2010-12-05: Neutral Ground


Leo_icon.jpg Bruce_icon.jpg Zoya_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg Mason_icon.jpg Quetzal_icon.jpg

Summary: At the Nowhere bar, people on both sides of the mutant-human ideology divide meet and annoy each other.

Date: December 5, 2010

Log Title: Neutral Ground

Rating: PG

NYC — Nowhere

//Nowhere is a community bar, with a slightly old world feel. All of the tables and chairs are made of wood, though there are some couches in a slightly offset room with green fabric. The music varies, depending upon the Owner's music taste for the day. Beer and Liquor are both served, but are both carded for as well.

At the front of the bar, right as one walks in,is a large sign. "Superhuman friendly establishment. There will be no tolerance for disparaging remarks based on one's genetic status. Any fights will not be tolerated within the bar. The management holds no responsibility for where combatants are teleported."

It is also quite impossible to use fake IDs here. There is a telepathic bouncer that works the door. //

Nowhere has been a little busy recently. Regulars at the bar have noticed a lot of new faces in the past few weeks. This could be due to increased tourism in the holiday months, but if you ask a few of the patrons they'll tell you that something seems to be in the works. Many of the patrons seem to be coming to see the Australian bartender, discussing some sort of event that is coming up. Apparently there is supposed to be a mutant rights festival in a few weeks. Somehow Bruce is connected with it.

The bartender is out on the floor right now, holding one of the would-be patrons by the collar while glaring at the man. It would appear that this "patron" was actually just here to plant a bug in the bar. Lucky for the denizens of Nowhere a few of the regulars are able to pick that up rather easily. "Oy Lil, might need to take this one out back fer some questionin', eh?" He calls this to the bartender with ice-blue hair. She just seems annoyed at the moment.

Leo has never been here. HE's actually here looking dfor his suitemate. He's been avoiding Danny for some time, due to the whole change of personality and such. But… he's ready to get things out in the open. He carries two ids on him both just as legal and accurate as the other, but a different face is carried on each. He looks around, somewhat interestedly, as he's never been in any kind of bar.

Just coming off another round of studies and reports and collations and filing and goferage at the Genosha Embassy, Rashmi nods to the bouncer, holding up her ID before he can even ask. Slipping in, she pauses to brush the snow from her clothes, pulling her braid over her shoulder to shake it out. That chore finished, she glances about the place, probably searching for an empty table, eyebrow rising at the general buzz and hum regarding the Block Party.

Bruce pulls the man a little closer to his face and holds up the bugging device he'd pulled off the man. "The people here don't really appreciate these things in the bar, mate." He crushes the little recording device in his hand and calls over one of the bouncers and whispers something to him. The bouncer takes the questionable man outside and doesn't come back. Bruce wanders back over to the bar and places the mechanism under the counter before returning to the floor to collect glasses and bottles. He pauses near the door when he sees Rashmi, quirking a brow. "Now I know I've seen you someplace before…"
Glancing over his shoulder, the white-haired young man stops. Rashmi. He owes her an explanation. And being at a SHIELD school, and a former X-student, he feels he can actually tell her. Even if Fury hasn't given an OK yet. But for now, he just chooses a seat at a quieter table.

Rashmi blinks under Bruce's scrutiny, smiling. "Um… Yeah. At the concert, you told my friend and I we should run. Is there a ta—" Taking another look around the floor, she spots Leo, smiling brightly. "Actually? I think I just found a friend. Seriously sir, thanks a *lot* for your help. I'll be right over there, okay?" Hefting the strap on her bag, she threads the crowds, arrowing right toward the white-haired mutant. "Hi Leo! Mind if I sit?"

A look of recognition comes to Bruce's face when Rashmi mentions the concert. "Ah! Tha's right. Sorry to forget. You know, bit of a crazy night. Don't seem to remember all of it actually…" Probably something to do with being telepathically controlled for a short while. He nods as she heads over to meet with Leo, continuing to clean up the room for a few minutes. On his final pass back to the bar he stops by Leo & Rashmi's table. "Can I get you two anything?"

"Shh. In public, it's Troy. I'm not legally allowed to go by that name at the moment." Leo says, sotto voce to Rashmi. "And… it's fine. You can sit here." He looks up at the approaching bartender, eyes glowing like miniature white lamps, "I'm fine. I can't order what I'd like since Danny's not here tonight." He laughs softly. "Not like it affects me, anyway. Cleansing powers." He points to the halo of light above his head.
Zoya has arrived.

Rashmi winces, drawing in a hiss of breath. "Right, Troy. Sorry. I get names mixed up if I'm not paying attention," she says at normal tone; apology and cover all in one, and as Bruce approaches she bobs her head. "Tea if you have any, coffee if you don't, thanks."

Bruce quirks a brow as the glowing-eyed man explains that he can't order something without Danny. He'll have to question the other bartender about that later. "Um…Right, of course. With the glowyness and all." As if he understands the effects of the Living Light. Turning to Rashmi he makes an almost offended face. "Tea? TEA?" He just shakes his head. "I'll see what I can do." The man wanders back to the bar muttering something about how no Australian would be caught dead drinking tea in a bar.

