Blue Is The New Black

January 19, 2016:

Still held hostage by the Morlocks, Beast and X-23 (his guard) have a chat. Some emitting done by Scott Summers.

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 converted to a seat of sorts.


NPCs: Beautiful Dreamer, Bliss

Mentions: Betsy Braddock

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

As the morning starts to come around in the underground cavern that supports the Morlocks, people are going about their every day business. There are those that are responsible for going out and finding food, while the young children have a different mission. After a hushed conversation with Annalee, they're handed a picture and a small bit of cash before being sent out towards the street entrance.

Beast will find himself awakening with a new guard, as a young woman named Laura has replaced Dreamer and MeMe as his guard. Masque is not around this morning, apparently off plotting some place.

As for that new guard?

For most of her 'shift' X-23 simply played the role of statue. Standing there seemingly in the same position as when she started. Mute. Her eyes, her ears, her sense of smell, those senses were what were active; what were looking for any type of trouble.

Now, instead of standing, X-23 has settled into a crouch. It's taking some of the pressure off of her feet and giving her another vantage point, as well, as she now turns slightly to split her attention between Beast and the people outside of his little 'cell'.

Beast didn't sleep much. Having sensitive senses and being in a new and strange place means that sleeping isn't the easiest. That and being held captive doesn't make for a restful night. He overheard some of the talk regarding the changing of the guard so he isn't terribly surprised that the others aren't there when he does wake up from his light sleep.

It's a shame — he was hoping he could talk to Beautiful Dreamer and MeMe and convince them that Masque's methods won't work.

His new guard is observed for a moment before he simply asks, "Is there a place I'm allowed to clean up or have I been truly imprisoned?" So much for being allowed to walk around and talk to others, even under guard.

There's a slight shift, a slight pivot upon heel, as X-23 turns her attention to the awakening Beast. She's not surprised when he speaks, as her own equally sensitive senses pick up the changes within Beast's scents. Her head will cant to the side as she considers Beast's requests. It's a few long seconds of silence, before the dark-haired woman finally says in a rather flat voice. "Yes."

Of course, the question may remain as to what she's saying yes to. Yes, he can clean up? Or yes, he's truly imprisoned.

Thankfully, that question is soon answered as Laura finally rises from her light crouch. "This way." She says, again in that monotone voice of hers and with quick efficient steps, Laura will lead him to the washrooms. She'll pause, before letting him enter. "Do not try to escape."

Beast waits to see what question is actually answered. When he's finally led away and to the washrooms, he gives a nod and a slight smile, "Thanks." There's a sigh when he's told not to try to escape, "Even if I knew how to get out of this area, I'm not entirely certain an escape would be the best thing for you all…or for me at this time. I'm not entirely reckless."

As they head towards the washroom, there's a pair of young females leaving. Beast will recognize the frilly dress of Beautiful Dreamer immediately, though with her hat off, it proves that the beautiful prefix was completely earned on the merits of her own natural beauty. Walking with her is a brunette that is a bit younger than her. She's wearing a hoodie and blue jeans. They're having a small conversation as the two approach and Dreamer immediately looks ashamed, pulling her hat back on her head to cover up her features. "Oh.. hello." she says quickly, shying away from the large blue furball.

Beast's thanks seems to slide right off of X-23, as she doesn't respond, or even really acknowledge his polite response. In fact, all he's said seems to be ignored, as X-23 continues towards the washroom with Beast in tow. She only pauses now, when the sound of the two women exiting from the bathroom is heard. Upon seeing the pair, Beautiful Dreamer will immediately be looked at and then Laura's gaze will drop to the other woman's wrist. The one Masque had changed and then 'healed'.

The brunette will likewise be looked upon, though more in the vein of assessment, versus curiosity.

Bright green eyes will be turned to Beast now, as X-23 says, "It is empty."

"Hello…" is offered when he recognizes Beautiful Dreamer, and a smile is even started. Golden eyes pause a moment on her even as she pulls her hat on over her head and flinches away from him. A sigh escapes then — he really shouldn't even hope for anything different, even from those down here.

A nod is given to X-23, "Thank you. Do you have a name I should call you by? I'm Hank…" a hand is held out to her. Might as well try to get the niceties out of the way.

Hank misread Dreamer's reaction. As Laura glances towards her wrist, she immediately covers it as well. "I'm sorry.." she says quietly to the pair as she looks to Laura. "I was hoping to talk to you more.." She looks around, not seeing Masque in the immediate area, she reaches out and gives Hank a light touch on the arm.

