Hidden Agendas: (2) The Stink of Fear-Pee

Summary:
March 3, 2014: There's something foul in the state of Massachusetts. Two X-Men come to gather three dangerous mutants and take them away from WH Pharmaceuticals. Another mutant is there for an entirely different reason.

BOSTON, Massachusetts

WH Pharmaceuticals - 10:15pm

Even in the soft moonlight, the ugly mark that WH Pharmaceuticals' ostentatiously large building makes on the beauty of the surrounding area is stark in contrast to the serene lake that swells out around the back and side, and the rolling hills that complete the picture. It's night, now, and there are no windows lit up on the face of the building.


Characters

NPCs

  • None.

Mood Music:


BOSTON, Massachusetts

WH Pharmaceuticals - 10:15pm

…continued from: His Name Was Mudd

The malicious smear campaign goes out as quickly as Kwabena's fingers can type and click send. He finishes editing the suicide note and edits the last save's time. He finishes up on Mudd's computer and leaves everything, from all appearances, the way he found it. The sound of the wall clock's ticking sounds incredibly loud in the quiet office of a dead man.

"They don't got no respect for us, down here, in th' fuckin' sweat hole," one of the smokers says, spitting angrily on the beautiful grass—that is littered with cigarette butts.
"Yeah," the other one says. "S'not gonna be much longer. This place is goin' down fast. You better get ready for the unemployment line."

They seem to be almost done with their smokes, but who knows. Sometimes, people chug two or three smokes during a fifteen minute break, to help them make it through to the next one.



As soon as he's finished, Kwabena dashes from Mudd's chair and goes trotting on light feet out into the hallway. He looks from side to side while skirting down the empty corridors until he finds a room marked 'Security'. Pulling up, he backs up against the wall, peering just through the window to see what's going on. He's taking care not to make himself known, and trying to determine how many guards are inside. Then, he reaches over and raps three times, solidly, on the door.



Snorting at Cal's suggestion, Logan eyes the factory workers a moment longer and then rolls a shoulder in a shrug. "Hey, you wanna do the superhero gig, go for it. Alternative is knocking them out or waiting for them to move anyways." The canuck chuckles to himself, hand coming up to scratch at his cheek.



"They don't deserve to wake up with a headache and lump on their skull just for being where they should be," Cal points out. "I'd need to go get changed for the cops anyway so might as well be now. See if you can find anything else. I'll be 90 seconds." It would be less but the boots take a few extra seconds to pull off then on. *BLINK*



Unfortunately for the lone guard inside, Herbert Jalopy, the company's cutbacks mean that his buddies have been relegated to different shifts. He really misses Stinkpot and Taters. They had the best times, fartin' around on the skeleton shift, smokin' blunts and coming up with disgusting games to test their ManGrit levels. So, when he hears a knock on the door―three solid raps, just like ol' Taters!―Herb is super excited. He must'a shown up for a late-night surprise blunt or somethin'! With a great big smile, he throws the door open and jumps out in a squat, with his arms out in a 'RAWR IMMA BEAR' position, "HAAAAAAAAAHhhhhhhhhh?"

The two workers go on talking, griping about the working conditions… And, specific mention is made of the three mutants Cal and Logan are after…

"Oh, man. That one guy… John? I worked next to him for a couple of shifts and I wanted to off myself. It's not anything, in particular, that he did or said, but… I don't even…" the one says, lighting another smoke, shaking his head.

"No, that's nothin'. Be happy that chick Gail got stuck on her own, 'cause the last three people workin' next to her? Bit it. That's right. One of 'em had to be quarantined. They'd never seen anything like it. I dunno why they don't just fire her," the taller one says, stubbing out his smoke. "Ah, well. Back to the grind. You better suck that down fast. Enough people are bein' let go you don't have to do more'n sneeze to be fired. But, not like this place is gonna be around much longer," he says, walking back inside.



That loud noise made by Herbert Jalopy is suffocated by a thick plume of black smoke that once was Shift's left arm. The gaseous tendrils force their way down his throat through mouth and nose alike. Shift walks toward the guard, his left 'arm' outstretched, each step closer letting him shove more and more of his arm into the guard's lungs. When he's close enough. he grabs Jalopy by the back of his neck, dropping the man's forehead into his knee.

-KLUNK!-

Smoke comes back out of Jalopy's mouth and nose, reforming into Kwabena's arm again. He reaches down to snatch up Jalopy's key card and key chain, before rushing into the security room and looking for the video recordings. Inside, he's keeping a mental countdown, guesswork based on the nearest Police Station's distance from WH Pharmaceuticals. Thanks, Google maps and pre-planning!



Leaning against the wall, Logan nods to Cal, "See you when you get back, superhero." Without really watching the pair of workers, the canuck listens to them thanks to his enhanced senses. Grumbling to himself when he hears one saying he's going back to work, the feral sneaks a peek around the corner and scowls. Once the first man is outside of sight, Logan steps around the corner himself, approaching the remaining worker with a greeting of, "Hey, bub."



And, so ends the ManGrit Gang, 'cause it can't keep going without Herb "the Sloppy" Jalopy. Herb's death, at least, was an interesting one—he died the way he lived… R.I.P.

