2010-01-19: Malled


James_icon.jpg Quinn_icon.jpg Summoner_icon.jpg Chamber_icon.jpg

Summary: Quinn heads to Xavier's, but James intercepts.

Date: January 19, 2010

Nearly Mauled at the Mall

Rating: PG-13

Westchester - Salem Center Mall

The cab driver taking Quinn to her final destination had only stepped outside his car for a moment to stretch his legs. But, 30 minutes later the man hadn't returned. But for that matter, it seems as if no one else had either. The parking lot, although brimming with vehicles, was just as absent of people. Not a single person had walked out of the mall or entered it. An eerie setting given the news that all hell had literally broken loose some distance away in Central Park. The wind whips, moving the branches of nearby trees as the car's temperature climbs. It's a rather amazing sight to behold: weather that is 80+ degrees—in January. No snow, no nothing. Even the trees are beginning to re-bloom. And…sadly, unbeknownst to the passenger they'll bloom a few more time before that cab driver returns, his story ending like several others during this strange time. Simply missing. But maybe, just maybe, he’s in the mall?

Her bags in the car, her face showing first frustration and then concern, Quinn climbs out of the back of the taxi. It's hot, too hot for the jacket she's wearing. Still too hot, after she removes the jacket, for a long-sleeved shirt. But it will have to do. "Errr…Sir?" she calls out, looking around. No cars. No people. No angsty teenagers. "I'm not liking the feel of this, at all. Should've stayed in D.C.," is mused to the wind, as she moves towards the mall, hands shoved into her pockets.

Nearing the mall provides just as eerie of a setting as the car. Not a sound. No cars, birds, or people. But, as you near the food court entrance you do catch a glimpse of movement. Inside, the blast of air conditioning speaks of summer weather. But, in January…? Entering the mall, you find a scene straight out of Gremlins, with several monsters of different types running around unchecked. Some are working grills, some are eating food, and some are even throwing it. The noise level alone is enough to drive most people mad. Then, suddenly, a single high-pitched whistle rings out, "Boys, quiet. We have a visitor." In the far corner, a man with a cowboy hat and shit kickers sits with his legs propped up on the table, a very nasty looking crossbow at his feet. He pushes back his hat and smiles, "Welcome."

Quinn is beginning to think, at this point, that maybe she would've been better off just staying in the taxi. And that's just when she sees the gremlin-like things. "I just walked into a B-Movie shoot, didn't I?" She asks towards the man that addresses her, eyes narrowing a bit. She doesn't have any accent to speak of, really. Definitely not a New York native, here. "Sorry if I messed up the shot, I can," she cocks a thumb towards the door, "Just show myself out." And far, far away. Mmmhmm. A winning smile is given.

He stands, stretches, and begins to walk slowly over towards the doors you just entered, "'Fraid not," he says in an almost-Owen Wilson style draw, "But you did just miss the last bus outta here, ma’am." The boots clack against the floor, the room just as silent as it is outside, and everyone's eyes are on Quinn. As he gets into view, you see two large bat-style wings folded nearly against his back that seem to move on their own. Something he hardly seems to notice. He gets within 10 feet and stops, hip leaning against a table that is suddenly unoccupied, the little monster things that were sitting there find somewhere else to be. "And it's more like a horror movie. With everything going on in New York, this place was a station to help relocate people that wanted the hell outta dodge." He looks over at his minions, "And don't mind them, they're friendly enough." He smiles, "I'm James. And, obviously, I'm a mutant." he holds up his hands in arrest, "Think of me as the next best thing to an X-Man."

Quinn takes a long, hard look at James. Her attention more on him than the little gremlin things. She bites at her bottom lip and slowly, she takes her hands out of her pockets. "So you're…what? The one that stayed behind to make sure no one here was stranded?" My, does she sound hopeful, there. There's a twitch of her fingers, and a subtle step backwards, towards those doors that she entered from.

He nods deftly, "Exactly." He looks up at the clock, "I'd…give 'em a call and have 'em turn back, but chances are they won't for one person. Things are getting too weird." He frowns a little, "I'm sorry. But, for what it's worth, we can hotwire one of the cars or something." He waves his hand a little, "I'm sure someone, somewhere, will forgive me for letting you borrow it." He crosses his arms, trying to looks small, charming, and friendly, "Are you hungry or anything." He points at a random food stalls, looks over, and looks back, "State's running a tab. So, grab anything."

