Conservation of Energy

Summary:
August 28, 2014: A small group investigates the anomalies around the Titan Tower.

East Shore - New York City

The East Shore of Staten island is most famous for being one have of 'The
Narrows' separating Upper New York Bay from Lower New York Bay. Historic Fort
Wadsworth and the Verrazano-Narrows bridge that crosses over to Brooklyn are
the major features there, along with the FDR Boardwalk and beach. This area
also houses the Tower Headquarters of the Titans.


Characters

NPCs

  • Lockheed

Mood Music:


The Titans Tower is back in the state it was in before it was demolished. That is to say, it's still a work in progress, but it's not rubble. The area around the Tower, however, stretching a couple of blocks inland from the shore, things seem to be a little off. Maybe the Italian restaurant is now a Chinese restaurant. Maybe someone's pet dog is now a pet cat. Maybe someone who used to be green is now red. There's no visual delineation as to where that 'bubble' begins or ends — someone walking their dog might cross the street and they're now walking their cat. Named Fido. They might step into a building and someone who's abilities might be shapeshifting now has telepathy.

Now, the mage who set this up hadn't really noticed as he's sitting in an outdoor section of a cafe, drinking a fancy coffee drink that has a fancy, made-up Italian name. (Of course, that cute little cafe was a 7-11 before the Tower was restored…but he doesn't seem to be aware of that.) It's only when someone who was walking their dog crosses the street and is now happily walking their cat does he sit up and notice.

Well, that was weird.

Constantine frowns, kicking dirt into a little hole in the ground. The problem he seems to be having is that the hole, despite being six inches deep, isn't filling up. He squats, then lays down, and gingerly pokes at the hole with a little straw produced from his pocket. The straw vanishes the moment it touches the hole, then reappears when he quickly withdraws it. The Brit pops to a low squat, trenchcoat pooling around his feet, and rubs his stubbled chin. He fishes for a cigarette from his pockets, lights up, and ponders the hole in the sidewalk like it's the most fascinating thing in the universe, ignoring the people blithely walking around him and looking askance at his odd actions. He seems utterly absorbed in regarding the tiny pothole, and anyone looking at him for more than a moment would be able to tell from the hard set to his eyes that if he's crazy, it's a special sort of insanity that tends to find the truly weird instead of the imaginary objects d'insanity.

Edgar Cizko had decided to get himself a closer look at the Titans Tower. Waller's involvement in the incident seemed to be a keystone to this whole affair, of course. The woman had been furiously tight-lipped about the situation and, while he was certain he could have pried it from her brain (she was, after all, only a woman), he'd likely have complicated the entire affair with Stormwatch. And he was so looking to having official authority and position to throw around.

The entire place gives off a strange aura to his psychic senses, and none more so, of course, than John Constantine himself, a man whose mind a Yorkshire medium once described as "an angry, perverted thistle". Edgar doesn't have to impose much to get at least a quick snapshot of the contours of his psyche: clever, amoral, mildly egotistical, with an overdeveloped sense of compassion. Another hero, no doubt, although a scungy one. Edgar brushes an imaginary piece of lint off of his own impeccable suit, drawing out his cigarette case and lighting a Dunhill as he awaits to see what, if anything, occurs.

The anomaly is certainly strange. Completely unaware of the strange reality shift that surrounds the construction of the Titan's Tower, Kitty steps through that invisible barrier with her knitting bag firmly on her arm. Immediately, there is a change. Out of her knitting bag, Lockheed tumbles, growing larger and white…four hoofs, a horn…is that a unicorn? Kitty freezes, completely surprised by this turn of events. She looks completely unchanged. "Lockheed!"

The unicorn — unused to four legs and such body mass — clumsily trots over to her. One leg traps another and there's a panicked whinny as he tumbles forward. Luckily, the barrier is not far behind and as he falls forward, he's a purple dragon again, fluttering easily to the ground again, giving the sidewalk in front of them a suspicious glare. "What in the…"

Was that…a unicorn? And then it was a dragon? Billy blinks into his coffee and then looks around to see if anyone else seems to be having any strange hallucinations. It's then that he catches sight of Constantine as well. At least he's not charging up to him like last time!

