Butterfly Freedom Fighter

January 30, 2016:

Gabriel and Lunair take a stroll through the park and butterfly house only to discover it is a den of slavery and forced breeding.

New York City - Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

Founded in 1910 and presently occupying 39 acres, the Brooklyn Botanic
Gardens has a number of features, including a Japanese Hill and Pond garden
and a cherry tree esplanade with over 200 species of cherry tree on it (a
must see when in full bloom). Several other gardens hold a total of 10000
separate taxa of plants. The Gardens do brisk business with nearly a million
visiters each year.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

What does someone like Gabriel do when he manages to sneak away from his keepers? Well, he wanders around the streets of New York City; which is always a great idea for a man who has no idea what is going on most of the time. His steps are taking him through these botanical gardens where he is stopping to examine plants rather often, crouching down to look closely at them before straightening and moving along to the next. What adds to the .. rather odd look of the man is the fact he is dressed like some kind of Urban Cowboy, wearing boots, blue jeans, and a cowboy hat.

Lunair's keepers wish they could keep her. But who cares what Nazis and HYDRA want, really? Hunting them is great sport. Lunair loves botany, and the garden has new seasonal exhibits. Maybe the koi pond is still open? She is dressed in Gothic Lolita, black and white and seems perfectly content to be herself, doing as she sees - well. On the internet. Oh dear.

Nevertheless, fate is kind of a funky monkey and Lunair meanders unwittingly overtowards Gabriel. She tilts her head. "That one's pretty ancient. Neat choice." Beam. She seems fearless, in the same way puppies are fearless.

Gabriel looks up, startled in fact, at the voice speaking to him. His blue eyes skirt around rapidly to find out just what is being said before they realize it's this female talking to him. For a long time he is quiet, studying the person in awkard silence before finally clearing his throat. "What." Then remembering his manners, he adds, "What is ancient?"

It is indeed Lunair. Something seems off about her. Her expression is - lacking, giving her a placid look. A bit of a distant gaze, the thousand yard stare. She seems to come to a bit now that she's focusing. "That plant," She points at it. "It was mentioned in ancient texts and dates before human civilization." Then she tilts her head. Lunair doesn't seem to be the most talented at socializing as she too, has a long moment. Stare. But she seems friendly."Oh. Sorry. I totally just started talking at you. Um. Have we met?"

"If we have, I do not remember." The man responds to Lunair, looking at the plant and shaking his head, "This plant doesn't look familiar to me, so I probably haven't seen it before." A frown crosses his face then he turns and looks back at Lunair, extending a hand as is the custom amongst these people. "I am called Gabriel by the others."

Lunair looks to the plant. She offers a name for it, then smiles back to him. At his frown, she lets the smile fade and seems puzzled. Is she doing it wrong? She pulls a book from her pocket: Miss Manners' Guide to Manners. She consults it a moment, before - looking at the extended hand and carefully accepting it. "Is that what you like to be called?" She asks, curiously. "I am Lunair, but Luna's fine. Nice to meet you." Nod.

Lunair doesn't even seem to notice or think he's odd. She just accepts him as he is.

Which is perhaps the irony, since this is one of the more normal interactions with another person that Gabriel has had thus far. "It is sufficient. They tell me it's my name, not that I remember being called that ever." He manages a small smile but it does not touch his eyes. "This place, it is a Garden, correct? In… New York City?"

He puzzles Lunair. Lunair huhs. "I see. That sounds rough," She is sympathetic at least. "Yup. Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. They preserve plants and have stuff from all over," She explains. "And in New York City," Nod. "Are you okay?" She asks. Did he hit his head? Get eyebeamzed by Scott?

"Yes. Yes I'm ok, I Believe so at least. I may have gotten myself a bit lost from the people who are helping me, but I will find them again." Gabriel affirms towards Lunair before looking at the next plant. "What is this one, do you know it's story?" He crouches down close to examine it, looking closely at the weed. Because that is what it is, a weed.

"I see. Well, if I can help, lemme know, huh? That seems like a really rough spot," Lunair considers. She looks to the weed. "That's a Hawkweed. A lot of people think of them as weeds, but they have nice flowers. They're very hardy and help keep soil from eroding away. They were here long before colonists came," She notes. "So I guess 'weed' is a relative term," She muses. A shrug at that and she moves to look at some of them. "They do attract butterflies, if you like watching those. And I wonder what the difference between native plant and weed is sometimes." It's an interesting dilemma.

She does seem happy to answer questions for him.

Gabriel looks up, his eyes narrowing a bit at Lunair. "That word, I do not know it. What… is a butterfly?" He asks it clearly uncertain. "I know of butter, it is the yellow spread placed upon the bread. Quite edible. But a butterfly? Is it yellow spread which traverses the air?" Either this man is one of the greatest trolls of all time, or there really is something wrong.

