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Dramatis Personae

Hive, Murphy, Scott


Sniffing around.


<NYC> Village Lofts - Lobby - East Village

Bright and sunny, the lobby of this apartment building is clean and unassuming. Requiring an electronic keycard for entry, the pair of elevators dings cheerfully when one arrives. A small sitting area has bright yellow couches and small coffee tables, though the nearby vending machine is perpetually running out of /something/. Tall windows let in plenty of light during the daytime, and the building maintenance keeps the common areas spotlessly clean. A bank of mailboxes near the sitting area collects mail for the building, a recycling bin right at hand for the unwanted spam. Beside the mailboxes, a large corkboard serves as informal meeting space for the announcements, perpetually flyered with notes and notices from the various apartment residents.

It's gross outside. Warm enough, but on and off raining and just murky-dismal-grey in between the downpours. Hive is -- not outside! He's /been/ outside, though, that's evident from the damp that clings to him, darkening his grey jacket and the thick brown suede of his work boots. His shirt is dry, at least! A drab green with a picture of a d20 reading 'This is how I roll'. At the moment he is slumped on a couch in the Lofts' lobby, glaring his way through a stack of mail. Intermittently glaring at his cellphone instead. Perhaps both these things have annoyed him. To all appearances he's paying little attention to the world around him, though telepathic senses are far more alert than his physical ones, keeping idle track of the building's comings and goings.

Darkening the doorstep of the otherwise reasonably cheery Village Lofts, Scott Summers has pulled into the parking lot on a funny-sounding Italian motorbike, rain dribbling over his helmet and brown bomber jacket. He stows it away in his saddlebag. His hair quickly becomes matted by the rain as he stares with characteristic ruby-red glasses at the building from the outside and drops a few quarters into the meter.

The X-Man steps in the door lightly and fishes out a glossy photo out of his breast pocket, and a piece of paper with a list of bullet points and names. His lips purse, then his chin lifts and he spots Hive sitting there on the couch. A faint glint of recognition strikes him. He steps forward. "Sorry to bother - I think I've seen you out in Salem a couple of times before. Can you help me out? I'm looking for a missing person, my name is Scott Summers and he's a boarder at my school."

Hive glances up and over, dark eyes flicking over Scott for a moment. Then down to the photo. "A boarder? At your school?" Maybe this is REPEAT PEOPLE day. He grimaces as he shifts his mail back into one messy pile, and turns in his seat without actually standing to look at Scott better. "What, like a kid?" He gestures to the picture, then waggles his fingers in typical beckoning: lemme see.

"His name is Peter Parker," Scott says, furnishing Hive with the photo, his brow pinched with an appropriate amount of concern. "And he's been absent for a few days now. I'm just hoping he's decided to be stubbornly truant with someone at these apartments, or something similarly benign," he says, wiping his face of a little more extant water.

"Oh," at the name Hive gives a quiet chuff of breath, waving away the photo. "Shit, no. I mean yeah. I mean, the kid's here a lot, y'know, he's crashed up at my place and Jax's before but I haven't seen him in a while. You teach out at that freakshow?" Somehow, the way Hive says 'freakshow' seems more like an affectionate than an insulting term. "Kid's got a knack for trouble. Guess they all do. Don't know if that's a teenager thing or a freak thing but maybe they just /compound/ each other." He's listening a little better, now, not /probing/ telepathically but paying closer attention to surface thoughts.

Scott's a very focused individual, so of course Peter was floating around his head like a little mugshot. There's a list of cursory bullet points next to him, but the more important or sensitive the bullet point, the hazier it must seem. Like water off a duck's back, the term of endearment 'freak-show' seems filed away next to Hive.

He leans forward a little, giving Hive a look. "Yes, I'm working at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters out there. So you're friends with Jackson? I know he lives here, and he tends to keep a corral of close friends wherever he goes. What's your relationship with Parker and Jackson?"