Leo can't help a bright laugh at the australian's reaction to Rashmi. "It's fine. I think it'll all come out in the wash soon enough." He says with a bit of a shrug. "It's not like I can remain hidden and still work for SHIELD. And I can't leave. Nowhere else to go and all right now." He grins a bit. "I was trying to run into Danny, since I haven't seen him since before… well… you know."

Zoya never did take a look at the inside of this establishment. Tonight seemed like as good a night as any, despite some earlier excitement in the area that she had been a part of. At least there's barely a soul that would recognize her around here yet, though the carding issue might be tricky with telepaths working the door. It's not a valid ID. That's one luxury she hasn't been able to afford.

"I said coffee was okay!" Rashmi calls at Bruce's retreating back, flushing in mild embarrassment. "Yeah… besides, it's not a bad job, is it? I mean, the pay's probably good, job security, and the perks? Besides, you're *good* at it, even before…. um… October. I talked to a bunch of people about that, by the way… how're you doing now?"

Bruce rummages around at the bar for a little while, bickering slightly with the other bartender before finding some coffee supplies. He starts up the pot and lets it brew for a few minutes while filling a few orders at the bar. Once the pot is finished he pours a mug and takes it with some cream and sugar over to the table. "Sorry, miss. No tea it seems."

Zoya will actually find it not terribly difficult to get into the bar. The telepathic bouncer is able to determine that the woman is truthfully over 21.
"I'm ok. Not used to it anymore. But it feels nice to not have to wear that suit 24/7." Leo says with a nod. "And to have my emotions back, though much more stabilized than they ever were." He shrugs a bit. "What had you go to Barnes anyway?" He still can't help a chuckle at that. "It is a slightly odd request for a bar, I guess."

Zoya huhs. That was entirely too easy. Heck, she could come to enjoy this. The procedure couldn't possibly have been any easier. Rather than see how well this system actually works and make a beeline for the drinks she instead takes a moment to look around at the crowd, one thing she's quickly learning is that one never knew what to expect out here in the Big Apple. A recent brush with a trio of SHIELD goons was enough proof of that to keep her a touch more cautious.

"Why did I go?" Rashmi shrugs, nodding at Bruce at the coffee is brought over. A couple spoonfuls of sugar are dropped into the cup, and as she stirs she gives thought to Leo's question. "Lot of reasons, really. To be honest, though? The biggest was probably the offer of a free ride. Law school doesn't come cheap, you know, and it was nice to think that Mami and Papi could go back to the Old Country to see their family for awhile."

Bruce lingers for just a moment after leaving the mug of coffee for the girl, wiping their table off a bit to give him reason to hesitate. While he appears to not be paying terribly close attention to their conversation, the mention of "Barnes" does cause the man to gain a mildly unhappy look. He feigns a smile to the two and turns to make another quick round through the bar. He stops near Zoya and wipes down another table. "Feel free to sit anywhere, miss. Bars got a few seats still if ye'd like."

There's a nod from Leo. "I can understand free ride. That's one of the reasons that I joined. That and the fact tha they promised to help me regain my powers. And wouldn't you know it, a run in with that other school brought them back." He rolls his eyes. Hard to tell, but a little bit. The bulbs seem to reangle.

Zoya gets a surprisingly pleasant welcoming in short order, too. Yeah, she found the right part of town to hang around. Not only that, this place is mutant central, can't go wrong with that as far as she's concerned. One of those empty stools at the bar finds itself claimed in the name of Zoya, and as long as she seems to have the man's attention she offers back "Vodka, spasibo." If she gets that without having to be physically ID'ed then she may well have a new hangout.

Rashmi chuckles, shaking her head. "Well… not to say they wouldn't have been able to do it, just… well lucky enough to got to get jumpstarted, right? So, um… Can I ask… why? Why you left the way you did?"

Bruce finishes up his second round of the room and heads back to the bar, passing by Rashmi and Leo's table once more. Why are Barnes students here? They seem to just be having normal conversation, but he tends to be a little distrusting of that school. Tends to be made up of pseudo-mutants and human supporters. He wanders over to the bar again and smiles at the woman there. "Ay miss. Comin' right up." He mixes her drink and passes it to her. "New to Nowhere? Haven't seen ya around these parts."

"I had to. Owen. Nathaniel. It was driving me crazy. The plane wreck… that was all Fury's doing." Leo says with a shrug before he stands. "I have to go. Being called in." He says with a sigh.

Zoya's attention shifts back to Bruce with the question, meeting his gaze and holding it long enough to respond. "Da, have been in area few days but have not gotten as far as here." Boy is she glad to have a familiar drink at hand, though. Made the trip worthwhile. Even so, it isn't something that she savors so much as downs a full shot's worth of in one go. It's a moment a long time coming.

