ArchivedLogs:Accumulated Detritus

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Accumulated Detritus
Dramatis Personae

Shelby, Tatters, Trick


Lots of people drifted down here. One one of them was lost.


<NYC> East Harlem

East Harlem: the land of piles of garbage, grafitti and boarded up buildings. This lot used to be a basketball court before times turned hard. Sheltered almost under an old overpass, it was the place to be for the neighborhood's kids. Now it's a litter-strewn lot with clumps of unhealthy grass and weeds sprouting through broken asphalt. The homeless shelter under the overpass, building fires in drums and homes of cardboard, and pushing their possessions around in stolen shopping carts. The posts for the basketball nets still stand, though the nets themselves--and the fence that surrounded the court--have long since vanished.

This is a sad, sad place to be.

The weather isn't helping either. The steel grey sky is fading to a dull black and it's been cold enough that volunteer do-gooders earlier made the rounds of the homeless, handing out soup and cups of coffee, trying to convince the most vulnerable to come inside to a shelter. Some took the offer. Some didn't. Those who remain are huddled around a few drum fires, swapping bottles of cheap hooch and bitching about the good old days.

Shelby is in the general vicinity of one of those fires, on the other side of a massive pillar that faces a huge sewage drain. She's layered enough enough that there are thick sausagey folds wherever she bends, and since she's hunkered down in a crouch, that makes for a lot of folding. Puffy olive grey mittens cover her hands; these are in motion as she studies the surface of the pillar, the years of old grafitti that decorate it. With each movement, the old paint is shifting and flowing--random spiky lines soften into curves, a stenciled text fogs into illegible dullness and the occasional crude drawing strolls around through the more abstract streaks.

With a scrape of metal on asphalt a manhole cover is lifted and pushed aside, emitting a plume of steam as Tatters clambers out and quickly, responsibly, drags the heavy metal hatch back into place. From a distance there's little to distinguish her from any of the other derelict vagabonds gathered about (other than having just climbed out of the sewer, of course), just another figure bundled up in a hoodie and jeans, trudging about with her eyes on the ground. But as she gets closer, the oddness of her slightly misplaced features, of her discolored skin, of her luminous yellow eyes becomes more apparent. Plus, she seems to be looking for something, keeping her hands in her pockets as she scans the encampment, pausing to examine piles of rubbish as she slowly wanders across -- oh, hey, look at that. Halfway through her search she stops in her tracks, raising her eyes to silently regard the moving graffiti. After a long moment of spectating, she smiles.

Something like a manhole cover is -sure- to gain notice, right? Well, it does if your brain isn't pickled by grain alcohol. Of those circling the nearest drum fire, exactly one person glances over--and then it's his turn to sip from the flask, so he looks away without much interest. Shelby glanced too but doesn't have line of sight on the cover; it isn't until she realizes--with the instincts of all prey animals--that someone's watching that she looks again. Her scarf has been pulled up to cover the lower portion of her face but there's no missing the way her eyes widen at the sight of Tatters. Not an alarmed widening but definitely a piqued one. "...lasts longer if you take a picture."

"Really?" Tatters pulls her eyes away from the spectacle on the wall and glances down at the woman, her expression mostly neutral, though a hint of her earlier smile still pulls at the corners of her mouth. As smiles go it looks slightly uncomfortable, as though her face had mostly forgotten how and was clumsily taking a stab at relearning -- which honestly wasn't far from the truth. Still, her voice sounds friendly and amused, if tempered by a little bit of a croak. "I usually figure paint to last pretty long. Were *you* doing that?" She nods her head subtly up towards the wall, in case the object of her query wasn't otherwise obvious.

It's probably fortunate that Tatters stands out as she does--Shelby might not have decided to return to making the streaks of color and blobs of shape cavort over the concrete surface, otherwise. There seems to be a downward trend for the images, with much of the paint ending up puddled--but dry--at the ground. A few bolder tendrils actually manage to pass between concrete and broken asphalt. "It's just a saying. My mom used to bitch at me with it." She looks down at her efforts and then up at Tatters, head cocked as much as the triple-wound scarf will allow. "Yeah. I do pictures. You...kinda look like someone from Area 51," she comments curiously, without malice aforethought. "Whatcha up to?"

