2007-04-14: Don't Let Your Arms Get Tired

Starring:

Erica_icon.gif Namir_icon.gif

Summary:

During a late night/early morning stroll, Namir comes upon a suspicious-acting Erica and believes she's attempting to break into one of the houses on the Upper East Side. When he confronts her, he discovers her dark clothes and ski mask are for an entirely different purpose.

Date It Happened: April 14th, 2007

Don't Let Your Arms Get Tired


Upper East Side

The duty Monday had come and gone for the recruiter, fairly uneventfully. There'd been a doctor or two successfully signed up for service, and a few students put on the path to serving after they finish school in a small span of years with medical degrees. After that she'd gone home, had dinner, and relaxed for an hour or three. Eventually, however, she'd become restless after darkness settled over New York, and the need to satisfy her addiction took hold. That addiction has drawn Captain Erica Snow to the Upper East Side. She's dressed all in black from collar to toes, including gloves against the cooler night air, as well as for her clandestine purposes. Buildings are looked over as she walks along, seeking one where attention can be avoided.

It's that same sort of restlessness that's brought Namir Dayan out and about. Still on leave from work due to the recent injury on the street, he's been doing a lot of walking and exercise in addition to physical therapy to get himself back up to speed. It just so happens that this late hour, he's found himself unable to sleep and has taken to wandering a bit. It usually helps to soothe his mind. He's not here for any sort of clandestine purposes, but he is dressed all in black: slacks, button-down shirt, and overcoat against the early — or perhaps late — chill. He turns a corner and starts down the walk inadvertently toward Erica, his attention focused more on his surroundings than any individuals within it.

Finding one that looks promising, and not so much aware of the approaching man, she steps into a dark space between two buildings and sticks close to the side, her eyes scanning the dark ahead for any sign of motion there which might mean she should promptly turn back and dash out of there without achieving her goal. Being unseen in her quest for indulging the addiction is paramount; she's got no wish at all to make the various New York tabloids.

To Namir, her action may well be perceived as a possible human shape slipping into the darkness of that space she just slipped into.

It's the late hour and the fact that the street is generally so dead that affords Namir a glimpse of something human-shaped and stealthy slipping into the space between two buildings. It's suspicious, especially for this hour, and he's not inclined to simply leave such things uninvestigated. With a little concentration — carefully practiced — the sounds of his footsteps and the rustle of his clothing die away into nothing, and he moves after the shape but refrains from initially entering the space into which it disappeared. Though armed with a standard service pistol strapped to a hip holster at the small of his back, he doesn't draw it just yet and instead presses his back to the wall and edges over to peer around the corner, squinting in the hopes of catching a glimpse of whatever (or whoever) stole inside.

What he sees is something that may well astound him. The shape that slipped into that space is tall, human, and female. She's close to the building's wall and not so easy to see there, but her hair is red and thus stands out a bit, at least for a moment. Since he's so preternaturally quiet and didn't step out into full view, she both hears and spots nothing from his trackery of her. Fingers pull a black ski mask from a pocket, she slips it quickly over her head, and after a cursory scan of the area begins to leave the ground at about one foot per second.

When it becomes apparent to Namir just what is going on here — ski mask, black clothing, suspicious behavior on a darkened street — he pulls his overcoat aside and slowly reaches back to wrap his hand around the gun at his lower back, popping the snap that keeps it secured in its holster. But then — the suspected thief starts to … /rise/. It's nearly impossible for her to have fastened a line to the top of the building in the time it took for Namir to spot her in the nook, and yet there she is! Rising. /Levitating/. The strange phenomenon is enough to startle him and break his concentration on the sounds he emits — the control is not as excellent, but the sounds are still soft. In a moment, it hardly matters anyway as he pulls the gun and steps around the corner, aiming steadily up at the dark shape. "Freeze," he states authoritatively.

Her head turns sharply around toward the man and his gun, and she stops moving. Her eyes settle on him through holes in the face concealing garment, and her heart starts to race. On this occasion, Captain Snow's got her addiction being indulged without even having to take flight and move fast. Being busted will do that for a girl. Adrenaline courses through her veins with the accelerating heartbeat and quickening breath as she considers options. Fly away up fast, going supersonic? Maybe, but that'd be seen and heard. So not the way to stay out of tabloids. Fly away more slowly? Maybe, but she could still get spotted, and wouldn't be fast enough to avoid a bullet if he fires at her. Damn. Decision time, after those seconds of thought. She opts to remain there about three feet above the ground and watch what he does. "Good evening, sir," she greets with a rueful laugh. "New York in mid April's a great place to be, isn't it?"

