2007-12-03: The Courage Of Action



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Summary: Gene does a bit of recon on Compusure in New Jersey and learns more about his mysterious new friend.

Date It Happened: December 3rd, 2007

The Courage of Action

Fairview, New Jersey

As it turns out, the New Jersey location of Compusure is situated in the village of Fairview. Manhattan is visible, across the river — but here, a far cry from the hustle and bustle of NYC, in the middle of the town, not much of anything of particular interest is visible, save for a few historic buildings. Compusure, however, is newer: a small, boxy structure with the blue-and-white signage prominent above a window that has a few computers and gadgets on display. A light dusting of snow covers everything except the streets and sidewalks. It's cold. The sky is grey. The street is quiet.

Absolutely nothing is happening.

Absolutely nothing has happened all day. It's twenty minutes away from 4 PM.

The art of a well executed plan requires three important steps… The first is preparation. A spider weaves the web. The praying mantis finds the perfect perch and waits. A pride of lions rely on coordinated teamwork and calm positioning. In nature, it is rare that herbivores plot or plan. It is always the predators that need to start the war of wits… And Gene is no exception. The hunt has beguns.

"This is the building and it's almost time… They better come soon, I'm gunna freeze my super sexy tush if this keeps up."

The binoculars are lowered as Gene looks across from his rooftop. His car is parked at the street level, the license plates being 'convectively' cover in a rather thick covering of ice and snow which may or may not be entirely natural. Standing a few stories higher than his car, the young intel gather is on the closest building he could get to the Compusure's. Dressed in a black knit cap, a black peacoat, and black winter gloves, the young man is clearly ready for night time coldness. He'll likely catch a cold tomorrow anyway, but that's the small price to pay to SAVE THE WORLD (maybe). Checking his watch, he sighs, merely putting up the binoculars one more time to check out the scene. Time to see what is going to happen.

Finally, some action. A dark blue SUV with local plates pulls up to the curb in front of Compusure. Granted, this has happened a few times before with other vehicles, and it was usually just someone dropping off or picking up a computer or sundry parts — so it would seem! … No, actually, it really was computer parts. A man in casual, bulky warm clothing steps out of the van, shuts the door, and doesn't pay the parking meter. He goes around to the back of the vehicle, opens the door, pulls out a box - not huge, it could probably fit a very small TV. He heads inside Compusure, where, behind the front window, he can be seen conversing with the guy at the counter. Both of them shake their head at each other.

The young inventor is actually looking around the streets when he notices that a van is pulling up in front of Compusure. Dropping his binoculars, Gene swiftly moves to the bookbag by his feet to get the second important tool for this mission A camera with an 'uber-zoom' lens. He begins to snap off pictures of both the man, the people inside as well as the van itself. He tries to get the license plate if he can of the van. If he can, he'll swiftly toss the stuff into his black bookbag and head down the stairs. After all, part of this plan entails tracking the van and seeing where it goes. He's prefer doing it from afar, but Gene's learned sometimes you have to take a bit of risk to get what you want.

The deliveryman — who, on close inspection with uber-zoom, is tall, in his thirties with blonde hair and a goatee and squared features — continues to shake his head at the fellow behind the counter, until finally, he leaves Compusure with the package still under his arm. He stops beside his driver-side door in order to speak on a cell phone for a few brief moments before piling back in the van and U-turning (the street is practically that of a ghost town right now). The plates are easily visible. By the time Gene makes it to the street, the van is already on its way back the way it came. By the looks of things, it's headed out of town.

The second part of the art of a well executed plan is when the plan is underway. Challenges will come up to frustrate the original idea. For example, Gene had planned on trying to use a robotic double of the pick-up guy, but found that changing 'Arnie' in time would be almost impossible. Then he mulled over the idea of air recon, but that too was nixed due to the wintry weather. Thinking on his feet, Gene performs Plan C, doing the legwork himself. Gene's car door is close and the yellow car begins its pursuit.