"Neat. My sister does street art the old fashioned way. I think she'd appreciate this." At the query, Tatters shrugs and leans to the side, reaching down to pick up a damp, rotting cardboard box and peer underneath, only to let it flop back onto the cracked ground with a sigh and a roll of her eyes, giving the other conversationalist a sidelong look in the process. "Um. Are you sure you want to know? The answer is pretty silly." There's a ruefulness to her tone which suggests her warning to be borne mostly of self-awareness.

"Yeah? That's pretty cool. I can do it the old fashioned way but it's too fucking cold." Shelby's attention shifts to the box, to the ground, to the other woman when she sighs. With her focus straying, the chipped paint on concrete comes to a halt. "Wouldn't've asked if I didn't wanna know," she counters, a hint of casual snark in her tone--again without malice but certainly with teenage reflex. "You looking for something to eat? The soup people took off about an hour ago."

"Nah, I'm looking for a, uh," Tatters straightens and mimes a baseball swing, taking a few swipes at the air before lowering her imaginary bat to the ground and shrugging, "Bludgeon? I used to carry around a bit of pipe, but a monster ate it and I can't be a sewer knight without a weapon." A few seconds' more of fishing around nets her a curtain rod, which she swishes through the air before tossing aside with a grumble, carrying on as though her situation were absolutely normal. "Punching's off the menu because, well, have you *seen* one of the sewer monsters? They're gross, I don't want to touch them."

"Sewer monster?" Sure, Shelby has gleefully repeated stories of rats the size of Labradors and gators grown to obscene proportions in the sewers. But actual monsters, spoken of in the same breath as the phrase "sewer knight"? While Tatters' back is turned, she is given a very skeptical look indeed. But since this is more interesting than concrete, and moving helps keep a person warm, the teenager eventually unfolds herself and ambles along behind the other. "I haven't seen any, what're they like?" she inquires while making a show of joining the search--though her efforts are limited to glancing around, instead of lifting stuff.

"Oh, them? They're like, uh," Tatters stops and takes a second to stretch, then carefully rolls up her left sleeve and raises her arm in front of her, palm up. And then her exposed forearm explodes into a writhing Lovecraftian mass of tentacles and teeth that flails around for a second or two before schlepping back into her arm. "Sort of like that?" She takes several seconds to -- it's entirely clear what she's doing, but her eyes glaze over in concentration and her body shifts almost imperceptive beneath her hoodie as she puts herself back together properly. When she's done, she straightens her clothes and glances around, raising her other hand to wave as she offers an apologetic "Oops, sorry!" to the startled bums.

Shelby is a little twitchy--when -things- explode from places they -shouldn't-, the girl gives a shrill cry and jumps backwards. The attention that brings is silent and startled, heads finally turning from the fire. The bum currently in possession of the flask looks down at it and declares, "This is some fine ass shit." His companions numbly agree with nods and mutters, most turning back to the fire--but a number cutting suspicious looks towards the females. Meanwhile, Shelby is clutching her heart as if she were 80 and in need of nitro. Not that she was -scared-: "Fuck no!" she comments to herself, at the very thought. And then, "Fuck no!" again to Tatters to give her opinion on the horrors that lurk below. "Don't...don't do that again? Okay?"

"Sorry." Tatters looks genuinely contrite, quickly pulling her sleeve back down and returning her hand to the pocket of her sweatshirt, her other hand pulling her hood back down over her head as she gives the woman an apologetic look and carries on. "Anyways, there's a bunch of things like *that* that live down there and I try and keep 'em penned in so they don't eat anybody but sometimes they eat the things I hit them with and that's why I'm here looking for some kind of replacement thwacking item." She rattles all that off in one breath, trying to leech out the other's startlement with cheerful, untroubling chatter. "A junkyard might be a better bet but here was on the way, so..."