"Jax and I are friends, yeah," Hive says, with just a faint protective edge to his tone at this mention. "He's hard /not/ to like," and somehow where 'freakshow' seemed affectionate, this would-be compliment to Jackson's niceness seems /annoyed/. "Peter's -- shit. I don't fucking know. Crazy-ass fucking kid, you know? We kinda encouraged him to try your school place out. Before he got himself killed or something." Which draws a sudden frown from the telepath. "-- Which he hopefully hasn't gone and done /anyway/." His hand lifts, fingers scrubbing through his hair, tracing a quick path along the side of his head. "Think it's got anything to do with Jax's kids?"

Scott's face /sours/ when Hive candidly mentions, perhaps rightly, that Peter could have taken a one-way ticket on the line to perdition. The serious face he puts on is genuine, stabs of tightly chained displeasure radiating out from him. This softens quickly, and he glances over his shoulder at the door. "I honestly don't know. I wish I did. They're always involved in some sort of mischief, but I can't remember it involving more than one at a time dropping off the grid like this. There's reports anyway that people have been disappearing elsewhere. I don't want it to be that."

"The twins only just came back, too. /Bastian/ at least seemed pretty keen on getting back to school." But when is Bastian /not/ keen on going back to school? "Does seem pretty fishy," haha! "them to all vanish at once." There's worry in Hive's expression, too; it doesn't carry into his bland-gruff tone but it does tighten lines at the corners of his eyes.

He and Scott are in the lobby of the building, both kind of damp from the rain outside. Hive's on the COUCH because why stand up. That is WORK. At the moment his fingers are drumming against his pile of mail and he is frowning, but he's often frowning. "-- I've kinda had some experience with, mmm. The kind of people who -- make mutants vanish." It's oblique, but for Scott knowing Jax and the twins' history with being imprisoned as labrats, it's probably clear enough. "If we're dealing with /that/ kind of serious, this could be -- this could be fucking hell. I've got some friends who -- mmnh. I'll put feelers out. See what anyone's heard."

Scott seems to be considering Hive very closely. There's a sort of confirmation that Hive seems to care at least as much as he does about these children in his head. He has also picked up on Hive's implications regarding imprisonment and experimentation, which he possesses only the vaguest inkling of given the operations Xavier's School has been a part of recently. Cyclops folds his arms in front of him and /thinks/. "Pardon - I never did catch your name. If you'd like to trade contact information and give me a call if you hear anything, myself and the whole school would owe you a lot."

Something is coming. Something - staticy. Murphy Law's brain is like a headache on /legs/; his thoughts are haggard, harsh, and miserable. Beneath that snarlcoat of angrythought stormclouds, though, there's a whole sea awash of static; a steady, low-level drum of information kept behind a floodgate - like some extraordinary /ocean/ of knowledge and experience and /thought/ that's being kept constantly at bay. It's the psychic equivalent of cicadas, 24/7.

Murphy enters the lobby somehow. Through, /shenanigans/, probably. Maybe he has a card? Maybe he jammed numbers until someone let him in? Either way, he's trudging forward, shaking off the rain from his big, thick wool coat - /glaring/ at Hive as he approaches. Voice suddenly cutting into the conversation with Scott like - it didn't matter. Whatever you're talking about, not important. /THIS/. Important: "You hear from Jim since yesterday," he growls.

"Jesus fucking /Christ/ the fuck are you stalking my gorram building," Hive grumbles in -- greeting? -- to Murphy. He's unlocking his cellphone, nodding at Scott. "Yeah. Yeah, that'd be great. If anything's happened to those kids --" This just ends in a scowl. "S'your number?" He's /ignoring/ Murphy past this initial greeting! Or at least it seems like it through his conversation with Scott. But really he's checking his texts kind of /angrily/. "Asshole hasn't returned my texts, figured he was off fucking you behind my back again. -- I'm Hive," he finally gives in delayed answer to Scott. "Uh. My name. Is Hive." Weirdname often takes some /clarification/.

Scott plods off to the side of the couch to make room for Murphy's trundle forward. He wasn't exactly the smallest sort, but it wasn't really any skin off his nose to move. He'd flipped out his smart-phone and started to trade digits with Hive, keeping an erstwhile eye on Murphy while he does. He doesn't really even seem to question the odd name, since he's more or less an onlooker to this confrontation (?) he's bearing witness to while he punches in numbers.

