The Amazing Magical Show of Nate the Great and Laura the Quiet

February 09, 2016:

The 'quest' from Nate takes Laura to becoming part of a stage magic show. Poor Laura!

Near Mutant Town

Small theatre close to Mutant Town


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

If Laura knew Nate a little better, she might have avoided coming here. If she was a little less… how to call it? Candid? Naive? Not the exact term, perhaps less literal. Well, she could have suspected the so-called ‘quest’ was not something to be taken too seriously.
Instead she came here, to a small theatre close to Mutant Town to find at the gate it says ‘Nate the Great, every Friday’ and some comments about how he is the greatest illusionist of New York and some other rather odd statements. The crowd around seems a mixture of families with children and college age people, it is pretty full already, even though it is about fifteen minutes early.
The people, which include a few obvious mutants from the neighborhood, seem pretty happy. Although some point out the magician fails to show up about one third of the times. Kids today. Apparently the backup is not as good.

Like anything X-23 prepares for a mission beforehand, however, this particular mission's address wasn't given until the very last moment. Because of that, very little could be done by Laura. Instead, before the appointed time, all Laura could do was dress in her typical mission fashion. Black boots, black pants and long-sleeved black top. Pretty normal with kids these days, so she won't stick out too badly, within the crowd.
Upon arriving at the small theatre and reading the sign, X-23's brow furrows ever so slightly. Her senses easily tell her there's people inside, quite a bit, but so far she hasn't scented anything odd. Like guns, explosives, blood or death.
Carefully, X-23 will push the door open; only widening it enough to slip in unobtrusively. It's then that she'll spy the various kids and adults and obvious mutants, that are scattered throughout the seating area. Her furrowed brow now morphs to the slightest of frowns; which is quite expressive for Laura. Scenting the air now, X-23 will pick out Nate's unique scent and start to follow after it, even as she keeps a wary eye upon the crowd.

Yes, Nate is there, sneaking around. Well, not really sneaking, but mostly preventing others from noticing him with telepathy. Even Laura almost misses him before he is on top of her. She got like three seconds before he appears, “Laura, just in time. Come,” he takes her hand and pulls her to the side, though a door that says ‘offstage’. The place is packed with weird contraptions, old pieces of theater scenery and spare gear of dubious quality. “Here,” he tosses the girl a top hat, “you are my assistant for the evening.”

That three seconds is enough. Just before he's able to capture her hand, X-23 will turn in his general direction. "Nate." She begins, even as her hand is snagged by one of his own. Not much can be said after his name, as she's suddenly pulled through a door and into the 'offstage' area. Quickly now, her green eyes take in everything she can see. Ever alert. Ever looking for dangers, but while the items around her are odd, they don't look or seem very dangerous.
That frown that marred her features before, is still quite present now.
When the hat is tossed to her, she'll automatically reach out and catch it from the air. It's only as she holds said hat awkwardly that she'll finally parse just what Nate said. If it were anyone but Laura, Nate would likely find them gaping in disbelief. Instead, Laura looks from the hat, to Nate and then back to the hat. "This." Says the young woman ever so slowly, a bit of consternation held within that usually flat voice of hers. "Is the mission? To be an assistant to your magic act?"

Nate gives Laura an amused glance, “not your usual kind of mission, hmm? But do not think it is not important, there is a lot of kids out there that need to be amused, distracted or dazzled. Particularly the ones coming from Mutant Town. And you need to learn to have a good time. Stage magic is fun.” He is not wearing a hat himself, since he gave the hat to Laura, but his clothes darken and suddenly seem more stylish. The last might be a telepathic suggestion. “We start in five minutes, any question?”

His words are heard and while her face doesn't necessarily betray many emotions, there's still a faint thinning of her lips. For X-23, that's a very /loud/ show of frustration? Irritation? Something along those lines to say the least.
Still. She accepted this mission and so, she must complete it.
The hat will be given another look and then she's settling it upon her head. The five minutes is heard and when he asks if she has any questions, she nods. "What does an assistant do?" Again her words are in that curiously flat, nearly emotionless voice of hers.

“That is a good question, and the best answer is whatever feels natural to you,” explains Nate. “This is a performance, and the public expects to be surprised, dazzled or amused, or all of it.”
Nate considers Laura. She is not very funny… except when she is, which is entirely unintentional. But she looks cute with the hat, and that is half of it. “Yeah, I can tell you what to do, and you can make questions and… don’t worry too much.”

