Prelude: Kinship

June 22, 2015:

Doug sends for Kida once more, though this time perhaps for something more akin to her.

Mutant Town, NY

District X, also known as the less politically correct yet more popular
coined Mutant Town is a very unique Burroughs located between Alphabet City
and the Bowery of Lower Manhattan.

M-Town's famous (and infamous) for hosting one of the largest concentrated
populations of 'muties' in all of the United States and quite possibly the
world. This collection of metahumans isn't just those hosting the X-Gene but
many others who have found it easier to get by in a world rampant with a
lack of understanding and fear for the unknown. The very real unknown.

It's population boom began in the mid to late 90's after the X-Gene was
isolated and hate crimes against mutants and metahumans had almost become an
epidemic. The District X location was already nestled in a major cradle of
immigration from outside countries. This clustering of families and
community from allover the world had many subcultures and secrets, a secret
very few knew but overtime it developed in to what we now call Mutant Town.

No longer just a subculture or collection of assorted various subcultures
but it's very own enclave of metahumans, muties, freaks and outcasts.

This massive enclave has only grown in leaps and bounds, the Morlock
Massacre ten years ago attributed to this as has recent events.

To the outside world M-Town is seen as a dangerous ghetto full of
human-hating mutates, crime, prostitution, narcotics, illiteracy,
unemployment, overcrowding and violence. It has been listed as one of the
most dangerous places to live in the world several times over. Although
true, this does not mean it's incapable for people to live there or maintain
a happy life.

Quite the opposite really, M-Town is full of diversity and oddities the
outside world could only dream of, District X is the center of fringe
movement and cutting edge fashion, food, design and even some technology.
The cultural influence of the residents along with their unique abilities
aids in making Mutant Town one of the most progressive, liberal minded,
innovative, unique places in the world. Old School Total Recall has nothing
on M-Town.

Due to the diversity of District X and it's pro-mutant stance New York City
and the SRD have had a hard time keeping any form of law enforcement within
it's territories (SRD or 'MRD' come in hot or not at all - they have a
tendency to disappear in this neck of the woods). Due to this crime is a
major factor of concern and about 90% of all illicit activity is controlled
by organized crime families. Life within District X had largely been Wild
West rules up until two years ago when the 11th Precinct of the NYPD was
established.

Though small this specialized task force of police officers is a collection
of some of the toughest, meanest, hardiest law enforcement professionals the
city has to offer, as a golden rule they follow the motto, "Expect the
Unexpected" which in M-Town, these are words to live by.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Every so often, newsflashes pops across Doug Ramsey's RSS feed. Of a criminal that wields tattoos.

Having been not quite able to reach Tattoo, despite the occasional rumblings, Doug Ramsey had simply left a message around the slums, with a simple message: "Tattooed Man. Related?"

The Tattooed Man had only shown himself every so often, robbing stores, and then disappearing. It seemed like he was a petty criminal… which meant tracking him down might be a wee bit trickier than usual. That the tattoos seemingly came to life and committed crimes…

At the moment, though, Doug was sitting around the X-Factor Investigations, taking advantage of Jamie Madrox's files to see if he could find anything more.

Kida got word from that family unit she had made here, having slunk into further shadows for a while, becoming their hunter and gatherer to tide over time she had been left to her own devices. She was fine with this, and having obtained under the table work at a mechanics shop allowed for her to buy fresh food for the people in the Slum's instead of digging out what was freshly poured into upscale dumpsters.

Looking over the file it is held out by the fireside, a wolf coming up and sniffing it during the night hours, chuffing its exhale and heading out. ida slept…and dreamed it's path, through its eyes. Tracking Doug took a full night but when the sun rose so did Kida, leaving her trio of canis behind to guard the people. The distance was long.

Coming into Mutant Town her hazel gaze skates over the buildings, the people, keeping to the shadows and only emerging at the front of the X-Factor building to slide within and clutch her duffel's strap at her shoulder tighter as well as that enfolded spear at the small of her back.

Shaking his head at the relative lack of computer documentation, Doug Ramsey gropes through his pockets for the key he'd borrowed for rummaging through the secured files. Got it.

Standing up, Doug begins to grope through the file, bfore casting a glance outside the window as movement shuffles along. Hnh. He could see why Jamie had this particular location - it let him see people coming, for the most part. Wise move, that.

Putting down the files on the desk, Doug goes to meet Kida at the front door. "Hey. I didn't think I'd told you I was doing some research here…" Doug greets. "How ya been? You got my message, I take it?"

"You did not leave a location to respond to, so I had to track you." Kida states matter of factly to Doug when he comes to greet her, one foot sliding back towards the doors as he closes distance between them. Being indoors makes her uneasy still and it is evident in all motions. Like a shield the letters he left her on the Tattooed Man is held up between them like a shield, but also an offering.

"I got work. It pays cash, it helps." Nodding in regards to getting his message it is doubly affirmed by the light shake of the papers she held. "I do not know him, no relative of mine. I have none here." The final words coming on a flatter tone, one that belies emotion and strains to cut it off.