Shift ransacks Herb's body of security badge and keys, and makes his way into the security room. He finds everything rather easily. These guards aren't the smartest of apples, so the computer codes are easy things like: 12345. He gets to work on the things he's after and things are running smoothly.

Kevin Smoot, the remaining smoking dude, looks startled at the gruff voice greeting him, visibly jolting when he takes stock of the…stocky Canadian's muttonchoppioed face—to say nothing of his roid-y build. "Uhhhh, hi?" he asks uncertainly, trying to shuffle a little away from Logan without looking obvious about it. "You, uh, lost…?" his voice goes up pretty high at the end.



Ah, Herb 'the Sloppy' Jalopy is better off dead. Leave no witnesses. Shift learned a long time ago not to worry about such things.

What he's after is the systematic erasing of the security records. No one can know that Shift was here, and the suicide notes he'd modified suggested at the plausibility that the other deaths here were directly related to Mudd himself. A homicidal rage sort of thing. Let the authorities sort it out later, the bad press will stick.

He's working hard and fast, cleaning up his mess while counting down the seconds. The minutes. And by the time he's guessed that the police sirens should be there… they aren't.

Probably because the first two witnesses lie dead in the guard station downstairs.

Right about the time he's done, Shift frowns at something on the computer. He leans forward, blinks, and frowns beneath the mask. "… -fuck-!"



Logan continues closer to the man with a grin crossing his features as he considers Kevin, "Yeah, a little lost. Y'see, I was supposed to be lookin' for somebody. There seems to have been some trouble in the factory recently, yeah? Something about a handful of troublemakers down here makin' everybody's lives miserable." The muscular old canuck lifts a hand to scratch at his bearded cheek while he speaks to the worker, "Mister Mudd wanted me to come take a look and maybe help clear things up. You know the three folks I'm looking for, bub?"

Some people are better at hiding in the shadows than others. Cal can do it, especially mimicking Logan. But it doesn't come naturally to him and it doesn't suit his personality. He prefers to be out in the open, up front and visible just like he's always been. The yellow and blue costume is unintentionally designed for that and it's what he's wearing 87 seconds later when he reappears in the exact spot he left. Looking around for Logan, he spots him by the worker and BLINKs past them, behind the worker so as not to interrupt whatever conversation they're having. It also lets him look into the factory itself.



Shift has absolutely no trouble erasing what he wants to erase and changing what he wants to change. Everything is smoooooth sailing. Just as he's about to close up shop and leave, he looks back down at the computer and notices something….

….BACKUP SAVED @ 22:00 - DMNDNC - 22.458.3107…….

That a backup has been saved somewhere at 10pm is clear. But, what is DMNDNC? Well, whatever it is, there's an IP. That's a starting place. Also, on the screens to the right, Shift just happens to catch out of the corner of his eye… Is that… LOGAN?! And, BLINK. There's Mimic, peeking in through the back door to the factory floor. ….Uhhhhhhh.

"Yeahhh," Kevin hedges, nodding his head. He's skinny, and has thick glasses. His eyes blink owlishly behind them as he regards the beefy man that keeps getting closer to him, his back pressing against the wall as he starts sort of sliiiiiding away. "Mister Mudd? Oh… I dunno him, but I heard'a him. Yeah, sure.. Um.. There's that guy John and that lady Gail…" he says, his voice breaking a bit. "And…maybe Lulu? But, she's not here, today," he says, drawing deeply on his smoke out of nerves.

As Mimic peeks in through the door, he sees about what he can expect from a factory. Soul-sucking fluorescent lights flickering high overhead as rows upon rows of workers pack bottles full of pills, seal, close, toss, pack, repeat. They're wearing scrubs and hairnets, gloves, and covers on their shoes. There seems to be at least one who's off on their own, doing their own thing…in a far corner of the floor.



As if the off-site backup wasn't one thing, then there are two familiar faces. Two faces that change the game. A less surprised, more begrudging, "Fuck." Followed by, "Ah, fuck me."

After sparing one last look at the security feed, Shift is off. He scurries down the hall, bursting into smoke so that he might move faster. The cameras are on a thirty second black out, which doesn't give him much time…

Into the front lobby he goes, collecting the horrible clothing he came in wearing. The clothes are filled with smoke, rising from the floor until with a -poof!-, there's Kwabena, his uniform safely concealed and his face revealed. He goes running out to the car parked outside, leaping in and firing the engine.

Five… four… three… two…

The Infiniti is just beyond camera range when the security feeds come back online, and Kwabena has a cell phone up to his ear.

"It's managed. But, dere is anodah problem… Two unknowns. Meta. Burly guy with mutton chops, guy in yellow and blue. Pretty sure de lattah is Mimic."



"Ain't here to hurt you, buddy," Logan informs Kevin dryly while the man continues to edge away from him. There's a flick of a glance towards Cal when he reappears, but the canuck's attention is almost immediately back on the worker. "Here, how about you take an early lunch break, bub? I'm gonna go ahead and take a look inside and see if I can't find the folks I'm lookin' for. Then you and your friends can work in peace, eh?" As he speaks, the feral man starts to step towards the doors.

