25 September 2014
Confusion and color at a pro-mutant protest.
It's near afternoon in midtown Clinton when the girl in the thick red hoodie shows up.
There's a minor protest outside of the Clinton police station -- a few peaceful, colorful pro-mutant organizers are passing out pamphlets and placards with catchy slogans ('ARRESTED FOR WALKING WHILE MUTANT'); no more than two or three dozen, most of them wearing thicker, heavier clothes to ward off the early autumn chill. A line of police officers -- along with carefully erected barriers -- are watching nearby, their expressions grim, their arms folded -- with the media presence directly across the street likely helping account for why the situation has remained largely quiet and subdued. So far.
Among the protestors are people who are clearly, *physically* mutants -- at least one young man with scales; another older woman with devilish horns extending from her steel gray hair. All of them are staying well clear of the barriers, happily passing out placards and chatting with anyone who happens to walk by about the law passed in September that now makes public use of mutant powers a criminal offense.
However, the girl who's approaching the barriers doesn't look like she's one of the protestors. The thick red hoodie she's wearing is very tattered; the hood is pulled up over her head -- most of the protestors aren't shy about showing their faces. She's also carrying a large, dark purple book-bag slung over one of her shoulders, covered in a variety of vivid Hello Kitty stickers. Something about the way she's approaching the police barrier makes the officers agitated; two are already stepping forward, slowly moving to intercept her, hands raised.
Jerome happens to be out searching the local businesses for something. He's dressed in a black NOFX hoodie and loose fitting jeans. He stops across the street to watch the proceedings quietly, eyes moving from the protesters, to the police officers, to the media presence. "This isn't going to end well." he drawls out quietly, before tugging a bandanna from his back pocket and clutching it tightly in his right hand.
B is heading out of the subway, just off work though it's hard to tell from what the tiny blue teenager is wearing, not /exceptionally/ Office Professional in chunky grey-and-pink platform sneakers, black jeans sprinkled liberally with zippers and straps, a tight black sleeveless mesh shirt with silver studs around its neck and armholes, a black sweatshirt overtop that reads 'HERBIVORE' in a yellow cross over the heart. Backpack on back, the very toothy shark is not on the sidewalk but above it, riding atop a board that /looks/ much like a skateboard though sans wheels, it just hovers about half a foot off the ground. The hum of the hoverboard dies down upon nearing the protest as B's pure-black eyes narrow in puzzlement, first looking at the small crowd and then at Jerome. "... does it ever?"
Micah is out again for the evening after a stop home, as betrayed by his change from work clothes into a Batsignal hoodie, Reading Rainbow-dash tee, and rainbow patchy jeans. An olive newsboy cap perches over his messy auburn hair and his hands are in his hoodie pockets to protect them from the worst of the autumn evening chill. En route from his parked van (it's the really obvious number painted like the TARDIS with a gorilla in a racing wheelchair on the side, back that-a-way), the slim young man has his arm wrapped around Hive's shoulders in a friendly(supporting) way. His brow furrows at the sight of what appears to be a young girl moving toward a police barrier. "Um. Hm. Maybe I should go see if she needs help gettin' somewhere?" The brim of his cap nod-gestures in the direction of the altercation in the making.
Hive just /snorts/ in answer to this, though the faint amusement comes with a distinct tightening of his rail-thin shoulders, a narrowing of his eyes. "You looking to get yourself arrested /again/, dude? She looks like /she's/ walking just fine." Though his eyes aren't leaving the cops even as his weight shifts a little more heavily against Micah. He's dressed a little over-warm for the fall weather, fleecey crimson cap (bearing the greek letters Theta Tau) on his head, a fleece-lined black denim jacket pulled on /over/ his oversized sweatshirt (pale blue, with a cartoony stormcloud on its belly raining down both hearts and raindrops), sturdy jeans, sturdy boots.
The girl is still a good ten or so yards away from the barricade -- but even that's quite a distance closer than any of the protesters, who seem to have the good sense to stay away from the officers. At least one of the protesters, however -- the steel-haired woman with horns -- seems to have noticed the girl's approach. She's turned, waving her arm toward her, calling out to her in a voice that's attempting to be sweet and nonchalant, but has a hint of panic to it.
