Logs:Bad Millennials

From X-Men: rEvolution
Bad Millennials
Dramatis Personae

Ion, Polaris, Sebastian

2019-09-19


"Your situation is your business, yeah?"

Location

<NYC> The Bazaar - Flushing


This was once a Flushing office building that rented to startups, rapid growth industries, and fly-by-night operations who don't want any questions asked. After a change of ownership and abandoned plans to convert it into luxury condos, it has lain largely empty, and as of late the local community has reclaimed the space to convert it into an immense indoor marketplace. The lobbies are packed with food vendors and the hallways lined with kiosks selling a dizzying variety of goods, flea-market fashion. Various offices are given over to groups of merchants selling similar wares: one dedicated to books, another to computer components, and a rather popular one selling (perfectly legal) weapons...at least during the day. Rumor has it that the Bazaar's night market is becoming the go-to place for trade in illicit goods. But night or day, the place is bustling with activity, noisy and raucous commerce in many languages (though predominantly Mandarin and Spanish). Chances are, you can find anything your heart desires here...if you're willing to pay the price.

The Bazaar is bustling tonight, hectic and rushed in the liminal space between one market and the next as people try to finish up the last of their business for the day or slip in early to claim a prime spot to set up their wares for the night. It's an eclectic mix of company, harried overworked venders trying to drum up interest in their jewelry or street food, exhausted-looking parents shepherding their up-too-late kids through a last few errands before they can head home for the night, clusters of unassuming-looking folks furtively exchanging unassuming-looking packages, knots of wide-eyed lost tourists who have clearly been told this is an AUTHENTIC New York experience.

Somewhere in the middle of this is Ion, in heavy boots, jeans, a plain white tee and his much-battered heavily-adored Mutant Mongrels cut worn over it, ridiculously ostentatious gold chains around his neck and a similarly unnecessarily large jewel-studded Jacob & Co watch on one wrist. The motorcycle jacket bears a number of patches, MUTANT MONGRELS and EMPIRE STATE set on one breast opposite PRESIDENT and DOG OF WAR patches on the other side, a large back rocker with a modified Jolly Roger emblem, the skull fanged and horned and jagged lightning bolts intersecting where crossbones would otherwise be. He has a foil-wrapped kati roll in one hand stuffed with chutney and spicy chicken that he's munching on happily. His other gesticulates eagerly while he bounds along through the hallways, light glinting off the jewels dotted in his watch's face. "{I'm serious, though, just about anything! You tell me, I'll find it here. Oh shit shit shit --}" His sudden WIDE-EYED burst of excitement comes as they pass a storefront spilling over with greenery, a bounty of plant life displayed in pots of varying levels of ornateness. "{This is even better than the one I was looking for. What plants you think are real, uh uh uh --}" He snaps his fingers together before switching from Spanish to English. "Homey?"

Polaris strolls along beside Ion, trailing slightly as she gazes around in stark amazement. She's wearing a black canvas motorcycle jacket with plenty of spikes, tight black skinny jeans tucked into heavy boots with plenty of metal hardware. Her green hair is loose and falling in wavy cascades over her epaulets. "{Man, this is like a mall, except less uh...} shitty." Her Spanish sounds like it was born in a classroom and tested on the street, but perhaps not quite extensively enough, still a touch stilted and stiff. At Ion's exclamation she whips around to look at the displays of plants. "{Oh hey, I like the ones with fuzzy leaves. I don't know what they're called--those!}" She points at a potted purple passions with velvety leaves. But then quickly shifts her attention to a display of colorful croton plants. "{These are colorful! Uh...happy looking. Oh and these, everyone loves these.}" She runs over fingers over the plump leaves of a jade plant.

Sebastian was waiting right outside the store for someone gullible to walk by. He saw Ion bound towards the shop and couldn't help being... Captivated? Was that the word for it? No. Maybe? Either way, Sebastian was extremely and undeniably attracted to the jewelery. He could hardly hold himself back. Ion seemed so distracted, too. It would make this a little bit easier.

