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2046-07-11 Party Planning

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Party Planning
Date Posted 2016/07/08
Location The Sloppy Pony - Mutant Town
Participants Jeremy, Vega, Richard, Talya, Rohan, Kevin, Micaela, Kade, Eleanor, Diego, Alistair, Huruma, Moody
Summary X-Factor has a party! Kind of. No, they make rescue plans.
 
Jerjeremy.jpg VeVega.jpg Ririchard.JPG TaTalya.jpg Rorohan.jpg MiMicaela.jpg KdKade1.jpg DiDiego.jpg AliAlistair.jpg Huhuruma.jpg
There used to be glass in the heavy old frame of the door, but now several boards serve to keep the vermin out -- or, do they? You made it in.

An old hitching post greets patrons along the wall by the door, right next to a broken old jukebox that's just for show. The room itself is narrow and long, with mismatched chairs crowded around a couple (literally, two) small tables and a few crates dispersed elsewhere to sit on, but mostly it's all dancefloor, baby. The bar itself must be original, because despite it's dilapidated condition it's actually fairly well-kitted. There's a couple beers on tap, even. A sink, with shoddy plumbing, but it's a sink, coupled with a fridge whose light is always flickering, but keeps bottles icy cold. Thanks to the kid behind the bar, the collection of poisons to pick from is growing, too.

There's a dartboard at the back, with darts available from the bar staff upon request, and tacks to pin up your choice of photograph to toss at. Right next to it is the door leading upstairs to the proprietor's office/living quarters, pockmarcked by stray dart-holes. The peeling paint and mold seeping through the ceiling are barely even noticeable in the dim light from the hanging, singular string bulbs around the place. Less so after a drink or three, so bottoms up!


The Pony, for better or worse, hasn't changed much in the month-and-change the good people of XFS spent in another world. It's still a dive stocked with bottom-shelf liquor and a lack of alien life. The drinks are cheap, though, and it's a part of their Mutant Town home. An open meet-up invite went out over the XFS email system calling all comers for alcohol here tonight. They won a war, even if it came with its losses, and being alive and back on Earth is worth a drink or several.

Jeremy started off this morning with an admittedly mild hangover and has been vaguely combatting it all day, but that does not, apparently, stop him from turning up with the rest of X-Factor for drinks. It does mean that he buys beer instead of anything harder, a tall, foamy glass of something amber-gold in his hand as he sits back in a chair at one of several tables that have been shoved together for X-Factor's invasion purposes. His foot is up against the bottom rung of the chair next to his and he slouches noticeably. Apparently one of the things he did today is get a haircut, because he's looking neatly trimmed and spruced up -- still long hair, of course, he's not going through dramatic life changes here or anything -- and wearing a nice dress shirt and a pair of jeans that looks at least like he checked to make sure they were clean before putting them on.

Alcohol is a pretty solid draw upon their return to Earth. Having slipped into the bar with a hoodie pulled over her ears, Vega barely looks old enough for the beer she is emphatically ordering. The Pony bartenders aren't paid enough to be dubious, so she gets it without needing to pull out her id tonight. Sighing pointedly, she tugs her hood down to reveal a shock of pink hair and makes her way over to the table where Jeremy slouches, a slight hitch in her step. "Hey," she bids.

Richard is not exactly -- chipper. He looks uncomfortable and distracted as he makes his way over to the table with beer in hand -- clearly he came a bit after Jeremy -- more like he's formulating problems and solutions in his head than settling in for a drink. He slides down in the chair next to Jeremy, not even noticing anyone to say hello. Rude.

Talya is feeling Rus-ish tonight for some reason. She's even wearing a skirt, hair tightly braided up so she can rub, eternally, at the back of her neck. She goes for her drink first, then drifts toward the others she recognizes. Vega gets the first nod because she stands out so much. "Cheers."

Rohan wanders over to the table carrying a beer. His leather jacket is absent tonight--probably a concession to the summer heat--and he's clad in worn jeans with a tattered knee and a pale green t-shirt snug and even more worn. (Did you go to work like that, Rohan? You do know just because you work in a shelter you don't have to dress like you're homeless?) It's a bit of a come down from space pants. He's shaved his beard off at some point since coming back, but not today, since he's already got noticeable stubble. He flops down into the chair next to Richard, and frowns at him for a moment. Worried frown. "Hey," he greets.

Kevin is back from the south finally, and decided this was as good a time as any to mingle with faces both familiar and new. He's the same as before he left, the only dramatic change is that he's wearing his glasses out of the house, and not zipping all over the place. He orders a glass of dark liquor on the rocks and heads over to where everyone is gathering, offering a cheery salute. "Yo! How's everyone doing?"

"Hey," Jeremy says with two fingers tipped toward his temple as he nods to Vega in the laziest fake salute in the history of fake salutes. He takes a swallow of his beer, toasts the bar with it generally, and then leans forward to set it back down on the table. He greets Richard with the squeeze of his hand on his shoulder rather than with any words. He offers a friendly all be it vague smile split between Talya and Rohan. "Yo." Did he just say yo. God, your dorkiness, Jeremy.

