PDA

View Full Version : Carrion Cove: Beyond Muzungu (Rictor & Caliban)



Rictor
12-08-2009, 03:12 PM
-- ((Introducing Rictor. Although Caliban's story continues from here (http://baku-panda.org/ux/showthread.php?p=41607#post41607)))


Julio Richter made just enough money for bed-and-board, and for a little something extra, every now and then. It kept his eyes off-the-ball. He had spent the last few months throwing a mop about like this, across linoleum, for several organisations. Out of all the places he had worked in though, cleaning here somehow meant more to the world. It was this excuse he pictured winning the argument with, except; he had never truly convinced himself by the merit of it. The fact was; Rictor had a gift and he had bottled out on it. So mopping and moping about in a Carrion Cove hospital, taking pride in helping a fundamentally helpful cause, by reducing the chance of infection on the wards, was just that; an excuse. About the only thing of value Julio could claim to be able to take away with him from his time in Genosha, was the lesson on how quickly he could let it all slide. That and a practical lesson on how you should never kiss a shark-lady on the mouth, but that was just common sense, in most hypothetical cases. Actually, in retrospect that incident was pretty funny, if simultaneously terrifying. Hell, this is Genosha, if you're going to come across anything; this is the likeliest place.

Rictor discovered that he had been grinning inanely at the floor during that particular recollection, when a disapproving doctor scowled at him on his way past. Julio, at once ashamed, attempted to collapse the painful rictus that had spread over his face, and returned to his work with a display of dutiful perseverance. The mop head streaked back and forth, spreading oily, citrus, anti-bacterial goodness, for the well-fare of others.

'Hijo de puta!' Julio grumbled sullenly under his breath, after the Doctor's malignant gaze was intercepted by an interventionist branch of the corridor.

Soon, Rictor finished his night-shift. After slinging his scrubs into laundry, he packed himself into his leather jacket, hands in pockets, then considered paving the way home. Julio's attention was momentarily drawn to the nurse's staff room. Several of the inhabitants were sharing downtime, with rapt attention focused on a small television set mounted high in a corner. It was a news broadcast, relaying spot-lit aerial footage of a crash site. Through the glass, Rictor couldn't hear what the report pertained to precisely, although he had the distinct impression he had felt this particular incident occur during mid-shift, judging by the extent of the damage shown. With one thing or another, the Island being to him; a miasma of tremors and disturbances, he had been willing to let the magnitude of this one go without due concern, despite it's size. Not as if he was in a position to provide much help anyway. From one to the next, the nurse's pagers were plucked from their pockets and read with an expression of inevitability. The team sprinted from the staff room joined with a singular response. Rictor pressed himself from out of their way.

Julio was almost to the doors in the foyer, when a surge of activity burst in through the hospital entrance. He could feel the tumult of their haste through the floor. The red and blue of the ambulance lights whirled and bled into the bright hospital interior, as a gurney was rushed inside. Nurses flocked to attend. As soon as the first trolley had passed, a second and then third were pushed by the doors. In a flurry, the whole of the medical staff at reception were brought into action, shouting out words in an effort to stem the victims' trauma and shock. Those other lethargic citizens caught in the waiting room, roused about and looked on in wide-eyed curiosity. Rictor was struck with alarm. The second casualty! And blurted out his revelation.

'I know him! I know him!' Rictor shouted with urgency, pushing through in an effort to reach the second gurney. He was wrestled back immediately, by one of the paramedics. 'I know him!' Rictor shouted again.

'Sir, stand back!' The driver stressed.

'I work here!' Julio added angrily, seething with frustration. Rictor fought for a chance to see the injured mutant, learn what had happened. Somehow discover why, in all the places, the two of them would be brought together again; here in Genosha, like this. Julio met with little success. He called out the mutant's name. 'Caliban!'

