2012-04-02: Earth And Steel


Echo_icon.jpg Giea_icon.jpg

Summary: Echo is not a believer in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Giea shows remarkable patience.

Date: April 2, 2012

Log Title: Earth and Steel

Rating: G

NYC - Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Station is one of the main hubs to get in and out of Manhattan. The main concourse is vast with marble covering the floor and walls. Looking up at the ceiling is looking at a piece of art, mapped out is all the constellations in gold on a blue background. In the center of the main concourse is a circular information booth displaying departure and arrival times of the various trains. Once you leave the Main Concourse there are many expensive shops to be found. There is also a major food court within the Station, where visitors can feast and chat before their train arrives.

It's always very busy in Grand Central Terminal, which is perhaps one of the reasons that Giea often gets turned around when she's trying to return home. It's afternoon, after the time when many classes at the university end, and the young woman is timidly trying to make her way through the crowd. Some part at the sight of her white cane, letting her by unimpeded, but many also don't notice or don't care, and Giea taps them on the ankle and offers a quiet apology.

One person who does not move out of the way when tapped gently on the ankle has an entirely different reaction. Clad entirely in black military surplus gear with a red nylon backpack, a woman with steely eyes and chin length dark brown hair pivots sharply on a heel. Quickly she nudges the tip of the white cane with the toe of one of her black boots, hooking under it and knocking it sharply upwards like a soccer player lifting the ball. Equally quick, her right hand snakes out to grab Giea's cane and give it a swift, rough tug, refusing to let go. "What do you want?" the woman demands brusquely.

Giea seems to almost lose her balance when the cane is tugged, and she lets out a squeak of surprise at the motions, holding onto her cane. "Please let that go, I need it to know where things are!" she protests, not loosening the grip on her end of the cane either. "I can't see and I need it to get around…"

The cane might as well be stuck in a vise for all the give the woman in black's grip has. Her eyes flick up and down Giea appraisingly for a few seconds. Dismissively she releases her hold on the cane and lets it drop back to the tiled floor. "Maybe if you took off the sunglasses indoors you could see where you're going," the woman comments, snide but deadpan.

"I wear sunglasses because most people find it uncomfortable looking at my eyes, since I'm blind and I guess they think they look unfocused?" says Giea, seeming unsure, since she's never really seen her eyes before. "My eyes don't work. At all."

"Why not?" asks the woman impassively. Her expression is as bland as her tone, neither smiling nor frowning in the slightest. "Why haven't you had them repaired?"

Giea raises her eyebrows slightly and then says, "There's nothing to be done. The neural connections aren't there. They can't be repaired, it's not possible…"

The woman's eyes narrow. "Irreparably defective," she concludes, tilting her head to one side as if to regard Giea from a slightly different angle. "And your parents just let this happen? You weren't replaced?" A brief expression creeps onto the otherwise perfect poker face, a quick skyward roll of her eyes.

"Replaced?" repeats Giea, seeming horrified at the idea, "You don't replace your children! You love them!" She pushes up her glasses lightly and says, "Besides, there are plenty of things that I can do even if I cannot see. Many people undervalue anyone who is differently abled."

A soft sound escapes the woman in black, like an incredulous 'tch'. "A blind man is helpless. He can't spot the target, can't help his team, can't even defend himself." She shifts her weight to one foot, folding her arms across her stomach. "Worse than that, he's a liability to everyone around him. Worse than any other kind of casualty."

Giea shakes her head slowly and says, "A blind man can write, and educate, can do mathematics. Just because of something holding a person back from whatever kind of field work you're involved in, by the sounds of things, it doesn't mean that they can't perform other kinds of duties. Ones that could support you in some way. A disability doesn't make a person useless."

"Helpless," Echo corrects. "Not useless. A disadvantage, an inadequacy that makes him unsuitable for most tasks." If her goal was to belittle or offend, her choice of words is appropriate, at least. "I'm sure there are other, less important things he could do."