"Okay," Rashmi says as Leo gets up. "See you, what, Monday evening, right? Next class? And… Let me know when it's okay to talk about it, all right? There was kind of a lot you missed in the between time." Lifting her hand and smiling her farewell, the redhead tugs a laptop out of an old suede bookbag, following up with a PDA. Might as well do work still pending, while she's at it.

Bruce nods to the girl after handing her the drink. "Ah, yeah well this place is a pretty popular stop for first timers to Mutant Town." He actually does not at all seem surprised by her drinking style. The man takes a few more orders and wanders through the room once more, picking up a bottle or two and stopping to top off Rashmi's coffee.

Zoya seems to be a bit distracted, as well. Another subtle nod to Bruce's remark then she goes vacant for a bit as he tends to the rest of the place. Before long her attention comes to fall upon the woman in the baggy sweater, at first just watching the laptop and PDA operations. In the end she bluntly asks "Student?"

Rashmi blinks, fingers pausing in their work as the question is asked. Glancing over her shoulder at Zoya, she bobs her head, smiling. "Among other things, yeah. Legal assistant, too. I'm Rashmi, by the way… Rashmi Franklin."

Bruce is cleaning a few mugs behind the counter right now, he pretends not to be paying much attention, though he does listen in on the two women's conversations. At this time the bouncer that removed the would be spy from the bar earlier returns inside. He looks around a few times and comes up to the bar, whispering something to Bruce before collecting up the audio device and heading back outside. Bruce seems slightly annoyed at whatever the man had told him.

Zoya's expression remains fairly neutral as she processes this new information, but does at least offer part of a name in return. "Am Zoya." Pause. "Trouble-shooter." Though before Rashmi has a chance to inquire any further about it she voices the next inquiry, "Been in city long?" She doesn't catch all of the exchange between Bruce and the other man but there's enough of something happening there to cause a hint of intrigue. Something happening beneath the surface, perhaps..? She can only hope so.

Rashmi blinks quietly, nodding slowly. "All my life, actually," she answers slowly, "couple blocks from Hell's Kitchen in fact…" While Zoya ran right over her train of speech, 'troubleshooter' gets well and truly mulled over on one of her alternate trains of thought, as does the rather thick Russian accent. "New to the City, ma'am?"

Bruce watches the two girls interact. At least they seem not to know each other, this girl probably isn't corrupted by the poisons of that worthless school. He clears his throat quickly and pours Zoya a second drink without her asking. "So, how you liking the city so far? Not a bad place to live…'cept all that mutant killing human scum crawling around." He says it so nonchalantly it's as though he's discussing the weather.

Zoya finally offers the first sign of friendliness by expression, a light smile creeping across her features. "As of week or two, yes. Am still..how do you say, gettink bearinks." Eh, close enough. "If had to go any longer without sometink to drink would have gone crazy," she teases. Inside joke, she's already well off her rocker. And, poof, another drink! A quick glance back to Bruce, genuine appreciation in her eyes for a flash of a second before she claims the new prize and downs it just like she had the last one. That expression turns slightly sour with his choice of words, however. "Come up like weeds. Is all can do to stomp them back into dirt where belong." Nevermind the two anti-mutant gang kids she gunned down in an alley earlier today. They had worse than that coming to 'em.

Rashmi's friendliness seems to dim sharply, as the conversation dips into much more radical waters. "…Ah," is all she says in response, bobbing her head at the pair of them and turning back to her coffee and homework.

Bruce shakes his head, "Yeah…They seem to be everywhere now days. Some of em tried startin' somethin' at a concerts few days back. Took em out though. Not like those bastard SHIELD agents who just want to take em in an' have tea with them. They mess with the more evolved ones? They deserve to die." Bruce chuckles to himself at the mention of tea, remembering that's what Rashmi ordered when she came in.

Zoya's attention has shifted gears, noticeably so in fact. "Tried to start sometink -here,- in mutant central? Hope got what was comink to them, would not stand for that. Though what is deal with SHIELD around here? Few days ago saw three of them, workink undercover, one was involved with ..ah, is 'snatch and grab,' threw someone in back of their truck and left in hurry. What are they even doink in dis part of town?" Finally, a chance at getting some useful intel! Poor Rashmi, though. The energy in this conversation is starting to turn hostile. That happens a lot with the Ruskie woman, at least.

The mutant friendly pop star, Mason Steele, has been roaming. He's looking for a good place to bring his friends clubbing in a week or two. He hasn't found the perfect place quite yet, but he has found about something that can give him some enjoyment tonight. Rumor has it that the underaged is served here. The door to the bar opens, and a figure steps in. He has a hood over his head, with a majority of his face hidden by the hood. He is conservative with his movements, trying to determine if there's any people in the room who look like pop rock fans before he lifts his hood. When he does, he shakes his head to get rid of his hat hair, and the blond locks fall down across his brow.

Rashmi looks up as the door opens, her sour-lemon expression melting away upon sight of the teen. Lifting her hand in greeting to Mason, the redhead goes about the motions of shutting down her PDA and laptop, studiously ignoring what to her mind is mutual back-patting radicalism at the bar.

