Logs:Changing Tacks

From X-Men: rEvolution
Changing Tacks
Dramatis Personae

B, Jax, Peter

2021-10-16


"You should take the win."

Location

<NYC> Riverdale


It should be a perfectly lovely evening in Riverdale. The trees are a blaze of color, the setting sun has lit the sky up in a picture-perfect glow. Somewhere down the street a cluster of residents are barbecuing; in the yard of this particular mansion chickens scratch peacefully in their enclosure.

The bus that recently reappeared in the dead center of a wide caution-taped off section of the backyard didn't cause much stir outside a certain section of Riverdale's residents -- but among those, things have been considerably more tense. One wing of the house has been dedicated to those convalescencing from the recent foray to the lab; there's plenty of food being prepped in the kitchen for those recently arrived and long overdue for a home cooked meal, there's exhausted and shellshocked rescuees and rescuers alike draped over their stolen luxury furniture throughout the expensive first level of the commandeered home.

Jax should probably be in bed. He definitely looks like he ought to be, ghost-pale and clung around by a layer of shifting wan shadow; he leans heavily against the counter as he stares down into a very large pot that currently is sauteeing nothing more than an inordinate number of onions and garlic. Gingerly, he shifts his weight enough to stir at the pot. Shifts it back into a slump.

He has, at least, cleaned up and changed since the trip, dressed now in soft faded overalls adorned liberally with varied patches and a lot of splattered paint, an old Rainbow Brite tee, mismatched multicolored arm warmers, a black and rainbow-colorblocked sweatshirt. Whatever ministrations their first aid team saw for to give him aren't immediately evident beneath the baggy comfortable clothing.

Thnk. Peter, meanwhile, sports a minor adhesive patch just across his left brow and a slight discoloration around his left eye (healing with surprising speed -- it's barely been a day and already the shiner has almost vanished). His hair is disheveled, like he's been napping in a car-seat. He's dressed in dark sweatpants and a baggy dark green tee-shirt with a ZELDA logo and three hearts (two empty, the last one half-full) hovering below it. He leans heavily on an old, beat-up crutch -- not for sake of pain so much as wanting to avoid popping the fresh stitchwork that's hidden under his clothes, extending like a lazy, serrated grin all the way from his left flank down to his groin.

Thnk. The crutch thumps against the ground as he sweeps forward with ease, keeping his left foot slightly elevated so as to avoid moving it -- the right foot bobbing forward to catch the floor. He's wearing bright pink-and-black striped socks. Thnk. Entering the kitchen, he pauses mid-swing, turning his head to stare across the counter at Jax... settling back on his right foot, crutch tilted back. His expression is tense; his mouth pulled into a straight, little line.

"I, uh..." Peter's voice starts weak, as if trying to decide what to say. He settles on: "You should... you should definitely be resting."

B is fine! One of the benefits of Remote Raid Participation, she has no bruises, no bandaging; she doesn't even look particularly underslept. Pretty much as hale as ever as she wanders in in purple galaxy-print leggings, a short black skater dress over top, chunky black boots on her feet. "You're kidding with that, right?" She's eying the pot of food first, then her father, her gills fluttering once and head shaking. One webbed hand tips out toward Peter, her eyes a little wider. "Thank you. I'm sure someone else can handle -- frying onions. Making -- beans or whatever. I can make beans or whatever."

"Some hoppin' john, yeah." Jax ducks his head with a blush, one shoulder hitching up quickly -- though the motion makes him wince. "Couldn't really sleep anyway. Got sick of -- lyin' there frettin'. Thought I'd stand here an' fret, instead." He looks up at B first, then Peter, his brows slowly pulling together. "You healin' up alright? I'm sorry we..." He trails off, fingers clenching around the handle of the stirring spoon. "... shouldn't have gone like that."

Peter's head swivels to B; the tense little line twitches ever so slightly, threatening to become the ghost of a smile. He turns back to Jax, eyebrows blasting off toward the top of his head -- nearly vanishing underneath that feathery mop of hair. "This? Psh. I'm fine. I've had way, way worse. Heck, I went in there expecting worse -- I heard you guys got hit with the really weird stuff. I --"

He stops mid-sentence, then frowns; looking down again, his eyes drift over to B, before sheepishly drifting to hover at some point below the counter, where Jax's feet presumably are. "...has it ever gone this bad, before?"

"Nobody died --" B frowns, uncertainly, her ridged forehead furrowing. "That we know of, yet, so that's better than some..." Her gills flutter quick again, and she continues in further, fetching up on the opposite side of the counter from her father. "Honestly, if you ask me, I think this went way better than expected. We didn't have Flicker and we still got more than half of everyone out. That's a dozen and a half people free today who weren't free yesterday because of you all. You should take the win."

"How long you think they're gonna keep 'em alive in there?" We don't even know what happened to 'em, they all just --" Jax's hand lifts, makes a fist, splays fingers out -- *poof* -- in the air. "Forgive me if I'm finding it a little bit hard to relax or celebrate knowin' -- well. Not knowin'." Slowly, he pushes away from the counter, fetching a can opener and starting to open several cans of diced tomatoes. "Folks been real hurt before, but we ain't left anyone behind. Well --" Now he frowns, deep. "Not. Who didn't choose to stay."

