Hacking, Magic and Drugs

October 14 2014: Rant stops by Jericho and Illyana's place. Shift is by shortly thereafter.

Unit 24F

A nice apartment in Hell's Kitchen overlooking the Hudson.



  • K'nert

Mood Music:
[* None]

Melody had said she'd wanted to meet and that Jericho's place was fine. This suits the other hacker just fine because he's been kind of tired lately. Between nightmares and lack of Rest (yes, captial R) things have been going slowly downhill. So he's not up for much travel right now. He could do it, but he's saving his strength for something important.

The place is clean at least. Not getting much sleep means having time awake and that means time for Jericho to do things like study demonic languages and clean out the 'fridge. He's not habitually dirty, but this place is cleaner than usual thanks to that.


-SOMEONE- got bit by the social bug. Sort of. Even though Melody promised that she wouldn't go outside anymore after a few run ins with Gotham's terribles, and nearly being eaten by a Demon thingy, and popping phones on gangsters behinds.. she was out again. This time? Same get up, same bookbag, same baseball cap with the big NY embedded on it. Three sizes too big to fit her hair. Short bomber jacket a-go, image scrambled through the networks and she was off, actually driving a car for once.

It really wasn't her car. It was borrowed from one of Catwoman's ladies. A cute little Nissan Versa, bluetooth compatible, something for Melody to hack and tap into the satellite radios so that she could attune the playlist as such. She was one of those granny careful drivers too, all seatbelts, driving the speed limit, allowing pedestrians to go go go..

Until finally, she reaches the vicinity of Jericho's apartment. Vicinity meaning, she wasn't going to park directly in front of it, just a couple of blocks away so that she could walk to where she need be, and once at the door, she gives three knocks at the top, one in the middle, two below, and up again. Just to be a jerk.

Hackers are paranoid types.


The clock is ticking and Illyana's under the gun. She's been gone most of today, but that isn't terribly unusual. When she does arrive it's in a flare of light that leaves the black-leather clad blonde standing there in the kitchen. Her eyes are touched with dark makeup and silver jewelry goes with the spikes and leather that decorates the outfit.


Jericho is about to answer the door as Illyana arrives. His eyes light up (literally) when she does. "Hey there." He says quietly as he opens the door…

And greets Melody with literally glowing eyes. It's like someone it a torch behind them, or like the amber in them is molten the way they seem to shimmer. "Oh, Hey Rant. Come on in. I don't think you've met Illyana. Illyana, this is Rant. She's a hacker who asked me for a hand a while back."

He lets the other woman in and closes the door behind. His movements seem… well, like he's tired. Which is odd because he doesn't look physically tired. "Need a drink or something?"


As the door opens, Melody looks up and… jerks back just a little. "Woah." Despite the fact that he looks a little bit creepy, she edges her way inside, keeping a fair bit of distance from him, just in case. Maybe it was something in her nanites that did that to him? Nah. No sense in getting herself a big head.

As she enters, she gives Illyana a glance and a huge smile, her hand lifting, fingers splayed tightly in an awkward wave. Lately, whenever she meets someone, she had a habit of offering hugs to not provoke their ire. This time? She doesn't.

At the offer of the drink, she gives a shrug of her shoulders, "I'll take a soda if you have it.." With those words, shoulders continue to shrug until the bag slowly slips from her shoulders and onto the floor behind her, which was promptly snatched up.


Yeah, Illyana tends to put off a whole lotta 'step the eff off' vibes. Especially fresh from Limbo as she is now. The blonde's blue eyes, cold and empty of that spark that most folks are used to seeing moves over Melody, sizing her up. Illyana glances to Jericho as he introduces her and then finally nods to Melody. "Hey." She pulls the vodka out, pouring herself a glass but lets Jericho get Melody's soda. Yeah, Illyana fails at Friendly.


Jericho is apparently used to this because he smiles and doesn't say anything as he tosses Melody a cola and pours himself a Vodka. "So what brings you by?" Jericho is himself putting of vaguely creepy vibes. Could have something to do with the glowing eyes… maybe not. When he shuts the 'fridge door, there's a small lizard like Imp atop the ice box that wasn't there before. It eyes Melody and hisses but doesn't seem inclined to get up and do anything.

"That's K'nert. Don't worry, he won't hurt you." Unless Melody gives him an excuse. Then he'll happily do it.


Melody really didn't know what to think. The lady may have been upset or something, and.. Jericho was being weird. It made this entire thing a little bit too uncomfortable. So what does she do? Keep her hat on. And coat. Just in case she needs to take a swan dive out of the window; the less damage the better.

As the soda was tossed, she catches it, but doesn't open it right away. She just holds onto it, slightly swaying from left and right. "I.. uh.. wanted to talk to you about some stuff. I mean.. nothing overly private or anything.." She glances towards Illyana, then down towards her soda again. ".. Typical codes and.. uploads.. and that stuff you got going on insi—.."

The hiss breaks her cadence, causing her to back up rather swiftly. This was getting a little bit too weird for her bones, not to mention, she forgot what the heck she was saying.

