|Location||Oddball Coffee - Mutant Town, NYC|
|Summary||Orianne (multiple Oriannes) do barista duty at the Oddball. Kade enjoys a morning espresso and muffin. They discuss alternate universes, domestic terrorist attacks in the park, and other such current events.|
| 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.|
Oddball's been perhaps a bit understaffed of late, so it's no wonder there's a few new faces behind the counter. One of them -- well, two of them -- are Orianne, each wearing a freshly-minted nametag reading simply 'Anne'. One of her is behind the counter, working the espresso machine with a surprising amount of familiarity; it seems this might not be her first stint in a coffeeshop. The second, however, is moving about the space, collecting discarded cups and napkins from tables, shaking her head slightly as if wondering whether the party who managed to leave five cups and no less than /seventeen/ wadded-up napkins might have been raised in a barn.
Kade strides into the Oddball and up to the counter. Once he's worked his way through the line, he orders himself a mocha with cinnamon and an extra shot of espresso, and a muffin to go with it. A grin coming to his face when he sees he's ordering it from Orianne. An Orianne. "Hey. Didn't know you were working here." He flicks a look at the other her, cleaning the table the horrible customers left. "I will dispose of my napkins myself, I promise."
"Then you are my new favorite customer," Orianne assures Kade. "And if you don't, I know where you work." She works the machine deftly, adding the espresso shot almost without looking as she carries on a conversation with Kade. "I decided it was good to have a second job. Oddball's been understaffed lately, and I used to work as a barista back home over the summers, so it made sense."
"And where I live," Kade says with a chuckle. "So I'd best be on my best behavior." He drops a cash bill in the tip jar and eases down the counter. Munching on his muffin (a banana nut one) while he waits for his drink. "Yeah. That Valerie woman told me she quit, when I saw her a little while ago. And Christian..." He shrugs. "...he's probably got bigger things to deal with right now than trying to get his barista job back."
Orianne pauses for just a moment, cinnamon shaker in hand, at mention of Christian. Then she continues as if nothing had happened. "Yeah... I imagine it's pretty hard to adjust, after everything he's been through. Is he doing okay over at Open Hands, do you know?"
"I only talked to him once, really, since he's been back. And it was before the whole...thing you all went off to a little while ago." The trip into a fantasy universe thing, Kade does not add. "He seemed like he was still trying to get his head around being back here. Which, makes sense. He lived a whole life in that other world he got sucked into, not just a month."
"Yeah. It must have been strange." Orianne fetches the muffin, handing it over. "He was this little enthusiastic kid who tagged along behind us, and now he's all... strong, and older, and could probably kick half of our asses. We're all the same, but he's not." Drink and muffin done, she offers Kade a smile and turns to the next customer; she does have drinks to make and serve, after all. The second Orianne, however, finishes cleaning off the tables, and offers Kade a nod. Apparently, /she's/ allowed to talk. Technically, only one Orianne is on shift.
"Thanks," Kade says, taking the muffin and coffee and leaving Counter Orianne to her work. He takes the nod as an invitation to sit by Table Orianne, though. "I almost feel like they should be paying you double, the work you're able to do with this thing." He sits. About Christian, he nods. "Yeah. I've heard of stuff happening like this. People going into an A-U and coming out with years past, when it's only been weeks or months out here. I think it's natural to need time. How'd he do in...that place you all went?" Fantasyland.
"'Thing'?" Orianne-2 sounds maybe a /little/ put-out by Kade referring to her as a 'thing'. But she lets it slide, frowning at mention of their little fantasyland excursion. "I think he did better than some of us. I mean, bow and arrow... I think he felt more comfortable there in some ways, even if I also think he wasn't completely happy about going to another alternate universe." She pauses, and then adds a little more darkly, "Oh, and half of the refugee women wanted to marry him, I think."
"Powers, I meant," Kade adds, half-apologetically at the slight put-outness from Orianne-2. "My own thing has a little less utility for work." He waggles his fingertips. "Except when I was a firefighter, way back in the day, but you needed to be closeted to stay in a job like that after awhile. So." He shrugs. Here he is. He might note the dark way Orianne mentions Christian's fantasy suitors, but he doesn't comment on it. "Makes sense. From what little he told me, he did a lot of hunting and stuff in a real harsh environment. Might've had more in common with where he came from than this city does."
"Well, we did have a bunch of things try to kill us," Orianne notes in agreement. "A dragon, a unicorn, a bunch of possessed mages and soldiers... it was a pretty hostile place, up until we got rid of the overlord who was controlling everyone." She pauses, and then adds, "Not the unicorn, though. I think the unicorn was just naturally murder-y."
"Micaela told me about the dragon. And she set me a selfie with a griffon named...Gorgeous?" It's not that Kade doesn't sound like he believes all this, but he's still wrapping his mind around the /extent/ of the unbelievabilitly. "Holy f...wow. That sounds a little like what we all did in space. Fighting for another universe-type stuff. Makes you wonder what else is going on behind the dimensional curtain." He sounds half-wary, half-curious. And unsure which side he wants to land on.
