Fear Is All We Know

January 13, 2016:

On his way to a meeting at the United Nations, Hank McCoy is taken hostage and introduced to the forgotten past of M-Town. (emits by Cyclops)

Morlock Underground

The Morlock Underground.

Characters

NPCs: Beautiful Dreamer, Artie, Meme, Annalee

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The United Nations. That is where the invitation had come from and it was confirmed as legitimate. One of the many functions of the body is to address various ideas that are problem spots around the world. One of those problems that has come to the forefront is the emergence of mutants in countries outside of the United States and the perceived meanings - and what the American government has done in response to the rise of the X-gene and super powered individuals.

However, it was not from any American that the invitation arrived from. It's not even a member of the Human Rights Council at this time. Instead, it was the member nation of the Netherlands that invited the esteemed geneticist Doctor Hank McCoy to the United Nations to a closed door meeting. While there will be an audial recording, there are no cameras allowed in the meeting, due to the Doctor's unique take on mutants, as he's one of the leading researchers on it and worked with many mutants. Which is exactly the point that the Netherlands Ambassador wants to make. They can lead normal lives. And despite the fact that Hank has become a bit of a recluse, his research before his vanishing has been used as benchmarks in many more studies.

The United Nations car was sent to meet Hank in a neutral location, due to security issues. Not because of the X-Men, which they know nothing about, but because of the fact that the Institute still has tight security around it. And it waits for Hank to decide if he's accepting the invitation or not.

The invitation was quite the surprise. The fact that it came from The Netherlands, a traditionally neutral and open-minded country was part of the reason why Hank was interested in accepting. After discussing it with the Professor, Scott, and Jean, it was agreed upon that he should accept the meeting but use his serum to appear as human. No need to expose everything right now. Depending on how these talks go, they can try to feel out a plan from there.

The invitation was accepted, a meeting point was arranted, Dr. McCoy was dressed in his best suit and armed with a tablet with access to information that could be useful in discussing the topic at hand.

The driver of the sedan that came to pick up Hank was the usual non-descript vehicle. Scott actually went with Hank to see him off and to make sure that this wasn't an obvious trap, since he's a little paranoid about such things. Once the driver was clear, there were handshakes exchanged, and Scott saw Hank off.

The sedan pulls off I-95 and into New York and the usual hustle and bustle of Manhattan traffic. As it travels through the East Side, a young boy darts away from his mother and out in traffic, chasing after a ball that he had dropped. The car screeches to a sudden halt, a squealing of brakes and tires on pavement and a dull 'thud' that would suggest something was hit. The driver turns back to Hank. "Stay put, Doctor." he orders as he's opening the door to step out to assess what happened and pulling out his phone.

Scott and his paranoia. While Hank understands the necessity, he did point out that if it was a trap, why would -he- be targeted and not someone with more power and clout? It's not like he's worth much. Also, would a trap go through this much trouble? Scott gets a wave even as he gets into the sedan — he's not really used to being driven around, but he'll try to act nonchalant about it.

As they travel in traffic and the boy runs out in front of the car, he braces himself on the seat in front of him as the car screeches to a halt. Even as the driver is telling him to stay inside, he's unbuckling his seatbelt, "Not happening. I have medical training. If I can help…" he trails off before instructing, "Call an ambulance." Just in case.

The driver frowns, but is starting to dial on his phone. As Hank comes around to the front of the car, there is a boy lying there, bleeding from a wound in his side. However, as the Doctor leans down to check on the child, the 'child' collapses into a cloud of vaporous smoke that drifts up into the Doctor's nostrils and senses with a simple message to tickle at his neurons. Sleep. the sweet smelling smoke suggests, the trail of tendrils leading to a caramel-skinned young woman. Now with the illusion dropped, she wears a 1920's flapper style dress, long fur coat, and a hat with fringes that covers her eyes. What appears to be a cigarette holder, a long stem is in her fingers, and it's from there that the long smoke tendrils reach out to the Doctor.

Standing next to her is a young boy, one that looks a lot like the one that was hit, except his skin is far more pink than what should be normal. From one of the alleyways, a massive mound of muscle comes out and lands on the top of the car, crushing in the front of the hood, ready to grapple with Hank in case Beautiful Dreamer's smoke-filled suggestion doesn't affect him.

There's a start when the child disappears into the smoke and, thinking quickly, Hank jumps up to shove the driver towards the sidewalk, and, he hopes, safety.

Scott was right! It WAS a trap!

That is Dr. McCoy's last coherent thought for, even as he began his shift to Beast, the mental suggestion takes hold and he collapses, human, still, asleep. While he has formidable physical traits, his psychic abilities are no different than most of the population's. He barely notes the sound of a car being smashed by something heavy even as everything goes dark.

The driver falls just before Hank does - it was not a trap set by the Netherlands, after all. They're still hippies and open-minded and there will be a story tomorrow about the missing doctor. But for now. The large man reaches down and grabs Hank, as Meme absorbs Hank's bulk into him, he grows in size and shape, taking on the new mass easily. "I have him. Let's go." he grins at the woman.

