5016/Bad For Business

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Bad For Business
Date of Scene: 04 February 2021
Location: Bushwick <Mutant Town>
Synopsis: Noriko takes Jubilation out for some Mutant Town tourism. They end up quickly running into some funky Mutant Town flavor emanating from the snoozing Kassandra and give her a lift back to Xavier's School to 'hide' her in their room like a puppy.
Cast of Characters: Kassandra Pagonis, Jubilation Lee, Noriko Ashida

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     With the temperature just above freezing after the sun went down and the temperature dropping, a lot of the people in Mutant Town are settling down to find a place to bundle up for the night. Street grates, doorways, and anywhere else that could be converted into a place to sleep has been, leaving a few unfortunate souls to wander the street in search of a place to sit and wait out the night. One of the bodegas, Hajji's, is known for being open 24 hours and serving cheap, filling food with little tables out front beneath gas heaters that raise the temperature around the tables to tolerable. You just have to buy a sandwich and you can sit and eat, and that is what Kassandra has done.

     Wrapped in several layers of clothing that has been scavenged, borrowed, or purchased at a thrift store, she looks like the quintessential homeless person, with the fingerless gloves and the knit cap pulled down over hair that could stand to be washed once or twice. New to the city, her knowledge of shelters is minimal and, in the morning, she'll find one, but for now? Hajji's chopped cheese for two bucks sits in her belly, the warmth of the overhead heaters lulling her into an easy, relaxed sleep.

Jubilation Lee has posed:

    Back in Westchester, Jubilee and Noriko were putting on their coats. "I want to see what Mutant Town is like for myself," Jubilation says with a mischievous smile. She raises her eyebrows at the other girl and nods her head eagerly. "It'll be fun!" Big smiles! Big fun!


    Jubilation Lee strolls down the sidewalk looking like she just doesn't belong. If the ghetto affectionately known as 'MUTANT TOWN' were to have a color palette, it would be in drab grays and browns, while Jubilee leads a parade of bright pinks, yellows, and blues. At her side is Noriko Ashida, and the pair are holding hands -- sort of. Jubilee's fingers are threaded between the cold, rigid finger coverings of Noriko's metal gauntlet, which covers each hand and forearm. Jubilee's head is on a swivel, looking in all manner of directions. Street grates. Doorways with fading, chipped paint. Garbage can fires.

    Each step causes Jubilation's smile to slowly fade, little by little. Eventually, she releases the metal gauntlet and links her arm around Noriko's. "Nori..." she whispers, concern filling her tone, as she glances at the other mutant. This is not what she was expecting. This is not her scene.

Noriko Ashida has posed:

"Ooookay.  You asked for it," Noriko says to Mutant Town tourism with a grin.  When handed her hoodie in the middle of this conversation (which is apparently an executive decision now) she rapidly puts it on Jubilee before the girl can get on her coat over it.

"What?It's-cold-out-I-get-hot-so-what?!...on the way," Noriko spouts out quickly without waiting to get a reaction.


Speaking of thrift stores and hand-me-downs which need refreshed hand-me-downs, A blue-haired girl with metal gauntlets (that end just past her elbow) is wearing some neon yellowish green nylon shorts that look like they came out of the 90s, a short-sleeved raglan t-shirt, black-sleeved, and, after taking her handed hoodie, that.  Oh yeah and some sole-thinning brightly colored kicks.

"I know..."  Of course Nori knows.  It's written all over her face now.  Not much money to get from panhandling here, but even with being among one's kind, it's not much better or worse than the rest of the city for street kids.  She spent time here.  Her JubileedHanded-gauntlet squeezes lightly.

"If you're worried...I know this place.  I won't let anything happen to you okay?  Not every place is scary.  Look!  Hajji's is still open 24 hours!" she grins.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     The young woman taking up one of the spaces is dozing, a guitar case held tightly in her arms beneath one of the heaters when, suddenly...something strange happens. Something strange outside the normal strangeness of Mutant Town, but something entirely different. Like smoke, something starts to waft in, like a projection thrown on a wall except, instead of the wall, it's everywhere. The cold evening is replaced by the image of a warm summer day from the 70's, with bell bottoms and flat tops and polyester everwhere, the streets crowded with people that blow in and out, the eras mixing, all seemingly centered on the woman beneath the heaters at Hajji's. People, the real people on the street, start to move away from the area in a hurry, the illusions passing through them...

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Like many Xavier's students, Jubilee had spent some time without a home. The thing is...living in a Beverly Hills orphanage, and later a Beverly Hills mall, are quite different from Mutant Town. If Jubilation had street cred, it was only on paper. Feeling the squeeze of Noriko's gauntlet, Jubilee turns her head and smirks. "Are you saying I can't hang?" she accuses. Her eyebrows rise in amusement but then, fade back into position so she can smile at the blue-haired mutant. "I know," she replies. Nothing would happen.

