FoH: A Bangin' Introduction

Summary:

March 02, 2014: The Hellfire Club hosts a charity benefit for mutant-human relations, at which Mimic is a key speaker, but the Friends of Humanity have other plans.

NYC —― St. Regis Hotel —― Ballroom

Housed in a 1904 Beaux Art landmark building, it sets the standard for personalized service for everything from intimate weddings for two to grand celebrations for 220. The St. Regis Roof, located on the top floor, boasts vaulted, cloud-dappled ceilings hung with gilt chandeliers reflecting true European splendor. Located in the heart of Manhattan and steps away from Central Park, our refined atmosphere and gracious service ranks it as the best address in the city and delineate the Roof as New York’s preeminent social ballroom.


Characters

NPCs

  • Graydon Creed

Mood Music:


The Hellfire Club's more philanthropic side reveals itself every now and then by doing what they do best, host elaborate parties for the very wealthy and elite. This particular event, to raise money for "non-human" orphans and the spokesman is none other than an actual mutant, the Mimic, Calvin Rankin. The hotel they are currently holding this event in is owned and operated by a club member of low standing who seeks to get in to the inner circle (we know that'll never happen) many prominent figures from Metropolis, Gotham and New York City areas have been invited—―even the governor was given a special invitation, but, due to political reasons, gracefully declined.

A high vaunted podium stands towards the tall ornate windows that overlook NYC, uplifted upon a makeshift booth with velvet carpet the guest of honor is expected to speak there briefly. To each side are guests which include the sad, chibi-like expressions of a green child holding a doll and another youth with a single eye in the center of her forehead, both obnoxiously adorable. This ballroom is made for such things, such events and it's tall ceilings with pillars are surrounded at the bases by tables topped with a splendid array of various food stuffs. Crowds have already begun to pile in past the security guards forming throngs of their own, the typical greetings, passing handshakes and social pleasantries being exchanged as Sergei Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is being played by the live orchestra that is set up upon the eastern wall. Low keyed for now so the gathering may of course interact without being overwhelmed.




Mimic is there in costume, having been asked to attend and say some words as a known mutant superhero. It was over a year ago that he came out in Out, letting the public know that superheroes came in all shapes, sizes, colors, sexualities and genetic codes. That he's tall, muscular and handsome didn't hurt. While his identity out of costume is still a secret, he's always been ready to talk to the police or the press when it's needed so is very recognizable. At the moment, he's meeting people at the entrance and shaking hands with those arriving and exchanging pleasantries. And surprise, he actually seems to be enjoying it all and is completely relaxed and at his ease.




Whether or not he's here to represent Bruce Wayne is unknown, but somehow Richard Grayson, well-known Ward of the Gotham multi-billionaire, garnered an invitation and has arrived, via one of the sports cars that was free that evening. If anything, it's a chance to drive the car, hobnob, and do some good PR. Or maybe he's just here for the food.

The valet is tossed the keys to the car as he steps towards the entrance to the Gala in his well-tailored tuxedo. Whether or not he's stopped or recognized doesn't really bother him all that much — he's not here to be noticed. He's here to donate in Wayne's name, of course.

Once he gets to the entrance with the Guest of Honor there, he offers a grin and a hand when it's his turn to exchange pleasantries. He's probably seen the guy on television and has heard about him through his own research and monitoring of vigilantes in and about the area. "Evening…thanks for lending your voice to this event," is offered in greeting. It's generic and friendly enough for the moment.




There's a short old canucklehead here, dressed in all black. Black slacks, black dress shirt, black suit jacket, black dress shoes, black tie. Beard is trimmed, but definitely still there. He actually looks pretty damn good, minus the whole five foot three thing. He looks like he fits in here, even. Making his way through the crowds, Logan keeps a bit of distance between himself and Calvin while watching the man. Speaking into the comm he's wearing on his tie (the other part tucked in his ear), the old mutant growls, "Keep your hands to yourself tonight, Cajun." And then he turns his attention to glance in Gambit's direction to note where the other mutant is before looking at Dick when he speaks to Mimic.




"But dese hands, Logan, tey're so good at not keepin' to demselves." Remy replies with a smile," You really tink dere be some hate mongers showin' up t'night?" The man's disembodied voice over the comms coming from his location against one of the unoccupied pillars near the front. Remy's dark hair is drawn back in a tight pony-tail, black shades worn and an equally black suit covering his lean frame. An unlit cigarette hangs from his lips (he was already warned twice about lighting up inside).

For now, Gambit is just observing, his eyes only lingering on the occasionally shiny object over beautiful woman.

This event was not exactly televised by those who know of it, know where to find it and before it had even began the hotel was receiving letters of ill intent from anonymous parties. Simple things most of them but enough to arouse concern anti-superhuman, anti-gay, anti-hero, anti-just whatever. Ignorance and anger in abundance.