Micaela is still not in the best of shapes after that last battle, though she is on her feet and walking just fine on her own, thank you very much--stubbornly rejecting overt assistance getting places again. At some point, you just want to do things on your own again. Though when she enters the bar, it's still holding Diego's hand. Most of her bruising has faded, which is good, because the drape of the deep purple dress she's wearing exposes a fair bit of skin of arms, legs and back, cinches with a gold belt and accented with matching gold jewelry. Which means she looks completely out of place in the Pony.

Kade has not gotten to his barber yet. His dark hair is still bushier than the close-cut he prefers, and his goatee could use a trim. He also doesn't look in precisely high spirits, but he gets himself a gin and tonic. Which might pick his spirits up. "Cheers all around," he echoes Talya, as he joins the group at the table they've congregated around. He's back in Earth clothes. Jeans and a beaten old 'Republic of California' t-shirt, for his part.

Richard gets a look as he sits down next to Jeremy. It might be concern. Jeremy gets a faint smile for that salute, while Vega offers him a much more official one in return. Leaning back in her chair, Vega looks towards Talya with a soft, "Hey." She lifts her beer and greeting and then drinks some of it. This hey extends to everyone else - Rohan, Kade, Kevin, and so on. "Nice job arranging things Caruthers."

Eleanor generally looks terribly out of place at the Pony, too. She's wearing a lavender skirt, a cream-colored blouse embroidered with teal and lavender flours, and a white blazer. Her hair snakes down her back in a long braid. She looks over the X-Factor table with vague uncertainty, and looks over to the bar with more uncertainty. But she's here anyways.

Diego's protests that she /could/ just be carried have been defeated by Micaela tonight. He compensates by holding her hand firmly and keeping close - just in case. Dressed to compliment his wife, he wears a deep burgandy shirt and black, space-tight, trousers with a pair of gold shoes. "Buena Noches," he greets, then smiles broadly. "Kade! It is good to see you."

Richard actually startles at Kevin's particularly cheery greeting. He blinks up at the younger man, then flits a glance to Jeremy at the touch of a hand to his shoulder. "Hey," he says to the group rather belatedly. And then his gaze sweeps the gathering with a bit more focus and purpose. "/Hey/. More heads is good, right? Maybe if we go through everything we know about Christian's powers, we could -- come up with something we haven't thought of before--"

Alistair has never bothered to socialize with X-Factor before. Then again, he joined a day or two before he was so ingloriously kidnapped. At any rate, he wanders in, looking as out of place as various others, wearing pressed slacks and a crisp dress shirt (nothing dares crease on him; he'll snark at it). He raises a dubious eyebrow at the bar, and considers the gathering of...colleagues with an almost academic interest.

Talya waves Eleanor over in a vague, fellow-kidnap-victim way. She gives Micaela a bit of a sideways glance, but then feels moved to tease when she arrives in conversational range. "I won't threaten to stab you at all," Talya says by way of greeting.

"Shit, I forgot to lock my bike up." Kevin snaps, he sets his glass down before moving through the Pony at a faster pace than is politely accepted, but he's back in a couple of the span of a few short moments, drink in hand once more. "Who's Christian, and what happened?" he's finally able to ask Richard once he's certain he won't have to run home.

Much as Diego lost the argument over carrying her, Micaela has lost the argument over him /hovering/. Win some, lose some. She waves at Kade along with her husband's greeting with a grin. Then she laughs at Tayla's jibe, because getting stabbed is funny or something, then winces. "That's good, because you shouldn't threaten if you aren't going to follow up--and I think I've had enough of stabbings recently." If she will get injured all the time...

Kade shrugs to Vega. "I was in rather desperate need of unwinding. I figured it was largely mutual. Pony still looks the same. It's kind of comforting." Kind of. Insofar as the Pony is ever comforting. He spots Eleanor, and Alistair, lingering. Both are offered a wave, and Micaela and Diego get a smile and "Hey, kids." He finds himself a place to sit, taking a quick gulp of his drink, his eyes settling on Richard as the man speaks. "I could sure as hell use more ideas." Kevin's question does not get an immediate answer. It /does/ prompt him to drink again.

Lifting a brow at the young man speeding through the bar, Diego shrugs and gives his wife's hand a squeeze. Talya gets a /look/ that softens dramatically when Micaela laughs. "You'd only get one shot," he warns amiably. Speaking of shots, he starts to ask Micaela what she'd like to drink and then pauses. "Ideas?"

Vega waves at Eleanor with a slight smile, then kicks the chair next to herself in offering. Sitting down? Nodding at Kade, she blows out a low sigh and takes a drink. "I get that." She drinks, lifting her brows and waiting to see if there is response.

Eleanor claims space at the table without immediately going for a drink. Perhaps she has no idea what to order. Her hands press together against the table, primly, and she arches her eyebrows with intent curiosity.

Talya bristles back at Diego. "She snuck up on me. In space." She waves a hand, then rolls her shoulders uncomfortably. "It's a joke."

"How many of you worked with him in space?" Jeremy rubs his thumb against the tall glass of his beer. That's not a weird question out of context at all.