Bruce shakes his head, "I don't know. I've had issues with SHIELD around here. Kidnapping mutants you say? Not too surprising to me. It's mostly made up of pseudo mutants I find. I suspect they're studying mutants to find ways to control us easier." He shakes his head again, "Used to know a kid who went to school there. Told me they wouldn't let him leave. They studied his weaknesses so when he tried to leave they hunted him down and cought him real quick." Bruce is watching Rashmi out of the corner of his eye, trying to gauge her expression. Now she seems to be talking to someone else. He looks up to see who this new person is…"Mother fucker."

Zoya is tuned into her own conversation with the man that provides her with vodka. Good person to have on her side, really. What she learns of SHIELD quickly places them in the category of people that she does not like. Expendable, like so many other things in her life. There's a chance that one more is going to get added to that list when Bruce's attention shifts without any more warning than she's accustomed to delivering. Face it, Bruce is the closest thing to a friend she has around here, just like that. If he's not happy with a current turn of events then she's very likely not going to be happy, either. Those two words are enough to get her off of the stool and back on her feet, turning around to see what the big deal is. She..doesn't look friendly, either.

Walking into Nowhere for a much needed drink is Queztal. He's dressed very plainly in a pair of jeans and a button down shirt underneath a black leather jacket and like usual, he walks with a slight limp and his cane. His animal companion is with him as a sugar glider on his shoulder as he takes a seat at the bar, letting his eyes wander around. He recognizes two people immediately, Rashmi and Zoya and he raises an eyebrow before taking off his sunglasses. He doesn't approach either yet but waits so that he can order a drink first.

Mason takes a few steps in before taking Rashmi's hand. "I remember you," he says. "You were at the concert the other night." The blond smiles. "Thanks for your kind words, I really needed them." He still might. "I had heard that this was a good place to drop in," he says. Given Rashmi's apparent age, he thinks he's in the right place. However, as his eyes spot Bruce, he isn't quite sure that it's true anymore. A glance is cast to the side to Zoya, and his smile slips slightly, though he doesn't abandon it yet.

Rashmi opens her mouth to reply, but her eyes flick toward Bruce and Zoya, mouth closing with a sharp *click.* Glancing back and forth between elder man and younger, she purses her lips, rising from her chair and marching over to Mason, grabbing the sleeve of his jacket. "*I'll* buy your coffee, Mr. Steele. You look like you could use the warm-up, you're probably really not used to City weather." Her eyes flick toward Bruce, narrowing slightly, as though daring the bartender to argue with money being put in his pocket.

Bruce reaches a hand across the counter and pats Zoya on the shoulder. "Not in the bar, deary." He's giving Mason an absolutely venomous look at the moment, which shifts over to Rashmi when she turns to him. "Really? He almost got you killed last night but you still want to buy him a drink?" He shakes his head and turns around to pour another cup of coffee. He places the cup on the bar so that one of the two has to come up to get it themself before walking over to the newcomer. "Bloody…Stupid…Hi! How can I help you this evening?" His manner is actually plesant when he reaches Quetzal, but he's still casting dark glances at Mason.

Zoya is actually kept in check with Bruce's instruction, her eyes narrowing a hint in response. Instead of starting something good and proper, or even assisting, she leans back against the counter with both elbows propped upon the surface, making sure that she still has a clear view of what's going on. Because frankly, she doesn't have a damned clue what's going on. Sight of Quetzal doesn't help matters any, her demeanor further souring upon recognition of the guy. No..not this time. He might have put her on edge before. Never again. If he's here about the brief fight in the alley earlier then there's probably going to be more trouble in her near future, however. If not then hey, she'll just order another shot of the clear stuff and watch.

Quetzal listens to a bit of what Bruce says to Zoya and watches Rashmi out of the corner of his eye. "Jack and Coke please." He says in the same accent that Bruce uses, he doesn't even realize he's doing it but it's an effect of his powers. He reaches up and taps the sugar gilder on his shoulder. "I promise we won't get too drunk tonight." He says to the animal before taking out his wallet. He then looks back over to Rashmi and gives her a bit of a nod. At least he's down here to relax tonight and not on anything offical.

"Or…" he continues, "Maybe not." He gives a rather worried look at Bruce, and then behind himself at Quetzal. "Look, I'm just trying to help relations between sapiens and mutants," he explains. "I only advertised through flyers in Mutant Town," he tries to defend himself. "I'm sorry, I just came in for a drink, I didn't mean to cause trouble." He smiles to Rashmi at her offer. "Maybe I walked into the wrong place."

"No," Rashmi says decisively, "you did not walk into the wrong place. Now c'mon." Tugging the younger teen by his jacket sleeve to her table, she starts stuffing her laptop into her bookbag. "You didn't *ask* for a bunch of anti-mutant nutcases to jump on the place, all you wanted to do was give a bunch of people a good time. So, yes. Coffee's on me." A nod is given to Quetzal, and she drops into her chair as though establishing a beachhead.

