|2046-02-14 Cami Vogel-Yi|
|Location||Westchester Community College|
|Summary||Huruma and Vega make a trip out of the city to see if they can collect Xavier School's missing girl.|
Missing persons are one of the more tense jobs; you have those that come to you asking for help in finding loved ones, and in the end you must contend with either finding those people or in the end-- failing, and going back with empty hands. The situation here is delicate; the school has lost grip on a young student, and between her age and abilities, leads are scarce until Kade's daughter gets back to him. Bless her heart, she gave them the one break they did need after all.
The truck Vega drives is borrowed, and a little cramped for Huruma's legs in the front passenger seat-- but she will live. Her black coat is wrapped around her frame and what is visible under this is warm and casual. It was a short introduction between them, and Huruma has been rather forthcomingly polite about being out with someone new. Nothing to worry about, right?
As they pull up into the streets around Westchester Community College looking for their destination, Huruma becomes increasingly rubbernecked, eyes unshy when they scan the streets outside, comparing to an image in her Eye. No, no, nope. "It was a computer lab, yes?"
The message Huruma received intitially was short and equally polite from the brand new member of X-Factor and former police officer. It offered her help and explained her particular angle on the disappearance. Vega pulls up to their decided meeting place precisely on time, offering the other woman a brief smile. Nothing to worry about, indeed. Her own eye flickers with light as she pulls up Caruther's email. "Computer and tech, he said. They might do some building of their own there..." Pulling up a map of the school, she navigates through the street while looking for parking close to the building.
It's Sunday, so the campus is pretty sparsely populated, though there are still a handful of people wandering about. Particularly in the area of the tech buildings. Students and teachers who aren't in class that day still have projects to work on, and the facilities are open. There's also a decent crowd around the little student center, which has a coffee bar and some dining area, and isn't too far off.
Huruma does not smile back when Vega does, instead allowing her pale eyes to roam in faint affirmation, from the other woman's features back to the street as she pulls into a parking space. "Just what I love. Public spaces." Huruma wets her lips with a small frown, but as they stop her hand is on the door, eyes on Vega, other hand gesturing tightly. "Thank you, by the way. For doing this-- and the truck."
"Full of warm fuzzy feelings for you?" Vega quips dryly, scanning the crowd as she parallel parks the truck with deceptive ease. "It going to be problem?" Lifting a shoulder in a half shrug, she waves away the thanks with a crooked smile. "Don't worry about it. The kid needs help and I want to lend a hand." There is nothing about runways that sits well with her in this space. "So... let's check the labs and move on from there?"
"No. Only a problem for causing a potential scene." Huruma's voice is low and smooth, the pupils of her eyes contracted in the cool wintry sunlight. "That sounds good." The tall woman slips down out of the truck, taking a few steps onto the walk and skimming her surroundings with all of her senses. "Should we show around her photo in the labs while we are there?"
"I like the sound of that. See if anyone reacts," Vega agrees, shoulders straight as she follows Huruma.If it weren't for the way she moved, she could pass as one of the students in her black knit sweater and dark denim, a pair of fingerless gloves slipped over her hands. The truck is locked with a click behind her. Her dark eyes scan the crowd for any sight of the kid they're looking for, while her mind feels out for the technology in the area. For once, actively looking for it; more specifically something /different/.
There's a mix of emotions in the air for an empath to feed on. The random academic stresses that would drive a student to work on campus on a Sunday are very common. Occasionally a trace of giddiness or fluttery nerves or dour bitterness from the people they pass whose thoughts are turned romantic (or decidedly non-romantic) directions. It is Valentine's Day, after all. There's no immediate sign of Ms. Cami Vogel-Yi, but even with the sparse crowds there are enough people to mix with that someone who looked even vaguely 18 could blend. There's a good deal of technology in the area of the computer lab, which is attached to a building that houses the handful of lower-level engineering classes the campus offers. Vega would likely feel a technological pull in that area, as it's a place where the students are allowed to work on their projects. Hard to tell from this range if it's super-human innovation or just the standard tinkering young people with access to equipment can produce.
Huruma pulls Cami's photo up on a small datapad she pulls from a pocket, a more tactile tool that sits light in her hand. For all that she values her ability to track people down, Huruma sticks out in some places more often than not. She keeps apace with Vega as they move into the lab building, scoping things out as she goes. Her gaze tacks onto one particularly enthralled young woman as she passes by, mind a clouded haze of the complex mix that equates to Love. Love is literally complicated. When they get into the lab area proper, Huruma's first order of business is to clutch her tablet in her palm and begin quietly inquiring of passerby students. Have you seen this girl?
