From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

Egg, Ion, Isra


"{Years change a man, huh?}"


<NYC> Hellhound Bikes - Brooklyn

Located not far from Jamaica Bay in a predominantly Latinx sector of East New York, this garage doesn't look like much from the outside. A low-slung squat dingy brick building with a hand-painted sign over front proclaiming it to be HELLHOUND CUSTOM CYCLES, this garage has a small office area with its own pedestrian entrance from the street at the front, containing a minifridge, usually full of beer, and beaten down old desk with a ledger and an antique cash register that no one ever seems to use. The rest of the space is roughly L-shaped, its walls lined with racks of tools and heavy workbenches with built-in steel drawers full of hardware and spare parts. There's a raised platform in the wider leg of the space for working on one motorcycle, and there's space in the narrower leg for parking at least three more.

Summer has come early to New York City, and though it's lazy Friday afternoon the neighborhood feels as though it is gearing up for a lively evening. A shadow on the ground is moving far more quickly and occasional clouds have of late, and it grows larger as it nears the garage, it's flight path curving and eventually spiraling inward.

Gliding steadily, Isra looks deceptively languid on her final approach--it would take a trained eye to spot the subtle constant course adjustments--backwinging hard only when she is about 12 feet from the ground, shedding both momentum and altitude rapidly until she drops down to the driveway in a graceful crouch, wings mantling and then folding in as she rises.

She wears a simple white backless sundress that shows off her body art to excellent effect. Tag clearly had spring on his mind when he painted her skin in soft shades of green shot through with drifts of tiny metallic spots that glimmer like dew in sunlight, and match the burnished silver of her horns and talons. The leathery membranes of her wings are covered with thousands upon thousands of flowers--violets and daisies and hyacinths and daffodils and irises--in glorious colorful detail, like a wild meadow in full bloom.

Pushing her mirrored flight goggles up onto her forehead as she ducks inside, she sets down Egg, whose tiny sundress and goggles match hers and who had been riding in a harness worn across her chest, and a bulky lumbar pack. From this last she produces a stack of picture books--some in English and some in Spanish--a folded up bundle of silver and black fabric, and a plush green pterosaur. Egg seizes the plushie and deftly holds it up using the thumb talons on their wings, leaving their hands free to sign, 'Look Dad it's like /me/ I'm a /dinosaur/! Can I be green, too?'

"{We went to the Bazaar,}" is all Isra offers by way of explanation, her voice mild.

Within the garage, Ion is hunched -- kiiind of gingerly -- over a laptop that's been left out on one of the workbenches, frowning intently at the screen and then at an antique bike parked in the dock nearby. Frown. /Frown/. It turns rapidly to a bright smile as he straightens, though. Gives a wide grin to the entering pair. "{Oh /shit/ hey you got a real-ass dinosaur there?}" His greeting is delighted as he hops over the bench, swoops in less literally to plop on the floor beside Egg, eye the plushy admiringly. "{You want to be green you can /definitely/ be green, we'll ask Tag to fix you up bright too.}" One thumb jerking toward Isra and her verdant body art. He tips his head up toward Isra. "{You find yourself something nice there?}"

Egg makes the toy pterosaur dance a jerky marionette's dance. 'Yes yes, but this one can't fly, so I'm a /better/ dinosaur.' They loose a string of gleeful clicks and push at the goggles in a not overly effectual attempt at removing them. 'I'm going to be green with /flowers/, like Tola and Isra.'

Isra inclines her head, silver horns gleaming off the light from outside, and withdraws a black velvet box only slightly wider than her hand. The box looks empty at first glance when she opens it, only a circular divot in the gray foam pad; but when she tilts it, a faint reflection can be glimpsed on a glossy meniscus nestled inside the divot. "An eye piece for my new telescope, machine-ground and hand-polished. I commissioned it some time ago, but a master's workmanship is worth the wait." She closes the box and tucks it back into her pack. "{And you?}" With nod at the antique bike. "{Have you also found something nice? A new project?}"

"{You don't say?} You're gonna look like one fly-ass dino that for a damn sure." Ion reaches over to flip the goggles up and off Egg's head, moving them instead to shield the eyes of the stuffed pterosaur.