Quinn juts her thumb behind her, again. "I've got a taxi outside. No reason to hotwire, really." Her eyes flick to his wings, for a millisecond, then back up to his face. "Not really hungry, thanks. Ate before I left the airport. I should get going. They're…expecting me. First day of school and all that." Her smile is bright, winning, and filled with traces of 'please don't be a psycho, Mr. Bat-Winged Guy'.

James ahhs, "Xavier's?" It's a single word question, "Only school I know to be in session right now." He shrugs his shoulders, "Good luck. And I mean that. They're…having difficulties with this." He gets a serious look to his face, "Or…are you wondering why it's just me here—aside from the creatures I'm controlling." He nods over to demon…gremlin…things, "Yeah, they're from the big Apple. An’ they're coming out of the woodwork." He wiggles his fingers and lies, "Controlling them is my my spoooooky mutant power." He flashes a smile that's full of sharp front fangs, "But…seriously…stay away from there. It's not pretty."

Quinn's brows lift, and then she nods. "Yeah. Xavier's. Transfer student, and all that." She's still smiling, though. It's not a genuine thing. Another subtle step is taken, back towards the door. "Gremlin control. That's a bit more fun than turning into water or being radioactive, I guess," she murmurs. "You know about Xavier's, then? Are you, like, a graduate or something? Does it really work?"

James grins, "It made me the man I am today." He gives you a glance, "You seem normal enough. You have a shot at retaining a real life after graduation. Bat men…" He grins and sticks out his chest a little, "Oh wait, Man-bats have little chance of doing much other than crime fighting. So, here I am, watching over the mall." He props his butt up on the table and pulls his knees up and sighs "Mutant powers. It's the wings, the control, and my beauty." He looks off into the distanceor ceiling in this case"Some say it's a curse." He whispers that last part. He turns his head back towards you, "So, what do you do?"

Quinn rubs at the back of her neck, hand disappearing beneath the mass of her hair. "There are worse things than crime-fighting, I guess. And at least you don't have feathered wings. I bet that molting is a bitch." The grin there is more true, real, than previous smiles. "What do I do? Umm…I skate. Roller, not board. Oh, and I like to take pic…crap, I left my camera in the taxi. At least there's no one around to steal it."

"Taxi? Oh, shoot, right. I'm keeping you aren't I?" He straightens up in his seat, "And no, it's just us, literally." He looks around the room, "Well, and then these freaks." The freaks are nothing but bright yellow eyes and smiles full of sharp teeth, and they're all looking at you. "Be careful out there. The ones not inside the mall will make bread with your bones. I can't control what I can't see." He nods to the door, "Mind if I look?" He walks over, giving you wide berth and plenty of room for escape. He squints, making a face at the outside world, "Yeah, that empty one out there without a driver? It's…probably going to stay that way." He shakes his head and walks back over to the previous spot, never closer than 10' "If the National Guard didn't grab him on a pass through, chances are, one of those things did." He flips a finger at one and gives it a sour face. The thing recoils in a hiss, and falls over flailing.

Quinn looks outside, too, to the taxi, and frowns. "This is all kinda really spooky," she finally admits. "Not to be a pest, or anything, but…how do I get to the school? I'm not from around here, you see…" She peers at one set of glowing yellow eyes and shudders. "This is so not my day. I can't believe this." A pause. "At least I'm not being used at bread-stuff, I guess."

James NODS hugely, "Yeah, tell me about it. I'm a super-team of one." He sighs, "Well, the school is down the street another…10-30 miles? I usually fly it, so giving exact directions is…well…difficult since I'm going it from a bird eye. I can help you find keys for a car!" He smiles, which turns slightly upside down, "Look…I don't want to dash any hopes. But the reason I'm here, alone, and this close to the school, it because those 'things' already took over. Heck, at least 2 of my old teammates alone are actually working out of Central Park now, helping…whatever it is…in some bid to take over New York." He sighs heavily, looking at his boots, "It's not well known. I mean, imagine what would happen if the public…" He looks up, "The public I'm sworn to protect finds out it's very protectors have been reduced to mindless idiots that are actually helping evil win."