Bruce nods to Quetzal and turns to prepare his drink. He mixes it together and turns back to place it on the counter. Walking back over toward Zoya he speaks again. "You were there, kiddo. You saw how coordinated that attack was. What better way to round up a bunch of mutants for slaughter than to draw them out into the open at night to an event that even the police were ill informed about." He shakes his head. "Help the cause? This little blighter probably helped plan that attack. You'll notice that the one person that would be the most obvious target at the concert only got a slight wound."

Zoya learns about the event by proximity, a cool and level stare moving from one speaker to the next. Bruce's description of the event paints a clear enough picture for her. In part she's sorry that she missed out on the fun, it could have led to a bunch of real easy marks. Hit and run..and hit and run some more. But, perhaps most important of all, she's starting to get the impression that this new guy isn't a mutant in the first place. This could prove to be a bad thing for him, but..with Bruce on duty, not while they're in the middle of Nowhere.

Quetzal listens to what Bruce is saying about the attack as he takes a sip from his drink. "I heard a bit about the attack here, that is Mason Steele the performer during it?" He says as he looks over at the two teens. "There are much better ways to round up a bunch of mutants than just to put on a free concert. Do you know if it was one of the organized groups that attacked such as the Reavers or the Purifiers or even Friends of Humanity?" Bartenders tend to hear stuff and are good for information so even though Quetzal isn't here on duty or anything, he has to ask to find out.

As Mason is tugged on by Rashmi, he continues to give a worried look at Bruce. He sits cautiously down across from Rashmi. "Wait. What!?" he responds to the accusation that he coordinated the attack. "You don't even know me!" he responds in a rather alarmed tone. "One of my best friends was discovered as a mutant at my old school." Well, former best friends, but Bruce doesn't know that. "I don't want to hurt mutants!" And it is true that he's stood for mutant rights publicly before, but if one hasn't followed his career closely, they would've have known it. "Yeah, I'm Mason," he introduces himself to Quetzal, "Pleasure." A pleasure that is clearly less so given the accusations he is under.

Rashmi stands again. "It's okay, Mr. Steele, I've got this," she says gently, even managing a smile for the teen. But as she turns toward Bruce, the smile disappears. But while determination burns in her eyes, her tone of voice is something like sadness. "I don't know why you'd say that. Just because a really good idea, and a *really* nice thing to do went *wrong,* that means someone's The Enemy, and not someone that made a mistake? And *I* remember that as many people as got hurt, the only ones who died had to be pulled out of a *sandpile*… I'm just glad it could be called self-defense, because I'd hate to see you get arrested, sir."

Bruce's hands are balled up in fists now. He does not seem terribly happy with Rashmi and Mason at the moment, but he's not going to do anything to cause a fight in his own bar. The man turns to Quetzal for a moment "I'm not sure which group was behind that attack, but it makes sense to me that a concert would make a nice trap." Actually it's not too different from the trap he and Magneto are setting for the shooters later this month. He seems to be ignoring Mason's existance for the moment and instead speaks to Rashmi again. "Hey, kitten. If those neutered SHIELD agents are going to collect up the shooters and just let em go again, then I might as well make sure they won't come back after us. In fact, I still suspect SHIELD is somehow behind those massacres. A group that specializes in capturing troublesome mutants? What better way to train them up than by hunting mutants in the city."

Zoya learns lots of new things in short order. For one, this bartender guy might turn out to be a useful ally after all, perhaps for more than just the short term. For another, this place is really rich with activity, and she's apparently shoehorning herself right into the middle of it. When Bruce brings up the part about SHIELD she slowly folds her arms together across her stomach, deliberately casting that level stare back onto Quetzal. She'd love to hear his response to this one, now that she knows which side the guy's batting for. So much tension in the air, she could almost feed off of it. Too bad it isn't tangible in nature.

There's a laugh from Quetzal, and it's quite a hearty one. "Wow…neutered SHIELD agents, that's a new one." He looks over at Zoya and meets her stare by raising his glass at her and taking a sip. "Let me guess sir," He says to Bruce. "you're a bit big on conspiracy theories. Never really believing anyone can do any real good but there's some hidden motive behind it. In this case SHIELD organized some child singer to put on a concert just so they could kill mutants. That's wonderful. I think you're on to something there." He drinks from his glass and then looks at the ice in it. "Oh I miss those training days of hunting mutants in the street." He says with an amused smile on his face as his voice is thick with sarcasm. He turns to Zoya and nods. "I don't believe I introduced myself the last time we met, I'm Quetzal, Agent Quetzal in fact."

Mason may be young, but reading people is something he does well. Reading this situation, he feels that he's made critical error by walking in the door. "Look," he says to Bruce. "Those dirtbags that attacked the concert, they were asking for it. But I'm not one of them. And…" he looks back at Quetzal. "I am sure that the Agent here doesn't have anything against you either." The teen looks back at Rashmi, the one anchor he views in this situation. "Why don't we all just take a nice deep breath." His hand goes to the zipper on his coat, and zips it down part way, and then up again.