Illyana slants an eye up at K'nert, one brow raised as he hisses. "Not if he knows what's good for him." Illyana tacks on to Jericho's comment about K'nert not harming her though really the words are meant for the imp. "If you guys want, I can make myself scarce." Illyana offers, her manner calm even if she throws of the creepy vibes and dresses a bit too heavy metal for most people's tastes.


"You're fine." Jericho says with that smile again. It's not much of a smile. Small, but more real than anything in Melody's limited experience than she's ever seen him smile before. Jericho takes a seat on the couch and gestures to a chair for Melody. "Okay, first things first, Illyana's a bit magical and I am too in some odd way. K'nert has a bad temper but mostly he won't hurt guests. If he does, he knows he'd upset the both of us."rThe hacker offers the blonde a seat next to him. "Illyana's my girlfriend and lives with me here." Girlfriend is a lot easier to explain than 'I'm her Familiar and she's the Demon Queen of a Hell Realm'. Jericho's not nearly ready to extend that much trust.


Melody immediately shakes her head towards Illyana. "Noo.. that's not necessary.." She was ready to offer to leave herself until Jericho offers up a chair for her. Reluctantly, she places her bookbag upon the ground and kneels, unzipping to retrieve a notepad and a pen. Leaving it there on the floor, she was careful at keeping her hands visible and having a quick seat, legs clamped together until they're croseed, hat slowly snatched off her head to reveal a 'teachers' style bun.

Truth be told, she rather liked Illyana's look. But.. both of them together seemed a .. bit weird. With the cold eyes and the glowing ones. She tried to push off the unsettled feeling by opening the notebook and staring into it. "Yeah. Would be a bit weird for her to leave. Sorry." She'll straighten out! Eventually. "Um.." Geez.. where to start. "The uploads…"

Illyana comes over to take the offered spot next to Jericho, giving him an amused look at the 'girlfriend' bit. It fits, sure but just sounds… well, so very highschool. Seeing Melody stumble a bit, she offers in a dry sort of tone that seems to carry a mocking edge, "I tend to make people uncomfortable. It's not you." Leaning back she puts an arm along the back of the sofa and toys with the ends of Jericho's short hair. "Uploads?"


It may interest Melody that when Illyana touches Jericho she can see his cybernetic traces start to glow with a dull red light. "Mmmmm. She may be referring to an emergency request that I teach her how to fight. I uploaded what I know about hand to hand to her nanites. Oh, yeah, she's a lot like me. But nanomachines instead of cybernetic implants. She had me recode them recently. Some… technical issues."

Melody had been addicted to smooth and it really, really messed with her.


Mel nods slightly, "I.." And then Jericho pretty much sums it up. She was going to tell the whole truth and nothing but, she was a horrible liar that way. "During that recoding session I've managed to siphon off some information from Aspect that I'd like some help with." Codenames! Yay! "I mean, I shouldn't have done it in the first place and I sort of just invaded his privacy, but it honestly helped when it counted. I just couldn't understand it." She glances up at his walls, towards K'Nert, and then back towards Illyana. Her brain was working, mouth scrunching, eyes switching from one to the other.

"At first, I kind of figured it was like some disconnect or something going on from the hard reboot that I had. But then I realized that I can't retain the information from the uploads very long. They just disappear. Maybe it was from that weird code you got going on insi.."

A pause. And here's where shit could possibly go down hill. "Speaking of, what the heck is wrong with you eyeballs." Yup, she said 'you eyeballs'. "Did you get broken too? Cause your arm used to be all blue and now it's all glowy red."


Illyana doesn't normally hang around the sort of people that call Jericho 'Aspect', but she's more than familiar with codenames, so Jer just gets an arched brow his way. Her mouth does set into a frown when she mentions 'invading his privacy' but she doesn't leap before she hears what all this entails.

When the question is put bluntly out there, the blonde can't help but snicker, ducking her head a bit but she stays silent. This is totally Jericho's show!


Jericho glances down with those glowing eyes toward Illyana and chuckles a bit. "Red's her color. Blue you've seen before but I have others. Amber, green. Mostly the relate to what functions I'm using. Blue for general purposes and combat, amber for flight, green for regeneration. Red…" Red he uses for infiltration but he doesn't say that… "She puts off energy that my traces absorb. That's part of how it manifests." It's magic but Melody's already looking a little skittish and Jericho doesn't want to make her cry. He's not heartless.

That wasn't the bit of him that got stolen.

"Any way 'my eyes' are fine. These traces are experimental and long term exposure to them has unpredictable side effects. One of them was the way they reacted to Illyana's energy." That's more or less accurate, he thinks. The corallation between his eyes changing and absorbing Illyana's magic is pretty clear though he still has less than a clue what it means, just that it's gotten progressively more extreme from changing color now to lighting up, responding to his emotions.

"Anyway, you recorded something when I was coding you mmm? Such as…?"


She giggled! Melody totally caught that! It all makes sense! At least in her little fried brain, which has obviously been listening to Shift a little bit too much. "Red's her color because you two are in looove.." Okay, that was a little bit childish, but love would do that to a person. Plus, Illyana giggled, that's -exactly- what it meant. It was Melody's truth and she was sticking to it.

