Call to Arms

January 25, 2016:

Hank and Laura listen to Masque's plans for the Morlocks and have their own reactions. (emits by Cyclops)

Morlock Encampment

Characters

NPCs: Masque, Beautiful Dreamer, MeMe, Random Morlocks

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Today.. is not the usual day that Beast or Laura has grown accustomed to seeing around the Morlocks' compound. Instead of everyone off on their own errands and what they needed to do and instead, there's almost two hundred various mutants that have assembled in the large 'plaza' in the middle of the room. All lights have been turned towards the fountain turned dais, as several oil drums turned fire pits work to warm the area against the harsh New York weather that hit during the weekend. The Morlock version of a snow day.

Standing at the dais are the Morlocks that they are used to seeing - MeMe, Beautiful Dreamer, Annalee, Bliss, and as he steps out, Masque is dressed in a long ceremonial purple robe as he moves to climb the dais, the general mumbling and talking amongst the crowd lowers and stops.

While the majority of Morlocks are in the centralized area, X-23 is where she has been since Beast was 'captured', near him. Currently, she's standing in a somewhat relaxed posed. Her gaze is focused on the growing number of Morlocks and every once in awhile she'll scent the air. Trying to get the lay of the land, as it were.

It's only when Masque arrives upon the dias in his ceremonial robes, that Laura will shift ever so slightly. Her movement turns her slightly sideways, so she can watch Beast and still keep an eye on Masque and his retinue.

For now, she says nothing. Simply waiting for whatever show to start.

Beast only knows about the snowstorm through others telling him…he has no access to the outside thanks to his current captivity. He's been alternating between writing with the paper and pen that Laura provided for him and pacing. He's not happy being 'caged'…would anyone be?

As the Morlocks gather, his attention is caught and he moves as close as he can in his alcove to be able to see and hear as much as possible. His bushy brows furrow as Masque makes an appearance in a ceremonial robe…this is turning out to more more and more of a travesty as he learns. Moving a little closer to his guard, Laura, he murmurs, "Is he setting himself up as some sort of prophet?"

"Can you see?" Masque calls out as he takes his place on the raised platform, looking around the crowd. "Look around you, brothers and sisters, and see." he demands of them.

"A decade ago, there was a great culling of our kind, carried out by those that saw us as inferior and saw us as weak. Unfit to be in their world. There are many of us here that survived that massacre. And in the days after, we lived in fear - we were lost, we were confused. Why us, we asked. Why weren't we protected? Where was the JL:A, the X-Men? Nowhere. They showed up too late. They showed up with their tokens, their blankets, their food. Then once the cameras were gone, they were as well. With only a token showing to make sure the press remembered them, we were forgotten!" he yells, angrilly, loudly, slamming his hand on the dais.

"But I say if you can see, we can change! Look around, my friends, and see that we are no longer scared. We have grown stronger. Resolute. We no longer need their charity. If you can see, then you will realize.. we are larger than they realize. There is less than twenty members of the group calling itself X-Red and they spread themselves across all of the Tri-Cities. The MRD, the oppressive MRD, is gone. The 11th Precinct.. those that dare to take on to patrol this District, they care not for us. There's less than one hundred of them." he raises his arms out to the side, turning towards the crowd.

"Mutant Town falls daily to attacks, not only from our own kind, but from Purifiers, Reavers, and the crime syndicates. NO MORE!" he calls out.

"For if you can see, we now outnumber them! And we are stronger for we have been cleansed!"

Most of the crowd reacts to the first part of the speech with cheers and applause.. the observant will see that Beautiful Dreamer, up at the base of the dais, folds her arms across her middle section and looks about worriedly.

When Beast steps closer, Laura simply looks at him a silent second. She, however, doesn't stop him from stepping up to her. Instead her gaze will turn back to the raised platform that Masque stands upon. Before he starts his speech, Laura will finally say quietly to the blue furred man.

"I do not know."

