Ships In The Night

Title: Ships In The Night
Who: Spook and Thorn
When: September 6th, 2010
Where: Rooftop, Market Row
What: Spook spots Thorn and approaches him to check he's okay after their encounter with Virtuoso. A pep talk and a budding friendship ensue.

===< Market Row >----------< #89 >===
Market Row is the main shopping area for San Angeles with a dizzying array of shops from groceries to department stores, to the largest mall in the world 'The Quake'. There are a great many parks in Market Row and the San Angeles Zoo as well.
There are very few structures higher than a double handful of stories tall, the area designed to be more 'eye level' and to keep folks focused on the business at hand, namely spending their hard earned cash! Movie Theatres, Bowling Alleys, Water Parks and lots of restaurants can be found here, both fast food and family style restaurants abound and there's quite a few Bar & Grills to be found as well.
Saint Jim………………….<SJ> San Angeles Zoo…………….<SAZ>
The Quake………………….<TQ> Residential District………..<RD>
Melting Pot………………..<MP> Financial District………….<FD>
Kennedy Station…………….<KS>

For Spook, patrolling the city is a stuttering affair. Flying takes no effort for him but he can only float around while he's intangible, and he can only remain intangible for as long as he can hold his breath. For that reason, he spends half his time landing and taking off from rooftops. It isn't ideal but it does mean that he gets plenty of opportunities to stop and peer over the edges of those rooftops to get a closer look at the murky alleys below. This is one of those times. Having allowed himself to become solid and visible on the roof of a building which he's pretty sure is a hairdressing salon, he's peering into the darkness below. It's not the warmest of nights, with a slight chill on the breeze, and the streets seem pretty quiet tonight. Quiet enough that he's yet to encounter any trouble in Market Row, which is fine by him. Letting a yawn pass his lips, he leans to stretch the muscles in his back, looking up into the moonlit sky through the eye-holes in his hood.

Coming from the other direction is someone else who's flying. However, his flying is a bit more steady, due to the rapid buzzing beat of green-tinted insect wings sprouting from some apparatus he's wearing on his back. Thorn's been on the Warpath for Justice the last few days, stopping almost any crime he can find short of jaywalking (that's a bit too far, he thinks). Thorn is keeping at a steady rate, though he turns sharply in midair, alighting on a high rooftop to take a breather. He keeps his dark-lensed goggles on, and checks his bracers and a familiar crossbow mounted on his left arm.

When he's on the superhero beat as he is tonight, Spook doesn't spend much of his time paying attention to the sky. The baddies of San Angeles are usually getting up to mischief down below. That's where the money and the innocent bystanders are, after all. So it's pure dumb luck that he happens to be looking up at the stars when another costumed figure passes by in the distance. Spook is blessed with a rather fine pair of eyes so he's able to make out the identity of the figure straight away and, as luck would have it, it's the man he's been hoping to run into ever since Virtuoso's attack on the bank. Thorn had been an unwilling participant in the villainess's raid and, though he doesn't know the guy personally, Spook was hoping to run into him, just to check he's okay now. Unfortunately, there isn't a superhero phonebook so he had no clue how to get in touch with him. Luckily, fate has helped him out. Becoming insubstantial, he lifts off from the rooftop and flies in the direction of his fellow hero. As he gets close enough to Thorn's rooftop that he can be heard, he holds up his hands and offers the guy with the mean looking crossbow a tentative smile. "It is okay," he says, unsure if Thorn will remember him. "I am one of the good guys."

The events of the last few days have left Thorn a little jumpier than normal. Betweeen stepping up his patrol and working in the lab to try and improve his equipment, he's been a little tense. So when there's a sudden voice, the tech-based hero spins on a heel and brings that crossbow to bear. "What-?!" Even his breath is a little ragged by this point, and he looks like he's been working himself hard. The thin branches that hold his goggles to his head are even starting to fray; he hasn't yet gotten the right genetic codes that stop them from decomposing in a matter of hours. He's got a little time left. He listens, first, by reflex, and slowly lowers the crossbow. "Let's hope you're telling the truth," Thorn replies. "Because you'd be picking the worst week to lie to me." Still, something dings in the back of his head, but he can't place it. "You sound familiar."

Spook's palms raise a little in the internationally recognised symbol of surrender, but he's not really worried. One of the benefits of being insubstantial is not having to worry too much about crossbows, no matter how scary looking they are. Still, having it suddenly pointed at him does cause his heart to skip a beat anyway. He's only human. "We have met before," Spook confirms cautiously. "Sort of. I was the other guy at the bank. The one who wasn't hitting you," he adds, helpfully. He also tugs briefly at his hood, the only part of his costume that he was wearing that day, hoping that it'll act as a reminder for Thorn. He's not sure if Thorn will be happy with him landing on the rooftop he's currently occupying but he decides he'll risk it. He doesn't really have a choice, truth be told. He needs to get a lungful of air. Still, as he becomes solid and touches down on the roof, he makes sure he's several strides away from the other hero. Just in case. "I was hoping we would run into each other at some point."