Moody enters the Pony through the front door, a bit unusually for her; she's dressed down in light layers, mostly in dark blues and grays, with a pair of bright red rain boots the only pop of color. She shakes off the umbrella she was carrying and offers it, wordlessly, to a couple leaving the bar. It's accepted with a blink of surprise, but she just smiles and shrugs once before working her way through the crowd to the bar. Once she's there, though, she frowns at the taps and the bartender in quick succession, like she's trying to figure something out. She hasn't been around much since the final battle -- she was in medical for a while, and came back in one of the early waves to disappear into custody alone.

"I mapped the known range of the Nile crocodile," offers Alistair toward Richard. He's so helpful. He pauses for reflection. "At least in this universe."

Rohan pats Richard's other shoulder. In platonic bro-ly reassurance. Instead of speaking to him, however, he glances to Eleanor. "Want me to buy you a drink?" he asks her. "There's a really complicated selection here." That was probably a joke.

"Space." Kevin says with a light 'huh'. Instead of asking any more questions he sits down and takes a swig of his drink, gaze moving along everybody, stopping the longest on the people he hasn't been introduced to yet.

"I mean, he's /from/ Africa," Richard says, clearly desperate to make /some/ sort of headway. "I mean, I assume Nile crocodiles -- are in Africa. In the Nile."

"Because I'm super sneaky." Micaela is like, the least sneaky. She knows this, though, and is amused. Diego's hand is given a squeeze, then she waves off Talya's bristling. "Relax. He knows." She is not a person who spent days training Christian, so she doesn't give any input on the subject.

"Will it be sanitary?" Eleanor asks Rohan with a slight hook to her mouth. It's funny because Rohan has his bro on that side of the table and his sis on this side of the table. She leans forward on the brace of her hands. "So we go to Africa, then?" Crisply, she suggests: "I might be able to access a boat in a pinch. Transatlantic crossing might be a bit ... slow, of course--."

"What happened exactly?" Vega wonders, folding her hands over her glass.

"Widespread through subSaharan Africa," says Alistair. He's probably been reading FutureWikipedia. "In various aquatic habitats, not just the Nile itself. And...an invasive species elsewhere, including Florida." He spreads his hands in a gesture of gentle apology. "Not as precise as we'd like...but it's somewhere to start."

"The beer is...OK," Kade says to Eleanor, noting her hesitation on drink orders. "The liquor's...also OK. Strong, at least." For whatever that's worth. "There's no wine, alas." He makes some more headway into his gin, before looking up at Vega. Shifting a look between Alistair and Richard. Unsure of exactly how to answer that. He starts with the basics. "There was an accident during the last fight. The kid got sucked into an alternate universe." Pause. "/Another/ alternate universe." There are so many of them. "A few of us were able to get back there to search for him, but he was gone by then. He'd used a portal - he can make those - to go...somewhere. With crocodiles, we think."

Rohan snorts at Eleanor. "It's the Pony," he says. "You don't go here for 'sanitary.'" He looks around. "You don't go here for 'tasty', either. So I guess you go here for...'character?' 'Convenience?'"

"Africa's really big," Jeremy says. He picks up his beer for another swallow. "I mean, I don't... disagree that it'd be a place to start, but I feel like we need to not lose sight of the fact that Africa's really big, here."

"Oh." That sound comes as an exhale of breath, Vega's eyes following Kade's over Richard and Alaister before her jaw tightens. Her hand falls to press against the table, brows narrowing tightly as she tries to focus on the conversation. "Has... anyone talked to the boy's parents?"

"That sounds.. worrysome." Kevin says, reaching up to rub at the back of his neck. Without much to say on the topic he nods at Rohan, "Convenience."

Moody eavesdrops; it's second nature. And something about what they're saying makes her face squint thoughtfully as she raises a hand and gestures rapidly, texting Kade -- << He's from Africa. I need to be really familiar with a place in order to access it with teleportation. Maybe he opens portals somewhere he knows really well, only underwater? >> It goes beedle-deep. But she doesn't actually say anything, catching the bartender's eye and pointing at one of the taps, holding up one finger.

Diego rolls his eyes at Micaela's comment that she is super sneaky. His brows lift a little at Talya's bristling before he shrugs. "Drink?" He offers both women.

Rohan leans his bristled chin on one hand, and glances toward Richard. "Are there..." He hesitates. "Well. Do you have any relevant memories it'd help if I showed them to people?"

Richard's gaze flits away at Vega's question. It's probably already an answer. "His father's in prison," he says. "His mom is--" And he hesitates there. "It'd been years. He was stuck in this place for years already."

"Please," Micaela tells Diego and asks for something that the Pony is not likely to provide so he's going to to have to figure out what to do about /that/. "Africa is really big," she echoes, helpfully. "Really big. I've only been to parts in the north of it, and that's hardly anything at all, and that still was weeks."

Speaking of crocodiles, Huruma seems to reappear just like one; while the ladies room of the Pony is probably not the most restful place to catch a breather, and someone in there might be having the time of their lives-- Huruma closes the door behind her soundlessly when she returns to the bar proper.

She makes no actual greeting when she first sweeps closer, picking up a bottled drink on the way and slipping into an unoccupied seat as if she owns the place. "Good evening." It's a sort of hello. Her pants are dark and clung all the way to her boots, and the cloth of her shirt a gauzy purple. "Ah. Still on finding the little one, I see. Anyone need a geography lesson while I'm here...?"