"Isn't it." Namir doesn't sound very warm or kind — in fact, his tone is quite neutral, though there is a hard, no-nonsense edge to it. He's got the gun trained on her, and there it remains, even while she … floats there. Above the ground. Were he not who he is, capable of what he is, and were he not familiar with a certain book, the Muslim might find all of this very, very strange right about now. As it is, he remains as professional as he would had he caught the strange woman scaling the wall by hand or something of the like. "Why don't you come down and tell me what it is you are doing out here this late in a rich neighborhood dressed like you are about to pull off some daring heist?"

Her thought is to not yet come down, but to instead float a foot or two forward and demonstrate she's not attached to any burglary line which holds her off the ground, but it… doesn't work. There's no movement away from the wall. "Damn," Erica murmurs. "No thanks," she replies in a more audible voice. "I rather like it where I am." Her voice carries the tone of professionalism too when she desires it does so, the tone of a person accustomed to and not afraid of giving orders. "And you wouldn't believe me if I told you what I'm up to. It isn't, I assure you, theft."

Somehow, Namir doesn't quite believe that. He's only going off what he sees here, and what he sees is bad. The gun remains pointed at the levitating woman, though the man behind it remains very calm. "Mm-hmm," he intones skeptically. "Then what is it? Building inspectors, repairmen, and window washers generally come during the day and they do not wear such clothes. Come down, please, and keep your hands where I can see them." Which isn't saying much, considering the darkness and the black clothes, but he at least has a vague sense of where her limbs are.

"I'm doing this, sir," she replies with a chuckle, and begins to move slowly away from the wall, but remains supported by nothing but air. The woman doesn't move very far, maybe a foot or so and slowly so he doesn't feel threatened and use that weapon, but enough to demonstrate her truthfulness. Not to mention getting herself into a spot where she can suddenly jet away upwards without crashing into anything hanging over the roof's edge, because getting arrested? Not something she intends to permit occurring. "Now it's your turn, officer. Identify yourself."

Even still, when the strange woman starts to move, Namir takes one reflexive step back and a firmer grip on his pistol, angling it upward just a little higher as a silent warning. Though he is, admittedly, fascinated by the display, he does not once allow himself to become too enthralled by it, knowing full well that one second of letting down his guard could result in dire consequences. He's beginning to piece together a case for this /not/ being a theft, but one can never be too sure. "My name is Namir Dayan; I work with the NYPD." The fact that he is not only off-duty but also currently on sick leave is conveniently left out. He still has authority for citizen's arrest or to apprehend and call for help if so needed. "Why the mask?"

"Because I'm a redhead, Officer Dayan, and I'd really rather not be in the tabloids when I do what I do. Covering myself in all black lets me blend with the night sky." Erica watches the man and his gun carefully, then studies the area behind him. "If you can assure me there aren't any cameras around to start snapping photos as soon as I do so, I'll take the mask off." Inwardly she kicks herself for not simply using the roof of her apartment building, but she couldn't wait. There were people up on the viewing deck and they just. wouldn't. leave.

Makes sense, on some level. Human flight was mentioned in Activating Evolution, as he recalls. It was one of the powers that most stuck out in his mind as Something That Would Be Interesting To See. Now Namir knows how at least /one/ of these individuals keeps herself out of the tabloids. He casts quick, furtive glances over his shoulders, never turning his head far enough to let the woman out of his peripheral vision and, assured that there really is no one else out on the street, he nods. "If there are any cameras out there, I did not bring them, and I am fairly certain that the street is deserted." Hard to be sure, of course, but he's within an acceptable margin of error. He relaxes his grip on the gun just a little and slowly lowers it some, though not entirely, leveling it more at Erica's belly than her chest and head. His shoulders lose some tension, but are prepared to snap back into action at the slightest indication.

The mask comes off slowly, and her face is revealed. Red hair spills out of it as fingers pull the garment away from her head. "Thank you, Officer Dayan," she offers. "I'm Captain Erica Snow, United States Air Force. I'm a pilot, not that I really need a plane to fly." The woman chuckles, and asks "Why aren't you flipping out about what you're seeing, Officer?" The entire time she stays there, hovering three feet off the ground and two away from the building wall, until it occurs to her if there are cameras out there she's no longer sheltered from their lenses by building or dark clothing. "If you'd be so kind as to holster that weapon and assure me you won't try to cuff me soon as my feet touch concrete, I'll come down. I'd really like to not get paparazzi'd like this with my face visible."