"I think that's a very good idea, Mason," Rashmi says, throwing another gentle smile over her shoulder. "Nobody wants to start anything here, and there seems to be a lot of personal supposition going on here. So, how about we just sit down and enjoy our drinks, okay?" Looking back at Bruce, Rashmi tilts her head slightly, as though trying to figure out just how anyone could be that wilfully dense, but turns and heads back to her chair. "Oh. Right. So the party's on Friday, right? I've been wondering, and I have a friend who I've helped learn some things about one of the most pressing problems lately. you should talk to him."

Zoya may have introduced herself to Rashmi earlier on. Quetzal doesn't get the same level of courtesy, not after what happened between them the last time. Certainly not after he blatantly calls himself an agent, it's entirely up to him to recall what name she gave him from several days ago. "Am happy for you," is all she has to say in return. Turning around she fishes some loose bills, likely more than enough, out of a pants pocket and sets it on the counter, pinning it to the surface by the pair of empty shots that made up her tab for the day. "Air is nicer outside" she thinks out loud, passing a subtle nod towards Bruce as she moves for the doors. She'd be keeping in touch with this guy, of that there's little question. For right now though, she needs to vent.

"I'm happy for me too." Quetzal says in response to Zoya and smiles to himself as she leaves. He knows him and his friend got under her skin a bit when they ran into each other. Though he makes a mental note of this block party. "My company has done interesting things and hey, you're the one who says I'm neutered but then again, that might explain the lack of love life." Honestly though, he doesn't really care about Bruce's opinion of him just like he doesn't really care to form one about Bruce. "And this here is Verde. People are allowed to display their powers openly in mutant town? Am I correct?"

"Parties are good," Mason tries to focus on whatever the party may be. He doesn't have a drink himself still, but he's happy to settle for not getting scowls at the moment. "Sugar gliders are cool," he tells Bruce. "I'd get one myself, but they are super needy little guys, and I don't think I'd be the best owner for them. Can you imagine a day when Mutant Town won't be needed for mutants? I know it seems like it's a long way away, but maybe it's possible. Once people see that mutants aren't their enemies, they're people just like non-mutants." He continues his normal stance of not using the term 'human' to refer to non-mutants. "People just get stupid and scared. The way they get about gays and about minority religious groups. Once they are better educated, I think things can turn around."

"You're pretty brave, Mason," Rashmi says, chuckling. "Most celebrity activists wait until they're on top of the heap, not still up and coming. Still… It's good to see that you're willing to work for what you believe in. And honestly, I think you've got the right idea, too. Just, maybe your choice of venue could use a little work, but y'know what? I work at the Genoshan Embassy down the road, maybe I could see if next time you want to put on a proper show, you can do it there?"

Bruce gives Quetzal a confused look. "Your mutant ability is to…Have a shoulder rat?" He shakes his head. "I don't think I'm going to fall for that one, Agent Pretzle." He waves a goodbye to Zoya as she leaves the room, picking up the money and placing it in the register. He rolls his eyes when Mason starts talking. Really? This kid is way too idealistic to be real. Bruce has to hold back to keep himself from laughing…Or vomiting. He does seem interested in that last thing Rashmi said though. "Genoshan Embassy?" Why would Magneto allow someone with such views work for him?

Quetzal stands up and puts some money on the bar, actually leaving Bruce a decent tip. "Actually my mutant ability gives me a gift with languages." He says as the 'shoulder rat' jumps off his shoulder and lands on the floor as a German Shepard. "Have a good night Jaded Sir." He says to Bruce before looking over in Rashmi and Mason's direction. "You two have a good night." He says before picking up his cane and making his way out of the bar. Tonight was definitely on the amusing side for him.

Mason gives a nod to Quetzal, watching as the crowd diminishes around them. "I dunno," he answers Rashmi. "I hadn't really made such a big stand before that night. I had talked to people about how mutants are worth just as much as anybody else, but it wasn't so…forward. My mom thought it'd be a good idea, and we went for it. Think they would let me in at the Genoshan Embassy?" he asks. "I think I'd have to change which style I go under. Maybe do some Gershwin or Tchaikovsky, cultured folk stuff. I don't think there'll be as many teenagers at an Embassy."

"Good night, Mr. Shimizu!" Rashmi calls, smiling at the older man, then looking to Bruce with a nod. "I intern there on Saturdays, yeah. Volunteer work, since I already work for Ms. Walters, y'know? And I think it's possible, Mr. Steele. I mean, I may have to do some serious pitching, but if it's a pro-mutant benefit concert, why not? And besides, the place is kind of seriously secure. A lot less likely to be attacked, you'd have to be pretty stupid to try and storm the place." Blinking, she snaps her fingers. "…Actually that might be a *really* good idea. I know a few people I could talk to about making a real event of it, actually… Lemme do some talking, and I can get back to you with what I find out, okay?"