"Honestly really though. Your eyes aren't fine. You look kind of creepy. Turn it off." Blunt. But a hand raises and a head shakes. "Nevermind, I'll get over it. But you really are kind of.. dragging ass a little. Pardon me french. But like someone kicked you right in the tookus. Anyways, check this out."

She opens the notebook (if it wasn't already), then flips through a couple of pages and offers it to him. It's a bit like what was on the walls, the symbols, the coding, not nearly -everything- that she took from him, just a small bit. "I don't know what it is, to be quite honest. It was my first time that I've even met someone like you and me, so it was tempting. Plus, I really don't even know the entire consequence of even stealing personal code from someone, I don't know if there is any personality changes. Or if I'm sleep-walking and murdering people.."

The grin Illyana flashes as Jericho notes it's 'her' color has a bit too much teeth, too much of a feral edge to be considered friendly, but it clearly amuses her. The bit about loooove does get an eyeroll though.

"Coding her? Sounds dirty." The blonde notes. She glances over as Melody shows Jericho the notebook, and then she's frowning and outright reaching for it. "Spit and hades…"


Jericho chuckles. "It does. Doesn't it." He notes to Illyana. "I can't turn the eyes off." Nor would he particularly want to if he did. "They're my eyes. Can you turn your nanites off?" He's seen what happened when he had to hard reboot her.

"Yeah. Her nanites internal code got screwed up by something and they needed a clean wipe and restart. Only so many people who can do that sort of thing. She's a hacker, she found me through the usual hacker sources." Aspect is something of a hacker celebrity even if people don't know who he is for the most part. It's that way for most. Rant's the same, really.

Jericho leans to see what's on the notebook and sighs as Illyana swears. "'Manacode'. No wonder you had trouble with it. It's pretty unique. I doubt it's making you kill people in your sleep though."


"I technically can. But you'd have to call an ambulance and there's no sense in explaining that. Plus if they stay shut down for longer than five minutes, it like sends some weird ass alarm to my.." She stops herself, then waves her hand a bit. That was neither here nor there, plus it was divulging trade secrets that could possibly kill her.

As Jericho explains, she leans forward a little bit more to offer up the notebook to Illyana. "Spit and hades? That's new, I gotta use that one." She'd make a note, but she just gave away her paper.

"Manacode though? I've never really heard anything like it. I've done image searches for the past couple of weeks and only found one or two out there but nothing to form a basic alphabet with. I guess it's another reason why I'm here, to get an alphabet." Though, why should he give it, is anyones guess.

She does breathe a sigh of relief though, she doesn't know Jericho well enough to know if she's adopting his mannerisms, or stealing his personality, but it never hurt to really see, and study. Even now, she could probably tap into his circuitry to download and study what made him tick. Ballsy, so she wasn't gonna. "I mean, you don't know me from sam hill.. well, you probably do.. but.."


Illyana gives Melody a sharp look. "It's a good thing that you don't know how to pronounce these." The blonde's tone has that 'because I bet you would have tried' sort of note to it. "You won't find it on image searches, becuase it can be dangerous to be just put out there like that."


Very few places in the world are air tight. This place is no exception. From a crack between the widow and frame, a black smoke begins to seep in. It's a slow and steady stream, but clearly something abnormal in nature. The smoke begins to pile up upon the floor, forming into a tower of sorts that soon begins to form the shape of arms and legs.


Jericho has only seen this trick once before and he didn't get a good look at it. He sees the smoke seeping in behind Melody. "Hang on…" He says quietly in a 'don't move, don't act alarmed kind of way'. His hand drifts down to a holster concealed under his shirt and unsnaps it. He doesn't draw just yet. "Were you followed Rant? And do you have enemies?" Hackers usually do. They don't usually do that.


Melody gives Illyana a look. That was a look that said she wanted to know more and she was going to beg, cry, plea, and clean the gutters just to get it. It wasn't until Jericho asks her the question, and her brows furrow, shoulders shrug. "No. No one follows me, and of course I got enemies. Few of them know what I look like though. Which is kind of sad really, I mean they could put my face on the telly and then the lot of them would be after my booty, y'know? Maybe I should do something about that, probably pay more people to keep what I actually look like hush hush.." As she speaks, she turns around slowly, her eyes watching the pillar of smoke forming into a man, and a shrug of her shoulders is given.

"Eh. Don't shoot that thing. He probably followed me through a tracer on my phone, bet you he thinks I'm off to go do druuuugs.." She makes a face, a really nasty one too. "That's Shift by the way." Thumb point backwards. Now, back to the important stuff.

"What does it say though?" Eyes gone to Illyana now, and a slight lean forward. "It's magic right? I don't have a magic bone in me, well.. sort of. I wouldn't call it magic, but I mean that code is stuck in my head so I guess that counts?" Ayup, Melody just confused herself.