'He's a damn cleaner, get him out of here!' Raged the disapproving doctor, as the staff wheeled the trolley at speed. Rictor who had been brought to a run in pursuit, relented, and after a final few steadying paces, looked on as the patient was carried through into the operating theatre. Julio turned away, his thoughts raced, a look of pale horror drawn across his face. He stumbled, caught in two minds, and pushed his way through the doors before stopping and clapping a hand to his forehead in distress. Julio groaned. Catching sight of an unoccupied paramedic standing at the open door of his ambulance, Rictor thought of nothing else, he took running strides and reached out to get the attention of the medic, who at once turned into the disturbance with an expression approximating petulant irritation. Or at least that was the impression delivered by the man's translucent face, the skull beneath; now that was just plain disconcerting.

'Excuse me!' Asked Julio, breathlessly. '--But the... ah, the people you brought here, what happened, where did you...?'

'I don't really know what happened. On the coast... something fell, crushed everything... Say, do I know you?' The medic's own question went unanswered. Rictor's gaze had settled elsewhere, as if on some object out of the other man's sight. The medic correctly guessed that his part in the conversation had ended, and he shrugged himself free of Rictor's hands and shot Rictor down with a black look.
If Rictor had his bearings, he had felt the impact of whatever it was that the man had seen earlier. A huge collision, the sudden sensation and impetus of the tremors that he could sense through his particular abilities; and he had just ignored it. It had been akin to the force of a collapsing building, although larger and far removed. He hadn't known what it was, and now Caliban had appeared to have fallen victim. Why had he let this one go?

Rictor
12-15-2009, 03:21 PM
Rictor had found himself in a state of nervous flux, and was incapable of leaving the hospital after finishing his shift. He had paced to and fro; within ear shot of the operating theatre, and anxiously intercepted nurses as they rushed from the OR, in an attempt to ascertain news of Caliban's condition.
His old Morlock friend had lost a great deal of blood to several heavy calibre gun-shot wounds, and stemming the extent of this damage; in addition to the trauma sustained from falling, was taking a long and laborious effort. The general opinion was that Caliban owed a great deal to his toughened mutant physique, though Julio kept the source of the Morlock's strength a secret, in this matter Caliban had not always been such a powerful creature.

In the end, exhausted, Rictor had collapsed into a chair in the nurses staff room, sat before the news broadcast that continued to relay footage from the crash outside Carrion Cove. Here, Julio fell into a mind boggling dream, too vivid and energetic for rest, though when he awoke to the sound of a nurse's voice, it was with an alert mind. Rictor twisted on his chair, taking his legs from where they had been perched over the arm rest. He looked up at the nurse, and rubbed away the slime that had gathered at the corners of his eyes. Julio looked pretty rough, with ruffled chair-corner-hair and subterranean pallor.

'...Julio, isn't it?' The nurse, upon receiving Julio's bleary-eyed look of affirmation, continued. '--Your friend is out of surgery. For a while it looked bad, but he's pulled through. I'm afraid the others were not so fortunate...'

'Cal was with others?' Rictor asked in surprise, with the gravel still in his voice.

'There was little that could be done for them, they were pronounced dead shortly after arrival. The girl, well...' The nurse faltered, awkwardly. Then turning his head to face the television screen, went on in a more hushed conversational tone. '--They're still finding bodies at the crash site.' The nurse stated or perhaps he commentated for the news. 'I don't suppose you know what happened, considering your friend and all? Only, the Magistrates are asking questions, seems like a number of their forebears were amongst the number found.'

'It's been months since Cal and I... I don't know what trouble he was in.' Not that Julio hadn't realised Caliban had been brought to the hospital as one among many other casualties, but that he had little knowledge of the Morlock's misfortune. Caliban had had his fair share of antagonistic moments in the past, but something about the incident struck Rictor; that his friend may well have been on the run. Gunshots to the Morlock's back, bodies of those belonging to the old Magistrate order and a young girl, dead. What had happened?

'Something pretty bad, by the look of it... You work here, right?' The man asked conspiratorially. '--There's little we can do to stop you calling by on your friend, but he'll be unconscious for a long while yet. I suggest you head home, get some rest first.'

'With all that's happening, I'm not sure I can.'

'You and this Caliban were pretty tight, huh?' The nurse pitched it too casually, too personally.

'No... no, not really.' Rictor was just as unsure about his own motives in this. 'I'm not sure what it is.' He answered lamely. The nurse nodded slowly through his amiable non-comprehension, made a sympathetic gesture and backed a few steps to turn from the staff room.

