Voodoo Spaceman

April 04, 2016:

Audrey brings Peter Quill to X-Red's DCI office to see if Roberto can't get him a job. Lyn drops by, seeking assistance with a supernatural problem.

X-Red Manhattan

Accessible primarily by a dedicated express elevator, the two-floor headquarters of the X-Men Red Team combines the amenities of an ultramodern office with the homey, communal quality of a college dormitory. A small, well-appointed waiting room gives way to a grand, two-story central hub. There, the team can meet for briefings at a ring-shaped conference table with built-in computer consoles and a central holographic display. There are also smaller tables, couches, and armchairs scattered through the room, easy to reposition for meals, close conversations, or movie nights. One entire wall of the hub is lined with windows, offering a view toward Central Park.

The other walls of the hub are split into two levels, with the upper accessible by a U-shaped walkway and two grand staircases. Above the waiting room, one can find a bullpen with dedicated work stations, offering the latest software for a whole host of productive tasks. A patio balcony off to one side offers a taste of the outdoors, as well as a small landing pad for fliers or one-person vehicles. The X-Men also have a private underground motor pool, kept separate from the garage for the rest of the building's occupants.

Characters

NPCs: Desmond (receptionist)

Mentions: Illyana, Storm

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It's been a while since Audrey was in residence at the DaCosta penthouse. She may have stepped away from X-Red, but she still checks in every now and then, and she's been known to take a job if she's able to clear her schedule for it. Today, though, she actually reached out to the team, rather than the other way around. There's someone she wants Roberto to meet, someone she thinks he might be able to help find some work for.

When she arrives, she hardly looks like the same girl who left. There's a definite confidence in her step and her bearing, and where before she was lean from meals too few and far between, now she's lean with muscle and exercise. And instead of layers of clothes, she's dressed relatively simply, in a pair of jeans and a blouse with a jacket. The jacket's good for hiding the guns.


And that someone is one Peter Quill. Spacer, mercenary, thief, bounty hunter, and 80s music afficiando. It took some convincing on Audrey's part to get him to come along, but eventually he bit. Because it would be nice to find some kind of work, even freelance work. Which is his favorite work. And as per usual, he's standing in the exact same clothes he always appears in. Because the man has a very limited wardrobe being poor as hell. Red leather trench, combat pants, grey undershirt, satchel, and a pair of odd-looking blasters at his hips, which are concealed by the trench itself. Oh, and weird looking boots too.

The man gives Audrey a side-ways look. "I thought we were going thrift-store shopping for clothes, he remarks, looking around the place. "Because I'd really like new socks at some point."


Roberto da Costa is a mutant with a lot on his plate. There's the obvious stuff: acting as a sponsor and member of the X-men's public-facing Red Team, running a multinational corporation, and waging a one-man public relations campaign on behalf of his race. But lately, between government conspiracies, re-dedicating a floor in his building to 24-hour mutant mayhem, sparring with his douchebag clone, and secretly sheltering an old flame with a price on her head, the mask of cool, collected charm is starting to wear around the edges.

So while Audrey's a friend he's happy to make time for, when the Brazilian greets the pair at the reception desk, he looks preoccupied, if not quite what you would call 'harried.' He gives Quill a quick once-over, noticing the man's unusual outfit, but too aware of the glass house his superhero persona lives in on that front to say anything. "Olá, Audrey," he says with a movie-star grin and a wave. "And who's this?" He extends a hand toward Peter, his head tilted at an inquisitive angle.


To complete the party is another slice of pie. This one is mocha in skin, short in stature, and lean like a slip of paper. The only thing larger than life on the girl is her hair, which is braided up and into a faux-hawk of sorts, its kinky curls silver-white in hue. Her own attire is similiar to Audrey's own in simplicity, though her jeans are ragged, missing their knees, her boots are half laced, scuffed at their toes, and her red t-shirt top is well worn, loose, and hanging off one shoulder at its collar.

Snake like eyes settle on the receptionist first, the dark skinned teen showing what appears to be a fold of news paper in her right hand. "S'de place t'meet s'me a'de X-men?" A glance over her shoulder, her slitted pupils see at least one person she recognises in the trio. Offering Peter a nod, she turns her attentions back to the front desk so not to disturb the small group.