As the officers approach the girl -- who's pace has started to quicken -- something... bizarre starts to happen. The officers don't seem to notice, at first -- but the girl's vivid, red, tattered hoodie... looks like it's being steadily drained of color. It starts at the hood itself, then sweeps down across it, through it -- like a gray, monochrome dye was being poured across it, spreading rapidly down to the hemline... from there, her blue jeans start to fade in much the same way -- and as the process reaches her feet, it only *accelerates* -- hitting the asphalt underneath her. Of course, asphalt's *already* pretty much monochrome -- but anything that isn't pure black-or-gray is rapidly vanishing from it.
The two officers approaching the girl seem to have just noticed this; suddenly, they're both halting their forward motion, eyebrows briefly crumpled... right before the girl proceeds to shout:
She throws her hands up -- and suddenly, there is an *explosion* of colors -- mostly, red and blue, intermingled with a little tar-black -- a rushing wave that rushes from her palms like a surging fire-hydrant, striking both police officers and promptly *enveloping* them.
Jerome makes an annoyed noise and proceeds to calmly start to wrap the bandanna around his face. "Always something. /Always/ something." he grumbles, tossing his hood up as he starts to stretch, clearly getting ready for the backlash. He looks over at B and nods once, "Might want to get into cover. The obvious mutants might have a problem in just a few seconds."
There's a very faint twitch at the corner of B's mouth, head dipping in response to Jerome's statement. "We /always/ have a problem." B is kiiind of watching the girl approach the police, but kiiind of also edging away from the police barricade. Just in case. A small twitch of nose identifies /familiar/ scents in the overwhelming muddle of City Crowd, though, and the hoverboard scoots forward again with the attempt to /locate/ Hive and Micah.
The path of the hoverboard cuts closer to the barricade, though -- perhaps unfortunately in time with the sudden spray of colour. B flinches back, sheeny-blue skin abruptly glistening red along one hand and the side of hir face -- it could almost be bloody but it's a little too /pale/ for that. The teenager doesn't seem particularly /hurt/ despite the flincing; though there's a sharp inward curl of shoulders the shark doesn't lose hir balance on the hoverboard. Instead ze scoots it forward closer to the police barricade, elbows resting atop it and a bright-warm (and /very/ sharp-toothed) grin spreading across hir face. "Oh, /man/." Hir black eyes have fixed on the girl with sudden interest. "That was /brilliant/ do it again?"
"Oh, B..." Micah's teeth dig into his lower lip, the degree of concern in his expression only increasing with B's proximity to the rapidly-escalating protest/police interaction. He pulls out his phone, swiping a few times to get it recording with the instant upload function that has been /entirely/ too useful for him and people around him lately. "Need t'see if ze's willin' t'back off of this 'fore ze gets pulled into the..." Spray of colour turning hir red, apparently. His eyes shoot open wide, hand reaching over to pass the phone to Hive. "Honey, would y'mind? I've gotta...faster would be better for gettin' over there." He seems a little /torn/ as he removes his arm from the other man's shoulders, but Child In Peril seems to be the trump in this situation. While he doesn't /run/ in the direction of the officers (that is generally a recipe for unpleasantness), he does speedwalk rather impressively to close the distance between himself and B.
"... embleer /Frith/ what the fuck is with your family and --" Hive wobbles kind of unsteadily on his feet as Micah moves away, his scowl only deepening when he's left holding the phone. There's a noticeable unsteadiness to the hand that's holding it, image likely to be kind of shaky-cam erratic as he trains the camera more or less in the direction of the officers. He moves a little closer, too, though it's at a kind of slow shuffling slouch of a walk, scowl very much still in place as he moves himself to lean up against a newspaper rack nearby Jerome. His eyes cant sidelong towards the other man, nostrils flaring with a sharp huff as Jerome wraps the bandana around his face. "You planning on starting shit, too?"