The first portion of Nate's explanation earns an almost blank eyed response from Laura. There's also the mute part, as well. She's definitely mute by this point. Only her gaze shows she's not a statue, as her green eyes stare at Nate for a minute, before they flick around the small room the two of them are in.
Her eyes will return once more to Nate's lanky form, before she finally says. "I will do what you say." And while more could likely be said, Laura honestly has no idea what to voice at this point. This is an /extreme/ social situation for Laura.

“Good, follow me, stand at my left and a couple steps behind,” and Nate is almost tempted to tell her to smile, but she probably doesn’t know how to do it. It would look false! He shrugs and walks ahead. “Oh, it is all tricks and mirrors, even the part where I tell them I will cut you in two with a saw, so relax.” That probably needs to be said. Wait. He turns, “have you ever seen a stage magic act?”

Again, there's that listening (intently!) from Laura, as Nate spouts off several different directions, as well as pointers. When he talks about smoke, mirrors and sawing her in half, there's not even a twitch from the girl as she continues to pace after him. She's not afraid to die. Truly.
It's only when he asks if she's seen a magic act before, that she'll briefly shake her head. Then there's a pause from the girl as she considers a distant memory. The memory is enough to cause her to add, "Unless you consider a politician a magician? I have heard the same said about them." And she's seen and been around politicians. Of course, she also killed them, as well.

“All smoke and mirrors, but not really.” Mental note: take Laura to see Zatanna’s magic show. « Well, no worries. Improvisation is good, » he adds, shifting to telepathy since he is climbing to the stage through the left side stairs. Someone already put there several weird pieces of furniture. « Oh, pick a stage name, quickly! » Yes, improvisation.

As soon as they near the steps that lead to the stage, Laura easily slides behind Nate. Like he said. A few steps back and behind him. The brim of the hat that sits upon her head will be touched a moment, before she's turning her senses to the crowd out in the 'seating' areas.
Then her gaze is upon the furniture found upon the stage.
As for stage name … Nate should know the answer he's going to receive is, « Laura. ». Improvisation isn't exactly Laura's thing, at least when it comes to non-lethal scenarios. Again, once he's settled in his spot, Laura will take a step two paces behind Nate and a little to his side, so he can see her out of the corner of his eyes.

« That doesn’t work, young lady » replies Nate. So, improvising, because the curtain is opening and the spectators are clapping and cheering. Nate bows and waves. There is about three fourths of the seats occupied, with a large contingent of kids and a small number of obvious mutants from nearby Mutant Town. Most seem to know Nate (the Great!) but not Laura, so she gets about three hundred curious glances.
Nate pulls a magician’s wand from a shirt pocket (where it shouldn’t have fit) makes it twirl, causing some surprise (mostly among the children) as it seems to change shape. To Laura’s enhanced eyesight, he seems to be changing the wand’s head quickly when it passes through his hands, but the public is too far and lacks the senses to see it. At some point, some quickly moving cards join the act and then he turns and stops, as if surprised at seeing Laura there.
“Oh, look,” he points at her with the wand. “My new assistant sneaked in. I didn’t even hear her!”

Whether Laura had a response for his telepathic comment is lost, as the curtain raises and her attention is caught by the audience. Quickly, her gaze will scan the seated individuals, before switching back to Nate.
Curiously, even if the emotion doesn't need show upon her features, the dark-haired young woman will watch the appearance of the magic wand and then the twirling. The twirling is what really captivates Laura, as she watches the audience respond to the changing of shapes. While /she/ can see through the trick, the reactions from the children and even some of the adults earns another curious look from the pint-sized assassin.
Thankfully, Laura doesn't move from her spot as Nate starts the show and she'll stay still, even as he finally introduces her into the act. An almost owlish blink is what the audience will receive, even as those vibrant green eyes will now turn towards Nate. What should she do? The struggle in her mind of just what to do only lasts a few seconds until finally her attention shifts back to the audience.
Is what she says, in that monotone voice of hers.

Monotone and still pretty much the opposite to how Nate behaves on stage. So when he makes a few gestures with the wand and Laura barely blinks, he looks confused, and the public laughs.
“Oh yes… er… this is my new assistant,” repeats Nate. “But I suspect she is a ninja,” the public laughs. “Hey, don’t laugh, those things happens to me all the time…” so he goes on with a story about this girl she met at a bus stop that happened to be a ninja and tried to kill him. It is hilarious, and probably based in reality. Meanwhile he is looking for the supposed picture of the ninja girl pulling an absurd amount of stuff from his pockets instead. Mostly colorful scarves, but also an umbrella and at some point a grey and white dove.
“Well, looks like my picture got ninja-ed,” he finally admits. “Well, fortunately we have a new, different ninja here.” He goes back to Laura and picks her up, sitting her on one of the contraptions. “And you said your name was…?”