Wow, /Air Force/. Namir is taken aback by that revelation, but the irony of it soon dawns on him, and he smirks a bit as he obligingly lowers the gun, then slips it back to holster it. He keeps the snap undone, but he has a feeling he won't be needing to draw it again. "As long as you can assure me that you are here to fly and not to slip into someone's window and rob them— " or worse "— I have no need to arrest you." Policing the sky is not exactly covered by his department. "As for why I am less than surprised, let's just say that I have seen my fair share of phenomenal things."

The now unmasked woman tucks a mask into her pocket, hiding it away, and descends. Erica settles feet on concrete as gently as a feather floating to earth and takes one step forward once she's on the ground. "Have you, now? I've been doung this for nearly eleven years and I've only come across one person who can do anything… phenomenal. It was this guy I saw leaping from roof to roof across part of the city while I was having a bit of airborne fun. He took down a drug dealer who turned on and tried to rob his teenage customer, then left him tied up for the police. He was extremely fast, after he spotted me we stared each other down for a moment, then he just… vanished. Couldn't pick his trail up."

"Mm." That's one Namir hasn't heard of or seen before, but it wouldn't surprise him. People can fly, scream at supersonic levels, miraculously cure others, call objects to them, and manipulate soundwaves — fast movements are not that farfetched. His smirk continues to grow, no longer the stern and wary expression of an officer on-edge. "I have been doing something similar for a little over sixteen years now, and I have met a few more who are capable of extraordinary things. We are not as alone as you might think." He lets his hands slide into the pockets of his overcoat casually, fully relaxing at last. "Have you ever read a book called 'Activating Evolution' by Doctor Chandra Suresh?"

"The guy wore a suit, covered his features, but it had a Greek letter in neonesque colors on the forehead. Omega." Erica pauses, running the book name over in her head. "I haven't, actually. Should I?" And another pause, her wide open eyes showing the turn of mental wheels behind them. "Thinking about it all now, I'm less surprised. Before here, I lived on the Carolina coast near Kitty Hawk, then four years in Colorado for the Academy, and my first assignment as a pilot in the New Mexico desert. Not exactly prime population points, it makes sense to discover others in a city of millions."

Omega? That hits a bell somewhere in Namir's head. He vaguely recalls having read something in the paper a couple of weeks ago about a masked vigilante bearing the Omega symbol — it stuck out in his mind because it had been connected to the name of Cass Aldric, whom he recalls owned a bookstore that sold the very book he just suggested to Erica. He was going to buy a copy from that store, but has yet to get around to it, which has been niggling at the back of his mind lately. As this is processed, Namir's lips turn downward into a thoughtful frown and he nods a little understandingly, agreeably. "Right. The denser the population, the more likely you will be to find people such as us." He goes silent a moment before he presses onward: "You ought to find a copy of that book, yes. It has a few explanations as to why we are the way we are — theories, really, but fairly sound ones. I read it years ago, and it certainly helped me come to grips with a few things." The smile returns briefly.

The woman chuckles, starting to head back toward the street, and closes her eyes for a moment. "It's a mixed bag, Officer… it is Officer, and not Detective?" She doesn't want to be insulting and have it wrong. "But… for years I thought it was just me. An exhilarating yet lonely thought. Now, there are others, which is both deflating and comforting, if that makes any kind of sense." Before returning to quietness she mouths the book title softly.

"Officer, yes. I am not a detective." Thankfully, though sometimes he /feels/ like one. Namir doesn't hesitate to fall in step beside Erica, keeping his hands tucked into his pockets and moving at a casual, yet somehow tired pace. He nods in agreement of the question of sense. "I thought the same thing for several years when I first discovered what I could do, but the book helped me to realize that I was, perhaps, not alone. I worked abroad for a while in the Army, but when I came back to New York, I received confirmation that I wasn't alone. It was a comfort of sorts, and yet a little unsettling to know I was not unique in my differences — but then I have not yet met anyone who could do precisely what I do. I … know of someone who possesses /slightly/ similar abilities, however she is only similar in that her gift has to do with sound — the applications are entirely different."

"Interesting, Officer," Erica replies quietly as his words are absorbed. "You were with the Army. That makes you my brother, after a fashion. Some of my classmates from the Academy, they gave that last full measure of devotion Lincoln spoke so eloquently about." The look to her face, somber and filled with memory, says volumes more. She doesn't ask, it's generally thought he may have similar remembrances and will or won't let on at his discretion. "Sound," she eventually muses, "I didn't hear you come up on me, and I'm careful not to get spotted. Black clothes and night flights here only. It's not like the desert or the Carolina coast where I could benefit from open space. Although the open ocean isn't far away."

