|A Little Jaunt|
|Location||New York City|
|Participants||Moody, Sumit, Talya|
|Summary||March, 1775. At least it's not snowing.|
There's a little coffee cart that parks in Mutant Town sometimes, one of those food truck deals that seems way older than it can possibly be; it's ancient but pretty clean by the standards of a dark future, and it specializes in hocking day-old baked goods that are still pretty damn tasty and cold brewed coffee by the liter. It does a brisk business in January, parked as it is not too far from the clinic, and that sees Moody waiting in the post-line throng for her order to be ready: hot coffee with as much sugar as she can fix it with and a paper tray of fried dough covered in sugar, the best damn thing in the world for a cold day.
Talya is drifting up to the end of that line to give her order, seeming comfortable enough i the cold, especially wearing her Russian aristo coat at the moment. She's lost in thoughts of her own, but on spotting Moody, she lifts fingertips in a diffident greeting, not bringing herself to call out just yet.
Sumit might argue that the best thing on a cold day is a roaring fire and fresh tea, but by the look of things about the best he's managing today is coffee from the cart. Ski hat on, hoodie hood up, and scarf to keep the cold out of his face it takes him a while to note Moody's presence, although in part that may be due to the fact that he's only looking at the back of her head. "Hey," he offers brightly as he does spot her though, lifting a hand up to tug the scarf down so he's not muffled by it, "when did you say winter was going to end again?" Turns out his ability to recognise the backs of people's heads has doubily failed him today, as then he hears Talya's voice and turns to give her a nod in greeting too.
"June --" Moody is answering, turning around at the sound of Sumit's voice, and smiling as she's doing it -- she glances at Talya, notices her, and that's when Andrei rounds the corner. Is it intentional, that he sets her off? Maybe. His path means that she's the first one his power hits, and when it hits her, it's almost instant.
For Talya, Sumit and Moody, the world abruptly pops. It's very much like when she teleports -- something Sumit would know, having traveled with her before at least once -- just one moment you're in one place, the next moment you aren't. The air pressure, that's the big give away. It was cold and clear in New York on that Tuesday, freezing, really; and with a pop, suddenly it wasn't. The air pressure is heavier, damper, but warmer too. A spring day takes the place of winter.
A spring day in a very, very different place.
They are all three standing on a wooden sidewalk, piled high with fishing nets that reek of river mud and the remains of their former captives. There are trees, for one, thickly forested on the other side of the river, with a late afternoon sun high above them. The buildings all around them are wooden, worn gray with wind and rain, and the people --
Well. The people are wearing clothes right out of the Colonial American era. Long coats, tri-corner hats, stockinged legs. A group of six British soldiers in bright red coats marches in an orderly fashion down the wooden pathway, with civilians moving easily (if a bit tensely) out of their way.
Moody sways for a moment, putting up her hands as if to catch herself, and then sits down in an abrupt crumple that deposits her on the boardwalk with a thud.
Talya's first response isn't precisely confusion. She reaches for some weapon at her waist in her coat, scanning the scene for find what kind of situation they're in. That's when the confusion hits, and hits hard. She lets the weapon go and stares, lips slightly parted. Then Moody crumples and she at least has something to do, coming around to bend and check Moody's face. "Are you all right?"
<FS3> Sumit rolls Mind: Failure. (4 1 1)
Sumit does indeed know the teleport feel, and as everything changes around him his years of merc work kick in and he drops down into a firing position and starts to draw the weapon he's been carrying since his run in with Andrei's brother a few days earlier. It's halfout of his pocket by the time his brain processes what it's seeing though, and then he's moving over to Moody. "Can you make us fit in?" he asks sideways to Talya, "until we can get somewhere less open? We need to work out what to do to get back, but we don't want to attract attention while doing so." Then, to Moody, fanning his hat infront of her face to get a bit of air circulating, "you know, I didn't need winter to end -right- this moment, however much I know I moan about the cold."
Moody is pale as chalk -- which is saying something, given her usual skin tone -- and she has trouble focusing, first on Talya and then on Sumit as they're talking at her. Her mouth works for a moment and then she swallows, saying carefully, "Too far. Went -- Oh. I think I'm fainting." And then she does, going from being seated to just not quite awake, slumping over. It's not a very dramatic thing, as that goes.
