2013-03-21: Changing Minds


Rashmi_icon.jpg Cloud_icon.jpg

Summary: Rashmi and Cloud talk down Rashmi's would be assassin.

Date: March 21, 2013

Log Title: Changing Minds

Rating: PG-13

NYC - Central Park

Central Park is a large public park in upper Manhattan, largest areas of green with people reading, having a picnic, or playing Frisbee. Walking paths can be found all around the park. In-between the large area's of grass, the park is shadier with many trees. A large road circles the park where joggers, bicyclists, and inline skaters are commonly found.

Early evening, and Rashmi closes up the top of her small pile of books, letting out a long sigh. While the pile of makeup work left for her to do has slowly been whittled away, still more remains, on top of the classes she attends now. The only reason she's even allowed to take on so much work, is because she assured her school she could handle it, and the redhead is not about to go back on her word now. Her bookbag sags as she arranges her texts inside, one seam beginning to give way, if only a little. Once the last text is put away, she rises from the bench, pausing to heft the bag more comfortably, and turns toward home.

Having spent the day handing out with a friend Cloud is making his way though the park back towards home, he's had way too much free time of late and has been glad today of an excuse to get out. Dressed in faded black jeans, sneakers and a dark grey shirt he's heading down the path when he spots Rashmi, "Hey Rashmi, need a hand?"

There's a few shouts of surprise from people nearby as a man pushes his way through people, heading right in Rashmi and Cloud's direction. He's dressed in all black along with a hoodie pulled up and a mask covering the lower half of his face. When he finally gets several feet away from the redhead he calls out her name, "Rashmi Franklin!" then pulls out a handgun and points it at her with a shaking hand.

"Cloud!" The boy gets a beamed smile, as she turns to face him, head tilting to one side. "No I'm fine, but I was just about to head home. Wanna stop by the Korean Barbec—" Her invitation, as well as her pleased expression, fall away like shards of a broken window, as her name is called out and the shooter emerges. Holding a hand out to signal Cloud to stay back, she turns, large eyes fixed on what can be seen between hood and mask. "…Yes?" Her voice is slow and careful, but not… exactly scared. "…Can I help you?"

Cloud smiles as he starts walking towards his former classmate before he too is disracted by the shout of her name, he just about stops himself when the shooter appears but stays back at Rashmi's signal, if she wants him to stay back she probably has a very good reason for it, still he makes a note of the things around him that he could use in case it comes to a fight.

The man doesn't say anything for a bit, just keeps the shaking gun trained on Rashmi the best he can. It's obvious he's nervous, or scared and he's breathing hard. "I'm…I'm….sorry, I have to do this. The chruch…they want you dead and the need me to do it." But it seems he can't yet bring himself to pull the trigger.

Rashmi's eyes widen, just a bit, then flick back and forth as she considers her options as quickly as she can. "…I'm sorry, too," she says, a few heartbeats later. "I think it's going to hurt you a lot more than it's going to hurt me, you know…" Keeping her hand out, she slowly settles down onto the ground, crossing her legs and looking up at the would-be killer. "…You've never killed anyone before, have you…?"

Cloud's fist clench as the shooter tells Rashmi who sent him, he would kill for psychic powers right now, Rashmi told him to stay back but the guy is pointing a gun at her. With the guy focused on her he tries to circle round slightly so he's in Rashmi's line of sight, see if he can get any further signal as to what she's trying to do.

The man quickly points the gun at Cloud. "Don't move…just…just…" He looks back at Rashmi but keeps his gun on Cloud for the moment. "I've killed before…just…" He hasn't done it face to face. "You're not supposed to be so young…but it doesn't matter."

"It's okay, Cloud," Rashmi says, letting her hand fall and shaking her head. "This man here just has a choice to make, that's all. I think the best thing we can do, is let him make it." Tucking a lock of hair away from her face, she tilts her head. "You know the Church doesn't care if you do this or not, don't you? If you kill me… well, I'll be dead, and that's good, but my friend will probably take it badly, and I'd hope he'd leave you conscious enough to arrest for my murder. If you don't, you can't go back to them. Either way, the person who loses out the second most here, is you."

Cloud puts both his hands up at about shoulder hight as the gun is pointed at him, "I'm older than Rashmi, so until you decide just keep your gun on me ok?" Then he just stands where he is with his hands in the same place and lets Rashmi do the rest of the talking, he makes no promises to keep the man conscious if he pulls that trigger either.

"You don't understand, the Church needs you dead. You're the voice of the Mutants, you make people sympathetic towards you. With out you, don't you understand, you kind won't have that hero to look up to and non-mutants don't have a sympathetic face, young beautiful and smart…you don't look or act like a monster."

