2009-07-16: Random Walking


Keld_icon.jpg Curtis_icon.jpg

Summary: Keld finds Grand Central Station by random walk, Curtis(Freedom Ring) shows him the way back.

Date: July 16, 2009

Random Walking

Rating: G

NYC - Grand Central Station

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.

Keld is a total tourist/wandering … how did he NOT get mugged? … the man is openly staring. Well, perhaps it's the "Hi, I'm very buff and I move like I can pull your lungs out your ears," but he's GAWKING at stuff. Like, staring at the newspapers like they were something really weird.

Blinking as he walks along, one Curtis Doyle just stares when he spots Keld. He's dressed normally right now, ring just looking mundane as he's in his civillain guise. Eventually, the urge to be helpful overcomes Curtis' desire to get home sooner and he approaches Keld. "Excuse me…are you lost? Need help?"

A transit cop - very butch, very macho, about five-six, black, forties, female - has been watching the shiftless (but not shirtless! He has clothes) and wandering vagrant-looking fellow for about ten minutes. As he has no camera, no baggage, and as he is clearly carrying neither a cellphone, a map, nor a wallet in those skin-tight blue jeans, he is perforce a Suspicious Character. She has waited for him to buy a ticket to justify his existence in this place, but so far, nothing. Further, he looks like the too-pretty white boy her ex-husband ran off with, and THAT means she is already not liking him. She tells her partner (over the little headset thing they all wear) that she is approaching a vagrant, possibly a dangerously triggery returned war vet (all in code-words of course) but then stops short, as a civilian approaches the target.

Keld looks up as Curtis approaches. Hm. Another offer to help. If they're all like this guy and Jennifer Walters, and even that odd kid with the symbiont, well, it's a surprise this place is not packed wall-to-wall with visiting tourists. Or skrulls. You never know if they're visiting. Or planning to invade, but that's always a question, isn't it, when you find a lovely, ripe planet like this one.
"Hello. I'm not so much lost as I am unfamiliar with everything here. I find that I am without the usual medium of exchange, and your transit systems all seem to require the stuff to use them. So I'm just admiring the artwork and such. But, can you tell me which direction the Avengers' Mansion is?"

The guard (Mrs. Adams) is now annoyed. The fellow is starting some sort of a spiel on the civilian.

Having not noticed the security guard but knowing they're a pain in the neck in GSC, Curtis offers a smile to Keld. "You're…new to New York City?" he asks. Listening to what Keld says, Curtis blinks again. "Umm. Avengers Mansion? Yeah…I know where that is? Why…" he asks cautiously. Curtis of course knows where at least two skrulls are right now but he's not sure who or what Keld is.

Keld nods. Well, first he narrows his eyes, half-smiles and tilts his head to the side slightly, looking away from Curtis for an instant - and THEN he remembers that this is NOT "agreement" in Terran bodyparlance. In fact it's likely to be misinterpreted. He nods, a little too engergetically.
"Yes, exactly, I've only been here for a few days, and Jennifer said she would take me to see Spider-Woman but she got called away by a case, and I was going, stir-crazy? Yes. Stir crazy."

The doughty Mrs Adams takes a moment to weigh the situation. The one with the red-streaked hair and the fake tan is clearly flirting with the blond kid, who seems harmless enough, but no match if "red" decides to lure him into an alley. She steps two steps closer and a swarm of Japanese Tourist With Children passes right between them and her.

Keld stands, left thumb looped in his pocket, and looks around, "Is there a nav-terminal or something nearby?"

Still confused, Curtis takes a deep breath. "I'm gonna guess you're not from around here…" he trails off. Looking around, he reaches out to take Keld's arm and lead him somewhere less public. "Where'd you come from anyway? You live with the Avengers or are you one of them?" he asks, hoping Keld isn't trying to kill the Avengers.

Damnit! Adams sees the vanishing backs of the two heading past the door. At this point, it's "abandon your post" or "issue alert" but she didn't actually see money change hands. She shrugs, and says into her lapel mic, "Rogers? There's a possible hustle-and-switch heading towards your door, tall guy, fake tan, fake red hair, hobo clothes, and a shorter guy, blond, nondescript. You know the drill."
Satisfied, she returns to her post, missing the abduction of one of the japanese children (not to worry, the parents caught it.)