Emma loathes these little get-togethers, but it is necessary to maintain one's status as a socialite by being present and contributing to whatever Greater Good is being whored for the evening. This evening's cause is human and mutant relations. She rolled her eyes at that when she saw it on the invitation that Jherika put in her morning pile of Must Sees. So, that evening, she dressed in a brand new, straight off the runway Chanel evening gown—a delicate platinum chain draped around her neck and kept the top of the dress upright on her body, which gathered to a point where it met a chain, the very hint of the outside swells of her breasts visible from the sides of her body.

The rest of the gown swept down in creamy white, long and incredibly flowy, brushing her curves in all the right ways, and being fluttery and loose in the right places. The entire back of the gown was completely open, save a single strand of platinum with a diamond on the end, and her back…all the way down to just above her rump…was bared, and anyone who cared to watch could see the sinuous movement of her muscles as she moved, the diamond-weighted chain swinging hither and thither. She wore white gold, elsewise. A bracelet on her left wrist. Earrings in diamonds. Her hair upswept in an artful coiffure. And, she now holds a champagne glass. She smiles blandly at the woman who chatters at her, eating some h'orderves. She makes a polite comment and moves on, taking stock of the people, noticing…some different faces. She scans the crowd for various light thoughts, just curious to see if anyone interesting stands out to her.



_
Mimic clasps Dick's hand and gives him a smile. "I could do no less for such an important cause. Thank /you/ for being here to support to it, Mr. Grayson." Perhaps he recognizes the man. Perhaps he's being fed the identities of everyone who arrives via the earbud he's wearing since he seems to know all their names. The other, less noticeable earbud is for the X-Men's chatter. "Please, have something to drink and enjoy yourself. The hors d'oeuvres are wonderful." Something seems to catch his attention and his head left as he looks around. Eventually, his eyes light upon Emma and he quirks a brow with a 'I know what you're doing' look. It's good to be tall and a very minor telepath.




"Children are Children, right?" Grayson offers, "Black, white, red, blue, green…they're all still kids and still need our help." Not wanting to take too much of the Guest of Honor's time, he offers a nod and a "Happy to be here," before moving inside. He grabs a champagne flute on his way in, lifts it to his lips, but doesn't take a sip. Instead, blue eyes look about, noting people he's met before or should know…noting those who seem to be less 'guests' and more there in case any problems arrive.

Interesting.




Continuing to move through the crowd, Logan grunts in reply to Remy, "If they've any sense, no. But if they had any, doubt they'd be hating us in the first place. Never mind there's extra reasons for folks to be hating tonight." Spotting Emma from the back, the old canuck watches the blonde for a moment. Well, she is pretty, isn't she? And then when she turns her head to speak to someone, the mutant grumbles upon realizing who it is. "Well, suppose I should've expected to see her here, with the Hellfire Club hosting this thing," comes the feral's voice over the headsets. Shaking his head, Logan looks back towards Mimic and Dick briefly.




Remy LeBeau himself is quite safe from telepathic intrusion thanks to a sort of static interference that shields his mind. Emma's surface scan rolls right over him as harmlessly as an ocean wave. Now her appearance on the other hand not so easily discarded - a low whistle escapes the Cajun that causes minor feedback in to the comms. A lovely sound for those two companions with advanced hearing.
"'Ey, I'm all for a little bit o fun tonight."




Well, it's not often that Kwabena Odame puts on a tuxedo. However, he's being well paid on this particular string of jobs. Money talks.

This is how he ended up at the gala, dressed in an extremely expensive, double breasted tuxedo of buttercream, with bleached white crocskin boots. His head has been freshly shaven down to it's bare skin, the goatee cropped professionally. The barber down in Bedsty had even given his neck the straight razor treatment.

As he walks through the crowds, a glass of fine bourbon, neat, lingers in his left hand. It takes great effort not to shoot the thing back and go for more. He doesn't like being this exposed, especially when his real name is so dangerous that it required setting up a fresh, false identity just to be here. Such thoughts are maintained deep inside, for his mannerisms are the definition of peaceful, down to the way his fingers grasp the glassware with a perfect blend of poise and laziness. Silver eyes that likely scream 'mutant' are left unveiled by any contact lenses. Let them know he's a mutant. It may draw out some things.




Emma Frost makes her way through the attendees, meeting, greeting, schmoozing, boozing… She glares at Shaw as she sees him talking business in one of the corners. Her lip curling a little, she quickly turns away from him. He was supposed to introduce the speaker, tonight, because he knows how much she loathes doing these things…. But, only moments ago, he pulled her aside to tell her he just wasn't able to do it, and she'd have to take over. He made comments about it being better for the event, she's a better public face, blah, blah, blah. Shit she didn't care about. So, after she purposefully stepped on the toe of his Armani shoe with the decidedly wicked heel of her Marc Jacobs, she resumed her duties as one of the many hosts.