As the enveloping wave of color fades down to a trickle, the officers -- and the ground around them -- is left looking like it just got hit with a massive tie-dye canon filled with blue, black, red, and a smattering of purple. Both officers look confused -- the surging blast of colors didn't so much knock them back as just startle them, prompting them to step away. But rather than respond with anger, aggression, or even shock...
"...whoa," the officer on the left says, his eyes growing wide and glassy -- staring at the girl with an expression of awe. The one on the right begins to giggle wildly; the giggling soon develops into uncontrollable laughter, sending him to the ground, clutching at his stomach.
Needless to say, the other officers aren't amused. "Shit, shit, we're under fire--" Two officers are already moving to pull their guns; two more are stepping back behind the barricade for cover. The protesters start shouting; the woman with steel-gray hair and horns is charging forward like a bull, straight for the girl with the hoodie that's *now* black-and-white. Meanwhile, that very same girl is hurling her palms out to lash a narrow stream of purple across all the other police officers -- as it splatters across them, most of them immediately fall to their knees, sobbing uncontrollably.
However, at least one officer squeezes off a shot -- prompting the protest to erupt into screams. At that exact moment, the woman with horns *slams* into the girl in the black-and-white hoodie -- who, with a squeak, is tackled to the ground... instinctively (and quite accidentally) sucking *all* the colors out of the horned woman's bright, multi-colored protestor outfit.
And promptly *SPEWING* them upward and outward in a brief, spurious tornado of technicolor'd mood-altering mutant-dye.
"I live near here.. I'm registered, but I don't need my neighbors recognizing me immediately in case I have to step in and get people out of the way." Jerome explains quickly, eyes on the situation as more and more people step in. "Fuck." is all he has to say when the officers respond with aggression, he starts to charge but stops when the spray comes up and quickly ducks behind cover. Once the mess is out of the way he breaks out at a full sprint that's obviously inhumanly fast to move at the downed protesters. It's tough playing hero sometimes.
"/Woah/." B's eyes are widening too, at the sudden eruption of chaos. The sound of gunfire puts another definite /flinch/ in hir posture, hands clapping to hir ears for a moment. "/Ba/ someone might be hurt." Better to inform the person with actual first aid skills about this. For /hir/ part ze is vaulting /over/ the police barricade, clawed hands lifted but palms-out (however little reassuring this might be with hir very prominent teeth still on display) towards the officer who just shot. "-- Hey don't /hurt/ her she was just --" Ze gestures towards the RAINBOW STORM nearby. "... making things brighter."
The solid black making up most of Micah's hoodie serves as an excellent canvas for the splash of red across the back of it, smaller portions stippling his neck and one hand. "Oh wow, that was /pretty/. Jax'd /love/ that." He just surveys the colour-splattered scene with a bit of a dopey grin and an inadequate sense of urgency. "Somebody got hurt? /You're/ not hurt." Moving forward, he starts to give B a hug but is interrupted by the teen darting off. "Wait, /you/ might get hurt." He doesn't try to follow B over the barricade because vaulting? Ha. His eyes dart around with a hint of confusion as he tries to figure out if there /is/ someone hurt out there. For helping.
Hive's unsteady camera-hand is trained still on the police, the girl, the geyser of rainbow. His too-pale skin has taken on kind of a yellow tinge in the whirl of colours, his blue sweatshirt and black jacket stained brighter as well. "Oh my god." This time it's brighter, his scowl melting away into a crooked smile. "Jax /would/ love that, holy crap can we keep her?" It takes him considerably longer than the others do to anything like Movement, slowly dragging himself away from the machine he's been leaning on to shuffle closer to Micah. "Nobody's hurt this is just -- it's like that time the whole city got repainted. That was pretty aw -- why are they crying?" He's lowered the camera to his side, looking at the police with a puzzled expression. "... you think maybe they need a hug?"
The girl is still under the woman with horns by the time Jerome reaches her; the woman with horns is, by the look of it, utterly *bathed* in colors -- all the colors of her clothes having just been sapped out of her and vomited right back *onto* her. By the time Jerome gets there, the older woman is rising up off the girl, blinking owlishly -- staring at her own hand as if it was the strangest thing she'd ever seen.
