2019-08-28 - Rational solutions to an elliptic curve.


Priscilla Kitaen stops a fight from breaking out on the subway. Then kindly offers to help Nadia home with her excessive supply of lab snacks.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Aug 28 23:56:36 2019
Location: Subway Station

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While flying might make for a fun way to get around the city there are times a girl just has to get the subway. Like when you're doing a grocery store run to restock the communal fridge in your non-profit science lab. It might be slower than zipping through the sky but at least you usually end up with the bags of chips intact and don't have to worry about dropping a bottle of soda from twenty floors up!

Nadia's simply dressed in a blue jeans and black t-shirt combination along with comfortable sneakers plus her trusty G.I.R.L logo bomber jacket. Plus of course two large paper bags filled most with snacks. Icecream, chips and dips along with enough soda to make a dentist cry.

Not many folks try to carry groceries on the subways these days; that's what rideshare apps are for, right?

OK, maybe not. But the point is, it's unusual enough to draw a little attention, including that of a group of young gentlemen who decide, as Nadia is climbing off one train to pick up her next one, that they just have to meet this girl. They come down the escalators to the platform and, upon spotting Nadia, they start nudging one another and then come down more quickly, some jogging and a couple daring to slide down to get there first. They pretty quickly spread out to surround her, closing in as they start offering suggestive commentary, half towards Nadie and half towards entertaining and on-upping each other.

Honestly, Priscilla Kitaen is not usually one for the subways at all; she has a bike, and her feet, and that's good enough for her. No flying at all as an option. But when she catches the upswing in testosterone-fueled idiocy - isn't being an empath grand?! - she just has to check that out, and jogs over to the top of the escalators. When she sees the pack mentality in full view and catches their spiking interest and attraction she groans, and starts tromping down the escalators herself in her high heels.

These two ladies are not alone, of course. But this is New York, and the commuters and travelers tend to ignore anything that doesn't happen directly to them; they're busy and they have elsewhere to be. So no one is - as yet - helping out.

Even before signs of trouble presented themselves Nadia's position in the subway was a little more calculated than most. Occasional glances around her, a wall kept close by to limit the side she has to watch for trouble, and so when the young men surge forward she's already stepping closer to the wall by instinct. She sighs as they begin calling out. Her emotions more resigned than afraid despite the crowd.

"I would /really/ appreciate it if you would please leave me alone and go find something better to do with your time," she asks, a hint of Russian to her accent. "Because if you keep bothering me I will be forced to place you under citizens arrest. And I won't be responsible when you get hurt."

Calm, reasoned responses don't tend to dissuade folks unreasonable enough to think that any pretty girl they spot on the subway owes them her time and attention. And these guys seem to find Nadia's accent just the hottest thing around; they want to hear more of that, so they keep hemming her in and pressing their luck.

Behind them, Priscilla gently but firmly moves a few folks out of her way and jogs down the last several strides of the escalator, then somehow seems to part the Red Sea of humanity between that and Nadia's carefully picked-out stretch of wall. The fact the young woman isn't panicking is good. But still, these guys are jerks.

One benefit of being as tall and outrageously curvaceous as Priscilla is? Folks do find it hard to ignore her when she makes a point of getting their attention. She gives out a shrill whistle and then strikes a pose, even as a wave of attraction surges out from her to envelop the group. It's pretty omnidirectional, so there are more than a few commuters getting one kind of distracted or another. But the guys surrounding Nadia who glance behind at that sound find themselves … drawn. Compelled. And definitely distracted from helping their friends harass Nadia.

"Boys. Boys … now, why are you going to bother that lovely young lady? Her ice cream is going to melt into a puddle. What's the sense in all that?" Priscilla's rich, honeyed and husky voice with its tapestried melange of deep South, New Orleans, and Creole French accents, rings out, and even more become distracted. Seems like anyone who finds a woman at all attractive is drawn to this mocha-skinned beauty like flies to a bug zapper.

