2010-12-09: The Light Fantastic

Players: Connor and Rashmi

Connor_icon.jpg Rashmi_icon.jpg

Summary: Connor and Rashmi (With thanks to Magneto's player for running the scene!) do a little Christmas Shopping, a little catching up, and get a little lesson in what it can be like for the older generation in the bargain.

Date: December 9, 2010

Log Title: The Light Fantastic

Rating: PG-13

Greenwich Village

The lower West Side of Manhattan is known as the Bohemian Greenwich Village or just The Village. Unlike most of Manhattan, the streets here are not in the usual gird that the rest of the island is. Most the streets here are named rather than numbered as well. The buildings here aren't as tall as high rises of Manhattan as they are the 19th century row houses and occasional one-family walk up apartments.

The evening is clear and crisp, and the streets are slushy. Pedestrians who walk too close to the curbs find themselves liberally splashed. Pedestrians who walk not that close to the curbs sometimes get splashed, anyway. There are a lot of unhappy pedestrians.

This doesn't mean everyone is unhappy. A large panel truck is parked in front of a neighborhood grocer, and that is providing shelter for a quintet of busking carolers and a Salvation Army santa. Both are doing brisk business.

With the sounds of Christmas in the air, and the streets still something new to the young man, Connor has decided to take the night to do a little exploratory shopping around the neighborhoods of New York city. Already with a bag that of course has many smaller bags in it, he walks along with Rashmi for the time being… dressed in a leather motorcycle jacket with gloves to match, and a hooded top under the coat, "So… Greenwich Village, huh? Doesn't look anything like Geoffrey, but hey… nice to see if, even if it's at night. How's life on your end of things?"

"It's been a few years since then, Connor," Rashmi replies, chuckling and shaking her head. "And it's fine, for now. Getting back into the old routine, which is nice. … …Though I *still* wish Ms. Frost hadn't sent me that check, I don't even know what to *do* with most of it. And *what* do I get her for Christmas, anyway?" Her own hands, both full; Christmas shopping and then some, apparently.

A Christmas elf is helping the santa. She's dressed in one of those silly, abbreviated elf costumes — short skirt, tights, short puffy sleeves, and the triangular hat that doesn't cover the ears, all in red, green and white. She has a long-sleeved sweatshirt on under the short top, but one suspects that she is so eagerly running around, passing candy canes out to all of the children (and a few teens) passing by, as a means of keeping warm.

And she is passing out the canes to ALL of the children. Greenwich Village is on the outskirts of Mutant Town, and despite layers of clothing, a few of those children are clearly… not average. But she smiles just as wide at them, and they smile just as much at her.

Connor ohs softly at the busking, and then motions with his head, breath puffing out as he says, "C'mon… let's take a break. I've got some spare bills… and besides… you've been lugging those bags six blocks." Making his way over to where the carolling is, his eyes colorshift sligthtly while his mood changes, but he masters it back under control to just the faint blue-green shimmer they usually hold. The first is the santa, and a fiver into the bucket as he says, "Happy Holiday."

"It's fine," Rashmi answers, hefting the bags for the fifth or twentieth time, "but sitting down would be nice for a bit, yeah…" As they pause at the Santa, a fiver of her own is slipped into the pot with a quiet 'Merry Christmas.' A thought strikes her as she picks up the bag again, forcing her to pick up her stride a bit to match pace with her companion. "…Oh. Right. Remind me next time we pass a McDonald's, Connor, okay? Christmas tradition." The elf gets a broad smile, and a cheerful nod of her head as she lugs her bounty toward the bench. "Merry Christmas, and thank you *so* much."

Bright smiles greet Connor's donation into the buckets of santa and carollers. "Thank you, sir! Merry Christmas to you, too!" says the elf. She'll offer a candy cane to him, tied with a perky green ribbon. "Please, our gift to you in return!" Rashmi is presented with a red-beribboned can. "And to you, miss!" Then she's off again, chasing down a little blonde girl holding the hands of her parents.

At the next cross alley, a group of teens and pre-teens are enjoying their own canes, and imitating the elf in less than respectful ways. There is a lot of laughing happening.

