Shiftheads

April 20, 2015:

Black Canary meets with members of the X-Men to discuss the Smooth situation.

New York City

X-Men Red HQ

Characters

NPCs: Mutant Addicts of SMOOTH

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Typically, when Scott Summers visits the X-Red HQ, he's there as… well, Scott Summers. People know of him as a teacher at the Xavier Institute, a well known upstate university that has special curricula for metahuman gifted youth.

Today, however, he's decked out in his black and blue X-Men uniform, the hood up to conceal his features save for that strong chin and peak physique. One of his teammates provided him with a unique form of travel - teleportation. He stands in the meeting area alongside Audrey and Lunair, arms folded over his chest. While he may try to conceal the worry from his face, it's quite visible in the way his lips are drawn into a tightly pressed line.

Black Canary types her pose.

Lunair doesn't really do uniforms. She's one of the drifteriest X-people that ever did happen to have an X-gene. Lunair doesn't seem as worried as usual, or she's just bad at showing facial expressions. Probably the second. That, and kidnapping is a form of transport in her universe and white vans are just sort of a thing. Nevertheless, Lunair looks to Scott, curious and concerned. "Um." Wait. How does she ask this?

Lunair pulls out a Miss Manners book and starts reading. Brilliant.

Black Canary had arrived at the X-Red HQ not too long ago with a pair of older men helping her escort some 'prisoners', she had left her compatriots outside; not wanting to make a big social gathering of what was a very sensitive issue.

Making her way to the meeting area, she is dressed not in her old body armor but a brand new black costume with yellow accents and faux fishnets.

Extending a hand towards Cyclops she smiles, "It's nice to meet you in person finally, I'm Black Canary." A nod was given to Lunair and Lux when they arrived since she had prior met the pair.

Audrey is curled up in one of the chairs at the conference table, tapping a finger at the screen in front of her with a frown. She's been doing her best to gather information about how the smooth is moving through the city, talking to people on the streets, watching the drug deals that go down, trying to track the shipments that move across the city. She used to do it so she could know how to avoid it. Now? The same skills transfer.

As the others show up, she spins her chair around, tucking her hair behind her ear and waving to the new arrivals. "Sir, ma'am," she nods sharply.

"Cyclops." Scott takes Canary's hand with a firm, professional, single shake. "You've already met Armory and Lux." Within moments, his arms are crossed again, looking down a bit as he's clearly the tallest one here, and studying Black Canary with a speculative look. It's hard to tell whether the visor makes it more or less intimidating, really.

"So, Lux tells me you've come across some people in need of help?"

The visor is so cool. Lunair is of average height, and so also, literally, looks up to Scott. She smiles politely, and waves. "Hiya." She looks to Lux, tilting her head. Lunair has been investigating Smooth in her own way, and while she's an incredible sneak (right up until she opens her mouth, anyway)… Well.

Lunair is quietly curious. She has her hair tied back, and doesn't seem too ruffled. But it's hard to tell what she's thinking when she has a thousand yard stare. And she listens.

"Yes, we've been trying to do what we can to try and keep new shipments of Smooth from hitting the streets. The last time, our 'friends' that I brought here were trying to attack a shipment so they could I imagine, use it all for themselves." Canary sighs, "They need help. Drug addiction is a dangerous thing but this Smooth is something else and based on what I've heard over the years, it seems like the X-Men are the best people to give them that help. A healer I work with, Rain, did what she could for them but rehabilitation and care takes more than a night."

"Here's the thing," Audrey says, turning her chair back toward the table and sweeping the data on her tablet back onto the holograph in the center of the table. "Demand for this stuff is ridiculously huge. But it's clearly not something natural, or we would've come across it before. Which means it has to be synthesized and processed somewhere. And that takes time, and infrastructure." In the center of the table floats a map of the tri-city corridor, one with bright dots for every smooth-related incident she's been able to track.

Canary is right, of course. However, what really bothers Cyclops is a thing that goes unspoken, but something Lunair and Lux were well aware of. The X-Men had their hands full, quite literally, with smooth addicts. Muir Island is at capacity, and Professor Xavier has all but maximized his resources, both in and outside of the school.

What doesn't go unspoken is the way his jaw works back and forth. Clear, visible, worry. He's grateful for Lux's words, as they help to momentarily redirect the subject.

"What I understand is that this stuff's a derivative of street heroin. Am I right? FDA report has classified the drug as a Schedule I. But… I can't find any details on what's in it and how that affects the mutant X-Gene. But it does." He looks over to Audrey. "You're right, Lux. I'm no scientist, but this can't be something that occurs naturally." For a moment or two, he studies the map. Scott's a very strategic person, but he cannot find any rhyme or reason to the occurrences. No pattern, aside from the fact that it would seem certain neighborhoods are targetted.

"Look at the clusters," he points out. "Makes sense. Mutants tend to live nearby one another. Sense of comfort."