The distraction, while unexpected, gives Nadia the moment she needs to slip between the ring around her. Getting close enough to a very recently vacated bench to drop her grocery bags on. Of course it's not clear if the bench became empty as people realised the thugs were approaching or if they just left to get a better look at Priscilla.

With her hands free she glances over at her unexpected ally and a nod of thanks. The compulsive attraction doesn't seem to be impacting her yet, although if the newcomer started to try work out the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture who knows what might happen.

She makes no move to run away though. It'd be unthinkable to leave someone else in the position she'd only just evaded. Instead there's a quick roll of her shoulders and a cracking of knuckles in preparation for any impending trouble.

Not bloody likely that the ill-educated dyslexic math-phobic stripper is going to be attempting rational solutions to an elliptic curve. Instead, she saunters up to the first of the guys to approach her, lays her hand on his face … and then eyes his friends. "Now, gentlemen. Don't you know how to treat a lady? Introduce yourselves, if you please. And one at a time; we can all be civilized, can't we?"

Pris looks past the guys at Nadia, raising an eyebrow curiously when she sees the other woman instead getting ready rather than heading out now that she has her opening to do so peacefully. Granted, she did note the girl wasn't panicking, but she still didn't expect this.

"Alright, Danny. Billy. Mark. Kevin. Why don't we just catch that next train? We can go somewhere and have a lot of fun. Right? You'd enjoy that, wouldn't you?" Of course, Pris is ramping this up, and it's going to snap soon …

"You really don't need to put yourself at risk on my behalf," Nadia assures, having finished her warm up stretches and adopted a well practised Systema stance. "Although I am grateful for your help. It would have been very frustrating if they'd caused trouble while I was holding those bags." She forces a smile. "But I can assure you I'm more than able to look after myself."

The teenager glances around, then up at Priscilla, and with a frown bites down on her lip. "Something strange is happening here," she notes. "I keep wanting to say you would look very splendid in a lab coat and I am not sure why."

Priscilla glances past the men, just as she was getting ready to Pied Piper them onto the next approaching train, when Nadia chooses to address her; she has figured out the young woman actually intends to fight them if necessary, and frankly applauds this readiness. But she had been hoping to avoid that foolishness.

"Trust me, honey. I have every confidence in your abilities." Or at least, Pris is as confident in Nadia as Nadia is; ain't empathy grand? "But I figured who needs it? We ladies have to stick together, especially when they all clump up hopped on testosterone like they are."

The purple-eyed mocha-skinned and incredibly - improbably - curvaceous woman in the painted-on beaded jeans just raises an eyebrow at Nadia. "Glad to know what floats your boat, honey. I promise, we can try on labcoats later. For now, let's encourage these 'gentlemen' to amscray." All of this, of course, delivered in a whiskey-toned Lousiana accent.

And then, as powerfully as it began, the empathic push, the aura of desire that has surrounded Priscilla fades. She's still gorgeous - unfairly so, in fact - but she's not Aphrodite Cometh. The men blink, a bit confused, looking to one another and back to Pris, as she stands facing them impassively. "OK, guys. No one here needs any trouble. Just move along. Don't make my new friend and I deal with you. You won't like that."

Even as she delivers this, Pris strides through their ranks and settles herself at Nadia's side; no one will be rushing or swamping either of them alone.

Nadia Van Dyne blinks a few times, then blushes. "I ah… That wasn't… I didn't mean…" Another cough as she abandons whatever that train of thought was. "Some sort of pheromone ability?"

A shake of her head. "Anyway, I don't really enjoy using violence to resolve problems but I do prefer it to that particular brand of unwelcome attention."

Her emotions are, despite all the unusual powers, fairly level. Curiosity, gratitude and mild embarrasment, all directed towards Priscilla. Annoyance regarding the four men. But little that'd indicate a more romantic desire.