The brunette with her gives a sharp hiss. "Dreamer." she warns. "You know what Masque said." As she speaks, one can barely make out a second mouth on the end of her tongue which is dark purple. Dreamer immediately releases her touch and demures. "Right." she murmurs.

There's another head tilt from X-23 as she considers Beast's reation to Beautiful Dreamer's covering up. Nothing of what she's thinking, however, shows upon Laura's features. When Beautiful Dreamer addresses her directly, Laura will turn her attention back to the other woman. Still with that head tilt, X-23 will say, "Your wrist." There might be a question within that statement of hers, if one can decipher it.

The warning the brunette gives is heard and once again causes Laura's attention to shift. This time to her.

Laura could have easily started a staring contest, but thankfully Beast offers that hand of his to Laura. Laura's gaze drops to his extended hand and while it takes a long /minute/, Laura finally extends her own hand. There's also hesitancy as she offers her name, as well. "… Laura." Her grip is likely stronger than one might expect from a young woman her weight and height.

"It's good to meet you, Laura," Her hand is given a friendly shake before Beast looks back to Beautiful Dreamer. "Masque encouraged me to talk to others. If he's decided against that, well, he hasn't told me directly, so I look forward to our conversation. Once I get cleaned up a little." Golden eyes look to the three women there, "If you ladies will excuse me…" he'd like to get a little cleaned up.

Dreamer looks at her wrist. "It's okay. I was wrong, so I was punished." She offers a smile to Hank. "Oh no, it wasn't that!" she says, and then there's a sigh from the woman with her. "Come on, Dreamer, we have work to do."

Dreamer gives a little sigh. "We'll talk later, okay?" she asks Hank as she goes to follow the brunette. "Sorry Bliss." she offers quietly.

"You know what Masque said." Bliss warns quietly. "You totally can't get too close to him. And with your abilities, you totally do that. That's why MeMe thinks you're dating him."

Dreamer blushes. "MeMe's nice, but we're not dating!" she protests, as the two drift out of earshot.

Pleasantries. They're a mystery to Laura, as all Beast's politeness gains is another one of those mute looks from X-23. At Beautiful Dreamer's response to Laura's rather unasked question, the dark-haired clone will take a step forward. For those with a sensitive sense of smell it's easy to smell the spike of anger in X-23's scent.

And while X-23 would have /liked/ to say something along the lines of 'no, no one deserves to be punished', words fail her for the moment.

The look in her eyes, however, is not good as she turns back to Beast when the other women walk off. While her expression and voice still remind stubbornly devoid of emotion, Laura simply says, "I will wait here."

Beast disappears into the washroom to do what he needs to do…he's not too sure what he's supposed to do about a toothbrush though. He cleans himself up as best as he can with what is provided him before he emerges, rolling the sleeves of his shirt up to his elbows. He looks about before his eyes go back to Laura, "Now what? Back to the cell to sit? When did Masque decide that he actually didn't want me to see what you all were about down here? It makes it difficult for me to sympathize if I can't find out people's stories." Since Laura is still there, he'll start with her. "What's your story? Why are you down here?"

When Beast reappears, X-23 will be in the same spot she was when he left. His first series of questions merit a look around the room, as she considers her next plan of action. "Food." She finally says, as she turns to look back at the blue furry man. "This way."

And as soon as those words are out of her mouth, X-23 will take him away from the washroom and towards the communial eating area of the new and improved Morlock 'Tunnels'.

His last question was heard and while it may seem at first that X-23 isn't about to answer, she finally says, "There was no place for me to go. Until I was offered a place here." Turning to look at Beast now, X-23 finally asks her question, "You are here to .. sympathize? It did not sound that way when Masque spoke of you."

It seems X-23 can put more than two or three words together in a sentence. When motivated too, at least.

Beast's nostrils flare as he scents the food as they get closer and his stomach can't help a little rumble. Pretending like that didn't happen, he continues the conversation, "Really? I'm sorry that you felt that way. I'm sorry that everyone here felt that way." He looks back to Laura, "I'm here…I don't really know why. Masque seems to have this idea that I'm somehow against mutants who have…obvious mutations, which is laughable because I'm one myself." Thanks to his own meddling, mostly. Ahem.

"I think he's holding a really, really long grudge against people who were too inexperienced at the time to do what he wanted then. He's not listening to what I'm trying to tell him that we're doing now to help his plight…and the plight of all mutants. I don't like feeling that I have to hide either."