Right after those four words of Laura's, Masque begins his rather passionate speech. Laura listens intently and halfway through the speech her head will tilt ever so slightly to the side. Her bright green eyes will then scan the crowd before landing upon the 'leadership' of the Morlocks again. Her gaze will fall upon Beautiful Dreamer for a brief moment, before she swivels her attention back to Beast.

Beast's scowl just deepens as the speech goes on, "He's making things up," is finally growled. "He hurt chances of mutants being recognized and accepted by kidnapping me…and he's making things up about the JL:A and X-Men. Ten years ago…did the JL:A exist?" The X-Men were just fledgling then and they had their instructions. "Things have changed. We're trying to get them to change more and he's just going to set our progress back by launching an attack."

"We have been so concerned with this.. bit of dirt." Masque continues as he lowers his arms and frowns, his disfigured face scanning the crowd. His dark eyes fall upon Laura, and he locks with her green eyes for just a moment, before he continues, looking past the blue-furred Beast. "When there is so much out there. If we band together and take back what is ours, the others will come! When they come, we will only grow stronger. Those that cannot afford the Elitist branding -" A gesture towards Beast, "- they will find us. They will join us! It will start here, on this very spot. And we will take back this borough! Mutant Town will be for Mutants again! It will not be the playground of X-Red, the target range for the Purifiers. We will drive them all out! We will tax the crime syndicates, we will control our homes, our businesses, our lives!"

"When you can see that we can take our home back, then you will see that we can expand our reach! We outnumber them! We outpower them! The Brotherhood of Mutants will come to us! And we will accept them! And with their help…."

"We can take this city. And turn it into our city. Where we no longer fear. Where we no longer hide. THE FLATSCANS WILL HIDE FROM US!"

This brings a roar approval from the crowd, loud applause and cheering, and Masque holds up his hands. "Enjoy your time, my children, and prepare.. for come the day where that everyone sleeps it to honor the Presidents, we shall rise up and retake our home!"

With that, he climbs down from the dais, loud and thunderous applause cheers rising from the crowd as he mingles and mixes with them. With the speech over, many start to disperse to their normal days, including the inner circle. MeMe pulls Beautiful Dreamer aside for a talk. They're arguing, the motions are animated, and though the voices are low, they're strained. Finally MeMe slams his fist into the wall near Dreamer and she turns and walks away, wiping at her eyes, head down. MeMe snorts to turn and walk the other direction.

"They do not believe he lies." Comes Laura's quiet words to what Beast has to say. Automatically she'll scent the air, noting Beast's anger, as well as what some of the masses of Morlocks are feeling. And while she was just about to look back towards Beautiful Dreamer, Masque's own gaze catches her own. His gaze is returned, though there's no emotion upon her features. Only that cold, flat, green-eyed stare of hers.

And while there's no emotional response upon her face the claws housed within her hands start to peek through the skin. It's enough to break said skin and allow a few drops of blood fall to the ground. Thankfully, though, X-23 gains control of her claws before they make a full appearance.

When Masque finally breaks eye-contact and finishes his speech, Laura will turn her attention back to Beautiful Dreamer again. The argument is seen and when the two Morlocks turn from each other, Laura will murmur to Beast, "She is upset."

"I suppose they don't…but I'm afraid at how many of them will be hurt, killed, or taken in for 'scientific observation' if they try this," Beast growls and starts to pace again. The scent of blood causes him to pause and look at Laura and her hands for a moment before he goes back to pacing. "He won't listen to me…the people won't listen to me. I…so many of these innocent people will be needlessly harmed. There are a lot of you down here, but you are still outnumbered. They'll bring in the military…they'll approve of mutant-hunting Sentinels if the world decides that mutants are violent and should be destroyed."

"They'

"I suppose they don't…but I'm afraid at how many of them will be hurt, killed, or taken in for 'scientific observation' if they try this," Beast growls and starts to pace again. The scent of blood causes him to pause and look at Laura and her hands for a moment before he goes back to pacing. "He won't listen to me…the people won't listen to me. I…so many of these innocent people will be needlessly harmed. There are a lot of you down here, but you are still outnumbered. They'll bring in the military…they'll approve of mutant-hunting Sentinels if the world decides that mutants are violent and should be destroyed."