There's a moment's hesitation before he decides that it's only proper to be polite. Bringing his coffee cup with him, he moves from the cafe to stand over by the older mage, "Uh. Hi! What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Constantine says a bit acidly, prodding with his cigarette at the little void in reality. He finds the line of demarcation and takes a few more heavy puffs on his cigarette, then flicks it into the void. A little eddy of smoke curls up from a spot six inches above the pothole, turning into a miniature smoke signal that might as well say 'don't step here'. He rises, brushing his hands together, and gives the unicorn a level look. "Hey, you! With the unicorn, and the dragon, and the face! Come here!" Constantine calls to Kitty, cupping his hands to his mouth. If he is aware of Edgar's psychic intrusion, it doesn't show. He turns back to Billy, eying the boy. "Dimensional chaos magic rifts, all around the Tower," Constantine says, gesturing vaguely behind him. "You wouldn't know anything about this, would you?" he asks the younger mage, cocking an eye at him.

Edgar Cizko keeps his distance, observing as a good observer does. He's not a hero and has no interesting in solving any problems or battling any evils. He's just here because the Titans have become a subject of interest, although none of these people look like the profiles he was given of the Titans. And, oh great, unicorns. Shoot me now.

Inquisitive and now startled, Kitty tentatively puts out a hand, attempting to figure out what is happening here. At first, there's nothing, but then, only up to the middle of her arm, it feels heavy and tingly. However, there is no enormous change in her that came over Lockheed. That doesn't mean she likes it, though. Quickly, she pulls her hand back just about the time that she is being called to. Scooping up the dragon, she turns. Normally, she'd attempt to put him back in her bag, but it's a bit too late to hide him now.

Kitty studies the group gathered about the man in the trenchcoat before cautiously approaching. "Yes?" Did she just hear 'dimensional chaos magic rift' as an explanation? Her eyebrow raises at the question to Billy.

Billy Kaplan sips at his coffee even as he watches the cigarette butt get tossed towards the pothole and transform. "Uhm. Well, they messed with the Tower and that was a pretty stinky thing to do. So I just…brought it back. I mean, they can't go around destroying things for no reason! I'll…put energy back where it came from, I promise." Once he figures out how to do that, of course.

Dark eyes widen as Kitty comes over with…"Is that a dragon? I mean, not some dog in an awesome dragon suit, but a real dragon? Where did you get it? Ohmygod…that is one of the coolest things I've ever seen! Can I touch it?"

Constantine snaps his fingers in front of Billy's face. "Oye! Attention, here please," he says, eye-pointing at the boy's face and his own hard-set blue eyes. "I seem to recall us having a conversation about the conservation of magic," Constantine says, folding his arms and giving Billy a stern look. "You're saying, they tore your house down, so you just… ripped up a bunch of spare reality and rebuilt it?" He shakes his head. "That's… that's just not done," he says with emphatic frustration. "You see what you did 'ere, eh?" he demands, pointing at the invisible hole in reality that is currently emitting a steady stream of smoke. "Unreality. Right there. Someone could lose a foot stepping in that," he says. "Not to mention it's a properly nasty pothole, one could turn an ankle."

He looks at Kitty Pride, giving the girl a look that's more irritated than anything. "Seriously, an actual dragon?" he asks, echoing Billy's statement. "I haven't seen one of those in ages. Hey, feller!" he coos, fishing in his pocket and producing of all things, a little piece of giblet. "Fancy a treat?"

Billy gets a smile. "Yes, he's a dragon. Well, sort of. In any even, he's not a dog in a dragon suit. He normally stays in my bag when we're out." Because people tend to stare and have reactions ranging from terror to the wide eyed stare of Billy. "It's a he and you'll have to ask him." Recovering from his strange few moments as a quadruped, Lockheed crawls up Kitty's arm and curls around her neck. He gives Billy a wary look, but doesn't seem to mind the idea of being pet.

"Seriously," Kitty raises an eyebrow at the prickly British man. She's about to retort with something equally dry, but when he pieces of giblet from his pocket, she stops herself. Lockheed perks at the offering of a treat, giving Constantine his full attention. "Do you…" she tilts her heard curiously at him. "Is that just something you normally carry around in anticipation of hungry dragons?"

Billy Kaplan does look back as he's snapped at, "We talked about magic and you said that it has to go back when you've used it. I'm working on that, ok? If I can't do anything with it, what's the reason for having it?" He looks over at the hole, "You're the one who made it smoke, not me…and maybe that pothole was there before? I mean…the city patches that stuff up all the time and magic doesn't stop them from doing that!" He also gives a sigh of frustration, "Why isn't it done? How else was I to fix this, huh?"

At least there's the distraction of the dragon now. When told to address the dragon, it's definitely a reason to move away from Constantine, "May I pet you?" is asked even as he stretches out a hand. If the dragon is busy eating giblets, he won't want a finger, right?

