|2046-02-24 Mutant Solidarity|
|Location||Oddball Coffee - Mutant Town, NYC|
| Oddball Coffee sits on the edge of Mutant Town, near the northern 14th Street border, which may be why it's managed to keep its windows intact and its varied clientele happy. An eclectic, open-minded place, Oddball regularly showcases mutant artists and performers on its walls and on the tiny stage near the back. Framed photographs covering every spare inch of one brick wall show off wild feats that are only possible with mutation, and a few of their baristas make a show of using mutant powers in the making of their drinks.
It's made Oddball one of the few businesses which manages to appeal to both tourists and locals. The shop is nearly always busy, and it's not unusual for a stranger to request the empty chair at a full table.|
| It is a winter night. The weather is cold and flurrying.|
Night has come to Mutant Town, and for some, night time was the perfect time to get some coffee. Raquel sits quietly at a table, an ugly and dark bruise on her forehead as she nurses some coffee in both hands. She has a look of upset on her face as she stares blankly into the dark, black coffee in her hands. The coffee house is mostly full- but Raquel's table has an open spot.
Rohan comes sauntering in, leather jacket-clad, motorcycle helmet under one arm. He glances over the coffee house, with a faint frown for the bustle, but slips past Raquel's table. "Hey, love," he calls out, his accent northern English. "Mind if I leave this here?" His helmet is held over the empty chair to illuminate the question.
Raquel looks up a moment to Rohan, nodding and lifting her hand towards the empty seat. "Go ahead." she replies, her own accent clear- Brazil, through and through. "No one else is using it." she offers simply, before taking a sip of her coffee. Raquel has the look of upset to her- if that ugly bruise on her forehead wasn't a clear flag.
Rohan flashes her a bright grin, sets his helmet on the table, and moves off to the counter, returning some time later with a coffee in hand. "So," he says, lightly, "what's the other guy look like?"
"Like the edge of a table." Raquel replies, as she looks up at Rohan. "I got upset, and I guess I wasn't paying attention, and then I was saying Ola to the edge of a table." she says with a sigh as she takes another long drink of her coffee.
Rohan tsks, a gently chiding sound, and lifts his hands in an expressive shrug. "That's not nearly interesting enough," he informs her. "You should find a better story. Perhaps he was seven feet tall and breathed fire. Perhaps you got it rescuing a kitten from a burning building. Or perhaps it was an evil mutant that looked like a table."
Raquel looks at Rohan for a long moment before that flat, upset face breaks into a stellar smile- a bright thing that just lights up her every feature. "If only. But, it was just a table." she returns, "And my own clumsy feet. Its weird- I haven't tripped like that since I was a child. I'm usually pretty good with my balance."
"Why do you say evil mutant, though?" Raquel wonders, "Is that how people see mutants? Automatically evil?"
Rohan squints at Raquel. "If I saw mutants as automatically evil--which I don't, seeing as I am one--why would I say evil? 'Mutant' would be evil by definition." He takes a sip of coffee. "But there are evil mutants. Maybe...not evil. That's a story word, made for tall tales. Malicious mutants. Ones that want to hurt people.
"Maybe I'm just touchy about it." Raquel says with a bit of a sigh. "Yeah, but that's true of all people. Malicious people. I don't know- I've had a bit of an off day." she says simply, "I'm sorry- lets start over." She smiles again, quiet. "I'm Raquel."
"Rohan," says Rohan with a lift of his coffee cup. "And before you ask, no, that is not a Tolkien reference. Pleasure to meet you and all that."
Raquel lifts her coffee in return. "I have never read Tolkien." she offers with a quiet smile, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Rohan." she continues as she takes another sip of her coffee. "So, you are also a mutant. This is a good thing." she says. "Do you live in Mutant Town, also? I am new to the neighborhood."
"Yes," says Rohan. "In this neighbourhood, non-mutants are rarer than mutants." He raises an eyebrow. Whether it's in general query or in reply to her not having read Tolkien is unclear.
"I like this." Raquel replies, "It is why I moved here. To be with other mutants." she explains, "But, I don't know. I'm having to face to the things I thought and compare them to how life really is." she continues, just talking. "Like you said- there are some who are malicious. I do not want to believe this thing. I want for us to be better than that. To rise above it."
"People are people, love," says Rohan. "Human, mutant or not. Sometimes we're good, sometimes we're bad, sometimes we're indifferent. It's just the way it is, and no one group is going to be any better than any other when the only tie is a quirk of genetics."
"That's not what I mean. I mean, to rise above the hate, you know? To show people that we can make a difference. I don't know, I've got a lot on my mind." Raquel says with a sigh. "I mean, I get why people are scared." she says softly, "But, I want things to be fair. When we moved from Brazil, my parents kept telling me things would be better in America. That this was the land of the free." her voice, small now. "But I look around, and I see how some people aren't free. Not here, not anywhere. How other mutants are basically forced to live in ghettos and it is upsetting. How are we supposed to deal with it?" she wonders up to her fellow mutant- and complete stranger. "I have to believe that we can make things better... is.. is it wrong? Is it wrong to want a better world?"
Rohan takes a long swallow of his coffee. He raises his eyebrows. "Not American, sweetheart," he says. "Can't comment on the land of the free. Land of cold beer and bad tea, perhaps." He takes another long swallow, and only says, "You're very young."
Raquel takes another quiet sip of her coffee. "I'm a lot of things." she replies simply to the statement of her age. "Sorry. That's probably a lot for a stranger." she states simply. "My head is just full, and things are bursting out of my mouth."
"Young," repeats Rohan, with a faint grin. "It's not wrong to think things. But grand designs and passion have destroyed an awful lot of things even when well-meant. And little things sometimes make a surprising difference."
"Yeah, well.. I just want the same rights as every other American citizen. I want those rights to be more than just words on paper. I want them to be inscribed on the hearts of people- like they're supposed to." she says softly, "Maybe I'm just an idealist... but.." she sighs and just shakes her head again. She hides herself in her coffee.
"Blah, blah, blah, land of the free, rights, blah, blah, blah." That is Rohan's verdict. He doesn't say it unkindly, mind you, but with a certain amount of gentle laughter. "Very fine, but this is the real world. Go out there, realize it's complicated, and be kind.""Yeah. Maybe you're right." Raquel says softly, finishing her coffee. "Hey, maybe I'll see you around." she says as she stands up to collect her things. "Thanks." she offers quietly, for what, she doesn't say.