Connor tilts his head to the side as his eyes flick around and the young man does an unconscious scan-assessment of the location, taking note of the younger teens and such in the alley behaving in a slightly rude fashion. He flashes back up to the elf girl once more and says, "Have a nice and safe evening, miss!" Adding a soft and charming smile to it as he continues to listen to the carollers for a moment, and then turns his head back to Rashmi, "A McDonald's? Allright… willing to explain to me?" Breath puffing out in a cloud across his face before he turns his head back once more, "Oh… next month, my birthday… I don't know what I'm going to do yet, but I wouldn't mind you, Mike, Robyn, and Heather there. Eighteen. Go figure."

"Family thing," Rashmi says at first, frowning somewhat in the direction of the alley. "The way I hear it, Mami and Papi started out *really* wanting to get into American traditions, right? So they'd have a bunch of people from the neighborhood over for Thanksgiving, and make plates out of the leftovers to hand out. …Well, Christmas rolled around, and they didn't see any reason why not to do it again, right? Only it's Christmas, and presents sort of ought to be a thing. So, when everyone could, they'd pull together and get McDonald's cards to put with the plates. Christmas dinner and a present, see? Anyway, I volunteered to handle the McDonald's part, since I know I can swing it." Through the entire story, her eyes remain on the kids down in the alley, a look of deep concern growing on her dark features.

"Ooo… ooo…!" That's one of the girls among the teens, holding her belly and moaning. "Joey, I am never taking a dare from you again!" she cries, as the others turn their laughter on her. They whoop and follow her further into the alley. "Even if I did win your stupid cane eating contest!"

They continue to jeer. Then there's a KABOOM! like thunder, very close, and one of them shrieks, "Jilly! Not in PUBLIC!" and suddenly, all of them are running around like mad cats and the alley is full of St. Elmo's fireballs.

This brings on the look. Just right into Rashmi's eyes, as Connor has that 'Why can't I just have ONE NIGHT?' look in his eyes, waiting for the mirrored expression. Where others might consider panic or shock, he exhales hard and stands up, and tightens his leather gloves before beginning to quietly cross the street and towards the whole conflagration, his bag still with him in his hands rather than left where a pickpocket or snatch might grab it.

Rashmi sighs, hauling herself up from the bench and returning the look with one tempered with a bit of simple worry. Lugging her bags along with, right behind Connor, the redhead frowns at the alleyway. "Could still be nothing, at least… Remember how hard we had it at first? C'mon, let's just go see what's going on."

What's going on is pure mayhem. The girl with the bellyache is gone, though there's a too-bright-to-look-at female shape near the blind end of the alley that is emitting those fireballs. A young man is crouched by a Dumpster, yelling, "Jilly! STOP IT! What if Dad finds out?!" He's mostly ignoring the fireballs, and when one of them hits him, a glowing bubble of crackling electric energy flares around him. He's not hurt — but he's not going closer, either.

At least two of the other kids are looking ill. One is leaning against a wall, and even as you both watch, he seems to fade away and disappear, leaving only a supersonic keening in his wake.

Looking back to Rashmi for a long moment, Connor nods once and then says, "Let's hope this isn't someone's idea of a sick joke… the candycanes. Watch the fireballs… they might be stunning." Smirking a bit afterwards, he moves towards the nearest one who's looking sick and has not vasnished, "Hey… We're not here to start anything… are you guys allright? You're straying a bit far from Mutant Town, you know." Keeping his smile and his demeanor as light as possible, but for anyone else watching, he has that trained 'awareness' that most of the X-trained seem to master after a short time, not taking any event lightly.

As though to lend credence to Connor's words, Rashmi's spheres fade into view, orbiting around her as she stands at the end of the alley. "What happened?" she asks of the child Connor addresses, "was it the candy canes making you sick…?"

"Ugh," says the kid. He's shivering. "M'belly hurts…" He doesn't answer the question about the canes, because he doesn't care about those, he cares about his belly! He does manage a glare at the both of you.

His shivering intensifies, and then, *splash*. The snow he's sitting in sublimates. Some goes to water, but most just vaporizes, rising around him in a cold, steamy cloud.

Off in the back of the alley, the boy is still pleading with Jilly to 'turn the lights off, already'! The high keening of the disappeared kid is getting louder. And one kid has her arm around another. "Let's just go home," she says, just as *he* disappears, leaving her covered in green goop. "AAAGH! Stevie!"

