New Rules
Roleplaying Log: New Rules
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

The Phoenixes have a meet and greet with a mercenary. This probably won't end well.

Other Characters Referenced: Colossus
IC Date: February 25, 2019
IC Location: The Aerie
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 02 Mar 2019 21:45
Rating & Warnings: Language
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's a lovely and expensive chalet tucked outside of Westchester in the snow-covered hills, all quiet and picture-esque-like. A lovely place to get away, share some vodka and tea cakes with a fellow mutant named Colossus, then wait for a meeting which has been a while coming. As a place to lie low it's simply fantastic. Great views, modern amenities, plenty of space…

And in the center of it all is one very out of place looking black-clad albino woman.

Colossus had long since headed out, leaving Domino to crash here for a time and 'try to' relax for a change. Such an attempt has been met with mixed success, though its success rate did vastly improve upon her discovery of the liquor cabinet.

Waiting around has never been her favorite of hobbies but she's clearly made herself at home, sprawled out across one of the couches with her feet kicked up over one end while her head's propped up on the other. An open bottle sits comfortably nearby while she idly pokes at her phone without a single obvious care in the world.

***

The only reason it would be difficult to hear people entering is the size of the place. The door opening, the sound of shoes — heels? — on the hardwood, the murmur of voices; those things are all casually unhidden.

Rachel remembers this place. Mostly. Like many things in this timeline, some of the details are a little off. It's enough to be eerie and obscurely depressing but nothing more than that.

"…so I think it's fine to offer her a room at the mansion for as long as she needs it," says Rachel, continuing the in-flight conversation. Tangentially to 'in flight,' there is no vehicle outside that would hint at the method of arrival, but the world is full of strange people.

"The worst that happens is SHIELD walks up to our doorstep and we tell them we didn't kidnap her so they can…"

Rachel begins to make an 'f' shape with her mouth, freezes from where she's removing her coat, and looks back to Jean. Her teeth remain stuck on her lower lip.

"…ffffind… someplace else… to go."

Such incredible power.

The younger redheaded psychic hangs her bomber jacket up on a coat rack and looks deeper into the place. Her sense of fashion involves resale shops and psychic tricks to keep warm in weather like this: black knee-high boots with a row of gold spikes up the front and an aggressively red leather minidress with a matching golden hemline-to-neckline zipper in the front, rounded out with a few mismatched black studded wristbands.

"Hello? We're, uh, we're with the X-Men." Rachel purses her lips and looks back to Jean. "Isn't it more like X-Women at this point?"

***

Someone told someone else that the Aerie's currently hosting a visitor who needed them both.

When the balcony doors beep and opens themselves, Domino might just find herself confronted with the possibility that she's had a little too much, depending on just how eager she was to boost her odds.

At first, glance, anyway. A second would reveal the little differences:

One's got bobbed, fiery hair and muscles; the other, long fiery hair and— still muscles - shimmery gold and green clings just so - only sans the obviously obsessive rigor behind them.

One of them's wearing a sash that flutters in naked rejection of otherwise still air, at least, so that might help, a little.

MINUTES AGO

"I— don't— think I've ever actually met a mercenary, before," Jean Grey quietly confesses on the flight in. "Not like this, without, you know. Counting bullets to stay focused, or…"

NOW

"We heard," Phoenix (ver. Prototype) evenly says while approaching Domino's sprawling place, "that you've got information you'd like to offer us— is that right?" She gives a smile; it's small, professional, and still a little warm, because some habits are tough to break, even with strange soldiers of fortune. A shimmering gold opera glove extends, the closer she floats

(floats)

to the sofa.

"My name is Phoenix."

This woman, this gun for hire, she holds valuable intel tied to the horrors in Ossining, but Jean keeps it to a small smile, holds the jittering fire she'd like to bring to bear at bay. It probably wouldn't do to seem too eager— too hungry for a shot at recompense.

"How can we help you?"