Bruce waves dismissively at Quetzal as he leaves, watching th dog as it walks away. He picks up the man's money and puts it in the register before leaving the bar for the first time in a while and cleaning up some of the tables. Some sections of the bar are beginning to clear out, but it'll still be an hour or so before last call. Bruce walks back to the bar and picks up the coffee pot, bringing it over to refill Rashmi's mug. He leaves the mug he poured for Mason a while back on the counter, still refusing to serve the boy any more than he needs to.

Mason hadn't previously noticed the mug on the counter, but as Bruce refills Rashmi's mug, he spots it on the bar. He cautiously gets up and walks toward the mug. He was really here for alcohol, but he decides it might not be best to try that route tonight, so he takes what he has. "I dunno," the star backpedals a little. "I better run it by my agent. My manager thought it was the greatest stunt ever." The blond boy wrinkles his nose. "When he called me the next day, he started by saying 'Getting shot was the best thing that could have happened for your career'," a mock voice is employed for the imitation before Mason takes a sip of the coffee.

"Bill doesn't see me, though. He just sees dollar signs," Mason admits. "My agent doesn't want me doing more mutant shows until I become more popular. She was ready to drag me back to LA by the ear herself."

Rashmi nods quietly. "Well… it's probably a good idea, yeah. *I* just think it'd be a good idea for stuff that doesn't have much to do with your career. I just know that there's a couple people I *may,* may mind you, get a chance to talk to that could give you a lot more visibility in more, um… respectable circles. …Well except for the actual Embassy itself, it's kind of controversial just being there. And I'm positive Magneto's going to be a hard sell… but I'm perfectly willing to try, and let you and your mom and your agent know what I get back." As Mason sits down with his coffee, Rashmi turns a rather patient look on Bruce. A pair of fives is dropped on the table, and another dropped conspicuously closet to the teen she speaks to, the message a clear one; *this* tip is to make sure you treat *him* a little better.

Bruce quirks a brow at the two of them as he stands behind the bar. He takes a moment to draft a few beers for some of the remaining patrons, listening in on the two as he works. He doesn't respond to the two of them as they talk. The best thing that happened to his carreer was that he got shot? Next time he should try to get someplace vital. And how does this girl who belongs on a children's TV show know Magneto? He'll have to ask about her later. He smirks at the tip as he sees her lay it down. "Oh yes. That five is going to change my mind about a boy that almost got dozens of my people slaughtered."

Mason knits his brow, clearly not fully comfortable with Rashmi's ideas. "Respectable circles," he repeats. "You know, I may be more famous in pop culture circles, but that's not the only circles I play in." His look to Bruce goes a little sour. "YOUR people?" he answers. "I think of them just as much my people. Calling them your people just tries to drive the wedge deeper and increase the gap between sapiens and mutants. Way to be pro-active." He has a little fire in him as well. "But I don't know that Magneto would want me to play the way I am," he says, not offering an explanation of the statement. "He'd probably want me to do things differently." Likewise ambiguous.

"Doesn't have to change your mind," Rashmi says, shaking her head and smiling. "Just covers you for your trouble, is all. Nothing needs to change." Glancing aside at Mason, she raises an eyebrow, clearly approving of the sentiment. "Well, like I said, I can make a pitch. And when I say respectable circles, I meant like mutants or friendly people in the area whose names would mean a pretty heftly visibility boost, is all."

Bruce sighs at Mason. "Yes MY people. I'm not going to lump evolved mutants with the animals they evolved from." He doesn't even respond to Mason's thoughts on Magneto. Bruce turns to look behind him as the door to the back room opens and Lil walks out. "Geeze Lil. Long enough break?" He heads away from the bar to make one last round collecting glasses and bottles. He returns to the bar and collects his tips for the night. "Have fun, Lil. See ya tomorrow." The man walks into the back room and comes out a few moments later in a bomber jacket. Bruce offers a breif wave to Lil and a nasty look to Mason before he heads out the door for the night.

Mason hangs his head as Bruce goes to the back. "Damn, I really suck at this," he lets out with growl. "I guess I should've figured this would be harder than flashing a smile and singing some songs." If that was all it took, it would've been over long ago. "We can talk about equality all we want, but when you have mutants that detest sapiens as much as sapiens detest them, what hop is there? It just seems…so far away." He doesn't look interested in his coffee anymore.

Rashmi reaches over, nudging the coffee a little closer. "No one ever said it would ever be easy," she says gently, "but that doesn't mean it's hopeless. The fight for black equality took *years* to win, and even then it's still an issue now. But that doesn't make the fight just not worth it at all. If anything… it makes it even *more* worth fighting. Trust me on this, Mr. Steele… I *know* how hard it is, and I don't *ever* intend to give up."

The teen idol flops back in his seat, regarding the girl across from him. "You're really somethin' else, you know that?" Mason observes with a twinkle in his eye. "I've met you twice now, and you…you're like a ray of sunshine going somewhere to happen. I'm gonna go on a limb and guess that you're a mutant, since you were at the concert and Chuckles back there didn't think you were scum between his toes."