Rictor
12-17-2009, 04:14 PM
When the government of Genosha was offered over to the mutants by the UN, the military police force, that had hereto been seen as an arm of repression, reflected that same change. With Magneto's mass exile of the human population and the wide influx of mutants from around the globe; the Magistrates became a force entirely manned by applicants from the mutant populace. Still, the very memory that their name provoked; stirred feelings of resentment in Rictor. This was the reason why he, even with all the benefit of his previous experience, had not enrolled himself into their academy; and so stuck himself with this shit job.

The Magistrates that were posted outside the ward were likely contemplating why this beleaguered looking cleaner was obsessing over the same spot of floor. But Rictor, with mop in hand, stood close to the room where Caliban was being kept under observation, and so looked in through the glass partition. The Morlock was bandaged and unconscious, laying on a hospital bed, threaded to monitors that indicated a precarious recovery.

Since speaking to the nurse in the staff room, Rictor had been trying to fathom the reasons for his concern over this other mutant. He had never been close to Caliban, or at least not particularly so, even when the two of them had been under the protection of X-Factor. Julio reasoned it was to do with encountering a familiar face on an island full of strangers, say, over any feeling of fondness. This new aspect of Caliban's had proved equally ready to disembowel him in the past, and the last Rictor had heard; talk of the Morlock's loyalty was somewhat more of a debate. And yet, the clues pointed to Caliban as being the victim or at least an unfortunate bystander.
Rather guiltily, Julio admitted to himself; that he saw Caliban as a pitiable case and an opportunity to get himself back on track; to show Sam Guthrie and the others that he was still capable of acting with at least an ounce of responsibility. Admitting this, rooted a sickening feeling deep in Julio's stomach.



* * *


Rictor's guilty revelation was soon subdued by the puzzle of his friend's return, if not through weariness, by which Julio was sent home, by his supervisor, to recuperate. He'd left the hospital, accepting that the Morlock's recovery would not be expiated by constantly hovering about the ward. Julio crashed at his apartment, and fell into a heavily lidded sleep.

After a few days, Rictor began to settle down. Yet, Julio remained vigilant of Caliban's condition and successfully persuaded the case doctor for making his visits officially sanctioned. The Morlock's wounds were healing rapidly, which astounded the doctors and sent whispered reports up through the Magistrates chain-of-command. Rictor had the keen impression that these officers were also watching his own activity in regard to the mutant patient. Yet, Caliban remained unconscious and Rictor's questions remained unanswered.

To gain extra insight into Caliban's mysterious reappearance, Rictor headed out on the road that led to the crash site. The place had drawn a great deal of attention over the past few days and although news of the incident had quietened down, the Magistrates kept a presence on the perimeter, to ward off delinquent investigators.

In the half-light of morning, the debris from the crash could be seen at the base of the rocky promontory. The waves at the shore, licked at a tangle of girders and masts. Among the odd wreckage and peculiarly shaped concrete rubble, was the distinct half-shell cut from a ship's hull. The whole effect appeared as if a gargantuan handful had been taken from some dockyard somewhere, without prejudice, and it's contents dropped here.
Rictor took a cautionary look about him and slipped under the plastic tape that cordoned off the crash site. He lowered himself carefully down the incline, skittering to a stop at the base, amongst the rock pools. The rubble looked just as curious down here, the blackened outer surface appeared smooth on the outlaying debris, as if cut in a continuation of a perfect sphere. With a logical assumption, the same arc could be traced in the edges of the shipwreck.

Something red moved in the pool below him. Startled, Julio jumped, sending an involuntary jolt of seismic force along the first few surface inches of the hard rocky ground. A cold sensation prickled the flesh at his neck! --It was nothing, or at least it was something else without the intent to scare him. The item was a scrappy looking fabric doll, weighed down by it's pebble head, the legs swaying in the shallow rock pool.

Caliban
12-31-2009, 03:51 PM
Caliban remained insensible for many hours after his vital signs had stabilised and improved.

