Everyone Loves Kefir

Summary:
August 19, 2014: The Burning Human event can be a lot of fun. It can also be an excuse to start a fight. At least two mutants are there to help prevent that from being a problem. The third one? Well… a fight wouldn't be so bad.

M-Town

Burning Human is an event that happens in M-Town every year to celebrate the mutant culture. It's like Burning Man and Mardi Gras all rolled into one. For a week, all of M-Town is one big party.


Characters

NPCs

  • Burning Human attendees, Some Fiery redhead dude.

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


The streets of M-Town are alive with revelry. It's getting to the end of summer and Burning Human is causing the denizens of New York's most densely populated mutant zone to party in the streets. There is loud music, dancing, drinking. It's like Mardi Gras only more colourful, which is hard to believe but true.

Ororo walks along the sidewalk, watching the crowds. She doesn't actually *like* the Burning Human festival. She feels it spreads the wrong message. However, with so many mutants around and being so very 'in your face' about their powers, she is worried that someone might do something stupid. Friends of Humanity, The Brotherhood? Heck, just some random person who is too drunk to realize they are saying something that might start a fight.

And so, Ororo walks along the party streets of M-Town, ready to be a voice of reason if needed.

*

There may be tensions with the recent news of the murder of thousands of mutants in Syria's Tal Temer, a town where mostly mutants lived relatively peacefully among a relative handful of baseline humans. The humans, devastated by the loss of friends and family, were taken away for questioning by government forces, and there's been some bitter grumbling from some voices of unreason that they somehow did it. Yet, there's just as much counter-argument from people who saw the video and heard the woman crying about her husband and her son and daughter, the plea for help from the college student who was visiting a relative. The age of communication and viral messaging seems to have its own effects on the collective mind.

One thing that has been happening differently this year — the Avenue C Clinic, a local low-cost medical clinic that was formed by three newly fledged doctors, which treats mutants at reduced rates, specializes in helping with symptoms from harmful mutations — the Clinic has three carts circulating with big kegs filled with carbonated, lightly fermented, slightly fruity-flavored beverage. It's similar to kefir, but more refreshing in the leftover summer heat. First one's free, as well - they've passed out a few thousand glasses among the three of them. The carts are being managed by members of the clinic staff - mutant and human, paired up. They're also offering first aid and free medical advice - mostly, 'Yeah, that's not bad' or 'come by in the morning and we'll change the bandage.'

*

Burning Human. People clearly think it's a clever name— it's a sure bet they've never had to smell one. A powerfully built, shortass of a mutant loiters near one of the beer stands, savoring what's far from his first plastic cup full of cheap amber lager. His other hand nurses an equally cheap, fragrant cigarillo, its slow burn about halfway from complete. Logan's features are hidden in the shadows cast by the street and standlights, courtesy of a wide-brimmed cowboy hat in brown and white that's probably at least a century out of style, with worn flannels and denims likely confirming exactly how much of a shit the feral mutant gives. Just such a drunken issue as Storm fears starts when a swift-footed man with fiery hair takes offense to being shot down by the blonde in his proverbial crosshairs.

It's really not worth repeating the rudeness that comes out of Brosef's mouth— the pertinent facet is that in the next moment he's armbarred and hauled to the alleyway behind the street by that same stocky runt. Wolverine gives him a shove, an -entirely- diplomatic, "Get the fuck out." and takes two to the face for his trouble, faster than a man can blink. Logan barely even winces. His assailant decides fleeing the scene -is- the better idea, gripping at least one broken hand. Making customers for the clinic— he's really civic minded. It takes less time than it takes for Logan to spit for the bruises to disappear even as they form, and he shakes his head and turns away, sniffing the air and assessing his prospects for booze— or further trouble.

*

Watching the crowds as she walks, Ororo's face shows no smile. Not that it ever does, but the majority of the crowds do not know that. Sure, they've seen her here before, the white hair, the blue eyes. But there is such a large crowd that the percentage of those that have met her has been seriously reduced. She scans the crowd and notices the help being offered by the Avenue C Clinic. Making her way across the street, ignoring the yelling of some moron offering her beads to show off her boobs, she makes her way over to the very buff doctor.

"Dr. DiLucci, I believe? It is a pleasure to finally meet you." The tall black woman gestures to the drinks. "You would not be taking this chance to inoculate people without them knowing, would you?" There is a twinkle in her blue eyes that hints to the laughter that never passes her lips.

As a fiery redhead, emphasis on the fiery part, is carted away down an alley, Ororo excuses herself and starts to make her way over there. Over as quickly as it started and the redhead leaving in a rush and holding his hand, 'Ro looks over the stalky man with the cigar. "Well, that ended non-violently enough. Thank you."

*

Angelo is not in his usual medical gear. He's just a short, over-muscled human, fancy tattoos showing under a sleeveless shirt, but the shirt does have the clinic logo on it, and he is carrying two really big jugs of water to refill the keg on the cart.

