Who Wants To Talk About Race War?!
Roleplaying Log: Who Wants To Talk About Race War?!
IC Details

In which Carolus and Gwen discuss contingencies in the event that the return of Apocalypse is, in fact, nigh.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: May 13, 2020
IC Location: Carolus's Residence
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 16 May 2020 02:53
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [*\# None]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

* OOC Time: Thu May 14 19:14:34 2020 *

* * *

May 13, 2020.


I am quite certain you know what time it is.
Which is to say:
I would like to hang out.
Half-business, half-pleasure.
There are some things I do not want to think about that we need to anyway.
My territory, or yours?
We can put off the business for a while if you like.
It's a conversation we're going to need to repeat with others though.
And those need to stay separate.
Contingencies, you know.

* * *


Is it time to talk about murders again?
It's my favorite time of year.
Like a christmas that comes once or twice a month.
We unwrap the ribbons and unpack our issues.
Fun for the whole X-Family.
Given the choice between 'tastefully appointed condo unfortunately located in Jersey'
And 'abandoned back room I have a sleeping bag in fortunately located near not-Jersey'
I am forced to pick Jersey.
You ask only the most hard-hitting questions.

* * *


No. Well, maybe sort of?
It is more about determining course of action if…
You know.
The God-King of the Smurfs wakes up.
You had Smurfs, right? It wasn't just clown gnomes instead?
So I suppose it is more about preventing our own murders.
Presently there are no new murders to discuss.
Only hypothetical murders.
I assume that it will involve unwrapping issues.
But that is mostly because we tend to manage to do that regardless.
I find that it is ordinarily productive, though.
Would you mind packing for an extended stay?
Setting aside that I enjoy your company, which I will be clear is motivator for this request…
Based on known parameters, I am a projected early casualty in this situation.
I am fairly confident that those parameters do not account for reliable assistance.

* * *


We had Smurfs.
They were lame, unlike Trolls.
You can just say 'hey, I expect to get extra murdered with sprinkles'.
Your place is fine.
I'll get a bus.

TRAVELLING TO JERSEY via GREYHOUND takes a little while but soon enough Ghost Spider is…

Ringing his doorbell! In 'full' costume, plus a pair of pyjama bottoms over the super-suit and a collared jacket for warmth and subtlety. She looks like a clown dressed her!

But that's pretty standard, all told. For laughs she buzzes his doorbell a few more times.

* * *


I sort of do, but that wouldn't be entirely honest.


The sound of footsteps descending stairs heralds his approach to the front door. Carolus opens the door after a few buzzes have occurred— he's dressed in pajamas as well. A loose t-shirt with an odd overall cut to it to accommodate his wings is accompanied by flannel pajama bottoms. His primary right arm is held in a light sling, a faint odor of some over-the-counter topical lingering near him.

His antennae are no longer awkwardly bent from wearing a gas mask that wasn't fitted for him. They rise and fall as he looks down at her, his lips curling faintly at the corners.

"I hadn't ever thought of it before, but I suppose that dressing like that in transit would both be comfortable and more than likely convince attentive riders that you're just a cosplayer. Would it be insulting to say it suits you?" He asks.

"I'm going to need you to describe Trolls, by the way."

The mothman pulls the door open wider and steps to the side to allow entry.

* * *

Ghost Spider laughs, her smile hidden behind her mask. "There's a lot of reasons, but if a fully costumed hero-type tries to get on a greyhound, people get antsy. Make it look like you're just some tweaker, and most people don't want to spend more than one braincell to stop looking at you. You just need to give an excuse for people to not pay attention, and they will."

Carolus steps aside, and Gwen steps past him through the door. "Never tried it in the subway, though. I've got my own rollercoaster for that." She loses the jacket as she enters into a closet - or, more likely, on a chair, like an animal. "It's a little insulting, but I'm New York born and raised. I've been wearing layers since before I could dress myself. Just because one layer is a bodysuit doesn't mean you can't put on more on top. That's just science!"

She turns, lenses narrowing. "Uh, little weird dolls with frizzy hair? They've got these cute-I-guess tusks. Underbite, you know…"

She brings up both index fingers to pantomime two protruding mouth tusks. "Tusks."

* * *

Carolus shuts and bolts the door. It looks a bit heavier than it was the last time she was here. An amused exhalation follows her explanation, "Yes. The subway, too. If I feel like blending in, well… you've seen how I look when I do that. It's a little more uncomfortable, I think. It's very hard…"

He gestures towards his wings, "To conceal these. Sometimes I wonder how Warren stood it when his wings were all-natural. He has this harness, you see— it looks like a torture device, if you ask me."

"I prefer your way," he adds, "it looks less sketchy than the longcoat-over-a-costume look that some people go for."

