|What: Logan meets a new recruit that comes with some Wholesome Backup.|
Mariah finally got around to looking at the card that a certain stranger had given her in a bar outside Westchester. He'd mentioned something about a school. He'd talked about mutants. With the upheavals going on in her life since coming to NYC, she is beginning to think that she can't get by with living like a feral cat anymore. She needs more information. She needs to figure out where she's going with her life.
Sitting in the back of the cafe, in the corner, where she can observe every entrance and exit, Mariah waits, putting down the disposable dumb phone she'd bought just for such occasions. She's just put in the call.
Billy came because Mariah asked him to, plus there's always a chance Adam could try and 'proposition' Mariah again to be his concubine or slave and as Captain Marvel (Shazam) he'd be able to at least protect her a little.
As he looks around, his magical senses (what very little he has due to being picked by the Wizard to someday replace him on the Rock of Eternity) are on alert. Mariah gives off an aura that he can detect so it's possible that most mutants could ping his radar.
As Mariah makes the call, he asks her, "Gosh, are you sure this is a good idea? Who is this person you're calling?" He's genuinely curious as he trust Mariah and her judge of character perfectly by this point.
Sniffing the air a few times as he entered Logan caught the brief scent of Mariah. She had an aroma about her that was more akin to South and Central America. The scent was still feint. Plus, she always had a bit of a gold-like smell about her person too. These scents were nearly undetectable to the regular nose. Logan's nose was far from regular. His blue eyes went about the place.
Seeing the usual mixture of student, coffee goer and hungry patron the man in blue jeans, a black t-shirt that was actually tucked in and a black leather coat he was pulling at due to discomfort. Logan went toward Mariah and gave the woman a nod. "What brings ya here," then his gaze went to the young kid that was near her. "Beat it kid, private conversation. Besides ain't ya supposed to be in class or something," he looked at Mariah not knowing she had brought the young Billy with her.
"He's with me," Mariah interjects at Logan. "And he's not as young as he looks. Threw me, too, at first; he's given me a place to stay for awhile. Better than where I was, which is why I wanted to talk to you." She reaches over and rubs Billy's shoulder gently, and then asides to him, "It's necessary. If he wanted to hurt me, he'd have done it by now." Her eyes go up catch Logan's. She smiles faintly, knowingly. "Wouldn't you?"
Billy blinks at Logan, his attitude kind of sliding over him as he's used to people like him trying to bully him. He manages to say, "Golly Mister, you must have woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning... your hair is all sticking up!" He says this with a smile and earnestly, definitely no guile in the boy whatsoever, he's exactly as he appears... well, on the surface at least.
He turns to Mariah as she tells the man that he's there at Mariah's request and her admonishment that Logan could have hurt her by now and says, "Be careful Mariah..." as he reaches back to take her hand and squeezes it gently. He then looks at Logan and says, "You hurt her, and you'll answer to me." His tone is firm, and something about him belies his youthful looks and Beaver Cleaver manners and mein.
Logan gave Mariah a look. The man said nothing for a long time. Sniffing the air again, Billy had a familiar smell of ozone with other scents laced in. These other scents reminded him of Storm's earth magic. While he never smelled that particular combination of an element, in this case thunder, with that same bit of alteration that came with elemental magic the scent was familiar enough to warn Logan. There was clearly more to this "Leave it to Beaver" kid than Mariah had let on. A nod went to the woman then his eyes went to The Beav.
Eyeing Billy, Logan said "Kid. I could end ya faster than ya can do whatever yer gonna do, but I ain't like that. Mariah n' I got a mutual understandin'. Lotta people want her in cuffs though. Understand that before ya know what yer gettin' yerself into." The short man was going on the presumption that Billy had never seen Mariah's criminal file. Logan had. "Y'know, this wholesome routine ya got. Use it to yer advantage kid. Most people don't think yer capable of doin', whatever ya do. Keep that in mind next time yer in a fight."
"Go ahead and have a seat. This time, coffee's on me if you want it," Mariah offers to Logan, gesturing to a seat across from her.
"I appreciate you standing up for me, Billy, but it's all right. There's a lot I need to get answers on, and a lot you need to know. I hate to say it... but you may change your mind about me once I get started," she says to Billy, serious. "If you do? It's all right. No hard feelings, and I will never hold it against you."
Taking a deep breath, Mariah exhales. Where to begin. She folds her hands together on the table and fixes her sight on them as she organizes her thoughts. After a moment of silence, she begins some exposition. "Both of you know I'm a mutant." She says this quiet enough that the other patrons aren't going to pick it up easily. "I was raised to be a part of a communist revolutionary army. I was a child soldier. I'm an orphan and a street punk. I spent five years in and out of cages, pits, locked rooms and jail cells. I've jumped borders from South America to New York. All I've known is running, escaping and hiding, but you know? You can only run for so long before you're just to tired to do it anymore."
