2011-06-12: Time For An Upgrade


Heather_icon.jpg Tabitha_icon.jpg

Summary: Tabitha's mind is snared by Mindbender and Upgrade, with help from Heather.

Date: June 12, 2011

Log Title: Door Crashing the Press Conference

Rating: PG-13 (L)

NYC - Mutant Town (Avenue B)

//Mutant Town, also known as District X, has become a haven for mutants. This section of town doesn't care what you look like, accepting all mutants no matter what their appearance. Most of the businesses in this section of town are mutant run ranging from small convenience stores to clothing shops to restaurants to night clubs. The buildings here aren't the high rise buildings you might find in mid-town but most are about 5-6 stories high. Mutant Town might not be the most luxurious section of town, in fact it's fairly run down, but this section of where mutants are safe and welcomed regardless of race, religion and culture. //

A typical Sunday afternoon in Mutant Town sees a rat girl on a Kawasaki Ninja cruising down the street, breaking the speed limit by just enough to get a rush, without going fast enough that a cop would bother to pull her over. Tabitha weaves her way past a couple of cars, gunning the engine and appreciating the high-pitched whine of four cylinders giving her all the horsepower they can muster. She continues on like this for some time, until at last she reaches her destination; a performance motorsports parts store, in a corner location. The tires squeal as she comes to an abrupt halt, and she feeds a couple of coins into a meter. She doesn't immediately enter the shop; rather she stands by her bike, tugging off her leather gloves and brushing her fingers through her hair to smooth it down after the ride.

Heather is running down the street, dodging between the cars as she zips through traffic in much the same way as the motorcyclist did. In fact, she almost follows Tabitha's route and arrives at the meter, staring at it with a blank expression. Her outline seems to be blurry at first, but reduces until it just looks like the girl is twitchy again. She looks at Tabitha and asks, "What are you doing here? You have to get out of here. /You have to/."

Tabitha's ears perk up, and she turns around to face the girl now standing beside her. "Hunh? What are you on about? …And… do I know you?" She tucks her gloves into a side pocket on her backpack, and plants her hands on her hips as she looks Heather up and down. "I'm just here to drool on performance parts that I can't afford. Why… wouldn't I want to be here? It's not like there's a gang war still going on."

She shakes her head and says, or at least playing through her tape recorder, "No, no, no, I mean, not in this place, can you see it on the edge of your consciousness?" Heather rubs her dirty face and shakes her head, "I warned you, I warned you… Why am I seeing a rat girl?" She turns around and looks around, as if searching for something.

The rat girl stands there, staring at Heather for a good long minute, without really moving. "…Uhm," she says at last, glancing over her shoulder and then back to Heather. "Are you okay? Someone didn't leap out of hte bushes and jump you with one of those Kick inhalers, did they? I thought that was all done with." She pulls a cellphone from her pocket, and flips it open. "Do you need help? I can get some help." Her brow furroughs, and she steps forwards. "Here… let me get someone who can help." She thumbs the buttons on the phone, entering the number for the Barnes Academy help line.

Heather starts to get ancy after a minute of being stared at, and starts rubbing her upper arms and shaking her head lightly, playing on the recorder, "No, put that down! You can't! That's what they want you to do!" Her hand moves quickly to attempt to swat the phone from out of Tabitha's hand. "It's already too late for you."

Tabitha is fast, but apparently not faster than someone endowed with powers over time; the phone is neatly knocked out of her hand and sails through the air. She stretches out to try and catch it, and it bounces off her fingertips once more before plummeting to a hard landing on the pavement, resulting in a cracked screen. "Oh…! Crap! What did you do that for?" She drops swiftly to her knees and plucks the abused phone from the ground. "Man, that's… the third one since I started at Barnes, they're gonna kill me." She sighs heavily as she straightens, and jabs at the keys experimentally. "Damnit… it's toast." She looks up, stuffing the phone back into her pocket. "Look, seriously, you're obviously major freaked out by something. What's wrong?"

"What's wrong? The end of the world. You… you need to stay calm, though, do not succumb to fear…" says Heather, stepping back a bit, "It will only be worse for-" She's cut off by the tape recorder apparently malfunctioning, and her own voice is too fast and squeaky to be possible to comprehend properly.

"Okay… I think we'd better go inside." Tabitha steps forwards, crossing the distance between herself and Heather. "You don't have to worry, I'm sure the world isn't ending today." She holds up her hands, not so much seeking to grab the other girl, as just offering support and guidance. "Come on, let's go inside, and… I dunno, I guess we'll try to call your parents or something? Or your friends? Someone who understands your powers better than I do."

"Your certainty is no comfort," says Heather, shaking her head, though she complies with Tabitha for now, "I think my parents are already here. They watch and wait and watch and wait." She shakes her head and says, "They are watching you right now, that's why I know you're even here. It is satisfying, this bit of contact, but soon… Think carefully."

