2007-03-09: More Mendez Mentions

Starring:

Jane_icon.gif Vince_icon.gif

Date It Happened: March 09, 2007

Summary: A chance encounter between two very different strangers leads them to discover a common interest in the work of Isaac Mendez.

More Mendez Mentions


Central Park, then a nearby restaurant

Time has passed since her clandestine meeting with Nathan Petrelli ended and he left. She's still sitting on the fountain's edge with her guitar case open. There are a few bills in it, and a scattering of coins from people who passed by after he departed. She's about to get into another classic rock tune, fingers moving skillfully over strings and frets while her voice provides the lyrics. Nearby a few people are starting to make use of this area in the park. One's a boy out with his parents, his three year old sister, and their large dog; he seems the sort that might get away easily and have to be called back. Another is a scrappy looking sixteen year old boy out with his apparent girlfriend, perhaps looking to make a quick score of cash.

Jane's eyes settle on the boy and his dog, she inwardly groans. Pleasepleaseplease don't have a dog whistle.

Another of the random people in the area is Vince. Strolling up a path with his hands in his pockets and his head lowered, his deep frown matches his posture. Musing some troubling thought or perhaps just grumpy, he gives the boy, dog, and parents berth, not so much as looking at them. He stops and reaches up to rub both temples once several steps past the family, incidently a few steps away from the street musician.

As he comes near to her, she seems to be playing a tune from Boston. It sounds like More Than A Feeling. She's been playing for years, has studied and practiced extensively, and thus tends to be thought a good musician, but one never knows. Her eyes flick over Vince briefly, then return to some distant point across the park. "When I'm tired, and think I'm cold, I hide in my music, forget the day. I dream of a guy I still know… I closed my eyes and he slipped away."

Vince remains standing near the fountain, gradually and visibly relaxing. When he catches himself tapping out the measures with his right foot, he opens his eyes, lowers his hands and smirks, as if at himself. He looks over at the musician with no shyness nor lechery, eyes lingering longer on her hands than anything else. There is no haste to him as he reaches into his jacket.

Removing a bulging money clip, he quickly licks a thumb and counts out two twenties from the outside of the roll, replacing it afterwards. He walks over to the guitar case without a word and drops the forty bucks inside.

A smile lights her face as forty dollars is dropped in, and she nods in his direction as indication of gratitude without interrupting the tune. To Jane, this is the purest form of professional music; playing directly for the audience, who decide themselves whether she gets paid or not. There's no one in the middle claiming cuts of the pizza. "It's more than a feeling, when I hear that old song play, I begin dreaming, until I see twenty-one walking away. I see my twenty-one walking away."

Returning the nod with a slight one of his own, Vince twists to glance over his right shoulder as he hears a series of barks. It's only the family dog taking off after a bird, but it is fortunate Vince turned. Walking up behind him is the scrappy-looking teenager, his girlfriend watching from ten yards back. The boy gasps as the dog barks, turning as Vince did, and the expression stays on his face as he turns back to see Vince is now facing him.

Steeling himself, the boy pulls a switch-blade out of his pocket, flicking it open immediately and yelling, "Gimme that cash!" He extends the knife out in front of him with wide eyes and shaking hands.

And right in front of her this happens while she's playing. Not good, not good at all. Jane's fingers stop, eyes settle on the boy intently, and she watches him for a moment, then lets them drift away. Diversions, diversions, what's around that she can use. Under her breath she murmurs "Glass. I need something glass." Quickly, thinking she might not have much time, she scans for such an item within twenty feet of her location.

Laughter. Quiet as a brook at first, but soon becoming rich and loud. Laughter is Vince's response to the nervous mugger in front of him. It dies down naturally before he cheerfully says, "Sure!" Reaching into his jacket again, he whips out an a big, black pistol. An MK23 to be precise. Pulling back the hammer and aiming it right at the boy's forehead without the slightest pinch of hesitation, Vince mocks the demand with, "Gimme that knife!" The boy freezes, eyes mostly whites.

The father of the family in the background notices the stand-off and protectively and frantically ushers his family in the opposite direction. Grabbing a whistle from under his collar, he blows into it in near panic, hoping the dog will follow.