Their appearance is definitely stirring up a reaction -- several of the groups of civilians are pointing at them, then huddling together to speak in low tones. At least one man in a brown coat with silver buttons goes up to the soldiers, pointing back at the three incongruously dressed strangers that just appeared out of thin air.
And then those strangers appear to get up and vanish, running into the trees. Under an illusioned patch of nothing, Talya grabs at Moody too late given her distraction on getting the illusion right. "We need something to appear from behind," she says, voice thin. "And I need to see a few more women..." She casts Sumit an embarrassed look. "I would have thought of it myself in a minute."
Sumit looks distinctly worried as Moody slumps, moving forward quicky to scoop her up up the ground and start trying to edge his way off teh street. Not sure how good Talya's illusions are for sound he whispers, "I know you would. Lets find somewhere that isn't here, then we can see how Moody is, and work on sorting out what you need. If I carry, can you lead the way?"
There are a few warehouses nearby that look promisingly dark; there's also a narrow road that leads between them toward more populated parts of the city. There's a tavern just across the way that has open doors and windows, a rollicking sound emanating from within. There are more women over that way, from the shapes of the wide skirts walking past.
"Um. Yeah." Talya noticeably uses a normal tone, and notes the difference after a second. "Don't bump into anyone, I'm doing sound instead of touch at the moment." Talya scouts hurriedly. Behind a building! Surely there's no one behind those warehouses, right? She'll head over there.
As for Moody, she comes around a bit as Sumit scoops her up, taking a deep breath and saying shakily, "I'll be okay -- sugar. I need to eat." Some mutants get hypoglycemic if they strain their powers; maybe that's what happened. "March. 1775." Her head sways and she leans it against Sumit's shoulder.
There isn't anyone behind the building, giving Talya some time to work, if she wishes. Aside from the smell of horses and fish and river water, the air is startlingly clear -- wood smoke aside, pollution just isn't a thing.
With Moody in his arms, Sumit ends up going largely sideways, so a stray food doesn't bumb anyone he didn't quite judge the needed clearance for. Following Talya closly as he's unsure of her range his tone is quite, but at least above a whisper, as he talks to Moody. "Hey, come on now, stay with us. No one gets to sleep until we've checked for injuries, balanced our kit, and posted watch." Once they're in the quiet behind the building he sets Moody down again, resting so her back is up against the wall, then turns to Talya. "Did you get served yet, or even better did you see if her doughnut came through with her? I've got nothing in my pockets, so if not we're going to need to find some somewhere. The tavern perhaps? I don't know though, my knowledge of 1775 is pretty limited, and what I do know is from the other side of the world. Is sugar going to be easy to get?"
"Well, sweet things...aren't there cakes everywhere?" Talya pats her pockets, but doesn't come up with anything. "We have half an hour, roughly. Shouldn't we use it to maybe steal some clothes? Then I can save some energy to make some money to fool them at a bakery." Is there a bakery? You don't actually know what you're talking about, Talya. She peeks around the corner, attention tight to get details of people's appearance. "I think my father would fucking love this." Then she turns back and takes a deep breath. "When you're ready."
"Sugar is easy. Comes from the Caribbean. Everyone loves rum -- ever watch a pirate movie? Sugar." Moody breathes, then pats Sumit's shoulder. "I think I can walk. Just -- give me your arm." She looks around, taking a breath, "Talya's right, we need clothes. There, those houses. Look for laundry lines; the weather's good, someone will have their wash out."
"Half an hour?" Sumit starts to query, initially thinking Talya means until they jump back home. He's about to ask her how she knows when he figures out what she's actually on about and nods sharply. "Half an hour, got you. Stepping away from Moody long enough to peer round the corner himself he asks, "should I stay here with her," where they're alone, "and you go hunt for clothes? I suspect the inn might be a good place to start. Could even steal some money too, then you wouldn't need to use power for that either." Moving back as Moody speaks he offers her a hand up, and gives her his arm as requested before looking faintly wryly at Talya, "or we could do what she just said."
Some of Talya's tight-twisted tension relaxes fractionally. "Laundry," she agrees. "Invisible is easier to get us over there, rather me doing the details." She gives Sumit a sideways look. "But then we'd have to figure out who to steal it from. Two victims, instead of one. It'll come back on you." She smiles, thin. "I guess I don't have to worry about those rules here, though. Is this really...real? Real life, just older?"