Darn kids and their blending. Vega glances towards the computer lab's bulding with a lift her brows. There is no hesitation as she walks, following the mechanical directive with a soft, "This way." When Huruma stops to question, she does as well, watching the other kids in the area for their reaction.
The young woman who Huruma sensed all that Love from eventually comes across another young woman - likely her girlfriend - just outside the student center. Make-outs ensue. All the EMOTIONS are maybe a little hard to push through, but as they get further on toward the lab, is tapers off and back to the more general crowd.
The first students they question just look at the picture blankly and shrug. They dunno. But, eventually, they happen upon a 20ish man with ginger hair, who's fiddling with a holographic monitor. He's not so intent about it that he makes himself immune to questions, though. And he double-takes a the picture, like he does recall it. "Her? Uh. Yeah. I think so. Why?"
Huruma's great at pushing. She looks more amused than anything at the sudden impact of faces in their wake, instead paying attention to the task at hand. She is about to fall back in with Vega to follow her elsewhere when she tries the ginger boy. Her eyes glint down at him when he gives a positive result. "When did you last see her?" And then, a passive explanation. "She is not in trouble. Simply missing."
Leaning back on a foot, Vega lets Huruma take point as she questions the young man. Her brows lifted as she watches the young, ginger haired lad. "Was she hanging out around here?"
The young ginger man is a little stressed, though it's hard to tell if it's anything related to the girl in the picture, or just more general college woes. He looks up (and up) and Huruma and shrugs. "She hangs out with this guy in my Intro to Robotics class," he says. 'This guy' does not sound like a particularly good friend of his, from his tone. "We did a project together last semester. She got super into it. Did more work on it than /he/ did. Darren's kind of useless for programming. I don't think she goes here, but I still see her in the labs sometimes."
"Lovely. Thank you." Huruma's toneless politeness comes with an edge of a hard stare before she turns away rom the boy. That's not how you do that. Still, she seems pleased when she looks to Vega. "If we do not find her, perhaps we might find 'Darren' instead, hm? Can you sense anything interesting?"
Leaning in a little, Vega tilts her head with interest as the ginger explains their vague relationship in detail. "Where's the robotics lab at?" She asks with a lift of her brows as she stares at him. "Do you happen to have a last name for Darren?" Glancing towards Huruma, she tilts her head and says softly. "Not yet."
"It's Russell, I think," the ginger guy answers, as to 'Darren's' last name. "We aren't exactly friends." He really doesn't want to associate himself with this 'Darren' person too much. "He hasn't shown up to our Calc class this week, but he lives with a couple of townie guys just off campus. Above the Puerta Rican restaurant." As for the robotics lab, he can give them better directions to that than he can about 'Darren'. It's through the computer lab then down the stairs. Usually locked on weekends, but sometimes students will get permission to work odd hours in there and it will open up for them.
Huruma's eyes scan the hall where he points them, and she waits for Vega while the boy answers. Once they let the poor guy get back to his own business she is quick to pivot and look to her temporary partner. "Robotics first, then the apartment?"
"Thanks," Vega bids with a hook of her smile. "Might want to tighten that screw on the left," she suggests before leaving the guy to his work. ON TO THE LAB.
ON TO THE LAB. Which the temporary partners do find unlocked, even on a Sunday. As they descend into it, the emotions thin out. Someone /is/ down here for Huruma to sense, but only one someone. A tangle of fear and anxiety and the kind of intense sadness you can only feel when you're a teenager, but also intense focus. Vega would also feel the pull of decidedly unusual technology from that direction. The door to the work area it's all eminating from is closed, but not locked. And inside is a girl with long dark hair, bent over one of the work tables and fiddling with the innards of what used to be a holo-emitter. Her picture matches Cami perfectly.
Huruma takes in her environment with a somewhat critical eye; a campus is one thing she has never gotten used to being on, no matter how small it may be. She takes the stairs with a straight spine and shoulders back, boots descending in an increasingly marching manner, only relaxing when they reach the bottom. "Someone is here." Huruma informs Vega, just above a murmur, eyelids hooded as she slinks closer to knock on the door before she eases it open. A warning of a calm rap, rather than one of greeting. Lock the door next time, no?
