Shut-Down Feelings

August 12, 2014: Mike is late for dinner, and when he gets there, not the best conversationalist.

Apartment Building — Mutant Town — New York City

An apartment building in Mutant Town. Mike Drakos lives in the basement apartment; Bobby Drake lives on the third floor; other people live here too.



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Mood Music:

It's later than usual when Mike Drakos arrives at the apartment building. His clothes are shredded, scorched, looking like they've been through hell of some kind. He trudges to his room, and then realizes he was supposed to share dinner with Nancy and Bobby, and while he's a bit late, he's not completely out of reason. Social politeness script says to take a gift; he removes a pint of hand-cranked chocolate ice cream from the freezer in his room and sends a text message to Nancy's phone because the probability is that she has it on her and it isn't out of charge.

Apologies for lateness. Arriving shortly if this is still acceptable.


Bobby is a bit worried just because it's not like Mike to be late and the neighborhood gets rough at night. Then again… Mike's made of metal. What's the worst that could happen?


Looking at her phone when it chirps, Nancy smiles. "It's Mike. He's sorry for being late, but he's coming right up." Her thumbs fly on the keyboard with practiced ease.

Come on up, Mikey. Dinner is waiting.


Mike walks up the stairs, realizing part way that he needs to adjust his mass, as he's causing stress to the treads. Engaging his power is better than expending more power later to repair and reinforce the stairs, so he levitates the rest of the way to floor three, and to Bobby's' apartment.

"I bring apology ice cream." He hasn't changed out of the burned/torn-up clothing. Under it, he seems to be uninjured, not scorched.


Nancy is setting the table when Mike walks… or rather levitates into the room.

"Ice cream is always a good apology. What flavour is .. Oh my god! What happened to you?!" She looks up from setting the table, her jaw having dropped at the sight of Mike's sorched and ripped clothing.


Bobby turns and just… stares.

"Mike?" It takes him a full thirty seconds to get into gear. "Good God, man, get in here. Sit down. What happened to you? Are you hurt?"


"It is an unpleasant story. Social convention requires that I warn you, this is not suitable discourse before dining."

Mike allows the usual amount of his weight to settle onto the floor, for verisimilitude. He allows the ice cream to be placed in the custody of the Drake refrigerator, and settles on his usual spot on the floor.

"I am uninjured. My clothing … Oh. I apologize, I should have changed to undamaged clothing. I should go do that," he starts to stand again.


"Mike, sit down." Bobby sighs. "So long as you're okay, you're fine. Are you thirsty? Dinner's reheating it'll just take a few."

Ever the good host, Bobby goes to get a wash basin for Mike.


"Are you uncomfortable? I'm sure that Bobby can lend you a shirt if you need it."

Nan looks Mike over carefully, making sure that all the damage is just to his clothing.

"Dinner can wait, Mike. We're more worried about you? Any butts we have to kick?"


"No, I have sufficient water on-board. I …" The wash basin is helpful; there's some scorching where the heat of re-entry wasn't completely ablated. He removes the shredded jacket and scorched hoodie and cleans off the mess. He will accept a shirt if one is urged on him, but he doesn't care about clothing at the moment; his external plating is sufficient.

Social protocol dictates that it will be necessary to present a recounting of the evening's events. But that would require articulating them as words, and Mike is certain that if he did that, he would need emotional linkages to express them properly, and in engaging those, he'd begin to self-destruct.

"It would be better to tell this later." Or never, given the way it makes emotional complexities that take over the entirety of his brain. But they'll hear about it anyway. There is no helping it.

"I do not know yet, Nancy. There might be."


"Mike… you're starting to sound a little bit like Zombie Nancy… are you… sure you're okay?" Bobby looks over to Nancy, almost wanting her to go get the car and call the Avenue C Clinic. It's past closing hours but sometimes there's someone there in case of emergencies.


Nancy does indeed urge a shirt on Mike. His clothes are, after all, torn and burned. "You don't know yet? About butts that need kicking? I meant related to your state of being. Did someone do this to you?" She looks to Bobby, chewing on the insides of her cheek and wondering roughly about the same thing.


"I have disabled emotional processing due to extremely complex social disaster," Mike answers. "There were fatalities."

He has practically zero human body language at the moment, or rather, it's all unnaturally smooth and precise.