"Gorram. The hell is--nevermind, I don't give a fuck." So says /Murph/. "...he ain't contacted me since yesterday. Was supposed to meet him. Didn't show. Was looking for a /kid/," Murphy adds, emphasizing this word to Hive, as if it should carry - some sort of extra importance to it. "Asked me to sniff around for him a little on Monday. Said he was going to hit up some sites he suspected the kid might be at. And /now/," Murphy adds, his brain /churning/ with a cauldron of anger, threatening to overboil: "He ain't answerin' his phone, he ain't at his apartment, he ain't keepin' his dates - he's fucking /missing/."

"Keeping his /dates/? You're skulking around here cuz you're pissy that he /stood you up/?" Hive punches Scott's number into his phone and offers his own in return. "Every fucking person's looking for missing kids." This returns a frown to Hive's expression. "Is this you sniffing around? He's --" He waves his phone towards Scott, "sniffing, too. Kid's teacher. Good people." This may or may not be true Hive has no idea. But friends with Jax = kind of GoodPeople by association. "What've you heard?"

Hive's asking the questions he was going to. Scott Summers is the type of person to listen when a good question has been act rather than to interject. He stuffed his hands into his bomber jacket's front pockets and watched intently for Murphy's answer. Clearly he didn't have a clue what was going on between these two, but if shutting up and hearing something that rings a bell led to the end of the trail, then he'd be doing exactly that, jaw jutted and brow pinched.

Murphy looks at Scott for what might be the first time since he stepped in the room; he does this as he shrugs a good amount of rain off his shoulders, shaking his head and wiping droplets off his short, stubbly hair. SSSSSLP. He swings it down to the floor with a *splt*. Then he's fishing for - his lighter. Brass-colored, Marine Corps insignia. *FLNKing* it over his thumb in a gesture of agitation. Maybe just to calm his nerves: "Jim was supposed t'come along, help me teach his brat - Ash - how to box. Jim /wouldn't/ leave me to teach him myself. He'd worry about me breaking his fucking nose." Murphy gives no indication as to whether or not this is a legitimate worry on Jim's part. But then:

"Buncha white noise. Can't separate the bullshit from the legit shit. Usual screed about labs; some newer screed about fight clubs. Been lookin' into it, not turning up much. But -- god fucking /damn/ it, something ain't right, if Jim was goin' in deep he would fucking /tell/ me. He /knows/ I'd find him and fuck up whatever he was doing if he didn't show." Eyes narrow, now. At Hive. "You said /kids/. Who's missin' on /your/ end."

"You gonna break the kid's fucking nose?" Hive's eyebrows raise. His fingers drum against his pile of mail. "-- Wait, Jim was supposed to be boxing with you yesterday and he missed a chance to punch you? Shit. C'mere. I gotta punch you /for/ him." Hive even beckons. Curl of fingertips. C'mon. Get punched.

Granted, given that he has the physique of a skinny couchpotato gamer this is not -- the most intimidating thing. Hive pockets his phone. Glances between Murphy and Scott. Eventually his fingers flick to Scott. "Kids. More kids. Sharktwins." His tone doesn't change but the hard tightening of his expression is a pretty clear giveaway as to the underlying clench of worry, there. "Guess their teachers are, uh, getting worried. Probably," he says wryly, "doesn't really look great on their brochures, have a bunch of students disappear."

Scott graciously chooses to ignore that last bit, his lips pursing just a tad. "It does seem as though there's been plenty of disappearances, and the worst scenario possible is that they're all related," he says grimly, his fingers tightening inside of his pockets.

Murphy /does/ approach. Morbid curiosity, maybe. C'mon, Hive, SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT. Jim's depending on you, here. "Sharktwins," Murphy responds, and then: "They blue? Those're--" Clickclickclick. Hive can maybe /hear/ the psychic chittering of that brain of Murphy's, making connections here and there, drawing lines and searching an /extraordinary/ amount of data - sensory /and/ abstract. "Jackson Holland's brats. No, they wouldn't be /that/ stupid," Murphy then says. "They'd have to be -- Jesus fucking /Christ/, they'd have to be the dumbest fucks on the /planet/ to go after those two." And then, suddenly, Murphy's scowl deepens - by several inches. So deep you might imagine it carved into his very skull: "...Jim got hired to look for the one in the mask. The moron in the papers, savin' people from fires."

