Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Freedom City, New Jersey
June 20, 2017
Afternoon
 
The man at the big board tapped a button on his control console and spoke into his microphone; on the other side of the soundproofed glass his voice was the only thing that could be heard. "Could we get a sound check, Asli? Just need to check some levels."
 
Asli Saddik stepped up to the mic hanging in the middle of the chamber and licked her lips, leaning in close. "Check check Cyril, one two three four. Seven sniping snakes slipped and slithered up sinuous stairs while Sally and Susy sang stucco shanties. Kill Craig's cat and cripple Katy's kibble caboose. Tip toe and take two tables to taste Tali's tippled tacos." She stepped back and stretched, long arms almost reaching the top of the recording studio. "Those levels look good, Cyril? I don't want to be futzing with equipment all day."
 
Cyril tweaked some knobs and bobbed his head as jerking lines on the screen leveled and smoothed out. "Looks good on our end. Ready to start when you are." He looked reached his hand out to a particular button and then paused, looking over at the other man seated at the big table. Joe Macayle wasn't a regular feature at the Stone Soup recording booth but at least he was smart enough not to touch any of the intimidating array of sliders and knobs on the board that seemed to stretch for a city block. Cyril caught his eye and gave him a mischievous wink. "Ready to see the magic happen?"

Share this post


Link to post

This had been something they'd talked about often. Joe had always wanted to see Asli in the studio; it had just been a problem of making it work on everyone's schedules. Besides, he knew just how technical this job could get, and it wasn't like he wanted to serve as a distraction or keep asking questions throughout. He kept his mouth shut generally, but he knew he could possibly get... eager in circumstances like this. 

 

Now, however, he was feeling quite cool. He'd been able to get a day off from work, and the studio was providing a nice, cool respite from the heat outside. He watched as Asli got her voice together, ensuring the proper cadence. He raised a thumb as she winked to him. "Been waiting for this for a while," he said. "Let's hear the music play." 

Share this post


Link to post

Cyril nodded to Joe and flipped a switch. They could both hear the prerecorded sound through the speakers in the corners of the room, but they were only hearing a shade of what was being piped into the recording chamber. The saxophone was first, a low wave of sound that would not have been out of place in a jazz lounge, with a nearly subaudible beat beneath it. Also stood with her arms in the air and let it flow through her. Her heavy jacket, which she had worn even in this heat, was hanging off Joe's chair, and she was only wearing hip-hugging jeans and a tight shirt.

 

She swayed hopelessly to the rhythm as she came up to the microphone. She opened her eyes and her mouth at the same time as she spoke, her words moving in and out of the beats.

 

This city is a fierce beast and I live in it.
The only way is to have your rules
Look both ways and
Keep your head down and
Snarl don't smile and
Keep a layer between yourself and the world.

 

And then you came along baby
And touched my life baby
And changed my mind baby
Because I don't to be apart from you baby
And I want to feel your heart baby
Pressed up against mine.

 

Also backed up from the microphone as the music transitioned into a saxophone solo. As she she sang and as she moved, though, she kept her eyes fixed on Joe.

Edited by Raveled

Share this post


Link to post

Joe was transfixed. Honestly. He had heard Asli sing everywhere - in the club, in the kitchen, at shows, in the shower - and her voice could lure her in with a snap. Her genre wasn't exactly his genre, but he liked to think of himself as a cosmopolitan man who could enjoy quality wherever it was. And Asli's voice certainly was quality. And none of that sentiment came from the other bond they had.

 

Okay. Maybe a little bit of it came from that bond. 

 

He smiled as the lyrics sank in. He and Asli were somewhat certain of what they had. In that ambiguous zone of comfort where things seem good, seem stable, but could only stand to grow stronger and build towards the future. Or, in a worst case scenario, topple if more pressure was placed on it. He wanted to place that pressure, though. He wanted to move forward. Maybe not right away, but... somewhere down the line.

 

The question of where, though, kept coming up. 

Share this post


Link to post

The solo slowed, faded, and Asli swayed back up to the microphone to begin the next verse. As she opened her mouth and began to vocalize, though, there was a sudden pop from the mixing board, loud enough to echo in the room. A moment later it came again, then the lights cut out and the room was plunged into darkness. The recording studio went dark, too, and with the thick glass and padded doors Asli couldn't ever hear what was going on. Joe could hear inquisitive tones beyond the door.
 

"Did the lights go out?"

"Hey! Who blew the circuit breaker?"

"It wasn't me, I was doing acoustic. Who's in the studio?"

"It's not just our building, I just saw lights across the street go out. Hey, the street light's out, too! The whole block's dark!"
 

