ArchivedLogs:Agree to Disagree
|Agree to Disagree|
A disagreement in tactics.
<NYC> Tompkins Square Park - East Village
Small but popular, this tree-lined park is a perfect centerpiece to the eclectic neighborhood it resides in. Home to a number of playgrounds and courts from handball to basketball, it also houses a dog park and chess tables, providing excellent space for people watching -- especially during its frequent and often eccentric festivals, from Wigstock to its yearly Allen Ginsberg tribute Howl festival.
It is bitter cold out, today, chill to begin with with the wind not /improving/ the situation much. As such the park is rather less frequented than it has been in nicer weather, people mostly just /hurrying/ through on their way from one warm building to the next. Jax is not hurrying through, though he doesn't look particularly /pleased/ to be out in the cold. Bundled up snug in a very /silvery/ jacket, a bright purple scarf, bright lime-green-and-purple hat (beneath it, the shaggy hair that pokes out is bright green and purple, too), he leans against a fence at the dog run. He has a cup in one hand, steaming, which he curls his purple-mittened fingers around /tight/; his other is intermittently occupied throwing a red rubber Kong for a small one-eyed beagle that seems to not mind the cold, scurrying back and forth after the toy. Sometimes he returns it. Sometimes he just sits and chews it for a while. Jax doesn't seem fussed by the times he does not return it, shivering to himself as he sips at the park and watches the desultory passing of often-similarly-shivering foot traffic.
Chokechain has changed down to a suit from a slighter younger version of himself, and has a coat with an exorbitant price tag stamped all over its cut. He stops right in Jackson's vision as he photographs the dimensions of the park. He's running through some kind of script in his head as he's doing so, muttering details of it to himself. The news footage from last night was terrible, but something about the way he stands makes it clear it's him. The blossoming bruises on his face and knuckles don't hurt, either.
Jackson's is a hard gaze to read, not because he is particularly adept at PokerFace but because of the large mirrored sunglasses that shade his eyes. He has just picked up the Kong again, not to throw it but to let the beagle out of the park, when he catches sight of Chokechain. Glances away. Glances /back/. There's a dog leash hanging off his hip, but it isn't attached to the cheerful little one-eyed dog, who is already scampering off /somewhere/; from his determined beeline it's clear the /dog/ at least knows where his destination is. But there are so many interesting things on the way and he soon stops, first to sniff at a bicycle that has been chained up, then to sniff at Chokechain. "Hey!" Jackson is calling, jogging after the mutt, "/Obie/. Sorry, sir," he adds, reflexive as he clicks his tongue, "He's just friendly." His voice is warm, a thick Southern accent elongating his vowels into a drawl, but his smile is reserved, at best. "Obie. Heel." The dog's tail is wagging furiously even as he turns to obey.
Chokechain assures Jackson, "That's quite alright." He's clearly British, and upper class British at that. He holds out a hand as if he can feel the dog's body heat with his palm. That lasts a moment before he flicks it in a gesture at his recently pummelled face, "I imagine I'm the closest thing to tenderised steak he's seen today."
Jackson stoops to clip Obie's leash on when the dog nears, curling its handle around his wrist and keeping the leash retracted fully. Leash on wrist, his hand slips down into the pocket of his coat. "Yeah, he's pretty much just had chicken and rice. He'd kill for a good steak -- well, no, he'd probably just /lick/ you to death. That looks bad." His chin tips towards Chokechain's face.
Chokechain comes back with, on instinct: "You should see the other guy." A second later that's the wrong thing to have said and he's reaching for a cigarette. "Not as bad as it looks," he covers with as he lights it.
"I already --" Jackson flinches back a half-step at this, something tensing in his shoulders, but his pierced lips curl up in a quick thin smile. "Yeah?" he says, instead. "Looks kinda bad. You gotten it checked out, I hope."
Chokechain takes an unsteady breath in, and banishes the vision that was haunting him on the breath out. "Of course," he lies. "So, you," he says to Jackson, gesturing to take all of him in. "What does the rest of your day look like?" he asks, trying to figure if he's been recognised.
"Cold." Jackson tips his head up towards the grey sky. At his feet Obie is sniffing at his shoes, but then, bored with that, trots out to the edge of his leash to try sniffing at Chokechain's instead. Jax tenses his arm, holding the leash in place and not letting Obie past its end. The beagle stops short a foot away, contenting himself with snuffling the ground instead. "How 'bout yours? You here often?"
Chokechain twists a smile. "I wish. No, just location scouting," and waggles his phone as if in explanation. "You can get some eager young thing to do it for you, of course, but there's nothing like walking the ground yourself. I trust you understand.
"Not really," Jackson says apologetically, ducking his head slightly. "I mean, I don't think I do a lotta -- location scouting?" He tips his head to one side, looking over at Chokechain with brows somewhat furrowed over his glasses. "Scoutin' for what kinda thing? S'just a park."
