2009-12-11: The Shakes



Date: December 11th, 2009


Lena meets Alexandra and things go very, very wrong. Prometheus is once again required to save the day.

"The Shakes"

Greenwich Village, NYC

It's approaching eight o'clock at night and it is promising to be a cold night; the wind is up, and there's a haze of frost around the city's lights. It's a pretty effect when one is safely indoors. Not so much down here on the street, where slicks of ice make the sidewalks treacherous, and cold gusts send yesterday's discarded newspapers into wild tumbles over the pavement. Foot traffic is light, as a result, but not non-existant. This city never sleeps, after all.

Heroes (and those aspiring to such heights) do not fear the elements. Especially when they've received an early Christmas gift of a PVC bodysuit snug enough to be worn under other layers of clothing. Lena is actually toasty warm, sweating even, as she kneels in an alley entrance beside the rough plank fence that circles New York City's latest urban development project. A combination of sweaters and an old cast-off jacket make her bulky and unwieldy but it's a small price to pay for comfort. A trio of spraypaint cans are lined up at the base of the fence, with a fourth in the girl's ungloved hands.

Gloves would be nice but the fine art of grafitti requires a certain amount of manual dexterity. There's a metallic chinking as the can is shaken, and then a hiss as a swath of red paint marks the rough surface of the fence.

Depite the chill, Alex had decided to walk to work today. Rather than catch a cab home, she has decided to walk home as well. The has set a while ago, by this point. Warmly dressed in a coat, scarf, gloves, and boots, enjoying a somewhat casual day at work, she's sliding by the construction site nearby her apartment building. Some sort of new high-rise or something is going up, and for the moment, it's a fenced in dirt yard with construction equipment and material…something that she'd confess to wanting to play in, if only it were a bit warmer.

It's Lena that catches her attention though. She looks a bit like the younger brother in A Christmas Story, in the snowsuit that keeps him from putting his arms down. Then there are those teeny little hands poking out at the end…with spray paint in hand. Looks like she's going to vandalize it…maybe. It's worth stopping to look for a moment from across the street, which she does.

Words begin to take shape, cast on splintered wood in cheap paint and balloon letters. THE. Shake shake shake. GOV'T. Shake shake shake. IS.

How Lena might have completed that sentence will have to remain a mystery, though. One street over, the beeWOOP of a police car turning on its siren echoes loudly through the clear night air, the surrounding buildings amplifying the sound and giving the poor little punk in her Salvation Army clothes a near heart attack. The can of paint is thrown away from her to clang against the ground and she's off in a flash, arms pumping awkwardly and oversized fur-trimmed hood flopping over her face while she bolts across the street. Directly at Alexandra, unfortunately; the woman is so wee, it's no wonder that Lena doesn't see her before the speed and panic of her flight sends her on a collision course.

Whoa! Brace for impact, right? Not quite enough time for that, unfortunately. Alex too seems to have figured it a wise decision to skeedaddle when the police car turns the block and flashes the lights and siren. By the time Lena is bearing down on her, Alex has managed to turn and start walking away, which explains why she doesn't see Lena coming.

When Lena runs into her, she oofs! out loud, and then is falling forward. Thankfully, her hands are gloved and she's in long pants, so she avoids scraping anything. Her large shoulder bag that swings around and under her takes the worst of it, crumpling. The saving grace is that today was an actual busy workday, and so the bag is stuffed with papers and not her computer. "Ugh! What the!" she calls out as Lena topples her over, and then falls on top of her.

"Oof! Jesus, lady!" The yelp is both startled and accusatory.

Yeah, the brunette isn't much for accepting responsibility. And while she isn't the heaviest creature in the world, there's still a hundred plus pounds, in addition to winter clothing, bearing down on Alexandra right now.

Still…she might have tried to help the petite woman to her feet again, if the flash of red and blue light hadn't indicated that the cops were closing in. In an utter panic now, Lena claps her bare hand over Alex's mouth to try to keep her silent and prays that the cars lining the sidewalk are enough to keep them hidden from Johnny Law. That there is a vicious cocktail of adrenaline and stimulants being forced on the other female is beyond her at the moment.

Alex had barely managed to roll herself over onto her butt before that hand, ice-cold, to be perfectly honest, is clapped over her mouth. Her eyes are wide, and she's staring at Lena with big, silver-dollar eyes. Whatever's happening, to Alex, it's not good. Under Lena, hand clasped over her mouth, she begins to mmmmph and mmmmgrrrrrblll into the palm, mostly inaudible.

But Alex's ability isn't so subtle, and she doesn't need to be heard to be felt.

With the adrenaline and stimulants forcing their way into and through her body, Alex's powers begin to…short circuit, for lack of a better word. It starts with a gentle rumbling, not even enough to shake the needles at the USGS's recording stations. As the drug cocktail continues to flow though, it rapidly increases. There's a subtle rumbling in the ground, then eventually, a full-on earthquake.