"People died? Hell Mike, do we need to call the cops or something?" That seems to Bobby like something Mike might have done but… it's all he can think to ask at the moment.

Nancy is standing behind Mike when he talks about fatalities. She looks to Bobby, worry on her face even more. She shakes her head, her shoulders rising as her hands rise up.

"I don't know," she mouths to her boyfriend.


"The police were present. This is inefficient. I will replay the events."

Mike holds a palm flat, and a 3D holographic image forms, from his personal POV.

The visual overview is marked by a secondary highligted transparent view. Metal objects are highlighted with composition symbols next to them. Humans are visible as clouds of iron and calcium, cars, pipes and electric wires and poles visible as masses of metal. Six spheres of metal are orbiting his head (POV) and things moving on the walls (iron, calcium, tagged HUMANMUTANT-DarklingV3) are carefully trying to avoid him.

Ahead, in the street at the end of the alley, a series of voices is yelling abuse, at a young man who is visible to Mike. The man has the marks of a junkie, but also mutant glowing eyes. He is attacked, and he retaliates, with energy "lassos" from his hands trapping a man, a woman, a teenage girl, a six-year-old boy, a few other men. The young man yells incoherently.

Mike's voice: he is trying to calm the young mutant, while three of the spheres thin out to try to ground the energy. It does not ground.

Police come running up, and a young somewhat scary girl begins to close in. She has metal in her wrists and feet, extremely sharp and unusually, in the shape of claws. She is warned away by police. The young man cries out to be left alone so he can think, but the young boy is struggling to breathe and passes out.

The metal spheres are thinned out into even finer wire, and sent to braid around the young man's neck weaving into a strange sort of collar that isn't touching his skin … yet. Another policeman - an FBI agent - shows. The young man begins to calm down… Mike stands back to let the officers work. But as they are getting through, a man in the crowd, older, with facial ridges, begins yelling abuse at the young man, and he tightens his grip.

Blood and body fluids spray over Mike in a graphically identified image - metals, metal traces. The components of life, as the young boy is cut into two pieces. A prolonged scream as the girl is crushed, bleeding from her mouth and around the edges of the restraints. Iron is everywhere. Mike's voice says, focused on the abusive man, "YOU have just killed these people. I hope you are proud of yourself."

The boy's body fluids drip over Mike's face, running down his arms, as he causes the neck-piece to apply a carotid strangle, to knock the mutant unconscious, as the FBI fellow's arm extends unnaturally to knock the young man over, as the female police officer manifests a blade of magical metal that slashes and breaks the energy bands connecting the young man to his victims. The young man falls, the other prisoners are released. There is screaming, grieving. The young man is handcuffed, and Mike retrieves the metal, allowing him to wake up. He is weeping as he is taken away.

The man whose outburst murdered the people is in shock, horror on his face. The police … Mike gives them a finger, which is a USB key with this data log on it. They can review it at their liesure.

He is dismissed. He levitates his metal body. There is blood on him, so he goes to wash it off. Simply washing in a car-wash is rejected as disrespectful. Protocol is to return the body parts to the sea. The Hudson is too dirty at the top, so he goes lower. It is worse the lower he goes into the channel. He decides to go up. He leaves the atmosphere. When he sees the sun and the earth small below him, the last of the blood and water boiling and freezing off, he returns, letting the heat of re-entry clean away the last bits.

He returns to his home.


"Wow… I…" It's a bit hard to take in. "No wonder you're having such a hard time taking this. That looked like… six or seven blocks from here. Did you know any of them? Your… your friends maybe?"

Bobby frowns, wondering already what, if anything, can be done. Possibly nothing right now but…


Nancy sits down heavily, staring at the hologram as it all unfolds.

"This is that drug thing, isn't it? That smooth stuff I keep hearing about. I don't even know what it really does."


"I am unable to process emotional content at this time," Mike says. "I do not know if they were friends. I did not know any of them. My training says that my outburst at the one who instigated the killing was inappropriate. I observed that the male police officer was very angry with the instigator."

He realizes that he has spoiled their appetites.

"I apologize. I should have waited until after dinner for this."

He replays the screaming voice internally. "Yes. They were talking about a drug, and the word smooth was used."


Bobby sighs and sits down heavily on the couch.