"It's real. I do this all the time -- not /here/," Moody takes a shaky breath, looking around. In contrast to wonder, her expression is disturbed. "But in the past. We steal what we need to keep a low profile so that nobody gets permanently hurt. It won't affect our timeline." Her jaw tightens and she nods towards the back of the houses. There's a flapping sound that indicates that she's right. "Here, though. We'll leave this." She reaches up and with fumbling fingers, takes off a gold earring. It's just a hoop, but it's gold. "Ever wonder why I have so many piercings?" Her smile is shaky as she aims it at Sumit.
"Maybe they'll have left their change in their pockets when they did the washing, then it'd still only be one" Sumit replies with a shrug that suggests he isn't hopeful, "I do it often enough." He'll let Moody answer that other point, it's one he's really trying not to think to hard about right now incase he finds a mental rabbit hole. Fortunatly the presentation of the earring keeps his mind focused and his smile broadens a little. "Strange, it's almost like you're prepared for this sort of thing," he notes, "although I must admit, I figured it was all part of the rock and roll lifestyle of a musician." Turning towards the sound of flapping clothes he nods across to Talya, "you mind taking point again?"
"It's good when you're practiced in the rules of your own world," Talya comments, which is apparently a compliment? She nods to Sumit, and leads the way silently and invisibly to the nearest line. Lots of underthings on it, of course. Talya glares at them. Does one really need all of those? Really? Well, she'll start pulling down out of each...kind of thing, anyway.
"Skirts for us, a coat for Sumit -- we can fake the rest with some creative folding, at least long enough for nightfall. After dark it should be easy enough," Moody instructs, leaning against the wall of the house while she points to garments she means. "It's important -- it's important that you both don't get too far away from me, in case we go back suddenly." She swallows. "If we go back."
Sumit has no plans to change his underthings, but does hunt further down the line for a few sheets so they can bundle up their modern outer layers and carry them inconspicously. Grabbing himself a jacket that loks about the right size he asks, "alright, what's our overstory? I'm obviously local after all. Merchants newly arrived? It might help excuse our unfamiliarity with the place" Wrapping his own coat, jumper and hat into a bundle he moves over to help Moody. "Have you ever not gone back yet?" he asks pointedly, "we'll go back."
"I think my coat might pass," Talya contributes."Should I be from far away?" she asks, Russian accent quite pronouced suddenly. "Deposed aristocrat?" She finds skirts for them both, leaving Sumit to eyeball his own sizing, but then her hands fall, skirts almost tumbling out. "If?"
"Russia is neutral in the conflict -- and open war hasn't broken out yet. If you can do a convincing Russian, make it spectacular, they'll excuse oddness." Moody looks to Talya and smiles, then nods to Sumit, looking down, "All right. You're right, we have to -- we have to operate like we'll be going back. Once I'm rested, once I've had something to eat, I can get us anything we need. 18th century locks aren't much of a challenge."
"We'll go back," Sumit repeats to Talya, "it's as simple as that." Maybe if he says it enough times he'll actually believe it. Then, something Moody says makes him crack out into a genuine grin. "It's 1775 you said? Spring? Your people might not be at war with the British, but mine are. You just arrived at the battle field late, as usual." Once he's happy with how the jacket is sitting he leans in and stage whispers, "we won too by the way. It was glorious apparently, the Maratha Empire was a thing to behold." Then, back to actually important things heaks Talya, "you up to a few illusions? Now we're attired we should go find that sugar."
"You've never met my mother," Talya says, shaking out her hair and looking down her nose. The accent gets thicker all the time. "She was the queen of odd." She smooths her skirts, tries to consider the effect. "Ready for whenever we steal the money, certainly." She starts for the road, to the tavern. "We picking someone's pocket?"
"My expertise on history is very New York centered -- I didn't know that," Moody says to Sumit, about Maratha -- then nods to Talya, straightening up and arranging her stolen skirts. Shedding her wool coat, she performs some twists to her twenty-first century clothes, swapping a scarf into a shawl, pulling her hair up and twisting it into a knot. "I can try. It'd be easier with a little distraction, but I expect all eyes will be on you, to be honest." She smiles at Talya, adding dryly, "I'm usually mistaken for a servant, in less enlightened times. Nobody looks at me."
