2007-03-03: It's Quiet in Here: Part 1


Sean_icon.gif Namir_icon.gif Alyssa_icon.gif Sakura_icon.gif Bryant_icon.gif


Sean, Namir, and Alyssa happen to meet in Starbucks. Sean accidentally knocks over Alyssa's hot cocoa and uses his special abilities to catch it, shocking Namir and Alyssa. Namir recommends Activating Evolution to Sean and shows the pair his own powers by creating a bubble of dead sound around their table. Sean freaks out and bolts, leaving behind the book he was carrying. Alyssa also bolts just as Sakura and Bryant enter. She leaves behind her phone. Namir picks up the phone and book and chases after Alyssa to return the phone and apologize.

Date It Happened: March 3rd, 2007

It's Quiet in Here: Part 1

Starbucks, Lower Manhattan

Sean ambles into the Starbucks, intent on getting a caffeine fix before he goes off to work - he's been slowly tryng to replace his alcohol addiction with one for caffeine, since he's getting worried about missing days in his memory.
Walking up to the counter, a five dollar bill crumpled up in his left hand, he beams a smile at the barrista (a fairly cute blonde, he notes).
"I'll have a venti iced green tea latte, please." It was the drink he almost always got when he ventured into Starbucks; at a hair under $5 for a venti, it wasn't going to break his wallet unless he overdid it, and while it looked like someone had green diarrhea in a Starbucks cup and put ice in it… well, it was the best damned iced green diarrhea he'd ever had.
He sat down in one of the cushiony chairs at the back, pulling out a novel - he had almost an hour to kill before he needed to move off to work.

There is another sitting in Starbucks with a book: Namir Dayan. He's still working through his copy of Cervantes' Don Quixote and after the disaster in Noodle Heaven, he's decided to retreat into a relatively safe and secure coffee place to read. It's always so much easier to read in a crowded java house, right? The Muslim sits in a quiet corner with a cooling cup of cappucino next to his elbow and the aforementioned book open before him. His long fingers trace over the words as his eyes skim them and he seems thoroughly engrossed in the tale of the dauntless knight of La Mancha. Namir is dressed in civilian garb — today, it is a dark red button-down shirt and black slacks. His overcoat is draped over the back of his chair, and his lightly bandaged hands are ungloved. The blister marks on his cheek are evident, but fading quite nicely.

A little bit after the door has closed on Sean, it opens again, allowing Alyssa into the establishment. Starbucks is an easy refuge from the bustling outdoors and a glance around makes it clear she isn't the only one to think so. The writer's in distractable mode today, however, and the familiar face goes hidden behind its book while she wanders towards the counter, waiting with hands shoved into her hoodie pocket for the barrista to finish with whoever's up there ordering first. With her hat pulled nearly over her eyes she looks almost contemplative. Or maybe just zoned out. Either way, even when the counter's free she doesn't notice.

Sean stretches at the end of a particularly good chapter in his novel and looks around, seeing if he recognizes any of the other patrons - he's not sure why, but recently, he's had bouts of loneliness, and realized that he doesn't really have any true friends.
But, looking across from him and one chair to the right, he sees a brown guy - he's pretty sure that it's the same one he vaguely remembers stumbling into the other night.
He moves over one chair, so he is sitting directly across from Namir, and clears his throat. "Hey, are you the guy I bumped into yesterday… errr…" He puts his hand behind his head, scratching at the nape o his neck awkwardly. "I guess a little more literally than normal."

There's a voice outside the novel, outside Namir's head, and the Middle-Eastern man glances up after ensuring he's got his place firmly engraved into his memory. When he spots the familiar Asian face, he smiles faintly and nods as he closes his book, resting it on the table next to his coffee. "I am, yes. I see you're a bit more sober today." This isn't meant as a cutting remark, merely and observation. In looking up at Sean, Namir also happens to glimpse who is at the counter, and his smile grows after he recognizes her. It's a small world indeed! If Alyssa happens to glance his way, he'll wave a hand, gesturing her over.

It takes a few rounds of 'excuse me, miss?' to get Alyssa's attention but eventually she slides up to the counter, blushing and nodding that she wants, indeed, another hot chocolate. Maybe she was in here earlier. The concoction is simple and once the whipped cream is liberally applied, Alyssa pays, accepts the cup, and swivels to look for her most favorite spot to sit. At first, Namir is just a guy moving his arm around but slowly he becomes 'man who was mustard-gassed' and the writer's mouth forms a quiet 'ooo' of self-encouragement. "Well, well, if it isn't Mister Dayan," she chirps as she strolls over, giving a nod of acknowledgment, "And he's got a friend."