From oblivion; pictures formed, the Morlock's dreams became dazzling. They put Caliban in mind of his earliest remembrances as a young child, in the house of his father, long before the drastic changes that marked the subsequent path of his life. Caliban had little fondness for remembering parts of his past, particularly those that had driven him into a life of solitude as a mutant monster, deep under Manhattan. However, this new memory predated them all, it had remained hidden and overshadowed, but now shone out in the Morlock's mind; as a single moment of unfettered happiness. Through these dreams, Caliban remained fixated on the image of a fur tree. The tree was a thick, deep green, decorated with a great many silvery baubles, and surrounded at the foot; with a multitude of gifts, all of which twinkled and shimmered in the light of a hearth fire, yet all with a life of their own.

After a difficult and shifting study, Caliban perceived that the baubles on the tree actually moved, their paths intricate and intertwined and each artifact being, fundamentally, unique. Upon Caliban's realisation, the figment of the tree faded and the baubles began to roam freely in the void around him. For one who attributed a fine rarity to these lights, to witness these, clustered like so many nebulae; and more he felt, just beyond the reach of his perceptions, --this moment was one of exhilarating bliss.

Caliban's attention settled on one light, apart from the others. This artifact appeared to share a mutual interest for it's observer. The Morlock could trace the being's particular patterns and was becoming increasingly easier to recognise, thanks, in part, to it's habits. Yet, this fellow had had the aura of familiarity long before, as if it were, actually, some old friend. Once, it amused Caliban to greet it, as it came by. The light in the visiting bauble reacted; flaring prettily. It hovered closely, staying by Caliban's side for a great length of time. At last, Caliban fathomed he could rightly put a name to his new friend.

'Friend-Rictor.' Caliban croaked. The ugly, guttural contrast of the Morlock's voice was accompanied by the painful awakening of his eyes, as the tranquillity of the void and it's inhabiting lights was replaced by his growing realisation of the hospital ward. Yet the lights were still there, in the background, many thousands of mutant auras, clustered like so many nebulae. The scale of sensation, was unlike anything Caliban had experienced before, that it had put all thought of his recent danger from his mind. Yet, he was clearly at Genosha, the mutant nation, and there had been a clear enough reason for him reach this place. 'Chausiku?' --The young girl he had sworn to protect! Then Caliban remembered that last blank look on the child's face, as she had slipped from sight and disappeared into the maelstrom.

Rictor
01-05-2010, 05:55 PM
Julio's cell phone rang shortly after he had made his excursion to the coast. The call had notified him of Caliban's improving health, so Rictor had hurried back to the hospital in search of more good news. It seemed that the Morlock's recovery was certain, and that he might, at any point, regain consciousness. Rictor, however, who had been allowed to sit in by Caliban, had been doing so for several hours, without the slightest sign of the patient waking. Julio still felt keenly; the exhaustion, of the past few days and had crashed, rough and dishevelled, into the bedside chair, with his head tilted back, gaping at the ceiling in his sleep.
The curious doll-like object that Rictor had found outside Carrion Cove, had mostly dried out from it's soaking and steamed quietly above a heater in the cleaner's closet, a few floors below. Why Rictor had kept the ragged thing, he wasn't sure, likely it had belonged to the girl that had been brought to the hospital that same night. Salvaging the doll would, perhaps, have been a comfort to it's owner. Whatever, it had seemed like the respectful thing to do at the time.

Rictor started from sleep, a vocal murmuring coming from the creature beside him. It was hard to distinguish anything that Caliban may have been speaking in his sleep. There were words in there, but no apparent meaning. The noise itself was all that was needed to make Rictor jump from his chair.

'Caliban!?' Julio called excitedly. 'Doctor!' Rictor leaped to the door of the unit, rattling the blinds as he leaned out into the corridor. 'Doctor, I think Caliban is coming round!'

The nurses came in and looked approvingly at this further sign of Caliban's recovery. Yet, Julio waited pensively for a few more hours, gazing at the other mutant's pale beast like face. The Morlock certainly looked more restful, there was rapid movement beneath the eyelids, more movement in general, surely that was a good sign. But Caliban had not yet woken and an impatience was gnawing at Julio, who fidgeted incessantly, rocking his foot and sending out minute vibrations that caused a buzz in some loose items hidden in nearby trolley drawer.

'Friend-Rictor.' The monster groaned, waking at last.