The first answer from Thorn is a shake of his head. "That," he says, finding one of those heater units on top of most buildings to sit on. "That's probably where my subconscious took note of your voice. But I don't remember much about that." Which only serves to make him more frazzled. "I remember seeing Virtuoso on the move, gathering a few guys to do her heavy lifting. I confronted her, and she started playing…" He glances at the roof. "You know the rest. I've had to talk to the cops for a good ten hours til they were convinced I didn't actually change sides."

Now that he's a little closer, Spook tilts his head a fraction. There's something vaguely familiar about Thorn, more than he would've expected considering they didn't really interact during the attempted robbery. He supposes that, like the crossbow-wielding hero, he was paying more attention subconsciously than he realised. Thorn doesn't seem like he's about to launch into an attack, or tell him to buzz off, so Spook takes a few steps closer so that they can talk more comfortably. He offers a shake of the head as Thorn recounts his tale. "I told them that she was using some kind of mind-controlling power. They hardly know me though, I suppose they had to find out for themselves. But still, I am sorry you had to go through that." He hesitates a moment, concerned about pushing Thorn when he might be feeling delicate. "And… you are okay now, yes? You were not hurt?"

"Physically? Nope," Thorn answers, scooting over in case Spook wants to take a seat as well. "I knew she had the power to control. I just thought I'd be able to fight it off, knowing it could happen. I don't remember much. But that's why we have TV newscasts and YouTube," he says, just a touch sarcastic. "Are you new to San Angeles…hell, I don't even know your name. Just a warning; the people feel a good guy will win out. If you screw up, it's a feeding frenzy."

A smile appears on Spook's lips as Thorn shifts over. It doesn't take a lot to relax him into cheeriness. "You must not feel bad. She nearly got me too. I was lucky," he adds, as he sits himself down beside his fellow super. "I call myself Spook," he says, by way of introduction. He doesn't need to ask who Thorn is. "I am not new to the area, no, I have been doing this a while. I just tend to go unnoticed. For obvious reasons," he grins, momentarily willing himself to become invisible, reality seeming to fold in on his body until he's not there anymore. A second later, his point made, he reappears. "The truth is, I haven't been doing this regularly until recently, just now and then when I could. I suppose I should prepare myself for all my screw-ups to start showing up on YouTube, as you say. I will need my own channel," he laughs. His chuckle fades quickly though, as he casts a concerned glance at Thorn. "I hope you do not feel that you screwed up. It was not your fault."

"I use an account and Favorite the vids," Thorn admits. Though, it's under another identity, and mixed in with other videos at random so he looks like a normal YouTuber. But he doesn't speak about that. "Still, you and…Proton? He's new too. You did well against her. She wasn't able to strike back, and she looked a little raving after that." He folds the wings down for the moment, relaxing. "It's partly my fault. I knew what she could do, and I couldn't take two minutes to plug my ears, or right something to block her music? No, Spook, this was pure pride, and that was not the right way to go about it."

Ah, Proton. Spook hadn't caught the caped guy's name so he makes a mental note of it when Thorn mentions it, just in case he runs into him again sometime. If he's going to be doing the hero thing more often then he probably will sooner or later. Spook leans forward so that he can rest his forearms on his knees, looking up at Thorn as he listens to him talk. "Even if you did make a mistake - and I am not sure that I believe you did - you must try not to beat yourself up over it. Whether you handled it the best way or not, you were trying to do the right thing. That is what matters, no?" He pauses before leaning back again and gently placing a hand on Thorn's shoulder. That's probably a little over-friendly considering they hardly know each other but Spook tends not to see a problem with things like that. "You tried to stop a bad thing from happening, and put yourself at risk to do it. That makes you a hero, my friend, not a screw-up."

"I think we might have to agree to disagree. Live and learn, I suppose." Thorn relaces a bit, and doesn't seem too flinch-y in regards to the shoulder touch. "She won't get the drop on me next time, I promise you that. You know, I actually like music. Classical. It's soothing, and it's nice, and some symphonies have a serious energy to them too. I donate, even. But she is trying to force it, by stealing…" He shakes his head. "She's not a killer, I don't think. Her record seems to have the same motivations. But she's also seriously cracked."