Lunair explains, "There is probably demand for it because it grants more and/or stronger powers as well as enabling a degree of control over certain powers. For someone who has problems with their powers or problematic powers, it's probably a godsend. As for its synthesis, I believe it started with only a couple of sources if my memory holds up. If HYDRA got involved, then there'll be a LOT more churning it out. However, if they miss doses, they start to lose control and stuff."

Lunair falls quiet. She tilts her head. A nod at Scott. "Strictly speaking, nearly every chemical has organic basis - but…" She looks thoughtful. "If it is that addictive or dangerous to withdraw, I would probably look to those clusters. A user wouldn't just wander away from their source," She points out. "And what Cyclops said." Lunair is thoughtful enough to use codenames, at least. "I know that one church full of anti-mutant types was wanting to spread it to destroy mutants and get them arrested and stuff."

Canary was gratefully unaware of the issue with the lack of place to store Smooth addicts, she just knew they would get far better treatment with the X-Men than they would in a state run facility where they could hurt themselves AND others.

"I have some of my friends working on analyzing some Smooth Samples, if they find anything, I'll share whatever we get. Unfortunately, like you, I'm no scientist." At least she assumed Cyclops was not a scientist.

She stares at the map as well and even with her years of tactical acumen and expertise she couldn't spot a pattern, "Maybe there is no pattern, it's clearly coming from outside the Tri-City area and from what I've heard little to no connection between the dealers. I've heard rumors some guy named Dackleman may have been behind it, but he's dead now and the drugs are still coming. Has anyone considered this might be Hydra? They have been experimenting on mutants lately."

Audrey quirks a brow when Lunair starts spouting the medical knowledge. That's new. She doesn't say anything about it, though, turning the map to look at it from a few angles. "The addicts and gangs have been hitting shipments as they're being moved," she points out. "Which means whoever it planning these hits has to know where they're coming from. Or at least part of the routes. If we could get those and cross-reference them, we might be able to find out where it's coming from."

There is a momentary pause where Cyclops looks over toward Lunair. The costume keeps everyone from noticing his eyebrows shooting upward, but they are.

"We're working on the assumption that HYDRA is behind its distribution," Cyclops agrees. "It would be right up their alley, given what we've seen from them lately, but we can't assume that they created it or are the ones making it. It's possible, but, don't make that assumption too heavily."

A nod of approval is given to Lux. She was on the right path. However, there was a pressing issue to come back to, and that draws his attention back to Canary.

"Just how many addicts do you have under your protection?" he asks.

Lunair knows things! Really, she do! She just runs into the unfortunate fact of life that in order to be considered such, she has to communicate this and she fails spectacularly at it. Alas. Nevertheless, Lunair offers, "If he kept any research notes, his product probably will outlive him." As if it already weren't. And it's probably good she doesn't notice Cyclops' eyebrows attempting a space launch.

"I am not a chemist, though," Headshake. Lunair is quiet a moment.

"Just three of them. We've been dealing more with the dealers than the addicts." Canary pauses a moment and thinks on what has been said, "Hydra has been behind a lot of things lately, so it wouldn't surprise me in the least I mean the President was assassinated that hasn't happened in any of our lifetimes."

"Whether it's Hydra or someone else, it's sort of a moot point right now," Audrey shrugs, flicking a finger over the screen to take down the holograph and setting her tablet back down on the table. "Hydra, Russians, random homegrown dealers. We find them, we take out their production line, and there's no more smooth on the streets."

"Doubtful," Cyclops answers Lunair. "If this Dackleman character was a crime kingpin, can almost guarantee he wasn't the 'Walter White' behind the operation." He looks away, then back to Lunair, guessing that she's not the type to watch TV at night. "He probably didn't design the drug."

When Black Canary tells them that there are only three, he breathes a visible sigh of relief. "The X-Men are already taking care of more addicts than we can handle," he answers. "Fortunately, I believe we can handle three more. I'll speak with Mr. DaCosta and arrange for them to be given housing here, and supervision, while we sort out the legalities. He has expert lawyers, but given recent developments with the FDA and local law enforcement, I can't guarantee anything."

Which doesn't at all mean that the addicts won't be spirited away to another location for their own protection, but, that decision will have to come later. Talk of President Pershing's assassination has him frowning again. He seems saddened by it.

"I liked Pershing. Upton is… well, he's military, and that's to be respected, but I worry about the constituents who helped to put them in office." He's going to leave it at that. Scott was involved politically, and he's a bit worried about Upton's fans from the south. They haven't historically been the most accepting of… well. The list is long.

He finally turns a visored gaze back upon Lux. "Keep on the dealers. I want the two of you to exchange contact information." He gestures toward Black Canary. "Work together and strategize. If we put enough pressure on these supply lines, we just might be able to find the source and knock this out where it begins." He looks back to Canary then. "I have people working on medicines to help with the withdrawal symptoms too. If the smooth dries up, we're going to have a lot of angry, desperate addicts on the street, and from what I understand from reports given to me, conventional medical attention and treatment plans simply aren't working."

Canary's phone begins to ring and she silences it when Scott is talking, only answering it when he is done.