Illyana rises when Jericho does, but she doesn't reach for anything. Instead, disks of light appear. One of the floor and one near the ceiling. They just hover there though, as Jericho puts forth his questions.

while Melody dismisses it all and heads back to the 'wtf is this', Illyana seems less inclined to just leave it go. "Well 'Shift' should say hello real nice-like since he wasn't invited." Demons. They can be a liiiittle bit territorial.


True to form, the smoke-figure finds itself in a crouch, a three-point stance that lingers for a second before a sound of displaced air fills a quiet moment. In that, the smoke solidifies, and there stands Shift, clad in gunmetal gray. Conventional clothing doesn't tend to work well with his mutation, after all, and unstable molecules border on miraculous.

"Sorry I didn't knock," remarks the Ghanaian drily. He looks from Jericho to Illyana, silver eyes lingering upon the latter for a moment, before settling upon Rant. "No phones. Going dahk for some few days. I followed you." He doesn't acknowledge whether or not he was looking out for Melody during her 'recovery', aside from offering the woman a knowing smirk.

Eyes glance toward the disks, then around at the apartment, before settling on Jericho. "Nice place," he remarks, before letting his eyes fall again upon Illyana. "It's alright. We're all friends here." He rises into a full stance, before casting a wary look toward those disks.


Jericho quirks an eyebrow and takes his hand away from his gun. "I know him." He says quietly to the leathered up blonde next to him. "Worked with him to help stop the Smooth. That was his project last time I saw him. He's okay." Probably should have knocked though because, yeah… demons. Not that he had any way to know that. Hopefully Illyana will take his looking out for mutants as a good sign, though on the whole she's seemed a bit less concerned about that than other X-ers he's met. Probably has to do with the whole Hellqueen thing.

The hacker's eyes, still glowing, slide back to Melody. He doesn't say what the code says. Probably best to let Illyana explain what it is and why it's there. Demonic is a language of power. Say the words in the right order and the right way and things happen. It's simply what the language does, even if you don't know what your'e saying. His traces, when they awakened, took advantage of that to create a very efficient, very powerful coding language that's capable of doing what they've always done a lot more easily.


Melody looked ready to jump and run, and probably cry a little. Her head whipped back in between the three of them, her hands immediately going up as soon as those disks appear, bottom lip trembling. "He's really, really nice.." Is all she could really say in his defense. There were more, but she went brain dead the moment the magical weaponry appeared.

"You can't go dark, how am I supposed to call you.." She murmurs through closed lips, eyes still upon the weapons that float.. and in fact, she said nothing else. She was going to wait til all was calm so she could beg for at least an A, B, or a C.


Illyana's blue eyes, hard and cold like ice meet Shift's with an eerie sort of directness. Most people don't meet each other's gaze like that. Most people have some warmth behind those windows to the soul, too. When Jericho gives the OK though, the disks of light wink out as if they never were. Hey, Illyana does have a rather public ID that says she's a hero, right??

"Knocking. I hear it's a thing." The leather-clad blonde notes dryly. Which is damned amusing. Those that know Illyana know that doors aren't even a thing with her.

Looking back over to Melody, Illyana explains. "It's a demonic tongue. It's used in spellcasting. If you get something wrong when dealing with it, you might get literally dragged to Hell. So I don't really suggest it." She can't really stop Jericho's traces from using it by now, but if she can use the 'scared straight' bit with the other Hacker? Yeah, she'll use that.


Silver eyes again fall upon Melody. "You don't have to call me, Mel. I've got an eye on you." Let that be what it is, his eyes slide over toward Jericho next. "About dat, it's ironic you should be here. Dere ah some few developments we should discuss." The intonation of his voice suggests, however, that he isn't about to hijack this conversation. He's here to make sure that Rant is safe and stays off the smooth. That is his primary objective at all times. One might argue that this could be a prime place for a drug deal.

Shift's eyes don't carry much. A practiced poker face. It's worth noting that he doesn't seem to shy away from the coldness in Illyana's gaze, for its a look he's quite familiar with. Differing origins, to be sure, but all things have a way of simplifying themselves in the carnal realm. "Well, knocking tends to cramp my style," he quips. Man does enjoy making an entrance, after all. His eyes slide toward the vodka, but he doesn't speak up about it. Perceptive types just might notice a touch of jealousy; his flask simply can't fit through the cracks he can fit through.


Well… since they're not going to shoot him or try to push him through stepping disks to demon infested wastelands… vodka can be a thing. Jericho goes to retrieve another tumbler and another bottle (this one is half empty) pouring it out for Shift before offering it over. The guy had been decent after all, well intentioned home invasion notwithstanding.

The fact that Shift is keeping an eye on Rant does occasion a quirked eyebrow. "So here we all are." He murmurs as he sits back down on the couch. K'nert comes over to peer disapprovingly at Shift, the imp hissing a bit more. He disapproves of most people. "Yes, Rant. It's demonic. My traces starting using it after magic woke them up. I had to learn to read and speak it so I could do my own code again." He's still learning truth be told.