    "Hajjis?" Jubilation repeats back with some enthusiasm. "Let me guess...." she drones as they approach. "Food place?" She flashes Noriko a big grin -- she doesn't even have to check. Of course it's a food place. Her smiles and energy come to a halt as they turn the corner and find themselves right by that outdoor heater and the woman who sleeps nearby.

    For the briefest moment, Jubilee looks sad. It didn't seem fair that someone would be sleeping out here on a night like this. Mutant Town sucks, but to be HOMELESS in Mutant Town is a whole new level. Jubilee lets out a frustrated sigh before attempting to summon some of that trademarked good cheer. "That's the biggest ukulele I've ever seen..." she tries, pointing her finger at Kassandra's guitar case.

    As the wisps of past eras start to cascade and flow around them, Jubilee furrows her brow and turns to look at Nori. Her brain's natural fuzziness made phenomenon like this pass her by completely, normally, but lately her mind has been focused. Not at all fuzzy. Focused on that mutant standing beside her. And this made her vulnerable to the mental intrusion.

    "Nori..." Jubes whispers, her gaze sliding from Kassandra's guitar case and towards the fading image of someone handing out campaign flyers for Gerald Ford.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"No...no," Noriko seems distracted and a little absent for a moment or two.  Upon hearing some reactions behind them to the creeping 70s, she zips into her own frame of time, that little world of velocity alien to others.  The blue-haired speedster turns to look at the edge of the menacing decade and stands there as more unfolds to watch the guinea-err people's reactions.  Look she'd never get to that one in time.

"Incoming 70s weirdness.  Looks harmless," Noriko says while still suddenly walking with Jubes, arm in arm.  Noriko's last straw was if she had to wear one of 'those' outfits.  "I say we stay and see wha-"  It's happened.  "I'm going to look at something," she spits out fast and disappears and returns with what looks like a blip of a skipping frame on a bad video stream.  "I think-Hey.  You know what just happened?  Seems like you're in the center of it...maybe?"  Noriko was pulled off the streets about a year ago and spent 3 years on them before that.  She still has that look in her eye and talks like she isn't wearing clean clothes nor has access to shower.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     Out in front of Hajji's, the woman still sleeps but inside comes a short man with scales on his tree-trunk like forearms. "Hey you." he growls, kicking the chair the woman is in. "Stop that!"

     At the kick the images of the 70's vanish, like a light was switched off, the woman blinking blearily beneath the heater.

     "I tol you, no more of that. You scaring away customers! You go." he kicks the chair again. "Go. Or I tell Louis to say hello."

     Nearly falling out of her seat at the kick, the woman scrambles to her feet, picking up the guitar against her chest, looking out into the cold and dark and then forlornly up at the heaters for a second. "I..I won't fall asleep again...." she says softly, hesitant. "I'm really, really sorry."

     "Not my problem. YOu cause problem, you go." The man makes a shooing motion. "Hard for all of us here in Mutant Town. You making it harder. Go." And with that he trundles back into the warmth of the shop, leaving the woman and her guitar case alone on the street.

     "Oh, this is awesome..." she says to herself, looking up at the sky where, thankfully, no clouds are, which means no snow, but also means colder than hell. She rummages in her pocket for a second to see that....yeah...a few quarters. Maybe she can ride the bus all night...

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee's eyebrows rise in amusement as a little group of teens go by with a portable radio. The song is unmistakably Elton John. She can't resist singing along in that brief window of time where Noriko is off exploring.

    "...While the other kids were rocking 'round the clock

    Noriko's sudden re-appearance by her side -- did she even disappear?! -- causes Jubilee to laugh out into the night, taking the sudden startle with good cheer. She's used to it and doesn't bother to question where the speedster went. She just follows the other girl's lead towards the source of all this majesty. "Hey..." she says softly, smiling at Kassandra as she waits for a reply.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko never got to eat here under the heaters, which she needed then when she was suppressing her powers.  She'd heard similar words enough and tried to stay away from people, human, mutant, or otherwise.  And even animals.  The man's words hit her hard and she steps forward a little ripples of electricity trickling and crackling up her arms for a hot moment.

But Nori knows it'd make it harder on this stranger who dreams in polyester.  She just doesn't think about it beforehand.  So while Jubilee is approaching the girl, Nori's doing this...

"You stupid fuck.  You could use her to drum up better business at night.  Escapism."  Noriko doesn't do the guy any favors by explaining or giving him anymore of her time.  She flips him the bird as she turns to rejoin the others.  "Haven't you ever seen a Total Recall?  It's like...hello swanky retro drinks lounge whatever those things in the movies with all the Great Gatsbys."  Sometimes the Japanese girl's TV and film cultural education only gets her so far, even if her accent practically eliminated.