"/Something/ is in there," Vega whispers with interest, eyes half lidded at the sensation of something new. She follows Huruma slowly with certain steps, leaving the door ajar behind her but remaining near it. Dark eyes flit from the girl to the machine which she is working on, trying to get a read on just what it is meant to do.
Cami doesn't notice anyone approaching until that soft rap. Then, she jumps up from her tools with a little scream. Eyes wide, like she's considering bolting. The only exit is that door, though, so she's out of luck unless she wants to try bowling through Huruma and Vega. Which she does not attempt. Yet. "It was, uh, open," she says, lamely. As if she's afraid they're here to kick her off the equipment.
Huruma's expression is neutral even through Cami's tiny scream. Maybe she is used to that. It's not impossible. As far as threatening goes, Vega's the friendlier looking of the two.
"Yes. It was." The dark woman returns, her mouth pursing slightly in an amused little twitch. Okay, then. "But, we are not here for the laboratory."
Resisting the urge to chuckle, Vega's mouth curves up at one corner as Cami screams. "Sorry, we didn't mean to startle you," she offers, one hand casually hooked in her pocket. She glances towards Hurmua with a mild expression, seeing how she would like to take this.
Cami is /very/ nervous. And would still very much like to run. But Vega, at least, can kind of pass for a student, so she's still able to pretend this probably isn't about her. "I'll be done in a second," she says, starting to clean up her little experiment. Unlocking the various parts from each other. Her eyes go back to Huruma as she does so, getting a little wider as she looks up, up, up at the woman. "If you don't want the lab, what are you doing down here? It's supposed to be closed until Tuesday." Which hasn't stopped /her/ from being down here.
There is a moment of internal struggle that Vega is trained enough to see without trouble, when Cami asks them why they're here, if not for the lab. The debate over how to say it, but also something else lurking there, pressuring indecision. Huruma's eyes soften at the edges and in her gaze when she looks down at the teenager. "We've come to find you, rather."
Standing at ease, Vega watches Huruma and the teenager through the dark fringe of her lashes. She doesn't move closer, only nods in confirmation at Huruma's words. "People are worried about you, Cami."
"Are you from the school?" That fear within Cami, that had previously been a very general anxiety and some surprise, ticks up. She probably does not mean this school. She starts shoving her project - which she'd been treating with such care - haphazardly into her backpack. She eyes the door again. But Vega - and especially Huruma - are still in her way. "Nobody there is /worried/ about me. Nobody gives a shit about anybody anymore. Not since the Professor died."
"We are not from the school." Huruma waits until Cami's moment of clarity ends to speak. Helpfully, she goes nowhere and leaves herself in the way of the door. "I suspect you are correct-- but clearly there is someone there who cares for your safety, or we would not be here looking for you, would we?"
There is a wince as Cami shoves her project into her backpack. Poor tech. It didn't deserve that. Vega tips her head as Huruma speaks. What she said.
Cami gets a little less jumpy - a very little less - when Huruma says /they/ aren't directly from Xavier's. "Well, you can tell Whoever that I'm fine..." Ish. She doesn't /feel/ fine. "...and I'm not going back. I can find work. I've been hanging around some of the classes here when I was with..." Pause, dismissive little hand flip, spark of super-intense teen sadness that she tries to shake off. "Nevermind. Anyway, some of this stuff is /so/ easy I know I could do it for real. I can take care of myself just fine."
"You are sad and you are afraid." Huruma states, as if Cami were wearing a sign on her forehead. Her voice is level, though far from stern. "I do not doubt your ability to make a life for yourself with such a gift-- but once you make this choice, you do not get another chance to make it again."
Voice soft in support of Huruma's, Vega watches the young woman with a crimp of her mouth. "You'd have no problem with doing things, making things fit, but if you try to make a go of it now you'd just be surviving. Give it a couple of years and you'd be excelling," she notes with her voice even. "A gift like yours and the whole world opens up, but you need to have the background to fall back on."
Cami's eyes get very big as she regards Huruma. Maybe she feels as if she's being 'read,' obvious as her emotions are. She hasn't yet learned to mask them. "It's not...just...me..." she admits, which stirs up a feeling of deep dread within her. She snorts, running her fingers through her long dark hair. "I thought it would be OK. That I could come live with him and we'd figure it out. He said we were going to..." She blinks hastily. "But whatever. He was an asshole. So I'm not going to be with him, and I'm not going back to school, either." More blinking, and she wipes at her eyes. "I don't want choices. I just...I want to /fix/ this." She looks at the work table, as if it might magically provide her answers.
