ArchivedLogs:A Mutant Is A Person In Your Neighborhood

From X-Men: rEvolution
A Mutant Is A Person In Your Neighborhood
Dramatis Personae

Doug, Jackson




<NYC> Village Lofts - Laundry Room - East Village

This laundry room looks as many laundry rooms do. Fluorescent lights a little too-bright, linoleum floor is chipping, lint-dusty and occasionally stained sticky with spilled detergent. A broom and dustpan in one corner encourage its users to contribute to its cleanliness, which they do with intermittent conscientiousness. A bank of quarter-fed washing machines along the wall have clear windows on their doors to watch the laundry spin and turn within. On the wall opposite, a matching row of dryers near-perpetually has at least one out of commission. A rickety folding table and chairs at one side provide a place to sit and wait. There's a dispenser on the wall that will provide single-use sized packets of detergent or fabric softener, but it is hit or miss whether it is ever in stock.

Laundry Day comes to one and all, and it's not unusual to see one of the many Village Lofts residents down here in the laundry room, taking care of said business. Usually in attire that says that they have put off the chore too long. One of the newer residents, one Doug Ramsey, seems to lost his immunity to such procrastination, and today finds him celebrating his own Laundry Day. The blonde sits on one of the folding chairs in a pair of knee-length shorts and a sweatshirt that's at least one size too small. with flip-flops to complete the look. He balances a laptop on his knees as he waits for the two washers running to finish, his fingers flying over the keyboard as he works. Occasionally, he lifts his chin to cast a thoughtful gaze into the soap (and lemony ammonia disinfectant) scented air.

The door opens, propped open on one hip while Jackson drags in a large HAMPER behind him. He's colorful, here, in a bright purple pair of yoga pants, his nails shining metallic chrome-blue, his hair brilliant shades of green and pink, his t-shirt emblazoned with sparkling multicolored stars. Even the eyepatch he wears over his left eye is colorful, glittery purple trim around its silvery-black center. He has a sketchpad balanced carefully atop the hamper, and he offers the other man a cheery-bright smile as he enters. "Machines all workin' today?" he asks hopefully, a thick Southern drawl dragging his words out slower. "I tried two days ago and I don't know maybe I just fail at quarters? I was having /no/ luck on dryers."

The noise of the door opening is enough to draw Doug's attention, and he looks over at the newest arrival. His gaze tracks slowly the length of the other man, and he nods at the bank of dryers. "I haven't gotten to the dryers, yet, but that chick from the fourth floor was taking stuff out of them when I came down," he says, offering a similarly bright grin. "But I don't think that one on the end is working. There's a nest or something in it." His tone says he /might/ be kidding, but only just. "Soap machine is empty, though."

"S'okay, I brought my own." Jackson dumps his hamper beside an empty washer with a relieved sigh. He sets the sketchpad aside on a dryer, and opens up the hamper to take out a jug of detergent and dryer ball first. "-- A nest? Like. Dinosaurs? Or uh rats." He frowns. "I did see a couple pigeons in the lobby the other day. I didn't really have the heart to chase them /out/, you know, it's /cold/ out there."

"I think it was cats," Doug says, glancing down the line at the offending dryer. "It smelled like it, anyway." He grins, and taps a few more keys on his laptop before he raises his gaze to watch the other man load the machine. "That was nice of you," he says. "I wondered why the super was scrubbing the floors when it was so wet outside. Makes sense, now." He grins, and closes his laptop, offering a friendly nod. "I'm Doug Ramsey. I'm in 503."

"I like cats, but not in my laundry. Though it /is/ my cat's favorite place to /be/." The clothes Jackson is dumping into the machine are just as bright as his current attire, for the most part. Bold colors. A lot of sparkle. There's some more staid offerings scattered in among it, though they look too small for him to wear. He loads one machine and moves on to a second. "Woooah hey /you're/ in 503?" He flicks a surprised look back to Doug, his mouth curling up in wider amusement. "Cool. I'm Jax. 303. What're you working on?"