The girl, meanwhile, *yelps* as Jerome seizes her -- the dye has splattered over her hoodie, too, but she doesn't seem to be affected. The woman with horns doesn't resist as Jerome grabs her; the girl, however, begins to kick and writhe -- by the look of her, she's a young teenager. No sooner has Jerome grabbed hold of her than do the colors in his clothes rapidly begin to vanish...!
Most of the officers respond to B with a mixture of confusion, awe, and terror. Some are on their knees; the few who are standing are either gripping other officers for support, or leaning against the wall of the police station. Through the cries, a few can be heard bemoaning their life decisions. But two of the officers didn't get sprayed enough to incapacitate them -- and one got sprayed with a sickly shade of greenish yellow. It's this one who, in response to watching all his fellow officers have a collective *breakdown* -- combined with the sight of a blue-and-red sharkboy leaping over the barricade -- proceeds to *shriek* with fear, pulling his gun out and firing with near-blind terror. He's a good distance away from B -- and, in fact, the bullets he's slinging are as much of a risk to the shark as they are to the man's fellow officers.
Despite the fact that they're panicking like hell, the two officers who *haven't* been hit with the tie-dye storm have enough sense and reason to realize that the third officer is acting *deranged* -- and after he's squeezed off his third shot, he's getting tackled by both officers, who wrestle him to the ground. "Jesus CHRIST what the hell is -- CALL BACK UP!"
The protestors -- those who weren't utterly *drenched* in colors -- are moving to grab hold of those who were, and drag them away from the scene. Some of the protestors who got hit are laughing; two appear to be dancing together, in the movements of a waltz. At least one is on the ground, having just decided now would be the *perfect* time to paint his toe-nails. He's seized up by another protester, his placid face never flinching as he's dragged to his feet and shoved away from the street.
Jerome doesn't hesitate in dropping the writhing teenager and horned mutant, he's fast, they hit the road away from the crowd quickly. He doesn't waste any time heading back into the crowd (probably to try and get away from the teen before she blasts /him/). The gunshots get his attention, and he's heading for B now. "Another day in Paradise." he grumbles lightly.
This time the tremor of B's body isn't just a flinch but an actual shudder of pain. There's more red seeping down one of hir arms, now, dark and mingling with the lighter shade of red that had been there before. Hir teeth clench up in reflexive pain but aside from staggering back slightly to lean against the barricade (and aside from the /hole/ torn in hir sweatshirt where there wasn't one before) ze seems rather /pleased/ with life. At least, hir toothy smile hasn't faded. "Oh man. Hive. Hive yes I think they all need -- so many." Hir gills flutter again, slower this time. "Hugs." Which is evidently what ze is greeting /Jerome/ with when the man heads nearer, wiry (half-red) arms outstretched to invite him near for /hug/time. "/Paradise/. Yeah. Yeah it kind of -- I bet heaven looks a /lot/ like this."
"B, I don't think anybody was hurt over here," Micah informs chipperly, turning back just in time for /more/ shooting. "Maybe hugs. Ask first. S'posed t'ask first." Presumably this is in answer to Hive. Though now Micah is busy ducking /under/ one of the barricades to get closer to B. "Think you're bleedin'." He points to B's shoulder. "Lemme see. If you're shot we should put some pressure on an' drive you t'the Clinic." Really, it seems like the level of /fret/ here would usually be a lot higher.
"HEY." Hive is leaning in to the barricade, directing this yelled greeting over towards the sobbing police officers. "Hey, you guys need any hugs? I think we have --" His smile is wide; he gestures with his phone towards B and hir wide-open-arms. "Spare. Hugs. Huh. You /are/ bleeding." Though this actually only makes his cheer brighter. "... Red looks good on you."
At the gunshots, the girl in the hoodie shrieks, throwing her hands over her head; protestors have already snatched up the woman with horns shortly after Jerome deposits her, and are on their way to dragging her off the street. In the distance, sirens are heard -- ambulance sirens -- as the sounds of more police officers are heard from within the doors of the department, the gunshots prompting the arrival of more police. The doors are opening; officers are emerging with shotguns in hand -- and being greeted with a sight torn straight out of the pages of a Looney Tunes cartoon crossed with a Jackson Pollock.