Giea purses her lips lightly, and says, "Unsuitable to some tasks. Like I said, the ones that you're familiar with. And just because they are not the sorts of things that you do, doesn't mean they are less important. Every piece in a framework is important."

The woman in black is silent for a moment. "I have little experience outside my own field," Echo admits, apparently about as close to an apology as Giea's likely to get. "Things are very… different here."

Giea nods her head once and then says, "By the sounds of it, I can imagine that they are. Where are you from, if you don't mind my asking? It seems like you're some kind of military personnel…"

"I've worked with private military contractors before," confirms Echo with a nod. "We parted ways after a dispute and I came here to start fresh. But it's not going as well as I thought it would." She hooks her thumbs into the straps of her red backpack. "It's very expensive trying to live here and money's hard to come by."

Giea nods her head slowly and then says, "I'm sure there are plenty of jobs out there that you could get with the skills you gained. At the worst, you could try and get something not so meaningful but still brings in a little money while you look for other work. Unless you've already found a job and you're still not finding you make enough…"

"Not as many as you might think," counters the woman in black though not unkindly. She goes on, a bit wryly, "I'm not without disadvantages myself." Glossing over that quickly, Echo cranes her neck to read the posted train timetable before looking back to Giea. "How do you expect to go where you need to if you can't see? Do you need help?" she asks, not making it clear whether she's offering or simply curious.

"Oh, no, I usually don't need help unless I get turned around… I remember the train schedules, especially when I'm supposed to take them, it's not to hard really," says Giea, then tapping the ground with her cane, "To get around close by, I use my cane to feel my way forward, which is why I bumped into you. I'm sorry I startled you, but I didn't notice you there until my cane touched."

Echo glances down at the cane and its tap-tapping, bumping it lightly with the toe of a boot. "It doesn't seem very safe to travel like that. This city can be dangerous." A slight pause and an uncertain twitch of her lips, caught between a smile and a frown. "It's all right. I'm just not used to being touched."

"Yes, this city is pretty dangerous," admits Giea, nodding once and then considering, "I usually end up okay even when I find myself in dangerous situations… However, it's hard to tell what's going on lots of the time."

"I'm sorry to hear that," the woman in black says sympathetically. "I've already had to defend myself several times. Maybe I made the wrong choice in coming here." Dropping her hands from the straps of her backpack, Echo straightens the black BDU jacket and smoothes out a bulge at her left armpit. "I could protect you along the way to wherever you're going. For a fee."

Giea considers for a moment and then says, "I don't think I'd be able to afford a fee, I'm sorry… Not for a bodyguard, I mean…" The young woman folds her hands together and seems to think for a few moments, "I wish that I could help you. I'm well off, but not that well off."

Steel grey eyes dart briefly around the cavernous hall of the central terminal. It's still quite crowded though the flow of foot traffic inexplicably curves around the two people standing still. They must be used to it. Echo's gaze moves off the travelers and around the walls and ceiling to all the little cameras with blinking red lights. "That's too bad," she says at last, eyes dropping back to Giea.

Giea shrugs slightly and says, "I also already have someone who looks after me and helps me sometimes, and I'm sure she'd rather not find herself out of a job. Though she's not a bodyguard, but I think I'm rarely a target, anyways… It's good sometimes being kind of unobtrusive."

"Yeah," agrees the woman in black. "It is. I'm sorry if I've kept you. You don't want to miss your train, after all." Echo takes a half-step back, her quiet footfalls obscured by the general clamor of sound in the grand open space. "Good luck."

Giea smiles and says, "Oh, yes, I should go… It was nice meeting you, but I'm sorry again for startling you." The woman then starts off towards her train area, extending her cane again to sense her way forward.

Echo stops and turns, halfway to the counter, eyes following Giea. Pursing her lips, she drifts slowly back into the moving crowd and out onto the street through a different door than the one by which she entered, never having bought a ticket.

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