2007-04-16: A Stray Child


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Sarah goes looking for trouble and finds Erica. The start of a friendship?

April 16th, 2007

A Stray Child

Midtown, NYC - 2701 - Prestige Midtown Apts.

Another duty day at the recruiting station in Times Square has ended for Captain Erica Snow of the US Air Force, and she goes home. It's the usual drill for the next few hours: dinner, relaxation, watching a spot of television, maybe some reading too, to pass the time until nightfall. Once the sun has sunk below the western horizon, however, the addict has to try for her needed fix. She slips into the all black clothing used for such exploits and goes to the rooftop deck of her apartment building. Luck is with her tonight, there's no one else out on it. She grins broadly and slips the ski mask, also black, over her head. Now her face and red hair are hidden. Into the air she rises at a walking pace to gain altitude, then she begins to move forward at approximately thirty miles per hour above Midtown Manhattan.

Below, walking at a brisk pace down the sidewalk, a thirteen year-old girl who should not be out this late unsupervised is looking for trouble. She doesn't care what kind of bad person she punishes tonight. But she wants to feel the power that comes with tearing someone apart, exposing them to their worst fears, and driving them down, down, down, into the darkness. She hears a noise in an alleyway nearby, and pauses casually to look in that direction. Sarah Kain sees nothing, except for a can rolling along the dirty pavement down that alley, making the metal sound that cans make when they roll on pavement.

It could be a cat. Or it could be something /interesting/. Should see go see for herself, or continue along? She hasn't encountered any more 'special' people since she met Tamara in Central Park, months ago. 'Special' people wouldn't be lurking in an alleyway like that, right? They're important. Better than others. She just has to look harder to find one. So keep looking… Or investigate the sound… Which will be? While she's deciding she is standing out in the open, under a street light, stuffed rabbit under one arm making her seem a bit younger than she really is, unless one looks closely.

The black clothing is, as one might guess, worn to keep her from being spotted during her flights above the city, and for that matter her choice of waiting until after dark is for that reason as well. But that doesn't mean Erica will never be spotted by anyone who happens to look up at the right (or from her perspective, wrong) time. As the stuffed rabbit carrying teen steps under that street light, Erica is passing by perhaps 100 feet overhead at a pace no faster than a car down a residential street in light traffic. She spots the girl there and slows her pace to that of a brisk walk and keeps the girl in view.

Facing the dim alleyway, Sarah is tempted to go in… But she manages to resist the temptation. Instead she turns and begins heading back down the sidewalk, only casting a glance back behind her — perhaps seeming to be a frightened gesture to some, but surely only lingering curiosity for /this/ girl — and then faces forwards again. From above as she is, Erica may well be able to see that there WAS a man in the alleyway that Sarah almost went down, who watches from behind a dumpster as Sarah continues on, and then cranes his neck out behind to watch after her. He starts to follow, keeping his footsteps quiet on the pavement as he moves to the mouth of the alleyway and then peeks around the corner.

Sarah stops abruptly, and the man jerks his head back to hide in the darkness. Sarah looks up, right at Erica, gray eyes seeming thoughtful, not wide-eyed in surprise. She felt somehow that she was being watched. She was right. She isn't sure if that's part of her power, or if she was just lucky, but such pondering will have to wait for another time. She has FOUND another 'special' person. Smiling, Sarah calls up, "Why do you not come down from there?"

The man back in the alley maintains his position, not knowing to whom Sarah might be speaking. When he looks again, and finds only the little girl looking up at the sky, he glances upwards as well but not high enough, and sees only some closed windows with no one at them. Deciding to make his move before this girl calls more attention to herself, he moves around the corner and creeps forward at first, before moving at a quickening pace, preparing to run at the black-haired teenager.

