From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

B, Bruce, Iolaus Lucien, Matt, Melinda, Shane, Sera, Spencer, Sprout


"{Days like this are what understudies are for.}" (Part of Flu Season TP.)


<NYC> Harbor Commons - Space Station - Lower East Side

The soft grass and paved walkways of the courtyard give way to rubberized flooring in black and blue tiled squares, marking out the boundaries of the playground.

The equipment that stands on the softer flooring is brightly-coloured, a definitive space theme going on. To one side a tall rocketship takes the place of a more traditional castle, handholds on one side to climb up to the inside and a tall sliding pole and wavy long slide on the other sides to get back down; its inside holds an abundance of platforms and nooks for climbing and hiding.

The rocketship-castle is connected to a twin one by a swaying bridge and a set of monkeybars or, in a more roundabout fashion, a series of tunnels to climb through; on the other side, the ship is a tall climbing structure composed of cross-crossed beams and netting. Separate from the elaborate climbing structure, a swingset holds two side-by-side pairs of swings, and over to another side a large sandbox has a retractable cover to roll up over it when not in use.

The weather today has been continuing on its trend of Practically Springlike; even after sunset it's actually /balmy/ out of doors. Out here on the Commons's playground, it isn't dark, though it's come dinnertime; lamps painted up in bright Seussian colours flood the area with light. For a while now, Sera and Spencer /have/ been playing out here, some convoluted and very active game that involved all the different bits of playground equipment becoming portals to time-travel into various points in history while they zoomed around collecting artifacts with which to save the world. But that was then; now, there's just a heavier tug of /exhaustion/ that has settled over the playground. The games have moved to the sandbox, where a Mars colony is in the process of being designed; Sera is kind of lounging, kind of half-dozey as she intermittently assists with the building and intermittently just gives suggestions to an (also exhausted. Kind of sniffly. Pale. Intermittently coughing) Spencer for what to change.

Shane has wandered out from Lighthaus not long past -- maybe to check on the kids, maybe to call them in for dinner; though seeing them at play he's held off on whatever interruptions he was going to make. Instead, he's settled into a swing, an unlit cigarette dangling between his lips, one hand hooked around one of its chains and his forehead resting against it. He's in a short-sleeved black button down. Black slacks. Saddle shoes.

B has not been home for long. Her cab pulled up outside her house some time earlier this evening, and now she is wandering out from their house as well, an insulated travel mug (pale green, with a mosaic-rainbow dragonfly design on it) held in one hand. Ze is quiet as ze slips up behind Shane, curling an arm around him and resting hir chin against his shoulder. She's more brightly dressed than hir twin, chunky pink and grey Velcro platform sneakers, pink fishnets, a pleated yellow miniskirt, pink ribbed tank, thick rainbow-studded black wristcuffs.

A small figure comes toddling into the well lit area, swaying her weight back and forth on small soft shoes. Tola's green skin reflects the light warmly as she gazes up at the lights, grinning to herself, small nubbin teeth decorating her green gums. She glances back at her trundling mother figure, impatient for her approach. She is wearing a pair of pants that are green on green vertical stripes with a frilly orange top, her arms poking out underneath her almost sleeves. They are mostly ruffles of cotton jersey.

Melinda comes up from behind, looking tired as always, but good, wearing a summery top as well, billowy yellow with short sleeves over a pair of leggings, with a coral colored scarf. Her hair is pulled back at the base of her skull. She smiles quietly to everyone as she sheds the usual toddler accompaniment bag onto a bench before catching up with Tola who is keenly interested in the sand box as well.

Heading in from the direction of the main gate at a brisk walk, Matt looks...hardly sick at all! For all that, he doesn't look very happy, either, his brows knitted ever so slightly. He wears a black t-shirt with Coyote from Gunnerkrigg Court and khaki cargo shorts with brown sandals. His steps slow down once he spots the twins and Melinda on the playground, however, and a weary slump creeps into his posture that even seeing Sera and Spencer at play cannot banish.

Lucien is slower, trailing behind Matt. Casually dressed in jeans, a short-sleeved grey-green henley. His cigarette (black, smelling sweetly of clove) /is/ lit, already half burned down as he wanders towards the playground. He stops short of entering it, lingering on its periphery to take another drag of his cigarette. "{You are home.}" Much like his English, Lucien's Spanish carries a soft hint of his Quebecois roots. He sounds faintly surprised, as he looks at B.

Shane closes his eyes; there's a tremor in his body, not large enough to be clearly visible but quite easily /felt/ as he leans back into B. His nose twitches at the air, sniffing towards B's mug. "{Joshua called Pa out.}" His Vietnamese is low and rough. "{Guess he'll be hearing a lot as --}"

"{-- things get worse.}" B's arms squeeze tighter, at the trembling. Hir eyes snap upward as Tola toddles in, gills fluttering once. She doesn't say anything to the girl.

