ArchivedLogs:A Fork in the Tunnels

From X-Men: rEvolution
Jump to navigationJump to search
A Fork in the Tunnels
Dramatis Personae

Anole, Howl, Jim




<MOR> Welcome to the Freakshow

Wider and more spacious than many of the surrounding nooks and niches, this chill cavern is the central hub of the Morlock's underground network. With tunnels branching off in many directions, it takes a while to learn to /navigate/ from here to where you want to go, but there's generally plenty of more experienced people around to teach newcomers the ins and outs of the pathways. Here, though, is a safe place to come and relax, for what value of relaxation can be found among moss-covered walls and the occasional stagnant puddles on the floor. There's been furniture brought in, a mismatched assortment of crates, mattresses with busted springs, a few broken and subsequently repaired chairs, a folding table in a corner. Shelves along a wall hold entertainment; books, a smattering of board and card games, sometimes snacks. There's even electricity, wiring none too safe and visible in places where the wall has been broken open; the naked light bulbs flicker often and the lone outlet has had so many power strips attached it is undoubtedly a fire hazard.

Anole has not exactly been scarce in the sewers, of late, but his presence has certainly been /erratic/. He's been in and out, /busy/ more than anything -- daily trips topside on supply runs, which have netted rather plentiful goods. Groceries, fresh produce, first aid supplies. Bountiful harvest! What else he's been doing up there is anyone's guess, but in his time down /in/ the sewers he's been helping with sentry duty -- he's not much of a /guard/ but when it comes to skulking he is A+. In between he is doing duty checking in on what Morlocks remain after so many scattered following the raid, rather conscientious about talking to especially the younger ones but trying his best to make sure that none slip through the cracks of his HUG-NET.

Admittedly, it's hard. Not all the Morlocks are huggers. Such is life. The best he can do is try.

Today he is neither supply-running nor skulking nor doling out /therapy/. He is sitting on his own therapy couch, lens-less glasses on his nose but otherwise not dressed for DOCTORING. Dirty denim shorts, oversized black athletic tank, no shoes. He has a tablet computer in hand that is resting against his thighs; he's very focused on it, right now, his finger swiping against the screen and his brows furrowed thoughtfully.

It's harder to tell what Jim has been up to, amongst the tunnels of late. Capable of a reasonably human form, he's made a fair share of supply runs... or at least, has returned with supplies as needed, even if it's been a matter of cajoling a bulk pack of toilet paper out of Hive's wallet. Most primarily, like so many others in the wake of Nox's loss and the safety of living darkness she'd supplied, he's also stepped up security. Where passages aren't wholesale blocked off by thick briars, long expanses of tunnels carpet themselves in rife kudzu that reaches back to connect to Jim like some sort of swampthing monstrosity, raveling and unraveling out of itself in a form of plantly locomotion that would fit well in haunted forests and horror movies.

Right NOW though, he's got on a pair of frayed cargo shorts, a hawaiian shirt and some friggin sunglasses shoved up to the top of his head, MOUTH-breathing and sweeping his eyes around the central living area. Clapping a hand against his chest to seek around in a breast pocket for a packet of cigarettes, he'll end up leaaaaning over the back of Anole's couch. To -- eyeball. His tablet. "--that thing just /works/ when you touch it?" He says it like he doesn't want to believe.

HOWL on the other hand has been. Keeping to himself, mostly! It isn't an emo sort of self-keeping, more of a secretive type; sly, foxy, though entirely inept. He isn't very good at. Sneaky. The tails don't help. He has also been doing a lot of sentry duty, since it's one of the easier ways for him to keep busy down here without having much idea what else there /is/ to do.

Except maybe raiding Anole's supply runs in search of delicious eggs. And occasionally clearing out accumulated condensation from the walls; it can get to be such a /bother/.

At the moment, though, he is leaning more towards the 'relaxation' end of the spectrum. He's been in his tunnel for much of the day, but he's emerging, now, carrying an old and battered volume of an outdated encyclopedia. Dressed in his usual plaid shirt, suspenders and work pants, he's wearing a pair of heavy woolen socks on his feet as he emerges.

"Young Master Anole. Ah, Master Morgan," he adds, as if only just noticing the older man. "I wonder if there's a matter I could discuss with..." There's a pause, there, and he frowns thoughtfully. "...Master Morgan, primarily, though I imagine Master Anole should hear it as well."

"Oh! Ohyes." Anole glances up with huge-wide green eyes when he's addressed, tipping the screen just slightly so that Jim can see it. He's reading the /news/. It's -- pretty newsy! Talking about New York City's stop-and-frisk program being ruled unconstitutional. An article about busting of a human trafficking ring -- underage prostitution. Another article, the largest gun bust in city history. One about the NYPD investigating the doubling of anti-gay hate crimes in the past year. Coverage of the continued standoff of mutants vs. police in Harlem.

