2009-10-20: These Friends Of Mine



Date: October 20, 2009


Old friends convene in the Stately Cain Manor to discuss the disappearance of one of their own, and what they're going to do about it.

"These Friends of Mine"

The Stately Cain Manor, Somewhere in Upstate New York

No matter where the Cains were staying…well they almost always had room, they knew him and they knew pretty much everyone important to the young man. So it just made since for Eric Lancaster to crash with them for the few days he was in town. He had debated trying to get ahold of some of his friends while there…he hadn't quite just packed up and left one day, but he hadn't been all that well in contact with them. He said his goodbyes before and he wasn't planning on staying in town for all that long…

Funny how plans change at the drop of a hat isn't it?

For the moment though the young man toys with a cellphone, tempted to call someone he knows. Jaden's left him home alone, saying he needed to get /something/ and zooming off in typical Jaden style. He has the run of the house, well besides the butler of course but for the moment he isn't quite sure what to do with himself. Call Jack? Trina? Gene? Elena? Any of the old gang…it could be a nice little meeting even if it was just for dinner…he hasn't kept up with people like he should…

A shrug of his shoulders then before the young man hops off the bed he was lying on and decides to mull on this decision while going to attend to something mighty important…

…lunch. There should be /something/ downstairs.

When she arrives, it's with little fanfare. Eric will probably recognize the transportation she has taken to the Cain Manor when he looks out the window. It is the SWIFT, the sleek super-bike that Gene had been working on. Odd, perhaps, to see Elena with it…. especially without Gene in tow. Either Gene liked Elena enough to trust her with it, or Gene wasn't around to give her his say-so.

The latter would be disturbing, wouldn't it?

When the Cain butler lets her in, Elena turns around, shucking off her coat. There is a question there, where was Jaden Cain? The expression on her face is serious, and when the man tells her that the master of the house is not around, she can't help but sigh quietly. Naturally, no one knows when Jaden will be back and she needs to talk to him - either her voicemail got lost in the tons of voicemail left for the CEO of Evosoft daily, or it just never got to him. It's been close to two weeks, and this can't wait any longer.

Eric was walking downstairs when the super-bike arrives outside the Manor so it takes him a moment to get to where he can see it. The SWIFT. A smile comes to his face then, must be Gene come by to see Jaden. He pauses though on the stairs as he hears the front door, a yawn is covered with one hand before he nods to himself once. Must be Jaden coming back home right? Right. So with an ease born of a years practice the young man simply steps into the shadows of the stairwell and disappears.

The lights in the house are off as Elena is shown in and left alone in the foyer. The Butler said he would go inform the masters guest that someone else was here. She's not alone for more than a few handfuls of heartbeats before the shadows swirl on the opposite wall from her and disgorge…an Eric.

He's a bit different, his hair cut short on his scalp. Hands thrust into the pockets of a pair of black pants and with a dark gray t-shirt on. He's older around the eyes, and those eyes are looking towards the door even as he's speaking as he is stepping out.

"Jaden! You left me here and didn't tell me you left! Is Gene here I sa—-"

…and he trails off as he notes just /who/ is in the foyer now with him. A blink. Then again. "…er…Elena?" Pause. "…I…thought you were Jaden…" He says as he trails off and shakes his head. "Um…hi?"

When Eric slides out of the shadows and starts heading towards her, she turns around. Different, like him - older, certainly, girlish features giving way to something a little more mature. Her hair is cut to the shoulderblades and straightened, though there are many things about her that would still remind him of those days in NYU. Wide, gold-flecked obsidian eyes widen as she looks at him. Despite the leaner form and the close-cropped hair, she knows him - knows him very well. Clad in a pair of hipster jeans, a tanktop, and a slim-fitting leather jacket and black boots, there is something about the way she looks, dressed in muted colors and far away from the bright and rainbow hues that she favored in the past, that denotes something more severe, a vibe that was similar to Ramon Gomez's intensity.