The father is dismissed with a nod at Richard's answer. Vega purses her lips at the hestiation, shaking her head. "It doesn't matter. She needs to know," she insists softly. "She also... may be able to give you a more accurate regional location. Where they were when they lived there, where they've been, anything that could help you - us - find him."

Talya starts to shake her head at Diego--then stops. If it's an offer toward mostly getting along, she's okay with that. "Sure," she says, and asks for vodka. Because she does play to stereotype when she's not paying attention. She lifts her fingertips in greeting to Huruma. "I'll help if you need warm bodies," she offers. "I don't know anything about the area."

"I believe we come here because we are, collectively, suckers for hard luck cases." Eleanor props her cheek against her fist, her eyebrows swept high. "I spent some time in sub-Saharan Africa but it was a few ... years ago so anything I know is ages out of date."

"I am largely unacquainted with sub-Saharan Africa," admits Alistair, while they are all trading African knowledge. "I spent some time in Egypt once but that is...not terribly helpful in terms of crocodile ranges, apparently."

"When an animal is wounded, it runs where it knows." Kevin offers, maybe helpfully. "So I reckon for a person that'd be anywhere with ah strong emotional attachment." He finishes off his drink, reaching up to rub at his neck. "I don't know the fella, so that's about the most help I can be."

Diego nods at both orders, flashing the women broad smiles before disappearing in the crowd and reappearing at the bar. He takes up an easy lean and starts immediately flirting with the bartender. He'll get Micaela something /close/ to what she ordered. Talya will be getting nice-ish vodka.

"I think Ciel's on it. She's his sister, after all," Kade says, when Christian's parents are mentioned. Half-sister. From the side of the family in prison. He does not add those things. He looks up at Huruma, offering her an inclination of his head. "I could probably use one. We all want to find the kid, and it's worth looking there. Though we technically don't even know if he wound up back /in/ this universe. I don't really know how his portals work."

"I get where you're coming from, Vega, but let's leave aside the parent angle for now. Christian's family situation is a little unique." Jeremy diplomatists following another swallow and then rests his beer glass against his forehead as he blows out his breath. "Not everybody's got that kinda resource."

"Unfortunately," says Alistair, "I am of little use of accessing most alternate universes from _this_ universe. I can only access extraordinarily similar ones."

"This universe seems like the best place to start looking, though. I mean, assuming an infinite multiverse." Eleanor flicks her fingers. "Otherwise why look at all?"

"The idea that he just happens to open portals where he's from..." Richard trails off, glancing surreptitiously at Jeremy. "I don't know. I guess he's shooting that water from /somewhere/, because sometimes other stuff comes through it."

"The Nile crocodile is quite literally all over the sub-Saharan. So, ah, good luck basing on that..." Huruma's dark voice murmurs this with a note of amusement as she settles back, nodding a greeting to Talya as she does, hooking one leg over the other and watching Kade and Jeremy, then Richard. "So where is he from?"

Vega's brows rise sharply at Jeremy's arguement about angles, mouth thinning as if she is about to argue. Kade's response caues her to nod shortly, sharply. Fine. Lifting her beer, she takes another drink of it.

"It also has the bonus of being the easiest place to start looking," Alistair murmurs to Eleanor's remark. "Might as well start in the easier places. I usually check this universe for my keys first."

"But aren't portal powers often kind of /based/ on where you're from? Some of them expand that more than others, but." Talya points to herself and Alistair. Then she shrugs. Powers also v. different among people.

"How on Earth are there enough portal powers to generalize?" asks Eleanor in sudden baffle. But then, there's so few shadow queens.

"It doesn't surprise me you're familiar with crocodiles, Hu. Are they your second cousins?" Rohan asks Huruma. There's no sting to his voice, however, just a faint tease.

"I never asked him where he's from," Jeremy admits. He glances aside at Rich, who definitely spent more quality time with him. "I mean, even when I could get a word in edgewise he seemed a lot happier to talk about other stuff."

"Ladies," Diego purrs, two drinks in one hand and one in the other. He offers Talya her vokda first, glancing towards the larger group discussing the missing boy. "Did he just accuse her of being a crocodile?" He wonders with a conspiratorial lift of his brows, voice low.

"He didn't really like to talk about his home," Richard replies to Huruma, shoulders slumping. "I think he -- yeah." He tips his chin in Jeremy's direction. "He wanted to talk about other stuff. Kane probably knows, though. Or can find out." He looks back to Talya, brows raised. "Honestly, you and your mom are the only ones I ever knew whose powers worked like that. I don't know any other portal users whose stuff is -- fixed like that, I guess. Except maybe him. His isn't--" He jerks his chin in Alistair's direction. "It changes based on where he is."

Kade's brow does a furrow at Huruma's question. This is a factoid he's vaguely familiar with, but has to call to memory. "I think...Burundi. At least that's where..." Pause. He finishes his drink. "...that's where he was living before he came here, from what I recall of the story." Said story involved fugitive apprehensions, but he does not add that part.

"Thank you," Micaela says, taking the drink from Diego and offering him a plainly fond smile. "No, I think just related in a reptilian way."

