4883/Meeting of Many Minds

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Meeting of Many Minds
Date of Scene: 26 January 2021
Location: Chinatown
Synopsis: Mania, Terry, and Spidey meet for Chinese food and plotting how to deal with imposters.
Cast of Characters: Peter Parker, Andi Benton, Terry O'Neil

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man needs food, badly. And from the sound of it, Mania needed it even more.

He had sent a text to Terry with the Google Maps location - The Golden Dragon, Little China, NY. He lands on the roof a few minutes later, and notes that the small dining area is now covered by a wide umbrella. The four-person wrought-iron table beneath it is set, with a few small sauce bottles and bowls handy - soy, teriyaki, and kung pao. A menu is at each place.
Spider-Man touches the intercom button and says, "Spidey here. Thanks for setting up."
"No problemo!" came the tinny voice from the other end. Spidey wondered if little Ling was going to be here tonight...

Andi Benton has posed:
Mania waited for Spider-Man to finish up at the place that almost got bombed, if not for her totally awesome save. Then he had to go and get himself a new entry on Spider-Fail, which she was all too quick to notice.

Why yes, she did have new post notifications turned on.

While they swung their way through the city, with Mania by now good enough to keep pace without him having to go slow for her, she handled shooting off a comment to the post while traversing a few city blocks until they reach the rooftop of the Golden Dragon.

"So, uh, we go in costume here? How does that work?" The table is noted, and hands plant themselves at Mania's hips. "Check this out. Your own private table? Someone here must like you."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Vorpal isn't showing up for food tonight- mostly because the Cheshire has been taken out of the cat, leaving a rather despondent Terry O'Neil. However, the redhead is not going to say no to the opportunity of food with the spiders.

After letting the restaurant staff know that he's with Spidey, he appears on the rooftop after climbing up the ladder.

So, he didn't really get a chance to change. His T-shirt and jeans are grass-stained, and he may have a few blades of grass in his usually unruly hair that he hasn't noticed yet. But when he reaches the table, he gives Spider and Andi a bright grin.

Perhaps not as radiant a grin as he normally would reserve for them, but it is nevertheless a grin.

"Hey, someone is getting the royal treatment up here. Do you get a show and a serenade as well?" he asks, teasing mildly before grabbing a seat. "Thanks for the invite, guys. I need this."

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man chuckles, lifting up the mask to just above his nose. "About 18 months ago, the local Triad tried to set up 'protection' for the family. While they did so, the wife of the owner and her daughter was caught up in a robbery in the area, and I stepped in. The daughter, Ling, has taken to calling me 'Honorable Spider.' After I started showing up here to eat, because this place really does have great food, the Triad SUDDENLY decided their efforts were better spent ELSEWHERE. Since then, the owner set this up...with me helping a bit...and now the capes-and-tights crowd has a special table in good weather at the Golden Dragon."

He nods to Terry as he shows up. "Hey there, Terry. Glad you could make it. The beef chow mein is great here."

Andi Benton has posed:
Mania has not yet decided how she's going to do this. Stay as Mania, go fully Andi, or just draw the 'head' back to leave that much exposed with the rest still 'costumed.' When she sees the way Spider-Man does it, she scoffs. "You'd better hope nobody can figure out who you are based on your mouth and nose, or your teeth."

She paces the area near the table, looking around as the story is told of how he..well, apparently not just he..has a table up here. "Good and bad weather, it looks like," she then points out, stopping in the midst of her thoughts when Terry makes his way up the ladder. He was expected, but just why he was coming is yet to be explained. "What happened to /you?/"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Good job, Spidey," Terry says, "You know, in ancient China spiders were called 'happy insects' and today they are still believed to bring happiness in the morning and wealth in the evening, so it checks out. Honorable Spider is something you should probably get stamped on your official leather jacket. If you get one. It's all the rage with some capes."

Mania's question gets him to give one of those 'deep as the ocean' sighs, and he answers while perusing the menu. "So... my mom got kidnapped. I rescued her but got my powers stolen in the process, /and/ got my boyfriend royally P. O'ed at me enough to fly away from me. Literally. I'm not having the best night but at least I know the food here will bring a little glow back into my life." He glances up, "Mom and I used to come here all the time. We still do, when she has time."