"Yeah."

"Good, just give me a second."

She holds the phone up to the others and says, "One minute, I need to take this, Smooth related."

Lunair listens. She tilts her head. And she totally does watch TV. Where does he think she's picking up on culture and catching up on things? Also, the internet. Which might explain so, so much. Including her love of gothic and elegant lolita fashion.

Nevertheless, she is listening more than speaking. She frowns. "The president didn't seem like too bad of a guy." She doesn't know a lot, but well.

"I'll do my best to keep an eye out." Lunair nods at Scott. "Of course, they won't. It's very much different. It is difficult to rein back in powers that have gotten loose, and I have a theory that it works on a genetic level, but… I dunno. I need to take more chemistry." She rubs the back of her head. "How painful would it be to suddenly lose control after having a bit of it?" To have loved and lost, and so on. "But I am going to keep looking for my friend and finding what I can." So there. "And I will try not to get underfoot of others." Others who have, you know, some modicum of social skills.

Audrey looks between Canary and Cyclops for a moment, looking briefly sheepish. "We kind of have been," she admits, looking away to shut down the tablet on the table. "I've been helping out with some of the operations to go after the smooth dealers with Canary's people. It's…a different angle, with different ideas. And more military isn't always a good thing," she adds with a grimace, turning back. "SHIELD's one thing. But if the president comes asking about mutants, it's probably best if they don't know everything we can do."

Audrey's confession has Scott grinning. Yes, an actual grin. The kid was a step ahead of him, which is one of the things he likes about her. He doesn't need to tell her to 'keep it up' or anything; the order had already been given, and the grin should be enough.

The grin that fades when now-President Upton is mentioned.

"Well." He glances toward Canary with a conspiratorial look. "That's why we have X-Men Red." He's not openly confessing that there are other sides to the X-Men. Even though there are rumors. Many, many rumors. But, the X-Men on Red Team use their real names in addition to code names. Cyclops does not, and he's not listed as a member of X-Red. She should be able to figure out. The hint was intentional.

"I'll go and find Roberto," he says. "Canary, if you'll have your people escort the addicts in, I'll help to get them settled." He's halfway through departing, but on his way out, he glances toward Lunair. "I'm gonna want you helping out with the antidote side of this problem."

Lunair tilts her head. She smiles. Audrey is nifty. Even if Lunair sometimes has problems understanding. Still, she pauses. "Okie dokey." She'll do her best! Lunair has a lot to learn, but she is a knowledge sponge. Thankfully not like a kitchen sponge because then people would be microwaving her weekly and frankly, with the white vans and dart drones, she has plenty on her plate in that regard. Lunair is an undecided X-person, but she seems very reluctant to go public, if at all.

After all, being an unknown very much helps her with her job(s) and lets her do her own thing.

"Yeah," Audrey nods to Scott, and beneath the surface, there's some nerves as well. She joined the Red team under the premise that the military would have a hell of a time pulling her back into their secret program if she was right in front of the public eye. If people might recognize her. Notice if she disappeared. But it's still a bold plan. "We'll keep working on it, sir," she promises. "In the meantime, if it's a lack of control that's driving people toward the drug…maybe we should think about how we can help with that."

Canary returns and her phone is slipped into her pocket, "Sorry about that, one of my contact was calling me to give me some information." She looks around the room and explains, "He's positive there are no mutant dealers for Smooth, all of the pushers, suppliers and what not he's heard of are human and he's got a good network of contacts. Most of them won't sell to anyone other than mutants either, explains why there isn't an epidemic of smooth junkies in the normal population comparative to heroine or crack or meth."

Her eyes darken for a moment, "Racism though plays a part, like some of these dealers are apparently massively racist pricks against mutants. It's probably not just about money with them, even if this is Hydra; there have to be others involved. Now we're dealing with a more militant president who from what I've heard is not the biggest fans of mutants or metas. Smooth is part of something bigger. It's made mutants look bad even, because of the actions of these junkies."

"Addicts." Cyclops, when he corrects Canary, does so softly. He does not like referring to anyone as a junkie. He won't even acknowledge the rumor he's heard that some people have taken to calling smooth addicts 'smoothies'. It's downright disrespectful.

To Audrey, he points a finger. "Part and parcel of the whole challenge." He turns away again, departing from the group in order to go and locate Roberto.

Lunair is listening for a moment. She furrows her eyebrows at the news. "Well, no. Smooth works best, if at all, on people with certain genetic make up. That is, mutants," She explains. "Which is why my theory is that it work at a genetic level. After all, I gained an immune system through certain medicines," She remarks quietly. She notes, "And I said before, there was a church full of anti-mutant people wanting to spread smooth to eliminate mutants and bring the government down on them. But I can't blame someone if they have lousy powers and need help getting control of them…" Lunair headshakeheadshakes. "I mean, some mutations are life threatning or lethal to themselves or those around them." She goes quiet. "But I won't keep you guys. I should probably make sure I am not late to botany lab."

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