4642/ Scene: Ominous Distractions

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Scene: Ominous Distractions
Date of Scene: 13 June 2018
Location: Unknown
Synopsis: Summary needed
Cast of Characters: Shadow, Yin

Shadow has posed:
    Brooke Harris has been moving up in the world lately. Not just everyone gets invited to join Alpha Flight. The downside of that, of course, is increased attention and scrutiny - her name (or at least her alias) becomes known to more people, which can be annoying. But the phone call she received this evening wasn't from a fan or a would-be hanger-on; it was a voice she'd heard exactly once before while its owner almost casually wiped the floor of a warehouse with a crowd of drug-crazed berserkers.

    "I require your assistance, if you're willing to help." followed by a location in Brooklyn and a time. No explanation of what, why and how...

Yin has posed:
Yin is... more used to calls like that than she cares to admit, though there's usually a bit more background involved. She arranges things and makes sure to be there, with some other business rearranged for later. Maybe she can check up on a student later.

She sits quietly, observing the people around, less noticed than you would expect but well.. just some bored student sitting around doesn't draw much attention. Even if the 'bored student' is wearing a costume. Her senses are extended, tracking people and examining the chi in the area quietly.

Shadow has posed:
     If she hadn't been looking, and if she didn't already have an idea what she was looking for, she'd have missed it. But she still remembers the last time she encountered the Shadow, and how she couldn't directly read their chi but still notice its presence by the way other chi became occluded in their passing. As a consequence, when shadows ripple and twist until a tall, black-clad figure is standing next to her, she's not surprised.

    "... Thank you for coming," the Shadow says as a taxi pulls up to the curb next to them, the driver leaning back to open the door.

Yin has posed:
Yin stands, following you as a handful of people notice her now that she isn't acting quite so inobtrusive. "Of course. Always happy to help. I'm sure you have something interesting for me to see, here; what can I do for you today?"

She smiles keeping her senses openned out and studying your posture and movements casually. Reading you quietly.

Shadow has posed:
    Oddly enough - or perhaps not, when she thinks about it - nobody seems to pay much attention to the two costumed individuals boarding a taxi. The Shadow nods once at the driver as Yin closes the door, and off they go.

    "Someone appears to have altered the feng-shui of an entire city block to divert the attention of anyone who might want to investigate," the Shadow begins as the taxi pulls smoothly into traffic. "My sources were able to tell me a chi adept should be able to read the traces left behind to find the source of this... Distortion."

Yin has posed:
Yin oohs, rubbing her hands together. "You do know me so well. I haven't encountered any serious geomancy in a long time. Hmmm.." She's not a feng-shui master, but she starts thinking of what it might look like from her experiences in China.

After a little bit of silent thought, she ventures, "That must have taken a lot of power to set up. Probably a lot of mirrors and things like that too. I remember working in the home of a feng-shui master before. It felt.. a bit distinctive."

Shadow has posed:
    A nod. "My source implied that a working of this size probably means at least one death is involved," the Shadow replies as the taxi continues on. Judging by the glances the driver is giving the rear view mirror, he's definitely listening to the conversation even if he just as clearly would prefer not to know about it. But he does seem to know where to go, as he turns at the next intersection...

Yin has posed:
Yin holds up a hand suddenly. "Stop the car. Something is off here." She shrugs her shoulders and relaxes down, tilting her head. A slow breath in, then slowly out. "Let's get out. I want to take a look around."

She slips out of the car and looks around, not really focusing her eyes on anything. She lifts a hand and sort've vaguely gestures around, trying to get a sense of the feng shui of the place - or at least what it SHOULD be.

Shadow has posed:
    The driver only looks at the Shadow for a moment for confirmation, then upon getting it obediently stops to let both passengers out. "Impressive," the Shadow murmurs even as the taxi drives away again, just one more cabbie looking for fares. "The effect doesn't become noticeable until about fifty meters further." They indicate an intersection just down the road. Almost as if on cue, a police cruiser drives down the road only to make an abrupt right turn as it hits the intersection, while other traffic seems entirely unaffected...

Yin has posed:
Yin puts her hand on her chin and starts looking around. "Normally, the main flow of chi should run through.. there. But I don't.. Hmm.. Where did it go?"

She starts wandering along the street, searching quietly for the new flows. "Oh where, oh where has my earth chi gone..?" She stops and slowly moves through a series of stances, trying to think of how this might be working, then looks back at the other person who does misdirection here, considering, and starts walking in a direction that seems promising.

Shadow has posed:
    Most of the lines are where Yin would expect them to be... /mostly/. One lateral line seems to be arching further than it should. And that in turn alters /those/ paths, and that means there would be something "pushing" it somewhere... /there/...

