<NYC> Village Lofts 403 - East Village
There's kind of a college-dorm feel to this place, though some of its occupants have left college behind. Entering the apartment finds visitors greeted by the perpetually messy living room, a mismatched assortment of couches and chairs (and milk crates) surrounding the wide table in the center. The wall holds a range of posters; some political, some sporty, some from video games, and a string of white lights strung over the kitchen doorway might be a holdover from Christmas. A widescreen television stands against the wall opposite the couch, shelving beside it holding a host of video games from different consoles. More shelving beside the windows on the far wall carries stacks of board games, as well as sourcebooks from various RPGs.
In some ways, perhaps, it might be tricky for Matt to feel Hive's power at work as he approaches Geekhaus. Mainly because he's long been steeped in it all around, a vast and expansive web that for a while now has well more than blanketed the city in its entirety. Somewhere in this vast constellation of Hives there is Hive!Prime; fairly indistinguishable in his far-flung psionic net but, at least, readily identified here in his apartment. Too pale, far too skinny, curled up on his couch in faded jeans and a ribbed sleeveless undershirt, a soft exploding-Tardis blanket draped over his bony shoulders. His hair has grown down below his ears, stringy and in need of a wash; the sparse patchy hair on his chin can't really be called a beard, but it's trying. Halfheartedly. On the table in front of him a half-finished mug of black coffee has long since grown cold beside his closed laptop. He has his phone in one hand, thumb flicking twitchily against its blank black screen and his eyes half-closed.
In some ways, perhaps, that's also a blessing. In Hive's vast sea of minds, Jax's is just one more. Fraught with nerves, too-bright, too-wired, a churn of stress and anxiety buried somewhere underneath an oddly level determination as he unlocks the door and lets himself in. He's barefoot, in cutoff shorts and a bright yellow Little Miss Sunshine tee, which, at the moment he's using to wipe at the lens of his sunglasses before replacing them on his face. "Hive? Sugar?"
Trailing a step behind Jax, Matt looks--and feels--preoccupied, though his anxiety and frustration have been shoved aside by a keen, urgent focus. His power preceeds him, groping about for Hive!Prime and latching on with more difficulty and less finesse than is usual for him. He does not shut down what the telepath is doing, does not unhive the vast network of minds, but the way that he continues to insinuate his control suggests a kind of bracing--like coiling his fingers around the leash of a dog he expects lunge. When he does come into view he's wearing a seafoam green t-shirt with a huge white whale curled beneath an an eight-pointed star, black cargo shorts, and black athletic sandals, though his footfalls are no less quiet for the last. He closes and locks the door behind them. << We need to talk. >> He drops down onto the couch beside Hive, using Hive's power to relay his thoughts to Jax, as well. << It's urgent. >>
It's a reasonable expectation, really. Hive doesn't respond at all to Jax's greeting -- but the groping touch of Matt's power meets with a swift and irritable mental snap. An outward flex of that vast mind, surging towards Matt with an immediate flare of anger and an intent, at least, to simply subsume the other man into himself and continue on his work. When he finds himself balked in this there's a small twitch of his eye. No other outward shift, from the body on the couch. A minute later, though, a soft and shivery rustle of voices hissing into their minds: << What the fuck. >>
Jax perches on the arm of the couch, his tongue wiggling at a lip ring. He watches Matt, his brows pulling inward. His hand, more fiercely warm than usual, reaches for Hive's. Squeezes it gently after the mental reply, and even before he's sorted his mind into a deliberate answer one is rising unbidden, a pang of worry -- and hope -- and Flicker's face prominent in his thoughts. << We might have a lead on him, but we'll need to go right away. I'll need your help to get people together. >> A lean skeleton of a team is forming in his mind, around this.
Matt grits his teeth, repelling Hive's attempt at assimilation. The flare of his anger is sharp but brief: he had clearly anticipated Hive's reaction and his own, quelling both with brutal efficiency. With Jax's explanation, though, he bows his head, pulling inwardly toward that image of Flicker and the hope that comes with it, pressing down his terror and reflex to control. His power eases off--not relinquishing its hold on Hive altogether, but giving him leeway to do as he's been asked.
A shudder ripples across the threads of Hive's mental network, tense and now more alert than before. << where is he >> << please >> << we need him >> << he needs us >> Though the words themselves are barely a whisper in their minds, the collective keen of desperation that lashes through them is, for a sharp and agonizing moment, suffocating. There's a hard flex of power that strains against Matt's. Then a silence.
What follows is difficult to feel -- in the ocean of Hive's mind, a few drops more are hard to see. But -- plink, plink, plink -- quiet and careful as he enfolds just that much more of the city into himself.
Jax squeezes harder at Hive's hand; there's a sudden shiver in the light around him, momentarily brighter. His calm warps sharply, a spike of the underlying panic breaking through -- picturing the team getting there too late, Flicker yet again riddled with bullets -- before the wave passes and he marshals himself back into a steadier resolve. << Yes. He does. He got plans to make an escape tonight and we're gonna be there to back him up. >>
Matt sucks in a harsh breath, and though he manages not to imagine anything himself, he cannot help being pulled into Jax's vision. He tenses and leans against Hive's shoulder, hard. << Time is short, but we mustn't let Prometheus get wind either that we know his whereabouts or that they are about to break out. >>
<< please >> rustles again, but it's even softer still this time, small and plaintive. Jax's mental image pulls a fresh swell of grief; it takes a moment longer this time before it ebbs. Hive presses out again, his heavy touch this time pushing up against Matt and Jax's minds. << when do we go? >>