Date: April 7, 2010
The President's visit. In which Cody is a Big Damn Hairo.
New York University
From the sun shining down on the city Campus on New York University, it doesn't seem like spring. Indeed, a stiffling 90 degrees thanks to the persistant sunlight. When the evening sets in, it will likely drop to more comfortable temperatures, but for the moment most of the people outside on the campus lawn have one collective though.
It is too hot to be spring.
A banner welcomes the President. His visit to the university while in town for the United Nations Convention on the topic of Anti-Terrorism has been well publisized. He would be speaking in the quad, a short speech, and before and after, the walking by the crowd, shaking hands under the careful watch of body guards. All Presidents have to do it. There are many college students and visitors lined up to meet the President, and others doing what always happens in these situations…
Protesting. People hold signs, talking about issues. Stop Global Warming! is among them. Bring Home The Troops! Stop Using Torture! The President is a Terrorist!
So many signs, so little time.
One sign even says 'They Are Among Us! Those With Abilities! Believe The Children!'
But that guy happens to be all by himself.
A dark skinned man in a suit who looks like he could be a professor or a businessman stands off to the side, watching. The woman he brough with him has to handle things on her own.
The heat isn't quite as stifling for some of the people there to meet the President. For Emily, it's because she's already cased the joint earlier in the afternoon, walking around with said dark-skinned man in a suit, before disappearing into the (thankfully) air-conditioned library. Seems like someone in the physical plant of the university got on his (or her!) high-horse and figured people were tired of sweating. Also, because she's wearing a super-skimpy dress; aquatic and color and theme, scaled, cut low in the top and the bottom, to show off plenty of chest and leg.
This tall blonde is just waiting, ever-so-casually, among the lines of people. She's behind the barricade, and devoid of any weapons but her own. A quick look around to make sure there are a few faces she knows in the places where he promised they would be, and she goes back to waiting, idly twirling a few strands of hair about her finger, having no purse or anything on her person to worry about; less evidence that way, after all.
Among the protesters is a woman that looks like she fits in with one of the unwashed masses. Carrying a sign that says 'We're Not Killing The Environment Only Ourselves!' she shouts along with the other protesters. Her dirty blonde hair is stuffed tight under one of those disgustingly huge rastafarian hats with only a few long tails creeping out. They reach down just past her buttocks and seem to sway every time she takes a step.
"Save the polar ice caps! Stop global warming!" she shouts, shaking one fist with the mighty fury of a thousand desert suns. Her blue eyes sweep over the crowds between shouts and she's making good time in her protest march. It's the best way to move through the crowd, after all.
Growing up south of the Mason-Dixon line has its advantages. Heat tolerance, for one; while George still feels the need to mop his brow from time to time, it's not the 'oh my God I don't even want to move' disaster that it is for some people who've lived here all their lives. Having spent the better part of the past few hours mingling with the crowd, he's now doing his best to make his way back toward the open area in the middle, quirking a brow as he passes by the guy with the 'President is a Terrorist!' sign. Boy, he hopes that one turns out not to be true; he's recently learned that someone in the upper echelons doesn't feel like they have enough big guns to play with.
Robin, unlike his boss, doesn't seem to be as used to the heat, sweating as he follows along after George. He has his smartphone in hand, snapping pictures of the occasional protest display, (including the one about those with abilities), but for the most part he's just following after his boss. Of course, he's listening too, unknown to anybody but George. Listening to radio traffic, just keeping an ear out for anything George should know about.
Campus security has nothing on Micah Sanders, although he's not safely tucked away in the apartment where he lives. He's in the library near a window, not that he's looking out it. The cubicle in which he sits yields some privacy, and the books he tugged off the shelves help him blend some, not that most kids his age would have an interest in programmable logic. He's not reading the books though; his laptop is open and frankly he looks like he's day-dreaming with dark eyes closed gently and a single hand resting on the laptop. His other hand grasps his smartphone tightly.
Yet Micah is watching and listening — both of which are taking all of his attention. It's easier to focus on-location rather than from the safety of the apartment, but at least he's tucked away not in the foray of the protesting, the President, and the mayhem. The Amazonian blonde catches his line of vision and he breathes a single word all-too-loudly, "Emily," which is followed by a chorus of shushes.
The radio chatter has a range of secure, and 'Get that camera in line!'. There's some news stations recording the speech and the hand shaking, and they're set up in various places, giving the technopaths even more video and chatter to feed off of. There's also a far more secure band. One that talks in deep quiet tones, with some codes they don't understand.