All falling by the wayside when lips part disbelievingly.

"….Eric…." she utters, for a moment she is speechless, shock of seeing her one-time crush/close friend hitting her full on the face.

That falls away too. Especially when he mentions Gene. The tight, urgent lines on her face bleed away, delicate features scrunching up. He wouldn't even have time to react, Elena staggering towards him, her arms slinging over his neck. If it were Jaden, she'd probably get the same reaction - she hasn't seen them for so long, and the fact that all she had to tell them was bad news when homecoming should be a happy thing is crushing.

This is when she starts crying, hiccupped words making their way to Eric's ears. Gene. Something about their people getting rounded up like animals by the feds. Something about said dangerous people taking Gene, and that they found her tracker, and she didn't know how to find him.

Well…this was /not/ how he thought he was going to get introduced to his friends again. His own eyes widen as she staggers his way, no he doesn't have time to react but that’s alright he wouldn't have moved if he had. It's an automatic reaction, staggering just slightly as his hands come out of his pockets and Eric's arms encircle the young woman he says nothing for a long time, just holding her as his mind works urgently at trying to decipher those sobbing and choked words of the young woman that he was at one time quite hung up on. "Easy Elena, easy…" He murmurs softly in her ear as one hand raises up to stroke the woman's hair softly and gently. Oddly that hand he uses, his left, is wrapped in a black leather glove. "…if I had known you were going to react like this I would have called first…" He adds as he holds her close and just lets her cry all over is expensive designer shirt. Not that he cares about that in the least at the moment.

"Wait…Gene? What about Gene…" He listens, filtering those words she's whispering to him again as he shakes his head slightly. "Rounding us up? And…they have Gene…and…" He pauses again before drawing in a deep and slow breath before letting it out in a long and controlled sigh. "…well then…" He murmurs quietly. "Good thing I decided to visit when I did. When do we go get him out?"

We. Not how can I help, not I need to leave soon. Not I have to stay hidden. We. Same ol' Eric in some things, willing to dive headfirst back into a mess he thought he left all for one friend.

The rest of the story of the night he got captured comes pouring out. Elena leaves no detail behind, starting from the plan to get Emily, Charlotte's bungle, and everything else.

Hair-stroking helps, it seems - at least there was something that didn't change. Elena's sobs abate after a few moments. She wasn't a crier, she never has been, and after that initial moment, she pulls away, her knuckles brushing defiantly over her eyes and a quiet apology muttered over to Eric. Taking a deep breath, she shakes her head. "I don't know," she tells him. "I haven't heard anything… everybody's going in hiding. I should be doing the same. We should all be doing the same. But I can't. Not right now, once we get Gene back then I'll go. But not before. Problem is I don't know where he is. They disabled the tracker I planted on him. There's no way to know, unless we team up with the Company, or one of us situates himself or herself to get caught… and the latter option doesn't help anyone."

She rakes her fingers through her hair. "Doesn't help that they're picking off Company agents too. Ben and Peter suspect some kind of leak… that the feds somehow got their hands on Company information. I have to operate under the assumption that they've got my file. I think they never did get any information on you and Jaden so at least there's that, the two of you can still walk in broad daylight. Gene had been off the grid forever …until he got caught because of that stupid amateur Pinehearst bitch who thought teleporting in a locked train was a good idea."

Yup. Still a little mad at Charlotte.

She looks over at Eric. "I haven't heard anything since then," she tells him. "I think the only option now is somehow trap one of their agents and interrogate him until he spills where Gene is. I know where I saw them last. Maybe they're still there." For someone who is suggesting they kidnap and interrogate a federal agent into giving them answers, she sounds relatively calm.