"You have a new job too?" She inquires, skimming hazel eyes across the interior or the office. "Not like the other of your friends. Smaller."

"Sorry," Doug responds, rubbing his head. "I figured you'd show up at the DaCosta building, but since I wasn't tonight, I guess you had to find me."

Glancing back at the building, Doug motions. "This is the X-Factor Investigations. We're sort of… contracting business and personnel to X-Factor, for investigation. And well, my skills work out pretty well for information discovery, so that's why I'm working here some of the time now."

Glancing at the papers, Doug nods. "Well you may not have relatives, but who knows, with those powers, he might have encountered some of yours. I was just going through Jamie's files to see what he had. Do you want to come in…? I could show you what we've been able to find."

Kida is listening to Doug but shaking her head slowly. "If he met my family and is like me he is lucky to live." So much history untold in those words as she speaks with thickly accented vocals, the Haida language and tongue still thick and embraced despite being yet another figure of 'dead' here. It makes a bit of that fire in her eyes come to a dying ember, swiftly pushed aside as she looks away from Doug and back out the door.

His invitation makes her shoulders go rigid, the papers in her hands clutched until they crinkle audibly. He has not lead her astray yet, nor crossed her in a way to form distrust. Slender throat works over the lump that formed behind fear and loathing, one grease stained boot stepping back forward to come deeper within the structure.

"I'll see what your hunt has brought you." Kida is not about to elude to the fact that curiousity is also a driving force. Shamans of her ilk were few and far between with her people, another was a welcome thought and hope.

"What does he do? Does he speak to spirits for your people? Translate so you do not fall far from your roots? Perhaps even bring good luck or win your kind battles??" Okay, so not so hidden as nerves rise.

Keeping track of Kida's body language, not being willing to risk another moment of culture shock, or 'fight or flee' response, Doug is careful to not obstruct Kida's retreat as he leads the way, giving her the chance to go as far as she can, and keeping the doors open behind her, even going as far as to put doorstops, whether actual or ad-hoc so that she had a clear path open.

"The Tattooed Man? He seems to be, as far as I can tell, a thief. Using his powers to steal and rob. He ventures in and out of prison. Far as I can tell, his tattoos may or may not be magical in origins," Doug replies as he leads the way into the main file room, so that he can sit down, choosing the seat -not- near the door so that Kida at least has a clear egress as she choose. It was going to be interesting, letting all the air conditioning out, but eh… Jamie's problem.

Kida watches as Doug leaves her openings, a streamlined exit to ease her and for a moment she pauses, looks back at the distance from where they are going to the door and then back. At that moment her hand drops from the small of her back and that hidden retractable weapon to her side, sweat laden palm wiped down the tattered and dirt stained side of her pants.

Despite his care and caution for her she still look for windows, vents… Anything, just before claiming her seat by the door in that perch style, back resting just above the exposed dip above hips. Even then the edges of wink tattoos can be seen where the tips fall above the dimple of each hips fleshly indentation.

"So he uses it for bad? Or to better his people?" Her head tilts, and in the still of the indoors there is something about the way that raven huen hair drops, featherlight, and the shine is like an avians. Within feathers interwoven dance, tipped by beaded braids of tiny intricacy.

"Uh… I don't know about his people," Doug responds, tilting his head to look at the report. "Looks like he's mainly in it for himself. Then again, I don't know much about him, and the reports are pretty superficial. I don't think Jamie has actually run into him." The file was mostly clippings of random nature, it seemed, something to be kept around in case he needed to look up something. "My work's cut out for me… I'm going to have to convert -everything- he has to digital form for easier lookup if I can."

Slumping back, Doug scratches his chin. "Might be worth tracking him down, I think he's on parole. Do you want to check him out?"

Kida leans over to precariously balance in the stretch from her perch to the desk, a quick sweep of her hand gathers up the file and places it upon bent knees to leaf through it while lips come to a thin line. "You only take to survive. Be it things or lives. Anything else is waste… Why do you people live so much like /them/?"

Those hazel eyes seem keen, sharp in their narrow set as she looks from the file to Doug and then shakes her head a moment to correct. "I do not mean you. You have only tried to help. If anything I owe you a boon for me and mine. Where is he?"

About to respond to the first question, Doug pauses, considers, and thinks while Kida speaks on. When she's done with the second question and looking at him expectantly, the young mutant leans forwards, folding his hands and resting his index fingers against his lips, before speaking a few seconds later. "Well, some of what we do is based on a capitalist society - what you earn by what you work for. The problem is, sometimes, if you have nothing to work with or you don't want to work, you can steal. Some steal because they -need- to, others do it because they enjoy it. I wouldn't say -everyone- is like -them-. Just that individually, you're going to find people are going to be different and sometimes you end up classifying them into groups just to feel like you belong to something."

Frowning, Doug turns back to his computer. "He's on parole, but where he went, we'd need to investigate. I could hack into systems, but I'd rather not, if it's not a matter of public record. We -could- ask Jamie to investigate, and see where we go from there."