***

(Finally, some progress…)

Domino can certainly hear at least -one- set of footsteps on approach, prompting her to sweep her own combat boot-covered feet back to the floor in a smooth and quiet motion. The bottle is retrieved off of the floor for another drink while a well practiced motion turns the phone's screen off then tosses the whole unit aside. Multi-tasking at its finest.

Upon seeing the two X-Men representatives a black brow hooks upward upon a face that's as white as the fresh snow outside. Between the three ladies there are so many striking differences at play that it could be turned into a bizarre joke involving them walking into a bar, or some such. The one with the bobbed hair looks like she should be freezing to death in that minidress (though the spikes are QUITE adorable.) The other is ..like… All action-hero'd up.

Neena pauses and turns to glance down at the label stuck to the side of the whiskey bottle in her hand. Real nonchalant-like. Her expression changes to something resembling 'well, alright then…' and she sets the bottle aside.

The only color to be had in this woman comes from the icy blue hue of her eyes. Most of the blinding white is hidden beneath a turtleneck and tactical pants. Black, naturally. She leans forward with elbows upon knees with half-gloved fingers loosely lacing themselves together up front, displaying the glossy black polish which coats each of her nails. They actually look pretty well cared for, it's tough to pull off any polish when handling a lot of knives and firearms.

"X-People," she seconds with a light smirk. "Wasn't sure I'd actually get this far." What with their security measures and all. It doesn't surprise Dom at all that they would send -two- people to greet her. Safety in numbers. The Buddy System is alive and well.

It might appear that any sense of courtesy is pretty well dead for the albino. She doesn't stand to greet them, simply looking from one to the other before jumping -ever- so slightly as the door seems to close itself behind them. Is that a widening of eyes? Yes..that is a widening of eyes.

"You have the same codename? That won't get confusing," gets pointed out before anything else. "With any luck Piotr has already gotten word through. If not, I'm Domino. I have something for you..yes. That isn't why he brought me here, but business first."

Retrieved from a pants pocket is a broken necklace with a crucifix pendant which she 'offers' by dangling it by its chain from an outstretched hand. "I promise there's no sales pitch about 'our lord and savior' attached to this."

***

Rachel's expression breaks into haplessness when Jean speaks the FORBIDDEN PARENTAL WORD. One day, Rachel will successfully zig instead of zagging when it comes to her not-mom. One day.

Not today.

But there's people to meet, so Rachel goes onward and inward. Eventually there's carpeting down so her heels aren't click-clicking on the wood quite so badly. Nevertheless, Rachel keeps a micro-thin telekinetic barrier under her feet just so that she doesn't scuff up the place's… everything, really. It's expensive.

Rachel stops in the entryway to the living room space, which is about where she actually lays eyes on Domino for the first time. Astral senses are another thing entirely and she didn't want to send a remote viewing out to violate privacy. She's developed some reflexes. Another reflex is crossing her arms and shifting her weight to one foot while Jean does the friendmaking.

(She is not the designated friendmaker for any team she's on.)

"Well, she had it," Rachel replies, eying the crucifix but not with any visible appreciation for it. "Then I had it. Now she's got it again, but branding's hard."

The psychic opens her mouth as if to continue speaking, but hesitates and falls into silence. She narrows her eyes, gaze still fixed on the crucifix.

"…wait, is that —"

Rachel steps forward, holding out her hand but not attempting to take it from Domino. Unfamiliar people sometimes bite.

"I know who that belongs to. Where —"

Rachel shakes her head and puts the fingertips of her free hand to her forehead.

"Sorry. I'm Rachel. I'm running low on sleep and I've got too many projects, this being one of them. Yeah, Piotr talked to us."

***

RACHEL: :I
JEAN: :>

~

"We've both got it," Jean agrees. Sort of agrees. "We make it work; she's the one with the muscles. And the spikes."

Since Rachel doesn't just grab the crucifix Domino's offering, the broken chain unwinds itself in a porcelain palm and stretches towards the stronger, spikier of the two in a parabolic arc that ultimately leaves it pooled in her hand. At the same time, Jean keeps right on advancing until she can wrap both hands firmly around Domino's freshly emptied one and shake. There's snow outside, but that's alright: her gloves are warm, as if freshly pulled from the dryer.

