View Full Version : Street Walkin'
04-05-2006, 05:20 AM
'There's nothing to be worried about,' the girl reassured herself. 'You're not breaking any rules, so you're not doing anything wrong. You're not going to be in trouble.'
At least, that's what Okalani Calahate told herself as she walked along a freshly cleaned sidewalk that followed a thin street in the 'downtown' area of Salem Center, the town that the X-Mansion lay nearest to. She wasn't out past curfew, not at all. In fact, the town streets were still alive with traffic, both of vehicles and bodies. The sun had just barely gone down, dusk had darkened the skies just enough to be noticable about five minutes ago, and the sun's leftover heat still warmed the air, enough so that people could comfortably walk about in tank tops and jeans and hardly be bothered by the nip of a breeze. There was no danger, no harm. It was just a stroll in a harmless town.
Now, Lani was a well behaved girl. She did as she was told and was never rude, followed the rules of the mansion well enough to be considered an 'exemplary student'. However, there was one rule that had been laid upon her that crushed her soul-- no wandering off grounds. Having grown up in an environment where she had an entire tropical forest to roam at her leisure, she didn't do well with confinement. Sure, the grounds were large, covered a massive amount of land for a New York State establishment, but it simply didn't feel enough. In just a month's time, she had explored almost every corner of the mansion's grounds, spent all of her time outside in an attempt to cope with her confinement. Yet, it wasn't enough. She had enough room to stretch her legs, but not her mind. It was the idea of being unable to go where she pleased that bothered her the most. Every time she looked out the front window to see another student beyond the gate, riding a skateboard or just out for a walk, a pang of envy stabbed at her heart.
So, this morning in the dining room, when the curtians were opened and a view beyond the mansion's boundries was presented to her, Lani made a decision. She would go past the gate and stretch her legs and her soul. After finishing breakfast, she had gone back to her room, grabbed a coat she had been given when she first arrived, stuffed it into a backpack, and gone out onto the grounds. Before she left, she wrote a quick note and left it stuck on her roommate's computer screen. "Jubilee: Went running the grounds. Packed a couple sandwiches, in case I don't make it back for supper. Will be back before it is too late. --Lani"
That note was there just in case anyone came looking for her, which was a rare thing indeed. While friendly, Lani wasn't necessarily sociable, and hadn't made many real friends during her stay at the mansion. She preferred to keep to herself, get lost in daydreams and the woods. So no one had noticed when she hopped the fence out of view of the mansion, pulled on her coat, and started into town.
She had made sure no one was around when she 'escaped', so why was she so paranoid? Even as she strolled past people on the sidewalk, only two or three feet away from them, even bumping shoulders with a boy on a skateboard once, she knew her coat covered her well enough, though slightly suspicious in the warm air. It was a light dust-color, cinched at the waist so as to appear feminine and less conspicuous than an old fashioned trench coat, and was long enough to touch the ground. She stepped carefully, making sure her feet didn't extend past the safety of her coat hem, and held her tail close to her body, wrapped about her calf, to prevent it from wiggling or lifting and giving itself away.
No, being discovered was the least of her worries. What worried her was the distinct feeling of paranoia that continued to peck at her mind and clench her heart in her chest. Believing she heard something out of place, Lani stopped walking for a second to look over her shoulder and squint at the back of a man who had passed her's head.
'Oh, stop being silly,' Lani scolded herself silently. Shaking her head, she turned and continued foreward along the sidewalk. She wasn't going to let her imagination run away with her and ruin her few hours of freedom. A sidelong glance gave her a view inside a diner, where a child and his parents sat enjoying burgers and fries, and this sight brought a smile to her face. The world was a wonderful place, her ignorance assured this. Everything was fine.
04-20-2006, 06:49 AM
Salem Center. New York State. In it's own little way, the nugget of information Doe had was almost more irritating than if he didn't have it at all. Somewhere in the vicinty was a mutant haven, a place where they gathered, eat, slept, lived. Somewhere that was a treasure trove of subjects for his experiments. And he needed to find out where.