The men frown, looking further between themselves and the women as they consider how things have changed. They still have them outnumbered, to be sure. But intead of four on one with her arms tied up, they're facing two on one, and both are limbered up and ready. And the one is just … unsettling. She's tall as heck for a woman, sinfully curvaceous, incredibly graceful … and even now that she's not pumping out the feels, they can't help but be distracted by her beauty.

And both women are speaking pretty blandly to one another about beating them up!

This is New York City. These guys may be dim, but they do have a survival instinct, and it's telling them they may be in over their heads. Given what can crop up in this city, they decide somewhere else, some other time is a better plan. "C'mon, guys. Let's go." one of them offers, and then heads for the train that is just now pulling into the platform. Within a minute, they have all backed away and headed for the train.

Confrontation over?

"Have a nice day." Priscilla calls after them, and then turns to Nadia, offering her hand. "Preference to avoid violence achieved." she comments brightly. "I'm Pris. You need a hand with those bags? You're a bit late, after all."

Yep. She makes it that simple.

Nadia Van Dyne lets out a sigh. "I just hope they don't take it out on someone else," she admits, shaking the hand Priscilla has offered. "Occasionally a little percussive maintenance is beneficial." She glances at her bags, which are already drawing the ire of other subway patrons now the threat is over and they are just taking up space. "That'd be lovely, if it's no trouble of course."

She takes a step towards the bags and then adds "Oh yes, I'm Nadia by the way. It's nice to meet you Pris." She scoops the heavier of the two up. "I might be a little late but thankfully I had wrapped all the cold things in an aerogel blanket."

A hand digs into her jacket pocket, producing a phone upon which she consults the weather "At this temperature it should take four hours for icecream to melt. With some variation depending on the flavorings. Chocolate melts faster."

"No trouble at all." Pris answers, following to the bench and picking up the other bag. "Nice to meet you, Nadia, even under the circumstances." She follows the other woman up the escalators to the next platform, or around to the street as required. But she might roll her eyes just a bit at the perky brilliance displayed. "Right. Lab coats. Got it." Yeah, she's not even sure what 'aerogel' is, let alone how it helps. She would also find it difficult to spell.

"So, when you're not being harassed by jerks or carrying groceries, what do you do?" Pris asks curiously. She can see the shirt, but doesn't know what it means. But anything with what seems such a woman-positive bent is something she's in favor of.

Nadia's intended journey seems to be taking her slightly out of New York proper. Far enough that land is a little cheaper and where new businesses tend to cluster together. "I work at the Genius in action research lab. It's a non-profit. Well I guess I run it too. But I leave most of the admin stuff to other people."

She beams a smile. "I don't usually get harassed by many jerks," she confides. "Unless they are also FSB agents.. which is.. a long story. Generally I prefer to fly when I'm getting about the city, but I let the battery run a little low on my wings. Rookie mistake! I guess I got a little too caught up reading maps in the library."

Priscilla listens as Nadia goes on. Figures, the woman is a complete brainiac. Nothing wrong with it, but they don't exactly have a lot in common other than their gender. At least, that's what Pris is thinking until Nadia starts going off about flying through the city and batteries for her wings, not to mention FSB agents.

"Wait. FSB? That's, like, Russian FBI/CIA or something, right?" Pris asks, with the kind of tone of voice that strongly implies she has zero confidence in her knowledge in this matter. Zero. "Uhm. Sorry. I'm pretty sure I didn't catch that right. You said something about … batteries? For wings?" C'mon, that kinda tech ain't real, right?!

Nadia Van Dyne nods when Priscilla brings up the point about the FSB. "Yup that's the one. I moved away from Russia recently for.. ah.. personal reasons. As for the wings… Wait a second I have a video on my phone." The screen is held up for Pris to see and a video of Nadia wearing what is very probably a superhero costume of some sort (although without a helmet) plays. It's obviously filmed by someone on the ground and lasts less than a minute but sure enough there is Nadia flitting around on mechanical insect wings putting up decorations.