"And mine is India centric. I suppose I should say we won the first one," Sumit clarifies ruefully, "lost the second, were decisively beaten in the third, but we're only just starting the first in 1775, so I reckon that's what counts." Offering her his arm again he sets off steadily after Talya, "I can honestly say I'm not likely of much use at this point rather than as prop, so let me know if there's anything I need to do or otherwise I'll just try not to get in the way."
"I'm better at American history than Russian," Talya admits, dropping the accent. When next she speaks, it's back. "Aristos like the attention, at least." She's clearly a little uncomfortable with the thought, but she can sweep through the streets like she means it. "Don't know I can act and illuse at the same time, so I'm going to shut up long enough to dip my hand in a pocket to get enough for cake," she says, as they approach the tavern.
"I can pick the pocket. You just be fabulous and look pretty, and I'll do a bit of extraction," Moody leans on Sumit's arm more than she probably should, at least if she's going to be lifting money off people. "But you're such a fetching prop."
<FS3> Moody rolls Reaction+sleight Of Hand: Good Success. (2 8 2 4 8 2 1)
"As they approach the tovern, Sumit isn't sure if their conversations are still being blanked or not, so he shuts up on the topic of pickpocketting, sticking instead to safer topics. "You think the coat suits me?" Then, with amusement, "I hear they're all the rage here. Not quite the same cut as back home of course, but when in New York as they say."
Talya shoots Sumit a wry look, though grateful for the distraction. "Do we get to take them home with us?" But then they're at the door. "Right," Talya says. "Acting. Not wasting illusions." Not what she's comfortable with, clearly. But she sweeps in the tavern with her nose high once more. She doesn't say anything, but she does stand very visibly and inspect everything, silently judging. Just look at the Russian aristo. "Is this where we stay tonight?" she asks in accent, to drive home her cover.
It's not true that all conversation ceases when Talya enters -- some people continue to talk, certainly, but the /bulk/ of the men in the room turn to look at her. The innkeeper, a burly man in a canvas apron, hurries over, wiping his hands on a rag. "Madam, may I help you?"
A couple of men, slightly better dressed than most of those drinking, seem in close conversation near the bar. One of them wears a well-made blue coat, talking with expansive and passionate gestures. His companion throws up a hand, "Hamilton, be /reasonable/."
Moody slips to the side as Talya sweeps in, unremarkable, and simply picks up a bit of cloth and begins to move about as if she's cleaning tables. The portly merchant watching Talya barely notices her hand skim into his coat, paying her no mind as she collects a pair of empty tankards and carries them back over to the bar. Then she nods to Sumit and Talya, catching their eye with a faint wink.
"I'm hungry," Talya says, on receiving the wink. She gestures the others to come up behind her, maybe in some vague servant or support role. "We traveled for a long time to be here. Do you have room--a room?" She grimaces, as if it's English's fault articles are annoying and hard.
"With Moody abandoning him for her nefarious task, Sumit takes up the role of faintly harassed travelling companion to Talya, "yes, I think so. It's the one the man down the docks metnioned anyway. I'm sure this fine man here will be able to sort us," he says as he gestures to the innkeeper as he approaches, "and then perhaps food and drink. I has been a long journey after all."
Moody hears the man say 'Hamilton' and swivels without conscious thought, staring.
The innkeeper bobs his head obsequiously, "Of course, madam, please. Follow me, we've a private room that should suit." He leads the way up a rickety set of stairs to a tidy room, nothing fancy, with a plain wooden table and chairs. He opens a window and tends the fire, prodding it into life, "We've roast pig, of course, and river fish. My missus is a fine cook. Shall I send up a sampling of meals and some wine?"
Moody follows along once the innkeeper leads the way, though she keeps stopping to stare at Hamilton along the way. Once the innkeeper leaves, she points back toward the door, "Did you see? Alexander Hamilton is downstairs!" She shakes her head, flopping exhaustedly into a chair and plopping a small handful of coins onto the table. "It's so weird that he's white."
"Yes, yes," Sumit replies to the innkeeper, eager to have the man leave, "that will be fine, just ensure you knock before entering." It might be standard practice, he isn't sure. Then, once they are alone he turns to Moody with a curious expression. "Who?"