Well he does know here well, the hair-stroking always helped. No matter how hard she was crying it always did help just a little bit. Eric shakes his head slight, smiling as he looks down towards the woman. "You know…I seem to remember telling you /years/ ago that you don't have to apologize for ruining my shirts like that." He quips towards her. His smile isn't as quick as it used to be, and his eyes not as bright. He's still…well…Eric though it seems and his face takes on a more serious cast as she explains. "…I'll set something up overseas if we need it. I've been running Lancaster's new branch in England for the past few months." He adds with a nod towards her. "First though will be Gene…then we can get out of here." He shakes his head. "No, if one of us gets caught then we are just in a bad position again if we can't track /them/. Teaming up with the company…" He shakes his head. "I don't like that idea at all."

Something is different about that, harder when he talks about that group but he is concentrating on the new problem that he just picked up he looks like and not whatever else is bothering him.

"…if that’s true then it's another reason not to team up with them. I'll see what I can find out but I don't have that many Federal contacts, and if I start pressing too hard they’ll get suspicious." He shakes his head. "…yeah. Still a bit torqued off at this teleporter aren’t you?" His wry comment comes with a shake of his head.

"…if you know where they are the that might be just what we have to do. Have you talked to Jack about it all yet?" He asks softly towards the woman. He knows Jack would want to help on this. "I mean I think I can get two, maybe three people inside a place now." He's gotten better then and that. "You /are/ talking about becoming a fugitive for…well for a very long time if they find out it was you who did it right?"

"So that's where you've been?" Elena asks now that she's regained some of her earlier, composure - one last, stray tear and it's gone. Save for the puffiness of her eyes, there is no indication that she had been crying earlier. "We can't leave without getting Gene back. And then we'll figure out where we're running. I'm having the rest of my family shipped to Mexico….we have relatives there." She rakes her fingers through her loose hair. "We might not have a choice at the end of it. The Company has more information on them than we do. We can trust Ben, and we can trust Peter. I don't know about the rest of them, or his cohorts."

When Eric calls her on being torqued by the teleporter still, he gets an answering, flat look. She doesn't need to respond to that verbally.

She shakes her head. "I think Jack and Trina packed up and moved, probably to try and get as much quiet as they can. I don't know when they're coming back, if ever." She nods at his warning, glancing over at Eric. "This is Gene. He would drop everything for us," she reminds. "I think it's about time we did the same for him. He sacrificed himself so I wouldn't get captured. Leaving without him is unacceptable. If I have to liquefy a federal agent's insides to help him, I will."

There's a pause, and when she speaks up it's softer. "Gene's cancer was cured," she tells Eric. "He just got a second chance at life. I'm going to try and make sure he gets it."

"Well one of the things I've been doing. I went to Oxford," Eric replies wryly towards the woman before he reaches up with his gloved hand and helps to wipe the last stray bit of moisture from her cheek. "Of course we can't leave without getting Gene back. Then we'll all have to go to ground for awhile though." He nods slightly. "I'll talk to your father, see if I can help with getting the rest of everyone moved." He adds as he pauses to think for a moment then nod. "Alright then, if you think we don't have a choice…then we don't have a choice. You're right though, they don't have anything on Jaden or I."

That look just gets Eric to grin back towards her for just a moment. Ah so much said with just a look.

A slight sigh before he nods. "Alright then, you haven’t told Jaden about it yet though?" He wishes Jack and Trina had stayed…but…no it's better for them if they go for now. "I know it's Gene. We will do whatever we can do get him out of there." He says firmly. "It's entirely unacceptable just to leave /any/ of us locked up somewhere."

There is a flash of surprise on his face then. "Cured? Really?! That’s…that’s…" He shakes his head, a loss for words for a moment before he adds. "Right. Then we definitely have to get him out…"

They happen to be in the foyer of the home of Jaden Cain at the moment, standing in the dark as they talk in quiet tones. It's not like Eric needs light to see, and Elena just arrived.

"…we can tell Jaden when he gets back from…wherever he is. Come on, lets go raid his fridge. That used to always get him back quicker than just waiting."

