2011-02-21: In For A Penny In For A Pound

Players: Connor & Rashmi

Connor_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: A troubled Connor and a tired Rashmi get together to swap information.

Date: Februry 21, 2011

Log Title: In For a Penny, In For a Pound

Rating: G

NYC - Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is a residential and shopping area of Manhattan. The neighborhood is upscale and home to the richer residents of New York City. Row houses line the streets in-between the more commercial buildings of the city. Upscale restaurants, clothing and jewelry stores can be found on the Upper West Side.

(OOC - This log happens immediately after Early Retirement)

After removing the gloves from his hands, and then settling them in his pockets once more, Connor pulls out not his school phone, but his own phone, and hits a pre-set button for Rashmi. Stopping in front of an all-nite coffee place, he waits there for the line to connect as he looks up and down the street…

It's a few rings before Rashmi picks up, but either she was nodding off at her desk, or the library, because the greeting is instead a somewhat muzzy "I'm up, I'm up, what's happening?"

Connor turns and makes his way inside, motioning towards the pot and settling at a far table from the door and any place anyone could listen easily, before saying, "So… if I was going to ask you about some blue-haired woman being kidnapped, some cops involved, mutant hating… would that be cause for you to wake up and come down here to the Wilson Street Diner… or maybe a pic of your room?"

Silence, thick and heavy, from the other end of the line. Then, the sound of a forehead hitting a flat surface, then a somewhat muffled "Twenty minutes. Large hot chai with cinnamon."

Connor mumbles to himself, "Do they even serve chai here?" Before he hangs up for the moment, and then goes to the waitress at the counter to make orders, and then asks to borrow a page from the woman's notepad and a pen. Smiling and leaving some tip, there's a basket of fish and chips set up at the table, along with a mug of the aforementioned chai, along with a huge mug of hot cocoa and coffee mixed for himself.

Twenty minutes later, a somewhat sleepy and slightly annoyed-looking pile of winter clothing strides though the diner's door. After a minute or so's careful delayering, Rashmi slings the clothes over her shoulder, managing to smile brightly at the waitress and nod a silent greeting, then slide into Connor's booth to deposit her clothes next to her. "You know, I thought about calling you," she murmurs, resigned, "but I didn't know what to say. I knew you'd want to help, but I didn't have anything for you. So. Who passed the word?"

Connor stares down into his huge mug of coffee and sugar, before shaking his head, "There's this russian family, they have a son who's a mutant… doesn't do anything powerful… all he can do is see perfectly, no matter what. Anyways… we met just after Mutant Town thing, and they needed help moving because their place was one of the places that couldn't be easily repaired. So I was helping out…" He stops, and looks up, "I came out of their place in time to see some masked psycho beating on cops, left one of them choking near to death on tear gas. Rescued him, and he had a badge. I tried to break up the fight, and somewhere in the middle of it, I get threatened that if I do anything they'll kill some blue-haired woman they kidnapped."

Whatever Rashmi was expecting, it wasn't that in the slightest, and for a few breaths she just stares, jaw open. Then, once more, her head falls to thump against the table. "Hooligan," she groans. "*Damn* it I knew I was right to worry… Okay. You want the long version, or the short one?"

Connor holds up a piece of paper and passes it to his friend, "Lay it out how you want… but here's the badge numbers of the two blues… and the plainclothes. The plate number of the bar. The models of all the pistols used…" Then he stops as he sets it in the middle of the table, "I… because of what that idiot was doing… one of them started shooting. Some stray rounds hit the plainclothes cop. Older guy… said he was close to retirement. Whatever was going on, he was trying to find out what it was… and stupid killed him." Shaking his head once, the cup is picked up, drank from, and settled back down, "I'm getting sick of this, Rashmi… Mutant Town, then… and now this. They're lucky about all I did was gently flip the cruiser and leave it upside down."