"What, you've never run into a dragon and not had a snack handy?" Constantine says, offering Lockheed a cooing scritch under the chin and giving up the giblet piece to Lockheed. "Whossa good little draconis rex? This guy is!" he says, giving the dragon plenty of little affection.

He turns back to Billy and cocks an eyebrow at the boy. "It isn't done because if everyone did it every time they broke a vase, we'd have unreality all over the place," he explains patiently. "You're not really fixing anything, so much as breaking everyone else's toys and using the parts to put yours back together."

Lockheed seems pretty pleased with all the pleasant attention being paid to him, nodding magnanimously to Billy at the question. His wings flutter and flex around Kitty's shoulders as he closes his eyes and leans into the scritching as he chomps on the offered meat from Constantine. Now that's a happy dragon.

Kitty smirks at Lockheed's antics before studying the pothole that contains the unreality. "You're talking about the conservation of energy," she tells Constantine. She doesn't know much about magic, but she does know science. "You can't create something out of nothing, it has to come from somewhere." Her head turns back toward the invisible barrier that turned Lockheed into a unicorn. "So, this is a lot of stitched energy?"

Billy Kaplan sighs, "This isn't a vase. It's something far more important and I'm working on putting that energy back somehow so that I don't break anyone else's toys, all right?" He just has to figure out how to do it. The concept of putting the energy back makes sense when one is doing something temporary…not so much when doing more 'permanent' magic. "So, how would you have fixed this then, and not broken anyone's toys? This is why I asked for you to teach me! I mean..you obviously know what you're doing."

He then looks at Kitty, "Well, if you want to put it that way, there was the rubble and the energy of the destruction of the Tower." So there.

"Bingo, give the girl a cookie," Constantine says, tapping Kitty lightly on her upturned nose. "Conservation of energy, very good," he applauds the young mutant. He turns back to Billy, then shakes his head. "I told you, I don't do parties and I don't give lessons," he reiterates firmly. "What I would have done is the heavy lifting. Energy's all chaos anyway— you could have used magic to rebuild the metal in the construction, reassemble the bricks, that sort of thing. It takes a wee knowledge of science, but it's using unstable energy to decrease entropy," he explains to Billy in a patient, yes-I-am-definitely-teaching-you tone. "But what you did is just grab random pockets of reality and make them into something else. If I came along and grabbed you and needed your reality to make this little fellow into, oh, I don't know, a unicorn, you'd be a bit miffed, wouldn't you?"

Kitty wrinkles her nose when she's tapped. Immediately, she rubs it as if suddenly having an itch there before lowering her hand, before replying to Billy. "Hey, I'm not putting it any way. I don't know anything about magic." She waits for a moment, studying Constantine, perhaps wondering if he really will pull a cookie out of his pocket to give her. Then, again, if it was in the same pocket with raw meat, she's not really sure she would want to eat it. As she listens to the not-lesson, her head tilts a little to the side. She was always an eager student. "Why don't you give lessons? You seem to know what you're talking about."

There's another sigh of frustration but he does listen. "So you'd rebuild it…using magic. But what if you're not an architect?" Of course, at the mention of borrowing his reality to turn the dragon (back) into a unicorn, he does look pensive.

"Would I be able to ride him?"

He looks back at Constantine expectantly at Kitty's direct question. "She makes a good point."

"I guess you get the help of the architect? Maybe it's just that it's not a one person job." Kitty shrugs at the question. She's not the expert. Her eyebrows raise a bit at the question. "Lockheed? As a unicorn?" Skeptically, she gives the purple dragon a raised eyebrow, letting him answer for himself what the probability of letting someone ride him would be. There's a snort of smoke from his nostrils at the idea. "He was having some trouble walking on four legs. I don't think adding a passenger would make it any easier.

"Then why involve the magic at all," Billy offers back. "If you're getting an architect who knows how to do it…I mean, I guess it could be a money thing, but…ok, I see the difference in maybe how it could have been created, but it's still using magic whether or not I say 'Put it back the way it was' or 'Make it like it never happened'. The energy still has to come from somewhere."

He then looks to Lockheed, "Too bad, It'd be awesome to ride a unicorn."

Constantine looks askance at them both at the 'architect' question, then flails his arms in every direction — at the entire bloody mess of unreality pockets around them — and then jabs his hands at the two younger ones palms up, in frustrated supplication. "This! This is what happens when you're not an architect!" Constantine declares. "Little pockets of unreality! Dragons turning into unicorns! Potholes! Little… jammie dodgers falling out of a coffee cup!" He balls his hands into fists, flailing tightly, and rises up onto his toes for a moment before landing on his heels.