He'd spent enough time in Salem over the past few days to satisfy him for a lifetime. Too much activity that he was not in control of for his liking. At the same time, it did make it much easier for him to simply blend in with the people, and it was quite possible there wasn't a person on the planet - at least, a homo sapien - that was better at fading to background noise. Once there, he simply spent his time in the area, watching the people around him without making it obvious that he was doing so, trying to match faces against the thousands of profiles of known mutants and runaway children that he'd memorized. Thus far, and not surprisingly, he'd not come across anyone he knew to be a mutant, and he couldn't risk approaching someone that was simply a run-of-the-mill human going about their pointless lives.
Today, however, that changed. He'd spotted the girl a short time after she'd shown up in the Center, and spent the next twenty-five minutes casually following her and, in the process, buying a newspaper, two cups of coffee, and dropping a quarter into a parking meter. The last action, which he'd done with his eyes pointed in the direction of the meter but his attention on her in his peripheral vision, had fully confirmed to him that it was her when she passed him by. His attention shifted somewhat slightly to her once she was fully past him, and he smiled to himself as he watched her walk, obviously hiding something under that coat. If the normal clueless citizen on the street was half as aware as he was, there wouldn't be a mutant alive that could walk among them without being found out. He felt like he could smell them.
With a short glance up the street in the direction the girl had come, one final check to make sure she'd come alone, he stepped onto the sidewalk and started towards her, his pace such that he'd catch up to her without it appearing that he was in any kind of hurry. Once he'd caught up to her, he fell in step next to her and moved close, so he could speak without the irritating "people-watchers" catching bits of conversation they didn't need to hear.
"Keep walking, just do as I say, and we'll both get out of this unharmed," he began, his tone even and steady, without a shadow of wavering or doubt, and as he spoke he put a hand lightly on her elbow, to continue guiding her along. "You've been identified and there are Sentinals on the way to dispose of you." For the first time, he glanced in her direction, but it was a short glance, one meant to convey a sense of comfort and trust to her, but one that gave away virtually nothing about himself. "My name is Fisher, and I'm with a rogue government agency trying to end the violence against mutants. I can take you back, but we must leave now m'am, or this place will be up in flames in only a few moments."
The bait was set, and it was good. He had no reservations with playing on someone's great fears to get them to bend to his will, and certaintly none when it came to mutants. You've been identified, they're going to kill you, I can help you. Unless you were the terrorist Magneto, it was almost guaranteed to work on you. He expected this simple girl to be no different.
04-20-2006, 11:40 PM
Years upon years of defensive training kicked to the surface when a hand touched Lani's elbow, suddenly bringing a new and close presense to her attention. Thankfully, and luckily for the man, all that training also encompassed self-control, and knowing when to be physically defensive. So, a split second after she started to twist about the arm that was being touched, she stopped herself, so that the motion she made was more like an upward and backward twitch of the arm than anything else.
'Damn,' she thought, 'am I jumpy..' She turned her head to look at the man who was now walking beside her, his hand gently cradling her elbow now that she had returned her arm to a more rested position. She didn't mind that he was guiding her along by her arm, especially not if he was being polite about it. He didn't strike her as any sort of threat, so why cause a scene? The last thing she wanted was to draw attention to herself.
"Wh-.." The Hawaiian got out a whooshing of air noise, the beginning of her question, before she realized that she had begun to speak right as this stranger had started to talk as well, so she decidedly cut off her sentance before it even truely started, shut her mouth, and listened. As this man, this 'Fisher' man, got further into his explaination, her almond-shaped eyes grew wider and her lips parted a fraction of an inch, and these two actions were key in her expression changing from one of puzzlement to one of stunned fear. Sentinals were apparently after her. If they had discovered her, it must have been because she had ventured away from the safety of the mansion. Talk about learning your lesson the hard way..
Lani looked away from the man when he finished speaking, looking at all the people that were out on the dusk-warm sidewalks, enjoying the coming night with their friends and families, smiling and laughing, living their lives to the fullest. There was no way she could let them die because of her 'birth defect'.