Melody slowly lowers her hands, resting them upon her knee, remaining straight and still. She was still unnerved by Illy and Jer's mannerisms, but she tries to play it cool with a slight little smile. Which fades soon after. "Well, I'm careful. I mean, most of the stuff I know I practically keep to myself anyways. So I mean it couldn't hurt to know just a 'wee' bit.. right?" She was hoping she could at least convince Illyana, but those hopes don't go up too far.

Glancing up towards Shift, her lips pucker in thought. "Well what if I want to talk to you? Like.. what if I way to say, 'Hey honey pie, I got some cake or something in the oven and you need to come home and eat or somethin'?'" Corny, but that was her, through and through. "Or like this really cool movie is on Netflix called Filth that we should totally watch together, I mean it's not like you could split yourself sideways and be in two places at once." A beat. "Can you?"

She turns to face Jericho now, watching as the drink is handed off, leaning back just when K'Nert gets a little too close and hisses. On one hand, she wanted to reach out to -try- to pet it, but the other? She enjoys using her fingers. "I'm not going to speak it, I mean.. I kind of don't think that's wise. But I think it would be a good study, something new to read, you know?" She pauses. "Is.. Kuh-ert hungry? I got some chips in my bag.."


"Mixing magic and technology is a bad idea. It's not something you add to your repetoire if you can at all help it." No, Illyana Does Not Approve. It certainly isn't anything approaching light reading. "If you want something new to read, I can turn you on to half a dozen 'dead' languages that aren't as dangerous. Did you miss the 'drag you to Hell' part? I do mean literal Hell you know."


Does Kwabena feel bad about aforementioned home invasion? Not particularly. It's just one of those things; keeping an eye on someone while going dark has its risks. Perhaps the apologetic look sent toward Jericho would be enough.

The glass of vodka is welcomed, a gloved hand reaching out to take and drink. It's not his usual whiskey, but it's also not rum, and that's a plus. Rum is filth reserved for frat boys and basic bitches.

"No, I can't," Kwabena admits to Melody. "But if de plan with Estacado is going to go through, den I need a total reset. Can't be too careful when dealing with assholes like Dackleman." After saying that, though, he walks over toward Melody, leans over, and plants a kiss on her cheek, before resting a hand upon her shoulder. See, he has no beef with Jericho, and thus by proxy, no beef with Illyana, which means he's at least willing to show a bit of his normal-person side to them. Newsflash; Shift is more than a cold-blooded merc.

K'Nert gets a look. The African clearly isn't sure just what to think of the creature, and is admittedly a bit wary about it. Also, he may only be picking up a piece of the conversation, but it's enough. Talk of Hell, as if it were an actual place, not some thing developed to scare ancient cultures? Has him frowning. "I'd take her advice," he adds, glancing again toward Melody while lifting the iced vodka to take another sip. Not bad. Not cheap stuff, he can tell. Silver eyes drift over toward Illyana, and the glass is raised in an appreciative, mock-toast of gratitude.


It's the odd eyes club. Rant can probably do a trick like that. Jericho quirks an eyebrow. Rant is really on this 'Manacode' idea and no matter how they try to communicate that it comes with a lot of drawbacks, she's probably gonna want to know. Hell if she looks hard enough she may even find the right kind of occult bookshop and get a copy of the lexicon Jericho's using to learn. And if she does that on her own no one is going to be there to tell her it's a bad idea to do certain things because someone might rip her soul.

"Rant… you'd need Awakened hardware for this. It may develop a personality. It might also start storing magic in you. I had some of it ripped out of me when I went to Greenland on business and it nearly killed me. If Illyana hadn't been with me, it would have." Okay, the explosion would have killed him and not the magic ripping but he still would have died.

"And it makes you a target for things that want that kind of power… you sure about wanting to know?" He's probably going to have to give her something. The trick will be giving her something that won't come back and bite her in the butt. Too much. This must be how Illyana feels sometimes.


A little frown tugs at the corners of her lips. She was a little spoiled, yes, but she understood when people were trying to help. Especially when they repeatedly told her no. "I wasn't gonna mix it though.." She whines a little, but relents. She -tried- to ignore the Hell part but, really. A person just can't, not as fearful as she is. "Alright alright.." She states, leaning forward to reach out a hand for her notebook. Some things, she just had to take at face value. They said no, she was going to abide by it. For now. "I'll take those other languages though." She offered, right!

Though, before she even gets the notebook, that hand slaps against her leg as an evil eye is turned towards Kwabena. She nearly even said his real name, with how minorly upset she was. "What do you mean a total reset?" And then, she gets a kiss. Which, she totally ignores for the sake of the important question at hand. "You mean.. total reset on phones and networking? Cause I can do that.. or do you mean total reset from me? Cause that's unacceptable." She could go on and on about how that would be bad for business, but what Jericho said? It awoke a new mission and set the tone for her future actions.

"Awakened hardware?" She had to question it, her hand reaching out for her notebook again now, eyes pressed to Jericho. It takes her a moment to think about what he was saying, and.. a moment of her thinking was just not enough. But her mind was set.

Does she really want to know? Now? After hearing all of this? Hell. Fucking. Yes. She needed to feed that excitement that the smooth gave her -some- kind of way. And if Kwabena was going dark? "Um. No." She lies. "Think I'll stick to the dead languages and college." Insert straight face here.