"Shh. Nobody knows we're actually doing something that's good for them," Angelo says. He finishes refilling the water, and adding a tub of Very Special Yogurt Mix … between him and the other guy working the cart, they manage to shake it up a bit, and then it gets vended out to thirsty people.

He looks over at the fight, and watches Ororo, and the injured guy. Of course, the injured guy comes towards the cart and Angelo ends up having to treat the man's broken hands — something tells him NOT to do an instant-heal, just make sure the hand is set and bandaged, and give the guy a glass of vaccine, and maybe he'll be less of a dick to other people. Probably not though, he doesn't even have a thank-you to spare.

*

Intent eyes turn with the tilt of his head, peering out from beneath the shadows cast by the wide brim of his hat as Logan considers Ororo on her approach— she's keen enough to be well aware of the alertness that precedes any actual tell to the approach. Not to mention the difficult to miss flash of suspicion that crosses his rugged features with a moment's consternation— Ororo stands out, even in this crowd. Plus, she's walking up to him in the wake of a scuffle; if not -much- of one. "His choice." Logan replies to Ororo's thanks with something that borders between relief and regret, taking a moment to study the Weather Witch through one squinted eye as he takes a long pull from his smoke.

The clawed Canuck has the good grace to blow the resultant plume up and to the side, before he adds gruffly, "Sometimes they're smart enough t' listen." Not nearly as often as one might hope, though. The burly runt scans past Ororo to the similarly stout good doctor, and the Wolverine's nose twitches; then he doffs his hat with a low nod to them both. His hackles drop ever so slightly when the speedster decides to take a quick fix and flee, "City's tense. You two tryin' to calm her down?"

*

'Ro graciously gestures for the surly man to pass her if he wishes. She has an air about her, regal and confident. "I did not argue the fact. It is pleasant to see that chivalry is not dead and that some men still come to defend a lady's honor." She turns to leave the alley, walking in tandem with the gruff little man. "Could I get you something to drink? My name is Ororo." She offers a hand, her fingertips as long and elegant as the rest of her.

She gestures over to Angelo, requesting two of the 'house specials'. "Yes, with the deaths in Syria last night… " She sighs heavily and shuts her eyes tight, taking a moment to keep herself calm. "Yes, I am doing my best to keep things friendly. You? Looking for a fight or here like myself?"

*

"Keeping a lid on things? That's part of it, but doing something more important," Ange says. He looks at Wolverine and then, startled, stares for a moment, his eyes and the gold-ink swirls on his skin light up like some sort of Disney special effect, unmistakeable even with the lights of the festival making everything seem bright. What he sees appears to confuse, then stun him.

"Well, that's … don't think I've ever seen anyone with … Huh. I don't know if our vaccine is going to work for you. Name's Angelo, call me Ange," and he offers a hand to shake. It just seems like the thing to do.

Meanwhile, the human half of the team catches Ororo's suggestion and brings over two glasses of the refreshing, but woefully low in alcohol, beverage.

*
A simple nod declines Ororo's offer: he just walks a half-step behind at her side right back out to the street. "That's me darlin'." Logan confirms with more than a few degrees of dry evasion. "Knight Errant of this modern life." The sarcastic dismissal isn't -exactly- a retort— or at least, he's not arguing all the details. "Logan." He offers back simply, and as to the offer? It spurs a wolfish grin that widens his ghost of a smirk to something warmer, if fleeting, the show of white teeth lasting about as long as it takes him to firmly— but gingerly— shake Ororo's hand. His grip is almost -too- ironclad.

"An' pretty much any time. Far as fightin', I'm always looking. Shit needs finishin' everywhere." Even if plenty of people are -already- keen on the 'starting'. The Wolverine's head cants curiously, eyes narrowing as Angelo's analysis and display draws his attention rather soundly, and lends itself to a profoundly distrustful look levelled first on Angelo, then his assistant, and then on the glass of… stuff he's offered. "An' what exactly are you vaccinating me against, 'Doc'?" Nobody says the word 'Doc' with the seething, scarcely contained anger that Wolverine does.

*

Taking one of the two offered glasses, Ororo politely explains. "We do not wish to have the word get out, as it could cause a panic. However, there is a band of people that have created a virus that targets mutants." Her voice is low and quiet. In the crowd, unless one is close to her, it is doubtful she will be over heard. "We are trying to get the vaccine to as many people as we can, without alerting the people that created it that we have done so. Syria was these people. It was a test run for here."

With that grim news stated, the tall, regal woman drinks her glass of mango lassi type drink. "Logan, Dr. DiLucci meant no offense. His powers, from what I have heard, are based in the healing arts. You just had a fight. He was making certain you were well."

*

"The WMD that killed Tal Temer," Angelo says to Wolverine. "Hydra designed a retrovirus bioweapon that kills mutants by directly attacking the mutant genome itself. I built a retrovirus of our own that makes it useless, but getting it out to the people who need it before they hit their next test group has been a major pain. You've got a natural healing ability that's a rival for my magical healing. You … might resist both, the vaccine and the weapon. Might not, I can't tell."