"I left Jaden a voicemail but I think it either got lost or they started pulling Evosoft messages out," Elena tells Eric grimly. "They took Gene, he's still employed at Evosoft. They're bound to check him, and the company." She sighs softly. "Peter and I managed to clean out Gene's lab from all the sensitive material he's got in there. He's spent the last year or so helping people like us….if they managed to grab his stuff, it'd be a goldmine for the hunters." She follows Eric back towards the kitchen, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning her hip against the counter. She'll let him raid the fridge first, her own raiding is going to take a little longer.

"Good, and worrisome. I thought you pulled through with your European specialists, but I think someone else managed to cure it…or do some sort of procedure on him." She furrows her brows at Eric. "When I asked him who I had to thank for saving his life, he strangely didn't want to talk about it."

When it's her turn, she opens the door of the fridge, looking through and grabbing whatever she could find that looks good. "But we do need to talk to Jaden. Him and Gene have this sort of project going."

The Tower. Well, honestly, it's not really a tower. It's more like the Ultra Secret Hideout That Nobody Can Find But Jaden Mallard. Anyway, the infamous (well, not until the newspaper does a story on him, but close enough) Darkwing Dork is sitting in his chair, in front of his massive crime computer and monitoring the city. While monologuing to himself…

"And so, the mighty man-mallard, Darkwing Dork, scopes out the city, making sure that every nook and cranny is covered. Not a criminal soul can hide from his piercing gaze! There is crime afoot and I will not rest until…"


Jaden spins around, looking at the most secure monitor in this entire place. It's the labeled: The Kitchen. Sliding over on the chair, he peers and frowns. "Intruders. They must be after my stash. But I can't let them know that I'm Darkwing. This looks like a job for… someone else!" And with that, Jaden Cain is already taking off running towards an empty door in the secret hideout, peeling off his cape and preparing for a quick change.

Stately Cain Manor. The Kitchen. Where everything is as it should be. Except for something. Something's off. And it continues to be off… until the far wall practically explodes with the smashing arrival of one Jaden Cain, decked out in a huge red t-shirt and red cap. Graffiti'd across the shirt is: KOOL-AID.


Don't worry. It's a breakaway wall from Candyland Studios.

Eric was just reaching for the fridge, his fingers wrap around it as he starts to open he massive metal door.

"Yeah, which means they might go after your father, me, any known associates which we all are. More so when they realize that you are a connection for most of us and that they might actually have your file." He says as he lets his hand just rest there for a moment as he speaks. "Good though, I'm glad you cleaned out some of the major stuff in his place."

"…mmm…no it wasn't me. Believe me I tried, still trying to be honest…but yeah that is worrisome that he won't even tell you about it." He pauses for a moment to look curiously back towards the woman. "…a project? Alright. Now I'm /really/ worried…"

That’s when he blinks as he notices something, right as he's pulling up a fridge. "…er…wait…that’s weird…that wall wasn't even /there/ yeste——"


Leaping backwards, a jug of apple cider in one hand and a banana in the other the multimillionaire just stands there for a moment before he just JABS the fruit in Jaden's direction.

"Don't DO that!" He calls out towards his only mildly crazed friend.


Elena, enabler of all insanity, doesn't even yell at the Kool Aid man. She just trots on over and gives him a hug. After a squeeze, she pulls away. "We need to talk." The four words a man never wants to hear from a woman. But this can't wait, her expression turns serious right away. "It's Gene. They took him." It could be any they, but she'll get to that in a minute. She'll let Eric jump in for the time being.

Jaden holds up a hand to block the fruit attack, but then there is a Sudden Elena and Jaden almost melts in her arms. God, a hug from the woman he can't stop crushing on. This is not happening. This is not happening. This IS happening. This is REALLY happening! This is… aw, it's over. Dammit. He didn't even get the chance to cop a feel. Sighing, though, he just kind of turns to slide over the mess that's been made and over to the cabinet next to the fridge. Opening it reveals wall to wall boxes of Scooby Snacks. "Took Gene? What?" Jaden is not really understanding this crazy woman talk. He's too busy opening up his box of Scooby Snacks and munching on the first one. "Mmmm. Nacho."