Sebastian was wearing a pair of tight, ripped blue jeans and nice enough black and white, laced up shoes. On his fingers, he had painted his nails pitch black. He had on a shirt that was pitch black, tight cloth on the chest and stomach, but from the shoulders to the wrists they were made of mesh with only the hems laced bold enough to be completely opaquze.

Before he even had a chance to get close to Ion, he realized that they weren't alone. Funny thing to notice in a crowded room. Though the other's companion seemed an easier mark. Sebastian approached the pair cautiously and reached out to tap the female on the shoulder. "Excuse me," he said as sweetly and innocently as anyone could expect, "...Do you have a phone I could borrow?" He decided to be straightforward. Sort of. Not the honest kind of straightforward, but the get to the point kind. After all, he didn't have all night.

"Shiiit I don't know what's those called. Fuzzy, it's good though yeah? We can do fuzzy." In English, Ion's gravelly-bass voice carries a heavy Argentine accent. He takes another large bite of his roll, bouncing restlessly on his toes as he chews. "The house it got plenty space, let's just do all these. Plants, it's good right? {I always fucking hated that. See no goddamn green for years.}" His cheek sucks against his lip, and he leans up closer to the glass. "Ohsnap you see that big-ass cactus in there? {People like cactus, right?} We --" He straightens as Sebastian approaches, peering at the youth in the window reflection before turning to look at him. Then Polaris. "Do you have a phone?" He sounds genuinely curious here.

"I dunno if everyone loves them, but I do. {And they're easy to take care of.}" Polaris physically jumps at the tap, whirling to face Sebastian, her eyes wide and wild. One of her hands flexes, the the intricate spiral wire-twist rings on her index and ring fingers almost appearing to move. But her startled expression melts quickly to a smile. "Oh hey!" She shakes her head, only a little sheepishly. "Sorry buddy, you probably found the only two Millennials in this whole city who haven't got phones."

If he lacked even a little more self control, Sebastian would let out a long, annoyed groan then and there. Of course they don't have cell phones. Damn. Neither one of them. Perfect. Sebastian sighs and shakes his head, clearly disappointed. Rather than going to look for someone else, he pesters them just a little more, "What about a payphone? Is there a payphone anywhere around here?" he makes sure that his voice sounds perfectly concerned and a little awkward, especially as he continues speaking. "I just... I really need to make a phone call, and I don't want to ask anyone else. It feels intrusive and weird, and I don't like starting new conversations, or asking people for help or..." He shakes his head and laughs nervously, scratching at his neck as if displaying some sort of tell or a tick. "Or talking about myself because then I just randomly start a sentence that never ends," he lets out another nervous laugh. "Never mind, I'll just go," he steps back from them looking defensive, but inwardly he keeps repeating the same three words over and over again. 'Take the bait. Take the bait. Take the bait.'

"Oh shit you ain't got no cellphone, let's do it. We get you one right here there's plenty, uh, what's -- what's good cellphones now?" Ion peers at Sebastian curiously. "You a teen, you know what's a good kind of cell..." But this question ends in an abrupt and delighted bark of laughter; Ion's eyes open wide. "Pay phone? Where the fuck you think got pay phones, child, this ain't the 80s." His brows crease for a moment. "Oh they got payphones in jail -- guess that ain't no help. I'onno what to tell you, mijo, maybe you ask someone --" His hand waves around the hallway, towards -- the general ebb and flow of humanity around them, no small number of which currently have their attention absorbed by the phones in their hands. "Who actually got the. Thing." He holds his hand up, thumb and pinky extended, to his ear in indication.