Connor immediately snaps his head up, "Rash… get someone from your side of things down here now… this might be something bigger. Hold on…" And he then sets his bag down and off to one side moving down the alley and closer to the girl marked as 'Jilly' as he says, "Jilly… my name is Connor… you need to talk to me… are you and all your friends mutants? Are you from Mutant town?"

Rashmi bobs her head, setting her bags down next to Connor's, drawing her cell phone from her bookbag. With a few murmured words, the alert station is made aware of the situation, and with a last look up at the shining girl, the keening invisible boy, the shivering heat source, and the gooey Stevie, she lets out a slow breath. "Advise care, they're children please… Okay. Thanks. 'Bye." Cutting off the connection, she creeps closer to to the goo-covered child, concern writ large on her face. "Hey… Hey, what happened to Stevie?"

The boy trying to talk to Jilly flies at Connor, throwing inexpert punches at him. "You stay away from my sister, flatscan!" Up close, Connor can see the kid's face is ridged with parallel lines of flesh, like scars, without the discoloration. He isn't the kind of kid who would pass in public school.

The girl covered in green goop might have reacted similarly, but it's hard to call someone a flatscan when they're the center of their own solar system. She does give Rashmi a suspicious glare, though. "He went ghost, of course!" Thouroghly disgusted.

At the mouth of the alley, others have arrived to see what's happening. "Oh, my goodness," says one of the carolers. "It's mutants!" The word passes in a hissing whisper through the rest of the crowd. "…mutant…!"

A month as a tortured soul has been erased by a month back in the gym and working back into combat training… and those inexpert punches are blocked as Connor attempts to lock the kid into an arm-bind as he replies back in a slightly harsher tone, "Hey… dial it down a couple! We're not here to hurt you, we're just worried! So calm down!" And while he's speaking with some authority, he's not making it loud enough to make a scene, "Calm DOWN… you're causing a scene that's just going to get you and your friends in trouble. Think about Jilly."

Rashmi nods. "Okay," she says gently, "he went ghost. I was worried, with everything else that's happening. So what—" Trailing off, she glances over her shoulder, sighing to herself. "Hang on, okay…? Come stand behind me, I'll take care of this." Turning, she tilts her head at the burgeoning crowd, brow knitted in gentle puzzlement. "I'm sorry, but could you give them some space, please? I think you're making them nervous."

St. Elmo's fireballs are bouncing further and further from the girl making them. Several will hit Connor, if he doesn't move back. And if they do hit him, they'll zap him, like a bad shock from a wall socket. Not fatal, but quite painful and very distracting.

She's not the only person endangering Connor, though. "Let go of me!" shouts the boy, and his force field comes back. It's electrical, too — and it packs a bigger wallop than the fireballs. Depending on how fast Connor lets go, he'll either get a nasty shock… or he'll be flung away by main force. Unless that's a sleeper hold…?

The crowd is milling, worry coming off them almost visibly. One older lady clad in a fake fur jacket says, "Making them nervous? So? Look at them! That kid in the back is setting fires!" Because yes, a fireball or two has bounced into dry, flammable somethings, and those things are smoldering. Dumpster fires!

Behind Rashmi, the girl says, "Dev? What are you… No, Dev!" even as the brick wall to Rashmi's right seems to explode outward… and then the pieces freeze in midair, mostly closing the mouth of the alley. "Dev?"

Connor's form vanishes completely from the boy's view as the first ozone crackles of that electrical-eel style forcefield start up, and he reappears next to Rashmi. A hand touches down on his former schoolmate's shoulder as his eyes glow a bit brighter, "Hold on." And before either 'Dev' or the other can react, they're both gone again, and are on the far side of the alley, with only Jilly close by. His gloved hand comes up, and there's a slight distortion in the air where a spherical field of gravitic energy in place to deflect the St. Elmo's sparkers, "This isn't how you want things to go down… none of you. We only wanted to help you… we're just like you. Yeah, maybe we look like we got lucky, but trust me, this is just making the situation worse. You all need to calm down and get a handle on things. Please."