"Of course..." She spoke in a hushed voice, and turned to look back to the man. "What do I need to do?" Her expression had changed once more. She no longer appeared so much frightened, but her face was set and determined. She must be one of those self-righteous martyr types, sacrificing herself before others because it was assumably the noble and heroic thing to do. Or at least, that's what kind of vibe she was giving off at the moment. ....Yet, while she agreed to do as this man told her, willing to take his advice to help save these people from a Sentinal attack, there was one question that nagged her mind.. He had said something along the lines of 'I can take you back,' but back to where? Did this man know where the mansion was? She wasn't aware that Xavier had given the location of his mansion away to any government agencies, rogue or not. Curious...
04-24-2006, 06:15 PM
"I have a car just up here," he said and pointed just up the curb, where a row of cars were parallel parked. His eyes were moving constantly, as if searching for the oncoming attack. Urgency was the key. Fear clouded the mind. The less time it had to clear, the better.
Craining his head back, he glanced behind them for a moment as they continued down the sidewalk, then nodded and turned back forward. "Okay, we're doing okay," he said quietly, although certaintly loud enough that she'd be able to hear him. The question of whether he was trying to reassure himself or settle her own nerves was one he'd be happy to let her ponder. There was nothing like a little misdirection to get you where you needed to be.
As they approached his car, a simple blue Ford Taurus, he moved a couple steps in front of her to open the passenger side door. In case her mind was trained enough to know that someone who didn't trust you would never turn their back to you, a gesture like this where she ended up standing right behind him might settle her mind on him even further. Opening the door, he stepped back and looked to her.
"Let's go, m'am. Time is of the essence."
04-25-2006, 05:16 AM
Lani followed the man to the parked car, which appeared to be plain enough in her eyes. Nothing fancy, like the sports car that Sunspot had driven her from the airport back to the mansion in on her first day in the mainland. Simple, blue, plain... a real Point-A to Point-B vehicle. This made it surprisingly non-threatening and common looking to her, especially with it being blue. Feeling mildly calmed by the fact that he didn't drive some big black car with square headlights and a heavy body, she adjusted her coat carefully so she could step down off the curb and comfortably get into the car.
Yet, before she actually entered the car, she paused, one foot in, the other foot still on the ground. This revealed her dinosaur-like foot, with its large black claws gripping lightly at the passenger floormat. She didn't pay it much mind at the moment, though. She was a little distracted, and with her leg being inside the car, the only person who would spot her mutated foot would be the man saving her from the Sentinals. Nonetheless, she paused and looked to Fisher.
"Where are we going, again?" Time might be of the essense, but she was remembering the principle rule of safety on the street, even with Sentinals ready to swoop out of the sky and crush her under mountians of rubble and destruction. That rule was just this: Don't get into the car with strange men. She would make an exception in an emergency, but she still remembered caution. Lani wanted to know just where this Save the Mutants man was going to take her for safekeeping till the threat had passed.
05-22-2006, 07:27 AM
He shook his head slightly at her question, then glanced up in the air, first one direction, then the other, as if searching the sky for the oncoming threat. Turning his gaze back to her, he nodded his head towards the car as he began to make his way around to the driver side, fishing out the keys as he went.
"To the school, m'am. Back to the school. Now please get in, we only have minutes left and we must be clear of the area or they'll be able to detect you."
And with that, he ducked into the car and started it, then leaned forward and peered up into the air, searching more for Sentinals that were nowhere near the area. In fact, he'd made sure that there would not be Sentinals in any direction for 150 miles, just to play it safe. It was not exactly the most vigliant program to begin with, what with the damnedable machines showing up sporatically here and there to stop single problems, but without doing a single thing to strike at the heart of the matter. So, that left him to kidnap the freak who was right now debating whether someone was trying to steal her away or actually save her life. And somewhere inside her, she knew that this was a mistake. But he knew that she had seen what happened in Washington DC, the destruction that rained down upon the masses, both innocent and guilty, and in the end she would get in the car and go with him.
They always got in the car.
05-22-2006, 07:33 AM
Yes, he was right. They did always get in the car. This freak was no exception.