Lots of '_ is secure.'
None of the chatter seems to be alarmed, even if the soft deeper voices are cautious. Always cautious. The President of the Country is in their hands.
The chatter rises, on all fronts. It's hard to tell exactly where he came from. A blocked off and baracadded back alley of the University, perhaps, but the agents walk out first, as chatter passes. Get cameras ready! Make sure you're recording! Try to avoid the protestors, the American people don't need to see that.
Show the people who are cheering.
Cause that's when the cheering starts, excited people move to the edge of the blocks, as the suits hurry along, a lot hanging near the crowds with signs, to stay between them, to eye them carefully, watching for any that look suspicious or out of place. So far everything seems to blend, or at least no alarms are raised.
Then the President finally appears. Tall, well dressed, he looks nothing like the pictures on the protest signs that he avoids looking at as he walks by, toward the rows and rows of young people and civilians.
And a dark skinned man stands at the edge between the protestors and the handshakers, even clapping as if he's glad to be there. And he is.
Funny how some of the signs portray him as some kind of alien monster or something, with ridges on his head! Man, they're way off! With the crowd surging forward, hooting, hollering, cheering, flag-waving, Emily is pushed foward a little. She makes it a point to put on her happy face, smiling and waving along with everyone else, though of course, dressed for more of purpose. "Here, over here! Mr. President, over here!" she calls out. "Shake my hand!" Sign my boobs! Whatever it takes to get you over here!
Despite the interference of light from Miss Sparkle Motion in the crowd, Cody has managed to pass her sign off to another protester who didn't come as prepared. As she moves through the throng of protesters, her eyes zoom in on one man in particular. Her hat is shed and dropped to the ground, letting loose her long braids. Then the light jacket that she's layered over the top of her pocketed vest.
The blonde woman tries to keep out of his line of sight as she moves toward him. Slowly, she pulls a cell phone from her pocket and begins to push buttons. «Medusa: Terrorist in the midst see anything?» Knowing her recipient will catch it the moment she presses the send button, she holds it up to her ear to wait for the beep.
A few people in the crowd have recognized George for who he is. Many more haven't, or haven't even seen that he's there, or are just more interested in the president's arrival; not only is he high man on the totem pole, but any visit from him is a special occasion, while That Local Guy is around every other week. None of this is a surprise, but it affords him the chance to follow the flow of the crowd unobtrusively: glancing over to Robin every so often in case he picks up anything crucial, otherwise just getting himself in position to act on the spur of the moment if need be.
Robin, probably not the intended recipient, sees that text too, the instant it's sent. Frowning, he lowers his own phone from snapping photos of the president arriving and he focuses on the signal, waiting to see the response before he reacts too much. Still, he touches George's arm to let him know he caught something unusual.
A smirk is given to Cody's message. Adjusting in his seat, Micah shakes his head as he watches the President enter the scene, his pulse skyrocketing. His eyes tighten as he tries to cut out all other noise. Fortunately he doesn't send texts the conventional way, so it moves at lightning speed.
«REBEL: EMILY'S HERE.»
Recognizing that Cody might not know what Emily looks like he attempts a description after coordinating with multiple cameras.
«REBEL: SHORT LOW-CUT SPARKLY BLUE DRESS. BLONDE HAIR. TALL. TRYING TO GET THE PRESIDENT'S ATTENTION, LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.»
He can feel his lips curl downwards into a frown. There's a lot of people around and likely many could fit the description.
So many of the crowd are vying for the attention of the most powerful man in the country, and he doesn't ignore them. The President of the United States makes his way through the sections of the crowd in the bright sun, where members of the university administration are standing to welcome him and officiate his talk.
Closely protected, he does catch the eye of individuals in the crowd and gives them each a nod and diplomatic but genial smile. Hello, thank you, thanks for coming out.
Emily is one of those faces in the crowd — but only one of many. The President shakes hands of other NYU students, gradually making his way toward the podium to the roar of the clapping, cheering (and protesting) people.
Well now, that kinda sucks. The President was not even half way to her before he started toward the podium. That opportunity is clearly lost. Now, she just hunkers in behind the barricade there, looking from side to side at the other contacts in the crowd. She look at them with wide-eyes as if to say 'well, what now?'
Her gut feeling is just to wait it out, wait to here what he has to say and hope that he spends the time after the speech mingling with the crowd on his way out. Clearly she caught his eye, and that's something! So, it seems like there's a good chance she might get to touch him on his way out…and really, that makes things even easier; no worry about messing up the speech!