Rashmi reflexively ducks away from the exploding brickwork, loosing a shout of alarm, cut off sharply as Connor pops the three of them to the other end of the alley. Shaking off the visions of the Nexus upon landing, letting out a slow, shuddery breath she pats her friend's arm. "Okay," she murmurs, "now pull it back a little; they're still kids, and they're probably really scared, and there's people staring… *Without* us between them." Lifting her head, she pitches her voice louder, hopefully to carry above the commotion. "Jilly, Stevie, it's okay! Just calm down and come over to Connor here, all right? There's no need for you to be scared!" Ducking her head back down, she murmurs to Connor, "Put me back please, we've got to settle those people down."

Nice idea, Connor. Wrong move.

Popping in close to Jilly is the wrong move. There was a reason her brother wasn't going close to her, that being the growing sphere of electrical energy around her. Some of the energy in that sphere manifests as lightning bolts, not fireballs, and the three of you — Connor, Rashmi, and Dev — are all wonderful lightning rods. Half a dozen bolts come flying at you even as you appear.

The brother is still at the outside edge, along with goop-covered girl, who says, "Joey! I think they're Meanies," which the brother scowls over.

"Great," he snaps. "NOW they show up."

Meanwhile, that supersonic keening has become painful. The shattered brick at the entrance to the alley is still frozen in mid-air, and there's no sign of Stevie.

The bolts pass through empty air, a ripple in his wake as Connor and Rashmi reappear in the spot where Rashmi was standing, a rather ill look passing over Connor's face as he shakes off a particularly bad timeline. Letting go of his friend, the young man drops his hands and then just sighs, "Please… We didn't mean to scare you or cause a scene. But she needs to calm down, and your screaming friend…" One hand going to his ear, "He needs to stop." Attempting to speak above the scream, "Fast… before cops or worse come."

"Thanks," Rashmi murmurs, blinking away her possible future as a motivational speaker, edging around the bricks. "Okay," she calls over her shoulder eyes squinching against the high-pitched keening as she tries to outshout the formless sound, "I'm going to try to calm these people down, all right? You can watch if you want, I'm just going to try and talk to them!" Ducking under a frozen halfbrick, she moves to stand in front of the growing crowd, sighing. "All right! Um. Sorry about that! Just give us a few more minutes, and just… please, everyone. Let them be, okay?"

There is another KABOOM! and the back half of the alley is now full of blazing electricity. The brother scrambles to stay out of the danger zone. Several more fires have started, and the scent of smoke is heavy in the air. The ear-piercing keening goes up another octave and another ten decibels, as well.

"Agh!" says the lady in the fake fur coat, covering her ears. "This is what we get for not putting a wall around Mutant Town!" She's backing away, into a crowd that seems mostly sympathetic with her views. Rashmi is getting glared at from all around. "You do something about this, missy!" The 'Or else!' is not said, but is unmistakeable nonetheless.

Goop-covered girl sighs mightily, the frustration of a teen faced with a Clueless One (Connor, in this case.) "If she could calm down, don't you think she would?" Agh. Adults.

Connor does the first thing he thinks of… flicking his hands out and uses his power to slam the dumpsters shut, covering the fires for a moment and trying to contain things somewhat, and then proceeds to take off his jacket and his hooded top, putting them to one side as he looks back towards Rashmi for a moment, "Allright… tell me right now… what triggers their powers… and what stopped them the last time. Listen close, because those people back there aren't going to stay there for long. They're going to call the police, or they're going to start thinking they can do something to stop this."
spoof And they don't understand that that'll just lead to more trouble. I need your help if we're all going to get out of this without more trouble. But you need to get your screaming friend to stop now. He needs to know we're not here to hurt him. It's just making it worse. What's scaring him…" He then asks, trying to focus on goop girl, and maintain his calm, though his eye twitches as the screaming is starting to get up there.

"And they don't understand that that'll just lead to more trouble. I need your help if we're all going to get out of this without more trouble. But you need to get your screaming friend to stop now. He needs to know we're not here to hurt him. It's just making it worse. What's scaring him…" Connor adds, trying to focus on goop girl, and maintain his calm, though his eye twitches as the screaming is starting to get up there.

"We're working on it," Rashmi answers, with as much reassurance as is possible when 'talking' as close to top volume as possible. "Trust me, the best thing you can do is go on with your day. Please, everyone, it's Christmas. All I'm asking is for your kindness and your patience, and just let us do what we can, okay?"