With doubt lining her face, she climbed in through the door that had been opened for her, adjusting the large coat carefully so that only a brief glimpse of her clawed green feet could be caught before they were covered again. No detail could be taken in, but what slight flicker image that Doe may have caught would suggest two things-- her feet weren't the way they were supposed to be, and they were deadly.
"...The professor never mentioned your organization, Mr. Fisher.." Her tone of voice was just as doubtful as her expression, and her nigh-black eyes were now too searching the sky, hunting for glints of metal that were flying at breakneck speeds toward this peaceful town to bash it to pieces, just so that it could kill her, not caring whether or not it took out a hundred people in the process. Just how the American government got to the point where it would permit something that caused such civilian casualties baffled her, but what could she do about it? Go to congress and propose a bill? Ha! Only for one of those mechanical monsters to smash her down in a bloody mess of irony.
05-22-2006, 07:46 AM
They pulled away from the curb just as her door was shutting, the car moving into the fairly light auto traffic and quickly getting up to speed as it headed towards the edge of town. He let her question hang in the air for a moment as he reached up and adjusted his rearview mirror, his eyes openly searching the skies behind them as the sped away from Salem Center. He glanced over at her then, quickly memorizing her position on the seat next to him, and then turned his gaze back to the road ahead of them, his left hand against the driver's side door as he spoke.
"I doubt he would've mentioned us to many. We generally operate in secret, so that we may retain our inside positions in the government and be able to stop things like the Sentinels coming to Salem Center and turning it to ashes. It is imperative that we work as deep in the shadows as we can, or else our work will be stopped. Unfortunately, m'am, you have to be very careful with who you can trust..."
He switched the hand holding the steering wheel from right to left.
"...although that'll be a lesson I'm sure you'll never forget again..."
These last words were spoken as the syringe was thrust with surprising speed into her neck, his thumb shoving the plunger quickly down, flooding her blood with the drugs that would send her into dream land until she was safely locked away.
"Today, my dear," he said as he pulled the needle free from her skin, "is the first day of the rest of your life."
05-22-2006, 07:54 AM
Lani nodded and listened as the man explained himself, sitting a little awkwardly in her seat, foreward on its edge so her knees were uncomfortably close to the dashboard. This was necessary, though, to make room for her tail, which curled around beside her hip and down to the floor with her legs. She had her head turned so that she could watch out her window and the side-view mirror on the passenger side of the car, still keeping a keen eye out for Sentinals flying at them from the skies.
Yet, when the words turned suspicious and he mentioned lessons, she turned her head to look at him, her expression puzzled. No doubt, she was going to question what he meant. Yet, she didn't have time to speak. Before she knew what was going on, there was a needle in the side of her neck, and a sudden wash of dizziness passed over her, which soon enough passed and faded into the black nothing of a dreamless unconciousness. Her body slumped over in the seat, and she went limp and resisted not the least.
Why, oh why didn't she stay home?
05-22-2006, 08:16 AM
It is a simple fact that the human body is simply not designed to be carried. There are no convenient handles, nothing truly solid with which one can grasp and know that they have a firm hold. Bones break, hair rips out, weight shifts. Toss a tail and claws onto that human, make them a mutant, and the problems got even worse. Still, with the couple stops that were made on the trip from New York to the converted Area 51, the mutant couldn't simply be left in the car to be discovered by some half-stoned hooker leaving the room of an overweight truck driver that would no doubt be nothing but in the way for most of the next day's travel.
I am nothing if not careful, you see.
But, finally, the trip was over and the rental car - one that was obtained under a false name that would lead the rental company absolutely nowhere when they tried to recover their car - pulled up to the simple gate that protected the entrance of what was to become the top mutant research facility in the United States in only a few short hours. Inside the compound were some of the greatest minds on the planet, brought in from Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, England, and some of the top schools in America, and all with one singular goal: Find a cure for the mutant gene. Once that was over, it must be created in a way that was easy enough to get to millions all over the world, which was fairly simple. Make it tastless, colorless, and odorless, and put it in every water supply possible. Grab a bottle of Aquafina, and drink some mutant cure. The hardest part of the delivery would be finding a way to keep it in the water even when it was purified. Still, it should not take long.