Neither do the children in the sandbox, for that matter. Sera is back to half-dozing, her fatigue contagious at closer range. Spencer frowns, but after a sniffle manages a wave.

Shane looks up when his twin does. He leans back a little more heavily against hir, his chin lifting to Melinda. For Lucien he only has a frown. "{Aren't you supposed to be on-stage.}" /His/ French, much slower, halting, is touched by Desi's accent. He switches to Spanish though, much more fluidly, after this: "{Smoking can't be good for that.}"

"{For now.}" B's Spanish does not come anywhere as easily as hir twin's, stilted and unfamiliar.

Tola is speaking -- as well as she speaks anyway. It's mostly a long course of incoherent babbling, a mixture of half names and nouns, nothing really intentional, just the noisy expression of her mood. Her signs, however, are more on point. 'Hello' 'play' 'shovel' 'sand' appear from tiny hands as she settles in the sand box with the other two, looking more like she may accidentally wreck anything they were working on first.

Melinda wets her lips and wanders back to her bag to retrieve a small whiteboard and marker, a tissue stuffed in her hand. She then draws closer to the grown ups, giving a little wave and signing, 'how are you?' to the group, worry on her expression, board tucked under her arm.

Matt only waves to those gathered, his eyes straying to the sandbox more than once as if he fears the children will vanish if he doesn't keep an eye on them. Not a completely unrealistic concern, in fairness. "{Fair warning,} he says in his native French, "{I am quite sick.}" Perhaps for the benefit of those less fluent, he pantomimes coughing into his arm. He squints at Mel's hands, brows wrinkled in noncomprehension.

"{Days like this are what understudies are for.}" Lucien's lips twitch, slightly, as he lapses back into French, then slides into Spanish once more. "{Well. I suppose they did not have /quite/ this in mind. Still, calling in my replacement seems preferable than speaking contaminated words to an entire hapless theatre, no?}" To Melinda's question, he only tips a hand out towards Matt's statement. Unlike many of the others, though, he certainly does not look ill in the least.

"{Hey careful!}" Spencer's Spanish is sharper, uncharacteristically irritable (especially as compared to how generally tolerant he is of having Toddler in his playtime) as Tola's entrance threatens the fleet of spaceships he's been building. "{Those took a long time.}"

"{Everyone's sick.}" B's brows are still rumpled close together.

"{Not you.}" Shane's gills flutter again. "{Boston was safer.}" Kind of chiding. He looks up at Lucien, jaw clenching. "{You, too, then?}"

"{... I didn't even know it /could/...}" B trails off, her expression more /intrigued/ than anything else as she studies Lucien thoughtfully. It takes a bit before her eyes widen. "{...Oh. Man. On stage. That -- could be. Devastating. Last time around, I wonder how many -- oh, /man/.}"

"{I thought you were going to a doctor.}" Still frowning, though now Shane is looking to Matt. His eyes narrow on Mel. "{Are /you/ sick?}"

Melinda finds it difficult to follow the conversation but doesn't press too hard, her attention drifting down to her board then over to the kids. Her brow furrows as Spencer snaps, only pulling her attention back to Shane when he gets her attention. "No inferma." Correct? Who knows. She is hurriedly moving toward Tola, scooping her up as she starts fumbling over the fleet. The child cries at the mixture of being snapped at and snatched up, not entirely sure what happened. Mel just tries to calm Tola as she drops her board, carrying her over to the swing. 'This instead?' she asks her offspring as best she can with one hand. Spencer receives a quick, 'sorry.'

Matt nods at Shane slowly. "{I did, and I got treatment.}" He pantomimes giving himself a shot in the arm, then rather dramatically slumps against Lucien. "{But it didn't work. We've told Dr. McCoy, but...}" He glances up at his brother. "{Right now it's impossible to tell which of the new cases are resistant.}

"{Many, I am sure. Perhaps this time they will do the smart thing and halt all English productions -- of course, that would lose quite a lot of money.}" Lucien lapses into quiet, his arm curling around Matt's waist at the slump. His lips press together, eyes drifting towards the playing children.

Shane tucks his phone into his pocket, translating the others' words into sign as they speak. His own, too, though both his sign and his Spanish suffer, slower and choppier for the sim-comming. "{... the cure didn't work? But --}" And then he stops. His gills flutter. Quickly. His head just shakes. And shakes again. And shakes again.

"{Did he just say he got treated? And it failed?}" B is slowly. Heavily. Verifying this in Vietnamese.

The shaking of Shane's head turns to nodding. His hands have fallen to his lap; he doesn't bother with interpreting this part.

"... /huh/." The rapid flutter of B's gills now mimic's Shane's. Hir mouth opens. Closes again. One hand moves to squeeze down tight at Shane's shoulder.

Both twins' eyes shift in a quick flick over to where Spencer is playing in the sandbox.

Melinda keeps her eyes on Shane as much as possible as she slides Tola into the toddler swing, her attention drifting when one of her feet gets caught. Once settled, she starts to push the child gently, her lips pursing as she studies the signs. She has no response to the news, her attention falling on her daughter's face for the time being, then back to the group.

