|Totally Not a Meeting|
|Location||Lounge - X-Factor Solutions|
|Participants||Ciel, Jeremy, Mikhail, Kade, Rohan, Tiffany|
|Summary||Folks stop by the XFS lounge for no reason at all, end up dishing about Kraken.|
| The lounge is the one place in X-Factor that shows some signs of personality, and as such, it's far more comfortable than either the sterile neatness of the front entrance or the sleek tech of the conference room.
One wall has been painted kelly green, a color which sets off the less-exciting black of the refrigerator, cabinets, and microwave that make up the tiny kitchenette area. Another wall has already earned some graffiti. It's become common for new employees to leave a signature of sorts, scrawled somewhere on the wall in varied-colored marker. They range from literal signatures to symbols and pictures depicting mutations or call signs or some other mysterious image. They appear to be getting more elaborate as time goes on.
One wall has been kept clear for a holoprojector that can be configured for use with any number of technologies, though its most common use is as a television. A pair of couches long-since worn down into narcoleptic comfort flank it, and a single wingchair sits opposite the coffee table set between. Behind the comfortable cluster, a small round table can seat four, and next to it a staircase leads up into the offices.
| It is a spring evening. The weather is cool and drizzling.|
This is not a /meeting/, per se. I mean, no one made any calls or sent any comms or otherwise announced a get together. But Mikhail is here, with pizza, and he's spent a lot of the afternoon considering how great it'd be if people stopped by or lingered or otherwise ended up close enough to let him pick at them with all the luck he can muster. It's hard to say whether his luck actually impacted anyone further than-- close. But it's fair to say that anyone who did end up close felt that pull. He sits on the couch, hunched over as he makes his way through his second slide of pizza.
Kade keeps something resembling a regular 'schedule' at X-Factor. Even when he's not working a job, he checks in at least three days a week, to see what's available. So he's here after work (literally just come from it, since he's still wearing his short-sleeved 'Queens Center Mall Security' shirt). After scanning the messages at the front desk, he works his way into the lounge. Smiling when he spots Mikhail. "Hey."
"Kade!" Mikhail says, looking up with a grin that spreads wide across his face. "Hello! Do you want some pizza?" He lifts his slice - pepperoni - in indication, wiggling it a little before he reaches to rescue a pepperoni in danger of falling to the floor to instead pop it into his mouth.
Having straight up walked out in the middle of a terrible date, not only does Tiffany arrive but she's lookin' damn fine. Her dark hair is just loosely pinned up and she wears a sleek black dress. With a hand running along the curvature of her waist and hip, she heel-clicks casually into the lounge. She gets about half-way across the room before she stops and blinks around at everyone present. "What did I come here for?" Tiff mutters. Ever have one of those moments?
Rohan wanders down the stairs from the offices above. He's clutching a number of papers in one hand (close examination would reveal them to be copies of his resume, no doubt for those business still stuck in the dark ages and like their hiring formal), and wearing a generally slightly distracted expression. He takes a step into the lounge and pauses.
"Hello!" Kade takes a piece of pizza, and a napkin. He picks off the pepperoni, starting in on it once he's rid the slice of meat. Tiffany's appearance draws a look. "Whatever it was for, I suddenly feel under-dressed." Rohan gets a somewhat dry, "Yo."
"Hello!" Mikhail enthuses further as more people trickle in. "Would you like--" He breaks off mid-sentence as his gaze finds Tiffany, and he stares for a long second or two before he catches himself and blinks, clearing his throat.
Jeremy wanders into the lounge carrying a six-pack of fancy root beer in bottles. He wanders across the room carrying these bottles, which he takes to the fridge, opens it, puts them inside, shuts the fridge, and only then straightens up and looks around to go, "Hey! People." He was clearly a man on a mission. A root beer mission. This is apparently what my poses are going to be like today.
"Yo," Tiffany offers in a dry tone of her own, eyes lazily drifting over to the pizza. "Oh my God, did you order pizza?" She asks Kade, totally overlooking Mikhail as she gets a slice for herself. It takes about a minute before she is lifting up a slice over her head and lowering its triangular end into her open mouth. "H-mm-ay-m," she greets Jeremy with about as much enthusiasm as a beloved housecoat might.
"Hey boss," Rohan greets Jeremy with a flicker of a smile and light tone. He hesitates, remaining at the very edge of the room, not really entering, not really part of the gathering, and not really swarming the pizza either. He glances over the others, and says, very generally, "Evening." Or afternoon. Whatever time it is.
And here Mikhail isn't even working his 'don't look at me' bubble. In fact, he seems a TEENY bit disappointed to find himself completely beneath Tiffany's notice. He slumps backwards on the couch, picking at his piece of pizza forlornly. It lingers for a long moment before he clears his throat and says, "Luka says we are finding the people who attacked Open Hands?"