Hive actually heaves a /sigh/ when Murphy approaches, grimacing as he is called out on this perhaps-bluff. Because punching involves /physical activity/, fuck that. But he does put aside his mail, grumbly-sitting-up to -- he doesn't even stand. He just straightens, balling up one fist to draw it back and then --

-- And then nothing. At least nothing /outward/. There is a brief thudding /slam/ of mental energy that thwacks hard into the buzzy overclocked mind, heavy-solid as a cudgel.

And, apparently, none too pleasant for /Hive/, judging by his sharp hiss through his teeth as he slumps back against the couch. "Motherfucker," he grumbles, as if Murphy had done this /to/ him.

"Jax's kids, yeah," he agrees with a scowl. "Maybe the lab motherfuckers are getting cocky."

"...nngh." Murphy was - /not/ expecting that. Psychic punches are not his forte; Murphy actually steps back, a hand reaching out to grip the nearest surface - a blinding flash of /pain/, and suddenly that static is swelling up around him, /insulating/ his mind - it doesn't lessen the blow, doesn't even impact Hive, just makes that staticy /swell/ of sound louder and more irritating for several seconds.

Murphy's hand lifts up to his temple, /rubbing/. Growling a little. "Fuckin' -- be /careful/," he barks at Hive, rough and angry, and there's more than a little disapproval there. His surface flickers with brief -- worry. The image of someone, a man, drooling on a carpet. Then, lower: "Brain's -- wasn't fucking with you when I told you this shit is /poison/. Do NOT. Go poking in there. Without a goddamn warrant."

But then, Murphy goes on: "Why. Labfucks - everything I've learned - second-hand shit, but still - tells me they're old pros. They got plenty of mutants to steal. Why go rustle up a hornet's nest and take yours when there's so many out there nobody wouldn't give two shits about."

"Hey, you asked for it," Hive snips back crankily. At least. Murphy approached him. That's asking for it, right? He's rubbing at his temple, too. "/Practically/ a fucking warrant. "Yeah. They're pros. /Are/ kind of cocky," this comes a little wry with a faint scowl, "but not dumb. So. OK. Maybe we're dealing with idiots. Or maybe they all got /themselves/ into some kind of jam, kid's got a goddamn hardon for being a superhero."

"Jim too? Assuming - Jim's in the /same/ trouble." But then, Murphy's snorting, shaking his head. "Coincidences are bullshit, but I don't know," and now he's rubbing at his nose, just /squeezing/ it, like he intends to snap it in twain. "None of this makes any fucking /sense/. The hero kid. These - sharktwins. Jim. They ain't got nothin' in common besides being freaky." Then, finally, a surrendering, grizzled sigh. "/Fuck/. Fine. I'm gonna go fetch - some of Jim's moldy underwear. Find me someone with a good nose, see if he can sniff Jim out for me." Murphy sounds 100% serious about this. He might even be /wearing/ that moldy underwear. Already.

Hive's hand lifts, scuffs through his hair, his fingers running in a curve along the side of his head. "Sometimes being freaky's enough," he says with a shrug. "Have fun sniffing panties. /Hhhhah/," his amusement here doesn't actually seem all that /amused/: "You know who's got really fucking /scary/-good noses? Sharks." Grumble.

Murphy /glares/ at Hive for this. But then, the glare melts into something more like - a laugh. A very sinister, dark, /cackly/ laugh; the sort of laughter you'd expect a man to die from. "Yeah," he says, "wouldn't that figure. I know a couple of fuckheads with good noses," Murphy adds, before fishing - out his card. MURPHY LAW, yadda yadda. SHOVING it at Hive. HERE TAKE IT TAKE IT. "Call me if you get in contact with - Jim. Or others." And then he's just, shuffling his way to the door, noisily /stomping/ because goddammit he's /pissed/, where the fuck is JIM.