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man smiles to Andi. Even, white teeth, but apart from that, no identifying marks or unusual skin color. The top half is probably as forgettable as the bottom half.

Spidey sits down, but doesn't pick up the menu. He's been here often enough. "Yeah...I met up with your motorcycle-jacket-wearing doppelganger. Too many differences, and I had him webbed up with his eyes shut in a very short time. He was somewhat forthcoming. Jealous AF, though." He glanced to Terry. "I had him turned over to the authorities. I dunno if they still have him, though."

Andi Benton has posed:
Mania's head turns between the two at the things that are said. There is silence for a few long moments. Probably, a question of what to say.

"Uh, that sucks. My dad got kidnapped too, and that's how we, uh, ended up together," she explains, and while Peter would know what she's talking about, someone else might not understand she's talking about the symbiote, not another person.

She finally takes a seat, turning it around to cross her arms over the backrest and lean closer to the table. "How do you know he was mad at you?" she wonders, and after a couple more seconds she decides to drop the 'mask,' which visibly peels back away from her face and head, clearly an organic, living mass of small tendrils that simply absorb into the rest of the outfit.

At that point, a small head pops up behind a shoulder, a caricature of Mania itself with the white eyes and a sort of exaggerated mouth. "Hello, Spider. Hello, kitty. Where is kitty? Powers..stolen?" It does not seem to understand, and the confusion is reflected in Andi's expression as well, studying Terry with narrowed eyes and brows that scrunch closer together. "Yeah, what's up with that?" she puts in. "We haven't run into any of these..doppelthingies."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Oh... he's out. I can guarantee that," Terry chuckles, "The problem about the Rabbit Hole is that... you really can't stop the Cheshire Cat from leaving if he wants to get out. Unless he's under sedation twenty-four seven, he's going to Rabbit Hole out of there. Who do you think stole my powers?" he sighs. "If you see him... he can now animate objects and create illusions. So... just be careful." He pauses for a second, and frowns. "Wait. Jealous AF? Explain?" And then he pauses. "... I was thinking that the leather jacket look might not be bad for me. After, you know, we send him back."

:"Hellooo Mania. Kitty is gone for now. Long story short- I am the Cheshire Cat. And until recently I thought I was safe from seeing another Vorpal because there can only be one Cheshire Cat. Well... I didn't factor in the idea that there can only be one Cheshire Cat, but when the Cheshire Cat soul is attached to Terry... and there is more than one Terry..." He rubs his forehead. "I shoulda seen it coming, to be honest. And today I was /this/ close to getting my powers back. But... things backfired at the last moment." He positively droops.

Peter Parker has posed:
Terry doesn't have powers any more?
Peter doesn't know whether to be concerned or envious.

"Well...can the Titans or the League help with this? I mean, you'd think they would have the kinds of resources to help with this kind of thing?"

Andi Benton has posed:
Is this the first time Terry has seen Andi's face? It might be. The last couple times, it was just Mania. So, he gets to see the purple hair, the piercings, the studs, all that. "Okay, well, I'm not gonna pretend I understand half of what you just said. I read the Wonderland stuff, but.." Hands go up, still sporting the claws tipping each finger and thumb. "..this is a little outside my comfort zone."

The little Mania at her shoulder keeps looking at Terry, then it says as it, too, seems to droop, "We hope you can be what you were again. Then we will ask if we can pet you. Andi says we are supposed to ask first." For her part, Andi just rubs at her temples. "I agree with the part about getting your powers back. And, yeah. Hopefully you've got something in the works with that."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry isn't fazed by the purple hair or piercings, considering who his teammates are. He takes everything in stride nowadays. "Yeah... they might be able to help. When I tell them. Right now I've got my nonexistent tail between my legs, so... I just want good food, a good cry, an optional snug and to sleep in until noon," he smirks, and looks at Mania "So getting my powers back is definitely a plan. The problem is... I need my Doppelganger to do a very specific thing, say some magic words. And he knows that I need him to do that by now, so..."