"I did not order pizza," Kade says. Brows arching some when Tiffany. "I think he did." Thumb gesture to Mikhail. Jeremy's offered a broad grin. "Hey, J-Bomb. Figured I'd come down to see if any news jobs had come in. How's tricks?" He settles in, for his part, sitting on the arm of the couch rather than a cushion and eating some more pizza, now that it's picked clean of pepperoni. At the question about Open Hands, he nods. "Working on it, yeah."
"Heya. Yeah, I've got a couple I'm working on hauling in on the line," Jeremy says, like someone who can't remember the last time they actually went fishing. "You'll hear about 'em soon. In the meantime, yeah, we're working with Open Hands. They need protective ... something." He scratches at his cheek.
Ciel is a lateish arrival. She finds herself swerving into X-Factor on her way home without quite knowing what it is she's after. By the time she's stepped through the door, she's decided that she's hoping to catch Kade, and so she looks exceedingly pleased when she pops through the office door to find a crowd that includes her boyfriend (and pizza). "Whoa, hey!" she says, greetingsish. "Did I miss the party invite?" She gives the gathered a quick nod and angles toward Kade.
"Oh, hi," Tiffany danes to look lazily towards Mikhail, holding her slice up and away from her dress. The corners of her mouth twitch in the tiniest not-a-smile, "I'm Tiffany. Nice to meet you." She bends, retrieving a napkin to rest her pizza on. "Protection? My sister is a therapist there. I visited her once and within an hour 'n a half span, a kid caused like, a mini-earthquake and another kid turned into like, a swarm of flesh eating bugs." She takes a fat bite and chews.
Mikhail's gaze darts back to Tiffany, and it lingers for a moment before he frowns slightly and looks over at Jeremy instead, without actual introduction. He's focused now, in gaze, in tone, in luck: "Do we know who did it?" he asks, glancing around the room as if searching for the person with the answers - or with the inclination to share the answers, with the right pressure applied. "Why they did it?"
"I can hazard a few guesses about why," Jeremy says, leaning back against the fridge behind him as he crosses his arms. "No real party invite. People just converge on pizza whenever it appears, magically."
"Vega Zhang and I went up to bourgaise Long Island to chat up that parents of that girl on the bike," Kade says. "The one who's into molotov cocktails. I don't think they had a clue what kind of stuff she was into. They claimed they talk to her about how maybe domestic terrorism isn't a great life choice, but who knows." For all his pessimism about the dads, Kade also sounds a little sympathetic. "I don't think they were direct connects to the bombers themselves. Seemed like the types who didn't think much about mutants at all." Ciel's appearance gets a warm smile. Well, hello. He doesn't greet her verbally, but he scoots over a little to give her more room to park.
Rohan is still lingering on the fringes, not quite part of the group. "People who hate mutants. And kids with a hole in their lives who get sold on a 'noble' cause."
"Assholes," Ciel opines, settling in half behind Kade in a sort of lean that lets her drape an arm at his shoulder and press a quick kiss of greeting to his cheek. "What, the dads, you mean? Who're they getting this shit from?"
Tiffany's pizza is gone. Forget about it. She dabs her napkin on the corners of her mouth, "Sound like Grade A parents. How'd this one slip under their noses?" She rolls her eyes, finding a couch-arm to casually drape over. "You sound like you have some insight," she comments dryly to Rohan, twitching her eyebrows expectantly for him to continue.
"The girl on the bike?" Mikhail echoes, his gaze moving fast to Kade. "Who was she? Is she the one who threw the fire?"
Kade shrugs to Ciel, and the group at large. "I didn't see any terrorism lit in their living room, at least. They said she stays out until like one A-M a lot, but didn't seem to want to say where. Might've even really not known." Frown. "She was with the ones who did, at least." He also looks to Rohan, on this note.
"Peeked in a head or two," Rohan replies to Tiffany, a bit dryly. "All in the service of the greater good, of course." He hitches his shoulders in a shrug and leans against the wall. "And Lexie questioned the girl. Which was also useful." He bites his lower lip and considers the group for a moment, putting his thoughts in order.
Tiffany waggles her eyebrows at the mention of peeking into heads. "Of course," she crosses her legs, leaning back on her perch. "Was it? Did Lexie get anything good out of her?"
"You peeked in a head?" Mikhail echoes, stiffening slightly against the couch. It takes him a long beat to fish, "What did you find?"
"Some things are more than just a teenage thrill," Ciel mutters, low-voiced at Kade's side.
Jeremy scruffs a hand through his hair, mouth twisting a little with the slight shake of his head as his breath huffs through his nose. "Right? I blew up some shit when I was a teenager but I feel like I had some extenuating circumstances."
Kade just listens, gnawing on his pizza crust. He just nods when Rohan mentions how he saw what he saw. He's reasonably familiar with how that works, and /very/ interested in what Little Miss Domestic Terrorist had to say. Jeremy gets a slim smile that doesn't quite touch his blue eyes. "I set some shit on fire, too. But never in the service of...well, domestic terrorism."