"Actually, sir." Mimic says without looking away from the inside of the factory. "If you could call the police, I'd appreciate it. Tell them that Mimic asked you to call them and that there's been a possible suicide. We'll need at least one ambulance and the coroner. After that, please remain nearby and try to think if you saw anyone today who shouldn't have been here. Where's the nearest fire alarm to this door?"



Odame gets out of the building with the ease to which he's honed his abilities to afford him, and is in the vehicle, on the phone. The voice over the phone is male. Brief. When Shift informs him of the matter, the voice instructs him to hold. Then, there is silence.

Of course, Emma is riding in Shift's head and knows exactly who those people are and what's going on. And, right now, Mimic's made a real mess of things. She curses silently in her room and breathes. She closes her eyes and thinks quickly. She has got to adapt and act quickly. She's already got problems with the damned backups… Okay. Calm. Breathe. Think.

A moment later, the male voice comes back on the line, "You have two options. The first is to leave, get on the plane, and return to New York. The second requires more…finesse. Ideally, you will convince the mutants that you have been working this job for a private contractor for some time, now. There are plans to extract the problematic workers, but it must be done safely—with a Hazmat team, so as not to infect other people. If they blow the operation, more people could be in danger," the voice instructs, pausing here for a moment. "The second option pays more, in direct relation to the increased risk to your person and reputation. You are welcome to take either option, but you must choose now, soon. Because, one of the mutants has requested that the police be called on account of a possible suicide," the male voice informs.

Kevin stares at Logan with unease. He thinks back to the bowl of oatmeal he ate before he came to work. It's really a horrible last meal. It was generic, even. And, maple and brown sugar. Not even apple and cinnamon, his favorite. He shifts a bit and chews the butt of his cigarette nervously. "Um…" he says… Then, Mimic speaks up, talking more inside than outside, so his voice is somewhat muffled… But, Kevin's keen, elephantine ears (oh, they're HUGE) pick up the pertinent bits. 'Police.' 'Suicide.' 'Coroner.' 'Fire.' It's at this point…that his scrub trunks become…slightly darker, near the inseam. It grows. "Uh…." he whines, "I…don't have a phone. They don't allow them. Please, I don't know what kinda sick stuff is going on… But, I don't want NO PART of it," he pants… "I…I'll take the mark for leaving work early!" he screams and takes off running along the back of the building, away from the door… The smell of fear-pee is left in his wake.



Decision making on the fly. Never his favorite position. After there seconds, Shift answers, "I'll meet you halfway." The phone is closed, and left on the passenger seat. He pulls the car into a parking lot just outside the Pharmaceutical company's property line, then disappears into a plume of smoke once more.



There's a snort from Logan when Cal speaks up and interrupts. And promptly sends the poor worker fleeing in terror. The Canadian dryly informs the other mutant, "Good job, Cal." Shaking his head, he continues towards the door and the taller man, "So, shall we take a look inside for our friends? Lucky it's us here, I suppose. Otherwise somebody might've wound up catching something." Waving a hand at the doors, he prompts, "After you."



Cal's nose wrinkles at the scent and he turns to watch the man run off. "They don't make factory workers like they used to." Holding up a finger in a 'wait' gesture, he pulls out one of those disposable cell phones that can't be traced especially when you buy it in Seattle with cash. 9-1-1. "You go on ahead and pull a fire alarm, will you? Get everyone out of the danger zone. I'll… Yes, I'd like to report some murders at WH Pharmaceuticals." A good thing he only told the guy about a suicide. If he'd mentioned the murdered guards, he'd probably have shit himself. "Name's Mimic. I'll be here when the police arrive. Sorry, no time." *click*



Kevin is still running away, and Logan can hear him with his keen ears. "Mama said knock you out, mama said knock you out, mama said knock you out," he pants, over and over again, like a mantra. "Mama said knock you out, mama said knock you out, mama said knock you out," he gibbers, coughing and sucking for air. Kevin is not in shape. And, the building is long. But, before long, the sound of the cowardly factory worker dies off.

"9-1-1, please state your emergency," comes the voice on the other end.

"If you'll hold the line, sir, cruisers are being dispatched. Sir, would you state your name?"

*click*

Mimic hangs up on the operator and she sighs, rubbing her temples. "Check that, Marv. It might be a false alarm. Only send one cruiser out there to check. If things look okay, let it go. And, who the hell is Mimic?" she says grumpily, her thumb letting off of the talk key on her CB.



"Hang up the phone."

The words sound as if they are being whispered, albeit a loud whisper, from the air itself. Should Mimic look at the source, it is coming from a cloud of smoke. "There are plans in motion to distract the dangerous workers. If you and your friend blow this operation, you'll put more people at risk." The cloud lowers to the ground, and there stands Shift, masked up, though his silver eyes and the accent that comes with his flesh form are easily recognizable. "Dis is a containment zone, what de hell ah you doing here?" Judging by the flare in his eye and the tone of his voice, Shift is -not- pleased.



To be continued…


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