"Mister Dayan, eh?" Sean smiles. "Yeah, I'd like to apologize for that. I… I'm trying to work that out. Not working too well, to be honest. But anyway, I hope I didn't do any harm, I don't remember much of what happened…" As the girl Mister Dayan waved to sits down, he smiles at her and extends a hand. "Sean Cho, nice to meet you."

"Alyssa," intones Namir with a smile and a bob of his head. "How goes the novel?" When Sean picks up his name from Alyssa, the Middle-Eastern man turns his smile on the Asian. "Well, I wish you the best of luck with that. It's not an easy thing to overcome, I'm told." He's never had experience with alcoholism, so he doesn't know firsthand. "Pleasure to meet you, Mister Cho."

Alyssa slips about on the seat to make herself comfortable and then reaches for the offered hand with a tight, quick squeeze of her fingers and then she's pulled away. "Cool, hey, Sean Cho," she greets first before tilting her head along her shoulder towards Namir, "My novel is currently on hold, believe it or not. Pressing matters called 'my bills' came up and stole the opportunity from me once again. I'm job hunting like the good American citizen that I am. I don't suppose you need anything written up…"

Sean tilts his head slightly. "Oh, you're a writer?" he asks, choosing to not respond to Namir's statement of the dificulty of alcoholism - he didn't consider himself an alcoholic yet, but he knew he was drinkign a bit too much, and that was sort of the same thing, if still different. He takes another sip on his drink, savouring the taste. That caffeine would need to keep him awake for many hours. "What do you do…" He tilted his head at Namir. "I just realized I don't know your first name yet."

"Namir." The Muslim smiles and offers a hand to Sean now that he's been properly introduced. "I work with the police, but I am currently on leave as I recover from a bit of an incident." The bandages on his hands, light though they are, should give a clue. Namir looks to Alyssa again with a sympathetic partial smile. "That's too bad. I wish I did have something for you to write, but I don't have much paperwork as it is, and none of it could be handled by an outside party. Have you looked into journalism?"

"I don't man, I'm pretty good at makin' stuff up…" Alyssa offers teasingly for the paperwork bid, but she's quickly shrugging about journalism, too, "Yeah, I mean, it was my parent's last ditch effort to suggest what they consider a 'real career' to me, but I just… it's so…" For all the writer she's supposed to be, Alyssa has lost her words, she turns away and is immediately distracted by Sean, "What about you? I even do patents of nobility in my spare time." Is she serious? I can't tell!

Sean laughs and takes another sip of his green diarrhea. It was almost empty, but he was tempted to go grab another - or perhaps something different - to pass the time, to give him an excuse to continue this conversation. "No, sorry - I'm currently slaving away at two bartending jobs right now…" He sighs, heavy-hearted. "I used to own my own bar, and then I might have been able to think of something, but for now I'm a nothing-man." He smiles, a bit sadly. He was worse than a nothing-man, really - he was a thief. He really needed to get a better job so he could stop that.

Well isn't this just an interesting trio. Namir can't help but grin and chuckle softly as the though strikes him. He takes up his own cup for a sip, but it doesn't quite make it to his lips just yet, instead hovering in mid-air. "We all seem to be a bit down on our luck," he notes lightly. "We should start a club."

"I can see the intro to this sitcom now," Alyssa comments, wrapping both hands around her hot chocolate cup as she leans in, "They can play 'Nowhere Man' as it pans across us all hunched over the same coffee table day after day. Hmmm. But, dude, what happened to your bar, then? Did you lose it in a high-stakes poker game? Namir's slick. He can totally help you take it back. I'll blog your exploits." Giving a sagely nod, she lifts the hot chocolate to her lips and takes a victorious sip of confidence. What you can't tell is how burned the roof of her mouth is going to be in a couple of seconds.

"If only it was something that interesting," Sean says, shaking his head, holding in most of his laughter. He doesn't want to be laughing too hard in public, but a chuckle still escapes here and there, and his shoulders heave up and down. "It burned down in a fire; some idiot baker wasn't able to read instructions on a large oven they had - not exactly sure what he put in there, but it was flammable, and the oven practically exploded." He drinks the last of his drink, and decides that he's going to splurge a bit to celebrate - hopefully - making some new friends. "The resulting fire took out a good portion of a city block - it was pretty big on the news a few years back when it happened."
He stoands up, placing his novel on his seat as he does. "I'll be back in a minute - gonna grab another drink." He walks up to the counter and orders a Grande Caramel Mocchiato - his favourite hot drink.

