2010-06-28: The Skyscraper



Date: June 28, 2010


The eclipse is not good for one Flying Girl.

"The Skyscraper"

Shapiro Building, New York City

Warm weather and an absense of rain for a few days means that the gardeners, specifically hired by Mister Shapiro to ensure the maintenance of his gardens, have been very diligently watering the rooftop plantlife atop the building named for Shapiro himself. It's quite large and also stepped in a way. Each of the skyscraper's three segments is just a little lower than the one before it, but stairways lead from one rooftop to the next. Everything is so perfectly landscaped that it's hard to tell this is even a roof, at times. In fact, a river even runs the whole length, cascading down each step until it filters into a pond on the lowest tier.

Paths wind through this rooftop park, as well. Around them, ankle-high white fences serve as boundaries to keep guests out of the gardens where nearly everything grows - exotic flowers, trees, ferns and mosses. It's as if the man who owns all this truly has a gift. In reality, it's just a carefully maintained environment by the expert gardeners. There are even a few portable greenhouses used for the more tropical species.

What is a garden without a little showing off, though? Every once in awhile, Shapiro offers sponsored tours of the area. A lot of them are invite-only black tie affairs, but this one has been opened to the public, as well. A tour guide leads her group to a small grove of apple trees, which are still partially in bloom. "Mister Shapiro is a big fan of home-made applesauce," she explains. "His wife has been making it for years. There's five trees, each one a different species, but with cross-pollination, each variety is unique to this roof. It's a very rare kind of apple!" For some reason, this draws chuckles from some of the older members of the tour group. Smiling appreciatively, the tour guide moves on.

Erin McCarty is close to the back of the group. She finds the gardens lovely, but the talking is a little cheesy… And hard to listen to. She tunes it out for the most part, stopping to look at some beautiful pink and orange lilies growing close to the path. Reaching out, she brushes one of the leaves, gently removing a virus that would eventually cause the leaves to turn spotted and brown.

"Hey— In the back there - please don't touch the plants. You could damage them." After the tour guide gives Erin a stern look, and some of the rest of the group looks at her with that 'ooh, you've been naughty!' look, Erin shrugs. Next time, she'll just let the damned lilies die!


"You were fixing it, weren't you?" Taine asks, leaning in closer to his pretty girlfriend. The last time they went on a public date, the woman he brought home wasn't the woman he took into the building. Hopefully such things won't repeat again. No one touching her and turning her into a fictional character anymore— or so he hopes. The blond Australian keeps close, shifting to put an arm around her shoulder as they keep up with the group.

"It's nice up here. Good view, nice gardens— good company." The last is said with a brush of his lips against her hair. Yes, he thinks this is a good day.


Call him a hopeless romantic, but there's something about a nice decorative garden with more than a few Japanese species that calls to Adam Monroe. It must be the samurai in him, somewhere, deep down, under than liver that won't ever get cirrhosis, and past the part that puts a price on any and all of his services. That being said, one of the pairs of eyes that spins on Erin is a pair of blue ones, from an invincible man who's here to check out the pretty flowers.


"Mm-hm!" Erin says with a secretive smile, leaning in close to Taine as he puts his arm around her. She, too, is watching out for anyone who feels like randomly touching her. As of yet - and surprisingly - no one seems to recognise her! Maybe it's the sunglasses. They make her look like someone else! "Y'know, next time you have a major mess-up, if you bring me home some lilies like that, I'll forgive you right away. Promise."

Take notes, Taine!

"Here we have Mister Shapiro's Bonsai Garden," the tour guide goes on as they come to a raise brick planter. Within it are a number of sculpted trees, tiny, well-groomed, and very healthy. The crowd gathers around them, interested, wondering where such tiny trees grow in the world! Someone asks if they're weeds.

"All Bonsai are seeded from normal trees that are just kept ery closely monitored as they grow. These here are actually California redwood trees, if you can believe it. They'll never get much taller than this."

The sky slowly begins to grow darker, as if some cloud cover is moving in and ruining the beautifully clear day, but there aren't any clouds around that would cause that to happen.