Beautiful Dreamer puffs a bit of smoke, cutting off the tendrils. "Thank you, darling." she purrs, brushing her hand against the child's head as Artie offers a bright smile. "I did good!" he says proudly.

"You did great." Dreamer responds, as the three of them abscond with the good doctor into the alleys before disappearing into a subway maintenance access tunnel.

Sometime Later…

Awaken.. comes the soft voice of Dreamer, that sweet smell of smoke once again invading Hank's senses and sinus cavity. As he stirs, he'll find himself waking up in a large cavernous room. It was supposed to be the footprint for a hotel in the 30s, but when the Depression hit, the large area was covered and forgotten. Hank will find he is not restrained at all. And as he gets his senses and looks around, he will find himself among.. many. There's a small community here. Large metal cans are filled with wood and debris, burning to provide heat. Lighting is provided by a battery of flood lights from a construction site. However, there's a young man standing where the cables all connect, glowing with energy as he charges the lights and the internal power source.

There are other mutants running around, their mutations far more obvious than even some that Hank has seen at the school, and they are of all ages - from two young children - one of which Hank recognizes immediately from the street to the other, which is a green skinned mutant, his head madly shaped and malformed. There are older mutants, even the elderly, down here - the homeless, the rejected, the forgotten.

The Morlocks.

The command has Hank beginning to wake up from the enforced sleep he was put under but upon realizing that he's in strange surroundings, he's immediately awake with a start. Finding that he's not restrained, he gets to his feet and looks around at the environment and then at the people gathered. The usual, predictable questions are then asked, his body language wary and tense — he's making sure that he doesn't suddenly shift out of surprise.

"Where am I? Who are you? What do you want with me?"

Beautiful Dreamer is standing near Hank, and settles a warm hand on his forearm, sending relaxing smoke drifting around. But she doesn't speak. Instead, as Hank starts to ask his questions, another man approaches, this one wearing dark color hooded sweatshirt, the hood pulled up so that his face isn't visible.

"You're with the dredges of society. Those that don't fit in. The nameless, faceless masses that are lost in the glory of the battles between those that declare themselves hero and protector, and those that would murder anything and anyone that is different than them. The so-called heroes that expect us to look up at them with pride and cheer them of as our loyal protectors. Those that line up to help you with your research. A flatscan doctor that thinks he knows mutations?" The man laughs shortly. "You know nothing!" he spits, pulling back his hood to reveal a hideously deformed face. "I am Masque, and you are among those that are ignored, and we are still the powerful!" he declares as reaches out, grabbing Hank's opposite hand.

As he does so, Hank will feel the flesh, bone, and muscle twist and deform, Masque literally reforming his hand into a large tentacled claw before he snorts. "This is what mutations really do. I can twist and turn you into what I see fit. But I can't do a thing for myself. Despite the pain he is causing, Masque twists the hand back into it's normal shape before he snorts. "You only support the privileged. It is time you hear the voice of the forgotten."

Hank tries to shrug off the touch from Beautiful Dreamer even as he turns to give Masque his attention. When his hand is grabbed and changed, he tries to pull it away. Once it's returned to its human shape and the speech seems to be concluded, he looks between Beautiful Dreamer, Masque, and the others who have gathered for his arrival.

His attention then goes right back to Masque and he says, simply:

"Boy, have you got the wrong guy."

What makes his serum so useful is that it allows him, upon taking a dose, to switch between forms for a set amount of time. A heavy dose would suppress that ability, but as Hank wasn't expecting to be gone for more than a few hours, he took only what was needed. It means, then, that he's able to shift into his now-true form, which he does. Right in front of all the Morlocks.

"You're preaching to the choir, kid. Now, what is it you actually want from me?"

"That's why I had a fuzzy taste in my mouth." Meme mutters with a snort.

Masque frowns, obviously the idea that Hank was actually the blue fun-loving Beast had not occurred to him. "So you're one of them." he says, his frown turning into a scowl. "Those that allowed so many of us to be slaughtered a decade ago." He reaches into his pouch, pulling out a laminated and folded newspaper article. As he opens it, Hank will see the younger Marvel Girl and Cyclops, in their blues and yellows, among the ruins of a subway station.

'MASSIVE MUTANT MASSACRE IN M-TOWN'

The mutant shoves it back in his pocket. "There was aid in those first days, and then it quickly petered out. Other, larger ideas came to the front. The heroes abandoned us. They left us a parting gift, the so-called X-Reds. But they're more worried about themselves than us. They only arrive when they believe it will give them the most positive press and exposure.." he frowns, stepping away from the large blue creature.

"Did you even know this existed?" he asks finally. "While you were hiding in your plush lifestyle, so many suffered, our voices silent because we're not a flatscan like them?" he turns, facing Hank again. "Or were we just a can of food or an unwrapped toy at the holidays?"