Chokechain flicks a hand, dismissing that. "For a spectacle." He stretches out his hand to take in the whole of their surrounds. "If you have a brand -- and everyone has a brand -- it needs constant maintenance. For hearts and minds." He turns a slow circle, and ends up looking down at Obie for a second before going back up to Jackson. "Life is stories," he says, as if that were a complete explanation.
"A spectacle? Here? What, like another festival? You see the fire spinners that were here the other day, sir? Whole competition of 'em, it was rad." Jackson gently tugs at Obie's leash, bringing the beagle back to his side. "What's your brand?"
Chokechain smiles, and indicates his coat, which is eyewateringly expensive. "It's a kind of niche lifestyle type of thing, which I'm hoping to, well, bring forward. Democratise, if you will." He holds up a finger, "When I'm ready, though, I'm afraid ..." and he leaves a space for Jackson to introduce himself.
Jackson just exhales a laugh, cloudy-white in the frosty air. "Thaaat looks like a niche, alright," he says with a quiet huff of amusement, "though I don't know as it's one you'll do well bringin' /here/." His hand lifts, gestures with his coffee cup towards the park. "This place is pretty /democratized/ aready, though mostly s'more full'a broke-ass freaks than Armani suits."
Chokechain smiles to acknowledge the sentiment. "Never said it would be easy. Reach for the sky, and all that." He looks down at the dog's eye and up to Jackson's. "Even if it hurts. Yes?"
In Jackson's mirrored sunglasses Chokechain looks back at himself; above them the young man's eyebrows raise. "Hurts, sir? Your brand /hurts/, s'gonna be a much harder sell. M'sure there's probably better places for -- outreach."
Chokechain dismisses that with a scoffing sound. "People pay for all sorts of ridiculous things. For something great, though? I'm not worried about putting my point across."
"And what's great," Jackson wonders, quieter, "'bout what you got to offer?"
Chokechain comes straight back with, "Truth and justice. An end to fear. And the permission, in a world that will tell you no, to say yes." Chokechain's face bubbles with something; he's trying to pass it off as marketing blather, but it's over a cauldron of fury.
"Khhheh." Jackson exhales a breath, hard and sharp and long. "/Pretty/ words, sir, but they don't mean a lot if they're built on a bed'a pain. Hurt's not a marketing strategy gonna change a lot of people's minds."
Chokechain takes a long breath himself, and a vein stops pulsing in his template as he does so. "Please. I look to the Puritans, myself. Quaint now, maybe, but there's something there. They *believed*. They got that to get this, you have to do that. Simple!"
"They got to this," Jackson says with a thin smile, "over the bloody /corpses/ of the people who was here before. Maybe you think that's a good route to go, I imagine the folks they was slaughtering think otherwise."
Chokechain says, softly, "I imagine so too. But it happened. But you're completely right, we should always take just the good from these kinds of things. The threat of the bad isn't a reason to be lesser."
"Think you're takin' the wrong meaning entirely from this." Jackson is still quiet, focused on Chokechain as he lifts his cup to take a long sip of his coffee. "The threat of the bad ain't no reason to join /in/ the hurting."
Chokechain says, "Yes, yes. But we cross our own oceans, and make," the spiral of his gesture seems to take in the whole city, "when we don't fear mistakes. Regret them, yes. Vow to do better, yes. And afterwards be, well, better."
"Tsss. Regret's kinda a shallow concept when you're already plannin' /ahead/ to regret what you're doin'. An' what you think it's gonna accomplish," Jackson says with a snort, "I don't hardly know. You ain't fighting folks unawares armed with bows an' arrows an' knives. You got yourself fooled if you think /justice/ here's a fight that's gonna be won through /force/."
Chokechain squints at Jackson. "Okay," he says. "Answer me one thing: if you're that concerned, why aren't you phoning someone?"
"You prefer I do, sir?" Jackson's eyebrows raise, and he gives an absent tug of Obie's leash as the dog, bored, starts wandering to its end again. "Seems to me that might bring you a world'a trouble. 'Sides, I ain't known many folks to things without a reason. Guess I was just curious to see yours."
Chokechain shrugs a little. "I wish we could wait the hundred years, the two hundred years so that we," and he's reaching here, guessing, asking, "don't seem so frightening." He's sincere: "I really do. It would be nice to think that we could just hope it'll sort itself out. But we are in the grip of the logic of the atomic bomb. It is horrific. It demands hard choices. But that's how it is."
"An' running around killing folks, giving them /more/ reason to be scared of you, that's gonna make it better?" Jackson shakes his head firmly. "You got some twisted logic there. Even moreso if you managed to convince yourself you're doin' the right /thing/. What's your end plan, here? You can't kill the whole world, they're gonna squash you /long/ before you get there."