Shelby's heart is still going a mile a minute. She vents that in a breathless rush of, "Jesus Fucking Christ." And then? Then she's mostly better, though she's not as quick to tag along as she had been. The amazing regenerative powers of youth! "There's really shit like that down there? How come...I mean, how come no one's like noticed before? You'd think..." But she thinks better of that line of questioning and for obvious reasons. The girl gives her head a shake. "I think I saw some bars over that way," she says, shifting course and pointing with mittened hand towards a man-height pile o' cardboard. "Like the kind you put weights on, y'know?"

"They're, um, a fairly recent thing. And it's winter, so they've been pretty sleepy. But, um." Tatters makes a face (worse than her usual face!) and heaves a heavy, angry sigh. "You'll probably start hearing more about them in a month or so, if I can't think of something clever first." Shaking off the thought, she walks over to the indicated pile and starts digging through the mountain of cardboard, eventually and triumphantly producing a -- "What do you even call these? Weight Bars? Bar-bars?" She looks back to Shelby with a helpless shrug as she hefts the thing, giving it an experimental flex with her arms. It doesn't bend very much, which brightens her features considerably.

"Weight bars, I think." Again, Shelby plays me and my shadow with Tatters but doesn't stoop to help--her hands remain at her sides, though she observes with some interest. Maybe she's a weakling. Or lazy. Or still unsure if she's playing to someone's delusions. "I dunno, I never really went to the gym. But that looks pretty sturdy, huh?" A weak vote of confidence if ever there was one! "What happens in a month? Do they like...get all horny or something?"

Tatters stops cold and gives her a blank look for a long few seconds, then looks away and shudders. "That's a horrible, horrible thought. But I don't...think so? I think they just and get bigger." Tatters leans the pole against her shoulder and gestures vaguely as she talks, miming shoveling food into her mouth and then ballooning up in size. "And if you cut bits off they grow into new ones. But I think spring's when they'll thaw out and start getting hungrier."

"What? Next month is Valentine's Day. It could happen." Isn't that a much funnier thought? Lovecraftian horrors exchanging overpriced Hallmark tokens! -Shelby- is amused, at least. She even cracks a gap-toothed grin at the other woman, much less affected by the description of what -really- happens--but then, she hasn't seen it. "Sooo...if new ones grow out of old ones, why don't you like...burn them instead of bashing on them? 'Cause aren't bits gonna come off if you hit it hard enough?" she asks next, while giving the newly acquired makeshift bludgeon a new and thoughtful study.

"They don't burn very well, 'cause one: sewers, and two: they're mostly water, like we are. And severe burns are mostly dangerous 'cause of hypovolemic shock, and they can generally compensate for that. I do try to burn the small ones." Tatters blinks when she realizes that she's started chattering and lets herself trail off with a shrug of apology, shifting her weight and swinging the weight bar over her shoulders to rest her elbows over it. "Um, there's more to it too, but I try not to lapse into ranting about evil conspiracies by powerful biomedical conglomerates unless I'm *trying* to blend in with the crazies." She pauses, then leans back and calls across to one of the bums by the fire. "No offense, Jefferson." Dimly, the vagrant raises his flask and cheerfuly and raspily calls back. "None taken, miss!"

In other words, business as usual among the dregs of Spanish Harlem!

Shelby hadn't expected the information overload and under that wealth of information, it grows more difficult to remain skeptical. That Tatters can produce tentacles from her arm--okay, sure. That these horrors lurk below--well, maybe. "Jesus," she mumbles, stuffing her hands into her coat's pockets and turtling her shoulders up high, "these things are really down there, huh? And...there's just you chasing them? That's fucking insane." But there the teen draws up short again. "I mean...okay, maybe it isn't. This whole goddamned city is insane. I thought -I- was having a shitty week but you kinda win. What's your, uh, back up plan? I mean. If they eat your weapons and all."

"Oh, it's not just me! I'm not the only one who doesn't want a monster-infested sewer, I just kind of live down there too, so. Full time job." Tatters blinks and shrugs off her comments, feeling despite herself that man, she might actually be Pretty Cool. With a quick shake of her head she stops herself from asserting that it's just her job and all in a day's work, and awkwardly goes for a segue. "Um, my backup plan is punching them, I just don't like to because gross. So that's me: what are *you* doing down here? Besides redecorating."