"And cake," Talya tells the innkeeper, grandly. She takes a chair and sits rigidly only to collapse when she leaves. "Why's that weird?" she asks, frown indicating she's digging through history lessons rapidly. She starts fussing with her hair, trying to get it to stay up and look a bit more like the women she's seen around her.
"There's this musical -- nevermind, it doesn't matter." Moody tilts her head back and stares at the wood beam ceiling. "My god, I wish my Eye had more offline storage. It can only take a few pictures without connectivity and I don't think I got a good one of him." She says to Sumit, "He's nobody special right now, but some day he'll work for George Washington. He's one of the founding fathers of the country. Bit of a big deal, got killed in a duel. Gorgeous eyes."
"And cake," Sumit repeats through the door to the retreating form of the innkeeper before turning back to lean against the wall, almost like he's standing guard. Tossing the bundle of his modern gear onto the floor by the bed he listens to Moody's explaination then nods. "Sorry I didn't know, or I'd've tried to get you a shot or two with mine. I could always go down and chase up that cake?"
"Is that why we ended up here? You unconsciously wanted to meet him?" Talya asks, lightly amused. Her realm works that way, after all. She laughs, low. "You should /meet/ him. Would he come up here for the aristocrat?"
"I don't think so -- though this is what, just before the war? He's an idealist of the first order, but also a social climber. If you invited him up for tea and a share of intellectual ideas..." Moody laughs and shakes her head, "We shouldn't. A low profile is better..." Still, the temptation in her voice...
We could always grace the common room for a while after we've eaten," Sumit notes after a few moment's consideration. "I'm sure we could find a table to sit at and converse while you had a view? Or perhaps that'd lead to people wanting to talk to use." He hmms, faintly, then moves to sit on the bed as well and take the weight off his feat for a bit.
"Eat your cake first," Talya tells Moody sternly. "Then you can half an hour to be whoever he most wants to talk to, huh?" Illusioned, she means, if one makes the connection to her limits she mentioned before.
"Yes, ma'am," Moody sighs, and when the food is delivered -- including cake -- she sets herself to eating. Most of it's surprisingly good, very fresh, likely murdered that very day. Her color improves dramatically as she eats and though she eventually cracks a giant yawn, she says, "Right. So I suppose I owe you both an apology -- I'm sorry. I'm working on control, but I still have a lot of room to improve." Uh, duh, you're in Colonial America.
Sumit leaves the food long enough to be sure that Moody has had a good stab at it, then helps himself to a selection as well. Flicking his eyes across to Talya for a moment he does seem to get the implication, but he'll leave the choice up to Moody. She is the expert after all. "One thought occurs," he says tilting his head towards the time traveller, "have you ever tried teleporting while elsewhere in time? Might that help trigger the return? A use of your powers as it were. It felt very much like a teleport earlier."
"All the time. If I couldn't blip my way out of trouble, there's no way I'd be alive. I've never been able to figure it out, what triggers it. Sometimes it's like I'm distracted and then poof, back I go." Moody cuts into the cake with her spoon and crinkles her nose at it. "Too much rum."
"Dragon," is Talya's only response to Moody's apology. Glass houses, stones. She tucks into the food herself. "As good as at my place." She stops, blinks. "Speaking of blipping out of trouble. Can I go to my place from here?"
"I don't know -- want to try?" Moody tilts her head curiously. "Though, maybe it's not a wise idea to leave. If I blip back and you aren't with me..."
Sumit nods silently to Moody as he eats, it's an obvious answer really, of course she's tried, but he had to ask. At the talk of a practical example of such he raises an eyebrow faintly, "it's all or none of us logically."
Talya looks a bit sick at the idea of getting left behind. "If I'm going anywhere, you're coming with me. We can save that for a week or two. In case a spell can help you." Talya, apparently when stranded thinks in terms of weeks. Interestingly. She licks a last finger. "I am going and summoning your idol for you now?"
Moody lets out a nervous laugh, "Oh, hell. Why not? Let's just...be brief about it. Say hello. Diss the English. It'll be fun." She gets up and tidies her hair self-consciously.Sumit finishes his mouthful, washes it down, then pushes himself to his feet once more. "Why not indeed. Besides, I'm sure I an find a way to use it to wind up Ainsworth when we get home."