-

"'Berto, you look like someone's put you through Hell Week," Audrey greets the other mutant with a rueful smile. "You know how to fix that, right? More training, less women and booze." She winks, then steps aside to gesture to Peter. "'Berto, this is Peter Quill. He's not from around these parts. Peter, this is Roberto da Costa. He's a very busy man, who helps to run X-Red along with his own company and his not inconsiderable social life. But he's also the expert in monetizing skills. I know X-Red specializes in mutant abilities, 'Berto, but I thought you might have a stack or two of jobs you've had to turn down that might need someone."


Smoozing? Peter can do smoozing. The offered hand is taken, and shaken. "How's it going." he greets. "Peter Quill, like Audrey said." There's a glance at her comment about 'not from around these parts'. "You could say that, yeah. But hey, you look like a busy man and I'll not take up too much of your time. But yeah, if you're looking for someone to drop in for a job every now and then, I'm happy to offer my services." However, since Audrey and Berto are the collegues here, he'll let them do the talking. Being the new guy an all."


His gaze sliding toward Roberto before returning to the newcomer, the receptionist answers, "Er, yes, it is." He seems surprised that she didn't come seeking Roberto personally; the Brazilian's profile is high enough that some walk-ins ask for him by name (and not all of them in a friendly way). He glances over the girl, quickly taking in her well-worn clothes and her unusual eyes, and ventures, "Do you need the team's help? Do you think you're in danger, or in trouble?" The front desk staff here is trained to get mutants the assistance they need — X-Red may be a business, but it's a business with a mission.

Off to the side of the desk, Roberto shakes Peter's hand firmly and gives him the same bright smile. "Good to meet you, Peter. We have lots of non-mutants working here, so that won't be a problem at all." He might be busy, but he's obviously taking the time to give Audrey and her friend his full consideration. In a way, it's a break from the more difficult parts of his day. The CEO gives Audrey a curious glance, saying, "But you mention monetizing skills. I'm guessing you mean unusual ones?" With a look back to Peter, he asks directly: "What sort of skills are we talking about?"


"De Team? Ah, no, no. Ain't like dat." Lyn is quick to explain to the man behind the desk. "M'sorry. Didn't mean t'sound as if I had s'me problems. Jus' lookin' t'talk t'someone. Met a few mutants already, n'dey good people. Figured dey know some t'ings I don'. Y'know any of dem dat deal wit magic, perhaps? Spirits maybe?"

There's an off glance toward Quill as the Creole finally has a name to link with the rocket man from a couple days prior. Still refusing to stick her nose into the introduction process, Lyn turns her attentions back to the receptionist. She offers the man a gentle smile, one that presses a dimple into each cheek. "Ah, if dat's askin' too much, maybe jus' a point in de right direction'll do." She pauses and then her eyes go wide. "Oh! I c'n pay, too, if dat's what y'needin'."


"I'll let Peter explain those ones." Audrey takes a step back to let the boys talk, glancing back toward Lyn and the receptionist. She looks…familiar.


"I'm not a mutant, but that doesn't mean I won't take work where it's offered. And well, if it's for a good cause, that's a bonus." Peter says casually. "Well, that's sort of a loaded question. And heh, I don't usually talk about myself like this. Little odd. Alright. I have electronics knowledge, marksmanship training, hand-to-hand, the general stuff that should get you on the cover of Badass Montly, right? I'm also a pilot, if it has a wings, I can fly it, and sometimes wings are optional. Lockpicking, survival training. And while it may not exactly be needed, I have a certain amount of knowledge pretaining to politics and contacts that are…ah, not exactly restrained by the bounds of our atmosphere." So no, he's not just going to come out and /say it/. "I have some personalized equipment that makes things easier, items that I'll spare the details on. I've led mercenary and bount hunting teams before. Tactical experience." That all said, he gives a little shrug. "That may sound rather generic, but I've been around the block a couple times. I suppose I offer experience to take the job seriously."