Crap! She doesn't find any glass to aim at and cause a distraction to maybe defuse things, and now it just gets worse. There's a gun involved, and she's forgotten all about the family with their dog. Jane winces suddenly when the whistle is blown, it's only her ears and the dog's that can hear it. Her head ducks, she brings her hands up to cover the ears. "Jesus," she whimpers, "stinking dog whistles."

"Jesus, Johnny! Give him the knife and let's get the fuck out of here!" The girlfriend yells from behind her mugger boyfriend. 'Johnny' hesitates, his shaking the only sign that he's not a statue. Vince speaks with a sardonic tone, "You're vibratin' like a chihuahua, Johnny! Would you piss yourself if I rang the doorbell? Listen to your girl and get the fuck out of here, kid. Before you ain't entertainin anymore." The soundless whistling continues despite the family mutt having turned to run after his master.

Again and again she hears the whistle's sound, each time affecting her painfully. Jane's eyes close, her hands remain over her ears in attempt to block it out, without success. Leaning forward, rocking back and forth a bit, she resolves over the next few seconds to try one of the things she and Mohinder didn't get to yesterday at the lab. To get a handle on things like this. Jane slowly lowers her hands and lifts her head, still wincing, and tries to concentrate on blocking out the piercing noise.

Vince tilts his head to the left, looking at the girlfriend over the mugger's shoulder and says manner-of-factly, "Too late, Johnny. Cops got your girl." Johnny buys the bluff, spinning around to look at her. Vince steps in, grabbing the wrist of the boy's armed hand. This is followed by a strong pistol whip to the forearm. With a yelp, the knife is dropped. Vince releases his grip and then sends a soccer kick to Johnny's rear, sending him arse over kettle towards his loyal girlfriend. "Get a job, scumbag!" Vince calls out at the now retreating figure.

Holstering his gun, he turns towards the performer and immediately frowns, eyes on her face.

The guitarist, meanwhile, is still working on her issues with sounds only she can hear. Her eyes are closed and she breathes slowly, trying to develop a tolerance for the tone. "Damn," Jane murmurs. "I really hate these things. But I can't expect to go through life never hearing them."

Vince misunderstands her and attempts to comfort, "You won't have to hear it today - well, at least not right now. I put the piece away, no bullets fired." Vince rubs his lips together and looks around. The family is almost out of sight as the dog catches up, the whistle not stopping until a few moments later when the mother pulls it out of her husband's mouth, fearful eyes staring back at Vince as if a threat is still present. Johnny and what's-her-face are running like they're trying out for track. Turning back, Vince mutters, "Sorry he fucked up your song. I like Boston…."'

It takes still a few more seconds after the dog whistle is taken away from the man before she recovers most of her composure, rubbing at her ears a bit. She glances at the speaking man, her eyebrows raising in question of his meaning. Jane doesn't understand immediately he thinks she fears the sound of gunfire, but it hits her that he can't hear what she does. "Oh. Yeah," she remarks as soon as the light bulb comes on, trying to cover her ability's disadvantage with his ready-made excuse and hoping her confusion didn't blow it. "But life happens, you know?"

"Sure does," Vince agrees with a nod as he plucks up the knife from where its laying on the ground, closing it on the way to a front pocket of his jeans. "Don't know about you, but I'm gonna wander off before police show up and ask questions for two hours. You wouldn't report an over the hill guy like myself for leaving the scene of a crime, would you?" Pausing with a puzzled look, he adds, "Whatthefuck is wrong with your ears?"

Busted. Damn. Her eyes close, she shakes her head a few times, before reopening them to look at the man and answer him with a half-truth. "I just sometimes hear things most people can't, sir," Jane replies. "That dog whistle, for one. And no, no talking to the cops, man." There's a lingering sadness to her eyes, a worry to her features, which suggests lately her load's been heavier than normal.

Vince's eyes widen with amusement at being called sir. "Can you now? A dog whistle? No wonder you weren't off pitch." His mouth twists into a smirk at his comment and he gives a couple of nods at her attesting that she won't snitch. Sliding his hands back into his jacket pockets, he starts to stroll away without another word or glance behind him.

Stopping a mere ten feet away, the man turns around and, with a suspicious look at Jane, asks, "You hungry, kiddo?"