Crap! Spotted! Like she was a few nights before by the police officer called Namir Dayan. Erica remains aloft and curses under her breath, but doesn't do anything else to draw attention on herself while continuing to watch the man who tracks the girl. She doesn't particularly want to do anything which might get her in the tabloids for what she can do, face hidden or not, but Captain Snow also has no intention of letting something happen to her. It takes only moments to reach a decision. She moves forward above them at a walking pace, keeping both in view and ready to intervene if needed, maybe to run into the man from behind and aid Sarah without him fully realizing what happened, as fingers pull her dark cellphone from a pocket. Three numbers, 911, are tapped, and the call connects. When it's answered on the other end, she speaks quietly, a volume intended to be heard only by the dispatcher. "Yes. Police are needed at…" she pauses to look around and figure out her location, then provides it. "A man is about to attack a teenaged girl. Get here, now." The tone used is one of a commanding nature, one which leaves no mistake about the urgency or that it's an order.

Sarah's brow furrows as she barely makes out that Erica is doing something up there. She thinks she hears speech but it's much too quiet to be directed at her. She lowers her gaze as she hears the sound of footsteps, eyes moving rapidly from side to side, and then she turns around to face the man. Shaggy of beard and mane, ragged of clothing, yet powerful enough to overcome Sarah — hurt her if that is what he wishes — means that she is in immediate physical danger. A murderer or a rapist, this one probably is. Possibly both. She has no time to delve into his mind as she would if it was her on the offensive. Only time to react.

She raises her right arm, and points her hand, fingers splayed at the man, trying to simply hurl one of the simplest and most primal fears of human kind at him, in an attempt to buy time for something more elaborate. If successful, then a wall of flame bursts up from the sidewalk, inbetween Sarah and her attacker, the heat intense and the light bright. To Erica? Regardless of if it works or not, it would seem that Sarah has done nothing except point a hand at the man.

If it works, though… The man would skid to a halt and shield his face from the illusionary flames, backing away somewhat as he tries to figure out what's going on.

She's poised to make her move, the time seeming to be upon her for doing so. It's not likely the police can get there in time, after all, and Captain Snow has no idea the girl below can protect herself in this manner. So she's moving forward as he does, using the focus he must have on the girl to her advantage, and aiming to plant a foot directly between his shoulder blades at approximately ten miles per hour. She's very much surprised when the target suddenly shields his face and backs away from the girl by only having fingers pointed at him. Erica herself halts her attempt and remains close by so she can act if still needed, keeping watch over the situation while she rises silently back to ten feet overhead and stays close to a building wall just in case anyone else is watching.

Sarah smirks, her self-confidence in her specialness once more being justified. She has never been truly hurt by anyone. People are easily manipulated creatures, and keeping herself from harm whenever the issues comes up has given her a certain degree of arrogance. Thus she decides to toy with this person. After all, she has found another special individual AND a bad person. Both of her goals for the evening attained, why not show off a bit?

Pouring more of her power into the illusion, there is a low humming noises that resonates throughout the area, and Sarah sneers at the man who was going to attack her. Becoming visible even to Erica now, though only as a faint phantasmic wall of fire, to the man, the wall surges is intensity and size, growing to ten feet tall, and radiating such heat that sweat breaks out all over him. This isn't worth the trouble, he no doubt thinks, but it's just a wall. It doesn't extend the whole way around. Thus he makes a run to get around the wall, seeming to be circling nothing except the faint heat haze. Sarah turns to watch him and calls out to him, "You thought yourself the predator, but you are now my prey. See how easily the tables are reversed when a lower-order of life such as yourself seeks to take from your masters?"

She glances up, smiling pleasantly at Erica, and seeming to ignore the man as he comes around the wall and charges again. She lowers her gaze again, and just as the man charges at her, she focuses and attempts to attack him with her power. If it works, the wall intensifies in everyone's eyes yet again, becoming quite real-looking. The wall transforms from a mere length of flame into a gigantic hand that reaches upwards, almost close enough to touch Erica, but though wafts of heat might wash over her, they would be far less than what is expected of a giant hand of flame.

The man, however, manages to seize Sarah's extended hand by the Female Kidnap Spot on her arm, and started struggling with her. She just laughs delightedly as the hand comes down, seemingly smothering both girl and attacker. But shortly only the screams of the man are heard, as he is dragged back from Sarah, his flesh blackening and burning, boil-like bubbles forming on his face as his hair catches fire, and though there is no flame, it certainly feels real to him.