Touching the "lost" fellow. That sense of strangeness intensifies. First, as is obvious, he's somewhat ripped. His skin feels different than normal though - stiffer, perhaps, and no fine film of body hair, but it's warm and the muscles moving underneath might as well be metal. Second, his thoughs are suddenly RIGHT THERE in the open.
<One of them? No, I have not been asked to war-bond with them. I am a ?guest?house-arrest?visitor there.>

Curtis pauses a moment, surprised by the telepathy. He frowns, his own thoughts suddenly shielded other than a faint whisper of <mental shield> repeated a few times. Leading Keld towards a fairly deserted donut place and then a small table in the back, the blond teen sighs. "So you're a house guest of the Avengers? And do they know you're missing?" he asks, seemingly unbothered by how different Keld feels. Of course, he feels a lot more durable than normal humans anyway.

"I left a message with Jarvis. He advised me against going across any bridges," Keld answers. "But I did go farther than maybe I should have."
The telepathy goes away when there's no skin-to-skin contact, but then, there wasn't any sense of being "read" either. And no language bleed-over this time.

Sitting and directing Keld to do the same, Curtis nods. "Yeah. I'd say you did," he says with a smile. Of course, somehow…they seem to vanish to everyone but the two of them. "I can get ya back home really quick but you have to promise to keep a secret. Well…" he pauses. "You can tell the Avengers but no one else. Can you do that?"

Emotions on his sleeve, this Keld. Like Keanu. Yeah. He inclines his head in a 1.4 degree nod, and murmurs, "of course," as if it were a law of nature, like gravity or the rotary motion of accidentally dropped toasted grain-sim-disks when they have had an ounce of oil-grain paste spread on one side only.
"By the way, my name is Keld. Do you know the Avengers?" Of course the probability of him knowing them and meeting by accident is miniscule; they must have been monitoring him, but he hasn't seen anyone except the minor military peacekeepers (transit cops) and no civilians have followed him far. Although they MAY have gotten to the point where pervasive security monitors might be available. Perhaps.

Curtis lets out a nervous little chuckle. "Sort of. I saved all their lives once but I ended up almost dieing so …" he just trails off. Checking quickly to make sure the cloaking field is still working, Curtis takes a breath. A blue light spreads from his chest outwards over his body. Once it clears, Curstis Doyle has been replaced with Freedom Ring. Pink and Black costume, glowing ring on the chest, matching clowing eyes, and faintly glowing pink skin. "Call me, Freedom Ring."

DEFINITELY ABSOLUTELY this is some kind of conspiracy. Yes. Powered humans are uncommon. It's only coincidence that five of the first six humans that Keld has met on this planet are powered. Really. Notwithstanding Jarvis, whose skills as an Elect Servant are nearly sufficient to count as a super-power as well. And the people he passed but didn't talk with? How many were secretly super-powered? What is WITH this planet?
A polite nod masks his nervousness, "Freedom Ring, that's a pun of some sort, if I got the memory correctly. I don't have a secret identity. Yet. They seem to be all the rage though."
Also, Jennifer didn't really explain all the concept-hooks that came with the language, too busy kissing. OK, kissing Jen means paranoid train of thought derailed. It has to be coincidence, or the spirits of randomness are perhaps not done joking with him.

Freedom Ring chuckles. "Yeah. Sort of. Not a good one though," he admits. "So. I can fly ya back to the Avengers MAnsion if you'd like," he offers. "Are you some kind of alien? Like a Kree or Shiar?" he wonders. Z'reg's mentioned them and told storied but Curtis has never seen one.

Perceptive too. Keld nods. "Flight… that would be good. I haven't flown in, feels like forever. And yes. I am alien, Dakkamite, we're neither as prolific as the Shiar nor as aggressive as the Kree, but we've made ourselves to be able to survive in the universe. I'm a warrior, sent on a peaceful mission to your planetary system, but the rest of my squad seems to have vanished. I know there's one more of my kind on your world, an exile, but not where he is."