He exhales deeply, clearly calming himself. "You can't just 'undo' entropy," he explains to Billy once again. "You can do things that reduce entropy, like making a more ordered state, but you can't… can't just say, 'don't be a mess!' to a pile of rubble. That energy and order has to come from somewhere. This is why chaos magic is so bloody unpredictable," he says, falling into a grumble. "This is an awful mess. If you can't fix it, I'll have to, and I'll have to get help, at that."

"I don't know. Maybe if you can do it without magic you should?" Kitty replies noncommittally. "Right. I mean, the energy has to come from somewhere. Like, if you're making a program, you have to put in scripts to tell it where to get its information, where to put the information, what is okay to delete. If you don't do that, it won't run properly. You can run the program, but it'll crash."

Lockheed gives Billy a bit of a skeptical look at how cool it would to be ridden and curls up around Kitty's neck again in a satisfied manner. "Jammie dodgers?" Of course, that would be her question. "I guess if chaos magic weren't chaotic they'd have to call it something else." Then, more seriously, "You can fix unreality?"

Billy Kaplan's eyes narrow at Constantine's outburst before he has one if his own, "It's only Chaos Magic because no one will teach me how to use it!!!" He rolls his eyes at the two of them, "This is why I'm a Humanities major." Or, will be…when he declares. He just blinks at Kitty's computer programming explanation before he looks between Constantine and the girl, "I'm thinking about how to do that, ok? I can't just…knock it down again."

"You've got a ball of string in a giant knot, mate," Constantine tells Billy, jabbing a finger at the Tower. "You can't just leave it there, either. You've got to put it back to the way it was — all of it — or it's going to stand there, with little… unravelly bits of reality missing from all over the area around it, and god knows how bad THAT could get," he tells Billy with some emphasis.

He turns back to Kitty, then looks askance at Billy, then back at Kitty again. "I don't know what she's saying, but she's cute and it sounds like she's got a handle on the theory behind the energy, if not the process. What's your name, anyway?" he asks Kitty, peering at the girl. "And how do you know so much about magical theory?"

At Billy's outburst, Kitty blinks, Lockheed raising his head. "There aren't books or anything?" She glances over to Constantine. "Why don't you give lessons?" she asks him again. "Or, if you need help to fix this, he had the ability to put it there in the first place. Don't you think he could help make it work again? And maybe he'll learn something in the process. Solution offered, she shrugs, the dragon harrumphing a bit at his perch being disturbed. "Then again, Humanities is a good major. You'll read a lot."

"Me? Oh, I know nothing about magic. All the theory you're talking about sounds a lot like science and programming, which I do know something about. I guess that's a kinda Rosetta Stone." Kitty smiles. "Oh, right. My name's Kitty. And you've met Lockheed." She sticks a hand out to shake.

"She's talking about Computer science. I know that much," Billy points out. "If this 'chaos magic' isn't supposed to be chaotic, then how the hell am I suppose to learn the rules to make it 'orderly magic' if…No. One. Will. Teach. Me." He points at Constantine at each of those last five words. "Well, I'm not going to just let it go without warning the others. What if someone's in there and the Tower comes crashing down? That's worse than a pothole." Harumph.

At Kitty's comments, he offers, "Thank you…and no, there aren't really books to read. I mean, maybe there are, but it's not like I can order them on Amazon or go to the library to find them. I've tried. I don't mind reading at all, but as far as magic goes, I'm just doing what I can." He takes the offered hand before Constantine, "Billy K…I mean…Wiccan." Because he's a Titan and all.

Constantine looks at Kitty, jaw setting and unsetting, then exhales testily. "No jammie dodgers for you," he tells the girl. "I don't like being out-reasoned by a muggle. I was perfectly set on being not reasonable about this!" he adds with a wag of his finger.

He turns his attention away from Kitty, then offers her a grudging handshake. "John Constantine," he finally says to the girl, and then offers Billy a handshake. "Call me Constantine, everyone else does, no one calls me John. Bollocks sort of name it is," he says, shrugging into his trenchcoat. "What do you do, Kitty?" he asks the girl, looking at her with renewed curiousity.

"Wiccan." Kitty returns the handshakes with a smile. "J-Constantine. It's nice to meet you both." She doesn't have much else to say about magic when she can't compare it to computers. Practicing programming scripts is a bit different than practicing with spells. "I don't know, John seems a fine enough name. Though, I guess Constantine is more unique." As for what she does, she shrugs. "At the moment, nothing. Recently returned from Japan, trying to get my feet back on the ground."