How diplomatic. The protestors that Cody inserted herself in also happen to be the most heavily watched group in the crowd, just cause protestors sometimes harbor people with guns, or people who throw shoes…
There's a soft chatter over the wire, a question to see if anyone spotted the vagrant who passed the sign. But there's too many people. Too many signs. They didn't see where she went, and she's blended into the crowd.
Everyone's being careful, though. Watch the co-eds. Watch the civilians. The chatter is met by flashes of cameras from the press area as they try to get photo ops to put on the front page. Does his hand linger on a girl very long? Or does he just seem friendly and Presidental?
Said terrorist, Fariq, one of Adham Sayf Udeen's lieutenants, doesn't try to shake the President's hand, but watches his approach through the crowd, the hand shaking that happens. There's multiple chances, but he hopes the sparkly dress attracts attention. Especially with how the sun hits it.
Behind the barricade, all Emily can do is watch for the moment, and continue to wave toward the President. Maybe she should've brought an American flag, or a supportive poster, or something. Rather, she's letting her body do the talking. The plan is simple enough, but it all comes down to him actually getting to her and shaking her hand. Like she told Fariq eariler…it'll be one hell of a photo-op if he does get over to her!
Her attention is mostly on the Pres but…hey, is that George? It seems like forever and a day ago since she went on a double date with him and Hallis, but…wait. Does he know what she can do? Hmmm, that might be a problem. Just have to hope he doesn't see her until things are over with!
«Medusa: Got her in sight, trying to make it. Looks like she's trying to shake his hand.»
Cody winds her way through the crowd like a well practiced traveller. Unfortunately, keeping a close eye on Emily while trying to act inconspicuous means a little bit slower travel. The crowds are thick the closer she gets due to the mobs of people trying to get closer to the president. She's just one among many trying to ride the rush of the public trying to shake the hand of the man on top.
Slowly, the woman pulls a pair of thick rimmed glasses from her pocket and flips them on her face. Now the upper half of her body is completely different from the woman holding the sign. Holding up a hand, she starts acting quite excited to get close to the president, "Mister President! Over here! Mister President!!"
And the real push begins.
Presidential groupies. Honestly. Well, no surprise there, either; George is just about to turn his attention away and check what the Boy Wonder's just picked up from the electronic chatter… but hang on, isn't there someone there that he recognizes? The Professor Trelawney lookalike, he doesn't know from Eve, but the devil with a blue dress on—
"Emily Caulfield, as I live and breathe," he calls out, deciding that heading in that direction is as good a choice as any at this point. "How've you been— I guess Trenton couldn't make it, huh?" Or maybe they've gone through an ugly breakup - he hasn't really been keeping up with society gossip unless it's about him, that's more Hallis's area of expertise.
Robin is just about to open his mouth to mention an Emily to George when he calls out for one. He blinks, turning to see who George is calling to, and… she fits the desription. As he follows after the Congressman (and glances towards the President once), he uses his power to interject in the Medusa-Rebel conversation, «NightSpider: Is this Emily dangerous?»
"Come on. Come on. Come on. Come on Cody," the teen whispers near-silently while watching the footage from afar. Micah presses his lips together as he glances around the library. And then NightSpider invades the conversation. He directs his text to NightSpider:
«REBEL: EMILY IS A BODY POSSESSOR. SHE'S BEEN CAPTURED BY THE ALPHA PROTOCOL AND LABELLED KAPPA 13. SHE IS THEIR WEAPON. WE THINK THEY WANT HER TO POSSESS THE PRESIDENT.»
Although, was there a collar? Micah touches the laptop again and refocuses on the cameras to check.
It's a relatively short distance to the front now for the President, but slow-going as he greets those along the way. Several heads down from Emily, George, and Robin, he and his delay as the President shakes the hand of a reporter at the forefront of the barricade.
In the midst of their small chat, one of his Secret Service entourage taps him on the shoulder, giving him pause. It's nothing dire; perhaps a reminder about time. No lingering for too long so close to the crowd even with all this security (some obvious and some not).
There's no collar around her neck, but after some careful searching based on previous experience with the collars, there's a small signal coming from the audience. Mixed in with cellphones and other GPS trackers, it has a unique signature. But considering her dress, her lack of purse, there's really nothing it could be hiding on.
Except the bulky thick metal bracelet around her wrist.
Lane got an order for fashionable bracelet sized collars a week ago, with minimal perks. A tracking device and a small dose of power supressant. That could be transmitted from afar.