Swinging the jug of cider at Jaden's shoulder lightly the shadow walker just smirks and shakes his head. "Where have you been man? I've been here all day." He flashes the other one a grin before he nods. "Yeah. Some government group seems to have decided to start taking all of us. Gene and Elena and some girl that can teleport all went to free…someone right?" He glances towards Elena for confirmation. "But because the bamphing girl bamphed wrong Gene sacked himself to protect Elena and now we have to go find him. We don't know who the heck has em or where he is either."

So yeah. Nothing but good news today!

"… That shouldn't be a problem. I've got ways of finding Honker." Pause. "Gene. I've got ways of finding Gene that neither of you know about. I'll get right on it." Jaden is still seeming as nonchalant as possible. He's not worried about a thing. He's pretty sure the genius that is Gene has designed a pretty cool system of tracking. "If that's what you consider a problem, you two must not know me very well. I'm Jaden Cain. Finder Extraordinaire."

"Anything you can grab would be awesome, Jaden," Elena says simply. "I put the tracker you gave me on him but I don't think he's got it anymore. So now I'm left sitting on my ass until we hear something from anyone about where he's going to be. We can't run unless we find him, and I'm not leaving him behind if we all decide to bail the city with this government corralling program in the works." She leans back against the granite counter, rubbing the side of her face.

"We'll find him Elena," Eric replies as he sighs and nods once towards the woman. "Come on though, have a bit of trust in Jaden. He can find him if anyone can." He adds as he sets the jug of the drink on the counter. He looks between the pair of old friends before he sighs. "…well it's good to be back home." He says after a moment with a smile towards the pair of them. "We'll hear something soon Elena, and when we do we can do something about it. Then we can get out of town."

"Time Out." Jaden looks at the Fourth Wall and even manages to bring his hands up to make the classic T symbol. "If I don't figure out a way to find Gene, the gang's going to get out of town and I'll be left here all by myself. If I'm by myself, I won't get a chance with Elena. This can't happen. Luckily, I've already got a plan." Jaden smiles at the audience watching at home, before he breaks the T shape of his hands and looks back at Elena and Eric like nobody heard anything that he just said. "Nobody's going anywhere. You all can stay here. Nobody comes in Stately Cain Manor without me knowing."

"Uh…" Elena blinks when Jaden's inside voice becomes outside voice, rubbing the back of her neck and looking absolutely perplexed. "Well I'm not blowing this town without all of you," she tells the two of them. "Including Gene. If we have to run. Part of me wants to stay and fight it out like Jack would, but…" She's not Jack. She doesn't have access to guns, cars, and endless supplies of ammo. However at Jaden's offer, her expression softens. "Thanks, Jaden," she murmurs, worry evident in her expression. "So what's the plan?" she asks. "If you're solo-ing anything, it could be dangerous."

"See Jaden," Eric says with a smirk. "No one is leaving without all of us. So she's staying if you stay." He blinks for a moment. "All of us can stay here…there are /a lot/ of us you know Jaden." A pause. "Though there /are/ a lot of rooms aren’t they?" He shakes his head. "We don't have the supply base to fight them…." Eric says quietly on the heels of Elena's words. He was thinking the same thing.