Illyana drops back down onto her seat on the couch, pointing at Jericho with one of the fingers holding her vodka. "You're obviously too nice. You have a thing for picking up strays. It gets you in over your head." Not 'it will', because it already has. Just neither Shift or Melody have the magical senses to feel it.

Shift's nod Illyana's way gets a tilt of her head in return. Even if Jericho does all the vodka-buying. Illyana just drinks the stuff.


Kwabena doesn't at all seem pleased about what Rant is trying to accomplish. He's only had a scant few encounters with 'magic' and mystical things, and to the generally practical merc, he'd be quite happy spending the rest of his life pretending that such things don't exist. Unfortunately, based on what he's seen with his own two eyes, he's got no choice but to acknowledge the potential reality of such things. And no. He doesn't like it.

Not one bit.

A slightly humored look is given toward Rant. "Girl, I couldn't take a reset from you if Hell came out and stared me in de face. Don't worry." He's not going to acknowledge the fact that he's accomplishing the total reset without her help. It's something he's done before, and he's not one to ask for help when help isn't needed.

Finding a spare seat, Kwabena reaches out and pulls a footstool around to perch upon. The glass of vodka is sipped at again, a thoughtful expression coming over his dark face. "Any time I can avoid a reason for becoming a tahget, I do," he notes. "'Cause all too often, when you want to get shit done, it means becoming a tahget. No reason to shake a shit tree unless de shit tree's got something you need."


Jericho doesn't seem at all convinced that Rant's going to leave it at that. In fact he's positive he'll be hearing more about this, either from her or about her. Ah well. He'll confer with Illyana later about just what to do with it. Maybe giving her some dead languages to study might work. Studying Manacode has given him some pretty solid ideas about how to improve conventional coding languages as well, he just hasn't because, well, he can just use demon coding. No reason to improve something inferior when the superior thing is already what you're using.

"Might be able to get you some stuff to do some nifty things with your own code." Hers was a custom language too. You need it for Nanites. They're sort of different from regular computers.


"I'm not a stray.." Okay, she sort of was? Truth be told, she aimed her entire hacking career at beating the great, fabled Aspect. And there she was in their home, learning dead languages and new possibilities. It was funny how it all turned out, which makes her remember to delete all of the crappy things she's posted on the forums about him a few years back. Even if she thinks he still kinda sucks.

As Kwabena sits upon the stool nearest to her, his words get a smile and a wrap of her arms around his neck. Not too tight, but tight enough to be considered a hug until her phone buzzes silently in her pocket. But, Jericho gets answered first. "Probably. My Dad has me enrolling in college again, it's just a matter of where. So I'll need something to do during downtime after I finally decide on a major. Gotta please Daddy Warbucks and all of that."

She leans away from Kwabena, her hand reaching up for a finger in patience as she answers without drawing the cellular out of her pocket. "Rant speaking." She twists her lips slightly, a look given towards Shift as she draws back enough to stand. "I told you, November 7th. That's the only time I've been able to make proper arrangements." Her hands sink into her pockets now, turning to walk right towards the door. "The Woman is not going to be happy about you changing the location.." She was out the door without another word, but she still could be heard out in the hallway, sticking close by for Kwabena's sake.

Illyana watches Rant exit, but doesn't remark on it. She knows how it is. Business comes up and needs taken care of. She looks back over to Jericho and gestures to Shift, given that the man clearly had something he needed to discuss with Jericho as well and well, he's like her very own captive audience. She can talk to him, or abuse him, later.


Kwabena watches as Melody departs, taking a moment to draw another sip of vodka. November 7th. The date has him smirking somewhat, but he doesn't remark about it. Instead, silver eyes turn back to settle upon Jericho.

"Damian Woods. Also known as 'Scales'. Chemical manipulation ability. He's de one who created de smooth, and a scientist named 'Pablo Falzoni' modified it to make it more addictive. Fortunately, dey ah both…" How do we put this?

"Undah lock and key."

Boy, he could sure use a cigarette now, but that would be beyond rude. Instead, he draws another drink of vodka. "Now dat we've cut off de source, de supply is drying up. But, this presents a pahticulah problem, because Richard Dackleman has become almost unreachable." He leans forward, resting his hands upon his knees, a heavy expression coming over him. "I suppose I could just leave it at dat." After all, the 'war on drugs' was lost a long time ago, and frankly, Kwabena could care less. He was into this for mutant kind. It's not as if he's clean; the guy smokes weed and on rare occasions takes a hit of cocaine. Life of a merc, and all… it's not pretty, and he's not the best at it. Never was, never will be. "But between you and me? I want Dackleman eliminated. Scales may have been de one who stahted dis, but Dackleman's de one who made it global." He sets his eyes upon Jericho. There's more he needs to tell the man, out of a sense of debt and loyalty, but for a moment, the conversation needs room to breathe.