Out comes his phone as she describes Trolls. As soon as Ghost Spider is done describing /her/ trolls, he shows her a picture of their trolls. He comments, "I think that tusks would rather improve them."

"Anyway… if it is a little insulting, I apologize. It is a… comfort, thing. I don't think it's bad to look comfortable."

He seats himself — the couch is a relatively new presence, he'd previously only had a pair of chairs pushed together here — with a vague squirming of his wings.

"So," He says, "emergency plans."

"Where are good fallback hideouts for a, er… massive superpowered race war?" Carolus asks, clearly at a loss for where to even start.

"Ordinarily I'd say, 'The X-Base', but I think that would become a hotspot in short order after being used as a rally point…"

* * *

"Ok, quick question." Gwen steps to the window, shuttering the blinds. With that done, she hooks her thumbs under her mask's bottom and peels up, shaking her head sharply as she clears the crown of her head. Her hair clumps together oddly, too much time under a stifling mask that a quick comb-through with her fingers doesn't really fix.

"You see some person in a trenchcoat that's not some perfect-hair European guy in a wool-nap moving from a coffeeshop back to some daytrading shrine or highrise moneypit, you expect the worse of them. As long as you aren't shouting at the top of your voice and wailing while running full tilt at the cops, people pretty much ignore someone in a jacket and their jam-jams."

Yyyyep. New York, Born And Raised.

The problem of where to lay low is brought up. "Superpowered race war, huh? You're not going… to like it."

Gwen slide-sprawls into the couch next to Carolus, arms spread out across the back of the couch. "177A Bleeker, or the Stark campus in Metropolis probably would be two of the safest places people could go. Remember what Stark said about registration? If he's 'on the team', it'd be suuuuper secure. I could taste the surveilance. Normally I just taste deathlasers."

* * *

The blinds close with a gentle clatter. They're practically shutters, and closing them plunges the room into relative darkness. There's still a lamp on, though, so it's not too bad.

"That wasn't a question, but your point is well-taken." Carolus says.

His eyes flick between Gwen's face and her hair, and then back again. Slowly, he says, "I think between those options that I am more comfortable with Dr. Strange's location… it's also /closer/, to me at least. I don't like the other answer very much, but I am beginning to wonder if I'm holding onto aggravation towards Mr. Stark for too long."

"Do you want me to fix your hair?" He asks.

The topic of hair isn't lingered on, though. Carolus continues, "Given the circumstances within the X-Men, I'm forced to assume that intentionally or no most of our spaces are compromised, or could be with proportionately little effort. I wouldn't go to the base… I /might/ go to the mansion, but that has more to do with relocating others than remaining there."

"Sprawling hypotheticals aside, let's say that whichever is closer of Stark Campus or 177A Bleeker are our rally points if this transpires."

"What," he continues, "if we are operating without a clear, safe rally point? That is to say, what if we are forced to improvise without a concretely established fallback point?"

* * *

"Do phones work in this hypothetical, or are we presuming SHIELD is snooping at this point and using the full power of the state to violate our human-meta-or-otherwise rights?" Gwen interjects.

* * *

"I am presuming the appearance of Apocalypse, who I presume has the ability to monitor or disrupt communications even if he doesn't burn towers to the ground. It is probably helpful to account for scenarios with communications, without communications, and with suspect-but-functional communications." Carolus replies, simply.

* * *

"Also, it totally was a question! I just…" Her eyes flick down and away. "Didn't say the question part. Okay."

Gwen brings her pyjamas-and-costumed legs up into a half lotus so she can slowly squeeze her ankles. "If we're in New York, we'd want to hunker down with Stephen Strange. His place is definitely secure. If we're in Metropolis, I guess Stark's compound is also secure, for the same reasons, but isn't as trustworthy. That just leaves Gotham or 'elsewhere'."

"For Gotham, I guess it's 'I'll try to find you', because I don't know where Tim Drake's mentor lives, but Batman is probably our best bet. He *runs* that city. As for elsewhere…"

From aroud her neck, and probably uncomfortably smushed somewhere, Gwen pulls the locket-medallion that Doctor Strange gave her. "Cut a lock of your hair and put it in there. The more magically relevant, the better. If we're 'elsewhere', I'll use it, and then get Doctor Strange to get you. That's our worst case."

"And I really hope it doesn't come to that." Gwen asides, holding out the amulet.

* * *

"You were asking me what I would find more suspicious. Your assertion was correct." Carolus follows up, with a faint twitch of both antennae.

Regarding Gotham, he says, "Though it is not where we would be /safe/, if there is an incident while we are in Gotham and we happen to be separated the best place to go is the place where we first met. It isn't a good part of town, so our presence would not be expected… and those would not be the deep waters of danger, in the event of a mobilization of enemies of this variety."