Nori quiets when she nears Jubes, never pulling out of speed of the here and now.  "Hey," she whispers only to not spook Jubilee.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     The girl - and it is a girl - is short. About five foot four or so but the clothes she has were chosen for warmth and not so much for fitment. She's positively swallowed inside the jacket that she's wearing, the zipper long broken, held closed with makeshift snaps and ties accumulated from places and...is that a zip tie? Yes, a zip tie holding the thing closed. She clutches her guitar to her chest, her change scattered on the ground as she takes a quick step or two back, eyes wide as she peers at Jubilee from beneath her knit cap.

     "I'm going, 'm going. You don't have to yell. Jeez." she says as she rolls her shoulders, looking up at the blessed, blessed heaters again before shouldering her guitar case, the strap barely hanging on. It's seen some miles, apparently. The yelling going at the man who came from Hajji's is noted, and she kind of shrinks down into herself. Oh great...they're talking about her. She did it again.

     "I'm sorry." She takes a step or two back, turning to head down the street, away from here. "I won't do it again."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee sends nothing but a smile. It's her way. "Your ukulele has too many strings!" she jokes, pointing her finger at the guitar case. Her smile gets wider. Noriko gets a nudge to her side. "I know there's a guitar in there!" she adds for everyone's benefit. The 'I'm sorry' and 'I won't do it again' softens Jubilation's smile a bit. Noriko is given a brief glance.

    "What do you mean?" she says suddenly. "That was /so/ /cool/ !!!" Jubilee brings both hands in front so she can rapidly clap a few times. "Right, Nori?"

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko's grins and such are a little dampened.  She falls into a little speed stretched stare as her body naturally kicks back into its normal rhythm.  For her, things seem to slide around slower.  She blinks out of it in one or two seconds.  "Oh yeah.  I was just telling that dick he's a dick," she says with a metal thumb suddenly over her shoulder, pointed back at Haji's.  "Yeah," she agrees with Jubilee.  She clearly isn't a clapper.

"It's pretty cold out.  Only going to get worse...There's this place-"  Noriko herself was sensitive to people offering her shelter or more and suddenly that pricks up to make her second guess how to approach things.  She looks over to Jubilee.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     The woman looks warily at the technicolored Jubilee and the blue-haired Noriko, answering the first question first and then the second. "It's not a ukulele..." she lamely replies after a moment or two, even though Jubilee is obviously kidding. When you're hungry and tired, things like that tend to pass over your head rather easily, and she's low to the ground to begin with. "And yeah, it would be neat if I could control it better. S'why I'm up here, after all, on the streets instead of home." She sighs and rubs her eyes with the heel of her hand, wiping something dark away from her cheeks.

     "Yeah, no, probably not a good idea for me to get in the shelter. I fall asleep and the images come and I can't do anything about it. Freaks everyone out, they kick me out of the street, and its another night in the cold. It's okay, though...." She pulls her jacket tighter. "I think the spot by the grate is still clear." Which grate, which alley? She's not sure, really...

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    There's this place, like Noriko said. Jubilation returns her gaze and smiles. These two sometimes shared a brain cell, figuratively of course, and so she's right there following the same train of thought. Jubilee turns back to Kassandra when she mentions a choice phrase: 'If I could control it better.'

    "Yeah, so, there's this place..." Jubilee repeats Nori's words. "It's...A great place to meet new friends. Like you." A pause. "...Like us." As if to explain, Jubilee reaches a hand out into the empty space and makes a vague 'ta-da' gesture. As her hand swipes, she leaves behind a trail of plasmoids, micro explosions of every color that Jubilee has nicknamed her 'fireworks'. They explode harmlessly into nothingness.

    "It's kind of far..." Jubilee adds, her eyebrows rising a bit. Noriko is given a glance. "But we can get there pretty fast..."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"It's not a shelter.  It's a place for people who have troubles with their powers or really have other issues," which is a blanket clause for homelessness, evil forces hellbent on killing you or experimenting on you, etc, etc, etc.

"They have experience with shit like this...like-"  Noriko pulls back from Jubilee and reaches to unlatch her gauntlet, pausing only to check the charge gauge on the one she hasn't started in on yet.  Before she even pulls her hand out of the gauntlet, lightning is cracking across her body, not those little trickles like before.  This is undirected, spontaneous, and near constant (right now, for Jubes).  She doesn't pay attention to how anyone around her reacts.  She seems solely focused on her task and maintaining concentration until her gauntlet is secured.