Buildings nearby rumble, windows shake in their frames. Car alarms up and down the street begin to go off, and those driving (especially in police cars) would see their gauges blur as they're shaken behind the wheel. Material in the contruction yard rumbles and rattles, and spot-welding beams shake loose and fall with the clatter of steel. A number of pieces of sidewalk crumple and dislodge, buckle and explode upward as the ground underneath is agitated; cracks appear up and down the street for the same reason.

Lena does not roll off of Alex so much as she is thrown off, her squeak of surprise insufficient for the the way the world appears to be protesting her assault of the other woman. The look on her face is an eerie mirror of Alexandra's, with the addition of almost comic dismay at the realization of just how she might have contributed to the current disaster.

"Make it…stop!"

But that yelp is almost inaudible under the rumbling and crashing and groaning of earthquake. That leaves the girl with one option: panic. And in times of panic, you hit the panic button. In Lena's case, hers rides on her wrist, disguised by the oh so adorable Hello Kitty watch recently gifted to her by Gene. As she curls up in a quaking ball of ohmygod, one hand clamps down on the other wrist and depresses the trio buttons required to send out a cry for help.

"Oh God…I…I can't! What did you DO to me!" Alex screams out. She's onto her feet there on the sidewalk, yelling and screaming. Not only is it a short circuit in her powers, but for whatever reason, Alex feels the need to…well, smash some stuff. "Argh!" she roars out as she stands up from the sidewalk, looking down at Lena, all curled up in her little defensive ball. "What did you DO to me?"

As she stands up…almost inexplicably with the rumbling of the ground, she jerks one arm up into the air. From underneath one of those parked cars, a huge spike of earth erupts; asphalt cracks open as the mound of earth surges upward and literally takes the edge of the car and spins it into the air, flipping over onto its roof into the middle of the road.

"Ahhhhh!" she screams out, her hair looking tousled and mussed…and just a little dirty now, thanks to that erupting moutain of earth. "Why am I so ANGRY?!" Thrusting her arms forward, toward the mound of earth, she sends it tumbling across the street, where it makes a huge speed bump, with the bulk of the dirt falling to rest on the hood of another car, smushing and crumpling the metal (and, silencing at least one car horn).

This situation calls for a great deal of vulgar language but Lena's coming up short right now. While she isn't short-circuiting in the same fashion as Alex, her brain is currently putting out a not very useful silver and black gaze of fear-static. Thus, her screaming is delivered wordlessly, and is accompanied by wild shimmying that carries her away from Alexandra. At least at first.

Because when it becomes clear that the woman is on a rampage? Well, suddenly it occurs to the little brat that maybe she should try to stop this before someone gets hurt. Like herself, for instance. Maybe those cops over there (but maybe not).

"Oh god! Oh god lady you gotta…you gotta calm down!" Pleading doesn't carry over the roar of earth-spikes, forcing Lena to try to pull herself up and stagger roughly in Alexandra's direction. Her hands are held out, partially for balance and partially in the hopes that a lucky tremor might throw her the remaining distance so she can knock the petite brunette out. "I can turn it off just stop it for a goddamn minute!"

"Fine…make it stop! Do whatever! ARGH!" For the moment, at least, Alex brings herself to stop the wild arm movements, which seem to be directing the force and magnitude of the earth she's bringing up from under the streets and sidwalks. All the while, the earthquake, something like a 2.7 on the Richter scale (yes, there's going to be some broken glass and news stories about this) continues.

When Lena gets close enough with her promises of making it stop, Alex simply reaches out and snatches her arm, yanking her over the rest of the way; where Alex stands, fortuitously, feels to be free of the rumbling…nice and steady around her.

Of course, the cops are stumbling toward them too, not sure of just what the heck is going on, but sharp enough to at least figure it's this strange girl doing it. They don't go unnoticed, as one hand is raised and both cops are enveloped inside a pile of earth. Their arms and legs and heads stick out, but they're incapacitated by the weight of the earth holding them in place.

Lena is still as unsteady as a sailor fresh to land, reeling as she's pulled in by Alexandra to that one small patch of stable earth. She'd drop to her knees and kiss it if there weren't more pressing matters to deal with. Literally pressing, for her hand flattens once more against the woman's face. This time there is no surge of unnatural anger and energy. This time the panting, weak-kneed girl focuses all of her will on pushing the drugs from Alex's system.

It is a small blessing that she has the presence of mind to get an arm around the smaller female's waist, already anticipating the likely result of the purge.

Suddenly from the skies, a new factor enters in the equation. A black copter, roughly a third of the usual size of the air transporter. It seems to know exactly where the trouble is coming from, as it decends almost directly on top of Lena and Alexandra's position. Oddly enough, the sound of Darth Vader comes from a small speaker mounted into the machine.

