2007-05-30: Close Encounters Of The Evolved Kind


Jane_icon.gif McAlister_icon.gif Callista_icon.gif

Summary: On the NYU Campus, Jane, Ali, and Callista converge.

Date It Happened: May 30th, 2007

Close Encounters Of The Evolved Kind

New York University, Manhattan, NYC

Early Evening, NYU in summertime.

At least the summer classes have kicked in - doesn't make the place crowded, though. Just means that there's a few warm bodies still out there, and the lights are on in the library for good reason. And? As the light fails slowly, there's also an Ali.

The DJ's settled on a bench in the quad, a banker's box full of abject junk next to her, the remnants of a desk (or something similar) cleaned out, the relic of an ending of sorts. And, settled on the bench, she just.. watches. There, one of the campus cops checking on doors. There, a student crossing in the direction of the student center. Her legs drawn up to her chest, her arms wrapped around them, Ali takes it in, smile a bit wistful.

It's a familiar scene, one which could give a person a sense of Deja Vu. Jane Forrest is crossing this campus, that backpack and guitar case over her shoulders as is customary for her. But instead of meeting with her bandmates this time, she was doing a spot of pro bono legal work, advising a few students on the pitfalls of contracts and reviewing documents for their benefit. She knows all kinds of stories with musicians getting ripped off by the appearance of success and the flash of cash, and ending up not owning anything they created. John Fogerty even once got sued for plagiarizing himself.

Aha. A /Jane/. Apparently, Ali's being observant tonight - and that wistful grin grows a bit devilish. She leans over, rooting in the box.. ah. THERE it is.

Orange plastic. Trigger. Cylinder. Foam darts. Loaded. Primed. NERF(tm) gun ahoy - a big one. A hefty one. The kind you point and pull the trigger and send dozens of darts flying at a target, preferably unsuspecting.

Not that she's being /subtle/ about getting it out - but then, she's in a hurry. There's a lawyer getting closer, and mischief to be had.

It's not the first time Callista's crossed the campus either. Most of the time, however, it's to head off to class. Instead, Callista's quietly headed with a large bookbag to go do yet another paper. They never seem to end. She pauses, however, noting the playful scene about to take place. She stops, folding her arms over her chest as she watches. Oh, she's not about to be brave and jump in the way of the foam darts, but she's more than willing to watch.

As she walks along, that feeling of Deja Vu sets in, and she begins to scan the area carefully. Last time there was a dog and owner, which caused her to expose a secret, and it's suspected a telepath or some other ability was at work. Jane wants to keep watch for one or both of those, and so just as she comes into range Ali is spotted. She, however, doesn't suspect herself as a target.

The DJ grins. Like a loon, bounding Jane's way. "Hiya!" It's bright, friendly. Welcoming. She blatantly raises the gun, following that up by a percussive plasticky *taktaktaktaktak*… oh, man. /Whistling/ darts. A good six or seven go 'fwooting' Jane's way, aimed /really/ poorly. Well, at least there's numbers on her side.

Oh, dear. Callista tries to hide a grin as she watches, arms still folded over her chest as she observes. She says nothing, simply staying back out of the crossfire. It's never wise to get in the way of foam darts. Ever.

The guitarist, in a dark cotton skirt, ankle height boots with two inch heels, and a dark tank top bearing the image of Pat Benatar, halts in her steps when Ali both greets and charges at her, not quite expecting the barrage of foamy darts. When it comes, heralded by whistles, she closes her eyes and shakes her head, laughing a bit. They mostly land to either side of her, but at least one strikes her just over the heart, in a fleshy spot. "Oh, God, oh God, you got me!" Jane cries out, and drops into a sitting position.

Ali poses. Mighty DJ, and her foam dartgun of DOOOM. DOOOOOOOOOM! She stage-whispers, "I got /more/, ya know." She jerks her head at the box. "And they /should/ get used at least one last time, right?" Subtle - or not - she moves over to start retrieving fired darts, despite having a dozen more in the gun. reloading /good!/

"Unless, you know, you've got someplace to be or something. Then I'd just have to shoot ya while you're retreating, or something. Instead of, you know, arming you and getting a partner in crime."

