of desperation and maybe a dash of hope.

Though his angle is poor for viewing the man's face, Jack's ears work just fine. Eliana'a words are enough to cause him to squeeze the grip of his pistol hard enough to whiten his knuckles. He remembers the painting, alright. If this is Hiro's painting-nemesis, what the hell are they doing meeting him in the middle of the night? Jack is barely able to suppress a groan. No one ever tells him anything.

It's almost eerie how a slight breeze picks up as the notebook is opened and the picture is pulled out. Adam's hair is ruffled, and the long overcoat he is wearing gets ruffled in the wind. Only a keen eye might catch what looks like the tip of a sheath hanging down his back. "What exactly do you mea…." his question trails off as his eyes land on the picture. Immediately he reaches to snatch it, scowling deeply. "Where did you get this?" he questions, his voice bearing evidence of quite a bit of restraint. He can't very well just chop people to bits in the middle of Central Park. "And how to you know Hiro?

Of all the responses Eliana had entertained as possibilities, trying to take the picture wasn't very high on her list. She keeps hold of it tightly, even as Adam's fingers latch on. Controlling her heart rate becomes much harder, for obvious reasons, and a small 'dose', meaning less concentrated, cloud of that mood-altering gas pours from her pores and hovers about six inches away from Eliana's coat and about eight inches from her bare skin. "He's a friend," she manages to get out, her voice strained with the subtle struggle for the photograph. "And I got it from another friend who kept the real thing from being destroyed. How do /you/ know Hiro, /Kensei?/" Because that's clearly who this man is.

Jack has very nearly had enough of this. The idea of putting Eliana in danger at all vexed him sorely, but from one predator to another, he could tell that this brown-haired, overcoated stranger had trouble written all over him. His quick, hushed exchange with Eli and their quiet struggle is nearly enough to set off Jack's hair-trigger nerves, but for the moment he restrains himself.

Adam's reaction to the photograph doesn't linger long. Maybe it's because he thinks he's upset the young woman, or maybe it's an entirely other reason. Whatever the case, he eases his grip and releases the picture. "I'd be mindful of calling him a 'friend'." he states flatly. "Once I called him a friend. But then he went and stabbed me in the back." The last bit is said with a bit of force behind it. As though he holds a grudge. "I know him, because he was there with me almost 400 years ago."

400 years ago? Jack nearly drops his pistol. Curiouser and curiouser, this city. After a fair amount of time crouched on the frigid grass in the dark, he's getting stiff and cranky. Still, he maintains his discipline, at least for the moment.

Eliana narrows her eyes, but it doesn't take her long to put two and two together. If Hiro can bend time and space enough to clean up one thousand cranes in the blink of an eye, what stops him from going several hundred years in the past? Still, the thought of Hiro betraying anyone doesn't sit right, and it brings to mind Eliana's own deceit. She turns her head slightly toward the bushes where Jack lies in wait, but she doesn't look at him - she stops herself before that happens. "That would explain the get-up," she says as blandly as she can given her state. "But it doesn't explain much else." Assuming Adam travels through time like Hiro isn't hard. "He doesn't done anything to make me think of him as anything but, but I'll keep your advice in mind. Do you know anything about a tornado? Or a biotoxin? Or what's effectively a terrorist organization masquerading as a vaguely named big-business?" Seriously, The Company? It has a much better name in Eliana's manuscript. It has a /name./

400 years ago? Jack nearly drops his pistol. Curiouser and curiouser, this city. After a fair amount of time crouched on the frigid grass in the dark, he's getting stiff and cranky. Still, he maintains his discipline, at least for the moment. What he wouldn't give for a warm pub stool, a cigarette, and a stiff drink, though. This stakeout crap is for the birds. Then Eliana comes precariously close to looking right at him, causing his to freeze in mid-fidget.

Ok, it could be the eerie breezes that seem to pop up in Central Park at odd time. Or it could be something entirely different. Either way, Adam's guard is now raised a bit after watching Eliana glance towards the bushes. He lets his gaze travel that same path, but not seeing anything. Still, his posture stiffens and his hands slip behind his back as though he were standing at ease in the military. "I would still keep your eye on him." he replies, shaking his head lightly. "And tell him, Kensei said he can keep the sword." Mention of the Company brings a raised brow. "What, you mean like the Taliban? Or Al-Queda?" That's it, Adam. Play dumb. You have no clue what they know or how much they know.

Eliana narrows her eyes and brings her head back around to Adam, taking a deep breath. She's frustrated, and the wind is chilling her despite the quickening heart beat she keeps an ironclad grip on. "Those are religious and political groups," she retorts. "I mean like The Company." There. "Uncovering everyday people's dirty little secrets and /hurting/ people for…well, /some/ reason. But I think the whole point of having opposition like that is that it remains vague. Not quite so /terrifying/ if you know who you're up against. So tell me what you know, if you know anything." Along with mounting frustration, that hopeful desperation in Eliana's voice, now an intense whisper, has become much more audible. "Or," she starts again, her eyebrows furrowing downward, "or keep it to yourself and don't help anyone else like you. When they run out of the rest, they'll eventually find you too."