Chokechain's face twitches at the mention of killing, these recent and raw it's a punch in the gut for him. "If noone else dies, I'll count it a success. But we can't seem less frightening to them. That ship has sailed. Whenever they think about making a move in the old world they knew how many casualties it would cost them. They need a number for the new world. Done carefully."
"Carefully. Carefully like plastering yourself all over the news murdering federal agents? You don't got a real good definition of careful." Jackson shakes his head, his quiet voice heavier. "Or of success. A house rotted in its /foundations/ ain't no house I'd want to live in. Killing /them/ because they hate /you/ ain't justice, that's vengeance. It's a goal, for sure, but it's one with a very different world at the end."
Chokechain snarls, "Would you prefer I went for the witnesses, too? *That's* the careful you would prefer? That was the least messy it could get." He holds out a hand, "I know you want to believe that a badge makes him a good person, that he wasn't trying to make the world smaller and plainer. But you are wrong.
"I would prefer you didn't murder nobody at all," Jackson says, softer in the face of Chokechain's snarl. "You don't /know/ anything about what /I believe/. And I don't presume to know what /you/ do. But I don't gotta know what's in your /head/ when I see what's plastered all across the city. I just know that some people are actually tryin' to make the situation /better/ and it ain't /helped/ by running around /proving/ to people that mutants are monsters."
Chokechain makes a noise. "I don't doubt they're trying. Not in the slightest. I just know that appeasement is doomed, no matter how comforting it feels."
"You /really/ don't know nothing," Jackson says, and now the quiet in his voice sounds more /weary/ than anything else, "if you think anyone finds /comfort/ in /any/ side of this fight. There's ground in between appeasement an' wholesale murder. An' that's an important ground to /find/ if this is a fight that's gonna end in /justice/ and not just one side dead."
Chokechain sighs, just as weary. "Right now that side is us. They want us in the ground, so they can find business as usual again. You know it's true. And I killed him. I didn't murder him. I killed him. Because when they come for me I can take it."
"They want a lot worse than that," Jackson says, a thin grim set to his lips, "and I know it better than most. But there's ways to fight that don't put us /all/ in /more danger/. When they come for /you/ you can take it. But when they see that kinda thing on the /news/ they come for /everyone/. And most ain't gonna be able to /take it/."
Chokechain is consciously hardening his attitude, layering on the callousness carefully over the effect the last twenty four hours have had on him: "Oh, well. Slavoj Zizek proposed that the worst slave owners were the ones who were kind to their slaves; it hid the fundamental horror of the situation. Slaves then, what they want for mutants now." He stares at Jackson. "If you say you know it better than most."
There is the sound of air exploding outwards in a crack of a 'bamf' noise, and along with a small puff of steam, two figures appear. One is rather normal looking except for her whiteish hair, looking around quickly with a fierce look on her face. The other looks much less usual. Covered in blue-black fur, yellow eyes, pointed teeth and, perhaps unusually of all, a three and a half foot long tail with a pointed fork at the end. The woman steps forward, coming up to the same side as Jax, looking between the two of them with an imperious expression.
"Sure, what they want. But we ain't there yet. There's other ways to fight, you don't gotta --" Jackson's words cut off into that crack of noise, his shoulders tensing up straighter. "Sorry," he says, and it's not clear here if he's apologizing to Chokechain or the recently-arrived X-Men. "But I seen the news last night. I want a new world as bad as anyone, but there's other ways to get there."
Chokechain says, "We'll have to agree to disagree." He looks at the other two, and it's clear his blood pressure jumps a good few points on the spot. He takes a moment, nods to himself, then says back to Jackson, "Sorry." Obie makes a little rattling cough and collapses, and Chokechain takes the chance that he'll be distracted by that to bring a knee up into Jackson's crotch, hard.
The two new figures share a brief glance, and the woman takes a step backwards. "We also saw the news," she says, voice sharp. Even as she takes several steps away, her eyes glaze over as if mist was appearing inside them, a stormy white color taking over. The cold wind blows sharper for a moment, gusting over the park, and dark clouds begin moving in overhead. The blue man vanishes with a similar sound as he entered, disappearing in a tiny, fist-sized mushroom cloud of grey.
"Obie --" Jackson does look down, automatically shifting to move in front of Obie when the dog collapses -- which, unfortunately, only puts him /more/ in the way of Chokechain's kneeing. He doubles over with an /abrupt/ hiss, teeth clenched and his breath gasped in sharply as he staggers back. Retaliation does not come in the form of reciprocal violence; instead, a faint translucent /something/ blossoms to life in a bubble around Chokechain, pale and prismatic-shimmery in the cold afternoon light. "What did you do to him?" Alive with pale colours, it looks translucent but proves quite impassably hard to the touch. He is pulling his hand from his pocket, finally, as he finishes his doubling-over to drop the rest of his way to his knees beside Obie. The previously-pocketed hand holds a phone; his other is reaching for Obie's side to rest it against the dog's ribs.