"They're setting us up for genocide."

He might want to punch something as well, but he just goes back to pacing, flexing and curling his clawed hands into fists. At the mention of Beautiful Dreamer's emotional state, he looks back to Laura, "As well she should be. She's been outside…I'm sure she can see that Masque is wrong in his methods."

Beautiful Dreamer makes her way over to the cells, stopping near Laura. "The speech is over, you can let him out.." She touches the bars. "I'm sorry. He said he didn't want you to interfere." Dreamer offers as she reaches up to wipe her eyes again. There's a nervous glance over her shoulder towards the crowd, but fortunately it seems that Masque is heading in another direction.

There's not much Laura can say to Hank's statements. Oh, there is yes, but for Laura? There isn't. Instead when Beautiful Dreamer arrives, Laura will turn her attention towards the other woman. At the mention of allowing Beast to be out of his confinement, Laura will easily step aside and push the 'door' open. At least now, Beast can pace more than the small area he's been allocated.

Again, Laura turns her attention back to the Morlock woman, finally saying, "You are sad." And when Beautiful Dreamer looks over her shoulder, towards the Morlock Leader, Laura will do the same.

There's a faint narrowing of her eyes and then X-23 looks back to both Beast and Beautiful Dreamer. "You both want him stopped. I can do this. He can be dead tonight." Blunt words, perhaps even shocking, but Laura states them with that ever present monotone voice, sounding for all the world as if she's talking about what's needed at the store.

"Because he knows that I'm right and he's wrong. It's going to be a slaughter if you do this," Beast points out to Beautiful Dreamer. When he's allowed out of the 'cell', he takes the opportunity to step out. He doesn't go very far and he's still very angry and upset about what he just witnessed. "Why do you follow him when you know that he's wrong too?" is asked before he turns to Laura.

There's a pause as he considers her words but he then shakes his head, "Don't make him a martyr. You don't want others to continue his mission do you?"

He then looks between the two, "Do you both honestly feel that I'm some sort of elitist? When it comes to being a mutant, I mean." He knows full well he is in some circles…

"No. No!" Dreamer takes Laura's hands in her own and squeezes. "I know.. he's troubling and scary.. but.. I don't want him to die!" she frowns, a firm shake of her head. "He saved us.. when they attacked." The young woman lets out a sigh. "I was new here. I wanted to find a life. My parents didn't accept me so I made them forget me and I came to New York. Big dreams, right? I had such high hopes. I was going to be an actress, a Broadway star. And then I found out Broadway doesn't want mutants. When they saw my powers.. I tried so hard to hide them.. but once they saw what I was, I was black-listed from every acting troupe in the city. I lost my job, my apartment, I was only seventeen."

She turns her attention to Hank as he speaks. "I found the Morlocks. They're my family. They accepted me, they wanted me. Noone else did. I was just mutant trash. Not powerful enough to be recognized by the Institute I guess." she lets out a halting sniff, releasing one of Laura's hands to wipe at her face angrilly. "When they came.. when the Massacre happened, Masque saved us. He led us away so that we wouldn't be killed as well. I owe him my life, Hank." she says gently. "But I know this is going to lead to harm.. to hurt. I know MeMe. He.. well, he's in love with me. And he's eager for this. This chance to prove that he's better than those that were.." a glance towards Hank. "..chosen to be heroes. Accepted and given all they want and need. Those aren't my words, their his. I.. I just want to live. I want to be back on the stage. I want to be accepted. To be.. loved." she sighs. "And that is never going to happen while the world treats us as they do."

Beast's words cause Laura to actually pause and consider his words. Well, his reasoning for not giving her the mission to kill Masque. It's enough that she says simply, "No." No, she doesn't want Masque to become a martyr, but more importantly, she doesn't want another Morlock to pick up his mission. It is suicidal. X-23 can see that easily enough, thanks to her all of her tactical training from The Facility.