"There's a danger that Dackleman could try to recreate it or something like it as well. I certainly understand that. Are you asking for my help?" Jericho's not in any shape to help right now. With a piece of his being snipped out in and the hands of a demon lord, he's husbanding his strength for one fight that could well be his last. However, that doesn't mean he's not willing to consider it if he can survive and recover, or offer aid of a more remote sort. Though he's not entirely sure that Shift will need it. Rant is as good as he is in many ways. Better in some, worse in others sure but she seems about on his level. Perhaps a bit less ruthless. Had Jericho been operating some of those networks, there'd be a lot of death and property damage in Gotham.

Er… a lot more. He glances over to Illyana. She isn't just his girlfriend. He trusts her judgement and values her insights and people are things she has keen insight into in many ways.


Illyana sets the sole of her heavy, ass-kicking boots against the coffee table and sucks down some of her vodka consideringly. "Tell me what you're asking for, Shift. I'm a mutant. I'm all for Smooth going Away. And I'm willing to help. But I have something I need to do, sooner rather than later. I'm afraid it's my priority. And, in case you need the words, thank you. For dealing with that." Because even though a lot of things are on Illyana's radar, not everything can be dealt with.


A nod of Kwabena's head is his agreement. Jericho made the point he didn't verbalize; Dackleman is the kind of crime lord who just won't stop. He'll find a way. What Shift doesn't need to mention is that the Ghanaian has a vendetta out for Dackleman, wrapped entirely around what he did to Rant. Forcing a woman to become addicted to a lethal narcotic? That kind of shit won't stand.

"In a way," he answers Jericho. "Dr. Falzoni is as much a victim as anyone. Right now, he's working on modifying his recipe for 'smooth', adding a sleeper agent. Something built into de chemistry that will eradicate de addictive properties once de propah antiserum is administered." He spreads his hands. "Essentially, undoing all of de damage dat was done, with one simple shot."

Kwabena sits back. "Dackleman has a pre-cog on his side. It's why nobody's been able to get at him. Only way I can see to draw him out is to oversaturate his network. Throw so much smooth at him dat he and his peopah get sloppy. If Falzoni can engineer dis cure? I have de means to ovahsaturate his network with de very drug he was selling." He frowns. It was a radical move, becoming his own enemy to accomplish and end result; wiping out Dackleman, wiping out the smooth for good, and throwing a cure at society that will fix up all of the addicts.

Of course, the unspoken admission is… if this plan comes to fruition, then Shift himself will become the man behind the drug he's been fighting against. Temporarily, at least.

"If it goes down, things are going to get pretty ugly. But it should only take a week, maybe two. Only thing I can ask is…" He looks between the two, acknowledging Illyana's gratitude with a brief break in his stony demeanor that comes in the form of a softer expression.

"Stay de hell out of my way until Dackleman's dead."


"I've got no issues with permanent solutions to problems and I think it's safe to say that Illyana's a lot less sqeamish than a lot of her friends about that sort of thing too. I'll help, if I can, but you may have noticed I'm not looking a hundred percent…" And he's not. Jericho looks Tired. Not physically weary but something about the way he carries himself, the cadence of his words. Like a man who has been dealing with a lot for a long time. Not the guy he saw in Gotham, certainly.

"And until what Illyana mentioned is dealt with - which it will be soon one way or another - I haven't got the wherewithal for anything else."


Illyana lifts one finger to her lips in a 'shhhh' manner. "I'm a good little hero. I don't know what you're talking about." There are certain things that the X-Men don't want associated with them. Permanent solutions is one of them. And Illyana does try to avoid them. But she's also not going to throw herself in front of a sword to keep a bad guy from dying, either.

"Sounds like this got personal. I can understand that. But. If you need help." Illyana gives him a nod and smirks. "You apparently know where to find us. I'd really advise against surprises though. My pets don't always take well to surprises."


"Cheers to small miracles," murmurs Kwabena drily, before lifting the glass in a mock toast. How many times do good plans get mucked up by people squeamish over pulling a goddamn trigger, after all?

If the Ghanaian had noticed Aspect looking worse for wear, he's said nothing of it. "If peopah staht asking, just do me a favah, and deflect where you can. A lot more can be done with words, or lack dere of, dan with a gun." In other words, he shouldn't need that kind of help; nothing that will require physical strain, time, and an arsenal of weapons. Not yet, at least.

"I'll knock, next time," he quips, glancing over toward K'Nert before casting his silver eyes back to Illyana. "Specially now dat I know Rant isn't coming here to try and get a fix." He knocks back the rest of his vodka and stands, resting the glass upon a table. "Thanks for de drink." Then, he glances toward Jericho, frowning. "Take care of yahself, okay?" A small grin. "I'll show myself out."

There's a poofing sound that fills the room in an instant, during which Shift simply transforms into a mass of black smoke, tendrils curling around each other in a living manner. The smoke soars back toward that window, seeping through gradually until all sign of him is gone.


"Man likes his entrances. Must have gone to the Batman school of theatricality." Jericho murmurs as Shift 'shows himself out'. He pours himself another vodka and Illyana one too. Well, actually probably the reverse since Illyana has a propensity to just take the full one. Not that he minds. He's used to it. K'nert huffs and goes back to the freezer. He's been a bit oddly quiet since… er, well, since Jericho's binding.