She's still laughing, as she asks "One last time? Are you sure you won't be using those at your new job, Ali?" Jane remains seated, looking up at the woman, and reaches out with intent of pulling the nearest foot out from under her. "Have a seat," she invites. Her eyes resume scanning the campus for signs of anyone pulling preternatural mischief, or dogs which might mean whistles being used.

Foot tugged - well, it doesn't send her sprawling. It's not that harsh, one hopes. But it /does/ precipitate an ack and a sort of wobbling almost-fall-sit-thing, Ali laughing in return as she ends up rather gracelessly sprawled and peering across at Jane. "Yeah, well, it's all professional, right? And new bosses and stuff - " She shrugs, shooting one more dart across in retaliation, "So who was the bunny?" She wags eyebrows. Enquiring minds, and all that!

She laughs, and hides her face a bit, asking "You were there?" Jane thinks. "I didn't see you at the party." And she's not at all certain she wants anyone to know she was there either, what with kids being the event staff. Oh, Jaden. He does make life unusually interesting. Not that she really needs that, with powered people and serial killers who steal their abilities and crash predicting precogs, and… Wow. That list could just keep going. The dart, retaliatory to her own retaliatory attempt to trip, lands square between her eyes.

Watching the antics for a moment more, Callista shifts her bookbag before she moves, beginning to move off towards where she was headed in the first place.

As Callista moves off - well, /that's/ when Ali notices that moment of watching. And, apparently, in her book, if you watch, you're an /accomplice./ *taktaktaktaktaktaktak*… a positive whistling /firestorm/ goes Callista's way, with a chortle and grin. "HA!" It echoes through the quad - even as she answers, quickly, "Yeah, but I got there late and didn't stick around. Got stuck at the other job." And she's scrabbling to stand - being out of ammo means.. uh. oh. defenseless!

And that might be a good thing in her eyes, it meaning maybe Ali wasn't around when they discovered kids were the wait staff under those Care Bear outfits. Jane thus moves on from talking of the party, and seems about to strike up some other topic, like, say, telepaths or whatever that might have been when they met before, when Callista is targeted by a hail of foamydart. Attention drawn, subject abandoned, without being raised.

With a girlish squeal, Callista moves back as she hears the dartgun going off, glancing back over to the would-be shooter. "Hey!" It's not an angry shout, more of a bit of a playful one.

Ali goes for the darts, on the bounce - considering most of 'em went wide, well, there's some serious chasing going on to find 'em all. Grinning, she points out - "Can't be any witnesses, right?"

And now security's paying attention - but so far nobody's coming over to give people a Stern Talking To. they're still at the Watch Meaningfully phase of ruining fun.

She calls back to Jane - "Can you believe that it was an orphanage? Christ - but, it was fun anyway." She adds, back to Calli - "Strangest party I've ever seen."

Holding her hands up defensively, Callista laughs. "Witnesses? I don't see any witnesses!" She states before glancing back to Ali. "I wouldn't know." She remarks, shifting her bag again.

Eliminate witnesses. Yes. That thought might linger for a moment, if Jane were the type to do so, since Ali admitted she was a witness. She blushes, more than a bit. The earlier fury she felt is gone, abated somehow, now it just kind of makes her want to facepalm and hide. Boyfriend hired kids to staff a party, with alcohol no less.

The DJ offers brightly, grinning at Callista, "Ali. Alyssa, but Ali's a better choice, no matter how you look at it." And she offers the reloaded gun to the woman, glancing significantly at Jane. If possible, that grin widens. "Yeah? I figured half of NYU was there - but, it turned out a little messy. Fun, though."

Callista gives a little bit of a laugh. "Ah, well, I suppose most of NYU was there. Just not me. I wasn't sure if I'd know anyone who was going." She looks back to the two, reaching into her bag to inspect her phone. Nope, no calls.