Matt buries his face in Lucien's shoulder. "{When new strains of a disease appear, the old ones do not just go away. It's possible...}" He looks over at the children playing. "{It's possible some will respond to treatment.}"

Lucien's jaw clenches up at this. "{There will be a treatment.}" His voice is clipped. Flat, hard. "{I will find a way. Or make one.}"

Shane's eyes just narrow at this. Focusing on Lucien with a hard assessment. He slides down off the stool eventually, though. /His/ voice is terser, sharper. His hands tuck into his pockets, starting to stomp off towards the sandbox. "{The kids need dinner.}"

B's expression is still thoughtful. Ze slips hir phone out of hir pocket, thumb swiping at it.

As the conversation ramps down, Mel turns her attention fully on her child, attempting to entertain her as she pushes her on the swing. She glances over at the other children as Shane heads over, sadness behind her eyes.

  • (B --> Bruce): What do you know about zombies?
  • (Bruce --> B): Just about everything available in the journals or any publically availably source. Not nearly enough. Why?
  • (B --> Bruce): I think we're about to have a serious problem.
  • (B --> Bruce): It's going to need smart people.
  • (Bruce --> B): I thought that might be the case. Drug resistant strain?
  • (B --> Bruce): Looks like.
  • (B --> Bruce): So many people sick.
  • (B --> Bruce): A friend just got out of the hospital after getting treated. No effect.
  • (Bruce --> B): I see. Can you put me in contact with the researchers who cracked this the last time?
  • (B --> Bruce): Yes.
  • (B --> Bruce): One is the woman who I sent to you to help with the prosthetic arm.
  • (B --> Bruce): Working on the zombie cure two years ago is how my family met her.
  • (B --> Bruce): Pa was up in the basement of the Mendel Clinic for weeks guarding them while they worked.
  • (B --> Bruce): Dr. Saavedro and Dr. Toure are on hiatus from the Clinic right now but this seems like a good reason to look past that and get back to work.
  • (Bruce --> B): Ah, very good. I'll want to talk to them, as soon as possible.
  • (B --> Bruce): I'll email you their contact information.
  • (B --> Iolaus): I know I just gave my resignation recently, and also that it wouldn't have mattered because you're fired or whatever and don't need an assistant right now, but.
  • (B --> Iolaus): I don't know what you're up to these days (hiding from angry mutants who want to kill you is probably a good start?) but your knowledge is probably going to be needed soon.

Hours later:

  • (Iolaus --> B): Watching my life's work collapse under one of my mistakes. And drinking. Mostly drinking.
  • (Iolaus --> B): What's going on?
  • (B --> Iolaus): That's -- good and pathetic.
  • (B --> Iolaus): < link to latest story about zombie outbreak at Mount Sinai >
  • (B --> Iolaus): < link to latest story about zombie outbreak at homeless shelter in Staten Island >
  • (Iolaus --> B): Well, you asked. Not disagreeing.
  • (Iolaus --> B): This isn't just selling newspapers?
  • (B --> Iolaus): My whole family is sick.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Shane, Jax, Spence, Pa.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Half the Commons.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Luci, Matt.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Matt just got back from the hospital. He went through the full round of treatment to cure it.
  • (B --> Iolaus): It had no effect.
  • (Iolaus --> B): Shit.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Yes.
  • (Iolaus --> B): What do you want me to do? I don't have a staff or lab anymore, and I can't exactly ask my co-author for help now.
  • (B --> Iolaus): I've already told Dr. Wyngarde. And another biochemical researcher I've worked with at Stark. And the Tessiers told the doctors at the school.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Stop being pathetic and call Dr. Toure and get back to work.
  • (B --> Iolaus): You KNOW he's got the resources.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Don't get me wrong, I still want to kill you both.
  • (B --> Iolaus): But that's not worth millions of lives.
  • (Iolaus --> B): Sometimes you have to beg the devil for help, huh?
  • (B --> Iolaus): Don't flatter yourself.
  • (B --> Iolaus): HE'S the devil.
  • (B --> Iolaus): You're just spineless.
  • (Iolaus --> B): Great bedside manner, B.
  • (Iolaus --> B): Really, inspiring. You should go to nursing class with Jane.
  • (Iolaus --> B): I'll call Rasheed and offer your eternal soul.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Drs. Banner and Wyngarde should be in touch with you soon.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Try to pretend you still care about something.
  • (Iolaus --> B): I never stopped caring.
  • (B --> Iolaus): Just not about our lives, I guess.
  • (Iolaus --> B): You couldn't be more wrong.
  • (B --> Iolaus): I don't know if it's sadder to think that you actually believe that or not.
  • (B --> Iolaus): At this point I also don't really care.
  • (B --> Iolaus): A whole lot of people are going to die. There's more important things than hating you.
  • (Iolaus --> B): Funny. That's about what I said.

(There is no further answer from B.)