Then, all too soon, Jherika appears at her elbow to let her know it's time for her introduction of the honored guest. She nods at her assistant and, gathering the excess of her dress' skirt in her delicate hands, climbs up to the stage and steps behind the podium. With the brilliant lights aimed on her, she is dazzlingly beautiful, her jewelry sparkling, her eyes bright and shimmering, her lips glossy and full as she smiles out at the audience. She tink-tink-tinks a silver spoon against a crystal glass of water that rests there for her, for that purpose. The microphones pick up the sound well and, as the chatter dies down and people turn their eyes toward her, she cants her head to one side as a way of acknowledging their attention.

"Honored guests, the Hellfire Club would like to thank you for your attendance, this evening, for what is certainly a cause worth attention and donations. I do hope you've enjoyed your evening, thus far, and I'm certain that you'll be spellbound by the speech we're about to hear from our special guest, a well-known hero of the mutant community in New York, the very laudable….Mimic!" She pauses and lifts her hands up to start a golf clap, considering she's near a microphone. The audience joins in and, holding her arm out as a gesture to invite Cal to step up to the podium, Emma makes her way off the stage, accepting the hand of a helpful guest as she steps down the stairs, her skirt gathered in one hand.




Mimic continues to receive people, never once losing his smile but eventually they're all here and he goes to get himself a drink. And then its time and he's being introduced. As Emma makes her way off the podium, he makes his way onto to and over to the mike. "Thank you." he says once the applause have started to die down. "First, I'd like to thank Ms. Frost and the entire Hellfire Club for agreeing to host this event." He applauds as well as the audience does and once those die down, he continues with "And I'd like to thank all of you as well for being here to support such a worthy cause. There are many things people think of when they hear the word 'mutant' but they almost never think of the most important one." He gestures to the adorable, little mutant kids. "The children."

And he goes on into the speech that he's prepared and memorized, talking about how being a mutant isn't really about powers and how so many think they're just regular kids until their mutation manifests. That the parents of most mutants are not mutants themselves. That many don't have abilities to make them superheroes and of those who do, even fewer want to hurt anyone. That the main desire of mutants is just to live their lives like anyone else. It covers many points and goes on for six or seven minutes. Right in the middle of it, a large projector is wheeled in, a squeaky wheel drawing all eyes to it including Mimic's who frowns a bit since no one mentioned a slide show or anything.




[Jherika knows that the projector wasn't part of the scheduled events. It's tacky and out of place. Also the two wheeling it, with Emma's telepathy she can tell, they are trying to block her. Repeating things over and over in their heads, music, lyrics, oaths, they're just doing the simple goto telepathy blocks of repeating something. It will be obvious to Emma they are hiding something.]




Dick Grayson still nurses his champagne flute but he does grab some little finger foods to snack on. Those don't tend to impair judgement, after all. He makes a show of listening to the speech and actually does so…for the most part. He also glances about to people-watch and he turns actively to look at the projector that's been wheeled in. He conceals a brief frown by lifting the drink to his lips and he moves a little closer to the buffet.

Maybe films just make him hungry?




[Kwabena will, as soon as the projector is being wheeled up, get a VERY STRONG sense that something is wrong with that. The projector is too cheesy and cheap for this situation—especially with a squeaking cart. Also, the men wheeling it, there is something WRONG with them. Emma is psychically nudging him, very firmly, without making her presence known, acting like a sixth sense sort of.]




Shift had found himself caught up in conversation with the CFO of Limited Brands. The poor chap had been rambling on and on about the difficulties in mass marketing clothing available for mutants to purchase. Tails that stick out in odd places, bodies that undergo strange transformations, ludicrous sizes and shapes, it had all become something of a pain for the young Executive, and he'd spared no silence on his opinion of the Ohio Governor and his lack of willingness to help bring manufacturing back to Ohio from where it was overseas. Local work, he claimed, would be much more advantageous in this particular scenario.

"I undahstand your Govahnah isn't too keen on meta rights," answers Shift with a rueful undertone. "It's a shame New York couldn't make face time in dis arena. Our Govahnah's lack of involvement doesn't make things any…"

The amplified clinking of glassware draws his attention, and he looks as Emma takes the stage with a half-cocked eyebrow. "…easiah."

Shift and the CFO beside him, like much of the others, go silent as Emma makes her introductions. When the applause comes, the Ghanaian decidedly downs the bourbon just in time to discard the glassware on a passing host's tray before joining in the clapping. A brief yet thorough examination is given of Mimic from afar, before he quietly excuses himself and makes for the edge of the room.

