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Revision as of 17:50, 9 September 2019

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
Dramatis Personae

Leo, Polaris, Sarah

2019-09-07


"It's like someone took twelve-year-old me's fantasies and just threw several million dollars at them."

Location

<NYC> Village Lofts Roof - East Village


It tends to be windy, up here, but the presence of plastic table and folding chairs suggests that nevertheless building residents occasionally make their way out to this rooftop. With a good view of Tompkins Square Park less than a block away it's a good spot for city-watching. There's a railing around the edge, though it might be possible (if unwise) to climb over it to the narrow concrete ledges beyond and from there to the fire escape. Centrally, someone has broken down crates and constructed a small raised-bed garden up here, barren in winter but filled in three other seasons with a small assortment of herbs and vegetables.

It's a warm and bright midmorning; last night's rain cooled the city down considerably and with the sun back out again it's just pleasant. On the street below and in the park just across from the building people are out in large numbers enjoying their Saturday, but up here it's peaceful. The garden boxes are full of new shoots poking up from the rich soil. Crouched at the edge of one is a slender dark-haired young man dressed in a slim-fit vermilion button-down with a black mandarin collar and placket and black turn-up cuffs, cigarette-cut black jeans, and black slip-on ankle boots. Leo is reaching out one hand to brush a long finger against the edge of a very young leaf, an unusually rapt look on his face as he studies the tender new growth.

Stomp stomp stomp. The steps are coming up the fire escape, and their source vaults the railing--the movement effortless in a way that doesn't quite mesh with how the mind expects gravity and momentum to work--to land in a crouch on the rooftop. Polaris looks absolutely ready for something, her eyes bright, her hair tumbling loose in glossy waves, her makeup stark and dramatic in black and metallic green, her nails painted to match. She's wearing a black canvas motorcycle jacket, tight black jeans, heavy boots with plenty of steel hardware, a thick belt and matching cuffs with pyramid studs. "Yo, Leo." As soon as the words are out of her mouth she stops and gawks. "Damn, you are looking good. How you been?"

The door to the roof opens without any sort of urgency or fanfare, closes behind Sarah just as softly. For a moment, she just stands by the door with closed eyes, basking in the sunlight and pleasant temperature. She's dressed in a simple gray tanktop that reads 'Kind People Are My Kinda People' in red print, black cut-off jean shorts, and dark purple ankle boots that are covered in embroidered hummingbirds and flowers. A pink distressed denim vest with small white studs covering the shoulders, 'Fight Like A Girl' painted in rough white letters on the back, completes the look. Once she does open her eyes, it only takes a second to spot the roof's other occupants. "Oh! I'm sorry," she says, "Am I interrupting?"

Leo jerks his hand back sharply at the sound of his name, his eyes wide and his hands curling against his knees. He breathes out a long breath, the clench of his hands slowly easing. "Oh -- Polaris." A dusting of color darkens his tan cheeks as he looks up, venturing a brief smile. "You, too. I didn't realize there were -- was -- it's nice up here." His voice is soft; he looks back to the garden bed. "Have you been --" He stops speaking abruptly, though, when the door opens. Once again his eyes widen, his hands dropping to the wooden edge of the garden bed in a fierce grip as his gaze rivets on Sarah. Very -- very small and very slow, he gives one uncertain shake of his head.

"Thanks! I'm kinda just. Practicing, you know?" Polaris ambles over to the garden. "I been up here a lot. Can't cook all the time, can't work myself up to going out yet, but can't sit still, either." She circles one of the raised beds, brushing her fingertips over the leaves of the plants. "This is pretty fucking rad, though. Hey!" This last is aimed at Sarah, with a brilliant smile. "Nah, we were just admiring your garden. I mean, I don't know if it's your garden but -- you live here, right?"

Sarah offers the both of them a small smile, a hint of uncertainty underneath it. She doesn't wander away from the door, still a bit hesitant about staying. "I think it's Jax's garden?" Her hands are shoved into her pockets as she rocks back on her heels. "It's not mine, at least, I don't know anything about growing food. Oh, but you asked-- Yeah, I live down on the third floor. I'm Sarah. Hi."

"I've been doing a lot of sitting still." Leo ducks his head at this admission, pulling his eyes from Sarah to look down into the dirt. "But I feel like I should --" His voice drops, just a touch guiltily. "They bought me clothes. Keep bringing me food. And I don't even --" He shakes his head slowly, relaxing his grip on the wood. He only risks an extremely brief darting glance back up at Sarah. "I --" His brow wrinkles, shoulders curling just a bit inwards. He sounds a little awkward with his admission, "I don't. I don't live here."

"Dude. That shit we went through was fucked, and they've been there." Polaris perches sideways in one of the chairs nearby, one leg folded under herself. "IMO, the best way to pay them back is to take your time and...maybe pay it forward sometime." She props her head up with one hand and studies Sarah. "Nice to meet you. I'm Polaris, and I also don't--" Her head turns suddenly as though she's heard something, and she sits up, frowning. "--live here. Hey, Sarah, do you have a drone up here, by any chance. The flying kind?"

