Changing of the Guard

January 14, 2016:

Laura, a newcomer to the Morlocks, is assigned to the task of watching their prisoner, Beast. (emits by Cyclops)

Abandoned Building Footprint

This cavernous opening was going to serve as the footprint of a building
before the Great Depression caused it to come to a close and the city had
been built over it. However, the large plated walls, grand columns, and
marbled floors of the original building were still in place. Scattered about
it were several mutants, all of them homeless, the dredges of society that
had made themselves at home within the former ruins. In the middle of the
large room, where originally there was a going to be the start of a massive
fountain, the stone blocks had been coverted to a seat of sorts.

Characters

NPCs: Annalee, Beautiful Dreamer, Masque, Meme

Mentions: Leech, Artie, Beast

Mood Music: Thunderstep Music - Story Of A Soldier


Fade In…

District X - it's where most of the action when it comes to mutant life and those that support and despise mutants congregate. Among those that have blended into M-Town, as its come to be known as, is the group known as the Morlocks. Once, they were a much larger group, until a massive massacre that was carried out by an anti-mutant assault team that included the likes of Sabertooth killed most of them. While a young, fledgling X-Team was able to drive off the attack before the slaughter was complete, the damage had been done and the bonds of distrust had been created.

The remains of the Morlocks had moved, found a new location to call home. A large building basement in New York, mostly forgotten has served as a bustling new place of residence. As the attacks in the recent months have grown, the mutants that live here have become more and more scared until rallied by a man known only as Masque. His rousing speeches have raised a fever pitch within the Morlocks with one desire - to take Mutant Town and make it their own. To protect, to own, to drive out those mutants that have come to cater and become rich off of their suffering.

After a series of daring attacks, they have their biggest prize yet, the large blue fuzzy mutant known as Beast, or Doctor Hank McCoy. He's currently being held in a small side room under guard as the Morlocks are debating what to do with him.

Things have changed.

This is the first thought that drifts to X-23's head. Or rather Laura's. She's been away from New York City for months, nearly half a year, and in that short time drastic changes have taken place. While others may show some anxiety or fear, or even sadness at the loss of life, X doesn't. Instead, she wanders the M-Town, almost at a loss as to what to do.

Thankfully, a survivor of the massacre and one of the Morlocks spots the young woman. The two had a passing familiarity - thanks to X-23 saving them from a group of mutant haters, so many months ago. Because of that familiarity, X is given directions to the newest location for the Morlocks.

It's here, in this forgotten basement, that X finds herself. She's stayed mostly in the shadows, holding very few conversations, truly none, as she watches with oddly bright green eyes at all the activity in the last hours. While X has made no overt move towards the small side room, her casual seeming route has taken closer and closer to said room. Is this curiosity from X? Perhaps.

As Laura wanders the underground, she would be well acquainted to life down here. While not Fifth Avenue, the Morlocks have made a bustling community for themselves. Those with powers that can assist the community have been put to work. Those that can't are more responsible for gathering supplies and such. Usually by means of panhandling, and if that fails, theft.

Running by Laura, a couple of children laugh and play, chasing each other across the scuffed floors as they pass by the sounds of the older members speaking in quiet tones, a glance towards the room on occasion.

"He's too dangerous to have down here. He has friends, influence. They're bound to come looking for him." a young woman says, as she folds her hands in front of her on her fur coat, grasping a long cigarette holder. She, like most Morlocks, has no real name, and is only known as Beautiful Dreamer.

"And we'll crack their skulls when they do." A large mountain of a man, Meme, responds as he glances at the door. "I can absorb him more.. permanently." he offers with a snort.

A frail, older woman with a shaw frowns. "He is one of us. Look at him? He's clearly ashamed of what he is. He could be a help to us…" Annalee offers as she watches the two children. "Be careful dearies!" she calls after them.

Masque, wearing his purple shirt and his hood pulled back to show his deformed face and long white hair scowls. "We stick to the plan. I don't care that he's come out as a mutant, even one that looks like us. He's still one of the privledged, one of those that oppress us still. What say you, Sister Laura?" he asks, obviously having caught the young mutant sneaking closer to take a look.

When the children run past, Laura can't help but turn her head and watch them, her expression oddly flat. She'll watch them for a long moment, before her casual stroll is resumed.

Sensitive ears will almost prick upward, as the voices of the Morlock's leaders are heard. She'll easily listen to their conversation and it's only when Masque turns his attention to Laura, singling her out that the feral mutant will drop the pretense of a casual walk.

Turning those green eyes upon the group, the young woman will neatly step closer to the group.

Each person will be appraised quickly by Laura and then, perhaps after a long moment, will the young woman speak. Much like her expression, X's voice is quite monotone sounding, "You are using him as bait?"

No, she doesn't address the remarks about privilege, as she doesn't know what to add to that. Instead the cloned mutant will focus on what she understands better. Plans. Plans of attack, of defense, of war. Those she understands.

Masque turns to the young woman, giving her a hard look. She's a recent arrival, not one of the core group of survivors, which are here now. "Yes, child." he finally decides. "The Doctor is to be used to bring X-Red running to a place of our choosing. Once there, we will make our intentions known. The Beast will be slaughtered with his friends, and with the so-called protectors of M-Town removed, we will force the people of the District to stop their cowering behind the coattails of so-called heroes and gloryhounds and rise up against those that would cause us harm to finally stand for ourselves. We will no longer need their sympathy or pity!" he proclaims loudly.