"Smooth… damn. That stuff has been all over M-Town. Too many mutants are using it. I've heard that it does all kinds of things, but mostly that it suppresses x-gene functions for a while. Makes folks, you know, normal. Lot of people around here would kill for that." He pauses. "Looks like it has side effects…"


"Do you think this is something you should talk to the professor about? Hank might be able to work out what this drug is and what it does. If it's here in M-Town… it might not be associated with being a mutant, but then again… it could be something we want to keep an eye on." She leans back on the couch.

"Hun, don't worry about me. I eat during zombie movies. I'm just a little concerned about what this might mean for us. First a virus, now some sort of drug. Peachy."

Nancy looks over to Bobby as he explains what the drug is rumored to do. "Wait, they turned me into a drug?"


"It appears to contain an opiate or pseudo-opiate of some type, in order to cause addiction to its users. You, Nancy, do not cause addiction. The lesions on the addicted man's arms are possible markers for attempts to get additional drug out of old needles," Mike says. He has no other information, so he doesn't volunteer any. He doesn't know who Hank is, having blocked the memory of that part of the presentation design. Convenient how that works.


"I dunno… Hank… keeps protesting that he's not a medical doctor when I see him about these kinds of things." Bobby mulls it over. Hank's smart, no question, but he's loaded to the eyeballs busy. "Maybe the doctor who checked you out and is helping the nutates. Angelo. He might be able to do something with this."

The ice nerd shakes his head.

"Any chance this is the same stuff? Virus. Drugs. People making mutants. Is it all coincidence? Or connected?" Part of him thinks that it can't conceiveably all be connected. Mutants are a lot on peoples minds right now.


Nancy raises her shoulders in a shrug.

"A lot of people don't like the idea of mutants. We're both hated and revered. Hydra wanted to be able to decide who were and who weren't mutants. Others might just want us dead. I mean, they could be connected, but it's just as easy to believe they have nothing to do with each other."

Bobby's commens about Hank cause her to nod her head. "He is a busy guy. Not just his own work, but all the work that keeps getting piled on him cause he's some sorta wunderkind when it comes to brain stuff."

"We might want to talk to Angelo though. Maybe use me as an alternative to this Smooth? I mean, school, my job with Wicked, and the Nest, I'm sure I can toss in something else in there without burning out."


After a minute or two of silence. Mike speaks up. "I have researched social media, mutant boards, and other resources. This drug appears to be addictive with a single dose, to mutants. It is unclear whether it has any significant effect on non-mutants. It is not useful as an army-building drug as the withdrawal symptoms are crippling."

He shakes his head at Nancy. "You should not seek out more demands on your time. You will end up not being able to fill any of them adequately and your goal for self-actualization will suffer."


"I don't think it would help the addicts either Nan." Bobby sighs again. "They'll still have to go through detox. People desperate enough to be normal… even your power wouldn't be enough for them eventually. It's not a you thing, Nancy, it's a them thing. They don't like what they are for whatever reason."

Bobby could, certainly, understand some of those reasons. "The people making that drug need to be found. And fast. If it's that bad… it's the perfect street drug. Perfectly addictive and painful to withdraw from…" Bobby glances after Nan again with another thought. He remembers the last attempted forced addiction (he suspects). "Maybe we should go out in pairs from now on Nan? Till this is over?"


Nancy nods to her friends. They are right. She has more then enough on her plate now. She might actually have to quit her job on Broadway. And while she worked so hard to get that job, it doesn't hurt as much as she would have suspected. The music is within her. It can never be taken away.

"You're right. And yeah, I know. I would just be a crutch, and until they learn to accept themselves, I would never be enough."

Nancy frowns as something occurs to her. "You don't suppose that gang.. the one that attacked us that night… They had a needle. They wanted to inject me. Do you think it was that Smooth stuff?"


The robot guy nods once in agreement with Bobby's plan.

"Prudence suggests that anyone who can become addicted should follow the buddy system. It also occurs that this may be related to the individual with addictive blood, which I heard of separately to your attack. Although there is not necessarily a connection. If he has been captured or suborned, whatever his power of addiction is, may have been combined with something similar that acts as a power suppressant."

He stands, almost non-sequitur. "I must perform an archive pass before I may begin the detoxification process for emotional overloads. Please, enjoy the ice cream. I will be unable to do so until much later."

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