Kevin nods slightly, taking the conversation in. "Burundi is as good a place as any to start." He claps his hands together once, yay progress! "Does that mean we can get drunk without it being so somber now?"

"Am I a portal user?" wonders Alistair, with a lift of his eyebrows. "Is that what I am? How fascinating."

Talya accepts the drink from Diego with a touch of a blush, visible because her skin is terrible for exposing that kind of thing. "Thanks," she mutters. "You are when I'm over-generalizing from insufficient data," she tells Alistair, aimed a bit sideways in Richard's direction as well, by way of apology.

"Jesus, do I ever miss having a hangar with a stealth jet in it." Jeremy scrubs his hand at the back of his neck and then finishes off his beer in one long swallow. "I'm getting another, anybody else need drinks?"

"Or he knows," Richard says, gesturing vaguely at Kade. Thanks, Kade. He smiles very faintly at Alistair. "Not really as far as I've seen." He shakes his head in brief dismissal of Talya's apology. No need. He is still working on his drink so clearly doesn't need another.

Moody takes her beer and curls around it, practically sticking her nose in when she drinks a tiny sip.

Diego smirks, just a little, at Talya's blush. It softens into something wholly fond at Micaela's look. "Of course, Mia Amor." Lifting his brows, he takes a long sip of his drink. "I see..." He eyes Huruma, tilting his head in consideration.

"It's possible. I never got close enough to ask any of them personally." Huruma leans her head on her hand and gives Rohan a little curve of her lips. She tips her head back to the others, pale eyes narrowing. "Burundi is a part of the Great Lakes region, so the crocodile is not shocking. The Watershed there is a source for much." She pauses a moment to drain part of her bottle, thoughtfully silent. "Burundi is also very small. Ten thousand square miles or so."

"You are certainly free to imbibe as you choose," Eleanor remarks mildly, a crisp mask layered over the plain annoyance that otherwise hardens her gaze. "Personally, I was lost once. If no one had cared about me, I still would be."

Alistair considers the ceiling for a moment. He tilts his head as a patch of mould catches his eyes, frowning faintly. "I am trying to remember if I know anyone with a plane I could borrow. Probably not."

"Planes are so /slow/," Richard complains in clear frustration. His gaze goes a little distant as he calculates. Or Worldmind calculates.

"I wonder how much it costs to charter a plane. Probably more, if you don't have a pilot's license." Eleanor scowls. "Does anybody have a pilot's license?" She looks about, her gaze lingering a few beats longer on the two gentlemen present she personally knows to have been involved in X-Force. WHERE ARE YOUR CERTS.

Jeremy cackles aloud. "Planes are so slow," he says, smiling despite himself, and shakes his head as he strides off to the bar again.

Vega leans her face into her palm, watching Richard's expression as it goes a little distance. Her brow screws up but she can no longer fistbump Worldmind. Alas. She sips her drink. "I could probably figure out how to fly one, but no license here."

"Wish I was fast enough to run across water." Kevin sighs, almost authentically. "Guess I'll have to settle for just being the fastest mutant I know."

Kade finishes what's left in his glass. Which isn't much. He waggles the empty at Jeremy. "Yeah. I'll take a beer this time. I should space out my more serious drinking." With other kinds of drinking. Huruma's note about square mileage actually makes him look vaguely encouraged. "Worse places to create a search grid." Eleanor's look gets an arched brow. He does not have that cert. "I know people who have pilot's licenses. Flight was never my forte, alas." He does sound a tad regretful. At Kevin's comment, he shifts a look between him, and Diego, and Richard. Like he's considering something. He does not voice whatever it is aloud, though.

Huruma's breath rolls over a small laugh. Planes are slow? She saw Richard move before they came back-- she would agree. "No license. I've co-piloted, but--" The dark woman turns her hand out, empty, before running it over the shorn side of her head. "It is probably too early to be asking shady organizations for favors, isn't it...?" Yes, probably.

Jeremy buys more beer. He'll be back at the table soon, probably.

"I'm not much use unless we find a flying motorcycle," says Rohan, with an apologetic shrug.

Eleanor sets two fingertips against her temple as she starts skimming down a list of potential services through which she can charter a flight. She makes a whiny noise. "What do you mean, per kilometer."

"Why--not hire someone?" Moody finally gathered up her beer and drifted closer, and when she speaks, it sounds like she was gargling razor blades. It's barely audible over the normal bar noise. "Investigator. Like Lexie. In Africa. We can take collection."

Diego lifts his brows as he meets Kade's look. He takes a sip of his drink, shaking his head slightly.

"Do you know any investigators in Africa that you trust?" Richard sounds a /bit/ skeptical.

"I have contacts." Huruma answers Richard at a bit of a clip, eyes narrowing slightly. "But I suspect our wallets may disagree with that method. I am saving my favors."

Jeremy comes back to the table bearing a pitcher and a couple of empty glasses on a tray. He puts this down on the table, sits down with his already refilled glass, and says, "Sorry, did someone summon the budget fairy?"

"How much do you think it would cost?" asks Alistair, mildly.

"I'm a bit moneyed out right about now." Kevin says apologetically. "But I can see about making a few delivers so I can pitch in?" he suggests.