A short time later her head raises, and she shifts to let the guitar case and backpack rest behind her. Jane sits up a bit straighter, and continues letting her eyes wander as if simply enjoying the view, while she continues to be warily scanning. It just wouldn't do to have another dog whistle incident. And in so doing, she runs the whole thing over again in her mind. But this time another angle is considered: could the source have been Ali? She's not under the effect now as she was then, and…

Ali still holds that gaudy plastic gun out to Calli, pointing out - "It needs a new home. I'm probably not going to get to use it anymore, you know?" Friendly and warm, she points out, "It's great for getting a decent date, but watch out 'cause the afternoon librarian knows all about it. I've had her hunting me through the stacks." Jane's scrutiny is, for the moment, missed.

Laughing, Callista shakes her head. "No, I've no need of that. Not to mention I'm on good terms with the librarians. I'd rather /not/ get kicked out of the library. Plus you seem to be such an expert at it I'd hate to take it away."

The brunette is silent, listening as the other two converse, at sea with the ponderings that take place inside her mind. Jane moves to pull her guitar case around, her expression placid. Words are heard and processed, she just opts not to speak while doing so.

McAlister rolls her eyes. "I've graduated, you know? Needs to go to a new home - if not you, then some crazy sorority chick's going to get it, and then where will we all be? Honestly - something this potent in the hands of the bowheads?" She sighs, theatrically - "You /sure/ you don't want it? It'll change your life if ya shoot the right targets." A grin. "I speak from experience."

"I'd rather blissfully live in a world where a gun isn't gonna change my life." Callista laughs, shrugging again. "I'm sure you can find a freshman to take it off your hands. They need all the help they can get."

As Jane thinks, mulling over what she and Elle discussed after walking Ali to work in protection against the dire threat that is herself without a single clue they were doing so, that a telepath was at work and might have planted suggestions that loosened their tongues, she decides to experiment. It's a thing she did with Pete before to send a warning. If Ali hears her, there might be a visible reaction. 'Ali. Are you reading my mind? Did you plant suggestions on my friend and I that night?'

There's not a whit of reaction from the DJ, Ali laughing - "Yeah, no kidding." But, she withdraws the gun - "Ah, well - I was hoping for a better home. I guess I'll drop it at the dorms or something. I'd hate to leave and my legacy go forgotten, you know?" She trails the few steps it takes to head back to that banker's box, setting the gun in it wistfully. "How much longer do you have, then?"

"A year." Callista replies with a bit of a smile. "I would've probably graduated this year were it not for the fact that I'm trying to do more than one degree at the same time. Gotta have a lot more units to do that."

So one of three things is true: Ali isn't a telepath, she's got enough control to read and not let on she's doing it, or the ability simply isn't in use at the time. Jane continues to think, going further down the track of wondering. Is is possible she can make things happen with the power of her voice? Her silence breaks, as she suggests "You could take it, and give the thing to a freshman for her. I did more than one degree at the same time when I was in college. Tough load, that."
"No kidding - you people make me feel kinda … inadequate. I was lucky to get through /one/." Ali rolls her eyes, grinning across at Jane. "If she doesn't want it, she doesn't want it, you know? No matter how crazy it is /not/ to. I mean - destiny in your hands in squishy foam."

"It's a lot of work. And a lot of paper-writing. Not a lot of time for fun. So you definitely get the better end of the bargain." Callista comments, glancing at the gun again. "I'd rather not take destiny into my hands. That's a dangerous sort of thing to play with. Besides.. if I took it, you couldn't pass on the rich oral tradition that goes along with the sacred foam-gun." She smiles, shifting her bookbag again.

"Family pressure," Jane remarks, "is the Mother of Multiple Degrees. I wanted to be a musician, they wanted me to become a lawyer, so I buckled down and did both. Political science and music for Bachelor's degrees, then the Juris Doctorate. It was a very busy seven years."

Ali rolls her eyes. "My family told me to become a mechanic." She mimics what is probably her father, as best she can, given the deepening of her voice, "You know how many of those college kids starve, kitten? Learn how to fix a car and you're good for the rest of your life." She grins, wryly, and drops down next to that banker's box. "He was probably right." And then, promptly, Ali sticks out her tongue at Callista. Mature.

"You don't get stories unless you take the gun. And you know you want to - you're passing up the opportunity of a lifetime."

"For me, it was about making what they wanted work for me too. Today I came here to review some things for free, to help someone stay out of bad contracts." Jane's back to letting her eyes wander a bit, some of that original purpose returning to mind.