Footsteps trudge along the ground - not exactly heavy, but firm and a little weary. A silhouette of a man in a thick, long coat appears around a corner, heralding the arrival of one Patrick "Trick" Finlay. The man is under 6ft tall, wearing a hat on his head that has his mane of blond hair plastered against his ears and neck. He has one arm across his waist, pulling his coat closed, while the other hand holds a cellphone against his ear.

He looks frustrated.

And lost.

"You said, 'East Harlem', ya gobshite! Ye better not be actin' the maggot, Finch! Jaysus, but I'm bushed. There's nothing here!--oh." The Irishman looks up and across in the direction of voices, and blinks. "Call ye back," he murmurs a moment later, and hangs up on the voice that is still talking on his cell. He walks a little closer, still several yards away, squinting.

Shelby also blinks. It seems to be a trend. "Um. I was just...laying low, 'cause...well, fuck. There are monsters up here too," she says, grin gone rueful. "So I figured I didn't wanna have any heat coming down on where I stay, y'know? So." Her hands emerge from the pockets and she spreads them wide--witness the glory of her hiding place. With its bin fires and stinky derelicts. What cop in their right mind would come down -here-? The scuff of feet on ground cause the teen to hesitate then, arms slowly wandering and face turning in Trick's direction. Seeing as he is rather more well-dressed than the norm, she uses mittened fingers to tug her scarf back over her mouth and nose again. He wants to stare at them, she will stare back.

"Wouldn't mind some heat, honestly. Have you noticed how *cold* it is?" Tatters crosses her arms over her chest and emits a 'pbbbbbbbbbbbb' of warmth, until the loud, heavily accented half of a cellphone conversation catches her attention. Slowly half-turning to regard the interloper she raises her hands to tug her hood up over her head, luminous amber eyes peering curiously up at the officer, eyebrow raised, them and her greenish, oddly proportioned face the only thing to differentiate her from a moderately bulky vagrant in a hoodie. "'sup?"

Trick lowers the cellphone, and glances from one person to the other. Both his eyebrows go up, but there is no indication that he realises these two are mutants. He lets out a breath, and a cloud of steam explodes from his mouth and rises up into the chilly air.

"Uhh..." he starts, pausing to wet his lips. "Howya.. aye. Nice... place for a chinwag, eh?" he asks, a little dubiously. "Name's Trick. Ye 'aven't seen a... friend o' mine round here, a-tall, 'ave ye? Short, plump fella - kinda looks like a 'tater with legs and a beard? Answers to the name o'..." He pauses to check something in his pocket.

"Bob." He speaks the name in a flat tone of voice.

There is a moment of silence.

Then Shelby, bless her heart, glances at Tatters and begins to make scarf-muffled whuffly sounds. It isn't immediate apparent but soon becomes clear--the girl is laughing at Trick. Snickering, actually, in the snotty way that teenagers have. "Bob," she repeats, and her shoulders begin to convulse again. "Sounds like someone's fucking around with you, man, sending you out here this time of night. You looking to score? 2nd and 109th's like...that way." She points. It is not intended as a helpful gesture.

Tatters spends a moment just kind of...blinking, as she digests this query. Then she looks down at her eminently amused companion, and back to the man, and shrugs her shoulders helplessly. "Sorry! I haven't seen a tall short bearded potato named Bob either. Do you know where he's supposed to be? 'Somewhere in East Harlem's' pretty...vague." At least she sounds like she's *trying* to be helpful. She even takes a moment to lean over and prop the weight bar she'd been hefting against the wall, lest it look like she was being all brandishy.

Trick lets loose another sigh. "Aye..." he mutters under his breath. "Was a long shot, anyways." Both hands disappear into his pockets, and he cocks an eyebrow at Tatters. There is suspicion in that look of his, but suspicion without malice. "I'll have to have me a little talk with me ol' frien' Finch..."