Does he have any idea what he's going to do? Not really other than follow the van from as far as he can. Should he have gotten another car other than the 'Bumblebee' Mustang? Likely a good idea for subtle recon Hopefully the driver will be too distracted to notice. Should the van pull over unexpected on the shoulder or turn into a company, Gene will pass by. After all, there is a big difference between big risk and stupid risk in Gene's mind and Gene is doing all he can to avoid person to person contact. Bad enough he already had to deal with MYSTERIOUS GIRL OF MYSTERY. As he turns on his car and prepares to follow after, Gene merely grumbles at the thought of her.

"You have a weird car," says the mysterious girl of mystery matter-of-factly. Yes, she's in the car with Gene. She certainly wasn't there the whole time, was she? Not unless Gene is selectively blind. She sits beside Gene, hands in her lap, feet kicking back and forth in winter boots casually as can be. She stretches up, craning her neck to see the van they're following, eyes sparkling with childlike curiosity. "This is exciting. You're like a spy."

It takes approximately fifteen minutes for the van to reach its destination, and they're closing in on the last minute: a parking lot of an apartment complex on Century Drive. It pulls up next to a silver car with California licence plates.

Welcome to Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Up ahead, some distance past the apartments, is a much larger, bolder building of striking architecture and expensive design. Double stone helices decorate the garden out front.

The deliveryman gets out of his van.

It is sheer willpower that prevent Gene from veering his car off into a shoulder or oncoming traffic as a certain young woman makes reappearance. "I thought we agreed we were going to politely ask before randomly appearing right next to me," Gene states as he turns his eyes back to the road. Of course, that's not exactly how it happened. It was more Gene insisting and almost begging her not to break into his lab again. "So, you going to tell me anything more about you? I mean… It's clear that you could find out this stuff all on your own. After all, you can teleport. Or send mental representations of yourself across minds. Or something like that" Gene begins as the van pulls into the apartment parking lot. Gene drives by, though he pulls over as soon as he can. "My car is not weird for the record, it's high tech in a fashionable way. If want to call it something, it's pimp." Does teaching enigmatic little girls the word 'pimp' give you bad karma? Only time will tell.

"…uh. Okay!" the little girl says at first with a lyrical giggle. She twists around in her seat, looking back at the parking lot they passed. "How do you know I'm not a pigment— um, figment, of your imagination?"

Meanwhile, the deliveryman, package in hand, locks the van with the NJ plates and opens the trunk of the California car to place the box inside. He gets his cellphone out again and starts to pace. From this angle, the fact that there's something printed on the back window of the silver car becomes more obvious, just barely: REDWOOD.

"Does your car have a computer in it? I bet it has a computer in it."

There is a long pause as the little girl asks her first and second question. Watching the man in the back of the van, Gene eyes narrow as he tries to pick up every detail he can, the California car, silver, liscene plate of REDWOOD. It looks like someone else might be on Gene's 'to hack illegally to find out more about' list. The California DMV might have something to say about it, but hopefully they will never know… But that is a project for another time, right now, he is still watching and waiting, seeing if the man gets up and moves or if he decides to head out again.

Without even looking back toward the girl, he speaks. "If you were some spiritual guide or a figment of my imagination? You'd be older. And look a lot like Oola… Okay, maybe not her, that's a little TOO out there. Hrm, Seven of Ten. There we go, that would do it. That or you'd be Obi Won Kenobi. That would be tight as-" There is an awkward pause before he collects himself. "Anyway, you get my point. Yes there is a computer, no you can't mess with it right now. Now that I've answered your questions time to answer mine… How did you find out about me? Considering you are clearly trying to get me to do something, I figure I have a right to know."

The man by the vehicles continues to talk on his cellphone, and for the time being, that's all. He nods a few times, the way someone might nod when accepting orders.

"I like to watch people," the little girl says matter-of-factly from the passenger seat, shrugging with a carefree smile. "And you don't get to pick your spiritual guides, silly-billy. Besides, I didn't say I was! I said maybe I'm part of your imagination! You don't always have control over what's going on in your brain neither, you know. I could be your sub…" She stops, presumably to think. "sub that part of your mind you don't know about. Or I could be a hallucination 'cause somethin' in your head's pushing up against some other part 'cause you're dying. I doesn't matter how I got here, Gene. It just matters that you listen to me 'cause pretty soon, everything's gonna change."