"I think I'll just take the taxi. All of my stuff is already in it, after all, and some of the bags are heavy." Quinn grins, a bit crookedly. "Some of us aren't lucky enough to have gained superhuman strength when we became whatever we did, y'know?" She sighs a bit, and nods. "My hopes may be slightly dashed, but I know where I need to go, if not exactly how to get there. I'll keep an eye out for other strays, though, and avoid the creepy-crawlies." Another glance is given to a gremlin, then she looks over to James. "I should've just stayed in D.C. At least things were partially sane, there." She gives a somewhat lame sounding, "Boo, evil."

James nods and tips his hat, "Okay. Suit yourself. Just check the backseat before you get in, okay?" He gives you one last look, "Need any gas money? Something?" He fishes through his pockets. "You're sure there's no way I can get you to stay, right?"

"A tour guide would be nice," Quinn says with a chuckle. "But you've got work to do, here. And I should get to the school before they call my father and he has a heart attack. He's got this vein in his forehead that throbs when he's angry. It's kinda nasty." Another smile is given, and this one's even friendly. "Take care of yourself, James."

James nods, "You too D.C., you too." He turns his back and starts to walk back towards that other table. The silence is broken by a single phrase, "Get'r boys!" And with that, several dozen snarling creatures attack, "Just don't hurt her! I need her intact!"

Quinn had just started to look relieved. Maybe even like she was willing to give James her back, so she could exit the deserted mall and get to her taxi. She gets wide eyes and takes a few stumbling steps backwards. "What.The.Hell?!?" Her hands go out in front of her, and with his back to her, James can't see the waver in the air, as something kicks in.

James…no…the demon Jam’z clacks his teeth, eyes narrowing as he turns around, that friendly accent gone, "You know. For just a second I thought I had you." The new voice, more harsh with just a trace of midwestern, continues, "So close, I could almost taste it." He shakes his fist in mock anger as the little ones try to restrain you. He keeps his distance, letting he little creatures do his dirty work, "I mean, some of what I told you was true. This was a relocation station. And I did set it up. But, all those people those cars belong to? You're now looking at them." He smiles, showing off all his teeth.

"No way. No /damn/ way am I letting you make me that ugly. I'm already enough of a freak." Quinn's brow is furrowed with concentration, and about a half foot away from her, the gremlins meet resistance. The air around Quinn shimmers, and she curses under her breath. Or maybe it's a prayer. Her hands are held out infront of her, like the motion helps her focus.

Jam’z shakes his head, "Actually, I'm not gonna do anything to you," he says watching the air do something weird and waits to see what you can do as more things scramble over, "Honestly," he says with a smirk, putting his hand to his chest, "I'm going to give you to the school. I need to trade you for someone else." That smiles suddenly turn much more devious, "That is unless you want to join my side. Then, hell girl, I'll give you anything you want. Power, fame…whatever. Just gotta agree. Standard devil's sorta thing. You can be as pretty as me!"

Quinn's fingers wriggle a bit, and her brow seems to dampen with a bit of sweat. Whatever she's doing? It doesn't seem to come easy for the girl. "My dad always told me to never play to kidnappers or terrorists," she says between gritted teeth. "And he'd kick my ass if I even thought about joining the bad guys." She moves into something akin to a fighter's ready stance and concentrates on James. One hand is held out, further than the other, like a little push. Nothing happens. She swears.

Jam’z shakes his head and laughs, "Oh yeesh…I'm not going to hurt you, but it you want to play you'll find I'm a willing sport." He walks over to one of those potted plants every mall seems to insist on decorating a food court with (the not plastic ones) and holds his hand over it. Within moments it's wilting and nearly dead, the whole processes happening much too quick. "Now…again. Do you want to play, or are you going to sit down and shut up?" Even the gremlins go quiet as the man's eyes turn to pin-point red spots. "'Cause, it's going to piss me off to no end if you don't."

Quinn pales a bit at that display, but it doesn't seem to effect her attitude. "Sorry. I just checked my mental to-do list and making /you/ happy? It wasn't on it." She narrows her eyes and mutters under her breath, "Work, damnit." The strange ripple happens again, and this time it's aimed at some of the creepy goblin things, less 'shield' and more sword! Well, maybe lance would be more appropriate, given the radius.