The set up for the food is pretty simple. Buffet style. At least, for those mutants that can eat normal food. For those that have a unique dietery requirement, there are small stations where they can cook, or prepare their meals to their hearts content.

X-23 will move towards the buffet line, assuming Beast eats more normally, then the dark haired woman will station herself at Hank's side. Allowing him to get food. It's clear she's not eating, as she keeps her attention on everything and nothing.

As for his apology? She'll turn a look towards the man now. "Why apologize? You did not create the circumstances." The circumstances that brought her here and the others, is what she most likely means.

His last comment, however, earns a simple, "There is a benefit to hiding."

"Are you going to have anything?" is asked as Hank grabs a plate and takes a little bit of food. He's hungry, but he doesn't have much of an appetite. He just knows that he can't starve himself because that won't do anyone any good. "I didn't create the circumstances, but I can empathize how one feels when they don't see any other options." He looks over to the young woman before he asks, "Does the benefit outweigh the frustrations and difficulties? Does the benefit outweigh the chance to try and live a life?"

"No." Is X-23's response to his question about whether she's going to eat or not. She's on a mission .. one supposes this is as as close to a mission Laura can get to right now .. And there's never any eating on a mission. Not unless it's required to keep cover. This clearly isn't one of those times.

However, his last questions causes the smallest of furrows to form between her eyebrows. If it were asked in another way, perhaps Laura would have found it easier to simply say yes, but with the way Hank asked it … Well, it's enough to cause that question to echo in her own head. After all, isn't she trying to figure out what type of life she can lead?

Finally, the dark haired woman will shake her head. Mute once again. Uncertain how to answer. Once Hank's plate is full, X-23 will lead him towards some hastily arranged tables. Some of the tables are small, some large, and all mismatched. And while X-23 could have easily left the conversation fall to silence, she instead asks, "Who is Betsy Braddock?" And while the question may seem off the wall, for Laura it isn't. She has wondered just who this woman is, after seeing Masque with her driver's license.

Beast didn't actually expect her to have an answer. If she had one, it would have been quite the conversation, but it was a question that was intended to make her think. He accepts her silence and follows her to the table. His food is looked at as he sits and utensils are taken up to eat when the question causes him to pause.

"Betsy Braddock? Why?" He looks around to see who might be listening before he leans in some, his voice lower, "She's another mutant. Why do you ask?"

Once Hank is settled into a seat, Laura will likewise do the same. It would bring more attention to the duo if she were to stay standing and she takes the seat that has the least amount of people to her back.

Her hands are settled atop the tabletop, as she looks to Hank's plate and then to his face. The lowering of his voice isn't missed and idly, Laura will scent the air automatically.

While her voice doesn't go whisper quiet, she does drop her volume just a tinge, her normal monotone easily blends in with the background murmur of conversation around the two. "Masque intends to make her his bride." While others might say that with urgency, once they realize Hank knows the woman, Laura's tones are flat as ever.

Beast takes a moment to let that settle in before he rolls his eyes, "Masque is a damned hypocrite then," he points out. "Betsy Braddock is gorgeous. Supermodel gorgeous. By that intent, he's saying that physical beauty is important…something that seems to go against this entire community down here. I'm sure she'll be flattered until she kicks his ass to Siberia and back. She's not going to be cowed down by someone like him, that's for certain."

Some of the food on his plate is stabbed in a bit of ire before it's eaten.

Vibrant green eyes will watch Hank's reaction, both his verbal reaction, as well as his physical one as he stabs the food upon his plate. It's only when he seemingly has nothing else to say, that she will add, "He did not go himself. He sent children after her."

And while others might scoff at the notion of a child taking down a full grown adult, Laura understands how easy it is to underestimate the youthful kidnappers and/or assassins.

"She's not one to go down lightly…and something tells me that ecen kids with their cute faces won't get her to listen. She's not really the maternal type. Or the kind type." More food is stabbed as Beast continues, "I doubt she'll beat up children unless they attack her first. But I'm not sure. She might figure out their intention and pre-emptively strike. I wouldn't put that past her either." He shakes his head then, "What a hypocrite…unless he's planning on somehow deforming her, thinking that'll get her to stay. But then he'll lose his trophy."

Again, X-23 maintains the role of silent listener, as Beast expressions his frustration? Irritation? Perhaps even a tinge of worry? Over the fact that Masque wants Besty as his prize. It's only when he says the last, that X-23 finally says, "Perhaps they will not attack in the physical sense." Afterall, they're all mutants down here and some of the mutations are wildly effective against all types of people.