Kade meets Diego's gaze. And then winks at him, waggling his eyebrows. Unclear what the gesture means. Maybe nothing. "Sweet, more beer." He takes that pitcher and pours himself one.

"I can get us a plane to Burundi with a pilot for $3800," Eleanor says with a particularly dour frown as she stares through her Eyes at a string of internet data. "Oh, wait. That's $3800 plus fuel. Never mind."

"Oh God," Jeremy says to that, like a man reacting to a nightmare made flesh.

"Hrm," says Alistair to that price, a thoughtful, non-committal sound.

Kade Caruthers, you flirt. Diego takes that wink as an excuse to bat his eyelashes at the other man. Hey. Maybe nothing, but an opportunity to flirt is a good one.

"Cheaper than plane," Moody grits. "Basic missing person. How many white haired young guys in Burundi?"

"Dude, your dad is stupid rich," Richard tells Eleanor, probably more accusingly than he intends. "He had a yacht. I remember that party. I heroed my ex into dating me after she fell overboard."

"I usually fly myself places," Micaela says, sipping her drink. "But-That's all?" She looks at Eleanor. "I see that, you two," she says with a laugh, for Kade and Diego.

Rohan does wince at that price. It's the wince of someone perpetually broke.

Kevin winces a touch at that number. "Guess I'm not smoking any weed this month." he decides.

"Bujumbura is an almost thirty hour flight. I am not sitting in economy for thirty hours." Huruma issues displeasure in another fashion, of course. "Not many, Moody. There is not especially a surplus of white people, in general." There's a tick of a smile.

"Yes, well, I don't need to start calling Adam Rutledge every time I need a little pocket money," Eleanor says. (Four thousand bucks is a little pocket money.) "I mean, I have that in my checking account. Should I do it? The fuel cost is going to run it up a bit more."

Jeremy bites his knuckle a little and tries not to whimper, probably at the prospect of having that much money just lying around unaccounted for.

"What is your range again, anyhow?" Kade asks Micaela. Not without a hint of jealousy. FLYERS. "And don't you worry, Rocketeer. I'm spoken for." He blinks at Richard, over his beer. "That is a story I'd kind of like to hear. About the yacht party, I mean. Maybe another time, though it's not like we can take off tonight."

"I can probably assist with the finances, if needed," offers Alistair. He was sort of the one who lost him, after all.

"Oh, no. The pilot's not available until the 12th, in the morning, at 8 o'clock," Eleanor says, reading down a little ways. "If you wanted to charter a plane for tomorrow, there's a different fellow who flies out of an airfield further upstate, but he's more expensive and it's apparently a quote unquote luxury plane. What does that mean. 'Champagne and strawberries included'. What a terrible idea..."

"Oh, no. The pilot's not available until the 13th, in the morning, at 8 o'clock," Eleanor says, reading down a little ways. "If you wanted to charter a plane for tomorrow, there's a different fellow who flies out of an airfield further upstate, but he's more expensive and it's apparently a quote unquote luxury plane. What does that mean. 'Champagne and strawberries included'. What a terrible idea..."

Moody snorts softly at mention of champagne and strawberries; it's followed almost at once by a grimace of discomfort. Yeah, don't do that, Moo.

"I'm usually pretty happy to tell that one, especially because Iz keeps insisting that I never speak of it ever again," Richard says with a thin smile for Kade. He looks back to Eleanor, a bit anxious. "I mean. Could you?" Just drop thousands of dollars on a kid you barely know, presumably.

Jeremy picks up his beer and takes a long drink from it, almost guzzling all of it at once, and then twists his hands in his hair after he sets it down again. "Christ," he says. "Uhm, just-- checking but Rich, what's your timeline on Burundi without ... a plane?"

Eleanor chews a little on the inside of her cheek. "It's a little mad, isn't it?" she says. She tips her head, looking to Alistair. "No, I mean, I certainly can do it. It's stupid, but I can do it. You want in? I'm sorry, I've forgotten your name. Hello, I'm Eleanor Rutledge, would you like to go in on a ridiculous impulse purchase with me? I haven't even had a drink."

"Not across the Atlantic far," Micaela answers Kade with a long sigh, because just a few days ago it was /so/ much farther. "I could get to another state, that's about it." Alas. "And I know who by, so you'd better keep in line, Ember," she warns him then, but with a wink. "Ohh, that's clearly the fun plane," she says of 'champagne and strawberries'. "Unless you get airsick. Then not very fun at all."

"I am spoken for," Diego sighs happily at Kade, wrapping an arm around Micaela's waist. He still winks though. Terrible. "Comet would be fearsome," he agrees with an overdone shudder that manages to be fond. Terrifying.

"Alistair," replies Alistair to Eleanor. He considers her for a moment, and then offers her a hand. "Alistair Fraser-Urquhart. And it has been far too long since I have made a ridiculous impulse purchase. One grows old and staid, after all. Until kidnapped across universes."

"I've never flown." Kevin chimes in, oh so helpfully. "Definitely on my bucket list though. Right under winning a foot race with a sports car. Got to check that off down in Atlanta." He seems rather proud of that, and then he's on his feet heading back over to order another drink.