"Some sort of bio-attack," one of the officers who *hasn't* been sprayed is yelling to the other officers arriving, gesturing wildly as his companion restrains the one painted in sickly yellow-green. "We need to get these men to a hospital--"
And then Jerome is charging in, running past the barricade. After the initial gunshots hit B, no other officers approached him -- he didn't seem to be attacking, and the main concern of the newly arriving officers are the half-dozen cops who are on the ground, sobbing their eyes out. But Jerome's arrival -- super-fast, charging up past the barricade -- prompts at least two officers to spin on him, B, Micah, and even Hive -- shotguns *poised* at them all (though mostly Jerome -- not that they're being *selective*, right now). "HANDS ON YOUR HEAD! ON THE FUCKING GROUND!" one of them bellows.
Somewhere off in the background, the girl in the hoodie has managed to wriggle her way past the protesters gathering people up. The color drain that afflicted Jerome's clothing hasn't stopped; she's been eating up color this whole while, as much of it as she can, stumbling back toward the barricade... her hands reaching to grab a nearby blue car, sucking it until it's gray...
Jerome leaps the barricade and puts himself between B, Micah, and the police officers. His arms are thrown out wide and his visible skin soon starts to change, bone bursting forth (which /does/ force a wince from Jerome) and forming a protective layer of dermal armor. He looks over his shoulder at the shark mutant and the others and practically shouts "Get out of here!" at the trio.
B's expression lights as Jerome's arms open wide, though this turns into a shake of hir head at the yelling. "That's not," ze informs Jerome, sneaking up to the bigger man's side to try and creep arms around his waist, "how you hug, it's this way. -- Hey look, my hands are --" Kind of trying to give Jerome a hug? It leaves B temporarily /puzzled/ as to how to follow the cops' instructions -- /clearly/ it's hugtime now what are they thinking? -- but in the end ze just kind of lazily bats a hand in the vague direction of the shotguns. "OK the assertive thing is kind of /hot/ but you can't hug with those either. I think you guys really need to look after your friends, they seem a little upset."
"Everybody's all yellin'. That's not very /good/ for you, y'know." Conveniently, Micah is /already/ on the ground what with the crawling under barricades. Clearly the yelling isn't directed at /him/. He tugs on B's hand to encourage the teen down with him. "Hey, come here. Lemme fix your bleeding. Got plenty of red without that."
"What why would we do that?" Hive gestures with the camera towards the technicolor landscape around them. "It's freaking /awesome/ here. -- Huh?" The order from the police makes him just as puzzled. He drops the phone in the process of lifting his hands to his head, quite noticeably unsteady on his feet now that he's no longer propped his elbows against the barricade. "... /Neat/. Hey. Dude. That's totally badass." His chin jerks towards Jerome's new coating of bone armor before he turns to the police for a second opinion on this: "Totally rad, isn't it?"
The sight of the man they just told to get down on the ground proceeding to sprout what appears to be boney armor is *not* received as 'totally rad' by either officer. Only one of them fires -- a blast of heat belching from the barrel of the shotgun as he unleashes a barrage straight at Jerome's sternum -- the other officer shouting for more backup. This prompts more officers, with more shotguns -- pistols drawn -- barrels aimed at Jerome and company. Cops and gunfire are sometimes like potato chips: You can't have just one.
Which is when girl-in-hoodie steps in. A little dribble of blood mars her forehead; scuff marks and splatters of her own color emissions cover her otherwise gray hoodie -- and yet, she's still sucking in colors. *ALL* the colors, by the look of it -- she's drained the car, portions of the street, some of the clothes of the protestors who struggled past her... and now, as she approaches the barricade, another police officer catches sight of her, spinning to point his pistol her way -- just as she lifts her palms... and...