Perhaps oddly, the receptionist seems relieved to hear that it's a question about magic. "Oh, yes, Illyana Rasputin is one of our founding members," he answers with a smile. "Her abilities are based in both mutation and magic." He pulls out a brochure containing capsule bios of the superpowered members of the team, circles a paragraph about Magik (one that's very light on references to demons), and hands it to Lyn. "As for meeting people, well…"

He glances over at Roberto, just as the Brazilian squints at Peter and says, "Quite a skillset. But restrained by the bounds of…? There's no need to be secretive. Desmond!" He looks back at the receptionist and draws him into the conversation by asking, "What do I do?"

"Um… Throw cars at people, mostly. Sir," the man answers. Before Roberto's attention wanders, he gestures at Lyn and adds pointedly, "You also act as the point person for the team's public relations."

"Certo — exactly," Roberto confirms with a curt nod. Then he grimaces and amends, "Well, I don't just throw cars at people. I also pick up heavy things and… Well, the point is, we're very open about what we do here." That's his cue to beckon Lyn over. "We don't hold the public at arms length. Roberto 'Sunspot' da Costa." He reaches out to take Lyn's hand and incline his head in a slight bow toward her. "Anything specific I can help you with?"


Lyn takes the pamplet and offers both a nod, and smile, of thanks. "I'll get it a look see. N'might contact her sometime. T'anks." When brought over to join the trio, she looks at the union of her hand with Roberto's own. With a firm, but not heavy grip, she gives the man's a little shake before pulling her limb away. "Lynette. Y'c'n call me Lyn or Lynnie if y'want. Don' care." Pausing, her brows slope before one quirks up. "Sunspot? Y'super hot, too, or jus' strong?"

Now closer, she eyes both Audrey and Quill in turn, offering each a nod of silent 'hello'. There's some recognition there, causing the Creole's head to tilt to the side briefly. "We, ah, sharin' what all we do or c'n I jus' plea d'fifth f'dat one?" Lyn muses with a smirk. "Oh, no. Was jus' lookin' f'others dat might be a bit magically inclined. T'inkin' 'bout facin' a fear a mine, soon. Better safe n'prepared dan dead, y'know?"


"'Berto's a brick," Audrey summarizes for Peter, in that imminently tactical way she has of categorizing powers. It happens when you're raised around people trying to build their own unit of powered people. "Enhanced strength, stamina, durability. Also, a complete inability to pass on a straight line like that," she adds with a rueful smile when Lyn asks if he's hot. "Audrey," she introduces herself with a simple nod. "Photomanipulation."


Peter Quill puffs in his cheeks, blowing out a breath. "Just what I said. I have extensive knowledge of things beyond the confines of this planet." he says, glancing about him. There's another look at Audrey, wordless. "Alright." he resigns. "I'm from Missouri but I haven't lived there since I was 10 or so. I haven't lived on this planet since then. I only came back recently, and it wasn't really by choice. So yeah, there you go. I speak seveal non-human languages, I have contacts in various non-human governments, knowledge of various underworld variety also non-human."

A nod back at Audrey. "Yeah, kinda caught that one with Suburban lifting thing. Kinda jealous of that one." Back to Berto. "So there you go. Like Audrey here said I'm not from around here. Not in a long time."


"Pleased to meet you, Lyn. Super hot? Well, I mean, I don't like to brag…" Roberto answers, flashing a cocky smile before Audrey lets the air out of his bantery response. "Certo. Well. Every superhero has weaknesses," he admits, mock-pouty. More seriously, he answers Lyn "I can put out heat if I want to — lots of it — but it's optional. See?"

In an instant, his suit, skin, everything except burning embers of eyes disappears into impenetrable darkness. Bubbling orange energy surrounds him like fire, but he's only putting off the gentle warmth of pavement on a sunny day. (Audrey's 'brick' description is accurate in more than one way.) When he speaks, even his voice is normal, which is a little incongruent with his balrog-like appearance: "And no, it's only people who work here that are expected to be upfront about their powers." His Sunspot form fades and he adds, "Although it's a safe place, if you want to talk about it. I'm no sorcerer, but I've dealt with magic quite a bit myself. Come on in."

He waves the group through the entrance into the central concourse of X-Red's Manhattan hub. Grand windows overlook the Upper East Side, with Central Park visible a few blocks away. Staffers bustle around, interspersed with a few young people in superhero costumes, each design unique but all sharing a red, black, and gold color scheme. A couple are using mutant powers to accomplish inexplicable tasks; most are just filling out paperwork or carrying on conversations.