The rat girl takes a look around, up the street one way and then the other. She sees cars, people walking around, but nobody in the immediate vicinity. "There's nobody here," she replies, gesturing about herself. "Look… what's going on? Tell me. I need a straight answer." She pauses, and drops her hands back to her sides. "What's your name? I'm Tabitha. Tabitha Jones." She does pause then, and looks over her shoulder just once more, for good measure, as the hairs on the back of her neck stand up straight; but perhaps it's just nerves from what Heather is saying?

"Heather Brown, codename: Timeslip," says Heather, widening her eyes slightly at that. "And my world has ended. As will yours. But maybe we can get them back? We will have to see-." And everything appears to stop completely, Heather included, and silence seems pervade the space, complete eerie silence as the soundwaves fail to make themselves to Tabitha's ears.

"Patches," replies Tabitha, "That's my—" She cuts out mid sentence, as everything abruptly goes silent. "What did you do?" She looks back at Heather, and then around at the streets, failing to hear her own voice. "What the… Hello? HELLO?! CAN ANYBODY HEAR ME?!" Her voice rises steadily in volume and pitch, until she howls loudly and wordlessly, trying with sudden desperation to hear a sound, a noise, anything. "HELLO!! HELLLOOOO!!" Her hands rise to her sides, instinctively looking for the holstered pistols that… aren't there, of course, they're still in Tony Stark's safe. "STOP IT!" she bellows, "LEAVE ME ALONE!"

The silence continues for a moment longer and then Heather moves again, looking around quickly and focused on Tabitha. She too speaks soundlessly, before dispelling the silence with a wave of her hands and saying, "Is time your domain as well? What is your power? Show me, you have to show me what it is. The world is ending, and you will be its hero, do not succumb to fear."

Tabitha whirls around to face Heather once more, the moment she hears her voice. She's breathing heavily, and brushes her fingers nervously over her face and through her hair. "It's not, no it's not," she gasps, taking a step back. "My name is Tabitha Jones, but I'm also called Patches. I…" She licks her lips, and wipes her palms against her pants to get the sudden sweat off her palms. "I don't really have powers of my own," she whispers. "Not really. Not totally. I… I just copy other people's. You control time? I could too… if I copied you."

"Can you copy me? Show me, show me…" says Heather, "You need to show me, you need to see what I see, and then you will know what I know…" She steps forward and tilts her head, "Do you have to touch me?" She reaches her hand towards Tabitha and says, "We both need an ally."

Tabitha shakes her head quickly. "No, I don't need to touch you. I knew you were a mutant the moment you got close, I don't need to touch you. But I don't… want to copy you, not yet. I don't know what will happen if I do, I don't know what you're capable of." She takes a step back, and holds up her hands in front of her. "Please, just tell me what's going on. You're freaking me out, now. What's going on?"

"I have told you, told you, and told you again, but you don't care to /listen/ to the words I'm saying," says Heather, pulling her hand back. "Do not succumb to fear! You have to-" And again Heather stops moving, synching again with the surroundings. The image only lasts shortly before absolutely everything except for herself in Tabitha's field of vision shatters and falls away, leaving only darkness, and the mutant girl standing on an unseen platform.

The rat girl opens her mouth to say something, but the words die on her lips. She's abruptly somewhere else. Or rather, she is nowhere. She spins around, examining her surroundings, or lack thereof, in all directions. "What… the fuck?" She takes a step back; and then another, and then looks over her shoulder, furtively glancing around herself. "What the hell is going on?" she shouts, reaching once more for her absent pistols; and then she concentrates on the space around her, checking to see if she can still sense Heather, or any other mutant for that matter. "Leave me alone! Stop… stop doing this!"

She seems to be able to sense the other nearby mutants for only a split moment longer than the image stays in place, before all other life forms fall out of perception. The world starts to reconstitute itself, maybe a little bit uglier than before, but virtually the same. Heather seems to be completely absent, but other surrounding mutants become again available to the rat girl, and everything in the city seems to be as it was before as time starts up again.

Tabitha crosses the few short steps to her bike, and puts her hands down firmly upon it. She pats it to make sure it's real, and looks around herself once more. "Okay, come on," she declares, standing up straight and looking around herself. "I know you're there, I sensed you, just now. I'm not interested in your lights-out mind games." She holds onto her bike with one hand, as she turns her back on it. "This isn't funny anymore, Heather, or Timeslip, or whatever you want to be called."

Only silence replies, everything seeming to have returned to normal. As bystanders pass Tabitha, they seem far more grotesque than previously, as if their mutations have warped their bodies. Occasionally as they pass by one another, their eyes shift between each other and then to Tabitha, whispering to each other something, body language suggesting some hostility towards her. This may be because if Tabitha examines herself, there is nothing grotesque about her, her human guise in her place.