The massive spray of white is more like a cloud than a gush; by the look in the girl's face, she's clearly straining to make as much of it as possible. By the time the massive cloud has swept over the array of officers and mutants, her face is actually growing pale -- flakes of color vanishing from her skin, replacing its tone with paper-like white, her eyebrows turning gray -- even the dribble of blood turning to an oily, tar-colored black. Once it's *hit* the group -- washing across the front of the police station -- she's collapsing to the sidewalk, hands slapping down on asphalt... crawling away under the cover of the massive cloud.
The cloud of white 'dye' settles on everyone in the immediate area -- unlike the streams, it doesn't splatter so much as lightly 'dust'. However, the effect is the same -- as it clings like ash to everyone's skin and clothes, peppering them, a strange sense of calmness and serenity descends upon them. Weapons are lowered. Sobbing -- though continuing -- grows more subdued, more controlled. A police officer calmly grabs a barrier, moving it aside to let EMTs into the area. Another officer is moving forward to check on Jerome -- weapon still in hand -- while more approach Micah, B, and Hive, intent on arresting them -- but with a startling degree of calm, polite professionalism.
The shots hit Jerome and stagger him back a bit and force a growl from him. His hoodie is ripped suddenly as spikes erupt from the front of his torso, dislodging the pellets and bullets from his makeshift armor and causing them to clink on the pavement below him. Just as his expression turns to that of annoyance the white settles on him and the dermal armor returns where it belongs as soon as the guns are up. His gaze shifts from himself, to the police as they approach him. "How about.. no?" he suggests lightly, raising his hands and stepping back a few times before snapping and pointing at the officers. Then he turns and sprints for the nearest alleyway.
B shivers as the white settles over hir, the warm smile on hir face vanishing. Ze slides closer to Micah, leaning a little bit heavily against hir father though hir eyes track Jerome's retreat. Ze is making no such effort to disappear,just nodding in mute acceptance as the officers approach. The faint pallor to hir blue skin might just be from the dusting of white but may also be from the seeping red that is soaking into hir sweatshirt. "I think I'm a little bit injured," ze informs -- hir father, the officers, both? Though this is also with a surprising amount of calm given the blood. "It hurts, kinda -- a lot." And puts a wince on hir face as ze leans hir head on hir father's shoulder, hands folding docilely behind hir back.
With B /finally/ in reach, Micah supports hir and presses a balled-up sleeve of his hoodie over the site of the bleeding. His lips press thin as he regards the officers. "My kid is hurt. You /shot/ hir. Y'should worry 'bout gettin' hir /help/ more'n arrestin' hir," he explains evenly, not moving from his protective position.
"... what did /I/ do?" Hive just blinks, as the officers draw nearer. But like the others he is quiet about it, not resisting the arresting although his unsteady posture and difficulty walking means that actually wrangling him anywhere requires a little bit of /help/. "I think," he tells B and Micah regretfully, "we're going to miss our movie."
"...suspect is fleeing the scene," one of the officers calmly calls into his radio as Jerome runs. This is followed by a careful description of Jerome's appearance. However, none of the officers in the immediate area seem to be intent on following him; instead, they are checking on each other, helping the EMTs -- and seeing to Micah, Hive, and B. All in all, the mood among the police here has grown substantially subdued -- though as more police filter into the area -- police who are *not* afflicted with the white dye -- that mood steadily begins to shift toward tense, but not violent.
At Micah's comment, one of the officers pauses, and -- "I beg your pardon -- he's -- with all the colors, I didn't notice -- we need an EMT over here?" And suddenly, an EMT *is* arriving, to help B with hir wound! The officer even seems *interested* in making sure that B doesn't have any other injuries -- along with Micah, and Hive! "We'll take him to the ER," the officer states, soon adding: "But once the EMTs have cleared you, we *are* going to need to take you in. We need to determine what happened, and what your involvement in this incident was..."
One other officer is on his radio, calling in the girl in the hoodie -- who is also fleeing the scene. Not as *quickly* as Jerome, but she's got a head-start -- though by the look of her, she's not doing so well. Still monochrome, she limps down an alleyway.
Meanwhile, the city street remains splattered with every color imaginable -- and a few that are actually a bit hard to imagine -- with a large spread of ash-like dust spread over the police station, peppering its windows and the officers involved.