Rashmi picks up the paper, scanning it quickly, nodding to herself. "The officer numbers I recognize, and if Hooligan was there he was already moving on information I gave him. …. ….Information *I* gave…" And down goes the head again. "…I got him killed." Thump… thump…

"No… you didn't.", Connor replies softly, "The older guy? He was there for what I think he was? He was there I think to get them to run. Whoever they thought was there. So these other guys… they wouldn't hurt anyone, wouldn't make the situation worse." Reaching over, he puts his hand between Rashmi's head and the counter, "This Hooligan guy? If anyone's to blame… he is. He'd decided to take matters into his own hands like that, decided on his own to try and do… something…"

"No he didn't," Rashmi murmurs, lifting her head. "He did something because *I asked him to.* Connor… he was the one who helped us out in Nigeria, remember? The one we didn't recognize, the regular guy? That's *him.* And he looked *me* up, because he wanted to help and I was the only one who dealt in Mutant Town he knew. I told him who to go after to rescue that woma—" Here Rashmi pauses, lifting her upper body enough to pull the chai mug over, hunching over it like a homeless man over a steam vent. "…The beginning. I should start at the beginning…"

Connor grumbles to himself, "There's a part of me that doesn't want to know Rashmi. I really just want to bury my head in the sand. I want to still believe the system works, and people are basically good." Taking up one of the fish filets, he puts some malt vinegar on it, then some lemon, and then some tartar sauce… all done in his strange but methodical fashion. And just when you think he's going to chomp it down, he places it on a plate, and cuts a piece to eat, "If I can't be an ostrich, I may as well be an osprey. So… let's go. From the top."

Rashmi sighs heavily, closing her eyes and breathing in the steam drifting up from her mug. "…So a few days ago, Dingo goes on another rampage. Only this time, he was chasing a cop car. Three story sand dog, the works, just blasting through Times Square…"

Connor sits back and listens, ordering a refill for Rashmi as it's needed, and adds a small bowl of chicken soup for her as well. In the meantime he remains silent…

"I got the whole story later," Rashmi continues, letting out a shuddery breath. "And it's Dingo, normally I wouldn't trust him to believe the sky was blue if a mutant didn't tell him… But I got the whole story later. There was this girl… maybe you knew her, you helped with the rebuilding. Carmen? Worked the corner store, wanted to go to college? Well, she was going home one night… and these gangbangers jumped her. Six of them. By the time the cops showed up, she was fighting them off, with her powers. Cops took one look at the scene… and shot the girl, dead."

Connor inhales and then nods once, blinking his eyes a few times before saying, "I didn't meet her, but I think I heard the name a couple times."

Rashmi nods slowly. "So back to Dingo's rampage… I didn't know the story at the time, so of course I'm trying to make him knock it off. I'm yelling at him, Iron Man's fighting him, and the officers get to 'safety.' That's when he tells us, 'you have a week to take care of this, because that's as long as I can wait.' He promised me later he wasn't going to kill them… just turn 'em over to Magneto."

Despite all of his serious nature at the moment, and the backswing towards his behavior, there a brief chuckle that comes from Connor, followed by a deep breath, "Once more into the breech… You really need to take a break from this, Rashmi… I know it wasn't your intention, but you're going to drive yourself into early gray hairs… or a seat with the Avengers. I'm betting the latter."

"Oh shut up," Rashmi murmurs, without rancor. "Besides, that's all the backstory. So Travis and I pay the precinct a visit, because *I'm* having visions of a shooting war between mutants and the *police* this time, and praying to God it wasn't at all like Dingo said it was…"

Connor puts his hands up in apology, and continues to listen…

"The Captain was right out of a bad *movie,*" Rashmi grouses, "all the buzzwords and platitudes and who-does-the-civilian-think-she-is and in between the lines, as good as telling us 'Sit down, shut up, and don't breathe another word if you know what's good for you.'"

Connor dips a finger into his coffee, and then sucks it off, "So where does the blue-haired person they're talking about come into all of this?"

"Funny you ask," Rashmi answers, sighing. "So the *next day,* I get this call. Someone in the precinct wants to slip me some information because he's tired of looking the other way. *Also* out of a bad movie. Seedy bar, black duster, black hat, shades, and he shows me this picture. The officers that killed Carmen, went out to Nowhere and arrested Lil on false charges. But she's not being held at the station. She's tied in a char somewhere, and about that time I get a call from Magneto telling me Dingo's there, and he got ordered to attack the Mayor or lil gets it."

After a few moments, Connor reaches over and puts a hand on Rashmi's before saying quietly, "Next question's a simple one then… what do you need me to do? I'm no Magneto… not for lack of trying… but I can do a lot."