"Logan... I want to ask you what you know about the Brotherhood. All of it, the good and the bad, because they want me."
As Billy, he can't admit that he's seen the files kept by the League and Titans. He doesn't know this man and too many people outside of his teammates have gleaned who he is already and so he says, "Holy moley! What she may have done in the past isn't important!" He says, his belief in her as strong as steel and his lips set stubbornly and says, "I can handle myself..." That's about all he'll allow for what the short man may or may not know about him and mutters under his breath, "And my name is Billy... not Kid!".
When Billy hears what Mariah says, his heart goes out to her. Though his job as a superhero is to capture criminals, he more than any other of the main Leaguers and Titans believes in redemption and that everyone deserves a second chance. Well that and the fact that Billy too was a street kid for a long time before he was chosen by the Wizard. When she brings up the Brotherhood, he just listens, he knows rumors, but rumors are just that.
Logan was quiet for a moment. "I don't know what to make about em'. Their leader, a guy named Gambit, is hard to peg. One moment I see him he's helpin' me n' mine. The next he's hinderin' us. All I can do is tell ya 'bout associates. Some thoughts others have on him, 'cause when it comes to me the jury's still out." All of his words were low. He paused to let that information wash over Mariah.
"He's hung out with a woman named Mystique. Assassin. Wanted in more countries than you except there's no defendin' her charges. No reasonable doubt. She's killed fer money, high n' low profile targets. That's a strike against him. A big one too." Pausing for a moment Logan was trying to make sure he had the facts straight. "Then I ran into him in Madipoor. Dangerous place if ya never been. Back then he had his own agenda. While it seemed to line up wit' the side of angels, he knew too much, had too much goin' on fer me to think he was actin' outta the goodness of his heart."
Thinking on it for a long time, "Simple way to describe him, a thief wit' a code. I just don't know how that code stacks up to worldly views. I know some people that like him too. Some that would vouche for em'. This counts in his favor. I don't know if they know more than me, if they're speakin' fer the stuff I can't and haven't seen, or what. Questions about Gambit's group is about as loaded as they came cause I'm not sure if I should call em' a friend, an enemy or somethin' inbetween. He's done so much on each side, I can only say there's an endgame and I ain't sure who it'll serve except himself," he said in a firm tone looking at Mariah.
Then his eyes went to Bily, "Sorry, kid." The apology was both for the name, and for whatever image that Billy held for Mariah that had now been shattered. Truth was sometimes a painful pill the swallow. Billy clearly didn't examine this one, but Logan couldn't fault him. He was some young kid that was trying to do the right thing. Logan had to respect that.
"I kind of got that impression when Gambit offered me a place to stay in Mutant Town, then came up to my room with hard liquor, tried to get me drunk enough to sleep with him, and then didn't take no for an answer," Mariah comments, still keeping her voice down. There's an edge in her voice, but she doesn't seem as shaken up about it as some women might be, which is not a good sign, psychologically. Either such an evening is par for the course of her life, she hasn't processed it yet, or she is so far from a normal existence that it doesn't register to her. Yeah, it's getting worse, Billy. Brace yourself.
"I've also had some pendeho named Black Adam come calling. Yeah, nothing sounds more appealing than an offer to be some weirdo's exotic mutant slave girl." She unfolds her hands, tapping her finger on the table idly. "So... I either keep running, buy protection by any means necessary, or prepare to make a stand and fight."
Billy just blinks, he never heard about that and reaches out to just put a gentle hand on Mariah's shoulder. It may be par for the course for her but that doesn't make it okay. Billy says nothing however, no words he could offer would likely give comfort and he doesn't bother saying anything like, 'Well that... bum! I'll go over there and clean his clock ofr you' because she deserves more consideration than that. Gambit will get his eventually, Billy's a close friend to many of the Gods and he's well aware that karma can be a female dog...
"They operate outta mutant town. I don't know where." Logan paused. Hearing the rest, "Ya, I'd stay away from em' if I were you." Gambit was kind of a sleeze sometimes. Then his eyes stayed on the woman, "If I were you I'd find someone ya can trust. Shack up wit' them," pausing Logan amended, "I meant live wit'. No more. No less. If ya keep runnin' you'll never know what it's like to have a home. It'll help ya," Logan's voice carried the weight of experience.
Black Adam was someone completely new to him. The affairs of Khandaq. So, that was entirely a mystery to him. His gaze went to Billy. Again, his heart was in the right place. Mariah didn't seem to be the type to be using someone of Billy's age. So, Logan surmised that their friendship was at least amicable. Granted, it probably played in Mariah's benefit that Billy was so noble. However, he didn't see her quite taking advantage of it. People could surprise him sometimes.