The mention of his being slick causes Namir to give a small start, but he manages not to exhale a bit of cappuccino as he lowers his cup again. He smiles, amused and modest, as he chuckles, "I'm afraid I can only use my powers for lawful good. I can't take personal requests." Taking Sean's story into account, he grins and adds, "Besides, my powers don't include bringing a bar and half a city block back from the rubble." He nods to the Asian as the smaller man departs, then takes another drink from his cup. Mmm. Warm cappuccino.

Alyssa pulls away from her victory sip with a huff of disappointment at what was obviously her dreams being shattered— oh, and a nice display of whipped cream at the corner of mouth. Smooth. "Jeez, a fire is certainly dramatic though definitely more permanent. What an ass," this about the idiot baker of course. What are certain people doing in their chosen fields if they can't do their job without exploding something? She twists in her chair to watch Sean move to the counter and then focuses on Namir, her hands clasped in front of her as she leans her elbows on their table, "So I mentioned the whole mustard gas thing to my buddy Dave and he wigged out. What a purist. Though, really, he can't be talking with some of the weird conspiracy stuff he's been leaking into his story lately. As if I haven't noticed!"

Sean shuffles back into his place across from Namir, settling his caramel macchiato down on the table first. He loves the criss-crossing lines of caramel they put on top - it looks so good. He sits down, then jumps up again, realizing he sat on his novel - and, being the occasional klutz he is, he knocks over Alyssa's cup! He reaches for it, stretching his arm the extra half-foot he needs to grab it before it hit the floor - and he manages to catch it upright, only spilling a few drops. "Sorry, Alyssa - I need to watch what I'm doing, I s'pose."

There's a bit of whipped cream at the corner of Alyssa's mouth. Namir sees it. It's distracting, as such things tend to be. Without thinking, he picks up a napkin from the center of the table and reaches over to wipe the patch of white from the woman's face. "Mm-hmm, I'm sure," he states with a partial smile. "What sort of writer— ?" Sean makes return and cuts off the question with his clumsy move — and then the astonishing recovery. Namir catches it, and he's stuck staring in bewilderment, his hand with the napkin still hovering in front of Alyssa's face.

Something wrong with a woman who can't see a hand - and napkin - coming right for her face, but Alyssa remains vaguely oblivious as she stares at the Starbucks wall and considers said Dave's story. She begins to glance at Namir as she hears him talk but Sean arriving puts him back in focus, and just in time for her to jerk in surprise at the sudden plight of her hot chocolate. She dips half-heartedly to reach for it but there seems to be already a hand there… like, a hand that's all… closer than it should be able to be… and stuff. Blinking, Alyssa sits straight back up into Namir's hovering napkin.

Sean took a sip of his mocchiato, and realized that both Namir and Alyssa were looking at him with a weird expression… and then he realized that his right arm was still six inches or so longer than it should be. "Oh, sorry," he said, shrinking it back to normal size. "I'm… yeah. Something I think I was born able to do."

/Stare/. Namir can't /help/ but stare. However, he manages to regain his composure rather quickly. "Something you were born with, hmm?" The man doesn't actually sound all that surprised about such a claim, but rather thoughtful. "Very interesting." After realizing that his napkin is, well, kinda plastered to Alyssa's face, he withdraws his hand with a sheepish smile. "I'm sorry. I was just trying to get the— " he trails off with a wiping gesture toward the corner of his own lip. You got a little somethin' there. Then, he glances between the two, folding his hands on the table. "Have either of you read Activating Evolution by Doctor Chandra Suresh?"
His voice has lowered considerably, secretively so as not to be overheard.

Got a what, where? Because right now someone else has a /stretchy arm/. Like, right there. Alyssa jerks her head towards Namir with the blankest of stares — which sort of reads 'you're thinking about /what/ right now?' — a second before, finally, his prompting gets her to explore at the corner of her mouth with her tongue. This process is quickly enough abandoned for the much easier brushing of the back of her hand across her mouth because that allows her to sooner announce, "You were born all choosy putty like? Are you kiddi— ohhh, that's the book that Cass was suggesting the other day when I… was in there. Yeah. Someone was asking for it. I think." Quick, cover-up!