He shrugs, and then looks at Spider. "What was he jealous about? Did he finally acknowledge that I wear the jacket better?"

Peter Parker has posed:
Spidey hmms. "I think he was kinda jealous that you had the friends and support you had. And the resources I had, but, well...there didn't seem to be a doppel of me."
He is about to speak again when the intercom chimes.
"Hello? Are you ready to order?"

Spidey said, "Uhm, my usual." He looked to Andi and Terry. "What did you want to order?"

Andi Benton has posed:
After listening to this, there isn't a moment of hesitation in either Andi or Mania, as they look toward each other in unison, then back at Terry. There must have been a shared thought between them, the pair capable of such even like this.

"I'm..not all that into the whole snug thing, but we do know how you can solve the part with the words you need him to say. You find him, and you get him in a way that no matter how much he doesn't want to say them, not saying them will be far worse. Then he'll do it." That ought to work, right?

After the intercom is heard, this answers one of the questions she'd had on her mind about how the orders would be taken. "Uh, yeah. We're gonna need the orange chicken, pork fried rice, beef and broccoli, Mongolian chicken, pot stickers, those little things with the cream cheese filling, hot and sour soup...and no, we won't have any leftovers."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"I'm gonna go for the chow mein you recommended and some egg drop soup. Soup sounds soothing just about now. Huh. He's jealous I have friends? All he needs to do is not. be. a. dick." The redhead rolls his eyes, "Seriously. But noooo, he has to go in all 'I want to take over your life mwahahahhaa by the way I've kidnapped your motheeer!' and then he has the /gall/ to wonder why people don't like him." He huffs.

"I'm sorry if he caused you any headaches. I hate to admit it but he is technically me. Even if he happened to grow up in a post apocalyptic wasteland that turned him into a walking anal proplapse."

Someone's angry! "No doppel of you? That's weird... maybe you didn't come through. Or maybe you're one of the good guys fighting with... Harley Quinn... against ZZGU." He pauses, and smirks, "She taught me how to fight, yaknow?"

He glances at Mania, "Hmmm. There's a potential thing... but the only way that I can think of getting it to work would be the Lasso of Truth. I can ask him to tell me what the words are... but, again, that would require borrowing it from Wonder Woman."

He rubs his chin, "She punches really hard, by the way. My jaw hurt for days."

Peter Parker has posed:
Spider-Man winces, but says, "That should be it, Chinni."
"Thanks, Spider-Man. Ling is in bed, but I'll tell her you came by."
A tiny CHUNK!, and the intercom light goes off. Spidey looks back to Terry.

"Yeah, I wanted to apologize about the party. I mean, all of the heavy hitters were there, and apart from Supergirl and you, I didn't know anyone else there. And, quite frankly, it was a little intimidating. Like a pinch-hitter from the minors showing up at the winner's circle for the World Series."

Andi Benton has posed:
The visage of Mania fades back into the rest of the black and white suit, and Andi herself grows quiet after saying, "Oh. I didn't know you don't know what the words are." A brow arches at learning Wonder Woman punched him, but she doesn't ask. In fact, Andi keeps mostly to herself while Terry and Peter discuss a few things, including a party she seems to know nothing of, and more talk of doppelgangers. Probably a good thing Andi's, if there is one here, has not found her. With Mania involved, that might not go very well for the dupe.

She begins to fiddle with her fingers, flexing them, twining them together, drumming them atop the table, playing thumb wrestling with herself...

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry frowns. "Oh... spidey. I'm sorry. I honestly didn't intend to make you feel that way." He looks mortified, "Let me make it up to you at some point. I dunno... let me make you dinner or something. I cook a mean lasagna. You two can come by, I'll bring food and board games or whatever."

"I do know the magic words. But the only way I can think of forcing him to /say/ it is under the compulsion of the lasso... unless you've got ideas."

He glances from Mania to Peter. "What could put someone on the hot seat so bad that they just /have/ to say what I ask them to it? And no, tickles won't work. I'm not ticklish."