When her name is called out, Emily can't do much but look up, to find George right there in front of her. "George, hello, hello. No, Trent couldn't be here. We decided to end things amicably." Of course, for all Trenton knows, Emily's still in lockup somewhere in the New York prison systems; she hasn't exactly called him to say 'hey, guess what! Terrorists bought me as a human weapon and intend for me to run the country!' That…probably wouldn't have been allowed anyway!
"How about you? Still seeing Hallis?" As she talks, she leans to look around him, once or twice, but forces herself to stop. No sense in giving anything away, right? Can't look too eager for the President to get here. It's all about finding that exact balance of excitement to meet him and unsuspicious behavior. "Hey, you think the President will get over here? I'd really like to meet him, you know! And I went out of my way to dress up and everything!" she says, puttong on a little pouty face to see if maybe he can help her out.
The cellphone is dropped into one of the side pockets of her cargo capris and a pen is procured from the one in her vest before tucking it into one of the braids at the back of her head. Then Cody continues to push through the crowd toward the president. "Mister President! Mister President! Over here!" It's slow going, but finally the woman manages to ride through a swell in the crowd as it surges toward the barricade.
Her aim? The spot near the congressman and the woman in the too sparkly dress. Who wears things like that anyway? So impractical… eyecatching though… the agent has to give her props for that one.
The barricade strains, but holds, as the crowd's interest in getting close to the president is countered by their interest in not getting too close to the security agents who are probably carrying tasers and who knows what else. A couple of them press on regardless, and are quickly contained. Among the others, the overall mood takes a downturn: some people are upset that they can't get any closer than they already are, or at getting an up-close eyeful of security at work.
"Definitely," replies George. "I've got a press conference coming up on Income Tax Day, it's mostly going to be about budget issues but— well, between you and me, keep your ears open for something a little more personal." Both of them have fed some false rumors to the tabloid newshounds, now it's time to throw some truth into the mix. (Well, partial truth; he makes no mention at all of the other person planning a big speech that day.)
As Cody moves closer and her voice cuts through the background noise, George turns to see who it is - and runs straight into a harried head of household with both arms full of drive-through for his wife and kids. Both men instinctively fumble for the drink tray, but unless someone makes a game-winning catch, they and everyone within a few feet are about to be doused in fizzy sugar water. And given how lousy George's throwing arm has always been…
Robin ducks quickly as George makes contact with the drink-carrying man, taking the chance to position himself nearer Emily. Close enough he can interject if the President goes to shake her hand, but doing his best to make it look like he was moving to introduce himself before the drinks fell on them all.
"Crap," Micah mutters too loudly for the library at the familiar signal and the sight of the bracelet, he's betting if they try to take it off or get too close… KABOOM. If she fails to touch the President, he doesn't want to imagine what will happen, and he hasn't created a remote deactivator yet. And so he zips off a text — this time to two recipients.
«REBEL: I THINK HER BRACELET MAY BE LIKE A COLLAR.»
Although he can't be sure from this distance. But then — the bracelet needs an operator, right? He ponders the range on something like that and begins scanning the images as quickly as he can — coordinating satellite images, media video tapes, and security footage, trying to triangulate Emily's actions leading up to this moment. The problem? This isn't a fast task. And it's likely to push his ability to the point the of exhaustion, like the trains had.
The scuffle in the crowd does draw the President's attention. Of course, it draws security's more; any incident does, even ones only involving spilled drinks. One can never be too cautious when protecting the leader of the country.
His time in the crowd, truly, hasn't been long at all; enough for some people to get some handshakes, quite the opportunity. For those with high tensions over a certain body possessor, it must feel like much longer.
The President moves on from the reporter, stopping George to shake his hand. "Congressman," he rumbles with recognition. "Will I see you at the convention at the UN building here in New York next Thursday?"
That's what's going through Fariq's head. A cellphone goes toward his hand, and he speaks a few soft words in Arabic into them. "Almost there. Be sure to catch her when she goes down and get her body out of there."
A man near Emily, just behind her in fact, has answered her cellphone, and murmurs one soft word of agreement. She's standing by. Looks like a normal co-ed, even wearing a university shirt.
Faster than the speed of dark, the strands of hair around the pen envelope around it and snake through Cody's shirt to come out somewhere near her waist. She is standing absolutely still and watching as the President shakes hands with George. In a swift strike, the length of hair that is holding the pen jabs it into the small of Emily's back, dumping a horseload of tranquilizer right near her spinal chord.
Once the potent liquid is delivered, the agent melts back into the crowd, retreating from her position. She's seen the president up close, that's really all that matters. When she's a few feet away, she removes her glasses and starts heading toward the edge of the crowd.