"Pink and orange lilies next time I'm an ass, I got it," Taine says with a grin, keeping his arm around her as they move into the Bonsai garden. Isn't that something people yell after they take a drink in Japan, too? "Is it cruel that the trees are forced to live out their lives in minature? It's like— redwood action figures." Maybe that's not funny, but he's keeping his voice down for the most part. He thinks his comments are charming and funny, and hopes his girlfriend does too.

Like her, he's also wearing sunglasses, that may help with the disguise, and he's also wearing a normal T-Shirt that could easily make him look like a tourist, especially since it's a t-shirt for the college he attended back in Australia.

"Do you want a Bonsai tree too?"


"They're quite a lot more work than you would ever expect from such a tiny tree," says an-apparently British man to some of the crowd a bit ahead of Tain and Erin, where he's being guided along on the tour. "I tried my hand at it, back in Japan when I was living there, and had difficulty." There's also the fact that the bonsais that went unattended in the, oh, centuries since he was there last, are now fully-grown and dying, or dead and cut down for wood, or just trashed to build shopping plazas and parking garages.

To Taine, he turns and smirks. "Be careful gifting bonsais, mate. You may find out that she finds it more frustrating than relaxing. That's happened to me before, and I wound up just planting it outside." That draws a few chuckles from the crowd. Tiny, labor-intensive plants seems to be one of the themes for this garden.


Cruelty to trees? What? Erin can't help a chuckle. "Don't think they feel much, Taine," she says, rolling her eyes. "Besides, this has been an art dating back… A couple hundred years or something.

"Bonsai - or a similar process - was actually seen depicted in ancient Egyptian paintings," the tour guide notes as she talks to the crowd.

"Or a couple thousand years. Either way, it's been awhile," Erin says, taking a few more steps toward the tiny trees. She looks at them, fighting the urge to touch them - because they're so tiny and cute.

After Adam speaks, the guide smiles, and nods. "It takes about five to ten years, depending on the species, to grow a bonsai from a seed to a size where it can be trained. You can also create bonsai from clippings…" She pauses, glancing skyward as the day suddenly gets darker in the middle of the afternoon. Someone in the group mentions something about an eclipse.

"Too much work," Erin says to Taine. She, too, notices the darkening of the sky, and briefly catches the disc of darkness creeping over the sun before she looks away.

"Looks like we've got something going on in the sky," the guide says, not to be usurped by such a rare celestial phenomenon! "If you'll follow me down to the next tier, we'll take a look at Mister Shapiro's pond gardens."

Slowly, the eclipse reaches its darkest, and the corona becomes visible around it. Most people are more focused on that now than the garden.


"All right, lilies are easier to come by anyway," And the lady said she actually wanted one, so that seems more likely anyway. As the sky darkens, he can't help but look up. "You're not supposed to look at the sun," Taine comments as he glances up anyway, but avoids looking directly at it even then. His sunglasses don't offer much protection, so he doesn't try to look too much at it, other than in the corner of his vision.


Just because you can doesn't mean you should. There's an addage or something like that, and Adam occasionally follows it. Even though he could look right into an eclipse and let all the rays burn his retinas off, he chooses not to. For the sake of appearances. Yeah, that's it. He does pull out the shades of justice though, flipping the arms open and sliding them on his head. It's a lucky thing he doesn't, huh? Kind of like running into the wrong person at the wrong time, except today, he doesn't wind up blind!


On the pond level, George is sitting cross-legged near the edge of the water, looking out at the reflections of green (and some pink) against blue. He's had a moderate interest in Japanese decor for a while - not that he knows a whole lot about the cultural background, he just thinks it looks nice - so he made a point of coming out here early so he could get the guided tour.

That was a mistake. A couple people recognized him and asked a couple questions, and then a couple more, and— well, before it could snowball any further, he politely excused himself, and has been keeping his back turned to the crowds since. It helps that the surface of the water lets him still see who's approaching. Like…

Oh, now that one face over there looks familiar - from a couple years back, but it's also been plastered all over TV. Albeit with lots of makeup. "Erin?" he asks of no one in particular, then turns and waves as his suspicion is confirmed. That's that other guy from the ads, right? But no, wait a minute, Janet said she was going through MPD or something… better be careful. Taking only peripheral note of the eclipse outside, he walks over toward them slowly, watching to see what reaction he gets.