His voice trails off and he gives both figures an appraising look - especially Shelby, to whom he directs his comment. "Feckin' round with me's right. This ain't 'xactly a tourist attraction either fer chats 'n chinwags 'n all sorts, lass. You two sure yer alright out here? I can get ye to some place safer if ye like - 'n warmer too--"

Then, to demonstrate he is not a 'man of questionable motives', he pulls out his detective badge from his pocket and flashes it nonchalantly for both figures near him. At the same time, he gives Tatters a sidelong look, and fails to resist a short, sharp intake of air. Perhaps he knows? Or just suspects. Those eyes. He is staring at those eyes.

How bally rude!

Bundled up as she is, there isn't much to see of Shelby beyond her eyes and the fact that she is at least short--the clothing worn distort dimensions, just as with Tatters. As Trick sizes her up, the teen doesn't budge. Head up, shoulders back, posture relaxed--they may as well be standing in a park under sunshine, instead of a sea of broken concrete filled with hobo fumes. "Man, you don't even know--" What was that, Shelby? I'm sorry, Shelby, I don't rightly remember because there's a fucking -badge- right in front of you. She freezes, she stares--and then she spins and takes off between the pillars supporting the overpass, leaving unfortunate Tatters alone to cope with the cop.

For a while Tatters just stood there, staring back; impassively for the first few seconds, but quickly turning amused. This close, she's -- well, she's clearly not entirely human, her skin gray and greenish and her features looking like they'd been sculpted inexpertly by someone who's *pretty* sure they knew what a face looks like but isn't necessarily a deft hand with clay. Not that overt mutation is uncommon in places like these, where the homeless and dispossessed congregate. And for those few seconds Tatters just stands there, smiling, waiting for the detective to make something of it, if he wants to. Aaaaaand then her companion bolts, prompting a chuckle and a roll of her eyes as she watches the girl run for the hills. Welp.

The badge disappears inside a pocket - slowly - and Trick blinks at the fleeing girl. Then he looks at Tatters, and blinks again. He sighs - having people run from him (from the *badge*) is not entirely uncommon, but tonight he just doesn't feel like chasing.

"Was it something I said?" he asks Tatters, taking an involuntary step backward. His jaw tightens without his meaning it to, and he purses his lips as though having recognised something. "Mutants?" he asks, even though it isn't really a question.

"Is that a problem, detective?" Tatters' voice is -- okay, her voice has a bit of a croak to it, but her *tone* is deliberately sweet and pleasant, her head tilting slightly to the side as she regards the man. She shifts subtly where she stands, trying to keep herself from adopting a defensive posture. Maybe this won't go badly!

"S'lang as ye ain' breakin the law, ye're fine." Trick forces a smile, but there's no mistaking his apprehension. Still, licking his lips and itching at his beard, he isn't making any threatening gestures. He isn't afraid either.

Just wary.

"Tell yer friend - when ye see 'er again - I ain't got any beef with 'er. Or ye. Stay safe out 'ere... aye." Slowly, the detective backs away from Tatters, careful not to do anything... scary. Then his foot catches on a broken brick behind him and he falls backward, flailing his arms!

And with all the grace of an acrobat in a woolen coat and business shoes, Trick tucks up into a ball, rolls backward and comes up on his feet again, his back to a wall - breathing heavily.

"Whaddye know?" he asks of no one in particular, and slowly turns to go.

"I'll do--" Tatters smiles coolly at the man as he turns to depart, but stops to wince as he takes an unexpected tumble. "--that. Stay warm, detective." She does a credible job of keeping any kind of mocking smile off her face (or tone out of her voice), and once the fellow sets off she shrugs and casts a thoughtful glance along Shelby's path of retreat. Maybe she should -- eh, she's probably long gone by now. With a shrug, the hooded mutant retrieves her weight bar and strolls over to a nearby manhole. She hooks the end of the bar into a slot in the hatch and easily levers it up, and a moment later she's gone, disappeared beneath the street with only the hatch sliding back into place above her as evidence of her brief foray aboveground.