Peter Parker has posed:
Spidey shakes his head. "Don't worry. It was the best of intentions. How would you know I'd be outclassed by...well, nearly EVERYONE?"

He chuckles, then looks to Andi/Mania. "Well, Mania can be pretty scary. I'm not imposing enough to scare anybody, but YOU two..." He smiles. "You can be VERY intimidating when you want to be."

Andi Benton has posed:
Andi glances toward Spider-Man, then back at Terry. "If you're offering..." Who would she be to turn down free food? Mania certainly wouldn't want her to. "And how are you outclassed by everyone else?" This question goes to the webslinger.

The hands part so she can rub both temples with a couple fingers. She must have missed something along the way, didn't completely understand. "Oh, you do know the words. I thought you meant you didn't and he did. That makes it easier, but.." A hand waves off Spider-Man's talking up of her ability to frighten. "He's not wrong, though. If you get him in a spot where he believes he's about to die but he wants to live, well, do you know anybody who wouldn't say what you wanted them to if it meant getting to live?"

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Pff. Spidey, the only reason I'm not smacking you over the head with this menur right now is because you invited me here. I don't like it with my friends talk shit about themselves. You captured my doppelganger, and he kicked my ass- so if you're outclassed by everybody, that means I am /really/ outclassed by everybody... so... do you stand by that statement?" He glances at Spider, raising an eyebrow.

"You're cooler than you think you are, dude." And then he thinks about what Mania says.

"So... put the fear of Mania in him. And somehow keep him from Rabbit Holing away..." he snaps his fingers, "he wouldn't Rabbit Hole away if you're, like, stuck to him. Then he'd just be bringing you along..."

Peter Parker has posed:
"Maybe if we did what I did and blinded and bound him, or controlled what he saw. That might work. A few glimpses of Mania doing her John-Carpenter-The-Thing schtick would do it."

He sighs. "Sorry. It's just when you are around people like Wonder Woman and Supergirl, and she introduces you to a girl younger than you, who has two doctorates, and her own think tank while you're scrambling to make ends meet and a lab in the basement..."

*...because of what you did...*

"...it can be a little intimidating." He looks to Terry. "I may be a hero, but I have feet of clay, a nigh-crippling case of survivor's remorse, and I am no saint."

Andi Benton has posed:
Andi lifts a hand. "Now hang on. I didn't volunteer to do that. It was just an idea. You're with the Titans, right? Don't you have someone who could put the fear of..well, put /the fear/ in someone? Hello, Raven? Yeah, I know a few of the names you got over there," she tells Terry. There's no reason Andi or Mania need to be involved. "I mean, if you /need/ us, I'm sure Mania wouldn't mind.."

"We would not. Then we would pet him for being a good bad kitty after he said the words," that smaller version of the symbiote offers as it pops up into view again, before disappearing once more.

Andi shrugs at that, then adds, "There you go, I guess. And you're no slouch, Spidey. If you weren't around to help keep my head in the right place, we'd probably be out there like Venom by now."

Soon, food will arrive and talk of troubling topics can give way to stuffing faces with good eats. And fortune cookies. And maybe even something with chocolate.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry looks at Spider-Man with a somewhat melancholic expression, and reaches over to give his shoulder a squeeze. "... I get it. Maybe you and Gar should talk sometime. He knows what it's like to be a survivor. Just putting it out there..."

And then he laughs, "Oh god... Raven. Raven doesn't... really like me. I think I'd have a better chance of getting cooperation from the Joker! But I guess it doesn't hurt to ask, you know?"

He taps his finger on the table, "Mania's right. You're no slouch, Spidey. We all have feet of clay... I mean, Superman got the snot beat out of him by Doomsday. But the important part is that we get up. And as long as you're getting back up again... 'sall that matters, right?"

Physician, heal thyself. He thinks about his earlier thoughts about himself, and he sighs internally. He should heed his own advice, sometimes. What was it that Alice once said?

I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it, That explains the trouble that I'm always in.