Doug grins. "I've never had a cat," he confesses, watching the parade of disparate clothing into the machine. "But I don't really care to start by having my clothes smell like a stray." He chuckles, and wrinkles his nose at the reaction his introduction gets, his brow furrowing. "Yeah," he says, carefully. "503. Why?" Then his eyes narrow slightly. "My roommate hasn't been talking to you, has she?" He holds up a hand. "Because she exaggerates. A lot. Totally given to hyperbole." The question gets a wider smile, and the blonde pats his laptop. "A video game, actually. It's kind of a pet project of mine."

"I have one. She was a stray," Jackson says, and then grins. "-- actually, I found her as a kitten in the lobby. In winter, once. Maybe winter's the time for strays, she was pathetic." He digs quarters out of his pockets, starting both machines at once, and then hoists himself up to a dryer, picking up his sketchbook. His smile is bright, his laugh easy, and he shakes his head once, quick. "Oh, gosh. Your roommate? Does she have stories? I don't think I've met her." He's opening his sketchbook, untucking a charcoal pencil from behind his ear, but then he stops to blink over at Doug. "Wait a video game like you're /making/ one?"

"It's possible," Doug says, looking down at the dryer again. "Maybe I'll bring some tuna down later for whoever's staying here. Might as well be a good neighbor." He grins, and shakes his head at the inquiries about his roommate. "Oh, she's got stories," he says, making a face. "Thankfully, none about me. She's just very outgoing and a very good friend who's trying to find me as many friends as she can. Luckily, she's cute and nice, so it's easy to forgive her exuberance." He smiles fondly, and watches as Jax hoists himself up, eyes tracking to the pad. "You're the second artist I've met this week," he notes. "I just thought that was an exaggeration about New York, like getting mugged on every street cor -- yeah!" The question about his project gets him completely off-track. "I've been working on it for a couple of years. I'm in the middle of character design, right now." He smiles a bit shyly, casting his eyes to his laptop and back up. "You want to see some of them?"

"Not an exaggeration and /especially/ not around here, this neighborhood's teaming with us. Cuz my school's just a short bit away and it's an art school, we /lurk/. Like muggers. But colorful." Jackson tucks one leg up beneath himself, balancing his sketchpad on his legs, but he's momentarily forgotten his drawing as he looks over towards the computer. "Yeah!" he chirps, brightly, "that's /so cool/. I mean, I --" His cheeks flush, faintly, his nose crinkling up in a sheepish grin. "I don't really know much of anything about computers," he admits. "I kind of never had one for the longest time they're a little like magic to me? I had to learn for arting though. But. It's always so /neat/ what people can do with them." He slides down off the dryer, tucking his sketchbook under a brightly tattooed arm as he heads towards Doug's table. "What sorta game is it? You do the design too? Cuz /that's/ art. Just smart-people-art."

"Oh, wow," Doug says with a grin. "That's cool. I can't do art, like, on paper or anything. And I lack an understanding of it, for the most part. But I really admire people who have that talent." He nods, and sits up, flipping the laptop open. "Computers are kind of magic," he says. "In the right hands. But I guess you and computers is like me and art." He chuckles, and taps a few keys. "It's a 3D action game," he explains as he calls up a fancy title screen that reads TECHNARCH: RISE OF THE WARLOCK. "The main character is part of this race of cybernetic beings that possess a kind of virus that infects everything." He types a couple more keys, and brings up a figure in 3D rendering. It is very spiky and cybernetic-looking, with large, robotic limbs, and exaggerated eyes made of what appear to be camera lenses. "I'm doing everything," he says. "But I keep having to make adjustments for advancements in the field."

"See, but you made that." Jax has a hand rested on the back of Doug's chair, his right hand -- its smallest finger missing -- reaching out to poke towards the figure on the screen. "Designing that, that's art, yeah?" He drags another chair out from the table with his foot, dropping to sit down on it and turn his sketchbook to a blank page. "What's the virus do? What do /you/ do if you're playing the game?" Holding the pencil in the hand with /all/ its fingers, he starts to sketch absently, glancing between screen, Doug, and his page. "I bet things change fast," he says, wryly. "Thankfully for me painting doesn't change all /that/ much year to year. Canvas. Oil. Sometimes there's thinners that won't give you /quite/ as much cancer as the old ones."