Anole's finger taps at the screen, bringing up an article on the stop-and-frisk; another tap, and a video is playing, sound very quiet though it comes with captions; the NYPD commissioner is complaining about how violent crime will spike with the proposed reforms to the changes; the judge who made the ruling is saying how the procedure unfairly targeted minorities, overwhelmingly black and Hispanic males as well as mutants, with no constitutional basis.

"Actually you don't even have to touch it," Anole says, and his hand waves /over/ the screen, not actually touching it but just flicking in the airspace above it to maximize the video to fullscreen. A quick smile spreads across his face as Howl approaches. "Hi, Howl! Oh! /Oh/!" He looks /excited/ when Howl says there is a /matter/ he needs to discuss, and scoots to make /room/ on his couch. "Did you need to talk. Because I can talk. I can do /so/ /much/ /talking/ what's up?"

"Hey, slow down." Jim is trying to /read/ and /watch/ everything that Anole is swatting past, "That's that stop-and-frisk bullshit isn't - hang on." He's pointedly /not/ touching the device, in case it gives him cancer or god knows what else. But he does lean further over the back of the couch in a casual drape to catch the latest and greatest while fitting a cigarette into the side of his mouth. The side farthest from Anole, that is. "Huh." Just - huh. His lighter flicks, throwing a brief orange light against the tunnel gloom. His eyes swivel towards Howl beneath the shelf of his brows. "--'m listenin'." Not promising anything.

Howl strolls over to sit down on the offered couch spot, pulling tails around to the side opposite Anole, and leaning on them just a bit. Anole's question does get a bit of a warm smile, but he shakes his head slowly. "I need to talk, but Dr. Anole needn't open his office." Pinching the bridge of his nose, then, he turns to look a bit more obviously to Jim, rather than Anole, and holds a hand up demonstratively as he speaks. "I'm not one to beat around the bush, as they say, so to be blunt, I'm concerned that the sewers have very quickly become an unsafe place for us to be, but I'm equally uncertain that we have any viable alternatives. I'm not entirely certain /who/ I should be bringing this up with, but..." He shrugs, helplessly. "I suppose right now we're all rather disorganized."

"Oh -- sorry!" Anole stops his swiping, minimizing the video back to its in-window size; the stop-and-frisk article is readable again, beneath it. "They didn't get rid of it -- yet, they just. Said it was unconstitutional and -- appointed some um. Like a commissioner? To -- reform it all. So it's kinda uncertain yet what it'll mean, but -- /last/ week I got stop-and-frisked /every/ day I went upstairs and /this/ week I only got stopped /once/ so I /think/ it means good?" He shrugs, letting the video continue to play as he tilts his head to listen to Howl.

He takes off his glasses when Howl says there is no need for Dr. Anole. /De/-officializing. "Oh! Oh. I'm /so/ organized, look -- wait." He wrinkles his nose apologetically, looking at his tablet, where the news is still displayed. "Sorry I guess you can't look yet but there's -- I made whole schedules and everything. There's delivery schedules and all of Tatters' sentry rotations and maps and roll call and don't worry I put like /so/ much security on this thing." He frowns. "-- wait. What, um, what kind of. Organized."

While Anole is answering, Jim is only looming silently over the back of the couch, his cigarette unraveling serpents of gray smoke past one of his eyes. It's squinted on that side to defend against it. The hand he drops on top of Anole's head isn't to silence him so much as just... pat him. G'boy, semi-stranger. All doing work and shit. He makes a kind of dry 'kheh' sound. Something sort of amused, if you were to grind some lemon peels into it. With a rock. "So you're what." He pulls his cigarette from his mouth to exhale ceiling-ward, "Lodging a formal complaint?"

"I -- didn't quite mean that kind of organized, although that is a bit of a relief." Howl doesn't quite /smile/-- in fact, he's actually frowning a little bit, ears drooped. "Though I will say I'm sorry that you've had to take that responsibility on your shoulders; I've been so caught up in dealing with my own issues that... well. I'm not trying to suggest that I should be in charge," he finally continues, tone brightening just a touch, "But what I meant is that we have no sort of hierarch..." Pause, frown. "No one is really in charge. Everyone does seem to know how to do things on their own for the most part, but..."

...And this is where he looks to Jim, eyes narrowed just a bit at his question. Like. What r u even talkin' 'bout. "I am saying. That given the recent attack, that led to several of us attacking a government transport - which I understand is not something that is taken lightly - I believe the term I'm looking for, is that we are sitting ducks here. Sentry duty is fine for scaring off the occasional wayward person, but with a determined attack, having sentries gave us.. five seconds to prepare? Ten? We were lucky then that they weren't making a determined effort."