And the quietly sleeping green girl would be the key to all of it. The one that unlocked the door to the end of the mutant problem. She probably had no idea the impact her decision to come with him would have on world history. An unwilling accomplice in the greatest achievement in modern history.
Not that his name would appear anywhere, ever. But, in truth, it was the way he wanted it. Better to have made changes to the course of human history and get no public credit, than to live your life as another sheep in the herd. Just another ant in God's preposterous ant farm was not how life was going to play out for him. He would become God, now. The unseen figure that controlled millions and billions of lives. The one you feared and the one you loved, and the one you never truly knew existed.
With help from men in fatigues that were larger than himself, the girl was moved into one of the holding cells that had been set up in an otherwise empty large room. Every wall was painted white, along with the floor and ceiling. The holding cells were plexiglass, soundproof, and air was pumped into each one. Once locked inside, your only companion was your thoughts. Scream until you were hoarse, and most who ended up here would, but no one else would be able to hear a sound you made.
Every moment that the mutants who would occupy this room spent in this facility had been planned out to achieve maximum psychological and physical effect. Nothing that was not given to them would be taken into their bodies, and nothing that was not intended would be stimulation for their minds. Their desperation to escape would be broken once they realized that their powers had been shut down once they entered this place, and they were nothing but deformed humans, as fragile as those they claimed to be superior to.
The journey through hell began for this girl right now.
Doe stood in the open doorway to her cell, where she lay on the floor, dressed still as she was when he met her in Salem Center. Just behind him stood two large men in uniform, both with M-16's clutched and at the ready in their hands. With a glance at his watch to make sure the drugs should be wearing off now, Doe finally broke the silence that hung heavy in the bright room.
"Time to wake up, girl. You're finally home."
05-22-2006, 08:27 AM
'Ugh, what a dream,' thought Lani in a semi-concious state that existed between sleep and becoming fully awake. 'That's the last time I eat leftovers before bed..' A dream.. Of course, how else could she explain herself being stupid enough to climb into a car with a stranger who just happened to be a bad guy that would stab her in the neck? Bad food, a bad dream, and a bad thrashing in her bed. That would explain why she couldn't feel her blankets-- she'd kicked them off in her sleep. That could also explain the strange sickly feeling in her stomach, her headache, and that weird fatigued feeling that you get from not moving for long periods of time... like a few days in this case.
She was almost ready to coax herself out of sleep and open her eyes completely when her warm bubble of fantasy was shattered by a cool, male voice that she recognized as that from her 'dream'.
Time to wake up, girl. You're finally home.
Dark, almond-shaped eyes snapped open at the sound of that voice, only to be assulted by more white than she had ever seen in her life, and she'd been hit in the face with white ocean foam off of a wave before. With a low grunt of distress, she shut her eyes again and brought her hands up to rub at them, then squinted at the wall-floor... the white in front of her eyes, waiting for them to adjust. After a few moments, she could pick out the shadows on the walls that distinguished where floor met wall and corners were formed. Once she had adjusted to that point, she turned her head to look toward the man standing in the doorway, first taking note of 'Mr. Fisher', then of the men with guns behind him.
...So it hadn't been a dream. There really was a bad guy that had stabbed her in the neck, and now taken her to some unknown place for only God knows what reason. The mingled chill and flashing heat of panic spread over her body, and she pushed herself up to her feet hastily, only to find that doing so was probably a bad idea. Fatigue, combined with the headrush from standing up too quickly, brought her back down to the floor.
And for all the confusion, all the anger, all the regret, all the insults that she had swimming about in her head for this man, all that she could get out was an unintelligable, "What..?"