"It's not like it is hard to win a footrace with a sportscar," Diego says with a smile. He does salute the endeavor with his drink. "They are all conspicuously certain they are the fastest." PFFT. Sportscars.

"Well, it's about 7,000 miles," Richard says. He clearly does not know that. The supercomputer with a map in his head knows that. "It'd be a couple days, and that's if I /really/ pushed myself. It's not the speed, it's the endurance." Poor Jeremy.

"Enchantee," Eleanor says, giving Alistair a firm handshake. Her eyes crinkle at the corners, humor bright. She doesn't speak French.

"7000 miles. Shit." Jeremy rubs at his eyes.

"The numbers are making me ache just thinking about them." Huruma lifts her hand to rub at her temple, eyes hooded and mouth in a purse. That sort of money is better resourced elsewhere. They don't even know if he is there. "You would all be gambling with yourselves and your time, no less."

"Don't pass out and drown," Micaela says mildly of Atlantic flying and sips her drink. She reaches out and pats Diego's butt for his comments on sportscars in a fond but also tired way. Yes, yes. She has heard it before.

"Right?" Kevin calls back over to Diego, drink in hand now. "When they can break the sound barrier, they can call for a rematch." He heads back over to where everybody is gathered once more, "The hardest part was finding a decent sports car to race."

"We could potentially help with some of the cost," Diego suggests, glancing at Micaela with a lift of his brows. His brow furrows slightly at Kevin's mention of speed, a hint of a sigh escaping him. "Try Europe. Italy particularly, they're all over."

Kade chuckles to Richard. "Best kind of stories are the ones somebody's forbidden you to tell." Diego just gets a grin. "Fearsome. She is at that." He looks quite happy for a second, missing kid aside, but does not elaborate. And returns his brain to more immediate concerns, while he works on his beer. "I wish we could get in touch with a trustworthy investigator over in that area before going. It'd be a hell of a trip if it turned out that's /not/ where he'd landed."

Rohan shifts a little in his seat, uncomfortable, it seems with the discussion of large sums of money, and, well, other things. He slips away from the conversation a moment, heading to the bar, finishing his beer on the way.

"Aussi," Alistair tells Eleanor with a faint smile. He doesn't speak French either.

Eleanor seems to deflate a little when Kade points this out. "Oh," she says. It's a lot of money either way, but it's even more money when you think about how harebrained this idea is.

"Call consulate? Maybe they have recommendation." Moody suggests, then sips her beer and licks her dry lips.

Turning towards Moody, Vega frowns slightly at the other woman. "Do you need water or another beer?" She offers.

Kevin's jaw goes slightly slack, "Are you shittin' me?" If it wasn't obvious he doesn't know anything about sports cars, it is now. "Any of them break mach two?" Look at the ignorant poor people, cluttering up the bar. "That's as fast as I move, so it'd be a hell of a thing to do." Once settled in he tugs a small notebook from his pocket, erasing something vigorously before quickly writing something else down.

"If there is even going to be a trip," Micaela replies to Diego for his suggestion, though it's not outright a 'no'. She is just a little more cautious in what she's throwing her money at. She juts her chin out in a nod of agreement with Kade. See?

"Inhaled coolant," Moody answers by way of explanation, looking down for a moment. "Might get better. Might not." It's clearly uncomfortable for her to talk and frankly sounds dreadful, raspy and cracked.

Nodding at Micaela's reply, Diego gives his wife a slight squeeze and a sigh of agreement. It /sounded/ like an adventure. Kevin's response is met with a look of confusion that leads to Diego glancing at his wife and then at Kade with an expression of 'did I mistraslate something?' "There are many sportscars in Europe..." He says slowly. As if that will clear things up.

Alistair rubs his jaw. He looks to Moody for a moment, his expression hard to read. "We can call the consulate," he agrees. "The direct approach is sometimes helpful. Also--well, it is probably a long shot. My father was a diplomat and I still have a few contacts in those circles. I can toss in a word with those who might have an ear to the ground in Africa and see if there's anything of note. I cannot guarantee I can hear anything from Burundi, though."

"I guess it makes sense to see if someone -- else -- can find something over there." Richard's clearly twisted up inside to not be that someone, but. He looks at Huruma.

Kade nods to Alistair and Moody, when the consulate is mentioned. "That's the place I'd go for help, if my ass was lost in another country. I want to find the kid, I just want to get better intel on where he might be than 'crocodiles,' if we can manage it."

"Woah." is all Kevin can say at that news. "Guess I'm adding a European vacation to that list." Ha, like he can ever afford that. "After we finish spending all this money, anyway." That's a bit sobering, and whatever light was in his eyes is replaced with the cold hard reality of adulting.

Eleanor smiles a faint, crooked smile. "I can check with my father, too, although he's a bit cross at the moment on account of having done several weeks of, er, involuntary rabbitsitting." She nods, tipping her glance between Kade and Moody. "It is a ... little less mad."

Vega frowns at Moody's explanation, her eyes going wide. Rather than replying aloud, she messages her on her Eye. "I'm sorry. Was it during the battles?"

