|Rats on a Limb|
|What: Krisa and Mystique run into one another and share a few details about themselves.|
It's going to be one of those days, isn't it? A day when people do stupid things, and then other people have to compensate for those things. Like blatant anti-mutant sentiment. Krisa, at this moment, is hanging by a food from one of the eaves of a roof down an alley. Just one foot... but perfectly balanced. And what is she observing? Nothing less than a trio of fish-gilled and web-footed brothers being shoved around by some rather large normal people. At the moment, she's sort of hoping the fish-kids have powers to get them out of this trouble. Right now, it's not looking like it,"The whole city, not a single bank robbery... Well, I suppose stopping a hate crime is worthwhile anyway..."
It usually takes a lot to truly upset one like Mystique. Anger is just another emotion to control, to manipulate. Like everything else, it can be bent to her will, used to her advantage. Get inside the mind of another, take root, nudge things along in whichever direction she deems necessary.
A couple of gene-trash humans ganging up on mutant youths, however...
It's a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Not far away from that alley, a nice new silver Mercedes Benz pulls up to the curb and powers down. An impeccably well groomed and dressed woman steps out, locks up, and disappears from the sidewalk. An instant later, someone else comes out. Now it's some anarchistic British punk chick with spiked, bright pink pixie hair, fishnets, and an assorted collection of black leather including a biker jacket, spiked collar, and worn out combat boots. Not exactly the sort of person that seems ready to take on the world, but what is, is.
"Shouldn't you boys be busy playing Modern Warfare over mummy and daddy's wifi? Or are you tired of having your asses handed to you by petulant children."
Oooooh. And now this happens... Elevation. She's seen this happen before, and it usually turns ugly. Deciding that 'enough is enough', she kicks off the eave she's hanging from. Twisting in the air, she lands in a crouching position, one hand propping her up. This actually creates a small crater where she lands, shattering the concrete with a loud, noisy crash,"Okay, kids. Break it up. Everyone go home. Everyone got to say their piece and let off a little steam." The fish boys take a few steps back, even as the 'normies' flip her the bird. Another comments to the 'brit',"Oh god, Anarchy in the UK is over. Get the hell over it idiot."
Most unexpected. Lots of things can drop from above in this city. Things that can also turn concrete into powder, in such a small, streamlined package, that's even more rare. "Oh, and what have we here..." the punk girl chimes back in. "Do my eyes deceive me, or has Rattus Norvegicus Prime decided to stay around the city? Granted, there are worse places to go on the east coast."
The punks may be ignored in the sense that she doesn't pay them any mind, but they're hardly off the hook. While she's talking, her fingers start to grow in length, extending outward like snakes until she's got ten thorn-lined tentacles growing out from those two hands.
"You're welcome to nibble upon their bloody corpses in a moment. All of your tiny friends can join right in."
Well now. THAT'S unexpected. The nostrils of the robot flare,"You... The woman from the party. Well. That explains how you know certain things... There'll be no killing here, though. I've got this-" She actually grabs one of the boys... by the back of his head... and smashes it into the brick wall. He loses a few teeth, breaks his nose, and slumps to the ground... But he's alive at least. The fish-boys, meanwhile, take off running, and the other normies at least TRY. Suddenly, they've become ignorable bylines in this conversation. It's almost negligent the way she destroys the teen's face,"What ARE you?"
"Woman..? Oh goodness no, I was no woman at the party," the punk replies, complete with one distorted hand held against her sternum as if in surprise. And, there she stands, watching, as you beat the snot out of those thugs. Her voice becomes somewhat detached when she says "Yes, because that's much more effective" amidst the crunching and groaning before her. "After a thrashing that sound, they should hope for such a definitive end to their suffering."
"What am -I?-" she asks, surprised all over again. "What about you? You are by far and wide the most peculiar creature I've seen in the last six months, and between you and me? I've seen a whole lot of peculiar."
Krisa actually snatches one of the teen thugs as it flees, and almost negligently flips the thing up in the air, catching him by his legs. There's a twist of one of her arms and suddenly a foot is facing the wrong way. She drops the kid, smacks him surprisingly lightly (for her) with the back of her hand, and he's soon unconscious. The third one? She lets it flee (provided Mystique doesn't put a stop to it. "Sorry. You humans all look alike to me. Secondary sex characteristics are difficult to differentiate. Smell is easier. You were very flattering. Do you mind getting that last one? They need to be taught a lesson so they don't do it again, but going to jail might ruin their lives. This is, believe it or not, far kinder."