'Ha-ha! I freaking knew it!' Rictor laughed ecstatically, bounding from his chair once again. He couldn't help but clasp his old friend into an embrace, fixing his arms around Caliban's broad shoulders and squashing his merry stubbly face against the Morlock's craggy brow, at an awkward angle.
Julio didn't immediately catch the change that came over Caliban's expression, and continued to laugh as his wakeful companion grew grim. 'What was that?' Rictor asked cheerfully, not comprehending the meaning of the strange name the Morlock had just uttered. 'Relax, man.' Julio said, pulling away. His smile lingered after losing it's glow and remained stuck to his face like an inappropriate husk. 'Whatever it is, it's over. You're safe now.'

Caliban
01-09-2010, 03:11 PM
((OOC: I'm going to keep the following exchange snappier, shorter posts for a better flow of dialogue.))


Amongst the multitude of mutant auras that his ability detected, Caliban searched, from the place in his cot, out, to the varied levels of the hospital and beyond to the very edges of his power's influence, for any sign of the Kenyan child's familiar patterns. He found nothing. Minutes of silence passed between Caliban and Rictor in this time, that the young man sat back down in his chair, unable to contend with the awkward pause.

'Chausiku is gone.' The Morlock whispered, at last, with a laboured breath. He glanced sidelong, under a furrowed brow at his old friend, Julio, and his apparent display of concern. The Morlock flared, briefly. 'Yes, it is over!' Then collapsed, desolate. '--Because Caliban was not strong enough, he watched Chausiku fall and she is gone.' The Morlock croaked flatly, numb in his desolation. He felt so absolutely wretched, sick, a familiar feeling, he reflected and one he felt destined never to forget.
What good was this bestowed power, if it had not even been enough to put to use; to help one little girl from danger. Now he was without either the support of his master, Apocalypse; because he had shown continued weakness and had failed to bring him the Nur-Child, --or of his friends, the X-Men. This was the situation he had gotten himself into; victimised, helpless, beaten; running from one danger to the next, failing everybody that had counted on him for their survival. Apocalypse's gift, then, had changed nothing, but the bargain had cost the Morlock his only remaining friends.

Yet here was Rictor, even after all the Morlock had done. Caliban wept. 'Caliban is sorry, he is ashamed. He wanted help, but was afraid to ask.'

Rictor
02-10-2010, 09:56 PM
This "Chausiku" that Caliban spoke of, must have been the young girl brought to the hospital on the night of the crash. Rictor felt altogether awkward, now that Caliban was awake, he didn't know what to do. He sat dumb for a moment, trying to find a spot where he could rest his attention. Rictor had no tact for consoling his friend, this was all a little too much. Rictor hadn't expected Caliban to brake down in tears, and had assumed the Morlock would be happy that any recent trouble was now safely behind him. Perhaps it wasn't, and Rictor had no business offering the other mutant ignorant promises. Clearly, the girl meant more to the Morlock than he had guessed. Considering this, Rictor would not be so easily consoled in Caliban's position, either.

Although perhaps that was where the problem lay, Julio knew next to nothing about the Morlock's sudden reappearance, or what had happened to this old friend in those long intervening months. Supposedly, the last anyone had seen of Caliban, was during the X-Men's mission to Egypt, even before the Washington attacks. It had been generally believed that Caliban's disappearance, at the time, was due to his turncoat allegiance. Yet the creature in front of Julio, certainly didn't strike him as the typical conditioned "Horseman" of Apocalypse. The unsettling noise of the creature's weeping was the surest sign of that. Julio remembered first hand what it was like to confront the "Hound", the monster Caliban had been built to become, and felt a knotted sting in his stomach. Now it seemed likely that any suspicions surrounding Cal's departure, had been falsely surmised.

'We're the ones who should be sorry.' Meaning himself, hidden amongst the ranks of the X-Men. His rather self-conscious reference to himself as if he were still in a group, amongst friends, only obfuscated an uncomfortable predicament. '--When you disappeared, man, we didn't know where to look. If we had known...' Rictor felt there was very little truth to any such sentiment and the guilt may have been plain to read on the young man's face. '--we would have tried to help.'