"So…. Would it be rude of me to ask what exactly just happened?" Nadia wonders, keeping her voice discreetly quiet. "I am fairly confident /something/ unusual just happened and that you were likely the cause but.. if you don't feel comfortable talking about it with a stranger that's okay. You did help me out after all and not prying would be the least I can do." A rueful laugh. "Although I'd be fibbing if I said I didn't want to know."

Her phone gets tucked back into her bomber jacket and the bag gets shifted from one hand to the other. "I hope this little detour isn't going to spoil whatever evening plans you had. Were you planning on going out to a nightclub perhaps?"

Priscilla nods a bit as Nadia explains about moving away from Russia; OK, that means the accent means what she thought it meant. Okiedokie. But she just about gawps at the video of Nadia flying. "Holy … wow." Yeah. Insert new, polite word. Not everyone speaks with a potty mouth, Pris. Be good. Don't shock the nice lady.

When Nadia turns it around, though, and asks Pris about what happened, the tall mocha-skinned dancer shrugs a bit. "I have a few talents." she admits. "One of them is that I can … ramp it up, a bit. Make sure anyone attracted to women notices me, focuses on me. It wasn't originally something I could control. But … I've been working at it for a while, so I can usually hold it in." But sometimes, she lets it out. Like, apparently, with those jerks.

As for the detour? "Not a huge deal, honestly. I'll just take the train back into the City." She gestures down to how she's dressed. "Honestly, it is a club, and it is open at night. But … not quite what's up. I was on my way to work." And now everyone sees if Nadia can puzzle out what Pris means, or not.

"The wings are really fairly mundane," Nadia admits modestly, although she can't help but feel a little bit of pride at the reaction. "If you're curious about science we have visitor days. You'd be welcome to stop by and take a look. I've got plans for a shrink-ray I need to finish off. It's really a case of not enough hours in the day…"

The revelation about Pris having powers is perhaps not unexpected, but does cause Nadia to give the older woman an appraising look. Although not the sort Pris is more typically used to receiving. "Do you know how it works? If not I could perhaps investigate for you. I promise we have very strong ethical guidelines when working with people. Everything stays confidential and requires informed consent."

"If it looks like you might be late for work I promise to cover the cost of a taxi. It's the least I could do." No conclusions are voiced about what she thinks Pris might do for employment. There are after all plenty of jobs in which a provocative outfit could come in handy. There is however also no negative emotional response.

"Nothing to worry about, yet." Priscilla assures Nadia as they continue their stroll. She doesn't come out of the City often once she's in; the last time was two weeks ago, while following a target. Unfortunately, she lost him and will have to reacquire him in the future. It's much harder to hide and blend in out here.

After some thought and consideration, Priscilla answers the question of how her powers work as honestly as possible. "S'far as I know, it's some kind of energy form. I can feel others' emotions, and I can influence them. Usually, when I do, it's … well. Vavoom, y'know?" She doesn't sound thrilled about being a science subject, and shows no particular interest in the science of how the wings work; whether Nadia recognizes Priscilla's edu-phobia or not is an open question.

There's a nod in response. "Okay, I just would hate for you to get in trouble with your employer. I'm.. kind of lucky to be my own boss. I set my own hours and I don't have to justify my pet projects to anyone." Nadia's base of operations isn't a huge distance away. A few short stops on the train and then a brief walk. The sort of distance which most reasonable parents would allow an unaccompanied teenager to travel and in a part of the city they'd allow them to travel to.

"Sounds like it might be a form of mind control rather than something chemical or biological. Not something I've studied in depth but I could figure it out if you ever need a favor in return! I've done a little genetic engineering in my time you see." She winks. "But like I said it's all voluntary."

Even from the top of the steps at the subway exit it's possible to see the same G.I.R.L logo from Nadia's jacket on the side of a building. "Not far to go now! Although, I'm pretty sure no-one will be in today. Everyone's probably still doing last minute school or college prep."