"I mean, who am I gonna call, right?" Polaris's grin is sharp and wry. "But it would help feed my fledgling Twitter addiction." She tilts her head curiously at Sebastian. "Pay phones? Um...I think I've seen a few in subway stations? Here and there?" Her eyes flick up, deep in thought. "Oh! Those LinkNYC obelisk things, though? You can make phone calls on them, for free." She frowns, lowers her voice a little. "I guess, if you don't mind Big Brother eavesdropping and selling your data to advertisers or whatever." She looks the youth over again, concern written on her pale, pale face. "Hey, buddy, I know that feel, and it sucks. You don't have to explain anything, it's cool."

Sebastian can tell that this isn't going to go far. The... Foreign looking one... He seems sharp-witted. Maybe too sharp. The girl seems to be a simpler target, though. Maybe he could follow them and try to reach her when and if they separate. He laughs one more painfully awkward laugh and steps further back as if attempting to disappear into the crowd. "I'll-whoah!" He gets bumped by a passerby and yelps a bit, catching his footing before he hits the ground. "Obelisk things. Got it!" Just then, he gets hit again and tumbles to the ground. He lands on his ass and his own phone comes tumbling out of the back of his pants. He had hidden it there the way men sometimes hide their guns. But, now it is out on the floor, directly behind him, for all the world to see. Except Ion wouldn't get a very good look at it. Sebastian quickly scoots back and places a hand over it, positioning himself as if he is using the hand to push himself off the ground. Using a sleight of hand trick he taught himself, he quickly slips the phone up his sleeve, but this forces him to keep his arm at an exceptionally awkward angle since the sleeve is both exceptionally tight and mostly made of transparent mesh. In short, he is trying his best to conceal the phone, and he is failing miserably. When he could have easily just claimed that he ran out of minutes. For that reason, Sebastian begins internally scolding himself for needlessly blowing his own cover.

"You could call me," Ion offers brightly -- just as quickly frowns as he polishes off the last of his roll. "Shit no you can't I don't got a phone." His fingers snap together, and as Sebastian goes tumbling he bounds forward -- hand extended as if to help pick the boy back up. He drops his hand back to his side when Sebastian rights himself, and crumples the foil wrapper from his roll into a ball in one palm. "I got it I got it, we go get you both phones, yeah? Like seven hundred dudes in here selling 'em." His grin stretches bright and broad. "Only like half of them that ban me from their stores so far. C'mon c'mon --" He's not really waiting to see if the others are following, just taking off again at an enthusiastic bound down the hall.

Polaris raises an index finger and opens her mouth to object to Ion's proposal, but then just nods firmly and snaps a finger-gun at him when he catches it himself. "Why don't you get yourself one?" She raises her eyebrows as Sebastian backs away, but offers him a smile and a friendly wave. Then an alarmed gasp as he stumbles. One of her eyebrows dips slightly, the other one still hiked way up, her hazel eyes not fully following the legerdemain even if it seems likely she saw the phone when it fell. But she just looks at Ion as he launches into his New Brilliant Plan. "Why do I feel like you're fixing to get yourself banned from more?" Even so, she falls into step behind him, some obvious tension in her movement. Then she turns and waves Sebastian along. "C'mon. He's not gonna care. Your situation is your business, yeah?"

Sebastian reaches back to tuck his shirt in and slips his phone into the same spot he had hidden it beforehand. He feels little bit of tension from Polaris, but assumes that she didn't notice the phone since she didn't say anything. He just follows along and decides to see where this game leads. How much money could he possibly have, if he was willing to blow any amount of it on a street rat? More importantly, "How exactly do you get banned from approximately three-hundred and fifty stores?" He asks with a bit of hesitation, but he keeps his tone light enough to let the other know that he didn't take the earlier statements literally. 'He's not gonna care,' he thinks to himself as he follows Polaris. 'You didn't say anything about how you feel.'