"I guess," Doug says slowly, tilting his head to offer a tight, lop-sided smile. "I don't really think of it as such, though, y'know? In my head, it's all lines of code and bugs that need to be worked out." He grins, and begins tapping the keys again as he explains the game. "The virus infects all organic matter, and the Warlock -- that's the main character -- he's a mutant, and his infection actually undoes the original infection. The goal is to liberate the planets being infected by this guy," he swivels the laptop to show an image of an older-looking version of the main character. "The Magus." When Jax has gotten a good look, he swings it back around. "Eventually, you have to have a face-off with him. 'Cause there's got to be a boss battle." There's a soft snort at the sentiment of change, and he grins. "You're lucky. In the computer field, if you get six months behind, you might as well hang it up."

"Well, sure, but you gotta take those lines of code and turn them into that, right?" Jax waves his pencil towards the screen. "Which means you gotta have an image in your mind of what you want it to look like. Design. Coloring. All that." There's stilla s mile on his face, though now he turns it back down to his page as he draws. He snorts, quietly. "Main character's a mutant? Like, as the hero, not the villain." This seems to amuse him.

Doug looks up with a grin. "Different ways of looking at it, I guess. But I see what you're saying." He falls silent as he types a bit more, frowing at the screen briefly. Then there's more typing. "Sure, a mutant," he says, looking up with a crinkle of his eyes that speaks to his own amusement. "Why not? His infection works backwards; technically, that's a mutation. I think it makes him more interesting, honestly." He grins. "Mutants can be heroes, can't they?"

"I don't know," Jackson says, with a laugh. "The news don't seem to think so. Only a matter of /time/ before the next freak goes on a horrible rampage and kills more -- what was that, an FBI agent?" He shakes his head, dropping it to rest in one hand. His fingers splay through his bright-colored hair. He keeps working in rapid strokes; the image forming on his page looks startlingly similar to the body of the character that was on Doug's screen. Tweaked, somewhat, in design, though clearly shaping up to be similar in concept. "Don't know the last time I saw no mutant /heroes/ in the news."

"And you can always trust the news," Doug says wryly, lifting his eyes but not his head to regard the other man. "I'd rather trust my instincts. I don't think mutants are any worse than people. For every mutant that gets labeled as a murdering freak, there are fourteen stories of an everyday human going batshit and doing something unspeakable /without/ superpowers. But the TV news doesn't really care about /those/." He leans forward to look at the pad, and grins. "Hey, that's awesome. That looks just like him." His eyebrows lift. "Maybe you can do the cover art, when I get this finished. It'd sell better with promotional stuff already attached."

"If I can't trust the news," Jax says, eyes wide, "who /can/ I trust? Fox tells me they're /all/ wrong. Like the X-Gene hurts the decision-making centers of your brain? Anyway, Fox would never lie to me." There's /decided/ amusement in his voice, though his face is still turned down towards the sketchbook. "Maybe! I'm always happy to art things." His drawing continues, still making minor adjustments to the character he works on. "What do your instincts tell you?"

"Oh, I know. Fox News gets it right more than anyone," Doug says in a deadpan voice, although his eyes sparkle as he says it. "Also that fat guy who has that cable show. He's good, too. He says that mutants are a plague from God, which sounds completely sensible." He grins, then, and leans back in his chair, eyeing Jax carefully after the question. "About mutants?" he verifies. "My instincts tell me that people are people, and you can't know what they're like until you get to know them What's true of one isn't true for all." He tilts his head. "My mother calls it 'painting with a wide brush.'"

"A plague of mutants would be kinda like the uber-plague. I mean I bet there's mutants who could /do/ all the other plagues. And then some." Jackson consisders this, absently doodling a locust perching on one of the character's shoulders. "You gotten to know any?" he wonders, offhand. "I'm always curious if people's opinions are from running into too many or never running into any at all."