"Gorgeous was /wonderful/," Orianne replies, with a wistful tone. She would totally bring back all the strange animals from other worlds if she could. It's probably a good thing she couldn't realistically fit a full-grown griffon into the apartment. "I made a little baby griffon puppet, and she cuddled up with it for a while." Then she sobers slightly, tilting her head as she considers Kade's comment. "Well, Talya's place -- New Rus -- is sort of like another universe anyway, isn't it? A small one, with talking foxes and snow. Maybe there are other people out there who can open doorways to places like the ones we've been to."
Kade nods, about Talya. "She's told me a little about it. Makes it sound like a Russian fairytale. There's that guy - Alistair - whose powers deal with alternate universes. Maybe he'd know more." Mention of that puts him in mind of less pleasant things, though. "You doing OK? Our own world got pretty hostile the other night."
"Yeah. I'm a little surprised we didn't get questioned or anything." Orianne rubs at her side, as if at the remembered pain of burning. Triceratops are not fire-retardant, unfortunately. "I hope Misty's okay."
"Back in space, they gave me this augmentation that let me expand my fire-proof thing," Kade says. "Like a heat shield I could put around other people. Wish I'd have had it last night. Doesn't really do much good in this world except for me." There's an unspoken apology there. "At least Moody and Alistair handed those two fuckers over to the cops. We caught them with lighters and gas cans. No way to get out of that." He hopes. "Me, too. That was real good work, the way you stuck with her and got her out of there."
"Thanks." Orianne offers Kade a self-conscious smile, rubbing at her arm almost distractedly. "I sometimes worry that I'm not really a lot of /use/ when we get into the big stuff. I'm not a really kickass fighter like Huruma or Christian, I can't throw fire around... I'm mostly just good as a lookout or scout, most times."
"You've got a good head in a crisis and you stick with your team. That's kind of the beginning and end of it, to my mind, whether it's big stuff or little stuff," Kade says. "I try not to use fire in fights, if I can avoid it. Those bugs we fought on that space ship are one thing, but with people..." He takes a breath, suppressing a shudder. "Stinger's a better alternative every time, to my mind."
"Yeah, I guess that's true," Orianne admits. "Sometimes I wonder why there aren't groups that /deal/ with this. I mean, a bunch of broke mutants who do freelance problem solving probably aren't the group you'd usually entrust multiversal crisis situations to. After all..." But she trails off, turning to glare at the counter, where a woman with blue skin is presently berating the other Orianne.
"Well, maybe I /said/ that I wanted a /decaf/ mocha latte," the woman remarks, as if this is the most obvious thing in the world, "but I clearly /meant/ I wanted a mocha latte with a shot of espresso. And you should have known that I wanted vanilla syrup! No one with /taste/ drinks mocha without a shot of vanilla! Are you new?"
Orianne at the table makes a face, clearly annoyed even though counter-Orianne offers a polite smile and apology. Apparently, even mutants can be god-awful customers at times.
Kade shrugs. "There used to be the X-Men. Or, well, my old line of work. World's changed, though. People aren't willing to trust mutants with that level of problem anymore." More frustration creeps into his voice than he probably means to show. "For what it's worth, I think you'd have done well in those. Maybe saving the neighborhood is the best we can do these days..." The ranting blue-skinned woman makes him wince. Table-Orianne is offered a sympathetic look. "...or just getting through a shift without throttling somebody. That often feels like an achievement."
"I did not miss /this/ part of being a barista," Table-Orianne remarks, a touch wryly. The rest of Kade's remark, however, earns a more somber look as she meets his gaze. "But that's what I /mean/. They don't want to trust us with this, but it seems like they don't /have/ anyone else who can deal with it. So we end up dealing with it /anyway/, just without any resources or backup or, you know, actual planning."
"It does, indeed, feel like it's going that way," Kade can't help but agree with Orianne. "At least the feds are here, and seem aware of the latest rift. I'm hoping that's a good thing. At least, maybe, they're trying to deal with this stuff, if there's more of it." Maybe. He doesn't actually sound that hopeful, but he tries in front of her. His muffin is long finished, and he's working on the dregs of his coffee. "Anyway, I shouldn't keep you too much longer. This place isn't exactly death-defying, but I'm sure it keeps you busy. Glad you're doing well. Especially after...everything." Fantasyland, FoH attacks, all of it.
"Probably they're just going to bring us in for questioning again," Orianne mutters. "Some of them don't seem to think much about my legal status here." After a moment she admits, almost reluctantly, "Though I suppose it /is/ a /little/ complicated."
Kade chuckles. "Life is complicated. And keeps being so, even if we're not /technically/ supposed to be trusted with world-saving anymore." He finishes his coffee. Disposing of it, and his napkin, without leaving too much of a mess. "I'll see you later, Orianne. May the day bring you nothing but pleasant customers." Unlikely as that may be."Thanks." Orianne offers Kade a wave, then stands and vanishes back into thin air. No doubt she'll be back when the counter-Orianne needs another pair of hands again. After all, this is Oddball; using your mutation in the course of your workday is practically part of the job description.