Jam’z irks and the thing gets KO’d. He puts his fingers over his lips, "Oh no’s! Not Ms. Johnson She’s a 3rd grade teacher. Looks like schools out!" He cackles, "Okay, seriously…you're pissing me off." He walks over, "I warned you.”And with that, he hocks a loogie at your arm. If any of his spittle touches your skin is begins to tingle, a numbness creeping up your arm.

It seems like Quinn isn't multitalented. The offensive makes the defense crumble, and the spit ends up on her shirt, sinking through the fabric and onto her skin. "Gross, man, gross," she says with a scrunch of her nose. As numbness starts to settle in, travel, she flails a bit, taking backwards steps. "So not cool." Another blast is thrown, but it goes wide of James, concentration no where near where she needs it to be.

Jam’z watches a flower pot break. He points at you, "You, miss, are going to pay for that. I'll send a bill." He sighs and throws his arms up, "Relax, take a load of. It's not like you're going to have a choice now. It'll wear off in 2 hours. By then, you'll be in safe hands. He pulls out a cell phone dials, waits a moment, and says, ""Hey, it's James. Don't hang up, don't hang up, don't hang up."

After a moment, Jam’z continues to talk…cause that's what cell phone-using people do: "At the moment…calling you. At least…that of I'm having a really fed'd up dream about you. What are YOU doing? And wearing? Skip that last part. Hi."

Quinn stumbles a little to the left…a bit to the right. "Lame," she says, like it's some sort of mortal insult that James should take to heart. "Sending you the dry-cleaning bill for this shirt." More words are muttered, mostly to herself.

Jam’z then says, "I have a better idea, a great idea. An idea that involves you and I having a very nice, calm discussion."
Jam’z then looks over Quinn, and says "Please sit down…I'm loosing my patience here. And that's…ooooooh you." He frowns and points. Back into the phone, Jam’z says, "Hi, again. I dunno. But, for now," and he sings this, "I have something you don't have. One of your strays. I'm willing to give her up as a sign of my good faith." He snorts. "And yeah, I'm sure you're tracing this. But if you screw it up, you'll find me how I came into this world. Kicking, screaming, and covered in someone else's blood."

Quinn sits, but she doesn't look too happy about this. "I'm…gonna kick your ass. Later. Just you wait!" She slumps, a bit. But anger still burns fiercely in her eyes.

Jam’z laughs and shakes his fist at Quinn giving her a look as if he's not taking her very serious, "Lady, I'm calling your Calvary. If you'd prefer I hang up…" Back into the phone he says, ""Your newly minted student will be waiting for you outside my mall—that one down the street from you. I'll be, outside, waiting, unarmed. When I see you, I'll step back into my mall and I'll stay there. If this goes well, I'll call you later and tell you exactly how you can end this all. If it doesn't go so well, well…you'll find the parking lot is filled with cars, but the people are missing. And they'll stay that way."

Quinn doesn't say anything to James. But she does continue to glare. Not a happy one, this girl, right now. But really, who could blame her? The first day of school shouldn't suck /this/ much!

Jam’z snorts into the phone he says, "It won't mean anything, but yeah, she's unharmed—by me. Well, she's lightly sedated because she's frekin' out. But, that's harmless stuff that'll wear off in an hour or two. I'm waiting."


The parking lot that serves Salem Center is expansive. The mall building being the largest in the area, most of the traffic is aimed for there. However, there are a number of independent buildings along the edges of the parking lot and across the street. Benches dot the sidewalks that line the buildings, along with trash cans, bushes, trees and lamps. There is a large archway that leads to the mall entrance.

Jam’z props Quinn up in a corner of the outside doorway and smiles, stepping away, "Get out this way often?"

Quinn manages not to swear, or sound overly flippant as she remarks, "First time for everything." Her eyes are still narrowed, and she looks like she might be holding back a temper tantrum.

"You know," Jam’z responds, “when I'm not kidnapping beautiful women, I'm sacrificing them to pagan gods from the neither world."