Lunair grew up in a hospital room. Then a lab. She doesn't seem fazed. She had to do a LOT of catching up. headshake, headshake. "Nono, it is a kind of insect. Most of them are beautiful. They are very important, as they pollinate flowers and are prey for other animals," She explains. "Butter is tasty, though. Not gonna lie," Lunair smiles at him. "Did you - spend a lot of time alone before?" Maybe he's like her? Of course, leave it to fate for him to run into Captain Life Nearly Dead or In A Single Room.

"There's a butterfly house slash garden where you can see them and let them land on you. Wanna go?" She seems to have totally accepted him. She is a social blank slate.

"It is an insect, which possesses a house." Gabriel inquires as he stands up from the weed and looks at Lunair. "This does not make sense. Why would there be an insect house, yes, I must see this. A fantastic creature which has its own residence." He begins to walk in what he assumes is any direction because well, he can't be that wrong. "Before I spent time in a box. Before that, I do not know."

"Well. People keep them there, so they can live safely and be enjoyed," Lunair explains. She smiles. "Some are used to keep species alive in breeding programs. I'll show you. This way," Lunair will lead him along, if he wishes to follow. "Oh. I understand that, I think. It's tough having to catch up," She explains, "But I'll answer questions as best as I can." She doesn't seem able to emote or express things well.

His foot stops midair about to step before it falls straight down. When Gabriel speaks, his voice is quiet and he shakes his head, reaching up to place one hand over his eyes as he rubs his temple. "What… What did you say?" The posture is that of someone with a headache, the tone is one of a strained pain. "A breeding program. They are.. they are imprisoning the creatures to force them to breed? Yes. Take me there."

Lunair shakes her head again. "Nono, nothing like that. These are insects, that are kept safely so they can breed. Many get let loose," She explains "Are you okay?" She looks worried, stopped for a moment. "They aren't sentient," She tries to explain. "And since humans have reduced their habitat, it is part of our duty to help preserve them."

It is hard to tell if Gabriel is ok, he does look like he's a little more confused than he normally is. "I… I do not know why. This makes me angry." He looks at Lunair. "I cannot explain it. Something about this, about what you are saying just… You will take me to this prison so I can see it for myself." There's a firmness to his tone, not anger or threatening, but insistent.

Lunair is confused. "I see. Well. The butterflies are very happy. I think they will like you. The people who work here did lots of research to keep the animals happy and well," She explains. She will lead him to the butterfly house. It is a beautiful glass house, with scads of butterfly friendly flowers. Only a couple of people are nearby, and the butterfly house is open. Free to flutter, several species fly about. Some land, spread their wings, while others explore. "We can go inside. If you do, don't move a lot and they will land on you." Beam. "They can't bite or hurt you."

Gabriel casts a glance at Lunair as she speaks before looking towards the butterfly house, starting to walk towards it. As he does so, his voice is quiet, very gentle in fact. "You are a pleasant person, and have been quite kind. I do not want any harm to come to you, so if there is resistance here, please find cover." With that, Gabriel reaches out and opens the door to the glass house in order to enter. As he does, he looks around at the display. Where many would gaze with awe, his expression is one of what could best be described as disgust. "Why would they not bite or hurt me? I look no different than their captors? A beautiful prison is a prison nonetheless. These creatures seek to fly and be free but cannot. Explain how this is not a prison." Ok, that last part sounded almost a little demanding.

Lunair smiles at him. "Thank you. And no, people are meant to visit." She pauses. She looks confused. "They can't. Here, look," She motions to one unfurling its probiscus. "They feed on nectar. They fly here, since their homes are often polluted or destroyed," She explains. "And many of them fly around these gardens. It is their house. So since they are in a garden, it's not a big deal if they get out," She explains. "It is to protect them, and ensure that people know about them - so we can appreciate and respect them. They tell us all about their habits, by living alongside us. And there are no predators to kill them." She is puzzled. "I am sorry. I like caring for plants that they like to eat. They are not sentient, so they do not think - especially not as we do, but we do our best to respect them and help keep them from going extinct. Is that making sense? I am not good at explaining," She looks sad.

Gabriel has been looking away as he examines the butterfly house, taking steps and each step seems firmer then the last, his posture is growing different, what could only be described as agitated and angrier with each movement. Finally he looks back at Lunair, his once blue eyes are now glowing purple. "These.. people destroy their world." The words are very quiet. "They destroy their natural state and then build prisons for them to be kept in, and justify it because they are not as 'smart' as they are?" The eyes begin to glow brighter. "What kind of sick, twisted place is this? Tell me why it should not be destroyed and these creatures set free? It is better to die free than to live as a slave." Sparks fly off his fingers with the last words.

Eek! "But they aren't slaves?" She tilts her head. "Do you know what insects or animals are?" Lunair pauses. "I wish I knew how to explain it to you. They are kept safe, treasured and loved like pets." She considers. "I'm really sorry…" She isn't sure. Ironically, a butterfly lands on her head, then spreads its wings. "I only wanted you to know what they were, and this is a safe place for them and you to see."