"She is right." The dark woman nods to Vega. "And irresponsible men generally are, yes." Huruma mutters in more or less agreement on one thing-- whether wise or not. For now there's no more talk of Xavier's. Her features crease at the eyes and edges of her mouth, tensing, her hands loose at her sides when she looks at Vega, then back to Cami. "Fix...?" Is her question, short and prompting for completion, without digging.
"What do you need to fix, Cami?" Vega prompts gently, watching the girl and the worktable.
"Oh my God, guys are /such/ assholes!" Cami repeats, emphatically, bolstered by Huruma's agreement. Keep calling men jerks. She warms to that. She does more hasty blinking, not looking at either Huruma or Vega. "When I thought we could be together, I was happy. I thought, maybe, we could just go off and...I don't know. Be a family." She sniffles. "It was really stupid. Now...I don't want to have a kid. I just want it all to go away."
Some part of that warming up gets through, at least. Cami's little broken heart is going to be off of jerks forever. No more of it. "Then perhaps it is best that it be handled sooner, rather than later. One thing at a time, hm? I am not going to drag you kicking and screaming to the door of a state-sanctioned mutant home. I have been in your shoes, and it is not at all something deserving of a child." Huruma's breath leaves through her nose in a quiet rush, eyes hooded. "I would help you, if you let me."
"Oh, kid," Vega breathes softly, her shoulders falling as she looks at Cami with sympathy and worry. "You don't have to..." She begins to say and then pauses as Huruma's offer lingers in the air. Turning towards the other woman, she lifts her brows.
"You're not going to make me go back?" Cami's watery eyes give both women a long, hard look. Like she's trying to weigh them in her brain. "You would?" Pause, and finally Huruma's offer gets the smallest of nods. "OK. I was staying with /him/..." Grr evil men. "...but for the last few days I've just been sleeping on campus. All the locks of the doors here are electronic. It's /so/ easy to get in and out, I almost feel bad."
"//I// won't. I think that you need breathing room and the help that you need before you make life-altering decisions either way. I cannot account for anyone closer to the school than I am." Because Huruma will still be telling those looking that she's fine, and where she is-- but Huruma is more than content to hang her hands there. She looks down to Vega briefly, making a quick, almost defensive study of the raised brows. If you have something to say, then say it.
"They don't really make them too difficult, do they?" Vega says of the locks, eying them with a roll of her eyes. She exhales a slow breath as she looks from Huruma to Cami. "I don't actually disagree that you need the room and choice to make your decision. Nor that the school may not be the best place to do that," she says slowly, exhaling as she rocks back on her heels. "Is there anyone you want to call? Who you can stay with for a few days? I'll even give you are ride there." She will be letting the school know where she is, regardless. They are not leaving a truant teenager on her own.
"I haven't talked to my mom in years," Cami says, doing more hasty blinking. She thinks about this. "My grandma's in Ohio. I've thought about calling her but..." She looks at her feet. She has not done this. "God. She's going to be so pissed at me."
Huruma nods along with Vega, the gesture subtle, but present. When Cami describes the relationship with her grandmother, there is a slight twitch of mouth but nothing terrible spat out. Her voide is softer. "Well. It is not her life to live. Regardless, it would be worth contacting her first. And in the interim, should you decide to see a doctor, I can take you."
"She'd want to hear from you," Vega says gently. "Even if just to know that you're okay. That school has probably given her a call already." They likely are required to inform family about disappearances. As to the later part of Huruma's statement, she sighs and nods.
That promise from Huruma brings a swell of relief within Cami. "I don't know what I want to do. But...I'll think about it. Thanks." She swallows. Hefting her backpack. She groans, at the idea of the school calling her family, but they probably /have/. "I left my Eye back at Xavier's. I haven't been checking my messages." She sounds, for a second, almost guilty. "I will tomorrow. I promise. I just...can we get out of here? I'll go with you wherever I just...I'm tired. I want to crash somewhere."
"You have far more resources than I did at your age. Do not be afraid to be critical of your options." Huruma opens up her hand to Cami, in an open gesture to beckon her to come along. "I think that we can figure something out, Cami." She silently exudes an aura of calm reassurance, rare as it is.
Tilting her head, Vega takes a step back from the door and gestures to Huruma (and Cami) to lead on. This way, please.The aura helps lift Cami's spirits a little. She pulls herself back from the verge of crying, at least, and follows after Huruma and Vega without complaint. And without saying much more at all, sinking deeper into thought than she's allowed herself to for many days. But she's not going to bolt again.