She lifts an eyebrow, somewhat curious,"You're very good at not answering questions, aren't you? Fine. I'll answer yours if you'll answer mine. I'm something the National Institute of Mental Health rather wishes it'd never created."
One of these poor idiots, fleeing without facing the proper doling of wrath? Not a chance. Those tentacle fingers leap out and entwine the runner's legs, promptly dropping him to the pavement. By the time he spins around onto his back, there's a petite foot in a clunky combat boot on his sternum. There's a hand full of thorned tentacles writhing about in his face, and a 9mm pistol held at his forehead. "Do mind whom you decide to pick a fight with, dear. There's really no telling what they might have to defend themselves with. Both are capable of causing you countless years of agony," she offers with a perfectly calm voice as she slowly cuts into the man's face with those thorns. "Only one of them is evolutionarily superior."
Both are also great means to keep him distracted long enough for her to break his knee. No tricks, no shot of the gun. She simply affects a joint in a means which it had never been meant to handle.
The pink-haired girl stands and kisses the slide of her pistol before waving him off with it. "Toodles!"
Now then, back to the -interesting- person. She tucks the compact sidearm away beneath her jacket, slouching against an alley wall with arms folded in front of herself, hands back to normal. "A mentally unstable machine, perish the thought. Your synthetic olfactory speaks the truth, I do know you from the party."
In an instant she's now standing there in the exact same posture in the rotund, elderly form of Leonard Hagadorn, complete with voice. "And you're just as fetching without the dress."
Krisa jumps, a good twenty feet, up, and grabs hold of a hanging eave with her free hand. She just sort of hangs there by that one hand lazily,"Well, come on. Let's leave. Someone's going to call the cops now. I'm assuming you can follow. I'll take it relatively slow. Leaving in your vehicle should, probably, not be an imperative." Hanging there, the machine's head tilts ever so slightly,"Ironically, my mind is more synthetic than my body. I was not born of evolutionary imperative, but instead of man's desire to help man. I suspect YOU are a product of evolutionary imperative."
After taking an apparent moment to think, she goes own,"So a shapeshifter then. You do realize you're hitting on a synthetic thing. I take a certain proprietary pride in this appearance, it's true... But more an artisanal pride. Tell me, do you have enhanced olfactory abilities as well? How did you figure out I was synthetic? How much do you know?"
Leonard offers a broad, warm looking smile. "I was of course referring to myself, young lady. Or would that be 'young machine?'" Following does take a little more doing, but this metamorph is one heck of a climber and no slouch when it comes to raw physical prowess. Back to the little punk girl she goes, running, jumping, and using the building's exterior features to give herself a swift boost after you. "Another stage in the life of a lowly labrat. Well isn't that bloody well great. Is there anything else I should be aware of, like those weapons I saw come from your body the night of the party?"
With your observation, and resulting question, the girl flashes you a wicked grin. "Of course. But you've got the curves in -all- of the right places, honey. If it's so wrong to appreciate the view then I don't want to be right."
"Only when I wish to," she cryptically replies. "Come now, no normal body does -that- to an alley without breaking itself to pieces. I watch, and I listen, Miss 'Rat' 'Rat' of Nimh." Not that she has a complete picture yet, but there's enough information to start drawing some hazy conclusions. "One more point to you," she finally adds, while becoming as much of an identical twin to you as she can manage. "The same look gets to be so dreadfully boring after a time."
Krisa finds herself smiling. Perhaps in spite of herself,"Well, appreciate the view all you like then. So tell me? Is your ability to shapeshift based entirely on artistic ability, or is their an element of DNA acquistion as well? You certainly seem something of an artist yourself." She draws her OWN conclusions when she ends up with an identical twin. "You're an intelligent young... what IS the proper pronoun for one such as yourself?" She continues scaling the wall. She's actually so agile (unusual for a robot) that it's almost like watching some strange spider scamper up the wall.
"Things you should know? You mean besides the fact that I'm legally classifiable as a level 4 biohazard?" Technically speaking? True. "Though the people who classified me are idiots. They don't understand how I work. "Rat of Nimh. So you got that? It's my favorite movie. NIMH. It wants to put me down. Is that a problem for you?"
"Mutant," she simply replies, and does so with a particular amount of pride. As quickly as a person can snap their fingers, she's back to the punk girl. "Though you can also call me Jacqueline Gauge, if you wish. It takes surprisingly little. People are not as complex as they'd like to think they are when it comes to cellular composition." Any limits or specifics she keeps to herself. Why should anyone else know? It's her single biggest trick, and secrets are her bread and butter.