Then she adds, "Some of them are not from around here. Letting those free would hurt them."

Gabriel turns, looking around the butterfly house as he walks, those purple eyes glowing; certainly encouraging others who are present to perhaps leave since he doesn't particularly look 'friendly' at the moment. "You do not know this pain. I do not know why. I am so confused, but I know this pain. To be held, to be looked at and made to dance for amusement. Told it is for my protection, forced to…" He trails off. "This is my world. This is where I am from." He turns then on Lunair, glowing eyes unreadable but expression pleading. "Do you know what it is? Why am I locked up by others. Thrown into a cage and looked at, poked at, hurt."

"My pain is different, this is true. I was created for a purpose, but I broke free." She looks around. "I'm sorry I brought you here. It is the butterfly house. Their house. We made it for them. They live in all of the gardens. We want to protect them, keep them safe and unhurt." Then she pauses. Lunair glances around. "I'll take you someplace else. We can donate to restore habitats, if that would help. I'm -" She seems to understand. "Wait, still locked up and poked at? Even now?" She looks worried. "Let's get you out of here. I'll get you something to drink, in the open."

Just when it looks like Gabriel is at the pinnacle of fury, he growls and takes a deep breath bringing himself under control. The energy which had been cycling about him begins to dissipate away and finally his eyes revert back to normal. Looking around, he shakes his head. "… Miss Moira would be upset if I were to damage things. And I do not wish to upset you." He nods then, "Someplace not here, to walk, would be good." Then he looks back at the butterflies, almost sadly. "I am sorry my friends, but your time will come… You must earn your freedom yourself, I cannot grant it to you."

Lunair looks to Gabriel. She nods. "I am sorry this upset you. It was meant to be a positive experience," She admits. "This is THEIR house, after all. Like I said, lookie:" Lunair holds the door open, and a few butterflies go to nearby flowers outside. "I do not know Miss Moira, but- thank you." She nods. "Um. I really am sorry. You've been really understanding about it, now that I think about it. We have a relationship with these creatures. They may not be sentient, or think, but we try to help and understand them." Then a beat. "What would you wish to see here? Do you like ancient plants or flowers?"

In response, one lands on Gabriel's head, walking on his face. Lunair's butterfly almost goes down her shirt. "EEP!"

Gabriel's eyes cross as he attempts to examine the butterfly upon his nose before shaking his head enough to dislodge it. "I believe I should find shelter for the evening soon. The offer is appreciated and perhaps another time we could continue the examination of the plants?"

Lunair giggles. "I think they like you." She offers. Then a pause. "Find shelter? You don't have a place?" She furrows her brows. "And surely! When are you around? Do you have a phone?" She asks. She seems concerned, though she is trying to keep the butterfly out of her shirt. "Nono, bad butterfly, don't go down my shirt-"

"Do butterflies find humans attractive? Is it attempting to breed with you?" Gabe asks it innocently enough before he looks towards the city. "I have a place, I am not sure where it is, but I will find it again. Until then, I have found shelter in several locations when I have needed to. I have seen people using these phones, but I do not possess one. Perhaps at this place we could meet in four days?"

Lunair almost up and dies. "No, no. Just curious. They don't really know what we are. We're just big /things/ to them," She explains. "And um. Did you need a ride or a hotel room?" She looks worried. "Maybe we'll get you a phone when we meet next time then?" Something isn't computing.

"I've travelled by cars before, I do not like them. They move in a way that makes my stomach feel uncomfortable. I have taken to walking as often as possible." Gabriel explains to Lunair before nodding his head, "I will look into acquiring a phone so that I am easier to contact. Your kindness is most appreciated."

"We'll go shopping after we see some plants, then. You'll have a phone." Beam. Then Lunair ahs and nods. "Okay. Just be safe and find somewhere warm. It's supposed to get really cold," She does seem to care. "I just worry since this is a rough time of year, and not really always a friendly city."

"And you have some cash to get things?" Peer.

"I am not concerned about safety. It turns out I am well versed in protecting myself. It was part of Miss Moira's testing." The words are meant to put Lunair at ease before he looks to the city. "And yes, I will find someplace warm. Please, do not fret over me. I am a survivor."

Lunair tilts her head. "If you're sure." She really was worried. "It's hard not to if you're homeless." She rubs the back of her head. "But I won't harass you over it." If he's sure. "I'll do my best to respect that." Nod. "Be well, okay?"

The man nods, "I will do so. You as well, keep yourself safe until we can meet again." Gabe once more extends his hand politely, since that is the custom and all.

Smile. Lunair pauses. "We shake again?" She is puzzled, but accepts the hand. She will go with it. She seems happy he is at peace once more. "Thank you." Wave.

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