Sean slowly shakes his head. He had completely missed the exchange involving the napkin. "Nope, never heard of it, or the author - why, does it have something to do with this?" He says in hushed tones, matching those of Namir. Hunhed over to shield what he is doing from random passers-by, he grows his hand, then shrinks it to a puny size, and then gros it back to normal. "I've been playing with this more recently…" He mumbled, almost to himself. "But yeah, I usd to think it made me a freak as a kid. Not even my twin brother knew about it."

The repeated use of Sean's power is /definitely/ making Namir nervous, but he hides it very well. His smile is gone completely, replaced by a stony expression. "That's right," he says in response to Alyssa's statement. "It is a very interesting read, Mister Cho. I would definitely recommend it." In other words: yes. It has everything to do with what you're doing right now (by the way, please stop doing that). "Furthermore, I would suggest using extreme caution when it comes to your … talents in public. Not everyone thinks such things are gifts." The last is said with a wan smile: an attempt to take the edge off the warning.

Alyssa is leaning in closer and closer very slowly until she is peering quite intently at Sean's changing hand. This is just… what /is/ this? She's not even sure what she's looking at. While one hand reaches out to potentially prod at the growing one of Sean's, her other dips into her purse and retrieves her ever-more-present phone. A light fake shutter noise signals that she's turned on camera mode but she's even too fascinated to go through with the picture-taking operation. Carefully, Namir is given a sidewys glance, "Are you… speaking from some kind of experience?" She's ventured weirder theories before, but somehow this one is harder; she even looks nervous.

Sean stops his hand at normal size and hides it, as if someone who saw it now would scream how much of a freak he is for the world to hear. "I… I see. Would you happen to have a copy of that book, by any chance?" He smiles, shakily. He feels like a freak again - he should have just let the hot chocolate fall. But wait… "Does that mean there are more… uh. People like me?" he asks, tilting his head at Namir, and looking at Alyssa and back a few times. He hasn't met anyone else with unusual abilities yet.
Bryant has arrived.

The fact that Alyssa hasn't run screaming from the room is a good sign. The appearance of the cameraphone puts Namir even more on-edge, however. His jaw flexes, his face growing quite sober. Maybe she's just curious, but that phone can do some damage if it falls into the wrong hands. He reaches out a hand to block the phone's view of Sean's appendage, frowning at the woman. Don't. Then, he glances around the shop as though to look for eavesdroppers. There appear to be none. "I don't have a copy of the book. I was going to drop by Miss Cass Aldric's store to get one, but I was sidetracked by other things." Like mustard gas. "As for others who are like you … have you ever experienced complete silence?"

As he asks this, all sound slowly dies away for all those sitting at the table. It isn't just the murmur of the coffee shop's patrons and the clink and clatter of glasses that die away — it's /everything/. The underlying hum of the electric lights, the whisper of traffic outside, even the sound of the trio's own breathing. Everything is dead silent; even the voices of Alyssa, Sean, and Namir will be impossible to hear.

This isn't the first time Alyssa's been cautioned about the camera-phone and she respectfully lowers the thing - after figuring out that's what Namir meant - while considering what's being said. She might've said something like 'have I what?' or even just 'have I—?' but Namir is quick on the draw and suddenly things are just quiet. Too quiet. Alyssa's body becomes completely stiff, as if not moving or breathing will make it like the absence of sound is okay. But, even without the noise of what would've been her big nervous intake of breath, it's pretty obvious how creeped out she suddenly got. And then, with a completely silent slamming of her palms on the table, she bolts straight up out of her seat and mouths what could be a swear word. Who knows, she might even have just made it up.

Sean barely has a second to figure out what Namir means before all sound is cut out - he can't even hear his startled gasp. Without pausing to think about his reaction, he shoots up, leaving his novel and almost-finished mocchiato on the table, and bolts, nearly knocking someone over during his hasty exit from the Starbucks.

Bryant drifts into the Starbucks, with a lazy air about him, as though he had nothing better to do than to get some coffee and pastries, or enjoy some WiFi, or people watch.

Bryant drifts into the Starbucks, with a lazy air about him, as though he had nothing better to do than to get some coffee and pastries, or enjoy some WiFi, or people watch. He blinks, and leaps aside just in time to avoid the fleeing Sean. A wet patch on the ground catches his heel, and he stumbles, falling backwards into the laps of several pretty college girls, who squeal indignantly and beat him with their purses. "Sorry, thanks for breaking my fall, that could have hurt otherwise," he says, turning on the charm with them, offering a dazzling, sheepish smile that makes it hard for them to stay mad for long at all.