Meme gets a scowl before he looks at the news article and gives a heavy sigh. It's pulled away before he can finish it and more lecturing comes. "I agree with you about X-Red. That wasn't my idea and I don't support their activities or methods." But Hank pauses as Masque continues. When he's asked the question, he answers honestly, "I didn't know about this place, but I wish I did. And I wish you would -stop- accusing me of being some sort of elitist. As you can see, I'm not out there parading myself about, nor am I basking in wealth. A clawed hand gestures to that article, "I didn't know those two back then and I don't appreciate being blamed for something that happened a decade ago! Did you approach them? Did -you- tell them of this place? Because I know they would have offered to help."

"Them? Help?!" Masque laughs. "They brought their childish war to our doorstep and you expect us to go begging to them for help?!" the mutant growls, grabbing Hank's hand, twisting it back into it's human shape as he glares at the doctor, his heavily scarred face proving that his own powers don't work on him. "I got these scars because of them! Damn children, playing their games, acting the hero. Behaving as if they were better than us. Even now, the so-called defenders of M-Town leave us when they see fit to go off galavnating in Metropolis or Los Angeles or wherever they can go to step into the limelight and show off!" he spits on the ground, even as a young woman comes to his side. She opens her mouth, and a second tube comes out of her mouth, her tongue replaced with it and a second mouth that speaks. "Masque, you need to calm down.."

"I know what I'm doing!" Masque says as he pushes Bliss aside and he glares at Beast. "And when their game was done, Doctor, they left the pieces and board behind and ran off home, leaving us behind. Does that sound like someone you want to ask for help from? They come in, destroy your home, leave dozens of you dead, and then they just disappear. And we're left to fend for ourselves. And it started already. We will retake our home. M-Town no longer needs your kind, your false sympathies and spotlight hogging. Even you, who was on your way to speak about us at the United Nations, hid your true nature. Don't try to put yourself as the sympathizer, you're no better than any of the lot of them. We hide because we have to. Soon, that will no longer be an issue."

Beast gives a snarl of pain as his hand is forced into another form yet again, "Turn it back…" is muttered through clenched, sharpened teeth. As the young woman steps forward to tell him to calm down, Hank also takes that opportunity to speak up, his voice more intense now. "That was ten years ago! They were kids…and this was new and people were scared! They did what they could with what they had at hand. M-Town became over-run because gangs formed…and who caused that? Not them! It happens! It's part of being in an Urban environment! If you wanted something peaceful, you should have started a commune somewhere upstate!"

He looks around at those gathered and tries to take a step or two away so that he's not immediately in Masque's reach. "He's holding a decade-old grudge and yes, I was on my way to the United Nations to speak about us. About mutants. To help the world understand that we want nothing more than to live our lives as normal people…with places to live and food and jobs. That we have dreams and we are no different from anyone else even if we may look it or have powers."

Wait.

"How did you know I was headed there? And what do you mean about hiding no longer being an issue?"

"A commune. You're funny." Masque growls. "Maybe I should mutate your face to match your personality!" he spits back, as Hank makes his speech. "We know because we work the streets. We saw the car, we know of the scraps the UN throws away. We're overlooked, we can do what we want. Do you think those Ambassadors would have acted the same should you have shown up like you are now?" he asks, a growl in his throat before he turns to gesture towards the people, many of which have come to gather and watch the debate between the two. Many of them are muttering to themselves.

One older woman steps forward, huddling two children to her side. Annalee protects Leech and Artie from Beast and frowns. "They let my children die! Does that sound like something that just happens? Is that all we are, a forgotten footnote, the butt of your joke about how we should go form a commune? Does that bring back those that died? Will that solve all of your problems?"

"Nothing worth having comes easy, Doctor McCoy." Masque says finally as he turns away from Hank. "And something worth having is worth fighting for. We will no longer stand idly by and wait for those that want to destroy us and those that no longer care for anyone other than themselves. This was ours long before it was yours. And it is time to prove that."

With that, he steps off the dais. "Allow him to look around, to visit who he wants. Do not let him leave. Or contact others. He's still our hostage." Masque instructs.

Beast shakes his head, "This is the wrong way to do this. This isn't going to get them to accept those of us who look like this, it's only going to make them fear us more." He's had this conversation before…with himself and with others. "Do you know nothing of history at the very least? This never works." He looks to the woman and gestures to Masque, "If you allow him to do things this way, then they will only kill more children. I agree that this is something we must fight, but instilling fear isn't going to create the outcome you want."

The old woman shakes her head sadly at Beast and lets out a sigh. "Now you're preaching to the choir, kid." she says, using his own words from earlier as Annalee gathers her 'children' close. She considers for a moment as she too turns to allow Hank to go explore as she sees fit. Meme and Dreamer remain close however, his 'escorts'.

"But fear is all we know." she says forlonly.

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