"Yeah," Jane replies, not offering that she's a real screamer too. "I'm getting there, hunger, that is. But I can pay." She looks briefly puzzled at the kiddo part, being twenty-four, and begins to pack up her gear. "I'm not at all poor." Fingers take the money out of her case and pocket it, then the instrument goes in. The amp is stashed into her backpack, gear is slung over shoulders, and she strides toward the man. At her full height, she can be perhaps estimated at 5' 8". "Hopefully soon I can nail down session work at studios, find a band, or both."

Vince listens to the woman with an unreadable expression on his face. He's barely taller than her, only because she's not wearing heels, but he doesn't straighten up as she stands or act awkwardly. "Of course you're not poor. I just gave ya forty bucks." Vince smirks and rolls his eyes, "I'm from out of town, mind leading me to a good eatery? Having a knife waved in my face always makes the tummy rumble." Between the tone and the roll of his eyes, the sarcasm is unmistakable.

"Not at all," she replies with a quiet smile. Jane's not in heels, her soles are flat. Athletic shoes, these, worn and comfortable under the jeans she wears this morning, the long coat and sweater. "I've not been here that long myself. Moved from Connecticut after law school." She starts walking, intending to find food and show him a place.

On leaving the park, Jane takes a moment to look around, and sets her eyes on Restaurant Wildhog. "I've not tried that one," she says while gesturing, "but it's close."

Vince grins and mutters, "Never hurts knowing another lawyer…. Connecticut sure sounds like a boring place to grow up. Is it?" His eyes spend most their time on the buildings as he walks. Following her gesturing, he shrugs, "Close is good. Heh, maybe they serve wild boar. My uncle once told me you aren't a savage until you've eaten a spitted boar." A reminiscent smile plays at the corners of his lips.

"It wasn't that boring," Jane replies with a chuckle. "I lived in Hartford, went to college in New Haven." A few steps are taken in the direction she indicated. "Both had a pretty good music scene, that's my passion. Law's just a possible job, and even there I'm aiming at music. Copyrights, trademarks, intellectual property."

"Is that right? I never got into the live music scene much myself. Workaholic. I spend most my time listening to music when I travel, though." Vince stops at the door, opens it, and then walks in first. So much for traditional manners. "Name's Vince, by the way. I'm a security consultant. I travel all the fuckin time." The last part is stated in a groan.

"Jane," she offers in reply, and seems to ponder something. Security. Something she could have used recently, but then again, how exactly does one tell a pro about just what she'd need security against? Some cans are best left unopened. The woman doesn't seem to mind his going first, she's apparently not one who's bothered by absence of older customs. "My boyfriend's away right now too," she states, "on business." And in she goes, opening the door and letting it close after her.

Ignoring a 'Please wait to be seated' sign if it exists, Vince walks to the nearest clean, empty booth and seats himself. "Can't be much fun dating a guy that travels for business…. Is he a trucker?" Vince leans back and wiggles into the cushions a bit, getting comfortable.

"Engineer," Jane replies with a wistful expression, one which hints at worry, as if him being away on business might not be entirely the truth, but she mentioned him anyway, not wanting to have the man make conclusions she'd find inconvenient. She can't exactly say the full story, that he stole from the Company, got caught a few weeks later, and is being held. Somewhere.

Vince listens as he catches a waitron's eyes and raises his index finger. They give him a 'be right there' smile as they head back into the kitchen. Vince turns back and casually states. "Shows what I know. I would've figured an engineer would never have to travel… just email. Do you think he's fuckin around on you or something? You seem stressed out about him being gone."

"It's a long story," she offers, in a tone which suggests as politely as she can she won't be elaborating on the topic. Jane sets down her gear and sits, quietly studying a wall and perhaps becoming adrift in thought. "Just miss him, is all. New relationship, sucks to have the getting to know him time interrupted, is all."

"Sorry to pry," Vince says, glancing at the dishes other people are eating to try and gather what genre of food is served here. Giving up, he again turns back. "It's just that you reminded me of every ex of my little brother's all at once." Vince sighs softly, and gives his head a double shake as if it will clear away his memories.

"No worries," she replies simply. Jane hadn't wanted to be rude, but there's just no way to tell people the truth if they don't have abilities of their own. She lets her eyes wander, looking for the server, and thinking of what she might want to eat.