It's only when Beautiful Dreamer grabs her hand, that Laura is jarred from her thoughts. As soon as her hand is grabbed the dark-haired woman automatically stiffens. Her nostrils flare as she stands there like some sort of small statue, gaze upon the Morlock woman.

While Beautiful Dreamer's story is definitely heard, X doesn't overtly react to it. Instead it's only when one of her hands is let go that the woman will become less tense.

As Beautiful Dreamer continues to speak, Laura will give a quick tug to her other hand. Intending to free it from the other woman's grasp.

For now, Hank's question about being seen as elitist isn't answered.

"Not all mutants are at the Institute…I sometimes wish they were. Back then though…it was so small. Not even -I- was there ten years ago…maybe I wouldn't have been recognized as a mutant back then either." But this isn't about him. Not really. He's begun to figure out why he was kidnapped. Hank is either going to be used as an 'example' or he's going to be made to watch. Either way, if this is seen through, he may not make it out alive. It's a sobering thought.

"What can I do to help you?" is asked of both Laura and Beautiful Dreamer. "It sounds like you are loved by MeMe," Hank points out. "Does that count for anything?"

"There's nothing you can do to help." As she sees Laura's tenseness, she releases her other hand and offers a meek apologetic, "Sorry." she says quietly. "Instead.. I'm going to try to help you. He wants to kill you, Hank. He wants to use you as an example, the first death on the day we try to take Mutant Town." she sighs. "He.. he's asked for my company tonight." She lifts her veil just slightly. Her usually attractive face that gave her her monicker has been warped, twisted into something grotesque. "..I will have to go to him. He'll be tired in the morning and stay in." She gives a half-smile as she lowers the veil. "It's what I have to do for helping you. Anyway.. in the morning.." she looks to Laura, "You're new.. if you report me, you might as well kill me." she says quietly.

"If not.. in the morning, flee. Both of you. If you don't.. I fear what he'll do to you. You seem nice, Hank. Nothing like what he said you were. A monster. You're not. And I don't want to see you hurt." After releasing Laura, she takes Hank's face in her hand, leaning up to press a gentle kiss through the veil to his cheek. "Please. Escape. Don't come back. I'll be fine." It's a lie, but it's the best she can do. Reaching into her clutch, she pulls out an extra key to the cage and hands it to Laura. "There's an unused electrical tunnel we sealed up when we first came here. It's unguarded. You can get out through there."

When her other hand is released what tension that was in Laura's frame eases away. Beautiful Dreamer's apology will be left to the way side. Again, Beast (thanks to his senses) might smell that coppery scent of blood, when Beautiful Dreamer reveals her company has been requested by Masque. That smell is only momentary, however, as Laura finally says, "I will not kill you." Which likely means she won't report Beautiful Dreamer, thankfully.

When the key is handed over to her, Laura automatically takes it, superstitiously tucking it into the pocket of her jeans. At the end of what Beautiful Dreamer has to say, Laura finally asks, "This is a mission?" There's a particular weight to her words, as she transfers her gaze to Beast now.

"I will not fail." Is the last of what Laura says, again not necessarily responding to Beast's question about what he can do to help the two of them.

"I won't be killed so easily," Hank starts, but he quiets as Beautiful Dreamer continues. When she reveals her face, distorted by Masque, he sighs, but even as she reaches out to touch him, he places his own clawed hand over her's, "You're a beautiful person…no matter what he does to your outside. Don't forget that, please."

His mind is, of course, racing. How can he stop these people from being slaughtered by a misguided leader? If only he could reach the others…anyone!

He looks between her and Laura as the key is exchanged before he asks, "Is he going to be hitting Mutant Town first? I'll bring reinforcements to try and stop him."

"He wants to rule here.. no police, no X-Red.. just him. As lord and master. And this Betsy Braddock as his bride." Not that it has stopped Masque from taking advantage of Dreamer. "He will twist her like he has me. Except.. he won't restore her." She sighs, and steps away. "I've already have been away for too long, I don't want him coming to look for me. Be careful, please." she says quietly as she gestures towards one of the high areas. "He lives up there." The former foreman's office. Of course he'd take the high ground. "I'll be hoping for you." With that, she steps back, making sure her veil is in place before she turns to blend back into the crowd.