The heavy door to the studio opened and Asli crept out, her hands stuck in front of her to avoid running into anything. "Joe? Cyril? What happened? Where are the lights?"

Edited by Raveled

Share this post


Link to post

Well. That was sudden. Joe reached out towards the sound of Asli's voice, extending his own hand. In the other, he was fishing out his phone - it wasn't exactly the finest model, but it at least had a flashlight for moments like this. "Everything went out at once," he said, flipping through the functions with one hand. "Must be a brownout." 

 

As the light came on, he reached for Asli's hand. "Maybe the power'll come back on soon. I know you've got the studio time, and I'm guessing we don't wanna go walking back to the apartment only to have the lights come back on halfway there. Anything you want in the meantime? I don't think any of the ice cream places have gotten to where they're giving stuff away, but give it a few minutes and... well, y'know." 

Share this post


Link to post

Asli took Joe's hand and stepped close to him. "I might lose the whole day anyway. Sometimes I need to be in the right kind of mood, you know? I waited to perform that." She didn't add 'for you' but it hung in the air so obvious. "I was just hoping you'd be able to see the whole thing." She squeezed his fingers and put a hand on his shoulder, moving closer in the dark room. "There was sort of a message in it." There was almost no space between the two of them, and in the dark room it was easy to forget they were in the middle of a business. "You might have to --"

 

"This is so weird." Cyril's voice broke the mood and Asli suddenly stepped back, feeling her face flush in the darkness. "It looks like power's out all over. People are geotagging in from Port Royal, West End, the Fens, Bayview. Anyone without a generator is hot and dark." He scrolled at his phone, checking a couple news aggregators. "Channel 3's already calling it a black out, no word on when things'll get up."

 

Asli sighed and stroked Joe's face. "Looks like we have another job waiting for us," she said to him quietly.

Share this post


Link to post

Joe sighed. "Sounds about right," he said. "Man, of all the days to want to stay inside, bask in air conditioning, and not deal with a crisis." He reached for the duffel bag he'd brought along just in case. "But, you're right. We should probably get going. Make sure that everything's okay for our neighbors."

 

Once they were as far in the clear as Joe suspected they might be, he ducked into the nearest bathroom, broke out the costume, and got ready to go. The good news about getting this thing made in atomweave was that he wasn't going to die of heatstroke any time soon. The helmet would still be something of an issue, but it hadn't given him that much trouble before. When your skin could resist bullets if you flexed it right, a little hot steel wasn't a big deal. Still, he'd probably smell musky once it was all done.

 

Cannonade stepped out onto the street. "Let's go see what we're dealing with."  

Share this post


Link to post

Asli grabbed her jacket and followed after Joe. It was easy to follow the flow of people headed towards the windows and the fire exits. She slipped into the lady's restroom and flashed her light around. Satisfied that she was alone, Asli muttered the words of her own transformation. In moments she was once again clad in the long robe and heavy cowl she was used to. She walked directly through the door to meet Cannonade in the hallway. "We better get out there," she agreed. "We have to keep an eye out for... Out for... Excuse me."

 

Miras wiped her hand across her brow. The office building was already beginning to get hot and stuffy, especially the hallway. And the fact that she was wearing many pounds of cotton wasn't helping things. "Just give me a moment," she said, and then began muttering magical words under her breath. The bodysuit stayed, she considered, though patches did open in the material below her knees and on her biceps. Most of the material of her robe disappeared, leaving her with a cowl and a kaffiyeh. Her gloves disappeared up to the middle of her forearms while henna appeared to recreate the designs.

 

The sorceress shook out her arms, considering the new look. "There we go. Miras: Summer Spectacular edition." she winked at Cannonade. "Meet you in the lobby, lover." With that she dropped through the floor, quickly falling through the levels of office building towards the ground.

Share this post


Link to post

Cannonade nodded as Miras vanished downwards. Usually, if he wanted to do that, it would involve a whole lot of holes kicked in floors and a whole lot of bills settled afterwards. 

 

So he decided to take the bathroom window instead. After breaking his fall in the gentlest way possible, he traded a look with Miras, getting the subtle cue for their patrol approach. He took to the skies instantly, only to just as quickly settle on the rooftops. This way, he could get the best look of the blackout area and figure out just where the distress lay. 

 

Of course, that also meant going on top of the buildings. And the problem with hot air was that it naturally rose. He remembered reading somewhere that the first form of air conditioning was being rich enough to get a small aqueduct running through your basement. So being as far from that kind of basement as possible felt like a bad idea. But he'd dealt with worse. It was all a matter of priorities. 

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×