The fateful collision between George and the passerby hurrying through with a bunch of fast food does indeed cause soda to go everywhere…including down the front of Emily's dress. "Ew…George!" she calls out, pressing back into the crowd a little and instinctively wiping down the front of the shiny material to brush the liquid off. Eww! Who's going to want to shake hands with her now?
And of course, it would figure that it's just about NOW that the President comes along. He seems more interested in talking with George though…and her hands are all wet and stickyish. Close enough to touch though, so she reaches. She leans forward and reaches out towards the President until pain erupts up her spine. "UGhhhhh!" she groans out, as her eyes roll back in her head. From a certain vantage point, parallax might make it seem like she touched the Pres, but then, down she goes in a heap, sliding down to the ground under the wooden crowd control barricade.
The family man is just thankful that the drinks only spilled a little bit, and that he didn't just look like a complete asshat in front of the president; he hurries away, dragging the others along with him. George is thinking much the same thing, but he puts a game face on it; even one campaign season will train a person up on that in a hurry. "Mr. President. I hope so, sir—"
And then Ms. Sparkly Blue Dress crumples right in front of him. No, he doesn't react quickly enough to catch her, either, but he does crouch down to check on her, shooting the C-in-C an apologetic got-a-situation-here look. "Clear a path, everyone!" he calls out, as soon as he sees her eyes are closed. "Woman needs medical attention!" Actually he doesn't know how bad it is, he just doesn't want her to get trampled by the crowd.
Robin looks up to see the President so close, talking to George. He glances to Emily just in time then to see her fall, and he quickly steps back to give her room. "What?" He looks back to George as he checks on the woman, and then up to the President. Just in case, based on Rebel's last message, he starts jamming signals immediately around him. "What happened?"
Micah's jaw drops as Emily falls. This seems too familiar as his mind turns to the time Emily possessed Charlotte's body. Swallowing hard, he shoves his phone into his pocket after he sends another text to both of the parties he'd been in contact with.
«REBEL: WHAT HAPPENED?»
The crease of worry on the face of the nation's president indicates his concern for the fallen young woman; little does he know. As the George seems to take charge, he gives him a salute that ends in a point at the congressman. Take care of the people, George! The President is counting on you.
It's high time for the President to speak to the NYU campus. There is a greater flurry of activity now, in part due to the apparent medical emergency nearby as he moves beyond the audience, up onto the stage as a man near the podium announces, "NYU welcomes President …"
From the perspective of a certain terrorist, Fariq thinks that it's succeeded. He's ready to report complete success, when someone else grabs onto his young woman and starts to drag her off. That wasn't in the plan. Not at all.
The co-ed stands back, since George is making a fuss, and asks into his phone, "«I think she might have touched him, but people were crowding around as she was getting close. This chick with glasses got in the way. Do you want me to try and get her back from— whoever this is?»"
"«No,»" Fariq says carefully, frowning. "«We can following the tracking device later. She has no ID, so it should slow things down if they take her to a hospital. We have time.»" Or so he thinks.
With the crowd and President's attention turned to the sparkly woman for the time being, Cody has the chance to slip relatively unnoticed until she reaches the edge of the crowd. Now, she's back to looking for her original target. Scanning the faces from left to right, the blonde woman meanders among the people as she tries to make it look as though she's simply looking for a better place to stand.
Once she's in an area that's a little less sardine packed, she pulls the phone from her pocket and fires off a text message. «Medusa: Got her. Looking for terrorist again.» Whether or not it goes through, she will never know.
A few cameras go off, catching the patriotic photo op as it goes down, though George is in no position to appreciate it. He'll wind up with some news clippings later on. A couple other people wander over, helping to carry Emily over to where she can be checked out properly. At least the crowd stays out of their way for the most part, seeing the situation as handled and turning their attention to the president's speech instead.
Robin steps after George still, keeping close to him until it seems Emily's being looked after. He pulls back his circle of jamming then, hesitantly, but starting to be sure no signal is coming. He stays by George though, looking around and up to the stage.
«REBEL: GOOD. COULDN'T FIND ANYTHING WITH THE SIGNAL. CALLING IT A DAY. WILL BE IN CONTACT SOON.»
Micah sighs as his search comes up empty. After snapping the laptop shut, he slides it under his arm and stands from his chair with another heavy sigh. He feels exhausted and the effort so wasn't worth it. This time. Oh well. At least the President is still the President. Today, anyways.