That's it. It's dark, it's cold, and this is the last place Jack wants to be. Creakily, he draws himself to his feet. One hand still extended pistol-first, the washed up stage magician emerges from the shadows. "Yes. Do tell her, boyo. I'm sure we'd all rather be in a warm pub cozied up to a cold beer, wouldn't you say?" Though both his words and the set of his face are jovial, the muzzle of his sidearm never wavers from Adam's torso. "And be quick about it, yes?"

Adam grins and offers a bit of a laugh in Eliana's direction. "You think you know what the Company does? Well let me tell you, little girl, what you think of the Company isn't the half of what they do." There's no frustration in Adam's voice, as he shakes his head. "They're already looking for me. Have been since I got out. It's not a matter of when…." The train of though gets derailed as Jack steps out from the shadows. If Adam's surprised, he's not showing it. "I suspected something wasn't right." he continues, glancing between Jack and Eliana. "So, who sent you? The Company? Someone from Linderman's group? I suppose they told you to kill me too, if I didn't cooperate."

When Jack speaks, Eliana has to take a step away from Adam in order to keep him out of the gas that silently explodes out of her for a moment when she loses some of that control. The presence of the drawn gun doesn't help, either. But Adam's assumptions need to be corrected, and quickly. Eliana returns the photograph to her pocket, glancing about the park in an attempt to see if Adam was followed here, though she's no professional when it comes to sniffing out tails. "We don't /want/ to kill you. Nobody sent us," she says, trying to be more reassuring than offended. "Not unless you count the gal who owns the phone you called. We hadn't heard from Hiro in awhile, and so we thought we'd put out an ad. We were looking for /you/, because we thought you might know where he was." Eliana shakes her head then, as if clearing cobwebs or unwanted thoughts. "Anyway, he's alright. But since you were…in that painting, we thought you might know some things. And so you do. And when you're ready to share them, why not give that number another call?" Eliana shivers again, and after taking a controlled step closer to Adam and swallowing, she adds, "And if knowingly put her, or any of the rest of us in /their/ hands, you'll wish my friend shooting you was all you had to deal with." Threats aren't Eliana's forte, but there is a raw passion behind her words.

"Sorry to disappoint, chappie, but we're independants," is Jack's reply to Adam's accusation. "I don't want to shoot you. But God help me, I'll do it if you make me." To stifle anyone's lingering doubt, he props the pistol up on his free hand and draws a careful bead. "I suggest you take the lady's advice. If New York goes the way of Auntie Em, we're all going to be in trouble." His jovial expression is gone now. His grey eyes are hard and cold, and his small smile is utterly devoid of humor.

Oh can this night get any better. Adam's got one girl bent on what seems like forming an army to take out the Company, and some drunk guy with a gun who seems to be a little on the trigger happy side. "If New York goes the way of Auntie Em, then the Company is the least of your worries. And believe me, shooting me would likely be the last thing you do." Adam says, lifting a hand to slide the sword on his back partially out of the sheath to show it off before pushing it back into the carrier. Now his attention shifts back to Eliana. "I'll consider the offer, though there are other pressing matters that I need to deal with before dealing with the Company." AS he continues, his posture relaxes a bit. "Though, if you know where Hiro is, you can deliver a message to him for me."

"Silly boys with your sticks and guns," Eliana mutters with a ghost of that former sly smile, but the confidence is brief. "It's not first on our list," she assures Adam, "but we'd be fools if we weren't vigilant. What do you want me to tell Hiro?" After all, the sword-wielding man may be more likely to call Sydney again if Eli does the favor.

A split-second after Adam's hand reaches his sword, Jack has lined his ironsights up on the other man's left eye and half-depressed the trigger, stopping just short of loosing a round. The back-and-forth nature of this byplay is wreaking havoc on his nerves.

"I can't blame you for being vigilant." comes Adam's reply. "But I'd also not let vigilance get in the way of defensiveness. The Company will sneak up on you when you least expect it." His gaze drifts over towards Jack, and he flips the man a grin. "Trust me friend, you don't want to do that. I doubt you could handle what you'd see." he states, turning back to Eliana. "Tell Hiro that Takezo Kensei is looking for him. He'll know how to find me."

"Duly noted," Eliana says, and a somewhat heavy sigh follows. That Kensei is looking for him is not the only think Eliana is going to tell Hiro, but that hardly needs to be vocalized. She nods, and without another word steps toward Jack, whom she regards somewhat coldly. As they meander they way out of the park and snag a taxi, that coldness thaws.

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