At least the attention is off of him and his shifted reality…for the moment. Billy shakes Constantine's offered hand before he just listens…and pays attention to Lockheed. Because…Dragon! Who is going to believe this?

Leaning a little closer to the dragon he whispers, "Can I get a selfie with you?"

"All right, Wiccan," Constantine says wearily. "You and me, we'll get this fixed. This mess," he clarifies, gesturing around them. "Not the Tower. But I can show you a few ways to help get construction on the Tower moving along — it won't be easy, but you can at least help cut costs a bit."

He looks back to Kitty. "Japan's nice. Been there a few times," he tells the girl. "Where'd you get the dragon?" he asks, glancing at Lockheed. "Always be polite to a dragon," he asides to Billy. "They have long lives and long memories."

Lockheed tilts his head curiously at the question, but doesn't seem to agree or disagree. Perhaps he doesn't know what a selfie is. "Yeah, it's an interesting place. There was a lot to learn. It was basically like a study abroad program." As for the dragon, she shrugs and smiles. "He kind of got me. He's not really mine so much as he sticks around and eats all the food in the fridge."

Billy Kaplan straightens and looks at Constantine, "It's why I asked him. I'm not stupid. I know that I'm crunchy and taste good with ketchup." Brown eyes are perfectly ingenuous as he says that. There is another sigh, however, "It's not about speeding up the process and cutting costs. We just don't have the money to rebuild it. It was given to us and it's not like we're all mega-billionaires."

Since Lockheed doesn't seem turned off by the question, Billy pulls his phone out of his pocket and quickly leans in to snap a selfie of him and the dragon…and probably part of Kitty's shoulder and hair, at least. Because…DRAGON!

"Yeah, they do that too. Keep an eye on those claws, sometimes they get splits and need to be filed down. You'll need a magically hardened file," he adds to Kitty. He smiles at the girl. "But he seems to like you, so you must be doing a good job taking care of him."

"I could get it rebuilt today, if I was willing to sacrifice a few children and unleash some demons into this world," Constantine counters to Billy. "It's not about what's easy, it's about what's right. And believe me when I tell you that the right thing and the easy thing are very rarely, the same thing," he says, a dark look crossing his face.

The picture that Billy snaps will most likely have the dragon peering at his phone curiously. He, of course, knows what a phone is and that it can take pictures, but now he realizes that a selfie is taking a picture with a phone. Kitty hears the fake shutter noise and glances at the young mage with a bit of a frown, but doesn't stop him. "Just don't post that all over Facebook, if you wouldn't mind," she tells the teen with a smile. "If he gets internet famous, I'll probably never see him again amidst his fans."

Back to Constantine, she nods. "I make sure he's cleaned up. But, he's mostly good at keeping himself healthy and together. He's not my pet." Though, honestly, she does treat him like that at times. She watches the Brit and nods. "But, just so we're clear there wasn't any sacrificing of children and unleashing of demons and will continue not to be, right?"

Not about to be cowed, Billy scowls right back at him…a big difference from the wide smile he had in the Selfie with the dragon. "And, if you notice, I didn't sacrifice anything, nor did I call on any demons. I was a wreck when I got home, thank you very much, and am just now beginning to feel more myself. So. maybe I used some of my own energy, huh? I didn't hurt anyone. In fact, I made it so that people weren't hurt. Geez. Just because you're hot in a sort of…Daniel Craig way with your trench and your British accent doesn't make you right in everything."

He makes sure to show Lockheed the picture but also looks over at Kitty, "All right. I won't post it on Facebook or anything. I mean, people probably wouldn't believe me anyhow, but…" oh, right. Lockheed gets a little bow, "Thank you for letting me take the selfie with you." See? Polite. Back to Kitty, "I don't sacrifice people or call demons, thank you very much. I don't do that kind of magic."

"Yes, it does," Constantine replies urbanely, adjusting his slack-drawn tie. "I'll be back around," he informs Billy. "I have to get a few things in order. If there's anyone in the Tower, better tell them to clear out. If we manage to get this mess unbuggered without too much issue, I'll show you a trick or two to help cut the cost of rebuilding." He reaches into his pockets for a lighter and cigarette, lights up, then nods at Kitty. "Nice meeting you, Kitty. See you around," he offers the girl. With another meaningful look at Billy, Constantine turns and walks away, trenchcoat flapping around his knees.


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