Of course, if this attack fails, he would probably feels intense heat but not any pain.

Erica, keeping watch as the illusions become visible to her as well as him and that hand reaches upward, increases her distance from the ground and continues to simply observe. The display fascinates her, she being in the discovery mode too, and adding a fourth to her list of preternaturally capable persons. Herself, the officer, and the girl. Her eyes also scan for the arrival of police, and soon there's a squad car entering the area. From above, hoping the girl can see her do so, Captain Snow nods toward the street as if to signal this development, and wonders if the man will make it all easy by running to them and surrendering in terror, then be taken to spend a Very Long Time as a forcibly committed mental patient.

Sarah notices the nod as she looks up to see if Erica is as pleased as she is, and glances with mild confusion at the police car. Her smile slips and fades. She sighs, as the man seems to be engulfed completely in flames, screaming his lungs out, even as the flames cling to him such that his skeleton starts to become visible. Then she flicks her wrist, seeming to be waving away the flames, and they disperse and vanish, leaving the man to slump to the ground, voice hoarse as the pain he was in is abruptly gone. His body is completely intact.

He gets up onto his hands and knees, looking pale, and glances first at Sarah, then up at Erica, he jerks away with a frightened noise as he sees yet another impossible sight this night, then he gets up off the ground shakily. When he sees Sarah again, she simply looks at him placidly and motions with her eyes, and a tilt of her head, towards the squad car and their sirens and lights.

The man bursts out crying and runs as well as he can after that ordeal towards the police, babbling and sobbing, but still retaining enough presence of mind that if they tell him to get down on the ground, he'll do so without complaint. Sarah, meanwhile, looks up at Erica once more, and then makes a quick back and forth motion with her hand. The sidewalk where she is standing suddenly is immersed in shifting shadows, blotting out the streetlight, which now appears to be broken. A chill wind whips through the area, carrying with it an eerie howling noise. Her illusions can only be used to cause fear and suffering, or else she'd just make herself seem invisible. This is the closest she can do. Erica could probably see Sarah just fine, though, since it was meant to hide the both of them from the police. If it works, at least. If not, then she's just standing there and will probably be questioned. If it works, though, she beckons Erica with one finger, and starts heading away from the scene.

The airborne woman watches all this develop, and without speaking begins to move. She follows the girl from above, staying within the generated field and taking advantage of it. Sure, it's a bit unsettling to her, but then again it's not what she really fears: Exposure. Being airborne and face visible with flashbulbs going off by the hundreds, her face getting splashed across the front page of every tabloid known to woman.

After they've walked for awhile and are a decent distance away, Sarah pauses to check her surroundings casually, then smiles up at Erica. "We are alone. Those in the vicinity sleep. I can feel the flow of thought in this area, and none is directed outwards, only upon vistas beyond the scape of wakefulness we so boldly tread, when upon the world of sleep we are but children." She pauses. "Would you care to talk?"

Slowly she descends to solid ground and gently settles boots on pavement. The tall woman, five feet ten inches without heels, regards the girl for a long moment of silence. When Erica speaks, the voice is clear and calm. "That was an impressive display you put on, Miss. I don't think that man will be getting out of the psych wards for some years, if ever. He may not really want to." She has about her the air of confidence gained from things earned through long and hard work and a sympathy, an air of wonder and curiosity about the world.

Sarah watches Erica's descent and landing with interest, but curtsies when Erica regards her. Once she has straightened up, she listens to what Erica has to say, and just waves her hand dismissively. "Oh, that was nothing. If I'd had the time to seek out his true fear in his mind I could have ruined him utterly. Would you like to see? We could find someone else — a bad person, I mean — and I could show you how incredibly creative I can be with someone's deepest inner terrors." She looks around eagerly, hungrily, as though searching for someone in the immediate vicinity to destroy the mind of, but then she restrains herself. "Oh, that's right. Everyone is asleep." Tilting her head to the side she looks upwards thoughtfully.

Then she looks back at Erica and says, "But enough about me. I had thought our kind only had powers of the mental sort. I hadn't realized we could effect the physical as well. How do you manage it? Do you will yourself into the air? Or is it more akin to some sort of… Telekinesis? Or something else entirely?" Then she catches herself and says, "My apologies. I really should introduce myself before delving into something so personal. My name is Sarah."