05-28-2006, 08:21 AM
He watched her in silence, as if a parent watching a stupid child learn that they couldn't yet walk. That they were, in fact, a pathetic being entirely dependant upon someone else for their very life. And, in reality, she probably was just that. His face did not register any surprise at her attempt to stand, or any pity when she discovered her legs had been basically unmoving for the last few days and standing was not on their short list of things to do right away. He, in fact, didn't care much what she did at this moment. She was much too disoriented and surprised to find herself here to do much of anything by way of attacking him, and the large men that stood with him would be more than capable of subduing a small female mutant without the use of her powers. And even if they couldn't, even if she was able to kill them all, she was deep inside a secret military base in the middle of the desert.
No, this one wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Ignoring her question, he pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and stuck one between his lips. Replacing the pack in his pocket, he produced a lighter and set fire to the end of the cigarette, a thin curl of grey smoke lifting towards the white ceiling. Taking a drag of the cigarette, he finally spoke to the girl, exhailing smoke as he did.
"You're probably scared right now, and I suppose you have every reason to be. I'm not here to comfort you. I'm also not here to tell you where you are, when you'll be able to leave, or who I am. You'd do yourself a lot of good to put those things out of your mind right now, because I can guarantee you will not find out unless I want you to find out.
"Now," he paused, taking another drag off the cigarette before continuing, "I will be happy to tell you why you're here, because the more you cooperate with us, the more comfortable we will be happy to make you here, and the sooner you will get out of here.
"You are currently being held in a government facility located a good distance away from quaint little Salem Center. Over the next days and, perhaps, weeks we will be running tests on you, your tissue, your DNA, your bones, your blood. We will make these tests as painless as possible, although I of course cannot guarantee that my people will be compelled to try very hard if you decide to fight us. Eventually, we will develop a cure for your mutation, and you will be free to join the rest of humanity and live out the rest of your days among everyone else. Normal."
He took another drag off the cigarette, the tip burning red as he inhailed, and left it between his lips as he spoke , the cigarette bobbing as his lips moved.
"Soon, you will probably be joined by others in this room. Perhaps some that you even know. You should be aware now that the room you're in is entirely soundproof. I know that you'll still be tempted to yell and scream at me or at them in an effort to be heard. I simply want you to know that when you fail utterly, I told you that I would. Perhaps then, you'll know that I do not speak to you now simply to hear myself talk. I will send someone in to bring you some food shortly."
With this, he and the two men with him turned to leave the room. As he walked away from her, he spoke over his shoulder.
"The tests will begin in a couple hours."
05-30-2006, 06:33 AM
Lani sat with her legs crumpled to one side of her, feet grasping air as blood began to circulate back down to them through her legs. Her tail curled about to her hip, flicking the floor in quick, nervous thwaps. Her hair was a tangled mess that hung in funny directions, with little strands floating in front of a paled, awe-stricken face. Her jacket had fallen open somewhere in all the shifting and moving that had gone on in her journey across the country, revealing a gray tank top and a pair of tan capri pants, specially designed so they fastened in the back around her tail.
Eyes still wide, she sat and stared at the man, listening as he spoke. He wouldn't let her get a word in, and even if he would have given her space for questions or responses to his statements, she doubted that she could gather her thoughts together cleanly enough for her to construct an intelligable sentance at this point. Large, dark eyes turned from 'Mr. Fisher' to the two large men behind him with guns. Intially, she figured how long it would normally take for her to take those men down, but then after factoring in what Fisher said about the compound's location and design, and how she was still weak, she figured it better not to even try at this point. She just sat and let the men leave.
And so, now, she was left alone in this big plain white room. Her heart heavy with dread and the dawning of her chances of survival, at least on her terms, the Hawaiian native groaned as she forced herself up to her feet and worked the muscles in her legs, stretching and rubbing out knots that had formed in her thighs, calves, and shoulders.
Her father hadn't died protecting what she was just for her to comply to tests to change her. She was born with her being a mutant in her design, and no matter how much someone tried to tell her that her mutations were unnatural, she'd always argue that changing her back to normal would be the most unnatural route to take. Decidedly, she would resist the tests. With every fiber of her being, she would do her best to make getting answers a living hell for these people. She couldn't escape, she couldn't stop them on her own. Rather, she would stall for as long as she could, and place her faith in God that someone would come to her aid before it was too late.
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