Tabitha clamps her mouth shut, falling silent as she feels all the eyes upon her; all the people looking at her, all the people glaring at her. She looks down at her hands, and then double-takes, seeing no fur. She touches her ears, then claps a hand over her posterior, checking for her tail. Her eyes meet someone else's, glaring at her like something diseased that doesn't belong; and then she whirls around to her bike. She drops her gloves in her hurry to get them from her pack, and has to stoop down to retrieve them. The former rat wastes no time straddling her bike; she kicks the stand back up, and turns the key to gun the engine; of course it picks this moment not to turn over the first time. "Damnit!" she shouts, "Start!"

The people, though they look more like creatures, deformed and awful, crawling or limping through from location to location, all seem to catch Tabitha's image from their eyes, whether or not eyes are actually present, and one approaches her and attempts to put its hand on her lap, breath carrying the stench of decay. "Pretty person…"

Just then, the bike starts; the engine shrieks to life like a phoenix exploding full grown from an egg, and Tabitha guns it forwards, just as a decaying man's hand grabs her rather intimately. She shrieks herself, and goes off balance; the bike tips over sideways and she lands hard on the road, the wheels of the bike spinning in the air as it skids a few feet and comes to a stop. Tabitha disentangles herself from her vehicle and scrabbles backwards, up the sidewalk until her back is against ther wall. "No!" she shouts, "No, go away! Leave me alone, I… I know Kung Fu, I'll kick your ass if you touch me again! Just leave me alone!"

The creature pauses for a moment, reaching towards Tabitha and walking towards her slowly. It mumbles again, "Pretty… person…" It reaches out as if to grab her. At that moment, an outline of Heather reappears in the roadway, following the same route as previously, and stops at Tabitha, ignoring the thing getting close to her. "What are you doing here? You have to get out of here. /You have to/."

Tabitha presses herself back against the wall, and clenches her eyes shut for a moment; and when she opens them again, things are the same. She stares at Heather's knees, and her gaze slowly climbs up the other girl to look her in the eye; or at least where her eyes would be, if she weren't an outline. Then the moment passes, and the abomination is reaching for her again. Something inside of her changes; she jumps to her feet, and with a wordless yell she snaps her leg out, aiming to catch the rotting person in the knee with her foot, and then follow it up with a series of light, swift punches to the chest and face. "Where should I go?!" she asks, as she finally backs away. "Where, tell me where?"

The outline fills out and it is the image of Heather earlier. "No, no, no, I mean, not in this place, can you see it on the edge of your consciousness?" She rubs her face and changes her attention to where Tabitha is now. "I warned you, I warned you… Why am I seeing a rat girl?" She turns around, seeming to search for something before stopping upon the creature that stumbled back from Tabitha's blows. She touches it and it recoils and flees.

Tabitha shakes her head quickly. "No," she replies. "I don't see anything, I don't know what you're talking about. Is someone fucking with my head? What's happening? Who the hell are you?" She backs away from where she'd pummeled the apparent abomination. "I don't understand! Please tell me what's going on. Tell me what to do. What do I need to do? Should I copy you? What?"

Heather leans back, swiftly squeaking out words that make no sense in a seeming fast forward for a few moments, "It's already too late for you." She says more nonsense things, slowing every once in awhile to say things, "Heather Brown, codename: Timeslip. And your world has ended. As has mine. But maybe we can get them back? We will have to see, but you have to run from this place. Do what I do." Once more, her lips move nonsensically. "We both need an ally. Itlytlybydnctlsntawrssane. Do not succumb to fear. You have to just follow my outline, I will show you where to go… Keep up." Heather approaches to put her hand on Tabitha's shoulder, "You have the power to keep up."

Tabitha shakes her head. "Not without my bike," she replies, and hurriedly sets about righting the fallen ninja. While she's about it, she tilts her head, and keeps track of Heather's position in her mind; not with her eyes, but with her ability to sense mutants. As she gets the bike up on its wheels after a moment of struggle, she pauses, and sucks in her breath. The rat girl concentrates for a moment, and allows herself to do as has been reccommended to her before… and copy Heather's power.

As Tabitha copies Heather's powers, everything around her will seem to slow down, but Heather will come sharply into focus and, while she seems a bid fidgety, she doesn't have the complete twitchiness that she was displaying previously. After receiving Heather's touch, though, she would also feel much more energized than before, her awareness of surrounding mutants expanding. "Come on…" With that, she runs away.

Tabitha straddles her bike, and pauses only for a moment to lament the damage done to the side of it when it fell. Oh well; at least it's only cosmetic, time enough to fix it some other time. Assuming she isn't dead later on. "Okay," she replies, as she wheels the bike around. She guns the engine, and crouches low as she zooms off, pushing hard to catch up to Heather.

~ Fin ~

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