The DJ leans back on that bench - "Remind me to beg you to get me out of a lease, later." She makes a face - "My roommate skipped after graduation." And.. back to full rent in a NYC apartment? Rough, but her tone explains it well enough "Jane.. you and that other woman.. Elle, right? You two are alright, right? I've been thinking about the look on both of your faces - you know, like something was just flat-out wrong." She focuses on Jane, genuinely worried. "Had nightmares afters. You two seemed too, you know, nice, to be that .. I dunno. Worried?"

"We're good," Jane replies quietly, eyes resting on Callista for a moment. "I could tell you part of the story, but you wouldn't believe me. You already didn't." The words are plainly spoken, even as she relaxes and feels her inclination to trust rising. The mind is still at work, she wonders if Ali's got some kind of ability, but because she seems trustworthy doesn't think the woman would use it on her if she does. And that's when the idea strikes home. Maybe she doesn't know it happens?

"Alright…" Ali reaches up to ruffle fingers through her hair. "But, you know.. I'm around, if.. I can help or something." It comes out, and she winces at it - at the vagueness and lame touch of those words, but it's the best she got, so she forges forward with a smile. "I probably won't be around the campus much, soon - I ended up lucking into a second job, out by WYRK. Doesn't leave a lot of, well, time. For hanging around here, anyway."

"Let's walk," Jane suggests, standing to pick up her gear and wander off somewhere else. Ali's cool, but she doesn't want to discuss any of this in front of Callista. An inviting expression is shown to the radio personality as the guitar case and pack are placed over her shoulders.

The DJ picks up that banker's box, well, after standing and shrugging. "Sure - I should, yeah, probably get back home anyway, but I just would rather not, you know?" Wryly, she nods to Callista. "Be safe…" And then she looks across to Jane. "for once I don't have work - the new show doesn't pick up 'till Monday."
She walks along, silent for some time, until they've gotten a bit distant from Callista, enough to be out of earshot. "There are things you don't know about, I'm fairly certain. I wasn't lying to you. My voice breaks glass, among other things. There are people who fly, read minds, so many things. I'm one of them. We thought there might've been one of them around us that night. Part of me now wonders if it was you, and you just don't know it yet."

Ali blinks. "uh.. huh." Let's see. A new friend looks at you and tells you the sky is green… kay. She shifts that box, a bit. "Jane? I.. at the risk of being an ass, don't you figure that if people could, you know, fly, the airlines would just get royally pissed?" Making light, yup. Tossing it out there.

"Is anything glass in that box?" Jane asks, calmly. She doesn't look crazy, doesn't sound crazy in her vocal tones. "Anything you don't mind being broken?" Her eyes rest on the woman, briefly questioning. "We don't go public, that's the point. We know the tendency of people to be scared. Salem Witch Trials, the Inquistions… You've got a bachelorette degree, I'm sure you've some understanding of history, Ali. People like me would have the legitimate fear of becoming lab rats, or being hanged as witches. Maybe even getting used as lab rats, then hanged as witches."

Ali shrugs. "Nothing that's important," She's clearly humoring, but it's gentle and friendly nonetheless. "You don't have anything to prove to me, you know." It's careful, that - "I mean, you barely know me anyway. I like you and all, don't get me wrong, but…" And then she mutters to herself - (Yeah, Ali, encourage her - or so it sounds to those with the hearing to pick it up) - then tries again, "Let's pretend it's true. Sure, that makes sense, but why would you tell me? It doesn't make any sense."

"It doesn't," Jane replies with a chuckle. "That's why I wonder if you have some sort of persuasive gift you don't know about. I told you things I normally wouldn't, without even hesitating over whether I should or not, and you're a member of the press, at that. And… you think I'm either lying, nuts, or both, so I do have something to prove. Show me something glass, or… the idea strikes, she did this once before, that first occasion, with Desiree. "Place your fingers lightly on my throat. Maybe both."