"It would depend on the mutants, I guess," Doug says with a roll of his shoulder. "I mean, 'plague' implies a bunch of evil mutants, so I guess that would be pretty bad." He grins. and wrinkles his nose as the washers buzz. Pushing himself to his feet, he gently sets the laptop in his chair before moving to switch clothes to the dryers. "Gotten to know any what?" he asks, pushing the clothes into the drum. "Mutants? I've met a few. So far, my experiences have been largely positive." He fishes in a pocket for quarters, and begins placing them in their slots. "You know any?"

"I don't know, were the frogs evil? Frogs are kind of adorable. I can't picture evil frogs. They were still plaguey, though," Jackson replies, grinning brighter. "Maybe if we just dumped a whole /lot/ of us on the city, it'd be a plague." The us there might answer that last question. "Moooore than a few," though, answers it more outright.

Doug stops, turning to look at Jax with a more appraising look. "You're a mutant?" he verifies, although he's good enough not to raise his voice when he asks, and he has a lopsided grin on his face. "No shit. That's cool. And yeah," he says, turning back to shove the quarter tray into place and punching the start button. "You've got a point. Too much of anything is too much." He moves back to his chair, scooping up his laptop. "So, uh, what kind of mutant power do you have?" he asks, lifting his eyebrows in what might be an overly casual manner. "Is it artistic?"

Jax is watching Doug carefully through his response to this, and though he might be a little tense he's a little more relaxed when it seems no /beating/ is forthcoming. He smiles again, quick and easy. "Artistic? Yeah, I guess it sometimes is." He looks down at the picture he's working on -- by now the image is pretty detailed, his own little embellishments tweaked to the original character. A moment later, the figure is standing /on/ the sketchpad, climbing his way in full color rather than charcoal, right off the page to tilt a look up at Doug. It looks as real as though the thing might be tangible.

Doug is watching Jax, his laptop seemingly forgotten in the display of power. His expression shifts from curious to intrigued when the figure begins to emerge and on into impressed when it's fully out and looking at him. "That is some cool shit," he says with a whistle. "What is it? Hologram or what?" He shifts to lean over his laptop, reaching out to poke gently at it with a finger. "Cool shit," he murmurs. Then his expression turns critical. "I need to fix that cable on his back leg," he says, mostly to himself or maybe it's to Jax. "It looks awkward, in 3D."

When poked, Doug's finger goes right through the image. "Dunno. It's what I do. I play with light." The cable shifts, when Doug mentions it, tucking itself neater to blend more seamlessly with the image. "You're not freaking out," Jackson comments, lightly. "That's cool. A lot of people do."

Doug wrinkles his nose when his finger passes through the image, and offers Jax a lopsided grin. "If it's a light image, that's technically a hologram. Which is really cool. There are people who are still trying to perfect the technology, and you can do it with your /brain/, dude." He laughs, and snaps his fingers in obvious pleasure at the idea. The statement gets a sort of incredulous look. "Why would I freak out?" he wonders. "You're not, like, using your powers to freak me out or anything, and you seem like a cool guy. You just have this really awesome thing you can do." He frowns. "Most people are just scared of what they don't understand, and too paralyzed by their fear to try. Personally, I'll save my freak out for the evil mutant who's belching fire or throwing cars around."

"Or killing FBI agents." Jax wrinkles his nose in a little bit of displeasure. "Everyone's been focused on /that/ and forget that the rest of us are --" He shrugs, grinning at the image -- which dissolves, suddenly, breaking up into a veritable /storm/ of multicolored dragonflies that flutter up towards the ceiling and then disappear. "Y'know. Artists. Whoever." His smile twitches, slightly wry, slightly thin. "Yeah, there's people who'd be really interested in -- a lot of what we can do."

"Yeah," Doug seems a bit sad at the idea of such gross mis-generalization, and sighs a bit. "But again, that goes back to the news. No one's talking about the cool mutant artists or singers or whatever. They want the body count." He watches as the dragonflies sail towards the ceiling, and grins as they disappear. "Dude. That is just amazing. I met a girl the other day who could do stuff with images. Move them around and stuff." He wrinkles his nose. "She was nice, even if she /did/ make me think my laptop had turned on me. But /that/," he says, motioning at the ceiling, "is just plain incredible. How big an image can you make? Is there a limit?"