"Because I'm not," Rashmi says softly, "*We're* not monsters. We're people, just like you. My *parents* are people, just like you. Mutants don't *need* a sympathetic face, sir… THey just need someone who'll say what they're all thinking. And if you kill me… well, you'll have just proven me right, won't you? I don't *want* to be a martyr, sir… I've got school and a boyfriend and parents who love me, I wouldn't want to hurt them like that. But if you think your Church really is right, and I need to die to keep everyone safe…" Folding her hands in her lap, she stares up at the gunman, chewing on the inside of her cheek for a moment. "…Well… I suppose it's up to you, what happens."

"She's right, you were shocked by how young she is? that church has done horrible things to people younger than her, to children, you willing to kill for that?", Cloud leaves out the willing to die part as it will probably hurt Rashmi's passive stratagy here, here's hoping she's actually in control of the situation".

The man starts to lower his gun slightly towards the ground. It's just weird for the man to hear that she has a relatively normal life, like his. "This is all wrong, this isn't right…." He mutters more to himself. "Why did you have to be the one to speak out like that, what makes it so you're willing to let me kill you?"

"Because what they were doing is *wrong,*" Rashmi says. "Because people are too scared to *admit* it's wrong. Mutants are terrified of getting murdered for something they can't control. People like you… you're terrified of what mutants *might* do, but even more scared of the people you're working with. It all went off the rails, didn't it, when that sniper tried to take me out? If I hadn't said anything… what do you think would happen?" Inwardly, she breathes a prayer of thanks as Cloud seems willing to go along with her strategy, and while she has barely anything under control, so far her trust has paid off.

With Rashmi seeming to be reaching the guy Cloud goes quiet for the moment and just stays where he is, he doesn't wanna do anything to shake the guy up and make him start using that trigger finger.

"The wouldn't want you dead, that's what would have happened!" The man yells in a frantic voice, shaking so hard the gun actually falls from his hands. "I can't, I can't do this. You're a normal girl, you have friends, a family, a boyfriend….you're the same age as my sister. Mutants are supposed all be like those horrible killers you see in the news like Magneto!"

"Have you ever been to Mutant Town?" Rashmi asks, waving Cloud back as the gun falls, just in case. "When it's not covered in fences, I mean. There's a bistro there, d'you know what powers the chef has? He knows what tastes perfect together. THere's a little girl I met, not long ago… her power is to make things light up. That's all, just.. anything can glow, if she touches it." Her head tilts to one side, eyebrows rising. "Do *they* sound like horrible killers, sir?"

Further instruction from Rashmi stops any attempt Cloud may have made to grab the dropped gun and get it away from anyone planning to use it and hopes shes got the guy completely talked down.

Hearing everything the way Rashmi puts it, the man is realizing that mutants aren't this foreign race that the Church preaches. "The Church….the make it seem like all mutants are evil, that you're a threat to humanity…you're not supposed to be just like humans." He falls to his knees seeming like his world is falling apart. "They're not nice, the price for failing is steep….if you do well you go far in the church if you don't…" He shudders.

"I know they're not nice," Rashmi understates, gently. "I know what they do to people who upset them, believe me… D'you think maybe my friend can go ahead and take the gun, sir? Just, if you're not going to shoot me… It's probably a good idea if we make sure *nobody* can get shot. He's going to come over slowly and keep his hands up, and use a rag or something to pick up the gun by the barrel, okay?"

Cloud doesn't have a rag! But he is wearing long sleeves, will pulling the sleeve up over his hand work? Either way unless the man makes some motion for him to stop thats what he'll do. He approaches slowly with his hands up uses his sleeve to pick up the gun by the barrel and backs away again slowly.

The masked man reaches forward quickly to grab the gun and points it at Cloud, his hands still shaking. "No! You're not going to trick me. You're going to make sure I'm unarmed and then you're going to do something!" He doesn't know what that something is. "I can still shoot you! I can still do it!"

"Sir," Rashmi says, "if anyone was going to do something, it'd be me. Cloud can't hurt you from over there, sir… And I don't *want* to, because we're doing okay just talking, aren't we? I mean, you *could* shoot us both… But you haven't, right?"

Cloud freezes in the position he's in part way towards the man and the gun, "Stay calm, trust me I don't have the planning to trick someone", he makes sure his hands are still up in front of him, "Look not moving".

"Not yet!" But he doesn't know if he can bring himself to pull the trigger. He just sits there from his position on his knees moving the gun from Rashmi to Cloud several times over, letting their words sink in. After a few moments he switches the safety to 'on' and let's the clip fall from the gun before he holds it out to Cloud. "You're right, I can't do it."