Ion looks pleased enough at the velvet box itself even before Isra tips it, stretching one hand toward the soft lining -- but catching himself short when the box moves and Isra explains the glint inside. "{Shit, I come over, you show me some more stars?}" The lift in his deep voice is hopeful. His expression shifts -- a scrunch of one eye, lips twisting to the side together with an irritated suck of teeth. "{Was /meant/ to be. My dumbass went and got the wrong bike. Not that she's not pretty, but.}" A small shrug. "{Not the one I need.}"

'Yes fly fly /fly!/' Egg repeats the sign with growing enthusiasm until they drop the plushie in favor of actually flapping their wings, though without lifting off. 'Wrong bike, why wrong?' Their huge green eyes are fixed on the antique bike now, their clicks growing more rhythmic. 'Can't fly?'

Isra's nod is barely perceptible, but her pointed ears prick up--one swiveling slightly toward Egg's clicking. "{It still needs to be put together, but once it's done, I will show you so many stars--and more.}" She takes a long, gliding step toward the motorcycle. "I should doubt very much if it flies." There's the faintest twitch of a smile at the corner of her mouth. "{But which one /do/ you need?}"

'Definitely doesn't fly, I don't think it even rolls.' Ion switches into sign, wry amusement in his expression. 'Plan was to fix it back up, get it zooming again.'

He shakes his head at Isra's question, tongue clicking against his teeth again. "See I ain't even /sure/, yo, I was supposed to --" Halfway through this, though, his eyes light. He bounds to his feet, hands clapping once together. "Oh, shit, you come! You can tell me the right one. {You both,}" the sweep of his hand includes Egg as well, here, "{smart with this kind of shit.} C'mon c'mon," he's already scooping up Egg and their harness both to start securing them BACK onto Isra, "we go."

'Yes go yes!' Egg's clicking grows so rapid that it blurs into an almost mechanical rattling. 'Find right bike find /flying/ bike yes.' They flail their wings a few times before tucking them in close to make it easier for Ion to secure them.

Isra raises the hairless ridges of her eyebrows high, but submits with equanimity to the reattachment of the winged toddler. "{I would gladly assist you, my dear boy, but I do not know the first thing about motorcycles.}" Despite the disclaimer, she settles her goggles down over her eyes. 'Ready.'

"Tch." Ion shakes his head, dismissive, as he wraps Egg in securely. "{/I/ know motorcycles. /You/ know --}"

The sentence never reaches its intended ending, though. Ion's hand has clapped to Isra's glimmering back, and the world judders abruptly into a vividly painful darkness. There are intermittent flashes that break up the shock; a snippet of fading sunlight, a rustle of tall grasses, a long stretch of cars crammed bumper to bumper on a highway. The world doesn't stay put for long during any of these, though, blinking in and out of existence between a series of heart-stopping jolts.

When it finally re-coalesces, it's in a large and dimly lit room. Just behind them is a full sized army-drab helicopter parked on a mound of fake earth and plastic grass; a panel has been removed from its side to show its insides, stocked with military weaponry and first aid supplies; there are mannequins piloting it, dressed in Army infantry uniforms. A panel in front of the display tells of the helicopter's -- a Bell UH-1 Iroquois -- use during the Vietnam war.

Somewhere across the room, a large wall panel reads -- THE PRICE OF FREEDOM: Americans at war.

Egg recovers from the trip quickly, long ears flopping to and fro, head lolling, eyes wide and staring about. 'Helicopter! Is that the one you want? It flies!'

Isra mantles her wings, swaying only slightly in place. Her ears flick around, too, much more precisely than the child's. 'Museum?' she signs, slowly turning a half-circle in place. 'Do you know the name of the motorcycle you need? Or what war it was used in?'