X-23 is quiet once more as she watches the exchange between Beast and Beautiful Dreamer. She'll stay quiet until the other woman is finally far enough away that Laura feels she'd not be able to hear her next words. Pivoting to face Beast fully, so that her back is turned to the majority of Morlocks that are around, Laura says quietly, "Help is coming."

And while she'd like to say soon, X-23 doesn't. She has no idea when Nate and his allies will be here, but hopefully it will be soon.

"We will escape tomorrow morning." Then Laura is turning to face the Morlocks again, even as her gaze rises upward towards the offices on the upper area.

Beast looks back sharply at Laura, "Here? Who? They'll be overrun if they come here. These folks are worked up into a frenzy. I'm surprised they haven't come at me with torches and pitchforks yet." Maybe Laura's presence is preventing that.

There's a nod given at the mention of the escape but he also gives a sigh, "I wish I could talk to these people…convince them that they're going on a suicide mission if they follow him."

Again, X-23 pivots upon heel. She's turning sideways again, to keep both Beast and the Morlocks in her sights. Head chanting slightly to the side, the dark-haired woman says, "A man named Nate Grey." She could have added the 'odd' man named Nate Grey, but she doesn't. "I do not know how many he will bring."

As for his remark about pitchforks and torches, X-23 frowns slightly. Her eyes will flick to the people that are milling about, before flicking back to Beast. "Why pitchforks and torches? They could easily hurt you other ways." Yes, she didn't quite understand his euphuism there.

As to the last part of what he said? Laura considers her next words and hesitantly she says, "Perhaps they wish to die. If that is so, talking will not stop them from going."

"Really? How do you know Mr. Grey?" is asked, his eyebrows raised in surprise. Hank has met the other a couple of times, but knows a little about his history, strange that it is. "They shouldn't bring Betsy…" although this might not be her sort of thing anyhow. "And Betsy should be warned that this Masque is after her…if you see him, can you tell him to pass that along?" If it hasn't been already.

"Pitchforks and Torches…it's a 'Frankenstein' reference…it…yes," he sighs, "They could hurt me other ways. I recommend reading the book. It's by Mary Shelley."

He falls quiet for a moment, "If they wish to die and to die like this, then we've failed them. We have so much work to do and those of us who -have- been outside there, have failed them."

The question of just how she knows of Nate Grey causes one of those very small frowns to flit across her features. "I do not. He knows me." The rest of her explanation comes in the form of a slight roll of her shoulders, as the short girl shrugs. She has no other better words to describe the oddity that is Nate Grey and how he knows her.

Thankfully, the conversation shifts slightly to Betsy and Laura nods. "He is aware of the threat. He went to warn her." And perhaps that will give Hank some comfort, knowing that his friend is aware of the possible danger she's in.

The mention of the book Frankenstein and Mary Shelley is heard, but otherwise not reacted to. The name is stored away for later, possibly something to look up if she ever finds herself at a library. If they survive the next coming days, at least.

The talk of failure causes X-23 to turn her attention back to the people about the two of them. While she's quite for a few minutes, she does eventually say, "It is the way of failure." And perhaps she means failure leading to death. Turning her serious gaze back to Beast, Laura adds, "I will not fail you. You will be free. It is my mission."

There's another sigh, "It shouldn't be like this." With that, Hank moves to lean against a nearby wall…so close to his cell, but still outside of it. He also just looks about at the others until Laura mentions her mission. Golden eyes then turn back to her, "We'll both be free."

And then he'll have to focus on how to help others who could have gone down the route of the Morlocks. This shouldn't happen again.

The mention of both of them being free causes X-23 to look back to Beast. There's a sharpness to her gaze, though it's hard to pinpoint what emotion is within those green eyes. Finally though, she'll nod once.

Easily now, X-23 will settle herself closer to Beast and a step in front of him. A shield perhaps? It seems likely, as her ever alert gaze turns back to the threat(s).

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