Someone is walking toward her, which makes her a little uneasy. At first, she doesn't recognise the man, but then it sinks in. This is Ali's guy! "…Hey, long time no see," she says with a smile, reaching out to shake his hand. It doesn't seem like she's having any issues with an alternate personality at this time! "…George?" That's his name, right? "Doing okay?"

Totality lasts for just a fraction of time, and then the shadow is moving off the sun, and people are turning back toward the somewhat harried guide. At least she has their attention back! Guiding them down the stairs, she's about to start in on how the pond garden is tended when something falls from the sky.

The shape is moving so fast that it's hard to tell what it is. It hits a full-grown maple; the upper branches slow its fall, thankfully, before it - or rather, she, falls into the water of the pond growing just below the tree. Leaves fall around her, littering the water; a few broken branches drop off and splash into the pond, too.

The woman is face-down in the water, a growing cloud of red spreading under her. Several people stare, not knowing what the hell to do. It's not every day that someone just falls out of the damned sky!

Erin stares, pulling off her sunglasses so she can be sure it's not just a trick of the light. Oddly, she feels somehow more blinded, despite the fact that she only glanced at the sun for a second before she looks away. Now's not the time to consider that, though. "Is that…" she starts, and then amends, "Oh my God. Taine. Did you see that?"

All at once, everyone seems to get it, to understand. They just saw someone fall out of the sky in front of them, and everyone starts talking at once. A few people run to help.


Of the people running to help, Taine isn't one of them. He may play a doctor on television, but the sight of blood isn't something he likes at all. "Did— did someone just jump off of something?" he asks, as he looks around at the other buildings for something that someone could have jumped off of— but doesn't see a situation that could account for this oddity. "Are they filming a movie?" he asks, as the other option to make this reasonable. His arm moves out from around Erin's shoulder as he covers his own mouth.

Did he ever mention he's squimish?


It's the sounds more than the sights that get Adam's attention. Mostly because the sound of a human body crashing into the limbs of a grown maple tree at terminal velocity is pretty loud and unique. If asked, it's something between a squish and a crack, but then there's the splash as the body comes to a final resting place in the pond…just deep enough to leave a CSI-style crime scene with the puddle of blood spilling out about the corpse, pretty as you please. Oh, and by 'get his attention,' it means he jumps up and hunches his shoulders a little, dipping his head down and letting his eyes go wide. Good thing he put those shades on, huh?

"Back…move back…" Adam says, shouldering people out of the way, no stranger to death. The crowd seems just shocked enough to let him through with moderate resistance. Kneeling at the edge of the water, looking at the body, then up into the sky, he puts the pieces together quickly. One, they did not jump. Two, they are dead. Very dead. He stands and spins back to the crowd, pulling off his shades as he does. "Well folks, this is one hell of a maple story."


George hasn't been Ali's guy for a while, thanks to long-distance issues - but yeah, that's where Erin knows him from. Does she know herself, or is he talking to Morgan drawing on shared memories? --well, never mind that now, somebody else just freakin' crashed down into a tree. This isn't his first brush with violence, either; he reaches the pool several steps behind Adam, but continues on to the point of actually wading into it and toward the body. Because if she's still alive and he didn't do anything about it— well, he doesn't need any spin doctors to tell him how that would play out. He looks pretty pale and green himself by the time he gets closer, but he's holding it back. For now.


Erin isn't about to run over and help, either. She takes a step back, still leaning against Taine, as she rubs the foot-long scar on her arm. She's not really so cavaliere about helping people off-camera; leave that for Morgan Starr, the superhero porcupine! …And also her other personality, who's now living in a Jane Doe body, but that's beside the point.

Though not particularly squeamish, she still turns away, hiding her face in Taine's shoulder.

Dead? Somehow, perhaps by some miracle, the person in the pond is still alive. It takes a few seconds, maybe because of shock, but… She's moving, trying to right herself, but is completely unable to do so. The thrashing is… Almost nonexistant. So much is broken. But there's movement present. Hitting the soft branches of the tree first, not crushing anything vital, and then landing in a semi-deep pond probably saved her life. Someone says intelligently, "Oh god— I think she's alive!" And another asks, "Can we move her?"