Ali sighs, and looks at Jane - "I.. should probably head home." There's abrupt decision there. "Gifts? Flying people? Glass? I play music for people - I talk on the radio. Some lonely people in the middle of the night like the show. I'm kind of hoping I'll make the rent this month. There's a dive bar where guys from brooklyn wish I was a stripper and tip well hoping I will be." She looks down at that banker's box. "About the only thing that's special about me is that I'm a deadly shot with a nerf gun and I like talking into a microphone. You and that other chick are nice, you know? But you scare me. I don't think I /want/to know. I don't mind having a friend, right? But she works in a psych ward and you're a lawyer. For all I know there's like a committal quota or something."

"That's why I think you've got something you don't know about. Here I am, being honest with someone who doesn't believe me, trying to convince you of the truth. Normally I'd have played the dog whistle thing off and let it drop, but somehow I didn't want to. What I asked you for is something simple. Place your fingers lightly on my throat. Please." Jane's request is calmly made, with confidence she knows what will happen.

There's a bit of a flare of temper, Ali setting the box down. Right there, mid-sidewalk. "Christ. Fine." She turns, eying Jane - "Why does the fact that - hey, look, here's a chick who's kinda strange but I like her - have to be some sort of flying-broken-glass thing? When did I hang a right into 'you gotta be crazy too?'" But - tentatively, she reaches out.. "When.. you're not.. " A sudden bit of nervousness. "You're not, like, going to yell for a cop or have a friend come out trying to sell my kidneys or something, are you?"

"No," she replies simply. Jane makes no move to grab the woman's hand, she merely waits for fingers to be placed against her throat, then purses her lips and begins to emit an ultrasonic tone. No sound can be heard from her mouth, but the vocal chords are vibrating as if sound were being produced, and doing so rapidly. That's quite some frequency being produced.

There's a touch, yes - featherlight… and then Ali retrieves her hand, just after a moment, flexing her fingers, blinking. No words, but that expression is … well. Confused is probably the best word.

"So," Jane states, watching. "Now you understand and hopefully believe."

Ali sets her jaw. "What, that you can do some sort of trick? I can turn my eyelids inside out, and my brother can dislocate his shoulder anytime he wants." She shakes her head, moving back to that box - apparently, an opinion's been made. "I need to catch the number six - " And she smoothly goes right on, "You seen the new Pirates flick yet?"

"So get out the glass," Jane suggests. "Trick or not, you know that was ultrasonic, and you know people just can't get that high." She takes a few steps. "Keep your eyes open for things that aren't usual. I trust you to only talk about them with me, you know how important it is not to make this public." And she seems to let it go from there. "Pirates? Not yet."

McAlister cradles the box close… and then? She blurts out.. "There was a guy. On a roof. He had this costume, you know? Like straight out of a comic book. He didn't /do/ anything, but he was.. really serious. I just figured he was … crazy. He acted crazy. I sort of thought he just wanted attention and he was going to get himself shot."

"And?" Jane listens, intently. Her features are calm. She still doesn't look crazed, but also doesn't seem surprised. There must be a point to the story, after all, and she's thinking maybe her tale isn't the first time Ali's had a Close Encounter of the Evolved Kind.

The woman looks down into that box. "That's it. It was just so strange - who dresses in a costume and talks about gang wars, right? You said tell you if I saw something wierd.. there. Something wierd." A wry smile, faint - "My life's pretty boring. that's about the strangest thing that's happened to me in months, except for the whole 'chick wants you to grab her throat' moment, there."

"I didn't ask you to grab my throat, Ali," Jane replies with a chuckle. "I just asked you to feel a demonstration of how my cords move, but I don't seem to make any sound. Maybe you still don't want to admit I'm right, but you know, because you've not pulled out a glass item so I can fail to break it." Jane resumes walking a few steps, then turns back. "You've got my number. Did you work out your phone issues yet?"

Ali flushes, slightly. "Uh. No. Maybe in a few days?" She utterly ignores that statement about glasses, ayup. "But I can call you - the bar's got a phone, and so does the station."

"Take care, Ali," Jane replies with a nod, as she turns to head off toward home. There's no trace of doubt in her mind the broadcaster will keep what was discussed to herself.

"Yeah. You too.." The DJ heads for the nearby bus stop, biting her lip.

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