"What we totally have a hierarchy," Anole protests, "I'm Mayor on Foursquare, you have /no idea/ how many times I've checked in." Now that his news clip has stopped playing, he closes the browser. Instead he opens up a SPREADSHEET. It has a roster of Morlocks! All the ones currently still in the sewers, with assignments. "-- See, here's what everyone's volunteered to be doing so far. And here's," in another tab, "an inventory of our supplies right now. And -- well I don't really have to go through it all I guess but I can show you later if you want there's -- mmnh. I like spreadsheets." His cheeks flush a little darker at this, spikyhard head tipping back underneath Jim's hand.

He fidgets, though, a little uncomfortably at Howl's words. His brow furrows, looking at his spreadsheets. Paging through them. Then past the spreadsheets into maps. Then back into spreadsheets. Frowning deeper. "I -- don't -- um." He shrugs, a little stiffly. "But we're -- doing the best we can. What else would we -- where else would we -- go."

Jim's tough greenwood hand drums fingers top Anole's head and kind of absently uses this handle to move the kid's head aside to stare narrow-eyed over his shoulder, "You seriously got us on a /chore/ chart?" He's taken up his schedules and times by word of mouth. And taken up an outer corridor passage as his essential territory. A perma-guarded land of enchanted, dangerous green. "Christ, it's no fucking wonder you and 'Bastian get on."

His eyes stay focused downward at the chart after this. You might almost think he wasn't even following the other conversation, before he says, low-gravel toned and not lifting his gaze, "There /isn't/ anywhere else t'go." Just that at first. Then he snaps up his eyes to Howl's, "And we don't got a leader 'cause the first guy that tries telling me what t'do down here just cause he's got fucking /hierarchy/ is gonna end up eating this couch. You got a bright idea, I'll hear it. You think it's not safe, you got all the time you want to run. But I'm gonna fight."

'Mayor on Foursquare' gets a blank look from the fox, but he opts not to question that. He /also/ chooses not to challenge the rest of Anole's organization - really, if not for the feeling that this is not a good place to be, Howl'd be commending the teen on keeping things together - and instead scoots over just a bit, extending a hand towards Anole and reaching out to take hold of one of the younger mutant's. Gives such a gentle squeeze; he's even been keeping his claws trimmed for cases such as this.

Jim's words are met with a low sigh, though Howl doesn't break that stare off just yet. "I've already said I'm in no position to be in charge. I'm expressing /concerns/." Here, he does look away, if only to pinch the bridge of his nose for a moment. He even allows himself to let out a /hnngh/ of frustration. "If I had any better idea of where we should be, I would have already suggested it, but I'm not so proud that I can't admit when I don't know how to solve a problem. And at risk of being uncouth, might I remind you what happened the last time we fought? When, again, they didn't seem interested in using lethal force?"

"Well I mean it's not /exactly/ -- I'm not -- /assigning/ chores with it." Anole sounds a little bashful, a little apologetic at the mention of a chore chart. "It's just when people say what they're good at or want to do I mark it down so we have a way to track how many people we have who can -- do what. Um." He blushes deeply. "Bastian, um, might have. Helped me organize all the charts and -- he and Dusk helped put all the -- security on my --" He stops there, just blushing further.

His hand squeezes Howl's back; he tucks himself in closer to the older man's side, legs pulling up against his chest. "This is home," he says eventually, simply. "I mean." He frowns again. "There are other places if." He closes the spreadsheets. His fingers tap at the screen again; he pulls a news article back up. Standoff in Harlem. "I'm starting at the school in fall but -- only the other kids could go there. But if we needed some place to -- to fall /back/ I --" This just ends, though, in a sigh. In the repetition: "This is home. We can't lose /this/."

"Remind me all you want," Jim answers Howl flatly, eyeing Anole's tablet still. Granted, with more interest when he puts the /news/ channel back up. "Still not sure what the fuck you wanna hear. I fought. Didn't win. So next time." Anole's head gets a last pat, and Jim pulls his cigarette from his mouth, holding it hovering in front of his clenched, deadpan face.

"Guess I'll have to fight harder." He flicks his thumbnail, shedding the gray cap of ash encircling the glow of his smoke's cherry. "Not a lot more complicated than that, fuzzy. They're tough." He tucks his cigarette back into his mouth and turns to meander off, scuffing his flipflops at the ground and cramming a hand in his pocket. "Next time, we gotta be tougher. You wanna know what you should be doing?" The shadows are thick, he heads into them, the crackle and wooden squeal-pop of growth signifying his transition from a thing of flesh to a thing of /plant/. His voice has grown appropriately ragged and snarling.