The eyes never leave the prize, Gene continuing to watch the man. His left wrist rests on the top of the steering wheel, his slightly paled hand limp as time goes on. His words are surprisingly short considering his usual propensity to rant.

"If you don't know where you come from, you can't figure out where you're heading."

He doesn't remark on his illness, though the slight chill in his tone suggests that he is unamused with her response.

The child overturns her palm in her lap and reveals a rubber ball, the type you can get in a vending machine for a few quarters. It's blue, green and white, ocean, land and atmosphere like the earth from space. She's silent, for a time. "My name is Evie," she confesses eventually.

The man in the parking lot pockets his phone, makes sure both vehicles are locked and abandons them both in favour of the apartment building. He jingles keys in his hand- maybe he actually lives here.

The young inventor wishes he could turn away at the silence. Despite her painful words, she could actually be a child. Did he make her cry? Did he hurt her feelings? Finally, he gets a name.

"Evie." A weak smiles contrasts with tender eyes. "I'm Gene. Good to meet you." Yeah, he doesn't care that she already knew it. It's the thought behind it.

Once the man is gone and once he's sure that there is no one else around, Gene glances back toward the child, know given a name. "Yeah, I'm dying. I suppose in the end, I should be thankful for it. Knowing that there's a good chance I'm gunna be dead anyway gives me the courage to pull stuff like this. I wish I could be a hero… But I can't. I just don't have what it takes." Gene glances around, one to make sure there is no people trying to sneak up on the car and secondly to hide the light misting of his eyes. "There are people with better gifts than mine out there that help people too. Sure you know about them… Why didn't you go to them?"

Evie rolls the ball around in her hands, her sometimes-impish little smile faded away. She's thoughtful, and the expression turns her features almost cherubic. "Because I'm sick, too." She looks up at Gene, bright eyes full of depth. "And because I know you're smart. And you wanna do the right thing. You're here, aren't you? You're brave. I dunno if that's just 'cause you're sick like you said, but it's still true." She looks out the car window, back at the parking lot recently abandoned by the deliveryman. "These people," she says, "They're dangerous. They want to hurt us. People like us."

There is a moment of shock and silence. Gene's self pity vanishes when realization hits. "I see," the young man states as the edges of his mouth pull back to a Kermit-esque way, that resembles neither a smile nor a frown. With no one around, Gene decides that he can't too much tonight and reaches for the keys. Maybe Peter or Elena can get him some contacts… Going into enemy territory should only be done alone if there is no other way.

The car turns on and the cautious creator makes sure the headlights are off as he slowly pulls away. Hopefully, he hasn't been spotted. If so, he'll just have to hope the artificial snow/ice junk holds up on the plates and pull a few unnecessary turns to avoid trailing. "I know they do Though it troubles me. Why would people that are somewhat related to genetics be trying to attack people with genetic differences. It's like a guy working in computers yet hating video games. Maybe there was some sort of falling out within the company they work in, some stuff they found out that they didn't like, some bad blood toward a certain Evolved; I dunno. Though I will say this as one kid with a crappy life and bleak future to another kid with a crappy life and a bleak future…" Gene pauses, as if making sure he is aware of the promise he is about to make. "If there is any way to save you, I'll do it. If there is a way to make a better life for you, I will. Even if I have to use my own bare hands." That said, Mr. Kensington begins to drive.

"I don't have a lot of time left. I'm doing what I can now to make up for what I couldn't do before… what I didn't know I shoulda done earlier." Evie gives Gene a long, pointed look and gently smiles. "You'll figure it out, Genie. I know you will! Not everything's what it looks like," she says, brightening—

Right before she lifts her hand up, waves around the rubber ball at Gene, and fades in a dreamy blur. She disappears bit by hazy bit until there's nothing left in her seat but the thin air she disappeared into.

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