Rather tentatively, Julio's gaze ascended to the level of his companion. Caliban appeared well, otherwise. He still had the dressings for his injuries, but these, now, were remarkably minor. It was exceptionally fortunate for this other mutant, that it was Genosha that the Morlock had stumbled into, where medical help had been readily offered, especially to such an outwardly monstrous looking being. It was doubtful whether the Morlock would have received the same care elsewhere, had he arrived in such a similar fashion.
Rictor doubted that Caliban had ever been offered such hospitality before, let alone the meagre level he would expect once his recovery was complete. If it were not for the distress that the Morlock was in --what opened eyed wonder would Caliban feel toward Genosha? A nation of mutants. Had not that been the dream of the Morlocks? Realisations like this would normally remind Julio why he had been willing to put his misgivings about Genosha to one side. However, Julio's pressing concerns were in fathoming the puzzle of Caliban's return. Time for domestic revelations later.

'Cal, the crash, everything, what the hell happened?'

Caliban
02-11-2010, 02:41 PM
What relief there was, to admit that he needed the help of his friends, even though this moment was perhaps ineffectual, as his friend Rictor was apparently quite alone too, despite the bright multitude of mutant auras surrounding them. It was an odd contrast to their sombre conversation. But the chance to finally open up was taken, the shame of Caliban's frequent mistakes and betrayals had burst into a free flow of tears.
The initial cause of the Morlock's separation from the X-Men had been his search for help from the wrong source, Apocalypse, and the ancient villain had never been forgiving of failure. Caliban had even resorted to taking the fight to Scott Summers and Warren Worthington for his mistaken course, openly attacked the residents of the X-Men's mansion, even sunk to working with Sinister, before admitting to his weakness. The thought itself made him sick. Perhaps he had deserved all that had happened to him since, but what sense did any of it make?

Rictor's question certainly deserved a lengthy explanation, but even then, Caliban was uncertain about much of anything that had taken place in the last --however long!? Overshadowing everything was the death of Chausiku, the young girl he had taken to heart. She had accepted him, freely. Not even Caliban's old friend the "Sprite-child" had been so comfortable around him. The loss was great and perhaps his old friendships appeared overshadowed by these recent events.

'Caliban and Chausiku were being hunted by the Smiling-Man.' He began. The Morlock pictured the terrible grin of the armoured assailant, yawning wide before his waking sight. Caliban shuddered, a nervous spasm jolted his whole body and wracked the hospital bed. The Morlock shook his head slowly as the image faded. 'Friend-Rictor knows the Smiling-Man. He remembers them.' It was perhaps unclear whether Caliban was, in fact, referring to his own recollections or if he supposed that Julio knew of them as well. Clearly they had been a force in the past, a familiar visage. 'The Smiling-Man hunted Caliban. When Caliban was hit from behind, Chausiku used her bright power to move the earth, the ground and water exploded and she fell.' Thinking back to the turn of events, he wondered how the Smiling-Man and his Magistrates had pinpointed his whereabouts so quickly. The old woman had warned him of the danger this armoured man posed, but at the time it had seemed more of a fable. 'Chausiku's people feared the Smiling-Man, scared of what would happen to them if they helped mutants. So when they found Caliban, they hid him. But Chausiku was a mutant like him, when Kuma discovered this, Kuma asked Caliban to take the girl, safely, to the X-Men. He didn't know if the X-Men would still be friends after what he did, so he tried to find a way to the mutant island. Caliban failed, the Smiling-Man found him...' The gravel in the Morlock's voice petered out, leaving only a husk of a tone.

A few moments passed, the Morlock appeared to be looking down, thoughtfully, at his knotted hands. 'Caliban believes it was the Smiling-Man that held him prisoner before, but he is not sure, they called themselves SHIELD...'