"Everything okay on the other end?" Jericho finally gets to ask, having noted Illyana's leather getup when she first came in. He opens a drawer on one of the end tables and fishes a small box out of it.


Illyana gives a short nod. "As well as can be expected. I've been wringing some information out of some folks that S'ym managed to round up." So whatever she did to the big demon, he's up and about again. Of course, who knows how much time that was for him given the way Limbo's timestream works. "I'm feeling myself again so, I want to leave a few messages and then I think we're off to beard the dragon in his lair."


"I should leave a couple myself. At least let Nan and Partisan know." Neither will be happy but both should understand. "S'ym not giving you any trouble?" He doesn't expect that the Big Demon would. He needs Illyana at least for now and Jericho is positive that getting disciplined factored into his plans. It's the expected counter move. Illyana would have to do it to maintain control.

Which is kind of disturbing, knowing that he would risk that. If Jericho did it, it would be one thing. He does it for his own reasons and it's fairly well established that he'd do anything for the Darkchilde. S'ym? That's a different kettle of fish.


Illyana shakes her head. "Nothing out of the ordinary." Even if S'ym's playing for their side here, he has his own place to keep amongst t he other demons. And that means bending the knee, but not being a rug. "Understand? Yeah. Forgive? Not likely." Illyana says of Partisan and especially Nancy.


"Yeah…" Jericho nods. "Nancy is just as much at risk as anyone though in the same situation and Partisan, much as I trust her at my back, could get so very, very messed up doing this. Might lose whatever is left of her that isn't the wolf." Losing either would hurt Jericho nearly as badly as losing Illyana. If they had other magically versed allies… maybe they'd be safe to bring, but Jericho only knows Illyana and a witch in Flushing Meadows and he isn't about to ask her. She's nice but he doesn't know her well enough to ask her to risk her life on this.

"I imagine Kitty or Berto or Doug might be in the same boat, mmm?"


"Yeah. They're not going to be terribly happy with me." Illyana admits. Doug's power isn't likely to be helpful with what they're doing and Kitty… well, Illyana just knows what Belasco will try to do if Kitty is anywhere in his grasp. She gives a mirthless chuckle. "Folks don't like it when you do things for their own good." She admits wryly.


"Don't I know it…" Jericho has been both the guy doing things for people's own good, and the guy having things done for his own good in the past. He draws in a breath and lets it out slowly. "Anything I need to know about or can help with before we actually do the deed?"

Illyana's very good about anticipating things but sometimes she's used to knowing certain facets of magical life and forgets it's not the norm for everyone. Besides, Jericho will take just about any excuse to learn more about her, even these days.


Illyana takes what's left of the vodka in her glass and drains it in one go. Then she sets the glass aside and turns so she can swing herself astride his lap, facing him and drops her arms on his shoulders. Her fingertips tease the hair at the nape of his neck as she watches those expressive eyes of his. "No matter what you see, or hear. No matter what he tells you. Don't let him sway you." She gives him a slight smile. "Not that I expect you to, but that would be his biggest win. Turning you against me."


Jericho smiles gently. He'd fear the same. He does fear the same, in a way. Losing her in that manner would be as bad, possibly worse, than watching her die. "I won't." He says. He doesn't promise… promises are things Illyana takes very seriously. But he means it like one. "Don't let him make you think that I will, or have. I'm yours. Remember." She doesn't seem inclined to forget but in the heat of a fight? With that kind of magic being slung around? Possible.

"Now… I have something for you." Jericho opens the box to reveal a silver wolf's head with amber eyes. There's a loop on the top that a chain could be run through for wearing it off a belt or around the neck and a pin in back so that it can be used as a brooch.


And that's just as much a worry. Belasco knows how to play both sides. Faith isn't something that demons, and quasi-demons have a lot of. She nods, not saying the words but the intent is there. Clear.

She looks down at the box with an arched brow, because it's not like either of them are prone to gift-giving or 'romantic gestures'. Jericho calling her 'his girlfriend' is probably the closest they've come to something like that. She sits back a bit, taking the weight of it in her hand and letting her thumb sweep over it to take in the tactile presence of it. She looks up at him finally and there's that quiet smile that seems so out of place given her attire. "It's you." She says in soft tones.


Jericho's smile matches hers. That small, quiet thing that doesn't seem as full as it should be, nor as bright as it once was. It's as good as it gets for him anymore and there aren't many things that can coax it out of him. Illyana is most of them. "Yeah… it's me." It took him a lot of time and thought to settle on what it should be and even more time to get the shape and materials right. Unlike most things that he makes by automation and computers, this… couldn't be that. Couldn't be cold and clean and precise. It had to have soul.

It had to have a bit of him in it.


Illyana leans foward, holding the token in one hand while the other slides around to curl fingers in his hair tightly so she can kiss him with a fervor that is likely to steal his breath. Eventually she breaks the kiss, nipping his lips lightly as she nuzzles him. "Yours." She says, the soft word itself a promise.

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