Rashmi nods, smiling as the clip falls to the ground. "Thank you, sir… I really *do* appreciate it. So…" Climbing to her feet she holds out a hand. "Maybe we should go, then…? I mean if the Church is going to do horrible things to you, we really should find you someplace safe."

Cloud takes the gun from the guy resisting the idea to knock him out with it before he changes his mind again, "You've done the right thing", he backs up a little letting Rashmi continue doing her thing.

The man looks up at the hand and gives Rashmi a confused look. He reaches up to lower the hood and the mask, revealing the face of a man who looks to be no older than 25 years old. "I know." He agrees with Cloud. "But why would you try to help me after I tried to take your life?"

"You *could* have, sure," Rashmi says, tilting her head and nodding her thanks to Cloud, "but you *didn't.* And, y'know? That means just as much, to me." Her hand stays outstretched, waiting for the man to take it. "Hi… I'm Rashmi Franklin, law student. What's your name?"

"Rashmi's one of the good guys, it's what she does", still Cloud is pretty impressed that Rashmi avoided anyone getting shot or at least beaten, he slips the gun into his back pocket and adjust his shirt to cover it, he'll try and dump it somewhere later, unless Rashmi calls the police on this guy and they need it.

"Andrew." He says quietly. "My family is going to kill me for chickening out on this. My father's with the Church." He says knowing that he's not going to be able to return home any time soon. "I can't do it, it's not right. I'm sorry for threatening you."

"It's okay, Andrew," Rashmi says, her smile still warm and kind. "I have friends, I know they can keep you safe. I mean, I'd ask you to turn yourself in, but, that'd probably be as dangerous for you as anything else."

"If you don't wanna turn him to turn himself in, do you want me to take care of making the weapon disappear?", it's the very least he can do to make himself useful, as much as anyone who alligns with the Church deserves what they get, he sort of feels for the guy.

"Do what you wish with the gun, I'm never going to hunt another mutant again." Andrew swears. "The Church….they're filled with lies about what you are. I didn't expect you to be so…human. Not that you aren't humans too." He's come to that conclusion now. "It's just not right what they're doing and I can't pretend it's okay anymore."

Rashmi shakes her head. "No, Cloud… Hang onto it for a second." Reaching into her bookbag, she pulls out her phone. "Voice, dispatch?" Holding it to her ear, she pauses a moment. "Student Franklin, requesting extraction? There's a Church member who needs protective custody… Yes. … *Yes,* that's right, but it's okay. I promise. …All right." Drawing in a breath, she shuts off the phone and turns to Andrew. "…Okay, so… There's going to be a SHIELD unit coming by soon to make sure you're safe. But we have time to get some hotdogs or something first, are you hungry? I was studying all afternoon, I'm starved."

Cloud shrugs, he'll just keep hold of it until Rashmi's unit arrives then, after that he'll inquire if Rashmi is currently aiming for Sainthood or not. He sticks close to Andrew and Rashmi incase the Church sent someone to be sure the job was done.

Andrew nods at Rashmi's words but can't really find the words to say. The only thing that can say is "Thank you. I promise, I won't be going back to that Church. I'm not really that hungry but if you want to get hot dogs…." He's just thrown off by her generosity. "I can see why people believe in you."

Rashmi chuckles quietly. "You're welcome, Andrew," she says, leading the trio to the edge of the park, hunting up a nearby hotdog cart. "But really, it's just… Cloud's right, it's what I do. I mean, I don't want people to think I'm all *that* special. I *wouldn't* be, really, if people just *tried* to treat each other a little nicer. So I figure, I'll just act like I'd like everyone else to, y'know?"

"You might aswell eat something man, might calm you down a little", Cloud looks around as a thought occurs to him, "How did you know to find Rashmi here Andrew?", she's one woman in a big city after all.

"I followed here from her apartment and watched for a while." Andrew answers honestly. "I was trying to work up the nerve." He says then gets really quite, just listening to Rashmi talk. He's made a big decision today and he's still trying to comprehend what that means for his life. He just listens to the two talk, waiting for Rashmi's protection to arrive.

"Well," Rashmi says, voice jumping a bit at the idea that she'd been stalked for the entire afternoon, "I'm glad it worked out okay, Andrew… Thanks… y'know… for talking with me, instead of shooting me. A lot of people who matter to me really appreciate that."

Cloud follows along as Rashmi comtinues to talk to Andrew and absentmindedly wonders what will happen when SHIELD finally arrives, are they as fogiving as Rashmi?

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