Rictor
02-22-2010, 07:41 PM
There was something disturbingly familiar about the name of Caliban's assailant. Not the title itself, he supposed, but the image of what Caliban's simplistic words evoked; it became increasingly vivid in Rictor's mind, with each repetition the Morlock made. The Smiling-man. Just to picture a broad grin; it was a powerful reminder of a terror from the young mutant's own past. Julio had not even to speak the name of that organisation or it's founder, than a mutual exchange, met eye-to-eye between himself and Caliban, confirmed it. The Right. Julio had long since overcome his more acute fears of this old enemy, though he still reserved a personal hatred for them, understandably so. He would never forgive them, never.
From Caliban's awkward tale, Rictor concluded that the Morlock had been on the run from the Right. Even so, there were a few things that didn't quite tie up. The renegade Genoshan Magistrates, for one. It was they, whose bodies had been recovered from the crash site, and not those of Hodge's armoured thugs. That the rogue Magistrates had sided with an existing element of the Right, felt to be a plausible, if alarming explanation for it. When ejected from their former country, the more opinionated Magistrates may have clearly found reason to side with that bunch of anti-mutant extremists. The thought wasn't a pretty one. Rictor had never been one to trust the Magistrates either, even those serving now, in the nation's exclusively mutant police force.

Then further reasoning failed, for a moment. Caliban dropped another bombshell of a name into his tale. How the hell were SHIELD involved!?

Being the simple creature that Caliban was, it could be argued that the Morlock was deceived by the appearances of his own story. What reason did Caliban have to lie, otherwise? It was the situation alone, that persuaded Rictor that his friend was being about as candid and earnest as he could be, considering the lack of any information. Clearly Caliban was, or had been, in the middle of some large and obfuscated plot. Rictor stood suddenly, in agitation. Caliban was in the dark, obviously. Not a calming observation, as Julio's mind was brimming with questions, both paranoiac and angry, with only the beleaguered Morlock to direct them at. Rictor slapped a hand to his forehead and seethed. His skin shivered.

'Cal! What the... This...' Mind racing too fast to form complex expletives, Julio settled for the quick and emphasised. '--Shit!' Surely, there were too many organisations named, for all to have possibly been involved. The Right and SHIELD conspiracy, and renegade Magistrates!? The situation straddled the absurd and the horrifying. 'You've one hell of a story Cal, whether you know it or not.' Rictor threw himself back into the bedside chair and looked aghast. Where had Caliban gotten all these names from in the first place, if hadn't encountered them? There must have been something to it.

Caliban
03-07-2010, 12:30 PM
'Caliban remembers that he was captured after he fled the X-Men. The SHIELD-men told Caliban that they rescued him from the Right.' Or at least he had believed so, in fact the Morlock had no recollection at all of any rescue, only that he had woken as another variety of captive, in different hands, apparently. If it had been a ruse by the Right, Caliban had fallen for it. His trust for whom he had taken to be the SHIELD liaison, at the prison, had grown to the point where he had willingly divulged his Master's secrets, or the few he knew. Shortly after, the facade of his prison had collapsed, leaving Caliban, not in the Helicarrier as he had supposed, but left isolated in a subterranean bunker; all that remained of the elaborate facility. No light, no food, only the wreak of his mounting filth in that cramped cell. It had very nearly been the death of the Morlock. Escape from that place had not been easy. '--But now Caliban is not so sure what happened, only that Caliban was tricked. The SHIELD-men left him to die.'

Now, Caliban reckoned, the men of the Right or SHIELD or whomever they were, had clearly used him for the express purpose of locating the hidden sanctum of Apocalypse, before abandoning him. But why had the men not killed him right away once they had the necessary information, why leave him to waste away? Could his abandonment, then, have been unintentional, had Apocalypse dealt with his would-be intruders, leaving no-one capable of returning? Sudden fear of his Master's reprisal doubled, and thickened in the mutant's gut. Then how could this business with the Smiling-man be related to his prior captivity? The Morlock could not fathom, hence the doubt in his answers for Rictor. To suppose that these two events were related, was based solely on wild conjecture, but what else was there to go on?

Rather perversely Caliban pictured how the SHIELD liaison, Agent Noriss, may have been the man behind the Smiling-man's mask. The villain's face being revealed at the moment the armoured suit had collided with the Mombasan quay. The Morlock could no more trust that thought than any other, it was pure fancy. But Caliban could hardly avoid demonising the man he had come to trust, in the face of recent events.

'Caliban trusted Chuck-Noriss!' the Morlock spat, acidly.

'Wha...?' Rictor raised an eyebrow in confusion.