By this point, he's mingled enough to piece together a number of solid vantage points. He's most interested in gauging the crowd, looking for would-be dissenters, and so he makes for a position near one of the open bars. Conveniently, as it were, where he can see a fair portion of their gathered while being in close proximity to more fine whiskey.

Mimic's speech is given cursory attention, though he only has half an ear trained to it. His attention is only briefly taken by the squeaky projector, and he's about to look away, when something unfamiliar strikes the back of his mind.

To this date, he's had little experience with telepaths. He couldn't possibly know what outside influence was prompting him, but prompted he is. Compelled, in fact. With a fresh glass of fine whiskey in hand, Kwabena starts back through the crowd toward that projector and the men wheeling it, doing his best to make a quick approach while retaining some level of discretion by offering polite apologies and excuses for those rich snobs he's cutting through.

The glass of bourbon continues to go untouched, his left hand taking extra care to avoid any spills. Also… is it… is it a double shot? Why yes, yes in fact it is.




Remy's place near the buffet gets company as Dick Grayson moves close enough to seek over the table beside him, "Oh, careful, friend. De last of the crab rangoon is mine." A friendly smile etched across the man's features. Joking perhaps, who knows. Crab rangoons are delicious.

Center Ballroom

One of the two hotel workers who has just wheeled forth the projector straightens up in an almost militant straight backed posture. A verse still running through her mind as the remote in her hand is thumbed. The man opposite of her does the same, straightening his posture and reaching up to touch a button on his collar. Closer inspection reveals a very small camera lens. "We are live, sir," his deep voice rumbles.

The projection screen firing up the same instant a clapping sound becomes audible throughout the spacious room, "Lovely speech. Just lovely. Greetings and good afternoon honored guests of the Hellfire Club, Wayne Foundation, Mutantes Sans Frontieres…" The clapping now having a source as the image on the wall adjusts and stabilizes enough to reveal a slender, middle aged man with auburn hair and brilliant blue eyes wearing a suit, "I am Graydon Creed and I represent a very interested party, a party that consists of the hundreds of thousands of innocents who have suffered at the hands of YOUR kind…" He pauses as if looking around the room, the man with the camera on his suit actually turning with the motion so he can see all the faces within, Shift, Dick Grayson, the CFO of Limited Brands, Emma, everyone.

"…A great man once said, darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that. I am both of these things I am light and I am love and my message is simple, YOU are not welcome. You are not wanted, Mimic, super 'hero', an abomination above the law, a stain of our society and a representation of all that is wrong with America. The Friends of Humanity are tired, we are tired of fearing for our safety, we are tired of waiting to be rescued, we are making a stand. You may call these… children, innocent, helpless. They are not. The girl there, Samantha Aisley, a killer at the soft age of twelve. Murdered her own parents… and you, how many have you killed, Mimic? Do not answer that. No doubt, there are more of your kind present. No doubt, you're already conspiring a way to kill me and my cohorts. Do you understand? Let me finalize my words. You are a freak of nature and no longer will your kind be tolerated. I am Graydon Creed and this has been a message from the Friends of Humanity. We are present, we are the light, the love, and we are humanity's salvation."

The projected display suddenly cuts off and darkness descends upon the room. It is here that both of the two at the projection setup begin to strip open their shirts. The man and the woman both, standing straight backed and proud. Both of them sweating profusely as vests of explosives are revealed. Each sporting enough to level the entire top half of this hotel.

Time to act.




As the projection flickers on and the man gives his hate speech, Mimic listens quietly except to remark during it "Isn't it amazing how it's always those who claim to be the light who are so quick to spout hate." And as soon as the lights go out, he's shifted into metal and one raised hand bursts into flame to light up the podium. Fire streaks upward but instead of hitting the ceiling, loops around the room well above the level of anyone's head and just hangs there as his will keeps it burning. Obviously, it's not part of his speech when he sees the vests of explosives. "Shit."




Dick Grayson stays near the table until the light turns off. Then, he just seems to disappear. Bats work best in the dark, after all. Grabbing someone's shawl, he quickly wraps that over his head to shade his face to provide a modicum of anonymity before he slips into shadows before the lights come back on. Explosives…not good. It takes him only a moment to decide on his next course of action.




Silently, Emma Frost instructs her personal assistant to start taking the children out of the building, to a safe place. Jherika, frightened by what's happening, nevertheless, moves seamlessly into action and very calmly begins ushering the little ones out a door to the side of the stage, that leads to a green room and an alternate exit. Only moments before the lights went out, she noticed the furry, mutton-chopped mutant she's seen before heading toward the kitchen—skimming his surface thoughts told her that he's smelled more explosives in the kitchen area, which he went to investigate.