"Just the gadget stores," Ion clarifies. He spins on a heel -- walks backwards as he heads for a broad staircase leading down one floor. His grin is still wiiiide, his eyes bright -- and, for a second, even brighter as he claps his hands together. Releases a shower of vivid white-blue sparks to skitter and dissipate harmlessly in the air, their light reflected in his animated expression. Briefly, around them, the lighting fluctuates unsteadily. "Get banned like that. You fry just a couple computer and then bam! No Ion allowed." Backwards or no, he doesn't stumble as he starts hopping down the stairs, turning back around only once he's halfway down them and taking the rest two at a time.

Polaris glances sideways at Sebastian, her expression friendly, perhaps mildly curious. "So, what can we call you, friend? I'm Polaris." Her eyes glitter with excitement a moment before Ion's demonstration comes. "Holy fucking shit!" She laughs, delighted, and runs down the steps herself--albeit going forward and not back. "Yeah, tech people are just so damned particular about that kinda thing, right?" She only just manages to stop herself running right into Ion at the bottom of the stairs, laughing again. She cast around quickly, pointing out one store selling an eclectic variety of technology. "You been banned from that one yet?"

He almost answers Polaris' question, but Sebastian flinches when he sees Ion clap. Sparks flew as they would have if grated steel had connected with magnesium. It was a sight to behold. At least, to Sebastian it was. Then, almost immediately, Ion starts to sink through the floor. That's what it seemed like, anyway. The young man almost calls out to him in fear that he might fall, but he catches himself and pretends to just enjoy the show(-off). He allows a look of wonder to come across his face until he finally remembers to answer the question. His head whips in her direction as he searches for the answer. He is a little dizzy after Ion's display. And he isn't sure if he should give them his real name. Then again, what damage could it do? "Bastian," he answers quickly and naturally. "Or, at least, that's what my mother tells me."

"I think that one it's safe enough. You go, you pick out some two phones?" Ion suggests this to Polaris as he leans up against a wall opposite the electronics store. He pulls his wallet from an inside pocket of his vest, pulls out a wad of bills to offer Polaris. "Maybe-maybe, it's best I wait outside. -- oh damn!" His leaning doesn't last long before he's back to bouncing. Jittery this time, bapping his folded wallet against the opposite palm in a rapid taptaptap. "Bastian, that's a great name. I knew a -- well, not no more. The Bastian I knew, she the fucking best. And," he adds this a little conspiratorially, "she know all about phones."

"Well, it's nice to meet you! That's Ion, though I've been told everyone knows him?" Polaris sounds only a bit skeptical on that point. "I dunno shit about phones, except maybe from like -- five years ago," she cautions, accepting the money all the same, "but maybe Bastian is hip to the bleeding edge, or whatever the kids are calling it these days." She cocks her head. "Wait...are we still going to be able to afford whatever supplies we were supposed to get, though? Because I really don't need a phone."

Sebastian sees the wad of money and almost runs off with it. He has to keep reminding himself not to. No one has ever bought him a phone, before. But he already has a more than decent one that he doesn't want to trade away. After all, he is a fan of homeostasis. All he is going to do with whatever Ion gets him here... Well... He's going to resell it to some chump who is willing to pay more than it's worth. "Really?" he looks flushed when Ion tells him about the other Bastian, but on the inside he really is completely indifferent. He examines the bills in Polaris' hand and thinks about how he should do this. Pick the most expensive phone they could afford two of? Or tell her they only have money for one anyway? Or pretend to be modest and get two decently priced phones to avoid suspicion? "What supplies do you need?" he asks, pretending to show an interest in them beyond their usefulness to himself.

"Just ask them then." Ion waves his hand in the direction of the store. "Two decent phone, stick some minutes on 'em. Don't everyone need a phone?" Here his head tilts, a puzzled frown flitting across his face. "Supplies? We here for phones, ain't we? Shit," his fingers snap together; he points at Polaris before shoving his wallet back into his pocket. "I bet the rest of you, all, probably some of them they could use it too? Phones? We should get some for the others." What had he said three seconds ago about waiting outside? WHO KNOWS that was past!Ion's decision. Ion this minute is slinging an arm around Polaris's shoulder, waving Sebastian to follow as he whisks them off into the store. "Kid, is the phone all you needed? You got a urgent call to make? You ain't in some kind of trouble, hm?"