Rictor
03-26-2010, 04:52 PM
Clearly the two of them had a great deal to discuss if not investigate further if they were to get substantial answers to these questions. Nor did it help that with each turn of their conversation, Caliban added some random element to confuse matters.

'Wha...?' Rictor raised an eyebrow in non-comprehension. --For example; Rictor had to question the cause for Caliban's vehement curse against Chuck Norris, present context withstanding; especially after such an alarming and otherwise serious tale. Rictor affected a bemused expression that wore curiously lopsided on his tired features. 'Wha...?'

What ever tangent their conversation may have spiralled in, it was cut mercifully short. The familiarly disapproving mutant doctor entered by the door to Caliban's room. The man sniffed disdainfully at Julio's unwarranted presence. Rictor unfolded his slouching body from the bedside chair, a collapsing upward motif. The whole movement, on his part, was carried out in a self-conscious manner, like that of an enlisted man caught AWOL. Rictor hated how obviously his sense of inferiority to the man showed when they were in each others presence. A curious mixture of deference and anger was directed at the doctor on Julio's part.
The doctor spoke down his nose, literally out through his nostrils in a whiny falsetto. Rictor wondered how he had failed to notice this during his fortnight of working at the hospital. He transplanted the same bemused expression hereto reserved for Caliban's innocuous dislike of martial artists, toward the doctor, and watched rather too closely, as the latter articulated his nostrils communicably.

'Now.' The doctor piped. 'Visiting time is over Mr...?' Rictor was far too distracted to answer, curiously puzzling out the necessary requirements behind the doctor's mutation (as if his own wasn't bizarre). Surely it required a tongue and a set of teeth to be kept up each side of the nose. 'Excuse me?' The doctor asked abruptly.

'Huh!?'

'Hmm...?' The doctor eyed the young man darkly. 'The patient requires rest, it doesn't do to keep him fretting unnecessarily.' The doctor jibed as he peered closely at the Morlock's face and made a study of the creature's injuries. Caliban remained grim and unmoving in his bed ridden state. This effectively signalled the end of Rictor and Caliban's conversation. Julio backed out towards the door feeling cut somewhat short of his intended reunion. Julio figured there would be time later, but until then his mind would be full of unanswered questions.

'Cal, I'll catch you later, okay?' With a parting gesture, Rictor turned and left his friend. The Magistrates standing guard close by caught his eye for a moment. The exchange was mutual, they regarded each other with a cold wariness. Then the gravitas of Caliban's situation returned in abundance.



((Exit Rictor from thread))

Caliban
04-27-2010, 03:35 PM
The bleak fluorescent light cast a flat grey light over every surface. A single trolley drawer lay exposed, stuck out from the bank of the morgue refrigerator. Cal's hand, a large pale, tremulous object, with long fingers; brushed the shroud and slowly and uneasily reached forward. His fingers curled away, finally shying from touch.

The senior pathologist turned from the Magistrates and looked to Caliban for confirmation. The Morlock choked and nodded.

Chausiku, dead. There was a ghastly pallor beneath her dark skin. She had drowned. In the rush of exploding water, when the two mutants had materialised along with half the freighter outside Carrion Cove; Caliban had barely the strength to hold on himself. She had been swept into the maelstrom without a cry. Caliban remembered clearly the girl's wide eyes staring at him as she slipped from the deck and disappeared.

He had only been in the company of the mutant girl for the matter of a few weeks, everything had been so fleeting, and yet in that short time he had finally found the reciprocating friendship he had craved for many years. Her own abilities had just surfaced, the manifestation of them had been the death of her. The thought of a power like that scared him beyond his capabilities to understand. Even with his own narrowest of escapes, a fortune he regretted bitterly; alone, he reflected, he had only the merest hope of helping her. He should never had deserted the X-Men. Chausiku may well have lived if he had faced the Smiling-man with the help of his friends. It was a flawed logic, but the sentiment was as true to him as his loss. The ordeal had only reinforced the doubt that; with or without Apocalypse's gift, Caliban would never have the strength to protect those he cared for -alone.

Caliban now wished, more than ever, that he had accepted Xavier's help.



((Thread Concluded))