"Someone needs to call an ambulance is what I think," Taine says immediately, putting a hand on Erin's hair as he pulls a phone out with his other hand, beginning to dial 911 with his thumb as he keeps his hand on her. "Make sure her head isn't in the water at least," he adds, drawing on his many many scripts to try and hold his cool and keep from getting sick with his lady hiding her eyes in his chest. He doesn't even really notice the way the sky's lighting up again, as he waits for someone to pick up, so he can give the address and call for an ambulance. Cause real doctors are better than TV doctors.


"No, don't move her you sod!" Adam scolds someone trying to get in the pond and drag her out. "Don't make it worse, don't risk breaking the back or severing the spinal cord." Yeah, that's pretty much deadly no matter who you are. Even if you're Adam Monroe! "Get - get her head out of the water. Just turn it some! Make sure she can breathe!" So she can speak, of course.

Adam can't let George have all the glory, so he wades in after. "Is she trying to say anything? Did you hear her try to talk? What happened to you?" He's leaning down close to the woman, trying to hear.


George looks up to Adam, shaking his head: no, not that he's heard, at least. If they were lucky, there'd be a doctor or at least a nurse visiting, who might know how to improvise a stretcher or something— but no such luck is on display today, so the two of them will have to do until someone does arrive. Reaching down, he lifts her head gingerly, aiming to get her mouth and nose clear of the water first, then her eyes. She probably doesn't need to see anything, she can feel exactly what happened— and if she was pushed, then whoever did it wouldn't be down here anyway.


When her head is turned out of the water, she takes a deep breath. She'd been holding it as long as she could and was just about to breathe in her first - and last - lungful of pondwater when she felt the warm outside air on her skin. It's obvious that she's hurt. Her nose is broken. Both her arms look out of place. Who knows what happened to her back. A small branch has gone right through one thigh and is sticking out the other side, probably accounting for most of the blood loss. She should be dead. Luck was definitely on her side. "It— it just— it just stopped— " she manages, dark, bloodshot eyes looking to Adam. "Just— just— " Pausing, she breathes. The world is going black around her. It's too much pain.

Erin holds onto Taine's hand as George and Adam attend to the woman in the water. Something definitely feels off to her, even still, but she can't quite put her finger on what.

Other people are calling emergency now, too. At least it'll be easy enough to find the rooftop garden; it's the only zoning varience in the area. There aren't many of these around— at least not ones that are this elaborate.

Minutes pass… It seems to take far too long. The woman in the pond alternates between gasping for air and crying out in pain, as she tries to convey just what it is that happened to her. All she can manage, however, are words here and there that don't fit together. As the sound of a helicopter draws closer, she finally, mercifully, loses consciousness.

The tour guide is //actually trying to wave the copter off as it starts to carefully set down on a large brick patio on the first tier, near the entrance to the gardens. "You can't land here! You can't! You'll ruin the plants!" …needless to say, it lands anyway.


Once his call has been completed, he turns his attention on the woman he'd come here with. There's something different about her demenor that he finds off. "Are you all right?" Taine asks, looking concerned at her for a moment. It's been minutes, after all, and they've just seen a woman get splattered on a rooftop. There are many reasons that she could be upset. "We can go home if you want. I don't think the rest of the tour is going to happen today."


"What stopped? What? The…plane engine? The updrafts?" Who knows, maybe she was hang-gliding over the city or some other strange activity like that. One thing's for sure: gravity did not turn off. Sir Isaac Newton would be proud, huh? The downwash of those helicopter blades causes a few apples to fall too…more proof that Newton is right and everyone else is wrong. "Damnit!" he calls out, smacking a closed fist into the pond with a splash.

1671 - A field outside of Kyoto, Japan

A small outfit of ancient Japanese samurai prepare to shoot arrows on one side of the field. Another samurai appears from over a hill on the opposite side of the field. This lone samurai is flying a banner different to that of the others. A lone Japanese man standing in the field pushes up his glasses and recognizes the banner it is Takezo Kensei. Before the battle can erupt, however, a shadow darkens the ground. The men all pause to look up at the sky, lifting their hands to cover up at the sight of a perfect solar eclipse. It's not long before the arrows start to fly, though, and Hiro finds out his idol isn't who he thought…

The real Takezo Kensei, aka, Adam Monroe is sitting in a bar safetly away from the conflict. Fifty ryo could buy a lot more drinks, but where would he be to enjoy them if he got killed in combat? The eclipse goes unnoticed for the obliterated man in the bar…the last time he'll find himself drunk for centuries.