"So, if I'm hearing you right, Peter — do you have a spaceship?" Roberto can't help but look intrigued. More intrigued, it must be said, by the prospect of parking a real live spaceship on the balcony than he is thrown off by the claim of interplanetary travel. Da Costa might be young for a CEO, but it's hard to escape the growing impression that he has seen some crazy shit in those years.


"Pleased to meet you, Audrey. Peter." Lyn greets using their names this time around, now that they're known to her. The commentary about Space only has her blinking a bit, but with less disbelief than one might imagine she should have. And when Roberto speaks of his hotness and weakness, the snake-eyed girl scoffs before rolling her eyes. Then, he shifts, and like a moth to the flame, the girl reaches out, feeling the heat and silently daring herself to press forward. She stops, however, a breath away, and lowers her hand back down.

"Suppose it's only fair," the girl concludes before giving a gentle clearing of her throat. "M'a livin' voodoo doll." Once invited into the x-cave, Ms. Floof follows, guiding herself toward one of the massive windows. She stares out at the city below, the traffice of both cars and people, before settling her attentions on the vibrant greens of the city's oasis.


That explains a few things. Audrey keeps her thoughts about Lyn's powers to herself, though, stepping into the larger room only to stop short. "All right, I suddenly start to see why you're so beat, 'Berto," she says, blinking. "How many people do you have working here now?" She takes a few steps further inside to catch up with the others, getting a good look around. "A little different from when I moved in."


"If I had one, I wouldn't be here." Peter points out. "I'd be waist deep in some lost ruin looking something to sell. I'm…explorer of sorts." Yeah, that's the proper term for it. "Long story short, I got bushwhacked by a couple of dimwits. Tied up, stripped down and dumped naked on at a high-profile party. Their idea of 'teaching me a lesson'. And then they flew off in my ship. Which I'm still a little salty about. So to answer your question, no, I don't. For now." While Lyn gets a nod in greeting, his focus is mainly on Berto.


"It has been a couple of challenging weeks," Roberto admits with a smirk when Audrey expresses her surprise. "The group is expanding, sim. There may be a lot of people out there who hate us, but there are even more who can see our abilities for the valuable talents they are. That puts us in demand." He doesn't hold a leadership position in the group anymore — not really — but it's hard to miss the sense of pride in his voice.

Or, when it comes down to it, the disappointment on his face when Quill admits he doesn't have a spaceship he might eventually get a chance to pilot. "That's a shame," he says simply. "So, no actual powers, and no access to alien tech, given the whole naked-on-a-rooftop thing." Roberto smirks and glances at Audrey. "Broke, and with nothing but a skillset. I can see why you brought him to me."

Reaching out to clap Peter on the back in a comradely way, Roberto reassures him, "We can find something for you, I think. There are a few corporate counter-espionage tasks you might be able to help with. A few straight espionage ones, too, but we have a legal team vetting those. And to be honest, I think there might be a few X-men concerns you could help with, too."

Glancing over at Lyn, he adds curiously, "A living voodoo doll? I will have to see how that works sometime."


"Honestly, don' sound too bad. Y'skills, I mean." Lyn offers her two cents and offers Quill a brighter smile. "Hey, honor n'all dat between peole like us." She doesn't completely say it, but anyone could guess she probably meant thieves. Drawing herself away from the aerial view of the park, she presses her back against the glass and watches the trio as they continue their conversation. When her abilities come into question, her solid eyes widen just a touch.

"Oh! Um…sure. Ain't pretty, most of de time. Den 'gain, usually comes int'play when shit hit de fan, no?" Taking a breath, her eyes settles on Sunspot in particular. She stares for a few moments, her hands loose by her sides until they smoothly reach up and being poking, proding, and scritching at her stomach and sides.


"You did all right by me," Audrey smiles faintly to Roberto, though there's a rare glimpse of warmth in her features when she says it. She may have left the team, but she'll always have a soft spot for the ones who got her off the street. As Lyn demonstrates her powers, she watches, head tilting slightly.