Oh, man. Small talk. Vince's lips purse in thought as he looks down at the table, trying to think of something to talk about. A long, awkward moment passes before he looks Jane in the eyes and asks, "Hey, I know you're not a little kid or anything, but… Do you like comic books?"

This question draws a tilt of her head, and a few seconds spent framing a reply before she answers. "I wasn't always, but, lately I've checked out a bit of the X-Men." Why this is, at her age, Jane doesn't share. "How about you, Vince?" Moments later menus are brought and drink orders taken, she wants Pepsi.

Vince answers as he leans onto one buttcheek in order to pull out his wallet; a simple brown bifold. "I was never interested in that stuff as a kid, but I wouldn't have been able to afford them anyways. But one caught my attention recently, and I'm trying to find out what the title of the comic is. It was done by some local guy." Vince digs through his wallet and pulls out a couple of colorful folded up pieces of paper. He starts to unfold them, flipping on over to expose what would be the page opposite of the inner back cover. He reads the authors name off of the page, "Isaac Mendez." Then he flips the page over and lines the other one up with it. Vince is in the comic, talking to a somewhat more fit and swarthy man named Bruno.

That got her attention, the mention of the author's name. Jane leans over to look at it, curiously. She doesn't want to let on about anything she hasn't already, the dog whistle thing was bad enough, but she just can't cover her recognition of Isaac's name. "Interesting," she states. "I think I may have seen the name around here and there, or some of his work."

Vince leans forward, forearms resting against the edge of the table. His head lowers as his voice drops very conspiratorially. "Do you know the name of this comic? Or what happened to the author? I heard he was murdered." Vince licks his lips, continuing, "Listen, if you can help me out with this, I will make it worth your while. We're talking money. Big money. I need answers, and I'm willing to pay for them."

Her head tilts to one side as she ponders. Money? Not so much her interest here. Just the mention of Mendez, the way this man seems to be in something Isaac made, has her hooked. "What kind of answers are you looking for?" Jane asks. "Some folks say he might've predicted the future, but, that's kinda cracked, y'know? Most likely he just saw you somewhere and drew you in."

Eyebrows drawing together in an explosion of wrinkles, Vince shakes his head in a definitively negative fashion. "Not a bad theory, but see that guy I'm talking to? That's my little brother Bruno. He died over a decade ago in Hollywood. But he looks… my age here. And my jacket. I'm wearing my jacket in these drawings, but I just bought this jacket six weeks ago in Ho Chi Minh. Either this guy was out to fuck with my head or…." Vince trails off. "I need answers."

Aaaaaand… it's decision time. How to play this. The wheels can be seen turning behind her eyes, Mendez clearly means something to her. So, without admitting anything further about herself, Jane simply states "If he really could predict the future, that would mean paranormal things are real. And with you, your brother, being in his work, well, there'd have to be a reason. So, what's the scoop with you, Vince? Do you have some sort of paranormal ability?"

POW! Vince blinks a few times in response. He opens his mouth to speak once, then a second time, and finally, after a forced 'pssh' says, "What? Do I look like the tooth fairy to you?" And then he is at a loss for words for a few moments, but follows up with, "Besides, aren't you the one that can hear a dog whistle? I've heard of blind people that can do that, but your eyes look pretty keen to me, kiddo."

"So…" she replies slowly, "if such things exist, you might conclude I've got one. And if they exist, you might also conclude I wouldn't want to tell anyone about it, unless that person had one too. That might make me more inclined to trust, you see." Jane pauses to study Vince in silence, before stating "It's understood that if you do have such a thing, and these things are real, you also won't want to admit it. Yet, since you want answers, well…"

"Let's drop the bullshit," Vince says with a hint of annoyance and a bucket of paranoia. He leans most the way across the table with a deep scowl, butt lifting off his seat. His whispered tone is an unspoken threat in and of itself, "Look me in my eyes and tell me who the fuck you are. If I believe you, I'll follow suit. If I don't…. I am going to be the tiniest bit vexed. And don't think I'm gonna believe you just because you're a pretty little porcelain doll, either. I am /not/ a guy you want to be fucking with."