The crutch makes a creaking sound as Peter swings it behind him and leans back, turning it into a sort of stool. He's still peering at where Jax's feet presumably were, but the sheepish frown has shifted into something more contemplative. When B's presence cuts off his line of vision, his head bobs up to regard her -- then, up over her head, regarding Jax as he opens the can. "The patch worked. It was set to overheat and melt after a few minutes, so they won't be able to reverse engineer it. Which means -- it'll work again. And I'll be healed up in a few days." He pushes himself off the crutch, falling forward -- catching the counter, leaning next to B. "We'll get them back."

"They still have Hive. I've still got an in into that lab. If they move them, one of us'll see." B shrugs, dragging an actual stool closer to Peter and hoisting herself up onto it. "And do you really think they'd kill Joshua?" Her lips purse, and she does concede, a moment later: "... the others, maybe." She doesn't sound quite as worried about this as she probably ought. "Guess we'll have to be quick about it."

"That was a real neat trick of yours, for sure. If it do work again it'd be a blessing having to worry less about them bots. Some of those guards, though --" Jax's hand slips on the can opener at B's addendum, can sliding out from under his grip and thunking to the floor in a sudden spray of tomatoes. He's gone juuust a little paler; his cheeks puff out, breath expelled veeery slow before he grabs some rags to start cleaning up the mess. "Lotta folks need to rest and heal. Guess that means we got a few days to think up a new plan."

"B's the one who..." Peter starts, then cuts himself off as that can hits the ground. His first instinct is to help; his whole body seems to briefly roll pre-emptively in the motion... but then he remembers the stitches and yanks himself back to the counter, remaining next to B. Still frowning pensively, eyeing the mess of tomatoes as Jax moves to clean it up. Like it's taunting him. "You've never hit them again... right after a raid, right? The sooner the better." Then, a little softer, his tone careful: "The powers -- it made everything much more complicated. Maybe what we need is..." His frown deepens; his brow wrinkles.

"Please don't tell me you're gonna suggest bringing flatscans with us." B's voice has gone very flat here, but in the next moment she perks up: "I'll give you a whole fleet of bots, though, if you want." And back to juuuust a bit crestfallen: "Probably not Sentinels. That'd sure be surprising to them but I'd definitely go back to jail for, like, literally ever."

Busied with his cleaning behind the counter, Jax's expression cannot currently be seen. Maybe this is a blessing. His breathing is slow still, very deliberate. "Bad enough when you was in jail for something you didn't do, I sure don't want you there for something you done." He surfaces to throw the glop of floor-tomatoes in the sink. Sags back against the counter. "You got some idea percolatin' there, Peter? If it involves less of y'all leaving your blood on the lab floors I'm all ears."

Peter is reluctant to finish the sentence: "...suppression fields." His eyes drift up from the splatter of red, looking to focus on Jax -- then drifting to B. He looks unhappy about this proposition: "They're stationary, but... force them to stay on. If we can figure out how they interact with us... they can't suppress physiology. Disable the drones, then it's just guys with guns versus..." Peter clenches his hand into a fist. "Tanks go in, spell-casters stay out -- provide cover fire for the retreat." A wry smile flashes over his face -- then vanishes. His shoulders slump: "It's not a very good plan, I know. Half of us don't even know what would happen to us in one of those things."

"We stop breathing," B volunteers with a wrinkle of her nose, "me and Shane, kind of -- glass cannons. Anyway, speak for yourself, most of us from the labs have a pretty good idea. On the other hand --" Her hand turns up, webbed fingers spreading. "We are pretty used to practicing in them. Those of us who can survive 'em, anyway." Her smile is quick and small, closed-lipped. "My bots'll be fine so if you go with that I'm golden."

"Them guards ain't really used to needing to fight none of us when the fields are up. That's when their job's kinda -- nothin'." Jax's fingers drum lightly against the counter, his expression shifting thoughtful. "And we all been hit with them darts so many times it'd be a real oversight if we hadn't built it into practice by now but --" His teeth wiggle at one corner of his lip ring. "B, how fine-tune you think you can control their systems? Might be something to this. You think y'all can help me plug this into the DR, run some folks through and see what it might could look like?"

The thought of B and/or Shane ceasing to breathe leaves Peter tense. For a second, the hand he has on the counter moves slightly toward B's own -- as if he wants to confirm that she's still breathing right now. He thinks better of it, pulling his hand back and focusing on a small nick in the countertop, rubbing his fingertips across it. "Heavy-hitters with drones as support, yeah. We'd need to confirm what happens to anyone who's never been exposed--" Including himself, he silently adds. "--so there aren't any surprises, but otherwise... yeah."

B closes that gap. reaching over and patting Peter -- patPAT -- lightly on the hand. "Ba I'm wounded you have to ask. C'mon," she's saying this to Peter, sliding down off her stool, now, "Skye's indisposed and Dusk's, uh -- so you can help me poke at the labs some. Chances only a little bigger than breaking in in person that you'll end up in jail forever. It's fun, you'll see." She sounds almost chipper about it as she waves Peter toward the door.

Fun, Jax mouths this silently to himself, turning back to clean up the rest of his mess and get a fresh can of tomatoes. A little bemused: "Thanks, y'all."