Chokechain's already off Obie, and on to a passing bichon frise whose owner had stopped to stare at the two new arrivals. With this dog he's not gentle like he was for Obie's acting class: it grows, hugely, impossibly fast, howling with the hurt of it. "We can all walk away," he tells the woman with white eyes, as a threat.
A low rumbling noise sounds from overhead, the sound of thunder high up in the sky. "Hasn't anyone ever told you that it is no use railing against the storm?" She says, voice firm as a rock. The thunder sounds again, louder, getting closer, and far above them, the dark clouds briefly light. The cold wind gets colder, blowing icily over the trio, as if in warning.
"S'what you should've done /yesterday/." Jackson speaks through gritted teeth, muscles still clenched up as he gets to his feet. He is shivering, tucking his head down into his jacket as he dials his phone, stepping back further away from Chokechain theough the shimmering shield stays in place. Joined, soon, by another, timed with a further hard grit of teeth and clench of fist at Jackson's side, around the mutated bichon. "Let it go."
Chokechain breaks eye contact with Storm, to look at Jackson. He shakes his head. "I gave you an out. Should've taken it." The bichon's shrinking as Obie does the same abrupt growth and turns on Jackson. The dog is pulling its punches, trying to break his concentration as its controller tries to smash the shell he's in with his fists, wide open.
The sound of thunder increases, cracking through the air. "This is the last warning I am going to give." The woman says, as electricity rises in the air. The hairs on the dogs begin to stand up, as if being rubbed by a Van deGraff generator, and, indeed, on everyone within the little frame of the circle of humans and animals. "Or we will see how you like the taste of lightning."
"/Nrgh/." The shield is pretty impenetrable. Hard and somewhat warm to the touch despite the icy day, it gives the thud of fists much the same notice a closed window might give a fly trying to headbutt its way through. Jackson's teeth are still gritted, and the shield around the bichon fades away to nothing as he stumbles back and to the ground under Obie's sudden lunge. Hands lifting as if to ward off the suddenly giant beagle, he is crouched on his knees but the dog's attack will soon find a hard wall of its own to wrestle with. "I can keep this up a while," Jackson tells Chokechain, though with his hands pressed white-knuckled to the ground and his teeth clenched hard, face paling, it's anyone's guess how honest he's being. "The cops are on their way."
Chokechain says, "Damn the cops," and bellows, "And damn your lightning! You are doing *their* work." He pivots, back to the bichon, and it's a masterwork of timing: the dog goes under its petrified owner's legs, and *grows*, and bucks, throwing her upwards. He's ready to try and catch her, but is trying to let the threat of her tumbling back to the ground hang over their head.
The lightning cracks in the sky and lands safely on the ground, several feet away. Even so, the light and sound is bright and intense, flash and boom directly on top of one another, chest-shakingly loud and eye-searingly bright, though neither seem to borrow the white-eyed woman.
"Tsss --" Jackson does not have any pithy retorts to this. He is intently focused, posture tensed in his crouch and his jaw clenched hard. The shield around Obie flickers and drops, as the woman flies; beneath /her/ a new one appears, broad and upward-curved at its sides to catch her fall near its apex. His head turns upwards towards the cloudy sky, his shoulders shaking. "/Storm/, I need sun." Chokechain's fists are suddenly hitting around nothing at all. Obie's wall curls back into place. Vanishes. Chokechain's is doing the same, there and then gone and then there and then gone as Jackson sloooooowly lowers the woman towards the ground.
Chokechain spreads his arms to Storm, daring her to take her shot with the woman in the air without words. "This is me playing nice," he tells them. Then he's off and lumbering a big man's run for a pigeon huddling against a window, the cold and charge making his reaching for it etch a ghostly arc in the air.
Though the clouds start fading as soon as Jackson says the words, they are still too slow for Jackson's sake. Lightning crackles through the air, but she does not release the bolt to Chokechain, even as he dashes off. Sirens sound along the edge of the park, but, still far away.
Jax's face turns towards the sunlight much like a flower, some of the strain easing from his expression in the sudden light. His face is still pale, though, his hands still clenched to the ground like he is holding /on/, and most of his concentration is given to lowering the woman safely to the ground. He glances up at the sound of sirens, and something tightens in his face as he looks at Chokechain, exhaling a slow breath once the frightened woman is close enough to jump off his barely-visible platform and stand on solid ground again.
Chokechain's grip, when it lands, grows the bird into a mad-eyed thunderbird. He meets it in midair with a jump, and it carries him dangling from a claw around a building with its wings fluttering like mattresses thrashing the air. "Agree to disagree!" is his parting yell.