Polaris had just opened her mouth to answer to answer Sebastian when Ion volunteers his (new! improved!) opinion on the supply situation. She lets him sweep her along, glancing at Sebastian with a helpless shrug. "I guess we're getting phones." Then, after a moment's consideration. "Yeah there's probably some folks who could use them now, even if they didn't want them at first getting out." Once inside, she steers Ion toward the display wall with glossy posters extolling the features of each phone on offer. Below them are mounted phones which, hopefully, are just models. She stares at them without obvious recognition. "Yeah, I mean, like I said, your situation is your business--but that doesn't mean you always gotta take care of it all yourself." She shakes her head. "That's a lie you hear a lot about being an adult. Truth is we're all getting by with a lot of help, whether we recognize it or not."

Ion's flake personality is starting to get to Sebastian. On the bright side, he doesn't have to worry about the other mutant being stubborn. Or at least, he thinks Ion is a mutant. He's a little bit disappointed in himself, though, when he sees powers like that. All his own mutation seems to do-from what he has seen-is keep his fingernails from growing. Of course, he's had his thoughts about what that could mean. Clearly his skin cells aren't dying, so he suspects that he might not age at all. Though one year isn't enough time to say for sure. How does it feel, he wondered, to be able to command electricity? What muscles does Ion have to flex to make it work? Sebastian has only discovered one more practical ability within himself, but he has no idea how to use it to his advantage or control it. It makes him feel even more useless, really.

Sebastian snaps out of daydreaming about Ion's powers when the question is posed. He blinks and shakes his head as if waking up before he answers very quietly, almost as if he doesn't want anyone to hear. "I just need to call my mom and let her know where I'm at. Not really an emergency." He knows most people expect someone who looks... Well... Like him... To still live with their parents. But, it still feels pathetic to even pretend. His mom is long gone. She abandoned him, and she probably died before he woke up. Otherwise, she would have come looking for him when his face was in local papers. 'Miracle Man. Forty-One Years with the Face of a Teenager. Real-life Dorian Gray. The First Man of the Fountain of Youth.' There were plenty of headlines about it. Though, obviously, these two had either never seen his picture or simply long forgotten about him. Whatever it is, it is working in his favor at the moment and he is grateful for it. "Thanks," he mumbles quietly in response to Polaris. "I'm just not accustomed to asking for help." And, thus, he tells probably the biggest lie of his life.

Not being a telepath, Ion isn't privy to any of Sebastian's inner thoughts so! It's no surprise that he responds to none of this speculation. Instead he's just charging ahead to call an aggressively cheerful greeting to the elderly shopkeep, retrieve his wallet again, inquire about whatever phones he can get with the handful of bills he pulls out. He offers one of them to Sebastian and all the rest in a large plastic bag to Polaris. "Good luck with your ma, kid," sounds warmly genuine enough. It's the last Ion says before hooking his arm through Polaris's -- already sweeping back out of the store. "{-- You think maybe the safehouse could use more games?}" he's asking as they head out, thoughts already bouncing ahead to the next impromptu errand as this current brief interlude rapidly drops out of his attention span's limited queue.

"Hey, thanks man," Polaris is telling Ion as she slings the sack of phones over her shoulder. "I can finally join the rest of 2019 for real. No offense." She nudges him with his elbow at that last. "Oh hey, and you didn't even get banned!" To Sebastian, as they step back outside, "Don't thank me, friend, thank this guy. But yeah, it can be hard to ask -- hopefully it'll get a little easier if your family's got your back." Her arm tightens in Ion's fractionally at this, her smile faltering just a touch. "You be safe, alright?" The unsteady fluctuation in her bioelectrical field lingers a moment longer as she lets Ion tow her toward--wherever they're going. "{Games? Sure, yeah! Can always use more games, right?}"