And while she speaks, X-23 will look about herself. Subconsciously categorizing those Morlocks that ping as a 'possible threat' to the two of them.

When her gaze finds its way back to Hank, Laura will add, "Masque should not be the leader. He is not good."

"Betsy has many skills…physical and non," Hank points out. He won't give everything away — there is some sense that Betsy is an ally so he really shouldn't say too much about it. "As I said, I doubt she'll be taken easily, if at all."

When Laura offers her opinion about Masque, he asks, "Then why is he? Surely someone else down here could dethrone him, so to speak, and take up the mantle of leadership. Good leaders don't hold onto grudges over a decade old, if you ask me. Nor should he be forcing loyalty through pain and deformation."

Hank's question raises a point, a point she has considered since she returned to the Morlocks and was assigned his guard. It's enough to cause her to look at the people around her. Really look at them, not just to assign whether they are a threat or not.

When she turns back to Hank, Laura will shake her head once, even as she says, "Because they are weak."

They meaning the morlocks. And while it seems she might not say anything more, she does. Finally adding in that flat tone of hers, "They will not go against him."

Beast pokes a little more at his food, "They're scared. I can smell it." He looks back over to Laura, "What about you? Why don't you depose him? The world is harsh out there, but is it worth this sort of hiding? Is it worth giving up all semblance of a life? Many here -can- hide in the world…and there are places that would accept them even as they are."

Not to mention he has something that could help, but that shouldn't be on the table. Yet.

"His grudge is unfounded. Those who have been up on the surface can see that, surely."

Nostrils flare as X-23 automatically scents the air, when Beast speaks of smelling it. There's an answering nod to his comment, as she adds, "Yes. They allow their fear to hold them immobile. Weakness."

It's very black and white for Laura, it seems.

As for that second question of his? Of Laura deposing him? She could. It wouldn't be hard. She took down harder targets, after all. The notion has crossed her mind a time or two, as well, but still she stops from sending him to his death. "I .." Begins the girl, struggling to find the words, though that struggle isn't picked up by facial or vocal cues, no, mostly just cues from her scent. ".. It is not my mission." She finally ends with.

Then she's rising to her feet, probably quite abruptly. "You are not eating. You are finished?"

"It's not necessarily a weakness, but fear can do a lot." Hank watches Laura as she sniffs around and as she seems to think about his questions. When she replies, he asks simply, "What -is- your mission?" If it's guarding him, it seems like a boring mission.

At the next question, he glances down at his plate and gives a sigh. "I suppose. I don't have much of an appetite, being held prisoner and all…for no real reason except for petty revenge. He's going to get destroyed, you know that? And I'm afraid that there might be collateral damage and you and the people here…you don't deserve that."

What is her mission? That's enough to cause X-23 to offer the ghost of a frown, an actual expression upon her features for that split second. "The only mission I have is to watch you." She finally says, even as she steps away from the table. She'll not bother to pick up the plates, allowing someone else to clean up after the two, it would seem.

As to that last bit Hank said? It earns a curt nod, even as she turns a look towards the blue furred man. A promise in those green eyes of hers. "Yes. He will be destroyed." Clearly, X-23 doesn't care what it will do to herself, or the other Morlocks once that occurs. Then she'll nod back towards the little room that is being used to 'cage' Hank, as it were. "Ready?"

"I'm sorry you have such a boring mission," Hank offers with a twitch of a smile. He's willing to clean his plate from the table, but he isn't sure where they would go…so he leaves them as Laura does.

There is a sigh at the mention of going back into the 'cage', "Will I be allowed to speak with people if they come by? And are there any books or a pad of paper and a pen I could use so I'm not completely bored?"

His attempt at humor is lost on Laura once again. It's clear the more sociable emotions or facets of conversation are hard for Laura to parse. This not understanding simply has her falling back to her normal response to just about everything. Mute.

His question about the possibility of conversation partners or pen and paper has her nodding. "Yes." Yes to both, perhaps? It seems likely as X-23 leads Hank back towards the little room. "I will find pen and paper."

And true to her word, once Hank is back within his little cell, Laura will step away. She's going over to a hardy looking Morlock, one that she's seen act as a Bruiser and/or guard in the past. "Watch him. Do not leave." Then she turns to Hank. "Do not try to escape. I will return."

And even though she has no loyalty to Masque, or even the Morlocks, it's clear she takes her mission seriously as she repeats the warning not to escape again. Truly, it's for his own safety.

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