Quinn smirks. "James, you need some new hobbies. Have you ever considered knitting? Finger painting? Collecting postage stamps?"

Jam’z leans against the wall, "Well…yeah. wait.. My fingers, or someone else's?"

"Your own," Quinn says with a sigh. "If you're going to use someone else's, you might as well just use brushes." She shakes her head, like it's something that /everyone/ should know.

Jam’z looks up as a car enters the property. The Mall is still filled with cars, but yet there's no sign of life. No birds, no people. Nothing. The eerie quiet is reminiscent of a ghost town, and one could literally hear a pin drop in a part of the city where it's usually impossible to hear one's own thoughts. Outside the food court doors stands Jam’z, leaning against the wall, cowboy hat pulled over his eyes. On the other side, a good 10'+ away sits Quinn, possibly looking a little dazed, "Well, if you're not going to use someone else's fingers, why finger paint at all?" he asks. The leisurely stance changes as he sees the hero's near, "You're ride has arrived. He pulls his hat further over his face and steps back to the door, keeping his hands in plain sight, those black fingertips all too visible. His wings stretch out for just a moment.

Quinn continues to lean against the wall, and glare at James. It's become a bit of a habit, one recently picked up. She does, indeed, look dazed, but also, angry. "You're just…ugh," she says, in the tone of one giving up on someone, or something.

Not having let Rashmi come alone, a thin man in black parks one of the school vehicles amid all of the others here at the mall. Jonothon is very aware of the lack of anything else around, but remembers what people said about that drain. Odds are there used to be life here. Used to be. He climbs out, leaving the door open. Not a bit intimidating, he approaches without trying to hide himself. Doesn't feel the point in trying. Surely James didn't believe that Rashmi would come here alone. Spotting Quinn, Jono watches James far more closely, yet still sends a quiet, private voice to that girl there against the wall. «You okay, gel?» Going to let Rashmi talk to James.

Rashmi slips out of the car, shutting the door behind her, frowning deeply. "Jono… I…" Taking in a deep breath, she shakes her head, moving around the car and beginning to head for the mall. "Thank you, Jono… I'll do what I can."

Jam’z loops a finger on one of the door handles and pulls it open enough that he can stick his foot in it. He keeps his eyes on the only one he considers a real threat, Jono to whom he tips his hat. "As promised," an eyes scanning over to Rashmi, "Give her an hour, she'll be fine." He looks between you both and opens the door a little more, ready to duck back in, also as promised.

Quinn forces herself to stand a bit straighter as the two move closer. The voice in her head makes her blink, look around, and eventually, she puts one and one together. Her eyes close, and she makes a point of thinking hard. «Fine. He…spit on me!» Again, there's a glare at James, coupled with a deep frown.

«You'll be fine.» Assuring Rashmi as she falters. The words are of course private to her. «Let's get the gel out of here before we attempt anything.» Jonothon doesn't want Quinn any more hurt than she already is. And of course to Quinn he hehs in something of a mental laugh before saying, «Don't know how this will play out, but I think he means to let us take you away from here. Stay calm for now, alright?» To Jam’z he tilts his head. This time the words are broadcast for all to hear. «You going to let us take her?» Curious that, not angry. Jono's not really showing emotion right now, but then that's easy when it looks like you have your lower face all wrapped up.

Rashmi pauses as Jam’z hooks a foot into the door, eyebrows drawing together. "You've given us what you wanted to give us, James," she says, her voice low and conciliatory. "But I'm not stupid… There's something else you want. So if you're not done, here… let's talk. Like you said, right? Just… talk. Easy. Calm…"

Jam’z, nearly half way back into the mall, nods to Jono, "I am." He looks over to the girl that's been his guest the last few hours and says, "You familiar with chess? I used to be. Sometimes it's useful to sacrifice a pawn to expose the other side's knight and then queen." The smile that creeps across his face isn't a healthy one. He looks over to Rashmi, "Soon. Yes, we'll talk. But for now, get her out of here. Her bags are in that Taxi over there. I'm sure she can fill you in on that little facet of her day." He looks up at the Food Court sign, "And you're right, I do want something. I want the mall. For now. After we talk you can probably have it back." he shakes his head, "I'll be calling soon."