Once again, Namir nods, smiling, but he doesn't elaborate. He's lost a few comrades and colleagues in the line of duty both in the military and outside of it, and he knows the feeling. Instead, he vocally addresses the issue of sound and abilities: "Yes, I am capable of manipulating volume levels around me. I can choose to move without sound— " and as though on cue, his footsteps, the swish of his clothing, and even his voice tapers off into nothing, as though someone has taken a remote control and quickly turned down the volume. However, as quickly as it happens, the sounds start to return again — and this time they go above normal levels, amplified "— and I can choose to move with /more/ sound." And then all is as normal once again. "I can do this with nearly any sound, and with all sounds within a reasonable distance." This little demonstration concluded, he shakes his head a little. "I imagine it would be dangerous to fly over the open ocean, if only because of the health risks. If you crashed and were unable to rise again, what would you do?"

Her eyes widen at the display of quietness and amplification, the head shakes a few times. "Impressive," Erica opines. "Very useful for a police officer, I presume you could take down a door on a raid without alerting the occupants it had happened and gain the advantage of time on going through it. Except," she qualifies, "for the problem of such a display before the others around you. I don't ever want to find out what would happen if things like this were widely known. People don't often adapt well to change, I've seen that firsthand. It's been less than twenty years since women started flying military jets, and it's still balked at by some." And his words are thought over in a speculative silence. "It'd be very bad," she admits, finally. "I'm always careful to stay low, close to the water so as not to show on radar screens and not run into aircraft. Have to keep watch for airborne obstacles, and ships. Maybe I should start wearing a life jacket."

"Perhaps you should," chuckles Namir. The mental image is an amusing one, but the idea itself is wholly practical. "I work in the Emergency Services Unit currently, and it has certainly been helpful in my line of work — but of course, I have been careful. I generally only use it in times of dire crisis, if I can get away with it and not alert anyone to my being able to do it." But if ever it came down to saving a life or using his powers in front of others, there is no doubt he would choose the former. "It is … a thing best kept mostly private, I agree. At least until more can be uncovered and studied about it. We as a species have never been very amenable to things that are different from the perceived norm."

"I might take to wearing the life vest," Erica offers, chuckling. "I know it's dangerous, but… the ocean is the safest place to fly now, no witnesses. And I have to fly. I can't resist the call of it. To be honest, I need the fix. I've been addicted to adrenaline for years now. And it's worse for me, being in New York. There was a price to escaping the desert, to see things and places I dreamed about as a girl, read so much about. I had to step away from being a pilot, take a desk job as a recruiter for a few years. But… I'm also going for my master's degree while I'm here."

"A worthy endeavor." Adrenaline addiction, though — that's tough to overcome. Namir can't say that he doesn't get a thrill from his job, however he's never really been one to seek out danger and adrenaline for the sake of thrill alone. Still, he can relate. "What is it you are studying?"

The question draws a broad grin to her face, and the reply another insight to her character. "Engineering," Erica says. "Aerodynamics, at that. The same field I studied at the Academy." She goes quiet for a moment, then breaks silence for a question of her own. "Were you officer or enlisted?"

Clearly, this woman loves to be up in the air and all things to do with flying. Namir can't help but smirk a bit as he takes this in. "I was enlisted," he replies. "MP. I served in several places and was in the service for six years." He pauses as he fights down a yawn, blinks a little, then shakes his head. "I ought to be getting back home. It's late, and I seem to have finally found that patch of tired that I was looking for." He's already drawing out his handy notepad and scribbling down a number on it: 283-1013. "This is my number, however — if you want to talk more, you are more than welcome to give me a call."

Nodding in response to his words and the offer of his number, she also takes the paper. "Thank you, Sergeant." Fingers dip into a pocket and produce her own phone, into which she dials up his number so it'll be on record from having called him. "It is late, and I might want to try flying again, although… getting caught and nearly arrested does work well for the adrenaline fix." Erica flashes the man a grin, and makes a suggestion. "Maybe if I come to do fly from this area again, I'll be better prepared. I really thought I'd been careful not to be spotted, but maybe I need to hire a lookout. Like you."

When his phone rings, Namir draws it out and glances at the display idly, already knowing who it is. As such, there's really no need to answer it, and he presses the cancel button before slipping it back into his pocket. He can properly store the number later. "So long as I'm not busy, I would be happy to help." It's a genuine offer. Then with a sharp salute and a quietly uttered "Captain", he turns and starts to head on down the street. Quite a night, for something he had hoped would be just a quiet stroll.

"Good night, Sergeant," Erica replies, as she turns and heads off in the opposite direction with her feet planted firmly on solid concrete. Her phone is tucked back into the pocket and a few moments later she's turned a corner, gone from view.

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