Looking back up over to Kass, Nori says with gravity, clearly not just showing off her powers,  "My speed?  It means I need to eat, a lot.  I was starving on these streets."  There's a substantial pause for the speedster.  "Look.  They're good people and they don't care what you've done or anything.  They made me these, and there are others who can help you with powers, like mind power people.  There's also great places you can sleep if you're worried about tonight and freaking people out."  She nods to Jubes, "I can get us up really fast if you don't mind Jubes holding your guitar while you get a piggyback ride.  If you don't like it, free ride back to anywhere."  It all just sorta tumbles out.

"But you know.  Up to you."  Noriko shrugs.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     On one hand, there's the street. There's uncertainty. There's getting chased out of a warm spot again and again, probably finally passing out due to exhaustion, getting robbed, probably getting killed, and dying alone. On the other there are these two women, one with electrical powers, the other with some kind of fireworks that come out of her fingertips. "I...I smell." Kassandra says, lamely, embarrassed. "And you don't even know who I am. W...why would you want to help me? I'm just...here. On the street."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee's nose wrinkles. Why would they want to help her? "...Why wouldn't we?" she asks, as if the question itself was nonsensical. But then, perhaps appealing to that 'Mutants need to stick together' mentality isn't the right one. "...Because we've been where you are," Jubes explains, her gaze flickering briefly to Noriko before returning to Kassandra. "...Both of us. And a lot of others, too. And some people helped us out like we are now." As simple as that. In fact, Jubilee even shrugs.

    She tips forward and takes an obvious sniff through her nose. "...You have an enchanting fragrance," Jubilee says with a smile, carefully pronouncing the words as if she was reading from a perfume catalog. "I'm Jubilation," she finally adds. A thumb is swung in Noriko's direction. "And she's Noriko."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"I'm so fucking noseblind now it doesn't even matter," Noriko says flippantly with a shrug as if her own street smell did permanent damage to her olfactory system.  Her mind flashes back to her own encounter with Julian when she came to the school, his attitude toward her homelessness.  It seems to spark an abrupt shift in behavior.

"Because I've been here.  I smelled like the sewer's asshole.  So I know.  I've bled here...I know it fucking sucks."  Noriko wears a concerned frown for a moment.  "I'll zip you straight to where you can take a bath and I'll get you some fresh clothes before anyone will know you are there if you want."  Definitely not as charming as Jubilation.  "This place is a school and it was setup for people like us, so you'll be welcome.  It's what they do."  Noriko nods once to Jubes' introduction.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
     It takes a good minute. Maybe two, but who's counting, for the woman to finally decide that what's being offered is something that she honestly couldn't really even conceieve of when her day started. A place that's warm, with baths and food and with people like her? A place she can get some sleep? She looks back and forth between the pair, still clutching her guitar, before she nods slightly. "Y..yeah. S..sure. I mean. Yes." Her head bobs in the affirmative. "Yes please, thank you. And I'm...I'm Kassandra. With a K."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee's eyes lower a touch as Noriko describes her life on the streets. There was something worse about hearing it from her versus seeing it in person. But, then, Kassandra's agreeing and introducing. "Great!" Jubilee says with a big smile. "Kassandra With A K!" Jubilee waves her hand in a come-here gesture and reaches out to take the girl's guitar case.

    "Let me take that," she says. "You'll want both hands for this."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
The speedster leans to whisper something in Jubilee's ear, "Call ahead?"  Noriko knows Jubilee won't just call the nosiest controlling faculty or staff member to give the heads up.

"Okay.  Time to go.  Hop on."  Noriko giving people a lift apparently really does mean piggyback rides.  Kassandra being Jubes' height means Noriko isn't even guessing how far to bend down.  Then just because Noriko is as lazy as everyone else in the world, she decides she's going to make it all in one trip.  She stands there with Kass on her back without instruction not too long, but starts up as if she has, "So hold on tight.  You won't hurt my neck.  Duck your head.  I will take us slow enough so you don't throw up or anything."  She counts down for Kass' sake.  Then they're off!

Kassandra is shuttled on a rather smooth but oh crap so fast ride up to Weschester County.  Noriko pauses briefly at the edge of the campus grounds to orient Kass for a moment.  "This is the school.  We're in upstate New York, Weschester County."  These are facts delivered perhaps in an attempt at providing ammo for a sense of security to combat the alien.

They arrive suddenly in what looks like posh boarding school room, two beds that could probably be converted into a bunk bed are situated on opposite sides.  One is covered in as much clutter as the entire floor.  Which suddenly is cleaned up in a matter of seconds.  "Sorry about that.  Be right back."  Next Nori appears with Jubilee and the guitar.

And so the two are left momentarily while Noriko goes to get clothing.  It takes longer than Jubilee knows it should.