Quinn's gaze is turned towards Jonothon. «I'm calm as a cuccumber. Wait, cool. Whatever.» James' comment about her being a pawn gains him a sneer from her, and she looks like she'd love to go throttle him—if only she wasn't still so out of it. "I can feel the devil sliding up to me," she replies to him. "Though I assume you mean the game. I know that one, too. Later, bat-boy. Can't wait to see your gameplan crumble."

There's a look at Rashmi as James speaks of chess. Jonothon really has to fight not to laugh at that. If he's anything but another pawn he'd be flat out amazed. Not even going to comment about Rashmi being a queen. There's only the shake of his auburn head as he attempts to parse all this. «You've got the wrong people then, mate.» Kids. «Come on then, gel. Leave the demon be.» Said to Quinn as Jono motions with a hand. Time to get you out of here. Of course Jono isn't stupid. He's expecting something to be done before Quinn can get to safety. There aren't any obvious signs just yet, but he's ready to take steps if that proves necessary.

Rashmi's eyes stay fixed on James, as she edges toward the taxi. When Quinn gets closer, a half-dozen spheres fade into view, orbiting lazily around the redhead's body. "I'm trusting you, James," she call, her voice shaking only a very little. "It would be a mistake to break that… The fact that there's a lot of windows to throw you through, I guess, is one good reason… but probably not the only one."

The smile on Jam’z' face never fades. He sinks back into the building and closes the door. He stands there, hands on his hips, watching the group pack up and leave. No assault, no explosions, nothing except silence. He lets everyone leave unmolested.

Quinn pushes herself off the wall, and starts towards her 'cavalry', as James called them. She walks so her back is never to James, and her steps are far from being close to a straight line. "Shoulda stayed in D.C.," she says to herself, for what certainly isn't the first time this night.

Jonothon motions to the car as Quinn approaches. Get inside. «Grab her things, Rashmi.» He'll keep an eye on things until Rashmi too is in the car. When that's done, Jono nods to James as if in farewell. «Cheers.» Hates leaving the mutant made demon here, but Quinn needs to be gotten somewhere safe first. Once the girls are ready, he climbs behind the wheel and gets the car headed back towards the school. There's a careful watch for Quinn as well. Doesn't want a demon shaping up in the back seat and trying to bite him…

Rashmi snatches Quinn's belongings from the taxi, turning and all but sprinting for Jono's car. "Um, hi," she says to Quinn, with a really horrid attempt at a friendly smile, an extended hand. "I'm Rashmi… this is Jono… and we're getting back to the school…. Quickly… right, Jono?" One last glance is thrown to the demonic youth outside the mall, the spheres fading from sight, and she opens the door for the other girl, hurrying to the other side the moment Quinn takes her seat.

Thankfully, Quinn doesn't have too much in the way of things. A large suitcase, and a camera bag, winter jacket, are all that's in the taxi. She doesn't turn into a demon, or anything other than a teenage girl, as she sits there in the back seat. Rashmi's hand is taken, and she makes her own attempt at a smile. "Quinn," she offers. "Thanks for the ride. And, err, the save from the demon-guy." Her head is given a shake.

Not offering to shake hands, the man behind the wheel rolls his eyes at Rashmi. «No, I thought we'd stay and do some bloody shopping.» Said as he backs the car out so that he can get it turned around. This has him looking back as introductions are made and he lifts a hand in greeting before turning his attention to the road. Oh yes, back to the school. Quickly. «He didn't hurt you, did he?» Asked of Quinn during the short drive. Doesn't take long really. To Rashmi he says, «We'll try for a capture when there isn't someone on the sidelines.» Not happening tonight.

Rashmi lets out a deep breath, nodding at Jono's mind-voice. "Which…could be a long time, if he really has everyone in there… Um… Quinn? Would you mind, maybe, letting us take you to Medical when we get back? Only I didn't much like the sound of that whole spitting on you thing…It's probably a good idea to make sure."

Quinn's head is given another shake. "He didn't hurt me, no. Just the spitting thing when I wouldn't just sit down and be quiet. Made me go all tingly, like some kind of anesthetic." She frowns, looking down at her lap,then back up towards Rashmi. "That's fine. I'd hate it if he had rabies, or something."

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