There's a small, birdlike tilt of the head, a slight drawing in of eyebrows that shows Sarah's confusion at part of the conversation. No questions come from it, however. "That's okay, keeping this kinda view for just residents seems pretty selfish. It's really nice up here, isn't it?" Polaris' question causes her to pause, blink, the tilt of her head again. "Who, me? No, I don't know anything about that stuff either."

Leo studies the dirt more intently. "They've --all been there?" He sways just a little unsteadily where he's crouching. His eyes narrow very slightly, his head tilting in almost a mirror of Sarah's as he gives an uncertain look back to her. "The garden is nice," he answers her, soft and careful. He pushes himself away from the wooden frame of the garden bed, unfurling himself in a slow stretch as he gets to his feet, dusts his palms lightly together. His head tips back; he squints up at the sky. His arms fold tightly over his chest. "Maybe someone across the street?" He doesn't sound very confident.

"Well, okay, I don't know if it's all of them but our hosts, definitely." Polaris rises, rolling her shoulders in a slow stretch. "It is nice," she echoes abstractly, but attention clearly elsewhere. Suddenly here's a harsh whine of distressed motors, and a small aerial drone above them lurches suddenly. It hadn't been particularly noticeable while hovering stationary, but now it wobbles wildly, sliding sideways down toward the rooftop, engines spinning full tilt to keep itself airborne. "Whoa, I guess it's having some technical difficulties," Polaris says, almost casually, ambling to the railing and looking around. "No one seems to be freaking out or coming to claim it, though." The drone finally shorts out and drops the remaining distance to lie inert on the roof. "That's weird. Do you see these things around a lot, Sarah? We're just visiting, and maybe it's like. What people do in the East Village?"

Sarah's head jerks up at the high-pitched whine, eyes widening at the drone that just seems to-- appear? Can things do that? Her gaze stays locked onto the drone as it falls to the rooftop. "Nnooo," she answers, extending the word in uncertainty. "I've seen-- a flying motorcycle?" Taking small steps, she inches closer to the drone. "But only the one." Once close enough, Sarah stretches a leg out to gently prod the drone with her toe, barely a boop, and hops back.

"There are flying motorcycles here?" Leo's eyes open wide. Fix on Sarah with a lot more curiosity than for the drone, at first. He looks over to it a moment later -- though where Sarah steps toward it, he steps back, still hugging himself tight. "Do you think that -- belongs to -- someone in this building?" He sounds a little skeptical. "Should we..." He looks at Polaris, but the question just -- trails off.

"Whaaaaaaat?" Polaris gapes at Sarah. "No way! I mean, the girl whose apartment I'm staying in has flying boots, and I thought that was far out." She shakes her head, still wide-eyed, as she joins Sarah in peering at the unmoving drone. "Well, if it were being controlled by someone in the building, I figured they'd be tromping right up here to claim it as we speak. Unless they're ashamed of spying on us, I guess?" She picks it up and turns it over in her hands--it's an unusually small and sleek quadrotor drone, but nothing as outlandish as a fly bike (or boots, probably). "We could ask B to take a look at it. She builds drones, too. Much nicer ones than this."

"That's what I said!" Sarah exclaims with a smile aimed at Leo, delighted she isn't the only one that finds such things amazing. That delight only grows. "Someone here has flying boots? Like in Jupiter Ascending?" she asks, almost completely distracted from the drone by the thought. It's harder to ignore once Polaris picks it up. "Was somebody spying on us?" Alarm threads into her voice as she peers at it again, searching for any sort of camera. Other than recognizing that it fits the requirements to be a drone, looking closer at it doesn't tell her anything.

"What's Jupiter Ascending? Do you think that they..." Despite his coppery skin, Leo has gone rather pale as he looks from the drone to Polaris. He fusses with his sleeves -- pulling them straighter, adjusting his cuffs to turn up just so. "Maybe. Maybe someone was spying -- I. Maybe we shouldn't have come up here, I. Should --" His eyes are darting -- between the door, the railing around the edge of the roof. "I should go." His voice has dropped much quieter, head bowing as he slips back towards the building door.

"Jupiter Ascending is a movie about a space princess named Jupiter and her werewolf angel mercenary," Polaris explains cheerfully. "It's like someone took twelve-year-old me's fantasies and just threw several million dollars at them. I love it without reservation." Tilting her head to study the drone, she shrugs. "There's a camera, but it's off now." She points out a semi-translucent dome on the underside of the machine. "Hard to say if it was recording, or transmitting. Leo, I can keep an eye--" She breaks off, starts to say something else, but then just sighs, her fingers tightening around the drone. "That's...reasonable. I'll see you around, man."

Sarah's eyes follow Leo with a small amount of worry. "It was nice meeting you," she offers, even as a hand reaches out to cover the camera as best as she can. Just in case. "This may be a ridiculous question, but-- can you let me know if you find out anything?" she asks Polaris. "This is... strange." And not 'normal New York strange', or at least that she knows. "I live down in 303."

"Sure," Polaris agrees, frowning down at the drone. "If there's anything to know. Hopefully it's just some techbro with more money than manners." She smiles again, though, sudden and bright and fierce. "303, gotcha. It was nice to meet you, anyway. I'll see you around, Sarah." With the disabled drone tucked under one arm, she also heads for the stairs, humming tunelessly to herself.