Perhaps the people with the bombs are still trying to keep her from reading their thoughts, but that's merely surface thoughts they're protecting. Deeper thoughts, memories, and so on, all are available for her to sift through. But, to be honest, it doesn't matter to her, right now. Her main concern is making sure these suicide bombers don't set these bombs off. So, her eyes narrowing, she focuses, first, on the woman—she is the stronger, more dedicated of the two. She dives deep into the woman's psyche and, begins digging around in there. {You don't want to do this. You're not sure why you thought this was a good idea. Maybe mutants are scary, but killing innocent people, too? You didn't sign up for that. There are humans here,} Emma pushes the ideas into the woman's mind.




Shift's approach is hindered by some commotion in the ranks as the hate speech comes online. He's forced to elbow his way forcefully past a couple of people, no longer needing to exercise discretion. Unfortunately, this means he's not quite able to reach the hotel workers before they go ramrod straight, revealing the explosives strapped to their bodies.

Kwabena halts all but a few meters away, lips peeling back to reveal his teeth in an angered grimace. He'd have no issue handling these bastards on his own, but… they are surrounded by innocent people. Some of them might be evil in their own right (hello, 1%), but… not deserving of becoming fresh meat on the evening news.

For a few seconds, Kwabena bears the appearance of a deer in headlamps. Gears are, however, turning. Odds are, this close to the hotel workers, one move and the bomb goes off. Frozen, his eyes look over the components, recognizing a number of them but not enough to feel confident in his ability to effectively disarm them. Plus, he's alone up here, with only two hands. That means one bomb at a time, which means the other one goes off, regardless.

These precious few moments are enough for him to recognize the shuffle of people being evacuated. Shift finally has a play here: distract and delay.

"He wants something." He addresses the hotel workers turned suicide bombers. "Oddahwise he'd have already blown de place sky high. What does he want? Some list of demands? Prisoners? Tell me what he wants and I will make it happen." Meanwhile, his right hand curls but remains still, his left still grasping that double of bourbon as if it were a grenade. A silent cracking sound, similar to the cracking of ice, can be heard vaguely by those closest to Shift. Should one look to see, the skin of his hands seems to be hardening, a crust-like transformation taking place.

His words, however, are a calm and caring juxtaposition to the violence that courses through his veins. He's ready to spring, barely held back by practiced logic. "He controls de bombs, doesn't he?" he asks, seeking to engage them somehow. "Or ah you in control of dem? Tell me, and I can help you."




Terror and pandemonium is hard to contain and the crowd within for the most part are the wealthy sort who are not used to this kind of stimuli in any fashion. Pampered, rich and arrogant for this to be happening to them is just… mind boggling.
Dick Grayson's efforts are rewarding as he begins his own line out the door. People bumping in to one another and stumbling out the exit as the rush past. One of them being smart enough to even hit the fire alarm. The ringing soon blaring throughout the hallways.

Wolverine's nose had prewarned him to a secondary line up in the kitchen in case the first failed or simply to daisy chain it. Whatever the case, he is out of the ballroom and already ransacking the kitchen area for more unaccounted for explosives.

The children behind Calvin begin to cry, the little girl more so than the boy as she clings to Jherika who wisely is trying to get them away from the stage and towards an exit.

Emma peels back layers of memory and walls of discipline to see scattered images of the woman in an Air Force uniform, drafted, decorated, proud and then being released after PTSD diagnosis. It shows her falling out of her plot in life and downward spiraling until she meets a charming man with a great smile and open arms, arms that lead to a life she knows standing in assembly lines saluting officers and even politicians in the name of Humanity. Prideful, willing, and solid in her steadfast beliefs. The woman is no pawn, she is willing, her only fear, the reason she sweats is fear of failure. Of letting down Creed and his panel of allies.

The woman's face contorts as she tries to resist Emma Frost, one of the most powerful telepaths in the world; her thumb twitching trying to lift as a guttural scream releases from her clenched teeth coming out as an odd garble sound.

Fearful whites of the man's eyes are on display as Kwabena tries to negotiate. His hazel eyes actually roam at prodding of Shift's words to look at some of the terror stricken faces around him. His lips tremble. It's not until he peers past the man at Calvin's display that his resolve returns. The flames and soon another action. Remy LeBeau blowing out an entire sidewall with a launch of cards. "NO!" He cries, "You're all monsters!" The thumb lifting. The trigger catch making an audible click sound and now. Philip Glass's Metamorphosis Stage 1 having cut off heartbeats ago as the musicians ran over one another in course for Dick Grayson's escape route.