    The path of distortions and faintly visible chi traces lead her deeper into the city block, the Shadow's silent footsteps accompanying her as she moves.

Yin has posed:
Yin follows the lines in. She pauses, examines, and touches a street sign that is just slightly skewed from its normal direction with a silvery sticker on the back, then looks down through a storefront mirror and frowns.. She continues on. "Look for mirrored things that don't belong. And.." She kicks some of the wood chips out of a tree planting along the street, until she hits a chunk of black rock not native to the area, "..things like that."

She starts hurrying more, moving closer to the center of all of this. "We're very close." She looks around, slowing and looking back and forth at the things nearby.

Shadow has posed:
    It's hard to read the expression of someone when only their eyes are visible, but the way they narrowed just before the nod was probably a frown clearing up into understanding. "These objects are distorting the... 'Chi paths'?" the Shadow asks.

4642/ Scene: Ominous Distractions
Date of Cutscene: 13 June 2018
Location: New York City
Synopsis: Summary needed
Cast of Characters: Shadow

It is, by all appearances, a fairly average night in the Big Apple. The lights are bright, and the streets are bustling -- people driving home, people going out, late night delivery trucks and taxis picking up party goers who had enough sense not to do their own driving on a binge night. Among that kind of throng, nobody pays much attention at yet another cab with its 'active fare' light on.

In the back seat, Natasha shakes out her hair after stowing the slouch hat and scarf that make up so much of her disguise, frowning in frustration at an uncommonly unproductive evening's investigation. There's been an uptick of missing persons report and Kelly Chambers, NYPD analyst, insists it's statistically significant - and she's not been wrong yet. But so far, neither the police nor the Shadow's investigations have turned up any leads.

She's so lost in thought that it takes a moment to realize that her driver just took a much sharper right turn than he usually does unless there's an emergency. "Benny? What's wrong?"

Benny glances up at the rear view mirror to meet Natasha's gaze, an eyebrow raised in confusion. "... nothin'? Just driving home like you ordered, Boss..."

Natasha looks out the window, frowning as she recognizes where they are. "Then why'd you just take a right? The shortest route home from here would've been a left at the last light instead..."

Benny opens his mouth, then his eyes widen as he realizes he doesn't have a good answer. "... But..."

Natasha's eyes narrow as she recognizes the signs of mental compulsion, and she reaches down to retrieve her hat and scarf. "Pull over here, but stay in the area - or as close as it will let you," she orders, then takes a deep breath as she settles the scarf over the lower half of her face. "It appears I'm not done investigating tonight..."

Quiet and unnoticed, the Shadow makes her way back to the intersection, studying the traffic as it goes on its way unaffected -- until a police cruiser makes the same abrupt right turn Benny did.


She notices the compulsion immediately as she crosses the intersection - a mild urge to turn away and go elsewhere, because there's nothing here worth investigating. It doesn't appear to affect passers-by, only police -- and people like her, apparently -- but some experimentation reveals that it covers several blocks.

Her willpower is sufficient that the compulsion has no hold on her now that she's aware of it, but that's too large an area to search on foot. Plus, she has no way of knowing if whoever set this up will detect someone breaching whatever this is the moment she does it. She turns away, dialing Benny's number to get him to come pick her back up. When in doubt, consult with an expert.

Professor Eugene Yeoh is a third-generation Chinese-American. He holds two doctorates in medicine and a Chair at MIT, and is well known professionally for his research into the similarities between physical therapy and traditional techniques such as chiropractic. He is somewhat less well known for his expertise on the more esoteric uses of Ki and , especially since his days of active practitioning are long behind him, but as he glances down at the girasol ring on his finger he recalls the debt he owes to the dark figure speaking to him over a secure connection. "... I must concur. From the effects you describe, it seems less of a direct mental compulsion and more an alteration of the local feng-shui, deflecting watchful attention away from something at the approximate center. Once set up, it wouldn't require much power to keep running, much like a river will prefer to stay in its new course once you've dug a trench, but digging the 'trench' in the first place would require... significant... amounts of power. A skilled Ki adept should be able to find traces and track them back to their origin."

The shrouded figure's head tilts. "I know where to find one. How significant?"

Eugene winces once, forcing bad memories and an old shame back down. "At least a person's life's worth," he finally replies. "Possibly more, depending on how long they've kept this up - keeping the course altered takes less power, but that's not the same as requiring no power."


The connection closes, and Professor Yeoh lets out a shuddering breath that shifts into a yawn halfway through. The Shadow called him out of bed for this consultation, but thinking about the implications means he's not going to be able to sleep well any time soon...