"I have some tech." Peter remarks, withdrawing one of his Spartosi element guns, spinning it around partly to let Berto take a look at if he wants. "They're called element weapons, and they do exactly what you think they would. There's also this…" he touches the back of his ear, causing his helmet to materialize around his face and back of his head. "Senors scan light frequencies, scan of structural weaknesses, kinetic disturbances, soundwaves. Comm package, VI warning dectection system, and other sorts of prgrams that would take a bit too long to explain. Also allows me to breathe in a vacuum, under water. The boots allow me flight, around mach one or so. I also have another sortment of tool, all of which were in my duffle bag that I was dumped off with. Electronics gear, lockpicks, sensory mines, and other things. I'd actualy have to take a complete inventory of what I have to be honest." That all said, he lets his helemt vanish as quickly as it came. "Mostly, I'm a freelancer, but if you think there's a job or two you can toss my way, feel free. I work well in teams and in solo ventures."


Roberto is taken aback at when a helmet first appears on Peter's face, but he gets the idea quickly and nods. "Ah, even better, then," he says with a smirk. "We work as a freelance agency, like a design house, so you'd be doing contract assignments but could still be a full team member." He shifts his posture slightly, then turns to Audrey. "It was the least we could do, camarada," Roberto answers her, smiling. "It is good to see that you're" — he pauses halfway through the sentence and laughs.

It seems like a fairly natural conversational beat at first, but when he starts to continue, he laughs again instead. This time, he doesn't quite stop, either: he sort of… wriggles? It's as if he's trying to shuck something uncomfortable, but there's nothing there. Pretty soon, he's clutching his sides, not from the laughter — which isn't the sort of hilarity that makes your sides hurt — but in an attempt to protect them. He turns to Lyn, eyes wide, and manages to say, "Certo — I get it!"


Lyn grins impishly, and offers Sunspot a wink before her hands lower and the sensations cease. Beaming now, she glances at the other two, giving Quill's gizmos the once over before offering a more pleasant smile to Audrey. "Well, seems like y'got a place t'be, Space Man. Sorry 'bout y'missin' out on y'home. Maybe y'get back dere sometime." Tapping against her chin, she nibbles against her lower lip and then points toward Audrey. "Hey, were y'dere de other day? In Lil' Italy when all dat mess started happenin'?


"I was," Audrey nods to Lyn, hands in her pockets. "I was keeping an eye on Cap." Let's not discuss the level of psychological damage that's been done when you actually feel like you need to tail Captain America. "Looks like it was just as well, though. Speaking of," she says, checking her watch. "I was going to stop by there later. You want to hit the thrift store on the way, Peter? Or I could come back for you once you've had a chance to talk."


"Missouri is home. Technically. It's where I was born anyways. But up there, that was real freedom." Peter is a whimsical for a pause, glancing skyward, then back down. "But if I'm ground-based for a time, eh, I'll live. Could be worse." Berto gives a nod. "Right, that works. call when you need me sort of thing, offer the job, yeah I know how it works. That's..heh, actually what I'm used to. Your name gets out, people look you up, offer a job. I don't know if I'll ever be a member, but you can consider me a friend for the cause. Let's see how it all goes, eh? Sounds all doable to me." The spacer always been the freelancer sort, taking jobs where they come, never really doing the 'team' thing, beyond his own. But playing with others? He can certainly do that.

There's nod back at Audrey. "Yeah, we can go do that. And I'll go with you to see the man. Didn't want to see him get knocked around like that. Let's hit the thrift store after."


It takes a few breaths for Roberto to get back under control, but as he straightens back up, he gives Lyn a respectful nod. "I guess I asked for that, didn't I?" he says wrily. Turning to Audrey and Peter, he nods and says, "Obrigado, Audrey — bringing him here was a good choice. Peter, leave a contact number with Desmond and we'll be in touch. It was good to meet you, Quill, and great to see you again, Audrey. Tchau, both of you."

Turning back to Lyn as the others depart, he asks, "So, what is this trouble you want to get yourself into, again?"