Freedom Ring nods and looks around. "So I've met two aliens now. A Skrull and a Dakkamite," he muses. "I'm sorry but I don't know anything about your squad or any exiles. I'm sort of…newish to being a superhero," he admits, standing up.

PING hello, paranoia is back, crawling around Keld's brain like a squirrel on crack.
"You know a skrull? I've met several, but never socially. How did you meet? What does xzix do here?" … xzix, yeah, as if it was a regular word. Keld stands as well, a movement that's as graceful as, well, not a dancer. Maybe a matador. A bit more consciously graceful than he was out in the middle of the crowd earlier.

Freedom Ring nods, leading Keld to an exit. "He found me actually. He's my uhh…well. He's my partner," he says, smiling as he thinks about Z'reg. "Uhh…" a pause. "What is a xzix?" he says, just having his ring repeat it for him so he doesn't mess it up.

It's too bad that Keld didn't hold that mindtoouch contact open, because explaining the (very) disturbing world of the Skrull polygender pronouns is going to strain Keld's grasp of english.
"It's the word in the Skrull static-language for someone whose disguise or role is unknown, and thus, what gender or identity they hold is also unknown. It's hard to pronounce right, I'm probably butchering it." He steps through the exit, automatically checking for threats, hiding places, and ambush points as he does so.

Freedom Ring gives Keld a very strange look. "Crusader is a male in both his forms…" the hero trails off. Once they get outside, the man in pink sighs and holds a hand out to Keld. "Ready to go?"

Keld tilts his head with the "all clear" sign, not that there's anyone who would recognize it. Maybe Crusader, if he was ever front-line troops.
"I am, thank you for the assist," and he clasps the pink-skinned man's hand. Of course, the mindlink is instantly available, though not necessarily intrusive, so Keld's surface thoughts could be heard if Freedom Ring wanted to hear them. Such as: Wait, why PINK? Is it some kind of anti-targetting field? I hope I have not had the honor of meeting this "Crusader" of his. He says he is new at being an operative. I should warn him about revealing the secret identity of a skrull, or for that matter, of any under-cover operative, so much backlash if I wasn't trustworthy. Then again, I am, and I can't tell how much he knows about me or why. So I'd best be careful. Hope he isn't just going to drop me. Is this self-powered flight? I see no vehicle…

Blinking at the sudden flow of thoughts, Freedom Ring glances over. "Alright…" he takes a breath before letting thoughts flow over. <First of all, I tried red first but I looked too evil so I went with pink. What's wrong with pink? I doubt you've met Crusader, he would have mentioned you to me. And don't worry. As long as you keep the secret, it'll be fine. I won't drop you. And to answer that question…> he trails off, lifting them both into the air as if they were weightless.

Once again, were he capable of blushing (damn genetic engineers) and actually shy instead of using a different kind of body-parlance, Keld would blush at being caught leaking thoughts. Because, leaking is rather rude. His exhiliration on liftoff is pretty intense though. LOVES flying. Lack of controls? No big deal.
"I don't know that he'd tell you about me if we had met. My people have been at war with the Kree and the Skrull for the last century. Detente with the Shiar, we had driven the Skrull from our fifth colony, but it was an ugly battle, and if we had met, I would have been completely wrapped in power-armor, and he would either be a diplomat, or most likely deceased. War is ugly, and the Skrull are like, what was that word? Ninjas. Green, accordian-chinned ninjas. War with them was uglier, because they are so good at becoming what they imitate. Hope for you and your partner that their world never sets its sights on Earth."

Freedom Ring smiles a bit, taking them up high and fast. "I asked Crusader to teach me about aliens and stuff," he explains. He frowns as he listens to what Keld says, a few unpleasant thoughts about wars and fighting in general leaking over. There's also 'Keld seems so nice though…'. "Skrulls tried to invade a few times already. They've been repelled each time. We have ways of seeing through their shapeshifting."