(So is the crucifix, after a brush with her will.)

"Let's just stick with 'Phoenix' for now, for me," she adds as that too-bright grin gets an apologetic twist. "Habit! Piotr mentioned you, yes; not a lot of details, but, y'know. Enough."

How does it work, exactly?

Did Piotr pay her…? Do they have to?

Is there a menu?

Anything in the 'vengeance' family of motivations is probably a cost multiplier, right? Unless Domino's one of those 'nice' ones, like you see in movies. It's tough to speculate, because she's the first mercenary Jean's met who wasn't hired by someone trying to kill she and her friends; she's light on details, but she's got enough to keep her busy with racing thoughts and a glowing presentation.

"It's nice to meet you, but if you aren't here about…"

Green eyes briefly flick towards the necklace. It's more efficient—

easier

— than saying it.

"… then what can we help you with, exactly…?"

Meanwhile, «Can you get anything from it?»

her astral 'voice' rings like freshly tempered steel, red hot and right on the edge between melting and hardening.

***

Codename-sharing. It's not unheard of, though it does cause Dom to take a closer look between the two. Now she's searching more closely for physical similarities. Sure, it's odd enough that two women with blaze red hair and sharp green eyes would show up at the same time. There might be something more at play, here… "They're adorable spikes," she openly remarks.

As far as the pendant goes there aren't any tricks where Domino is concerned. At least there aren't any if the weapons hidden about her person remain unnoticed. When Rachel holds out her hand Neena is fully intending to deposit the crucifix into her palm when it up and decides to deposit itself there instead! She may have spent several years of her life growing up in a church but she's still no believer. Good riddance.

"Could whoever's doing that try doing it a little less?" she presses while her stare jumps from one Redhead to the next. It's kinda freaking her out! There's some clear hesitation involved in shaking Jean's hand and an immediate stare leveled Jean's way yet again at the peculiar warmth in the touch.

As soon as the albino is free she swipes the bottle from the floor and takes another drink before cryptically replying to Rachel, "I get around." Then, "Don't they give you kids rest stops? Pull up a seat and take a load off."

Okay, these two are -seriously- weird. Now Dom's looking more confused, having this odd sense that there's a bit more happening than what's immediately obvious to people like her…

She subtly shakes her head and sets the bottle aside once more. "You can still help me with whatever it is you're doing with that necklace. Whether or not I'm a part of your crew I'm still a part of this gig, but this brings us neatly to the other point."

Another glance goes to Rachel before that blue gaze falls back to 'Phoenix.' "Can't believe I'm saying this, but Colorado (she means Colossus) asked me to sign up with you kids. I agreed."

The X-Men are willing to take in known murderers..right?

What about UNknown murderers?

***

Rachel glances up from her intense necklace-staring when Domino compliments her fashion sense, or at least a specific part of her fashion sense. Judging from the wide eyes and the lack of immediate reaction, the comment seems to have blindsided her.

"Oh," she says. A hint of pink brushes her cheeks, which is surely just color returning to them in the warmth. "Thanks. I, uh, like your turtleneck. It's very tactical."

The crucifix hops into Rachel's hand, which earns it her close scrutiny anew. She furrows her brow at how accommodating it's being, until her astral senses prod at the afterthought and realize it has Jean's feeling on it. The order of operations becomes more apparent when Jean sweeps in to continue the greeting while Rachel gets to stand in the back and look moody while thumbing at a cross.

She can work with this. She's the spiky one.

"I'm good, thanks," she replies to the offer of a chair. She decides this is not the time to explain the nuances of telekinesis and the ability to stand for long periods of time.

Rachel turns and takes a few meandering steps away, transferring the crucifix to both hands. She shuts her eyes to devote her attention elsewhere. Her mind drifts upon the astral winds. There was a thought here. Many thoughts, layered over, settling into the recesses and drying in layers. What Rachel found in her search left her with only a sick feeling to her stomach, not just for what will be but for what had been. She is prepared to find something horrible here. She expects to.