Sakura blinks as she's nearly trampled by the man running out of the coffeehouse, squeaking as she gets to the side. The girl's nose scrunches up, shouting in Japanese (ooc: I don't know this, obviously), "<Watch where you going!>" The girl huffs a little bit as she steps into the coffee house, bunching her jacket around herself.

When Alyssa and Sean both leap from their seats, Namir lifts a hand in a sign of silence — but it's too late in Sean's case. As soon as he's outside the small bubble of dead silence surrounding the table in the far corner of the shop, the sound returns for him. Meanwhile, Namir waves to Alyssa silently, trying to keep her from bolting as well. Don't panic, don't panic. Slowly, slowly, slowly, the volume starts to return to the bubble as the Middle-Eastern man puts a finger to his lips. Don't shout; if he brings up the sound again while she's shouting, it will draw too much attention. In all the commotion, he barely glimpses Bryant and Sakura in the wake of Sean's hasty retreat.

Alyssa's brown eyes are so very wide that it would almost seem like she /couldn't/ run off by how much she looks she wants to. But, somehow, staring at Namir makes some of the calm and curiosity come back— just enough to keep her from shouting again. She nods ever so slowly to his raised finger and then even manages to slide hesitantly onto the edge of her once-vacated seat as her ears register the sounds of the world coming back. Oh God. She's always had such good hearing, it was the worst disability in the world to have it all… just vanish. Without any permission from her. The last thought is a sobering one and she stares down at the table, at her cold hot chocolate, and not at Namir at all.

The pouting expression on Sakura's face changes when she recognizes Namir, a little smile offered and a bow, the girl's voice getting out only the word "Konnichiwa." The young Japanese girl makes her way further into the coffee shop, getting in line and seeming to let a song into her head, bobbing along a little bit.
Bryant manages to smooth things over with his accidental cushions, his charm clearly winning them over in no time at all. Before he's done, he gets phone numbers from them both, and bright smiles. He apologizes, needlessly, one more time, to them, and steps away to place his order at the counter, a spring in his step.

Because of the field of dead sound around the table, Namir can't hear Sakura's greeting even though everyone else in the coffee shop can. However, he can read her lips. He offers her a smile and a wave in response, but then his attention goes right back to the woman at his table. As soon as Alyssa calms down and sits again, the sound returns faster until it's once again at normal levels. The moment things have regained their proper volume, Namir heaves a sigh and shakes his head, frowning as he berates himself silently. "I am so sorry," he intones. "I should have been a little more … discreet. I didn't think it would make either one of you so afraid." He really and truly sounds apologetic, but then again he really and truly feels awful.

Sakura feels herself shrink back a little bit as she notices the rather…odd glares she's getting by her use of her native language. The girl blushes a little, just ordering a hot chocolate and waiting by the counter, absently looking around the shop at the various patrons.

Alyssa raises one hand very slowly and presses a finger against her ear as if she'd just popped them after an airplane ride. Everything /seems/ normal. Shifting her eyes back up to Namir, she calculatingly stares through the apology. Her expression changes; her eyebrows draw down and she lets her mouth open slightly as if about to speak. But, ironically, no sound comes out. She shifts. Her hands clench into the pocket of her hoodie. Then, "No, it's just— I mean… this… Oh, I'm sorry!" At the apology, she jerks out of her chair again, twists almost dangerously fast on her heels, and marches purposefully towards the door. At least she didn't bolt.

She did, however, leave her Blue Sapphire Katana on the table.

Bryant sidesteps as yet another person aims for the door in something of a hurry. "Good grief," he says with surprise, "this place sure is happening. In reverse, what with everyone bailing."

And another one flees the scene. Damn it all. Namir scowls and picks up his book in preparation to also leave — and then he spots the phone on the table, and the novel in the opposite chair. Gah. The Muslim quickly snatches up both items and starts out on Alyssa's heels, uttering a low, "Pardon me, excuse me," to Bryant as he moves past. The place really /is/ happening in reverse. By the time he's started to pursue, Alyssa is out the door. Once outside the shop, Namir glances up and down the street before spotting her not too far away, and he calls out to her as he steps toward her. "Wait! Alyssa!"

Sakura blinks a little bit as the people start to leave rather quickly. Her hot chocolate was placed by her elbow about three minutes prior, but the girl hasn't noticed yet, just watching (with a slightly tilted head) the rather confusing actions in the store.

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