Moody answers Vega by Eye, smiling gratefully at the other woman as her fingers flutter in response, << Yeah, during the last one. Should've retreated, didn't, and got caught where I really shouldn't have been. I passed out. Luckily, someone got me out before it was too late. The medics think it'll get better, or at least stop hurting, but there's permanent damage. I'll be okay. It could've been a lot worse. >>

Huruma looks up at Richard when he looks to her, her expression lost in thought until he does; she shifts to something more serious, hand drawn across her jaw. "If he uses his powers publicly I can message someone I know to watch for news of sightings. She was in the Mutant Operations Division in South Africa with me, years ago-- so she knows the real thing quite well from rumor, at least."

Jeremy sips more of his beer and runs his fingertip around the mouth of his glass in a slow circle. He props himself up, leaning on the fold of his arms against the table, and sighs. "We can still run off on a wild African adventure once we have more information. It's a good idea to narrow our scope."

"If I were there, there's a lot I could do to look," Eleanor says, leaning her shoulders back against the chair behind her, "but that's only useful if ... there's something to find."

Tilting her head, a thread of pink falling against her cheek, Vega smiles back at Moody. The motion is slight. << Had to go be a hero. You're lucky that you made it out if it was that bad. I'm sorry to hear that you were hurt. >> Gesturing towards her own throat, she pauses before speaking, her fingers wiggling. << We can always rig you up with something to make your messages on your Eye audible. It won't exactly sound like you, but I'd be happy to do it. >>

Moody snorts again with soft laughter and then mouths, 'Ow', before texting Vega back, << Thanks. I'm still figuring things out, but I'll let you know. Maybe I could get some cool DOOM DOOM DOOM voice box thing or something. >>

Dark eyes bright with a hint of a amusement, Vega takes a sip of her beer. Her opposite hand quickly spinning out a response as her Eye frames her iris in a soft, pink glow. << I'll see what I can find. The thought of you sounding like a supervillian is both amusing a little horrifying. Or a cat. >> An audio file is sent Moody's way that is just a kitten going, 'Mew?'

Richard nods to Huruma with clear gratitude before sinking lower in his seat as he resigns himself to the worst of all choices: waiting. "Ugh," he says.

Moody actually claps her hands with delight before answering, grinning wide enough to make her dimples deepen. << Why not both? EVIL KITTEN. >>

Jeremy reaches, beside him, to claim Richard's hand in his. He doesn't say anything, letting air trickle out of him in a slow sigh as moves to hold his hand. He's not sure what has brought Moody's delight to her face but it makes him smile as he glances her way when she claps. Smiles are contagious!!

Vega audibly snorts, almost choking on her drink. A flush touches her cheeks. << I will have created a monster! This could probably be done, though. >>

Kade inclines his head to Huruma. "Sounds like somebody that'd spot new mutant activity sooner than us going and knocking on doors. Mutant Operations?" He's curious. He doesn't ask more just /now/, but it has the sound of a fact he's tucking away in his mind for later. He smiles when Jeremy smiles. To spread the chain. "I think it's time for more beer." He's not done with half of his current one, but he tops it off just the same.

Moody catches Jeremy's look and grins again, texting him to explain, << Vega's going to make me an evil kitten voice synthesizer. >>

Alistair's expression is still difficult to read, but it seems a little reassured as Moody smiles.

Kevin sighs and takes a finishes off his drink with a gulp, looking at the glass thoughtfully. He starts tapping his finger against his leg, a nervous habit. Soon enough the digit is a blur, but it seems to keep his attention rather than him try to break into the conversations happening.

There's not much else that Huruma can offer besides the vagueries of a contact; at least she keeps her word and makes a mental note to compose something to send later. "She would. She is still working for the military." Huruma finishes an errant thought and answers Kade with a slight smile, meant to be reassuring, in a way. The inquiry without a question is simply met with a sliver of teeth showing sharp in her smile.

Richard laces his fingers through Jeremy's when his boyfriend reaches to claim his hand. It eases the knotted tension of his shoulders down a few inches, perhaps. And it's certainly more than he ever did in public before their little jaunt to space, so there's that. (~Holding hands,~ how rebellious.) "At least it's a plan, I guess."

Jeremy skips a message off to both Vega AND Moody that says, {Well that just sounds adorable and badass.} He squeezes the twined press of his hand to Richard's and slants his look to him, sidelong, his smile lingering on his lips. "Plans mean forward momentum, even if it starts slow," he says.

"We stopped Annihilus," Moody whisper-grates. "How hard to find one mutant? Go team!" She waves her hand in a little cheerleader gesture.

<< I remain a little afraid of kitten-overlord you. >> Vega sounds dry even in text messages, although she smiles a little at Moody as she takes another draught of her drink. She winces at the other woman's cheer. That sounds ow. "That's a high bar to hold on to. Let me grab you a water." Standing up, she goes to find something resembling water and a clean glass at the bar

"We saved a fucking universe," Kade takes up, after Moody, once his beer is re-filled. "You're damn right we got this." All of confidence. But he's good at projecting that, even when the situation doesn't strictly support it. Still, he lifts his glass to toast the "Go team" bit.

"Woo!" says Micaela before drinking, because someone has to be the Woo Girl or something. It's not nearly as enthusiastic as she could be, though.

"Go team." Kevin offers, though he wasn't there.

"Cheers," Diego agrees, lifting his glass. Go team.

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