Slowly her head tilts, almost birdlike in quality as she studies Doug when he speaks. Its a deep scrutiny, even hazel eyes darken a bit at that…

One blink and it is gone, that focus and the way her look loomed, reverting back to the file. "Are you trying to say I am seeking to belong to a group in placing him in one? Or are you trying to bring me into a group and making it seem like it is my idea?"

Though something Doug says has Kida shaking her head vigorously, one hand rising and dingers splaying an an evident 'stop' motion. "Nono, no technology. They can trace you back, find you." Slipping from the chair she leaves the file open when she places it on the desk to the image of this tattooed man, a finger tracing over his features.

"Ask your friend, but I have ways." Just like she found him, but with other methods and means. "Is he causing harm now? Why the hunt?"

"Uh… you know, I don't know," Doug responds, scratching his chin. "I assume you already -belonged- to… well, the people living out near the bridge."

Hesitating, Doug winces. "You and Jamie are similar, really… he likes having papers and records, not computers. All he seems to do with computers is watch, uh, videos."

Looking back at the picture, Doug shakes his head. "If he's on parole, he shouldn't be causing harm. I just thought, maybe, you could compare tattoos, see if another one had arrived here or something."

"They are all I know." Kida states, deadpan staring at Doug. There is no harshness there, just her plain tone of pointedness. With her, aside from the vague hints and not telling her whole story, she cuts through the bullshit. Time is…was…precious. She doesn't know anymore. "They return my purpose."

A shift of eyes from Doug to her bag, fingers clutching over the handle and stroking over threadbare seams. "You mean to hope he is reformed and willing to give me a kinship?" A small smirk. "You trying to make me friends?"

"Well then, that's just as much a group as anything else we could construct," Doug responds, flashing a grin. The smile fades a bit, then. "I don't know, I just had the impression you were seeking something more than defending that group. More people like you in this world, maybe, like you mentioned before."

He motions towards the file. "Maybe he's not, maybe he is. Is it so bad, to find kinship?"

Kida's look at Doug is curious, even a slow blink does not fade it away. "This is not my world. My people will never be here, and if that happens…. Pray." It was no threat, but it is fact, a merging would be disastrous, and despite her yearning for home, there is more of a peace here despite the confusion on base survival.

Facing Doug fully now she steps closer after a small glance towards the exit and the still-clear path. "You come with food and warmth, you keep offering me alternatives…. Good ones. Of all those who have passed and seen - only you keep helping me, sending for me. Why?"

For that moment of warped paranoia to inquiry she does not answer his question on kinship fully.

Scratching his chin, Doug allows, "Because that's what the X-Men should be doing. Helping people. You help your group, we help you help your group, and we're making the world a better place, even if it's not perfect."

Wrinkling his nose, Doug shrugs. "Plus, you know, I never quite -understood- what it was like to be an outsider in a world until I found out I was a mutant. And then you know, even though I'm still Doug Ramsey, somehow, I have a tag that makes me 'other'. So… I discovered I didn't like it very much."

Lips part and slowly Kida nods. "Charity cases. Got ya." A step back and Kida is pacing a bit, every step getting her closer to the door.

"I do not know your X-Men nor do I care about what their rules are. I asked about you, personally." A small wave of her and and fingers in a motion that seems dismissive of anything but the point, which he gets to and she pays a bit more attention then.

"It is amusing. You can be a homeless…/mutant/?.. That's what they call them?.. Anyway… And those people, they don't really care much once they realize you're just there, like them. you get out here with your technology and 'silverware' and suddenly it's a big thing to war over… A kill everything for. Helping me find kinship is not going to make me happy and in turn make you not an 'other'. You want a friend, all you have to do is ask." A small grin and Kida tenses just before she folds into the seat, fighting her flight desire to just let him have company.

"I will go find this tattooed man if you wish and it will make you happy."

Running his hand through his hair, Doug sighs. "Not -charity-, at least not the negative connotations. It's a support program. Though I suppose -that- in itself has bad connotations for others," he says. "I suppose I should point out that not -everything- reported is actually the truth?"

Leaning forward, Doug frowns. "I don't know at the moment. I just thought maybe it'd help you, but if you don't think it will…" He wrinkles his nose. "Besides, ex-felons deserve a chance too, to move on. So…"

"My people had storytellers. Elders. I know not everything is truth, why do you think I take no comfort here." Kida stands then and hefts her bag to rest back over her shoulder, saying nothing about the confusion in terms and words when she picks up the paper with the mans picture on it and stuffs it into her pocket with a shove that forces it to fit.

"I will find him and let you know how it goes. I won't go on a ritual with him, though." A glance back to the crumpled paper and then Doug. "Not my type." And with that she is heading for the exit.

"Not alone, I hope…!" Doug chimes in. "I'll see if Jamie has more info on the man. If you find him, let me know."

Moving up to follow, the young mutant starts straightening up in Kida's wake, closing doors and turning off lights as appropriate. "Might as well make sure he's still on the straight path."

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