Rashmi bobs her head, smiling. "That too, yeah." Glancing above her head, her smile widens a touch as a half-dozen gently glowing spheres fade into view above the table, lazily orbiting the circumfrence of the table. "I got lucky, really… I'd always wanted to get into law and politics when I was a kid, so when I realized I was a mutant? Just meant a change in focus, not my whole life."

Mason twists his head to and fro, looking at the strange orbs. He reaches out to touch one. "Wow, that's pretty cool," he tells her. His gaze shortly returns to the hindi girl, and suddenly makes a bold proposal. "You hungry? We should do something. Grab dinner or a show or something. You're a rare breed, and I'd kick myself forever if I didn't offer to treat you to something." Yep, just that easy for him. His tone isn't arrogant, but it is confident, seemingly fearless of rejection.

Rashmi chuckles, shaking her head. "I'd love to, I really would… But I've got *so much* work to do, and I haven't gotten around to finishing up Ms. Walters' appointment calendar for next week, essays for my Constitutional History and Economics classes, plus the Embassy work I get to take home. The only real free time I have anymore is Sundays, and I use that to volunteer at my old high school, so I'm out in Salem by midmorning."

"Really?" Mason laughs, "I'm living in Westchester, that's right next door. Their little mall is pretty lame, but it's a nice little town other than that I guess. I'm more of a city boy, though." He grabs his coffee, now cold, and takes a swig. "What's your name? Maybe I could give you a call on Sunday and we could get together," he suggests. Little does he know that she will be at the same place he is next Sunday.

Rashmi chuckles. "Rashmi. Rashmi Franklin." Her head tilts, eyebrow rising. "I thought you were just on tour, Mr. Steele… you're living in Westchester now? Kind of a huge change from LA, isn't it?"

Mason shrugs, "Call me Mason, Mr. Steele sounds so…formal." He swirls his cup of coffee a little, and nods, "Got a new private school. Didn't feel right about what happened to the mutant at my old school, and I'm starting prep classes at Julliard next semester. So we found out about this place, and enrolled so that I could start after the tour. I gotta say, it's not like any place I've ever been. So I'll be going there and commuting to Julliard come January."

Rashmi bobs her head. "I know how that feels… I had to transfer to my school around this time. But it was fun… if a little crazy. It sucks being the new kid, but I think you'll like it here on the Coast."

"Yeah," Mason agrees. "It's pretty exciting. East coast is way cooler than the West coast." Well, it is when the west coast is where you've always lived. "No surfing here, though." Not that he can go surfing anymore anyway. "And being a new kid for me is a little different than for most people I think. It's really weird. Everybody knows who I am already, and they all think they know who I am." The last of his statement is said with a hint of annoyance.

"I can imagine," Rashmi says quietly. "But that's part of the problem with being famous, isn't it? People see you all over the country, so they think they can tell themselves your story, and either there's no way you can match it or there's no way it's even close to the truth." Chuckling, she shakes her head. "Seriously? Given the choice I'd probably never *want* to become famous. … …But the realistic part of me knows that the only way that'll happen is if I don't ever do what I want to do."

"Politics sucks," Mason responds. "You look at all the big politicians. Anybody who's been president since we've been alive? They all look 50 years older by the time they're out of office. Everybody hates on them all the time. You couldn't pay me enough to deal with that. I'll stick with music. People don't try to kill you for that." He reconsiders the statement, and rubs his left bicep, where he was shot. "Usually," he adds with a smirk. "It's really hard though, because…I just want people to like me, like anybody else. People assume I must be arrogant because I'm famous, or that I must think other people are worth less, or I just get fans because of my looks. Stupid bloggers don't help, either."

Rashmi raises an eyebrow, the corner of her mouth twitching upwards. "Politics doesn't suck, Mason. *Bad politicians* do, people who have all their focus on one little issue and back that regardless of the big picture, and fight like commandos to get what they want. But that doesn't change the fact that if you want to make sure the *laws* that govern the people are fair, and they're not, then you have to *change the laws* so they are. Which, something only politicians can really accomplish."

"Well, more power to you," Mason offers with a raised coffee mug. He polishes off the last of the drink. "You won't find me in politics. Too much school, too," he adds with a laugh. He isn't the greatest student. "Well, I got an 11 o'clock curfew, so as much as I'd love to hang out with such lovely company, I better start heading back. It's like two hours to get up there, and I'm gonna probably be late already." He stands to his feet and reaches to take Rashmi's hand again. However, this time it isn't a handshake he's after, but to give her a kiss on the hand. "It was a great pleasure to get to talk to you again, Miss Franklin."

Rashmi chuckles, flushing slightly as the kiss is laid on her hand. "Well, it was good to actually meet you too, Mason. Drive safe, all right, and I'll get back to you once I've figured out what groudwork needs done."

Mason nods with a smile, and flips the receipt from the order of coffee. Pulling a pen from his pocket, he writes his cell number on the back of it. "You'll know how to reach me," he says with a grin. And with that he heads for the door.

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