Instead…

"…christ," she mutters, choosing a conversational interval that makes it clear she's not currently listening to Domino and Jean.

«Yes. One moment.»

***

A quickly rattled off, "Guilty, sorry," is accompanied by twinkling green eyes and a briskly raised hand.

It takes a couple moments before Jean can reply,

«Take your time,»

however, because it's harder to feel warmly supportive than it is to seem warmly congenial while her psyche combusts.

Even the bemused, "What?" that pops out after Domino's arch-invoking announcement sounds pretty good-natured. Years of smiling - or at least managing not to crumble - through trauma have their benefits. Gold gloves lightly wind around her midsection while she takes the mercenary in all over again, canting her head and squinting just a little. It doesn't take long at all before she presumably decides she's seen what she needs to.

"Why?" comes as her eyes return to Domino's, curious - so, so very curious - rather than suspicious. "What did he tell you— no. No, let's… let's stick with 'why'. Why did you agree? You'd be involved in… this… either way, like you said, and— well— not everything we do is this."

Being stared at rolled right off of her. Ditto the way Domino's eyes bounced between them after the necklace showed off its standing long jump, rapid enough to give the request a little extra gravity without truly betraying the underlying concerns; ditto the request itself, for that matter. Her gift for protecting herself from the drudgery of manipulating things with her own two hands alone doesn't mark her the way some of her teammates' talents do, but she's used to it: the ever-rippling sash as good as invites it, nevermind the shimmering uniform and occasional psionic flames.

"I'm not trying to discourage you," she adds without hesitation, "but we kind of need to know… and that's just for starters."

Maybe, Jean reminds herself, Domino's one of those 'nice' ones.

Maybe, with March looming so near, she feels the urge to turn her talents towards broader ends and her conscious compelled her to take the higher road. Pro-meta terror is probably not great for maintaining a clientele— not that prosocial vigilantism is much better.

Maybe Domino'll feel that much more inclined to drive every last Purifier they can find into the waiting, hopefully not-ambivalent arms of the law, if it's her teammate they— no. Stay focused, Jean; she wants to help, Jean.

Think about that, not them.

"What do we have to thank for bringing you to us, Domino?" she wonders while pulling that blaring grin back into a more measured smile. "What do you already know about us…?"

«Do you think she has a… … a count?» she also asks, because she's hoping Rachel's got a different answer than she does.

***

Neena sort of mock-preens at the turtleneck compliment, though the reason for her grin has nothing to do with Rachel's response and -everything- to do with Rachel's reaction. How can you wear blaze red leather and spikes and be so easily embarrassed!?

When she turns down the offer to sit Dom gives a partial shrug then flops backward into the couch. No skin off her back. Though she idly watches Spikes wandering adrift and toying with the pendant. Curiosity seems to naturally follow the psychokinetic wherever she goes.

For the time being this leaves the monochromatic merc alone with Phoenix Prime.

To Jean's 'what?' Dom simply mutters a "Nevermind." Whatever it was it's done and over with now. Besides, there is a -flurry- of questions heading her way in the next moment as the Phoenix tries to dig into the heart of the matter, fortunately without any psychic intrusion. That's one point in her favor.

"Don't worry, I'm used to having my motives questioned," Neena monotones while keeping steady eye contact with Jean. "Where do you want me to start? The Purifiers, Registration, hell knows what's right around the corner? I know it might be hard to believe but I have some pals who are already caught up in this collision of messes by proxy and the way I'm seeing it we're at the 'all hands on deck' stage of preparation. My methods may differ but we're all mutants here. This seems like the time to be standing together instead of apart."

There's more to it than what she's offering to say. There's -always- another motive with this woman. Sometimes two or three more motives. The upshot is that she isn't lying about any of it, she's merely withholding certain pieces.

'Christ.' "That it is," Domino oh so helpfully calls back to Rachel. "I was hoping you could tell me something about it that I -don't- already know."