"Better clown-based criminals than blueberry nazis."

In answer to Ghost Spider's prompt regarding the locket, he tugs out a tuft of the ring of white around his neck — so easy to allow disappear into the background as merely an oddly perfect accessory — and then reaches back to tug lightly at the surface of his wings a couple of times.

He winces each time, and then deposits a few colorful scales and white setae in the locket.

"Scales from my wings, and setae hairs. My actual hair could become muddied, I think." Carolus tugs lightly at his hair, "I dye it, and it could probably point to my parents instead. But there is no one else of my lineage with wings and scales and setae."

On finishing the thought — and the action — Carolus reclines deeply into the couch, heaving a sigh and nodding. He says, "I do, too. To tell the truth I do not like thinking of it much. I would like to think that there is some crucial difference between realities that will prevent things from unwinding the same way, or even approximately so."

"But it is… frightening, and not so distant as I would like it to be."

He leans in Ghost Spider's direction, auxiliary arms drawn in across his stomach, his primary left hand fidgetting uncomfortably, "And the people that I would ordinarily consider the ones to talk to as a first resort are probably liabilities. I will be wanting to discuss contingencies with Alison and Warren, but we need to compartmentalize what we just discussed away from them."

* * *

"Honestly, I was about to suggest moonlighting as a clown for a little bit just to have a place to crash. Harley seemed nice, if a few peas short of a pod."

Gwen's expression is complex. "She reminds me of my 'nemesis' from my dimension. But I don't uderstand how far they'll go. I'll have to ask Red Robin. A few things, really. But you're right."

Gwen clicks the locket closed with the bits of carolus caught inside the unadorned inner compartments. "Crime Clowns are to-tally better than Blueberry Nazis."

Gwen sits there, her posture more cramped then usual. The weight of 'things' is harder to bear than actual physical weight. She can lift heavy things. The weight that presses down on her back is emotional.

"Carolus, your world sucks wild on the regular." Gwen grouses, dropping a hand to Carolus' leaned in arm and shoulder, her fingers hanging - sticking, really - as they make contact.

"That Atlas didn't have this Ghost Spider. Didn't drag her through the No-No dimension. I threw chocolates at Death, because I…"

"Am very bad at this, sometimes, I guess. And I don't think I'm the fulcrum on which this whole thing spins."

Gwen smiles weakly. "But I'd like to think I'm a decent weight on the scale. The infinite, and only, Ghost Spider - here for a reason. Now let's watch something brainless on TV. The best way to deal with our brooding, simmering emotions, clearly, is to totally forget about them and get mad about corn syrup and bad kung fu movies."

* * *

"Harley Quinn is a complicated figure. In such circumstances, sheltering with her would not trouble me. But I would be wary otherwise. The sorts of jokes that lot pulls… well, they can be quite lethal. Joker toxin is grotesque." Carolus says, rolling his neck with a set of pronounced pops.

"But as I understand it, it is hard to hold her responsible. As you say, she isn't quite right in the head."

He lapses into silence. The subtle crumpling inward that Ghost Spider's form works itself into doesn't go unnoticed, but Carolus isn't really certain what to do about it. The first thing that comes to mind is to stop having these conversations, but he thinks that if he did while still carrying these feelings that…

She'd probably just end up angry, when it eventually came out.

He deliberately tenses and untenses himself in reaction to her hand settling across his left arm. Carolus opens his eyes and inhales deeply, glancing down at her hand.

"I know it does. And I do not think that you threw chocolates at Death out of any deficiency. I think, sometimes, that the situations we find ourselves in are so ridiculous that we cannot muster anything but a ridiculous response. You use the tools that are at hand. If you ask me, throwing chocolate at somebody who was clearly suffering — even in a very strange way — is an insightful sort of instinct. You may not be the fulcrum this all spins on, but I do think that your hand on the scale matters quite a bit."

In the end, Gwen's weak smile and suggestion is met with light laughter. Carolus replies, "Okay. But instead of kung fu, let's try… Beverly Hills Cop. That feels up your alley."

* * *

"It will never hold a candle to nine seasons and dozens of movies that is the flagship of bad entetainment: Dad Cop. But sure, let's see your B-list Dad Cop mockery garbage."

Gwen eases off the couch, heading to the kitchen. "Spicy popcorn, I think. Do you have a spice grinder? And those little peppers you can get in firecracker rows from Chinatown?"

"Red pepper flakes and chili oil would work in a pinch."

Laughing more, mostly to herself, Gwen moves her disaster towards the kitchen. "I'll find it… Probably."

She hands in the frame of the kitchen awning, hand on the wall, looking back over her shoulder. "You can try to save your kitchen, but there'll be no survivors — moth cop!"

She disappears through the awning, to the banging of cabinetry and clatter of cookware.

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