'You want a helicopter? I think that one don't fly either. Anyway if you want to fly helicopters you need to ask Jax. I don't know shit about that kind of flying.' Ion's fingers trail lightly against the railing in front of the display. Then the wall behind it. He lifts his hand to snap, pointing ine finger afterwards -- at a Jeep across the room, suspended over an array of World War 2 paraphenalia. 'Big one. A '42 Liberator. Last time I got some fucking.' Shrug. 'Early model.'

'Jax flies /Sugar/, that's even /better/.' This does not stop Egg from craning their skinny neck at the Iroquois. 'Do they have /dragonflies/ here can we get one of those?'

Isra pushes the goggles up onto her forehead as her eyes follow the direction Ion indicates. 'I don't think they used many dragonflies in that war,' she explains as she stalks over to the Jeep, past a mosaic of prints made from grainy sepia photographs, and to a row of motorcycles. There's an empty spot in the exhibit, its plaque still in evidence but the bike nowhere to be seen. Isra spares the vacancy only the barest flick of her ears before moving on. "Liberator?" she says aloud, her doubled voice sounding even more eldritch than usual in the high-ceilinged space. After studying each of the other plaques--the ones with vehicles still behind them, she points at one olive drab machine. 'This one. 42WLA, right?' Her head tilts slightly, horns gleaming in the dim light. 'Very specific,' the comment is dry, neutral.

'42WLA, yes.' Ion confirms this enthusiastically, bounding over to the row of bikes. 'I just looked at the pictures but.' Shrug. "His damn face every fucking where here." Muttered, half to himself. He kneads briefly at his eye, leans in past Isra to squint down at the plaque in front of the motorcycle. 'This? You sure? I need the right one.'

Egg clicks, loud and rapid, their huge green eyes bugging out. 'Yes dad see it says there," they stretch out one wing and waggles it at the plaque, 'four, two, W, L, A. Does that mean /this/ one flies?'

Isra's eyes track to a blown-up photograph of several rugged men in a hodgepodge of WWII-era US Army gear. The image had been cleaned up and airbrushed for the exhibit, so the Howling Commandos look uncannily clean and sharp. Captain Steve Rogers stares out at them across the decades, looking very little different in any physical way, yet somehow much younger, less complicated in his intensity. 'I'm sure,' she assures Ion. 'Unless the museum itself has mislabeled the motorcycle.'

'Wow,' Ion's headshake is exaggerated with the impressed look he shoots Egg. 'You read it that quick? I'm still puzzling it out. 4, 2, W, L, A, shit. This the one.' He leans over to carefully wrest Egg from their harness in an ungainly tangle of limbs, hops lightly across the bar separating the would-be audience from the displays in order to set Egg down on the saddle. His eyes flick up to the picture, a low whistle escaping him as he braces his hands on the handlebars. "{Years change a man, huh?}"

Egg clicks happily as they alight on the antique motorcycle. 'I'm fast fast /fast/!' they sign, using their wings to keep balanced in a saddle far too big for their spindly limbs. 'This bike fast too? We should go for a /ride!/'

Isra allows a shallow smile at egg. 'Not yet, but I'm sure your dad will fix that right up.' She glances back at the photograph and shakes her head. "{I think it's a bit more than just the years, in his case. I'm sure he'd be interested to see one of these again, fast or no.}"

He looks up at the others, a bright smile on his face as he reaches his other hand for Isra. "We good, then? We going. /Fast/."

The picture of Steve looks out, dignified, on the dimly lit display through exuberant whoop, through the brief blip-spark that accompanies the bike and the trio vanishing from view. With the cameras in that part of the museum silent and dead, it is only the frozen faces of the Commandos that are there to see when there's a second blip -- there and gone fast enough it almost seems like the slightly older model Liberator is returning /itself/ to the empty dock in the display, sitting just slightly askew in its stand when the room is left empty once more.