Goop-covered girl crosses her arms and snorts. "Well, that's useful," she says about Connor's Dumpster trick. "And I don't know how to stop her, if she won't stop herself." She takes a couple of steps, putting herself between Connor and Jilly. "But you're not going to hurt her." The glare takes in Rashmi, too. "Either of you." She uncrosses her arms.

Behind her, the brother is saying, "Jilly? How are you doing that, Jilly? You've never done THAT before…!"

Stevie pops back into view. "Hannah!" he gasps. "I'm… I'm… I can't stop!" He pops back out, with an even bigger splash of green guck. Anyone within about fifteen feet gets spattered. For Hannah, this is the second time around. She is so appreciative.

Connor frowns to himself, sparing his outerwear from goop, but that just means his shirt and arms get splattered in the henley he was wearing underneath, "No, I don't want to hurt anyone. I know a place I can take her, and all of you to get you away from this, get you all someplace until this is done, and then you'll go home. You want my word on it? Here…" And he takes out his Xavier cellphone and hands it to her, "This is my phone from my school. You have this, and it means that I'm in a buttload of trouble, because I'm not supposed to go anyplace without it.. Now the place I have in mind is a holding cell." But he puts his hands up, "It's supposed to be where we go when our powers do what she's doing now… so we can cool down. I'll send Jilly through first, then her brother can go, and then my friend will go. You and I will be the last one's in together. Allright?"

Rashmi closes her eyes for a moment, her spheres twitching and jerking in their orbits, a good indicator of the sympathy she'll soon share with the child. "Ma'am," she shouts, "get your little girl away, okay? Nobody's doing anything on purpose, but that doesn't mean it's any safer! Just please, everyone, go! We'll sort this out!"

"Are you CRAZY? A HOLDING CELL? And I'm supposed to take this and smile and BELIEVE YOU?" Hannah is less than impressed with Connor's reasoning. She holds the 'phone up and BZZZT it literally shakes itself to pieces. She lets the remains fall. "Try 'Here's some candy, little girl!'" And with that, she thrusts a hand at him. The air between her and Connor will shimmer and solidify.

"Oh, come on, Jilly! If you don't stop soon, you'll have another seizure!" The brother is nearly in tears. He's trying to get through to her, even as he throws nervous glances over his shoulder at his friends and the flatscan crowd. Not good… so not good…!

The crowd is already calling the cops. Rashmi can see and/or hear several people on cell phones. One of them seems to be talking to a reporter about a 'tip award'.

There's a moment where the young man gives up being nice… his eyes blazing for a moment, quite literally, and shedding a pale blue-green glow on the small alley corridor. But then a breath comes from Connor, and he says softly as he calms back down, "You've got no reason to believe me. I get that. And I can't convince you. That's fine… now I have to do things like this. I'm sorry." And fingers flick out past the vibration field and he catches both the dumpster in their burning, smoking glory. Cranking up his eyes as much as he can to obscure his face some, the young man lifts both garbage cans over his head into the sky…

…and comes running out in a faux panic, clawing at his face as he screams out, "IT'S IN MY HEAD! IT'S IN MY HEAD! AUGH! HELP ME!" And as he scrambles away and around, the two garbage dumpsters go flying over the crowd and into an alley on the far side, the tumbling and tight-field grip to put out the flames in the swishing cans. To lend it a little more and keep control, he reaches out to the crowd, "OHGOD! HEEEEEEELP!"

Such plans, though, often require a touch of coordination, and as Connor scrambles out of the alley, wailing and screaming and turning burning dumpsters into a pair of big smoky distractions, Rashmi is struck dumb for a few moments, jaw falling open. Blinking, she scoots toward the mouth of the alley, eyes wide and incredulous. "…What did you *say* to him?"

Hannah is jaw-dropped shocked, too. She's staring at the flying Dumpster circus and looking all of her fourteen years of age. Rashmi distracts her from this. "Um. I told him I didn't believe him." And that reminds her… "He wants to put us all in a holding cell! A HOLDING CELL! There is no way you are putting us in holding cells! We haven't done anything!"

Rashmi probably can't hear most of that. The keening shriek is drilling through the skull of anyone within a couple dozen yards. Except Hannah's; her powers are vibration based. Sound is not her enemy. She does say, "Martin! Are you having trouble, too?"