"Prometheus here… Dionysus, please grant our friend a nice rest."

After the 'request', a small hook and a strong steel cable is lowered from a wench. It appears the getaway 'car' has arrived.

At first Alex begins to groans as Lena gets her hands on her face and begins to work her magic. Like the others, she slumps over in Lena's arms (thankfully, she's so tiny!) and begins to get very, very warm. She begins fanning herself, sweating quite profusely-a thick, oily sweat. With Lena's intervention though, forcing the drugs from her system like that, the earthquakes quickly come to an end. The cracked road and sidewalks and destroyed cars remain, though. And even though the earthquake as ended, Alex now is the one shaking, thanks to rapid detox.

A very unladylike grunt escapes Lena as Alexandra becomes unsupported weight slumped against her. It is a good thing she's so tiny, but the punk survives on a steady diet of McDonald's and Starbucks hot chocolate, which means strength and fitness are somewhat lacking. But she manages to not drop the woman, and a savior in the form of a helicopter has just appeared. There's nothing odd about it, Lena heralds Genecoptor's arrival with abject relief.

"Fucking 'A! Hey, lady? Lady, you're gonna be okay, I promise…you sleep now, we'll get you home safe, okay?" The girl is practically babbling now, the hand returning to Alexandra's cheek. This time her skin carries a different impulse: a rather delicious rush of happy juice before the peace of unconsciousness. Only then does Lena go up on her toes, straining to reach the cable.

Alex groans out softly, a little smile on her face, before she goes totally limp in Lena's arm. Easiest just to lay her down on the ground now, as her eyes are closed and she seems to be in a deep, deep sleep at the moment. No more risk of earthquakes or anything here, as she takes deep, heavy breaths, and lies there asleep.

The cable is lowered at a slow but steady pace. Once the cable is secure and Lena lets Gene know in some way or another what is going on and that it is time to go, the Gene-Copter rises into the air, starting to fly off in a direction and path that hopefully will be unable to be followed by the NYC police. After all, while they do have copters and the like, none are currently at the scne of the quaking earth.

When they get to where they need to be, it seems to be a field in the suburbs of New York, where a man in a biker helmet and black bodysuit is waiting. "…What happened, is everything alright now?" the Darth Vader sounding stranger offers in a hurried voice.

Once again Lena has cause to be grateful to her Christmas present, and the extra layers of clothes; they cut the wind and the cold somewhat. Still she's shivering almost violently by the time the destination is reached, and without the securing clips that hold women to cable, it's likely that her numb fingers would have lost their grip a long time ago at altitude. The silver lining here is that the length of the trip has given her a chance to ponder what did just happen, even if the answer Gene gets is somewhat butchered by stuttering.

"She…sh-she's like us. Sc-scared, c-c-cops. Ran. Into her. Accidentally. Earthquake, c-crazy. Sh-she went c-crazy." Rather than try to extricate herself and Alexandra from the harness, Lena simply sits in the center of the puddle of metal rope with the brunette across her legs. She's chafing her hands together to try to get feeling back into them. "M-my fault. So…so g-glad t'see you." A shaky breath is taken and the girl's blue eyes turn down to Alex's peaceful face. "C-cab? Address in her wallet, maybe?"

Indeed, her address IS in her wallet, which is inside that hefty shoulder bag she's managed to keep ahold of throughout all this. Thanks to Lena's dosing, Alex still sleeps soundly enough. What the two do with her drugged body is up to them…hopefully they won't take advantage? Whether she remembers much of this is to be determined, but for now, the quakes have stopped, and they all seem to have gotten out cleanly. The aftermath can be sorted out in the morning.

Thankfully, Lena and Gene are able to keep each other accountable, so the young hero goes through the drugged woman's wallet and only gets her address. He calls a cab using his PDA, calling it toward this location. "Alright… I'm having a cab make its way over here. You can say that she was out drinking and you want to get her a ride home. Hopefully that should be enough to explain the situation. I'll figure out what to do about her later…" After all, unless this woman has total control of her abilities, Gene feels odd just abandoning her. If she hurt more people, it would be himself and Lena's fault. At least in his mind.

The last thing Lena needs on her conscience is more people hurt by her actions, indirect or otherwise. Massive property damage is quite enough, thank you. "Yeah…yeah, she's got enough there. To get her back." So she glanced in the wallet while the young man was going through it. Old habits are hard to break. No attempt is going to be made to slip a little of that extra cash into her own pocket, even when Prometheus withdraws to the shadows to leave her alone with Alexandra. "L-lifesaver. Thanks…thanks, Gene.

Instead, she's going to haul herself up and spend the next however many minutes of waiting stomping her feet to get the blood flowing again. And not one complaint will be voiced; not while her extremities tingle uncomfortably during their thaw, or during the exertion needed to bundle Alexandra into the cab when it gets there.

Surely this is a sign of character growth.

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