A faint flare of Laura's nostrils will easily capture the various scents around her, but otherwise, she moves very little. Which probably allows the audience to yuck it up even more. Thankfully, Nate seems to be a pro with handling the oddity of Laura and so, he moves on with finding the Ninja picture.
Everything he pulls from his pockets is given a look by Laura and that dove? The dove captures her gaze as it's pulled free and while her keen senses can easily see how the majority of these tricks are done, she still watches that muted curiosity of hers.
When he picks her up, however, he'll feel her tense ever so slightly, though her expression never changes. It's only when he prompts for her name, that she says or rather corrects, "I did not say my name." And then, after a heartbeat, she finishes with, "I am, Laura."

Nate steps back, and looks at the public, speaking in mock-hushed tone, “that… is not a ninja name.” He looks at her again. “You look harmless, Miss Laura. And quiet.” He looks at her cautiously, and checks under her hat. “Ninjas keep deadly weapons in their hats,” he takes the hat and shows it to the public, there is nothing inside, of course.
So he puts the hat at Laura’s side. “Seems safe enough,” he explains the public. “You can pick up your hate, Miss Laura,” he adds, gesturing vaguely with the wand. But something moves under the hat. That table-like device where Laura is sitting has several moving parts Nate can move at distance. It smells like a rabbit.

The mention of ninja weapons does peak the girl's interest even more and (thankfully!) she does not allow her claws to *SNIKT* out. No, instead she'll watch the hat be placed on the table near her and when the rabbit is released from the interior box held within the table, X-23 automatically scents the air once again. When prompted to, Laura will reach over to that slightly jostling hat and with nimble fingers, she'll pluck the hat upward - revealing what sits beneath said felt-like object.

Nate feigns surprise at seeing the rabbit. “It is probably a ninja rabbit,” he informs the public, catching the interest of the children and making some adults snicker.
The rabbit, on the other hand, sniff the air for a few seconds and then jumps down, heading to the backstage pretty quickly. “So maybe it was not a ninja rabbit. But one can’t ever be sure!” Explains the magician.

The bunny rabbit is watched. Like a hawk from X-23, but when all it does is wiggle its nose and hop away, the dark-haired young woman finally brings her attention back to Nate and the crowd. His mention of the rabbit not being a ninja rabbit is given a slightly curious look, before she offers in that deadpan of hers, "I do not think rabbits can be ninjas."
Always literal is our Laura, at least for now, she is. While other assistants might hop down now that the trick is over, Laura doesn't. She simply waits and watches Nate, looking for the next prompt on where she needs to be.

Nate stares Laura, then turns to the public, “well, she would know…” and there is more laughter. “I have an idea,” decides the ‘magician’. “I am going to find out if Miss Laura is a real ninja or not. “I am going to put her in a box, cut the box in two, and… well, if she is a ninja I am sure she can sneak out in two pieces. Otherwise I will have to magic her back together. No big deal.”
So he pokes her with the wand and points to the tall, black box at the back of the stage. It is large, thought for people larger than Laura. Plenty space to wiggle.

Nate's stare is met with an equal stare from Laura, if Laura's gaze is a bit uncomprehending. If he's trying to give her subtle queues, Laura is missing them. BIG TIME.
Still, at the light poke of the wand and the motion towards the box, X-23 will turn slightly to look at said box. Her eyes narrow slightly, as she considers the black box. Yes, it's definitely large, well, large for her thanks to her slight frame. Something she could easily escape from if she really needed to.
Slipping off the table, Laura will walk towards the box, only offering a quick look over her shoulder to Nate and the crowd. Then she's climbing in said box and arranging herself as needed.

Nate closes the door of the box and spends a few minutes talking to the public about more nonsense. Then he says he is going to use a super-sharp adamantium sheet to cut the box, and apparently he spends a few minutes demonstrating how the sheet will cut scarves dropped on the edged side, but Laura only feels some shaking of the box.
Then he opens the upper half of the box, which revels only half of Laura’s face. Mental note: adjust box for her height. “Well, folks, she looks pretty calm given she is gut in half, hmm?” The public can ‘see’ how the upper half of the box is displaced to a side, thanks some mirrors. Laura is too short to appreciate the trick. Meanwhile, he sends telepathically to the girl, « and now a trapdoor is going to open under you, there is a pad under the stage, so no worries. You can get back through the side staircase ».