Once the fire is hanging there, Mimic can just let it be, sustained by his feeding it energy with his will. Placing his hands on the podium, he leans forward to watch the two bombers. Since he's the most obvious mutant here, and supposedly the star of the show, he's assuming the suicide bombers are watching him for cues as to when to do something stupid. Instead, he does nothing. Nothing obvious. But those socialistes nearest the bombers - but behind them - start BLINKing out in twos and threes to appear in the parking lot where Cal sends them. And then there's the shout of monsters and the finger starts to move. "NO!" Mimic shouts and BLINK. He and the bomber both are gone, appearing above the hall, five hundred feet in the air right next to each other. He could have sent them both, alone, but he doesn't kill and the woman seemed to be hesitating. He reaches for the man's hands, trying to keep them from releasing the button. In the hall, once he's gone, the flames illuminating things wink out but with the wall gone, it probably doesn't matter.




Dick Grayson continues working crowd control as he wants to get as many innocents out as possible. Noting that some just disappear, he nods his approval. He ducks down at the explosion and winces…that's not going to make the hotel happy. Some of this could be cleaned up in the press, but not a missing wall. He quickly gets out of the way of the rush of wealthy to leave and makes his way back into the room. Taking a quick moment to assess the situation he then darts behind the woman who seems to be rather distracted…with what, he doesn't know, but he's going to use it.

Even as her thumb struggles with the switch, he darts in to grab it out of her hand.




{It's really pointless, you crazy bitch. You realize that, right? You're crazier than a bag full of inbred rats,} Emma Frost taunts the woman. {You think we're the problem, but you… With your batshit crazy ideas about what does and doesn't belong in the world, and the GALL to think you have the right to determine between the two… YOU and YOUR KIND are the problem. Not us,} she continues, enjoying watching the woman's face turn red…as a very brave, handsome young man dives into danger's path and tries to rip away the explosive's trigger remote.

{You should give up. You need mental help. I think you'd benefit from going straight to the nearest psych ward and signing yourself in, because you need some medication and some therapy. You've got a lot of hate that needs to be directed in a healthier, more constructive way,} Emma sighs, seeming bored.




Dead man switches. Why hadn't he recognized them earlier? The realization happens and Kwabena's eyes dart to the man's hand a beat before he releases his thumb. "Shit!"

Kwabena throws himself at the hotel worker. Moments before striking, however, he disappears, which causes Kwabena to stumble. He springs his hands out, grasping hold of Dick's shoulder to steady himself. "Where did—!"

Silver eyes watch as Dick grabs for the woman's trigger. He lashes forward and grabs at her arms in an effort to keep them still, teeth borne in another grimace.




The man's explosive is already in play as his thumb lifted. Enveloped in a fiery mass, he vanishes from sight only to have the flames and burst of heat and shrapnel spray out from the point the FoH member is standing…

Then… it just inhales upon itself, vacuum pulling it through Mimic's portal along with Dick Grayson and Shift as they reappear high above in the sky overtop of the building where everything kind of slows down as final passing expressions are shared. The woman's mind echoing with Emma Frost's insults, her berating, the hate inside of the female boiling over much like the area around them. This display of hate, this terrorist act going witnessed now by all of New York as the first boom then another releases around Calvin, Kwabena and Dick Grayson. The chain reaction that follows is another explosive going off at the side of the hotel below, where Wolverine had been. The man will survive, no one is harmed in the process aside from a janitor and the clawed berserker is thrown free, losing eyebrows and being lobbed out of the building. He'll live―singed and angry.

The trembling structure is perhaps the scariest aspect right now but Mimic, White Queen, Shift, Nightwing, Wolverine and Gambit's actions have saved the majority of those inside of the ballroom. Beyond some thrown chairs, that quick gout of flame, all is well. A message has been sent and smoke is already lifting from the side of the building.

Twin globes of explosions linger in the air where the three still hover, once five, those two now ceasing to exist as they become miniature stars of destruction in the NYC sky.




Five hundred feet above the ground, Mimic's reaching for the terrorist who's now just inches away, but it's already too late. His teleportation, like Blink's of course, opens actual portals even if they aren't stable and close almost immediately. They don't usually get hitchhikers, but Cal's never opened one in the middle of an explosion before and to a location with a lower PSI. Shift and Dick in mid-air with him and the already crispy terrorist is a surprise, but the blast is already starting to send him flying backwards. Neither it nor the fire are a worry, of course. To him. As if he's throwing shuriken, two spears of energy flash out of his hand at Shift and Dick Grayson and before they can be incinerated, they BLINK another five hundred feet up.




Dick Grayson grabbed the switch and started to turn at the touch on his shoulder but then there was a weird lurch…and he found himself above the hotel. In the middle of the air. "Aww, shit." Even as gravity starts to work, there's another lurch and he finds himself even higher up. He doesn't have too much time to think and he doesn't have his his grapple gun.

This is gonna hurt.




There is a moment of disorientation as Shift, Nightwing, and the suicide bombstress they were engaging are sucked right through Calvin's portal on the heels of fire.