Hmm, a level four biohazard. "Plot thickens," she mutters with an almost malicious grin. "Most people are, you'll have no objection from me on that." Then, is it a problem for her? That question is enough to make her hesitate to consider her answer. "Not a problem in the most obvious sense." You aren't human, so she's not going to hate you on principle. You're not mutant, so she's not going to see you as being on the same level as her. Perhaps somewhere within the upper levels of acceptance, as it rather seems like you're not too keen on humans, yourself. That could be useful. Plus, the opportunity to try and manipulate a rat, or a hive mind of them? Curious, to say the least. "From where I'm standing, it would be much more entertaining to watch you succeed over their efforts."
Krisa nods,"Alright, Jackie. Then, young mutant it is. Or old. I don't suppose age means much to someone who can change, presumably, their cellular structure. I'm only thirty or so, myself. But such experiences..." She mantles the roof finally, and kneels. Almost immediately, rats from seemingly nowhere swarm the roof and begin to climb all over the robot,"I became something so much more than I was meant to be. I was meant to gather information, you see. Passively. Do you know what that's like? I suspect you do."
"I sprung from mankind, metaphorically, and now it wishes to destroy me. But there's so much potential. Mutants... I feel a certain... kinship with them. They understand what it's like to have their progenitors turn on them. Is that arrogant? And yet, I've made so much more of myself. Tell me, my mutant friend... What of you?"
Once again, no correction is made, one way or the other. Truth of the matter is that even Jackie doesn't know how old she is. 'Old enough' usually sums it up. Though, you... "A thirty year old rat, or a thirty year old machine?" she inquires, then stands there in silent awe at all of the rats scurrying toward the construct. Right, then. Some manner of hive mind sorcery seems to be in play. "And I suppose you put your large army of tiny allies to use gathering this information for you?"
Good thing Jacqueline didn't share any more info than she has. You absorb details, and you're wanted by an Institute. Security leak, anyone? Yet, on the other hand... This is a most peculiar situation. A kinship for mutants, a completely unorthodox conscious mind, the ability to gather intel, all wrapped up nice and neat in what appears to be one very tough body. You -could- be useful. Erik doesn't need to know about this one, mainly because she's going to keep you at arm's length. Gather the intel which -she- wants, not what the opponents of the Brotherhood may want.
"I stand for our freedom," she truthfully replies. "I'm here to see to it that my kind may survive, and be seen for what we truly are." Humankind's replacement. "Until then we will be hunted, persecuted, and never left alone." That should all sound familiar enough to you.
Krisa turns her gaze over her shoulder. Literally, her head spins in a way that doesn't depend on human skeletal structure,"Your statement assumes there is any difference between the creatures surrounding me and myself. It's a complicate thing. But yes. They feed me information in real time. I learn, I grow, I adapt, I build, I assimilate. Survival is what I'm best at. As for freedom? Well, depends on who you ask. Either I'm the most free thing on earth, as laws do not apply to me... or I'm the least free thing, because laws do not protect me." And then she's moving, striding towards the edge of the roof with rats hanging off of her, apparently ready to leap to the next,"Freedom's a worthy cause. If you want, I can give you the information necessary to contact me. I don't sleep, so if I'm not busy, I can usually afford to come help."
Alright, that's slightly creepy. Ironically, it's also something which Jackie would be capable of doing. Still, to see someone -else- doing it, mechanical body or not? -Other- people, or beings, or whatever, aren't supposed to do that. "I've gathered there's all manner of complication when trying to relate to you," she replies in a somewhat teasing fashion. "Standing in this purgatory between the law, you have a unique opportunity to choose your own path, within reason. Step too far out into the open, you lose that protective veil of anonymity."
When the offer is given, it's responded to in kind. Jacqueline offers up a card with some contact info for herself. An ally such as yourself could most certainly prove useful. One can never have too many wildcards in their possession. "Then we shall speak again."
Ironically, for all her towering intellect, she can be a bit naive in her desire to believe in humanity's nobility. Even mutants. She doesn't reach for a card, exactly. More, one boils up from the seething mass of rodents quickly covering here. A single rat, clutching it, hustles over to Mystique to hold it up in its tiny paws. "You can keep the card-" This said as she focuses a gaze on it,"I've got the information." Not a whole lot about her that ISN'T creepy. "Anonymity protects me. I am hard to kill. Not impossible. So in that, you are correct." She crouches, readying to leap,"Be careful with yourself, Jackie. Whoever you are. This isn't a very kind world, beautiful as it may be. I think you understand this, though. Truly, if you are ever in trouble, do not hesitate to find me. I'm always around. Wherever you live, you're never far from a rat." Okay, that part is a bit of drama. No, she's not IN every rat, but she'd be glad to see people assume that.