When the box reveals half of her face it's easy to see that her expression is still quite stoic. No crinkle around her eyes to denote a smile, as she simply stands in the box, waiting for the trick to occur. Her gaze will travel around the audience for a moment, before she tries to look at the trick itself. Sadly, her height works against her for this particular trick, as she can't quite see the box going to the side, as if she were truly cut in half.
At Nate's telepathic remark, Laura will send back, « Understood. »
There's a slight shuffle from the young woman as she bends her knees just a bit, for when that trapdoor opens. She intends ot land in a semi-crouch to cushion her body from the drop downward.

“Ninjas are stoic, I guess,” decides Nate. “But no worries, now I am going to put her back together.” He closes the box again and works in ‘putting it back together’ while Laura is dropped about five feet to the rather small space under the stage. One member of the staff is there to help her back to her feet and make sure she is okay, which is rather unnecessary. She points Laura the direction of the staircase, too.
On the stage, Nate finishes fixing the box and then opens it dramatically, looking surprised at finding it empty. “We have been ninja-ed, folks. Everyone look under the seats and table to seek for the ninja!” Obviously ‘every one’ means the children, which proceed, to do so with noisy glee.

As soon as the trapdoor opens, X-23 easily lands upon the pad in said crouch. The helping hand is ignored, at least when it comes to physically taking it, but Laura will offer. "Thank you." In that deaden voice of hers, before her gaze flicks to the stairs that are motioned to. Nodding once, the dark haired young woman will drift quickly towards those steps and pad silently up the steps.
She waits now, not walking out on stage yet. Nate didn't say whether she should come on stage or not, so she doesn't.
Instead those green eyes of hers will track all of Nate's movements even as she listens to what he says. Canting her head slightly to the side, she'll risk a look towards the crowd and easily sees the children looking for her, to see just where she Ninja'd too.

Nate is also apparently looking for Laura, pulling out doves and umbrellas and even a coat rack from the most unlikely places around the stage. He ‘fails’ to see Laura peeking, but a few children do and warn everybody very loudly, with much laughter by the adults.
“There she is!” Agrees Nate, running to grab Laura’s hands and pull the girl back into the stage. “Good! You caught her before she could catch the airplane to France. I hate when my assistants do that! It takes forever to find replacements. Wave to the public, Miss Laura. You just got drafted.”

Laura allows her hand to be grabbed and then she's being pulled out onstage. Her gaze flicks to the audience once more, before her attention is back on Nate. The mention about catching a plan to France earns a faint frown from the girl. Thankfully, she doesn't dispute Nate's words, instead she'll just turn back to the audience. When Nate prompts her to wave, Laura will raise her hand upward and offer one faint wave to the crowd.
Sure, she's been drafted, but likely she has /no/ idea what that really means now. Poor Poor Laura.

Poor Laura! Show is basically over, although Nate does a few more card tricks and jokes and then bows when the curtains start closing. « Bow for the public, Laura. It is tradition. Ah, I need a new hat! Remind me to pass you half the pay. It is not much, but it pays for drinks. You were great. »

The telepathic remark from Nate is heard and responded to, as Laura bows to the crowd. There's no florish or anything like that from her, just a text book straight bow.
Once the curtain is completey down, Laura will turn to Laura. "I do not need payment." She says, even as tilts her head slightly to the side. She's listening to the crowds movements now, even as she keeps her eyes on Nate.
His mention of her doing great isn't overtly responded to as she's uncertain exactly what to say to that. Instead, she goes with, "Now what?"

“Well, you got it. It is only fair,” replies Nate with a grin. Then he invites Laura to follow him off stage. “It is Friday night and I know some folks that came to the show. We are going to party, likely until dawn. You are invited to come, of course. I can hook you up with some fun people. Both muties and tolerant humans. Want to try?”

Dutifully, Laura follows after Nate as he walks off stage. His offer of going to the after party is considered for a long silent minute. It's long enough that it might seem like she's going to decline, but finally she says, "I will go." The hat that's upon her head is taken off and offered to Nate now, for wherever he may store the various proprs of the show.

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