Spook squeezes Thorn's shoulder once before allowing his hand to fall away, though he continues to regard him for a few seconds more, concern visible through the eyeholes of his hood. He decides it would probably be best not to push the issue. Sometimes people need to work things through for themselves. A smile jumps to his lips as Thorn brings up the subject of music. "I am a music fan also! I have considered putting an iPod under my hood for when I am patrolling but I do not think that would help me to concentrate," he grins. His smile fades as the subject of Virtuoso returns to the conversation, and he shakes his head a little. "I understand her motivations too. I know all about how difficult it is to secure funding for the arts," he admits, somewhat carelessly. Those clothes don't pay for themselves, alas. "But her actions are not acceptable, whatever her intentions. Theft is theft. If she wants to raise money, she can… start a charity," he declares. "The next time she appears, we will stop her and make sure she gets the help that she needs." Things are simple in Spookland.

"That's the best way. I know a little about what she does, but if there's more of a history, I haven't read the file yet." Thorn turns to the mysterious accented man, and nods. "Okay, so you're…new here, right? Registered? Have you met anyone else, because there's a few heroes around here. I've been sort of independent." He rubs at his chin for a few moments.

Spook nods his hooded head a little, his gaze settling on the horizon. "I had not heard of her before the other day. To be honest, my knowledge of the bad guys is still a little limited at this point." He doesn't seem terribly concerned by that. He figures it'll come in time. Right now, he's still feeling his way through the hero business. He returns his gaze to Thorn as the man asks him some questions, the smile that is never far from his lips returning once again. "I am registered, yes," he nods. "I have my Hero License too." He has no idea how important that really is in superhero circles but figures it's worth mentioning. "I don't really know any other heroes yet though. I helped out with the rebuilding of San Angeles but I do not think any of the heroes I met then would remember me. Other than that, you are the first superhero I have spoken to," he smiles. "Oh, and Proton but we did not really talk. I must thank him if I see him again. Do you have lots of hero friends?" he asks, apparently working on the assumption that most of the heroes of San Angeles are buddies.

"I know…some," Thorn admits. "I mean, I've met a couple, but it was only those times I ran into them if we happened to be on the trail of the same criminal or something." He kicks legs over the side of the heating unit he's sitting on. "I don't really know how to handle it. Uh, hi, other hero person, want a cup of coffee?" His lips curl upward. "This is the longest conversation I've had with another costume."

Spook's smile widens and he nods his head enthusiastically. "Me too! It is strange, no? But I like it. We spend so much of our time pretending that we are not supers, it is nice to talk to someone without hiding it." The realisation that they're still hiding who they really are, in this case their civilian identities, occurs to him but he decides not to dwell on it. Like most things in his life, this is all part of finding the right balance between the two sides of his coin. He leans forward again, resting his forearms on his knees once more as his gaze tilts up to the moon. "We should all spend more time together. It would be good for us. This can be a lonely life," he admits, in a rare moment of non-positivity.

"You know…that's not the first time I've been told that," Thorn answers, at the last bit. "We hide for all the usual reasons, and even from each other because there's trust matters. That makes some sense, but until that point, especially if you started off on your own…" Of course, the one telling him to get out and meet people? It's his computer. That's usually a bad sign. "If there's an etiquette to it, I have no clue what it is."

Spook nods his head occasionally as Thorn speaks, his gaze drifting away from the moon down to his booted feet. Unusually for him, he looks both serious and thoughtful for a few moments, some of the brightness in his eyes dimming a little. Once Thorn mentions etiquette, however, his customary grin returns. "I have no clue either. But hey, we are doing it right now, no? Maybe there is etiquette that we did not follow, but who cares. We are two costumes, having a conversation about more than just catching a bad guy. We have made a connection here, I think." He considers that for a moment, decides he's not offbase, and looks thoroughly pleased about it. "And I am very glad we did, Thorn."

Standing up, Thorn nods. "I think so, too," he says. "Glad, I mean." He chuckles, as he considers this. Maybe this thing about talking to others is a good thing after all. "Should we meet here again, another night? I don't have any…well, signal to shine in the sky or anything. We really just sort of make it up as we go along, here."

Spook remains seated, deciding he'll sit here for a little longer and enjoy the view before returning to the mean streets. He looks up at Thorn as he stands, however, and is, inevitably, smiling at him. "I was just thinking about how we could contact each other," he admits. He has no signal either. He can't even give him his phone number because Spook doesn't have a phone, Tiago does, and phone numbers can be traced. The whole secret identity thing feels like more hassle than it's worth half the time. "But I like your idea. Maybe we could meet up regularly? We could compare notes on bad guys and… well, I know that I would like someone to talk to about all the craziness sometimes. We can… look out for each other?" Essentially, he's saying 'will you be my friend?'. "We could meet here in a few days. Say, Thursday night?"

This is merely answered by a soft grin from the goggles-wearing young man. "I can do that," Thorn finally answers. If he's picked up on Spook's unspoken words, he gives no sign. "Thursday. Here. For now," he adds.

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