"Not like _that_," Rohan tells Tiffany's waggling eyebrows. "She's _seventeen_." Apparently there are some things he's quite firm on. He thrusts his hands into his pockets, crumpling his stack of resumes in the process. "The guy with the tattoos on the bike with her is her boyfriend, as you can guess. Rick Gallagher, calls himself Cato, registered sex offender, sounds like a real catch. The other two are Jinx and Matty Lynch, who helpfully took them to rallies."
"Wait, what did you think I meant?" Tiffany shifts her eyes. Ultimately, she let's that slide, "Registered sex offender? Cute. Sounds like a catch." She switches her crossed legs, "So, what happens now that we have the names?"
Mikhail leans sharply forward, his gaze fixing on Rohan with narrow focus. "What kind of rallies?" he pushes, and his luck presses against Rohan. "Where are they? When?"
Ciel whistles, low and long. "Are we talking Friends who're doing more than talking?" she asks. "Because that's not good news for the general Mutant Town population."
Rohan considers Mikhail. His eyes narrow into dark little half-moons. His voice turns a little raspy, a little harder, and a little American (but admittedly not much, because he's not great at that). "They will make of these the end times," he says. "Which means hell on Earth, and we are the Kraken."
Mikhail looks a little blankly at Rohan, then his gaze darts around the room, checking for responses as he says, "I am sorry, my English-- what?"
Kade takes in that recitation about the 'Kraken' from Rohan. His frown deepening. "From what Zhang got from her old friends at the PD, they're actually investigating this pretty heavily. And Homeland Security is involved." He rolls his eyes. Because /WHATEVER/ Homeland Security. "From the way she described it, it's kind of a mess. Too many fingers in the pot and lots of jurisdictional pissing. But if the feds are involved, the Friends are doing /something/ to makes them interested."
The little hairs on the back of Tiffany's neck stand on end at Rohan's ...impersonation? She falls silent, bringing a hand to rest on her neck as if to self-sooth. So creepy.
Rohan bounces back to a more usual expression--light, but guarded--at almost unsettling speed. "I have no idea what the Kraken is specifically. Friends of Humanity, probably. Old bloke who sounds like he smokes twice as much as me. Dive bar; I can probably find it."
"Yes," Mikhail says, his focus returning with narrow-eyed sharpness. "We should find it." It's 'we' now, Rohan. That's okay, right? You're /totally/ good with Mikhail coming along, right?
"Shit," says Ciel, heartfelt.
"We can sort out who's going later," Kade says. It's mostly aimed at Mikhail. And tries to verbally impress, 'Bad idea, kid', though the chances of success with that are dubious. "Does seem like the sort of place worth looking into, though."
"Let me know if you need backup," Tiffany mumbles, sliding from the couch and crossing the room. Her heels click as she walks, "But like, the ghost kind." She throws away her napkin, briefly washing her hands before she heads out of the room. She does not say goodbye.
"Carefully," says Rohan. "If they're using the impressionable sort as foot soldiers...I don't know what the higher ups are up to." He presses his lips together, thoughtfully. "Wonder if we could get away with infiltration." He snorts, brief, and tilts his head toward Tiffany and her offer.
Mikhail gives Kade a glance, but he does not argue - not aloud, anyway. His luck does all sorts of convincing, wheedling away at those present to suggest that Mikhail would be awfully handy to have along, really. He stares after Tiffany as she goes, then climbs to his feet to hurry after her. Or rather, in the direction she went. "I have to go," he says, and then he's gone. He even left half a pizza behind.
Kade blinks after Tiffany. "OK." He offers her, and Mikhail, a quick "Later" that it's unclear if either of them will hear.
"I think she's more spy than infiltration," Ciel remarks, glancing down at Kade. She's silent for a beat, clearly thinking, then she shakes her head with an exhale. "I don't know. It's risky. But so's letting the Friends entice teenagers to sling molotovs around Mutant Town."
Rohan glances after those departing. "I just feel like I don't know enough," he says. "And I'm wary of pulling any sort of full frontal assault without more intel."
"Intel seems like what we need, anyway. Maybe we can find something actionable to float to the cops, like we did with the Russians," Kade puts in. "From what Zhang said, they /are/ looking into this, even if they're being kind of inept about it.""Mmm," Ciel murmurs, a sound of thoughtful agreement that Kade's well-acquainted with. Her gaze goes a bit distant for a moment before sharpening abruptly, and she straightens away from him as she says, "Shit, I've gotta run. I have an appointment in ten. I don't know why I thought I had time to stop in here." She leans to press a quick kiss to the top of Kade's head, adding, "I'll catch you later," before she gives the room at large (or what's left of it) a wave and slipping toward the door.