Her voice is quiet as she begins, intended to be heard only by him at the table. "Fair enough," Jane replies. "I'll take the leap and trust first. My name is Jane Forrest. The hearing thing, it comes with making ultrasound too. Mendez is dead, he's done other artwork which predicted the future. I don't know how to really get you answers, Vince, but I can make a fairly solid guess that if you're in there, and your brother is in there talking to you, those answers are going to find you."

There's a pause, after which she shares more data. "You need to be very careful who you tell about things, who you show that to. It's not so far from there to concluding you have an ability. There's a thing called the Company whose motives are murky, but one of the things they do is capture and release people like me. If they get you, you'll be marked so they can always find you, and you may not even know it. They have someone who alters memories." As she goes quiet again, the woman leans forward and pulls her sweater aside so the marks at the curve of her neck can be seen.

Gripped in a level of tension Vince has not felt in years, his expression becomes less violent as he leans back a smidge and tilts his head to examine the mark. He is for the moment, speechless, mind reeling from the information. None the less, he seems to believe her words. A waitress approaches with horrid timing, prompting a shooing gesture and a dirty look from Vince. He leans back, eyes dropping to the unfolded comic pages on the table for a long moment. Finally, his expression is flat when he looks back up into Jane's eyes. "How many of us are there?"

"I don't know," she replies quietly. "It's only been a month since my things showed up. They tie together, I think, it's like because I can make ultrasound, my brain can process it. It's still sound, it still makes the eardrum vibrate, but most brains just ignore it. Me? I've got dog whistle kryptonite. Since that time, a month ago, I've…" Jane pauses to count before continuing, "met maybe ten others. Could be more. That's just the ones I personally know of."

Vince takes this all in as he raises his elbows onto the table and leans his forehead onto both palms, fingers in his hair. His voice is a little tight, but remains a whisper that can barely be heard over the din of the restaurant. "I don't want to believe you, Jane. I don't. But I can tell you're telling the truth." He rubs his lips together slightly and says, "A deal's a deal…. My name is Vincentio Gio Mancini and I can make nothing."

Her head tilts, she tries to figure that out. "Make nothing?" Amid the puzzlement Jane shows is sympathy to his want of disbelief. "I get it. I want to not believe too, I wish I hadn't learned at first hand by having these marks I showed you and the holes in my memory, but I've got them." That may well explain the lingering sadness seen earlier in her eyes.

Vince nods slowly, in a daze of thought. "Yeah, I make nothing." He slowly picks up his comic pages and refolds them. When he is almost finished with this process he asks in the same whispered, half-there tone, "Is your boyfriend really on a business trip?"

"Well," Jane replies with a slow sigh, "it's business, and he's away. He had a disagreement with the Company, I think, and…" She trails off and rubs her temples for a moment. "I won't tell you his name or anything he might be able to do. Whether or not to share about ourselves is each person's choice, I won't make that decision for anyone else. If you want to explain making nothing, your call, or not. It sounds like… making things cease to exist."

"How would I explain it? It's anomalous. It's like… a vacuum or something." Vince finishes folding the comics and then carefully slides them back into his wallet, which is then replaced in his back pocket. "I respect your decision to not tell me about him. Is there any way I can identify these people? In case they find out about me?" His eyes steel with a murderous look.

"Some things can't be explained," Jane comments quietly, "only shown and witnessed. There's really no way to identify them, Vince. They've got more agents than I remember seeing. The ones I've seen and can identify are a man who just moved into my apartment building. His name's Anders. Big guy, looks like a Viking. And there's a goth woman, short, called Angie. She and Anders work together, I believe." A pause follows, and a deep breath, before she moves on. "There's another danger out there. We call him Sylar. He's a serial killer of people like us. Cuts off the tops of heads, steals abilities. Right now he's in jail, police jail, but I'm told he's escaped from tougher places than that."

Vince sits up a little and folds his hands together in front of himself. "Anders and angie. Viking and goth. Got it. This is… This is a whole lot to hear. I'm a bit overwhelmed." He quickly scans the room again before he states, "You're risking a lot telling me this. I'm not a trusting person, especially when it comes to pretty girls, but I'm going to do something out of character." Vince reaches into his coat, opposite of where his money and gun are. He removes a business card and holds it out to Jane pinched between his thumb and forefinger. "This has my cell number on it. If you end up in a tight spot… well, I'm sure you can figure out the rest."