Beautiful Dreamer shakes her head a little. "I'm not so sure. I still think we can use him as a bargaining chip - perhaps to share our plight.." she starts to say. Her expression is sad, concerned.

"We do not need their charity, Dreamer!" Masque snaps suddenly, grabbing Dreamer's wrist and twists it, causing it to deform and melt around her fingers. Dreamer screams in pain and drops to her knees as Meme steps up as if to defend her, but a glare from Masque causes him to stand down. "Listen to me, girl.." he growls to Dreamer. "You were but a child when I found you after the massacre. You will listen to me, or I will remind you of how beautiful I can make you."

"…y-yes…" Dreamer manages to stammer between whimpers of pain. "Please. I.. won't again."

Masque reverts her wrist to normal and releases the hand. "You're dismissed, Dreamer. I won't need you watching the Doctor anymore." he grumbles, and looks to Laura. "You. Sister Laura. You will take over duties of watching this.. traitor.." he gestures towards the blue fuzzy giant that's sleeping currently. "..until we are ready to carry out our plans."

Nostrils flare as Laura automatically scents the area about herself. The scent of violence, anger, rage and yes, even anxiety can be smelled from the group. Her green eyes will once more focus on each individual, Meme, Dreamer and Masque.

It's only when there's a spike in Masque's scent, that Laura's gaze will swivel back to him. She's smelled that particular scent before, back at The Facility. Rage. Nearly uncontrolled.

It's only when Masque grabs Beautiful Dreamer's hands that Laura will automatically tense, shifting her weight to the balls of her feet. Unlike others who might flee, Laura is moving towards a fight reaction. That instinctive reaction goes so far as to start the tips of Laura's claws to break the skin upon her hands.

And then, it's over. Isn't violence like that? Quick to occur and even quicker to end. Green eyes will focus upon Dreamer for a long, silent second and then X is back to looking at Masque. Something within her eyes flickers, but whatever it was, was there and gone before it could be named.

"I will watch him." She agrees, once more in that flat voice of hers. "Until it is time."

And much like a summer storm, once the moment of anger has passed, it's gone. "Tend to her." Masque orders Meme, sending the lumbering giant on his way before he turns his attention to Annalee. "As for you." he says and he gives a little smile. "Prepare the children. They need to find my bride." he says with a gleeful look in his eyes as he takes out the driver's license for one 'Besty Braddock' and hands it to Annalee. "Send Leech and Artie, they will be sure to bring her back to me."

Annalee doesn't look exactly pleased that her 'children' are being sent out to take on something such as bringing a woman back to the fold. But she nods her head. "I'll talk to them this evening." she promises before she turns to head off in an opposing direction as Meme and Dreamer, after her children.

Masque returns his attention back to young Laura and his expression turns to a frown. "Sometimes, it takes more than words to lead." he explains. "Examples must be made, even in the moment. I know you will not fail in your task, Laura." he says to her before he nods his head. "Are you finding everything that you need here?"

Again, X-23 simply watches. It's as if she's a witness, not judge, jury and executioner. Still, all the dark haired woman does is watch as Meme and Beautiful Dreamer leave. Then her green eyes flicker to the drivers license that Masque holds out for Annalee. Sharp eyes will take in the picture, as well as the name and if possible the address listed upon it. Then, it's back to simply watching Annalee leave, off to fulfill her 'mission' from Masque.

Once she's addressed by Masque again, Laura shifts her attention back to the man. She'll listen to his words and once more a phrase rings in her ears. 'Examples must be made'. It's enough that she doesn't answer his last question for an awkwardly long time. Instead she just stares at him, nearly unblinking. Finally, however, one word is said. "Yes."

But what exactly is she saying yes to? The examples must be made? Or that she's finding everything she needs? It's hard to say.

Moving now, X-23 will take up a guard position by the unconscious Beast, intent now, with her own 'mission'. Her stance is deceptively loose, as she automatically scans the area about herself.

Masque nods his approval to the young woman. "Excellent." he says, before he turns to leave. He looks over his shoulder at the rather attractive young woman, and gives a slight frown. She's an oddity down here. She could pass as a surface dweller. And it's probably fortunate that the boys brought back Betsy's license, or it may have been her that he was eyeing as a prize, as that hint of lust passes by quickly. No, he will have a former Cover Girl soon to mold into his perfect bride.

"Do not fail me, Sister Laura." he says cryptically as he walks away. "You will not like what could happen. The Morlocks have given you life and purpose, do not make me regret that decision."

Lust? It may only have been there a moment, but it was easily scented by Laura's keener senses. Thankfully, there's no outright reaction to it. Instead, Laura will once again play the witness, as she watches him begin to walk away. It's only when he pauses and speaks his words (threat) of warning, that Laura will cock her head slightly to the side. When he's finished speaking, X-23 will nod once, before she responds with a simple, "I do not fail."

Then X-23 back in sentry mode, as she keeps one ear upon Beast and the rest of her senses on everything else. She looks for all the world at ease, it's only the small splatters of blood that dripped to the ground that might show or prove otherwise.

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