Stevie pops in again. "Ooo… it hurts…." and he pops out again. SPLASH. Hannah is re-gooped; she shrieks. Rashmi, being on the street side of Hannah's vibration field, is not. (Yay?)

As for the crowd… they scream and run away from the approach of the flying Dumpsters… straight away. This means that Connor appears to be chasing them, all the way across the street and into the second alley. A bunch peel off to either side, on the street itself, but there's always someone who doesn't. —Yes, they'll remember this event.

The spheres banished before they can get properly out of control, the redhead stumbles forward, eyes watering from the pain boring through her ears, pain made more unpleasant from its similarity to the sonic scrambler, used in the Genosha Embassy shooting. "Please," she says, able to know she's talking only because she knows she's moving her mouth, "trust him… They're hurting themselves just as much as they're hurting us, can't you see that?!"

"MAKE IT STOOOOOOOOOOOOOO—", Cut off as he seems to vanish in a ground-cracking burst, just more gravity slammed into the street, and Connor appears next to Rashmi on the far side of the bricks where he can't be seen, wincing at the sound level as it begins to reach more than painful levels. Scrabbling for his hooded top and jacket as he shivers somewhat, one eye closed as he pulls up to Rashmi and says in her ear loudly, "Crowd's clear… Portal going up." And he then vanishes once more, to the far side of the alley, clear enough of the human plasma ball so that he can begin spinning up his portal to get everyone clear!

The quietest one is Dev, backed up against a wall. He's got one hand in front of him, and a fine mist is swirling around the hand. The pavement under his feet is turning into powder, and his clothes look like they've been dragged through a gravel-crusher. "H-hannah. I th-think we're in t-trouble."

Hannah glares at him, but it's one of those, 'Have I made a mistake?' glares. "It's holding cells!" she says, even as Jilly goes KABOOM! again… and now lightning is filling two-thirds of the alley, scorching everyone on Hannah's side of her vibration shield… which is just about everyone except Dev and Rashmi.

And Martin, who is still screaming and non-corporeal. And Stevie, who is mostly non-corporeal, except for odd moments when he can force himself to solidify. And goop Hannah. Again. And again. And again.

Connor accepts getting scorched, turning in time to throw up a gravity shield with his off hand. Catching the bolt and dissipating more than enough heat and power to just sting and burn him a bit. Shaking his hand a few times before he looks to the far end, he shoves the swirling blue ball of light into the fabric of reality… and in it's usual and spectacular fashion the swirling vortex of power appears, becoming a six foot wide portal of obvious blue-green light. The next thing he does is before another bolt of power goes off, he tries to use another field to grab the plasma girl and gently toss her through… and true to his word, the exit point is the mansion Holding Cells, and their much needed suppression field. "RASH!" He yells over the din, "DON'T FORGET OUR BAGS!" And emphasizes by pointing towards their purchases.

Jilly gets shoved through the portal, and the holding cell snuffs her out like a candle. Her brother shouts in terror as the storm of electricity suddenly dies, and he jumps after her, with or without Connor's assistance.

"EVERYONE THROUGH!" Trying to yell over the sounds of the shrieks, but with the girl gone, he looks for the boy who continues to pop in and out, "The next time you appear, go in… I promise you… It's safe." Connor is panting and sweating, trying to maintain the portal as best he can while he waits for the others, watching the alleyway for anyone with cameras or anything else that might cause problems, pulling up his hood to try and keep his features from being caught just in case.

"Oh…!" Frustration writ all over her features, Hannah stomps toward the portal. "All right! You win! But if you're cops, you're dead, you hear me?!" She flexes her hands and reaches up into thin air… and pulls another kid out of it. He is clearly seizing… and is the source of the screaming. She stomps to the portal and through it… whereupon the keening just stops.

Dev stumbles after her. A few moments later, Stevie pops in again, and Connor can pounce him. That's everyone; time to go.

A gravity bolt shoots out and snags Stevie before he can vanish again, and he goes in a half-moment before Connor and Rashmi… and their bags… so that all land in the single and cramped cell together. As the spinning one-way portal vanishes behind it's source, he sits down and back, his connection severed, and blissfully so with the others… there's a slight smirk as he looks around. "And now… we wait for me to get in trouble…" Nodding once to Rashmi, "It never fails, does it."

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