"-- Move them around. Uh. Like this cute homeless girl?" Jackson shrugs, frowning a little. "Uh. I mean, yeah, there's a limit. Bigger it gets, the harder it is to make it look real. Can get pretty big, though. But I can't hold it all that long if it is. Gets tiring, you know? I usually just do small things --" With a blush, he holds out his hands, his metallic nailpolish briefly vanishing to just plain nails underneath, returning a moment later in glittery blue instead. "There's a lot of cool mutant musicians, but most of them aren't really itching to come out, y'know?"

"Yeah!" Doug brightens when Jax seems to know who he's talking about, and bobs his head. "Shelby. She's supposed to come over so my roommate can do her hair for her. She's really cool." He listens to the explanation of his neighbor's limits with a studious expression. "That's really cool," he says for the umpteenth time. "I mean, not that it's tiring, but that you can do big stuff, too." He wrinkles his nose. "I can see why they'd be reluctant," he says sympathetically, chewing the inside of his cheek. He's quiet for a moment before he speaks again, in a low voice. "Shelby thinks I might be a mutant," he says slowly, looking towards the door to the laundry room. "She's going to hook me up with some doctor who'll be able to tell for sure."

"Oh, hey, you know Iolaus? Or. I guess you don't /yet/," Jax allows, sheepishly. His single eye fixes on Doug curiously. "-- Really? What does she think you -- why does she think that? Are you -- wouldn't you /know/?" But right after this, he answers himself: "I guess a lot of people have things that aren't so noticeable. Um. Do /you/ think you might be or is it just Shelby?"

"Is that his first name?" Doug seems amused, and his gaze goes speculative and distant for a moment. The question snaps him back, and he lifts a shoulder. "She thinks I might be, because I've got a knack for languages." He shifts, and ducks his head under the curious gaze. "Well, more than a knack, really. I just...understand them? Like, instinctively. Even computer code." He lifts a shoulder. "I don't know if that's an actual mutant power or not, but it won't hurt to take the test, right?"

"Uh huh. Some doctors get kinda creepy but he seems rad. He helped a friend of mine out of a pretty tough situation not long ago." Jackson has a small smile for this, a hint of color pinkening his ears. "-- Languages?" He frowns at Doug. "Just understand them like even if you've never /heard/ them before?"

"Shelby said he was a good guy," Doug agrees, grinning a bit. "I'm looking forward to meeting him. He's gotten nothing but good reviews so far." He chuckles, and leans back, his grin fading as he considers the question. "No, not just immediately," he confesses. "I need to hear a few words, first. Or study them. But then it's like I just /get/ it." He shakes his head. "It doesn't stick, though. Well, the computer stuff does, because I'm always doing that stuff. But other stuff...if I don't study it properly, it just fades after a little while." He grimaces playfully. "I guess I'm not really making the case for 'knack', am I?"

"No, but you are kinda making the case for mutant. I mean if you just /learned/ fast it'd probably stick more, yeah?" Jackson considers this, thoughtful. "That's /so cool/, though. I mean, that's way more useful than making pretty dragonflies. Just being able to talk to anyone? That's awesome! And computer languages, too. Does it work for other -- um. Like what about signed languages? Made up languages?"

"Well, I should probably still take the test," Doug says slowly, his eyes narrowing thoughtfully. "Just to be sure. Since it's not flashy or anything." He grins at Jax's encouragement, and lifts a shoulder. "If it has syntax, I can communicate in it," he says modestly. "At least, so far. But it gives me a headache, sometimes, particularly if the language is a difficult one." He chuckles, and lifts his eyebrows. "I didn't actually put that together until talking to Shelby, and her mentioning her power making her tired, sometimes. And then it kind of clicked." He grins. "So, I'd like to change my answer to 'mutant', if it's not too late."