When Anole moves in closer, Howl loops an arm around the smaller boy, giving him a firm little squeeze about the shoulders. "I'm sorry; I've upset you. I shouldn't have brought this up with you around." There's another little squeeze, the man leaning his head in just a bit, getting all cuddly. For the moment, he may be pointedly /ignoring/ Jim, and he rests his chin on top of Anole's head for another moment or so. Once it seems that Jim is on his way out, Howl just sits there quietly until the older man is gone, since clearly there's no reasoning with /trees/.

Once the two of them are more or less alone, Howl unwraps his arm from Anole, twisting around in his seat so that he can look the teen in the face, with a grave expression. "I didn't mean to suggest that we should leave /forever/. But things have gotten dangerous, and... I'm concerned about you. And the other children. You should be able to have a childhood without... without having to worry that any day something like /that/ could happen again." He pinches the bridge of his nose, sighing, and shifts around to lean forward, elbows on his knees and hands running through his hair and over his ears.

"I can understand wanting to fight, but... I would far rather see everyone /safe/. Master Morgan may consider that cowardly, but I consider it /prudent/."

"Maybe we all need to fight harder. I've -- there's a place -- /been/ training --" Anole watches Jim's departing back with a /thoughtful/ expression, but then just turns again to properly nestle beneath Howl's arm. He shakes his head. "No -- no. /You/ didn't upset me. Sometimes -- sometimes the world's just a little upsetting. It's not. You. I just. Don't know how to fix everything." He frowns at his tablet, as though expecting it to have the answers. He shifts back when Howl shifts forward, leaning against the back of the couch and thunking his head back to stare up at the ceiling.

"I'm starting school in the fall. That's like a normal kidthing right? I don't know if -- I mean, I know a bunch of kids there. And a teacher? I could ask. Him. If they'd let the other kids join, too. It'd at least be a place to go during the week. But --" He shrugs a shoulder. "I think we're always going to worry. At least while everything's like this. Even if we're there you're -- everyone else'll all still be /here/." His finger taps absently against his screen, scrolling through the news as a video plays now about the mutants in Harlem.

Arm wrapped around Anole's shoulders again, Howl absently pats the teen's arm, nodding slowly to his concerns. "You don't need to know how to fix everything," he assures him, and even manages a warm little smile. "That's another kid thing. All you should be worrying about is school and homework and-- are school dances a real thing?" He frowns a bit, wrinkling his nose. "And while you are there, you must keep in touch. You can send 'email' to the address you helped me create, and I will find some way of accessing it while you are gone."

"In /fact/," he continues, thoughtfully. "I've also been thinking, in recent days, of venturing back above ground. Our trip made me realize that I've missed certain things, and..." Clearing his throat, he shakes his head a bit. "I suppose it's a bit daft of me to go on hiding down here when apparently it is more acceptable to go about outdoors than I've realized." Leaning back in the couch, he crosses one leg over the other, absently watching the video on Anole's tablet and frowning just a touch. "In any case, I thought it might be nice to pay a visit to your friends that assisted in rescuing Master Morgan. Do you think that would be alright?" This might just be /cunning/.

"I'll send you so many emails. And show you how you can check them. But I'll totally be /back/, too! Like on weekends. The twins are back in the city all the /time/. And school dances are /totally/ a thing I um --" Anole blushes here, tinting /deep/ green. "-- I kind of already went to one? As Shane's date? But I don't think it counted like a /date/-date, because he took like, a /dozen/ people as his date, girls /and/ boys, so I guess I was -- confused about what date means." He shrugs a shoulder, but brightens when Howl mentions the visit. "Oh! Oh, yeah! I think -- /yeah/ they're -- /so/ nice I think they'd --" He leans in a little bit closer to confide: "Shane and Bastian's dad bakes /really good cookies/."

There is a bit of a confused frown from Howl at the talk of dates, and the hand that isn't holding Anole's arm is lifted to run over his hair again. "That doesn't sound like what I would imagine a date to be either, but I'm far from the expert on such things, myself." His face reddens slightly at that confession, and he very swiftly opts to shift the topic. "In any event, you will have to show me, sometime, how to find them. It /has/ been some time since I've last had cookies," he muses, that last bit whispered at an equally conspiratorial volume. "But, I will absolutely look forward to your emails. It may take some time for me to respond, but I promise I will read them." He leans back on the couch, then, settling in a little more comfortably, head still tilted to watch the video on the tablet. "It's so fascinating, this... you called it a tablet? It's just... completely beyond me, the things you can do nowadays."