Back to Jean, "I get that I'll have to play by a different set of rules but I can also bring a few tricks to the table you kids may not have had available before."

***

"What?"

Rachel straightens her posture and looks over her shoulder when she senses that she's being addressed. It takes about six words into the sassing for her to realize that it is a sassing. She half-lids her eyes, curiosity leaving her expression to leave neutral acceptance. Yes, point awarded, good play.

What Domino says next is enough to contextualize what kind of conversation she probably missed. A bit of digging in her subconscious is enough for Rachel to more or less bring herself up to speed. She turns to face the other two women and holds up her hand to let the crucifix dangle from her fingers.

It looks dramatic. She doesn't care if she's copying.

"Piotr trusting you is a good start. When we've got the ground rules out of the way, I know what what the triplets are going to do next — and I have a good idea of where to start looking for them before they do it."

***

"We aren't killers, Domino," lets Jean succinctly summarize the ground rules and give voice to the concern floating in astral space. "We aren't cops, either - half of what we do is illegal as hell, and the rest might just be waiting for the laws to catch up - but there are limits to what we can do without compromising everything. If we can work with the system, somehow— if we can make people less afraid of us— we will; we try to, anyway."

The older redhead takes a deep, deliberate breath. Not only is the smile still there, it broadens a bit after she exhales.

"As long as you understand that… we can absolutely try this, and see how it works— how comfortable you feel under a different set of rules," she offers along with a re-extended hand. "But we're going to have to get to know you much better than we do, at some point, if it turns out that the answer's 'very', because we're not just a bunch of costumed weirdos with a nice mountain vacation home for friendly mercenaries, we're a team; family."

And a family should probably know just how many of its members have felonies that may need reckoning with in the future.

"How soon can you start?"

***

As Rachel claims to know what the triplets (triplets..?) are going to do next, Neena gives the Spiky one a puzzled look. "You got all of that from a necklace?"

(Mental note: NEVER let her touch any of my guns.)

Back to the matter of Colossus, "He's a good sort. One of the better I've come across." That he happened to ask her to join at a time when she happens to be in need of something which the X-Men might be able to provide, well… That's just some kinda luck.

Back to the matter of Jean, Domino can't help but roll her eyes. "Yeeees, I knoooow, we've been over this plenty of times, those aren't the 'tricks' I was referring to." Mostly. ..Somewhat. "Though if you're breaking the law then I'm not sure that I can commit to your cause."

Yes, she is -absolutely fucking joking- here. She probably broke half a dozen laws before Piotr drove her out here!

There's a showing of hands. Completely empty hands. There but for a moment then gone. "It'll be interesting times," she says with a black-lipped smirk. "Who knows, we might even have ourselves some fun."

How soon can she start?

Dom stands away from the couch and picks up the bottle of whiskey and her phone. "Lead on, twisted sisters."

***

Rachel finds very little need to change her deadpan expression as Domino deals with the Rule of Jean. Granted, Rachel herself has some… problems that manifested more strongly in the past, but she's been trying hard to stay right this time around.

Suffice to say she recognizes the tone.

With a clever flick of her wrist, Rachel slings the crucifix flipping around on its chain so that the charm lands in the palm of her hand. She closes her fingers around it and then crosses her arms to give Domino a proper (and confident, in contrast) look-over.

"Alright. Quick rundown. We're not sisters but it's complicated so I'll spare you. We're both psychics and some other things so two things to keep in mind there: one, think of us as space witches, two, we're going to fly out of here. I can telepathically sedate you if you think you're going to panic."

Rachel's bomber jacket comes smoothly floating in from the front hall. She extends her arms downward so that it can slide onto her and shrug itself onto her shoulders, with a tug at the lapels being her only directly physical interaction.

"As for this thing," says the short-haired psychic, turning her crucifix-holding hand over to study the charm once more. "…yeah. I can tell. I can tell that they're going to try to spring the ringleader we put in jail when they transfer him between prisons. Hopefully we can find them before that happens."

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