"I'm not sure that's the kind of thing it can be 'too late' on," Jackson says wryly. "Though, uh." His nose wrinkles again, expression a little sadder. He picks his pen back up, absently returning to his sketch. "The way politics is going right now you might not be so eager about it soon."

"Hey," Doug says encouragingly, leaning forward to pat Jax on the knee companionably. "My mutant power is communication, right? Maybe that'll help." He makes a playful face as he sits back. "Maybe my mutant video game will be a huge success, and then folks will start thinking differently without realizing it."

"Oh, /man/, wouldn't /that/ be nice." Jackson brightens -- quite literally, the air around him tinging with a soft warm glow as he smile quirks back into place. "Video games make people smile. That /can't/ be a bad start." His nose crinkles, then, though his tone's amused. "Though Fox also tells me they make people get guns and shoot each other so maybe you're just making the inevitable war happen /sooner/."

Doug laughs. "You're missing the point of my game. The mutant drives back the evil infection." He wrinkles his nose. "Is the metaphor too subtle? And anyway, my game doesn't have /guns/, per se. More like...laser cannons and nanoviruses." He frowns. "Um. They don't actually have those, do they? I don't know anything about weapons."

"Um." Jackson considers this, teeth wiggling at one lipring. "I don't know. I've seen both. But, uh, from mutants, not from -- weapons. I don't know, though. They've got all /kinds/ of things. I don't really know much about weapons either, though. You could have them Care Bear Stare everyone to death, then nobody could complain."

"Holy shit. You know mutant who can generate nanoviruses?" Doug leans forward, eyes bright. "Man. I kind of see why humans are scared of mutants. They struggle with tech to do what mutants can just /do/. It's probably like Neanderthal encountering Homo Sapiens for the first time." The suggestion seems to strike him as /very/ funny, and he falls back in his chair, offering hs laughter to the ceiling. "I'd get all those losers on the internet who 'ship that shit," he says with a grimace. "Bitching about how I ruined their beloved property or some shit." He shrugs, offering a wry curl to his lips. "Laser cannons will have to suffice in its place."

"I mean, yeah. It's scary. The guy I knew --" Jackson stops, wrinkles his nose, shrugs a shoulder. "Scary. But a total sweetheart, you know? Not that that'd make it better if he lost control and unleashed a virus that took out half the country." He looks back down at his sketchbook. "Would it make it different, if you know for sure? I mean, you know what you can do. Would it change something saying you carried that gene or --" There's a buzzing from his pocket, steady and alarm-ish, and he slips his phone out of his pocket with a sudden widening of his eye. "Oh, /shoot/, I'm late." He frowns at the washer, nose wrinkling. "503, yeah? I'll see you -- sorry!"

"Yeah...that's probably what people are scared of, though, right? That a mutant might do something like that?" He lifts a shoulder. "So I can see why some mutants would want to slip under the radar." The question gets a wrinkle of his nose, and he lifts his upper lip thoughtfully. "I don't know that it would change anything, but it'd be nice to know, right? I mean, I get that it's not exactly stepping out of the closet into a mutant pride parade, but still. Even if I don't have an actual power, I might carry the gene and pass it on to my children." He jumps when Jax's phone buzzes, and catches his laptop before it slides off his lap. "Oh, hey, go," he says. "I'll finish your clothes for you and drop them at your door." He winks. "It was good to meet you. Feel free to stop by!" He lifts a hand, and settles back into his chair. "Anwyn will love you."

"Mutant pride parade. Oh, man, we should /totally/ do that!" Jackson stops in the doorway to echo this, though at Doug's offer he blushes, digging a bunch more quarters out of his pocket and darting back to drop them on the table in front of Doug. "Ohmygosh thank you /so/ much sorry sometimes I forget what time it is and then I've gotta get my kid from school --" Nevermind that he looks barely out of his teens himself. "I'll come by. Maybe I'll bring cookies!" He flashes Doug a bright smile, and then scurries off in a rush.

"I never say no to cookies!" Doug calls after Jax, laughing as he does so. Then he's alone again, with only the sound of the spinning machines and the clacking of the keys to keep him company in his thoughtful silence.