Lyn offers the pair a lazy salute as they depart. "Nice seein' ya 'gain. Be careful out dere." Resting her hands behind her back, gingerly clasping at her elbows. "Yeah, y'did." Giggles the girl as she turns to face Roberto directly. "Well, guess y'like dat whole bein' open stuff. So, no reason t'lie. M'goin' after a lwa dat tried t'eat m'soul. Somet'ing was off 'bout it, so m'tryin' t'get ready t'go callin' on her."


"A… lwa," Roberto repeats, looking uncertain. Between Lyn's regional accent and his own foreign one, he isn't sure whether this is a word he doesn't know, or just one he doesn't understand. "Is that a demon?" he ventures. As a friend of Illyana's since high school, that's actually familiar territory for him, so it's not surprising that's where his mind goes first.


"Dat's right, lwa." Lyn repeats the sound rolling off her tongue, slowly, as 'low-ah'. She then shakes her head, sending her curls and floof to sway a bit. "Nah, dey ain't demons. De lwa are spirits. Some of dem good, n'some of dem bad. Most of dem have two sides, jus' like people. Dey c'n be either, dependin' on how y'treat'em." Turning away, she watches out the window down to the park below. "M'tryin' t'understand m'self, n'what I c'n do. Don' t'ink m'I mutant, dough. Talked t'a nice lady named Ororo, n'she sure I ain't. Always had a bit a power, n'my eyes like dis since I was born."


"Oh, I know Ororo," Roberto says, his tone fond and cheerful. "If she is confident in something, she is usually right. But like I said to Peter, we are not just a group for mutants, even if it is our focus area. All of us can understand trying to learn to work with your abilities. We have a few members and contacts with mystical powers who can probably help you deal with this spirit."

Settling back next to Lyn against the window, he crosses his arms and glances upward, thinking. "Do you think you might have done something to offend the lwa?"


Lyn nods, pressing her finger against the glass and moving it about, leaving behind nothing but symbols in her mind's eye. "Well, might have t'stop by 'gain sometime. Speak wit de others dat c'n do dat." She then shakes her head and lowers her touch from the chilled surface. "No. Don' t'ink so. Always been devout to de lwa. Even t'ink dat de one m' goin' to was wit me de night I came int' my own. She help me, n'normally, she ain't dat violent. Either way, s'better t'be on m'guard."

The girl shudders then, as if something had ran through her body like a spark. Her eyes flutter and then fall shut as she supports herself with a palm against the window. "S-sorry. T'ink I need t'be goin' now. Goin' t'meet up wit a teacher a mine." Dizzy, groggy maybe, the girl stands back with a wobble before regaining her balance. "T'anks f'talkin' with me, Mr. da Costa. I be sure t'drop by 'gain, if y'have me."


Roberto nods, considering what Lyn has to say about her experiences with the Lwa. When she slumps, however, the Brazilian quickly reaches out to hold one of her shoulders bracingly, his expression one of concern. He's no mystical expert, but that didn't look good. "If you're sure you're alright," he says, searching her face. "I can have one of our staffers drive you wherever you need to go, though. Just say the word."


Lyn rolls her serpent like eyes upward, taking in the man's face. A smile settles on her full lips, tender and kind. "M'alright." She promises and then stands a bit straighter, her hand reaching up to give a thankful touch against the man's own. "Promise, m'fine wit walk-" Her fingers grip around Roberto's own as her eyes roll back and her head rests. Her mouth gapes and a breath rolls from them, upward and outward. "Two vortexes are crossin',spinnin' hectic, chaotic. One a shadow, n' one blindin', molten white. Dey twist, n'coil, like asps tryin' t'swallow one 'nother. Brothers, a reflection, y'self."

Swallowing, she lowers her head and gives it a shake, her free hand rubbing against the bridge of her nose. "M'sorry. I-I t'ink I really be goin' now."


Roberto has reared back, shocked. The delivery of that strange symbolic screed is an intensely strange moment, but also intensely private: around them, no one has noticed anything wrong — the bustle of the office continues around them, oblivious. "Are you…?" he starts to ask, but he doesn't even know what question he could present. He seems oddly ashamed, even though she's the one who is behaving oddly, as though she has described something private and secret with uncanny accuracy. He doesn't stop her from leaving; he just mumbles another "Tchau." He'll definitely be asking his magic-using friends about this.

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