"Wise man say do not be fooled by what is your eyes can see." Jaden is hoping he managed to get that fortune cookie phrase out and about. But actually, he knows he messed it up. But he's not worried too much about it. "Listen. This is me we're talking about here. Do you think I'd build Stately Cain Manor without a few tricks up its sleeves?" Jaden grins, as if he's been hiding a few things from his friends for longer than they could possibly have even thought about it. "Besides, if we run out of rooms, Elena can just bunk with me. Problem is so solved it's Algebra." Jaden hasn't really decided how he's going to find Gene, but he's sure he can come up with some suitable action. "As for whether or not I'm going on a solo suicide mission?" Blip! "You have to remember…" Jaden shows up behind Elena. "I'm never…" Jaden shows up right next to Eric. "Alone." There's Jaden, sitting on the counter and tossing an apple into the air. Which is snatched out of the air by Jaden, also. "Especially…" And there's another four Jadens that kind of fan out from behind Jaden Prime. "When he's got us." Jaden Prime just kind of smiles and holds his arms out to the side. Ta da?


She looks over at Eric. "…he's got a point," Elena tells him flatly. Still, she doesn't look too excited about staying in the manor while Jaden runs off to grab Gene from wherever he's being held. So long as Gene is found, however, she doesn't care who gets him so long as someone does, be it herself, or Jaden, or Eric, or… she sighs, and drops a hand to ruffle Jaden's hair from where she's standing. "I'll leave it to you, big guy," she tells him with a small smile. "Though I'm not doubting the Cain Manor and its tricks. I've been gone a while, but something tells me I'll like what you did with the place."

"…yeah…can't /really/ argue with that sort of thing," Eric replies with a shake of his head as he looks towards Jaden. And Jaden. Jaden. Jaden…well you get the idea. A sigh with a shake of his head then before he leans back against the counter. "Alright. So you are never alone, we got it." He raises an eyebrow then before shaking his head. "Alright Jaden, we'll leave it in all your different pairs of hands." Pause. "And Elena gets her own room." He adds with a mock-stern glare towards the other man. "I'm already staying here though, so that makes things easy enough for me to move in…for an extended stay. I'm not going back to England while Gene is in trouble."

"Right. Me? You go with Elena to help her get her things. Other me? You get upstairs and make room in my room." Ahem! Jaden rolls his eyes at himself. "/Our/ room." The Jadens smile. "Anyway, just get upstairs and get that place cleaned up. The rest of mes, hit the streets and see what you can find out. The smallest lead is all we need." The Jadens all raise their fist power ranger style, "Right!" And within the next moment, they're all filing out of the kitchen to take care of their specific tasks. Apparently, Jaden has been practicing with his ability or something. That happened with minimal effort!

"I took the SWIFT out of Gene's lab. If we can park it someplace secure, I'll be happy," Elena tells OtherJaden, the one standing near her. Shaking her head. "I moved some stuff in Parkview Estates as a decoy, in case the feds did get my file from the Company. If they're going to be looking for me, that'll probably be the first place they'll go to - it's deeded and everything. Maybe we can even booby-trap it and see who it ensnares." She glances over at Eric, and then at Jaden. "Just like old times," she murmurs. "Anyway, I'll go grab some of my stuff off the SWIFT… and Jaden, I mean it, if you need help with your plan, let me know." And then she'll bring OtherJaden with her to grab her stuff, like what Jaden Prime says.

OtherJaden may or may not be trying to cop a squeeze on Elena's ass.

"I'm sure Jaden here has Tony Stark's garage around here somewhere," Eric replies with a shake of his head and a flicker of amusement on his face. "Good idea, I'm sure we can work on something. If they /do/ have your file Jaden and I will have to minimizes public time with you just to make sure no one comes poking around the Manor. That…might end badly." Even if it /is/ the X-Mansion. A smirk then towards Elena and he shrugs. "Eh, life was getting boring anyway. The only person that’s tried to kill me in the last year was by brother." He pauses for a moment. "I'll make some calls, set up a few things. Have some more stuff brought over. That alright with you Jaden?"

"Excellent!" All of the Jadens proceed to do an air guitar riff, which probably is giving Eric the OK to do whatever he wants to do. Meanwhile, Jaden Prime has managed to get himself out of the kitchen under the guise of one of the Dittos that're walking around this small area. Apparently, he's about to go and get suited up or something. He's got a gadget man to find. That's So Jaden.

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