Priscilla smiles. "Don't worry about it. The owner might get cranky, but I'm the headliner, and as long as I actually show up and he makes his money, he'll drop it." That said, she trots along all too happily, looking up noticeably at the building when it comes into view.

"Yeah. It's probably related to those kinds of energies, or waves, or whatever. I mean, if you ever wanna try to measure it, don't hurt me, I don't mind trying. Just can't promise the next person's stuff works like mine does." That said, Priscilla doesn't seem like she herself wants or needs to know anymore.

"Kinda cool, being your own boss. And you are clearly doing something you love. That's key."

"That's good to know. I was worried I might have to volunteer to impersonate someone mildly important to cover for you," Nadia jests, her pace picking up now that home is in sight. "Like an aide to the minister for tourism from the Peoples Republic of China. I'm pretty good at self important Mandarin."

Nadia, a few paces ahead now, turns and while walking backwards adds "I'm extremely curious about how all sorts of things work. Super powers especially." Another beaming smile. "But I made a promise to myself that I'd never put my need to know above the happyness of other people. It seems like the only way to properly fix the world."

She turns and giggles "But I am at least glad you didn't jump to the conclusion there'd be probing involved. Science Fiction has given people such weird notions about what actual scientists do… It's either horrible dissections or indecent probing." She holds up her free hand in a 'what can you do' gesture, then pushes the front door open. "The least I can do is offer you a hot drink or something as a thank you. If you think you've got the time? Otherwise I can call you a cab if you need it."

The inside of the G.I.R.L facility is perhaps unlike any lab Priscilla has ever imagined. A big open plan layout, filled with a variety of expensive and unusual looking science macguffins, with what seems to be college style dorm rooms lining each wall about half of which have nameplates on. There's even a little break area with a big TV on the wall and comfortable looking couches.

Plus, for some reason, the break area even has a little dance floor complete with a disco ball. The controls for which seem to be plugged into a retro B-movie style lever. 100 Guaranteed to bring any science party to life!

All of that really presupposes that Priscilla has ever imagined a laboratory of any kind, for any reason.

She has not.

The tall mocha-skinned woman follows Nadia through the door and then towards wehre she wanted to drop off the supplies they are carrying. "I won't say I didn't imagine the possibility of all of those unpleasant things. But I trusted in my ability to see - or feel - that coming, and head it off, if it came to that."

Once the bags are down, Pris looks around for a few moments, then shakes her head. "I wish you all the good fortune with your efforts, here. Not that I have much of an idea what those might be." She reaches into a pocket of her own jacket and extracts her phone, then taps out a text and hands the phone to Nadia. "Put your number in, and I'll send you that. Then you can contact me, if you would ever like. If I'm still in New York, or wherever you are, maybe we can work that out." Or she can take the phone back and cancel the message; whichever.

"No need for a taxi. I'll just hoof it back to the station and ride back in. It's OK, I promise. I'll wait until I get to the club for some hot cocoa." Because chocolate makes the world go 'round.

Nadia Van Dyne has, for the most part, dumped the shopping on the counter in the corner kitchen area. "Oh sure thing," she takes the phone and taps in a number from memory. "That's me. And if you ever do find you need help figuring out any power stuff feel free to swing by." She nods towards one of the dorm style doors that has the name Nadia on it. "I kind of basically live here so… Don't worry too much if it's at an odd time. I'm usually up working on one thing or another."

"That sounds bad doesn't it? The living here part," she muses. "It really isn't though." Another smile. "Anyway it was nice meeting you Pris, I hope you have a safe trip and a fun evening at work."

When Nadia returns the phone, Priscilla taps and Nadia's phone will ding as the message arrives. "It doesn't sound any worse than anything else, Nadia." Pris offers with a smile. "Believe me, I've seen and heard far worse than staying in your own laboratory overnight." She winks. "It was nice meeting you. Take good care of yourself, Nadia. 'Fly well', as it were, and good luck with your shrinking ray."

With that said, Priscilla offers a wave, and heads back through the door through which they entered.

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