Well, that's one way to just blurt things out in the middle of the street. If people were paying attention … but they're partying, and Angelo is just another weird guy. How to hide a superpower? Use it in the middle of a bunch of other superpowers.

*

There's a low growl as much for the content of the explanations as the lingering distrust at being offered drugs hidden in yogurt. Seriously, if he can't even trust yogurt anymore, Logan's out one important source of low-fat protein. "Figures." The Canuck says it like he's not even being facetious. Like it's one more in a long line of equally ridiculous and tragic ideas he's watched people hatch; it's probably his most genuine moment of the conversation thus far, barring when he said he was always game for a free drink. He takes a weathered stainless flask from his pocket and upends it into the kefir, adding ample dark liquor to the concoction before taking a few dubious sips. His senses tell him these two are being straight, and it's certainly heavy enough not to doubt under normal circumstances— but his life's not quite towing the average point on the graph.

"And who are you that yer going t' stop 'em?" The clawed Canuck asks with similarly dubious tones as he finishes his smoke and stamps it out under the heel of one heavy, brown, steel-toed workboot. "Or are you just gonna bank on every mutant in NYC fuckin' loving kefir, bub?" The first is offered to Ororo, the second to Angelo, and neither extreme of competence seems like it would be a tremendous shock— it just seems important enough to make sure.

*

The mutant that gets called Storm looks to the man as he puts out his cigar. "Your distaste for the need to hide our intentions is understandable. Please believe that we are doing this in this manner to prevent wide spread panic." She finishes the kefir, holding the empty cup in her hand till she can get to a recycling bin.

"Me? I am just a person who cares. I do not believe that I alone can stop this group, but I can do what little I can to help. A single drop of rain would hardly be noticed, but maybe in time, there will be others that help and like a spring shower, rejuvinate the world."

*

Ange says, in a deliberate level tone, "I'm the guy who knows how to keep their virus from killing mutants, and incidentally, from mutating to kill near-mutants and eventually people who just have a little bit of the genome. And no, not just kefir. This is hard work and we haven't had time. I'm getting the counter-agent into other venues. In three years, it'll have gotten all over the planet and their retrovirus will be useless forever. But we don't have three years. We have until Sunday, when this festival ends. I'm pretty sure they'll try something then. This free drink thing is one desperate move, it should protect over half the people here. I've been doing some night flight aerosol fogging, that had another third of the regulars here. Still leaves us with two or three days to get this into everyone in Mutant Town and in NYC in general."

He doesn't look very happy about it either.

*

"Little raindrops spatterin' close enough to get all up in HYDRA's business." Dropping the recognition with the disbelief is almost certainly a calculated choice, lifting his free hand to tip that hat upwards so he can peer at Storm and Angelo directly, intently. Like all he has to do is focus for the details to all fall into place— sadly, it hasn't worked often, to date. He pays closer attention to the doctor's frank analysis than Ororo's metaphor, grinding his teeth and frowning throughout. It's a moment of digestion later before he nods, once. "Right." A plain manilla card, crumpled from its time alone in the pocket of his jeans, is passed over to Angelo.

The card has an address— a mailbox at a seedy motel— and a phone number that goes to a line that'll be dead inside the month. "Sample of that vaccine makes it there fast, an' does what you say, I might be able to beat your 50." Not that he seems happy about the timetable, or the prognosis. Apparently satisfied that it's not doing anything aside from what it might or might not be doing according to Angelo, Logan slams back his own spiked yogurt in one stubborn motion. "Maybe even live to see the formation o' this enlightened thunderstorm." He ruthlessly snarks, eying Storm on the periphery of his vision, "I gotta make a call."

It's hardly the kind of intel he -planned- to pick up streetside, tonight, but that doesn't slow the feral mutant down as he turns to stalk off and deal with it. "And kid…" Angelo doesn't look much younger than Logan, but that doesn't stop him. "For fuck's sake start spikin' free /beer/."

*

Logan's sarcastic tone to Ororo's metaphor does not upset her. She has a tendency for flowery speech and it can bother some. Still, she listens as this man takes it to task to help them. Another rain drop joins the others. Her lips curl into a subtle smile, just a hint of it at the corners. She nods her head to Logan in gratitude, a subtle bow as it were, as he hands Angelo his card.

As the little man storms off in his surly fashion, she looks over to DiLucci. "He does make a very good point. Beer would go more quickly."

*

Angelo laughs. "I will, as soon as I get the modified yeasts to grow. Yeast is harder than acidophilus. Anyway it won't be ready in time for Sunday."

He'll have a sample of the vaccine that he can deliver tomorrow. Maybe even before sunrise. He watches Logan, and realizes that the stuff the gruff man swallowed is doing something but whether it manages to convince his immune system to pick up its changes or not, that's nothing he can tell yet.


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