When they all appear some five hundred feet in the air, there is that slow motion moment, the one that lasts all but a second. Kwabena's face is covered in the scorched flesh and bits of bone of the first suicide bomber, whose explosion is still roiling in full force. In that blink of a moment, he leans forward, pulling Dick across to put himself between Dick and the soon-to-be-exploding woman.

Instead, his world spins, and he looks down to see two explosions far below, with the twinkling lights of the city farther still beneath that.

Neither of these things worry Shift, of course. But just in case, as they begin to fall, the African refuses to release his grasp on Dick's shoulders. "Stay above me and you'll live!" he cries out, before curling himself into a ball and commencing with the effort at hardening his flesh. "Hold on!"

Dick would have to hold on tight, for the hardening of Shift's body is also increasing his density and causing him to fall faster. Of course, assuming they do ever strike the ground, Shift is going to create a pretty deep hole, and it's gonna hurt like hell for both of them.

But, they'll live.




Sirens are audible beyond the fire alarms of the hotel, those inside are already being evacuated and Remy LeBeau is making for a quick exit before any officials or news cameras appear. The mutant children left with Emma Frost and her aid. Nothing of importance remains of the bombers nor the kitchen area that is little more than a smouldering opening in the side of the hotel where Wolverine was tossed free. The streets below are already gathering with gawkers, cell phones pointed towards the towering structure and skies above where globes of fire had just seconds ago blossomed like deadly flowers. The tiny specks of three freefalling humanoid figures not yet seen by any presented camera. They are relatively in their own atmospheric dead drop.




Mimic's tumbling as he falls, the force of the explosion and fire being inconsequential when he's armored up. Even hitting the ground won't bother him, assuming he needed to. But there's the other two to worry about and he sent them high to give himself enough time to get to them. Flame on! He doesn't say it. That's the Torch's thing. Bursting into flame, he shifts back into flesh so he's light enough to fly then speeds toward Dick and Shift. As he approaches, the flames disappear from his arms and he reaches for theirs. "I've got you!" he shouts. "Gimme your hands!"




Dick Grayson doesn't question, but he holds on as best as he can despite the rapidly changing density of the man who will apparently be saving him. "You sure about this?" is asked as they freefall. He's fallen from heights before, but he's not a fan of falling without any nets, glider-wings, or parachutes. It's by sheer force of will that he tries to relax his body enough so that he can react to the impact and hopefully cause less damage by landing all tensed up. Assuming that they really do land and live. When Mimic…reaches for their hands, well, he's not going to hesitate. Worse comes to worse, he'll die another way than to be splatted on the New York streets.




It takes a lot of self-propelled anger to attain such a hardened state. Kwabena is doing all he can to keep himself from going into a rage as he thinks of all those things that make him angry. It's potentially a miracle that he wasn't so blinded by the internal struggle with his X-Gene as to miss Mimic's warning.

His neck turns, the solidified flesh cracking and popping, and enraged eyes settle upon Mimic. There is a moment where he considers ignoring the man… but something changes then. He relaxes his mind, and his body follows, hands reaching out for their would be savior. He'd live one way or the other… it's Dick he's worried about here.

Good thing Mimic has a good reputation.




Mimic grabs both wrists as they're offered to him and gradually changes their plummet downward into a flight parallel to the ground so as not to dislocate their shoulders. After that, it's just a matter of second before he lowers them to the ground in the parking lot and lands, as well, his flame flickering out as he touches down. He looks them both over and nods at what he sees. Minimal injury despite everything. Shift gets a slightly longer look all things considered. "You're both all right?"




No doubt the scarf he borrowed was blown away in the freefall, but he hasn't done anything that might give him away…so he figures. Once they're landed, Dick takes a moment to look at his feet on the ground before he looks to both Shift and Mimic before his face breaks into a wide grin, "That was AWESOME!"

There's a brief pause, "I don't know that I ever want to do that freefall again, but holy crap! That was amazing!" A hand goes to his heart, "Thank you both for not letting me become goo on the sidewalk."




Shift's crocskin boots skid upon the ground as they land. The tuxedo is all but ruined. He takes a moment or two to compose himself, then casts a brief look toward Dick and Mimic. There's a rueful expression as it settles upon him that they now know his face.

Decidedly, he disappears into a cloud of black smoke. The tuxedo and boots fall to the ground, and he reforms in his gunmetal grey uniform. However, he leaves the mask down this time.

"Thank Mimic," he says dryly, looking from Dick to the superhero. "My method would have saved your ass, but hurt like hell." His face lingers upon Mimic for a while. "You know who might have been behind dis? Any way we can find dis… Creed?"




Looking at Dick, Mimic slowly returns the grin. "You're welcome. I'm sorry you got dragged along but…" He shrugs. Shit happens when everything happens at once. Shift already displayed some power so his quick change act isn't entirely surprising. "You just answered your own question. Who and where is he is the sixty four thousand dollar one. You can be certain I'll be looking into it."