Keld sends a sense of <i hear you> over the link rather than trying to nod, since flying over New York City is not necessarily the place to be distracting someone with bodily spasms. He answers, not grimly but, more a sense of stoicism: "They will probe a place more than once, until they find the best way to come in. Your world is a pleasant place. Many are harsher than this one. When I was put in stasis-sleep and set in orbit around your sun, the Kree and the Skrull were deadlocked, and only on the edges of the places uncontrolled were they able to advance. If anything happened to break their deadlock, the winner would be upon this world like the twenty plagues. Of the two, I'm not sure which I would find harder to live under."
He doesn't go into why that would be, keeping it locked behind the barricade he's been learning to make.
"I will say this. If you have made a friend of either race, somehow, you will not find a better friend. If they are forced to attack you they will fight with honor."

Freedom Ring quickly puts back up his mental shield and smirks. "Oh, c'mon, dude. They know not to mess with Earth. Both Kree and Skrull. Just ask the Avengers," he chimes. "We even chased Galactus off. Trust me. Earth is a lot tougher than it seems."

Now THAT gets a sense of shock. Maybe they ARE all gifted with super-powers, these humans. What, short of the Kelezti, could give pause to Galakt, Badly-Dressed Devourer of Worlds? Who, less omnipotent, would dare point out that purple and pink should never be the primary element, especially acres and acres of purple and pink, and that wearing a fork for a hat is simply advertising one's purpose in coming far too blatantly.
Keld shakes his head. Where is this stream of thought COMING from? He glances at Freedom Ring, and at the uniform … no, not badly balanced, no military tradition to it but the man is clearly not a military type. Then he remembers it.
"Reed Richards, you mean? That, we heard of, it was in the secret briefing, that he terrified Galactus with a threat to destroy the entire universe, and that he would have done so, knowing what the Ultimate Nullifier did, rather than let this world be eaten."

Freedom Ring nods. "Yeah. The Fantastic Four are awesome like that," he says with a laugh. "And they're only one group. Trust me. As long as you're here and hangin' with the Avengers, you're safe," he says. "There are tons of heroes out there."

Keld laughs, a bit of self-deprecation. "Safe. Freedom Ring, I am a veteran of wars that crack worlds, but only a common soldier in those wars, before I won enough honor to be chosen as Elect, to be sent here. It disturbs me to think that I would not be thought safe, even without my armor and weapons, on a world as soft as this one. You make me think that perhaps I have yet to meet the true monsters of this world. I don't want safety, I exist to provide that for others."
His grip tightens unconsciously with emphasis - and (only) because Freedom Ring's strength is a match, or more, for his own.

Freedom Ring glances over and brings them to a stop in the air. "You haven't, Keld," he says, bittersweet smile on his face. "There are supervillains. Trust me…they're not to be underestimated," he says, looking away with a frown. The teen lets them linger for a bit, images of Abomination and Iron Maniac floating over to Keld freely before they continue on their way.

Abomination doesn't rattle Keld - too much like a Skrull SuperWarrior - but the shock from experiencing the image of Iron Maniac, the flash of the skewering blades and the sudden darkness, triggering a memory of his own, an armor-killer bomb, and reflex makes Keld slam off the contact, and he accidentally lets go, flinching back … and then falls less than a foot before something stops him. And it sputters, for an instant, six-inch drops, but then he's got it, and Keld is laughing hesitantly like the world's greatest joke might have just now been played on him.
"Freedom Ring, I think I'm flying by myself. Are you doing this?"

Freedom Ring is rather startled, pausing for a moment. He quickly follows after Keld but stops as the alien-man flies himself. "No…I'm not," he says honestly. "Are you alright? Need me to fly you again?"

The suddenly floating alien-man considers this. "Uh. No, I think I'm all right, but please stay close in case I do something stupid. It's still more than a comfortable jump down to the ground."
He tries moving himself around, left, right, zip-zop, and it's pretty fast. Kind of unnerving, too, that he just stops short rather than having to slow down or speed up. "Awesome," he says in unconscious imitation of Freedom's earlier praises of the Fantastic Four.

Freedom Ring watches a bit then laughs. "Right. C'mon. It's this way. Just be careful where you fly," he says, leading the way to Avengers Mansion.

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