2010 - New York City, NY

The eclipse 339 years ago giveth, and the this one taketh. Of course, there's no way for Adam Monroe to know this. To him, the eclipse is just a strange period of darkness in the late evening. Sure, he does stop and look up at this one just the same way his body double did centuries ago. This time, there's no waving banners or mounted samurai with bows drawn. It's just this woman lying face down in a pond saying that 'it just stopped.' Did she mean…


The medivac personnel are quick on the scene, and they firmly, but politely, dismiss everyone close to the woman in the pond. They will take over, keeping her from moving while quickly getting her onto the chopper and to a hospital.

Erin looks back over Taine's shoulder and sees that the tour guide is going to be no help at all. She's still shouting at the pilot to 'turn the helicopter off' or get it out of here or some such nonsense, despite the emergency on the second tier. "Taine, we gotta get these people off the roof somehow," she manages. "Get them to the elevators… Just… get them out of here so the crew can do its job." Turning to George, she says, "You're a Senator or something now, yeah? Politician these people off the roof, would you?"


As the emergency crew approaches, George looks up, in time to see and hear Erin again. "Close enough. —C'mon, people, clear a path, okay? Help's here."

All right, she's still alive, at least, he thinks to himself. Now just let her hang on a little longer, or let the crowd be quick on their feet, or //something. Please?// And yes, the crowd does mill back some… but there's a subtle edge missing. Oh well, it happens sometimes, right?


"I don't understand your politics here," Taine says, waving his hand and beginning to make gestures toward the exit, pulling the sunglasses off his face so that his status might be more recognized. "Let's get out of here— those of us that can use the stairs probably should. Come on." The more he says, the more he waves, hoping the gestures speak louder than his voice can, until he turns toward Erin and says, "Okay, let's get out of here, before we get blown off the roof," he has to raise his voice so she can hear it.

He won't stay on the roof and in the way, though. He doesn't want to see the woman get pulled away all bloody, either.


With all of these EMTs around, bustling to the woman from their helicopter, which has throttled back but not stopped the rotors entirely, it'd be difficult at best for Adam to attempt his magic transfusion trick. There's no disguise to be had, no pretending to be a doctor now that the paramedics are beginning to swarm, and no way to draw his blood and inject it into the woman. That would, of course, answer his questions about whether 'it' was turned off in that eclipse, since an eclipse is what turned 'it' on in the first place. "Have at it boys. Which hospital are you taking her to, though?" he tries to extract from one of the rushing paramedics.


There isn't much of anything else that George can do directly for the victim, or for the medical crew— he didn't look over in the right direction until after she'd already landed. Instead, he busies himself by heading into the crowd, asking people if they can think of anything else that should be passed along, but mostly just trying to keep them calmed down. Taine is far from the only one feeling ill - the only reason George has held on this long is that he's been too busy paying attention to everyone else. And even that breaks down before the crew reaches the helicopter once again: abruptly, he grabs at the nearest wall, leaning against it heavily and tugging at his collar.


"Sinai's the closest we can land," one of the medics says, though he's only peripherally paying attention to Adam. Erin reaches out for Adam's arm as Taine starts shepherding people toward the doors. "C'mon. Before the police show up and start barking orders." Speaking of, some officers finally come through the portal onto the roof, and as people move toward the exit, they make sure no one goes back to see the woman in the pond.

Erin herself takes one look back at the victim and wishes she hadn't. They're stabilising her and getting her on a stretcher, and she looks awful.

Finally turning away, she leaves with Taine, glad to be out of there.

It's some time later that the medics finally get her to the chopper. She's stable, facing downward on one of those stretchers with the hole cut in the bottom for her face. She's still in pain, but it's not quite as bad now as she flutters in and out of consciousness. "I… I was…" Breathing slowly, she tries again. "Flying— Then— I— "

"Shh. We'll find out who did this to you, we promise. Right now, you have to stay still," one of the medics tells her. The helicopter fires up again as soon as she's on, and she's whisked away to the hospital for treatment, as the last of the shadow passes from the sun.

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