Dick Grayson looks between the two for a moment, "It's all right. These things happen, but I appreciate you both not letting me die. Really appreciate it." There's another pause, "I should…probably head on back, but really. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Anyone who says mutants are out to destroy the world should look to you guys today." With that, he turns and heads on back. Hopefully, the explosion didn't destroy the parking garage. Bruce will kill him if he doesn't return with the car.




Some time later…




Finally, it's over. The ambulances are gone and the police have talked to everyone available which is not necessarily everyone they wanted to talk to. Mimic stayed available though so he could give his statement. Of course, the entire hall is now a crime scene and is taped off so anyone who didn't already leave is stuck outside. Mimic's looking around for a certain someone he had intended to talk to earlier but… *shrug* And, there she is. "Ms. Frost," he says as he walks toward her and gets close enough to not have to shout. "A pleasure to see you again and meet you here." Oddly phrased.




Emma, once she made sure her assistant was safe and had gotten all of the children back to their responsible adults, went back to survey the goings on in the aftermath of the insanity. She's hugging herself against the chill of the night air, watching the last stragglers making their way to their cars, still chattering about the happenings. She's about to make a call for her car to be brought around when she hears her name called. Turning toward the sound, she lifts her brows when she sees Mimic. "…Yes. Your speech was very nice. I appreciate your help in the attack," she says, sending a mental signal for Jherika to bring the car around.




"I certainly could do no less." Mimic points out and glances over toward the building. "I just wish I could have done more." Without preemptively killing the bombers or prompting them to kill themselves. "I was wondering if you learned anything from them."




Emma nods her head lightly, "I did." She pauses for a moment, looking thoughtfully at Mimic. After another moment, she begins speaking, sharing the information she'd gleaned from the woman before she was…incinerated. "She was happy to do it. She wanted nothing more than to kill herself and take out mutants with her. She was ex-Air Force, decorated… But, she was released for PTSD. When she was dropped from the Air Force, she lost her way, was going downhill fast. She had no direction. Until she met Creed. He was charming, welcoming, and gave her another military job, only this one is made of people who hate mutants."




"So a true believer." Mimic summarizes and sighs. "There's no one more dangerous than a fundamentalist with a cause." He reaches up to run a hand over his hair. "Well, at least we've been warned with a minimum of injuries." He considers Emma a moment then says "I'm going to assume that you have contacts and means of gathering information that my friends and I don't." She of course knows who he means. Possible listeners might not. "May I ask you to try to find as much information about this Graydon Creed as possible and share it with us?"




There's a soft shooshing sound as Emma's vehicle pulls up beside the two of them, and rolls to a stop, idling. Jherika hops out of the car's backseat and brings Emma's fur shawl, draping it over her boss' shoulders and back as Mimic talks. Emma is silent for a while after the request. Jherika is waiting by the door to the car, silent and patient. Finally, Emma replies, "I'll do as much as I can without calling attention to myself. That's the last thing I need." Her eyes narrow with meaning at Calvin, ensuring he gets the message that she doesn't want any part of this fight. "But, I'll see what I can do," she says, tightening her furry white shawl around her shoulders. "If there's nothing else…?" she says with only a hint of a question mark on the end of the statement.




Mimic nods at the answer. "Thank you. Whatever information you can provide will be appreciated. And never mentioned publicly." he adds with a touch of a smile. "It was a pleasure working with you again, Ms. Frost." The bits of telepathy that stuck with him after all the years mimicking the Professor and Jean Grey aren't much but when combined with the knowledge of how to be a telepath when he actually was mimicking them, he can certainly transmit. It's weak and unidirectional but Emma will be able to pick it up if she's keeping even a light touch on things to make sure no one else is lurking. It's a picture of her in a wheelchair. Cal is there along with many other people, some in costume, some not. The images shift to her in an obvious control next to some of the same people while others fight Vi-Locks: techno organic creatures in the forms of people Emma is likely to recognize as well as some she's not.




Emma feels, of course, the attempt to transmit something to her and she pauses, her eyes hardening. She tunes in on the images and examines them with curiosity. Her, in a wheelchair. Her brow furrows lightly and she turns to get in the car, Jherika opening the door the second she moves toward the door. "I'll…do what I can, yes," she says, again, sounding distracted. "And, perhaps, we'll talk, again. About that and, maybe, other things," she says before ducking into the car. Jherika closes the door after her, offers Mimic a little smile and wave, then jumps into the front seat of the car. It pulls out of the area and begins driving away.




Mimic returns Jherika's smile and watches the car pull away. He'd already sent the others back, so it's just him standing there. And then he isn't.


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