Fair being fair, she having seen Sarah's face, Erica pulls off the ski mask. Red hair spills free, tumbling in waves across her shoulders. "I'm Erica," she replies. "I'm not sure of the mechanics, actually. It's a resistance of gravity at the least, and ability to have speed while doing it. As a consequence I'm also immune to wind friction and g-forces. I can do it at will." With her face visible, one might guess her age as late twenties.

Sarah nods thoughtfully. "Well, it seems that our abilities come in a variety of forms beyond what I had considered… Extrapolating from this knowledge I would say that it is possible that even more complex special talents may exist, such as radiant energy expulsion… Which may be the cause of a particular bright light in the sky that was witnessed by many last year. I was not here to see it myself, but I have looked up news footage related to it. At the time I thought perhaps it was a failed attempt to destroy the city… But now I believe it may have, in fact, been someone with special powers who intentionally released their energy in a tremendous burst… Or lost control. If they still live, I should seek them out."

She tilts her head to the side. "I would ask more questions, including if it is only females who have special abilities, but the hour precludes extended conversation. As it is, it will require further use of my talents to prevent discovery when I return home…" She looks back down the street, where the police car can still be seen only by the flashing lights. It is too distant for anyone to hear or see them. "I would appreciate you visiting me when you have the time. I live at—" she gives the address of the Kain Household in Uptown. "We can speak at a less abominable hour there. I have little to do during the day, and the company of another higher-life like myself would be appreciated." She smiles.

The Captain grins a bit, and takes a step forward. "Want a ride home, Sarah?" she offers with a chuckle. And a curious expression follows. "You don't go to school?" Erica turns her back so the girl can climb on if she chooses, preparing herself to take to the air again. "I can let you off quietly in the backyard or some place you won't be seen. It goes without saying we don't talk about each other beyond the two of us, right?"

Sarah considers and then says, "Certainly. Fear is only useful when controlled. Telling the lower-life that we exist would cause more fear than even I could manage." Then she climbs aboard, and says, "Thank you for your assistance." Inwardly, she is thinking that this is how it should be. Even those of her own kind should serve her will. What a little bitch. Smiling, she says, "I do not wish to keep you overlong. Let us be off, and we can part ways."

It takes her a few tries to get airborne with Sarah on her back, she seems embarrassed by this fact and covers up as best she can, explaining it's less easy with a passenger, and hopes the girl won't become annoyed as she is by the trouble, but she does finally get off the ground. Up into the air they rise, with her own immunity to atmo friction and g-forces extending to the girl while in contact with her. "Hold on tight, Sarah, this might shock you for a bit!" And once above the roofs in the area, with her ski mask back in place, Erica takes off at about thirty miles per hour, reaching the Kain home in a short time. There she descends slowly to earth and lands at a secluded spot.

Sarah slides off, seemingly calm about the whole flying around in the air thing, though the smile on her face shows she enjoyed it. She curtsies again to Erica and says, "Thank you once more. It has been a pleasure to meet another of our kind. You make the second I have encountered. If you know of more, please… Feel free to bring them with you if you ever happen to visit. I would be /most/ eager to entertain guests of my own for once. The others my age are, sadly, not quite… On my level, you could say. They make for dull conversationalists." She gives a wave and offers, "Have a good evening, and dream well when you depart this train of conscious thought, and board the train into realms yet unexplored." Unless Erica has something else to say, she then turns and begins walking across the vast backyard of the massive mansion, heading towards the backdoor that she has left unlocked. If necessary she can distract anyone who happens to be around with weird noises until she makes it to her room.

Grinning, she replies "Good night, Sarah." Moments later Erica is airborne and gone again, headed back to her apartment roof and sleep that lies below it. Another preternatural met, the second she's spoken with, and an adrenaline fix secured, that thing she craves so badly. As she prepares to sleep, thoughts turn to when she was that age, reading books and dreaming of so many places to see, the drive with which she pursued the Air Force academy. Sarah doesn't to her seem so different from the girl she was.

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