"Honestly, Connor?" Rashmi whispers, turning her hand up and squeezing. "I don't know. I'm doing everything I can think of… I got Magneto offering citizenship and amnesty for any mutant who needs it, *and* running security for the peace marches, *and* Dingo's gone and put on a big show for the cameras so the cops'll think he's gotten hurt as bad as he did during the shootings… And the last two days I've been calling every civil rights group in town I can *think* of, and I'm about to ask Mr. Stark to put me on the line to whoever the big Voice of Reason is in the world this year, because I'm running out of ideas."

Connor squeezes back, and then nods once more, "These are people who won't listen to reason, Rashmi… these are people who are going to hide within the system, and use the rules to their advantage. To corrupt the spirit of the things you believe in so much. Honestly… and this sounds more despicable than even I care to admit… but… call them on it. These guys don't understand… they might be cops… but the mutants in Mutant Town? They're the same. A tribe in their own right, a people not by their own making. They find out that one of their own was taken and killed to force mutants to become something we don't wish to be… it'll turn into mob rule. They have to realize this… that there's only so far fear will take you… because once you get beyond the fear… well…" He pauses, "We both know what's there."

Rashmi closes her eyes, resting her forehead against Connor's hand. "Then you're pushed up against the wall… but you don't break, the wall does. And you stop caring about what you don't want to do, just what the thing behind the wall thinks it *has* to do. Yeah… I know. That's why I'm taking every dirty activist's political trick I can think of to throw at the Captain. You should see one of those marches, Connor… Lil's face, Carmen's face, and all four names on placards, every statement demanding those people get *screwed.* I told Magneto to do that, because with Lil being public, the police don't have a lot of options. They admit what they did, and bring the hammer down on those responsible… or they stall. And then the *city* gets sick of hearing about it and gets involved."

"Or…" Connor replies, "They kill her, dump the body, and find a place to point fingers and simply say it was someone else who did it…" The words coming out bitter from his mouth, taking a drink to get rid of the proverbial taste, "If you escalate it to the public, there's no real idea what they'll do. There's plenty of choices to make, Rashmi… but the question is how far you're willing to go. There's a big difference between what you'd do… what that Dingo guy would do… and what Magneto would do. When… when I went to Magneto… brought him into things down there… I did so because I thought I wanted blood. Because I was torturing myself over letting you get caught, Rashmi. It took seeing you to really realize… that wasn't my right to be angry… I wasn't the victim. I didn't deserve to be the one to take the shot. You and Travis did. That saved me in a way… always letting you save me."
"There's no safe place to point fingers now, Connor," Rashmi says quietly. "Anything happens to her, everyone… *everyone* will know who to blame. And I'll take this as far as I possibly can. I *have* to. Because if it's not me, it's Magneto and Dingo. My way's ugly and public and noisy and there's going to be fallout for years. I know that. Their way…" She trails off, shaking her head. "I didn't save you, Connor. I didn't make that choice for you… *You* did. It's always you, nobody else."

Connor suddenly says rather lightly, "You break Travis' heart, I am so going to visit annoyance on you. I threatened him with bone breakage if he did the same to you, you know. Of course I meant it as light-heartedly as possible… but…" Then he lean in and kisses the girl on the cheek, "I don't know what this is between us… but I'd rather just say… Whatever you need. Call, I'm there. I'll drop anything short of family or crisis of the heart."
Rashmi closes her eyes, smiling faintly. "You too," she murmurs, lips turning up at the corners. "You remember that, okay? You and Robyn are the best friends I have… but you're the one who knows me best. You'll never imagine how grateful I am for that, Connor… how much it means to me."

Connor shrugs one shoulder, and then nods to the sheet of paper still there with you, "Well… here we go again. You've got class, and I need to find an alley to pull a 3am surprise call on Robyn… he can never sleep through a portal." Getting up, he leaves some cash for the food and drink, and a decent tip. Stopping for a moment, he does look down at Rashmi, and says softly, "There are people in this life who think they know what's right, and people who just know. You can count the latter on one hand. I think you're the ring finger." Patting her shoulder once, he squeezes and then proceeds to pull on the black knit cap, "I really hate these New York winters. Give me back the rain."

Rashmi slides the sheet of paper to her, folding it up and tucking it into her bookbag. The compliment, received wth a weary smile and a nod of thanks. "You get used to it, after awhile," she says, finishing off her tea and slipping out of the booth, beginning the process of rewrapping herself in layer after layer of clothing. "I just miss having a warm neck, myself… Say hi to Robyn for me?"

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