"Thanks," she says quietly, taking the card. It's pocketed, and from her backpack she produces a pen and sheet of paper. Fingers write down a set of digits on it, the area code is from Connecticut, if he'd recognize that fact, and slides it across. "May I tell some trusted persons about you, Vince? They'd be interested in anything involving Isaac Mendez, and know more about him than me."

Vince shakes his head for emphasis, "No fucking w-." He cuts off the end of his answer, pausing. "They know more about Mendez, hmm?" He picks up the number and gives it a glance before stuffing it into a jeans pocket. Opening a hand, he counts questions on fingers, "How many people? How trustworthy are they? How do you know them? How much do they know about Mendez?."

"I'm talking at first one person. I'd introduce you to him, and it can go from there if you choose. I wouldn't tell him anything more than you'd like to meet. To me, he's very trustworthy. Some of the memories that were taken from me have been refreshed, by people telling me things I don't remember knowing, and I get the same info from other sources confirming it, but trustworthiness is a solo decision. Only you can decide that. I know him because he's like us. He's had involvement with other Mendez works. He sees them as prophetic in certain cases, and works to stop those depicted events from happening. From what I can tell, he and others around him were successful once, on something major."

Vince thinks wordlessly for over a minute. He seems reluctant as he says, "Fine. I'll meet with the guy, but I only want him to know that I'm interested in some of Mendez's artwork that I'm in. If I decide to tell him more, then I do. I'll want to know the meeting spot in advance so I can scope it out. If I don't like it, no dice. Lotta conditions, but that's how I roll. Alright?"

She nods, considering the words, and apparently thinking for some moments before a reply is given verbally. "Actually, I think I may be able to learn things without a meeting, Vince. I can tell him simply I met someone who had an Isaac Mendez comic book, find out if there are others, and get all I can, then pass this to you before we get to the question of meetings."

Vince's hands unfold, twisting towards the air as he says, "Magnifico! And what exactly do you want in return for this favor, Ms. Forrester?" Vince ignores the grumble that emits from his stomach, or maybe he just didn't notice it. His mien becomes quite stonelike as the conversation takes a more business-like turn.

"Nothing, Vince," she replies simply. "Jane will do, also. I don't put conditions on what I share, except for expecting you won't tell anyone else about me. Information is power, and these things I've told you are the basics we and everyone else like us need to have power over our own lives."

Eyebrows drawing together, Vince seems incredulous. "You want nothing? Jane, Jane, Jane, that /screams/ fishy. Why would you help me without personal gain? Because of some twisted kinship?" His lips stay slightly agape with confusion after he finishes speaking.

Her eyes go distant when the questions are asked, she focuses on some spot across the room and speaks solemnly. "What I really want, you can't give me, Vince. I want back the memories that were stolen. I know what it is to have questions and few answers. Anything else I could ask you for would mean you being known to others, and you're not ready for that. Maybe someday you will be, maybe not, but if I don't make the leap without condition, you never get there at all. If and when you do, you'll either help or not of your own free will, without debt." A pause is taken, Jane considering a thought, and she adds "If that seems unbelievable to you, consider this as my angle of self-interest. The Company took memories from me, and tagged me like a zoo animal. I feel violated. I'm pissed. My goal: to not let them win by spreading information."

Vince clicks his tongue off the roof fo his mouth and nods a couple times at what she said. For a moment, he regards her with an unreadable yet discerning mask, then merely says, "Alright. I'm not one to owe favors, though, so if all goes as planned you have access to my various services. I need to go for a drive and clear my head a bit. You've given me a lot to digest, and if it's as vital as you say it is, then… I guess I'd better get it sorted away." He scratches his chin, "As for this Sylar, I'll see what I can dig up. He'd better be expectin world war three if he thinks he's going to cut open my head." Sliding out from the booth, Vince stands.

"Good day, Vince," she replies quietly as he stands. "I'll be in contact soon." Jane remains seated, her eyes focused on a wall. Isaac Mendez is contemplated while she remains there, and her own depths of unknowledge. So much learned this past month, some of it lost and learned again, and still so much more she doesn't know. It's maybe fifteen or twenty minutes before she rises, leaves some money on the table, and departs.

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