The Mutant Wave: The Mutant Suppression Program

Thought-Records 4232 and 4233

The sixth and seventh of Battery's thought-records

[Here ended the first adventure. The second one took off about three months later in real-time, two days later in game time. In the space between, we were given full access to our character sheets and knowledge of what our characters could do, but not who they were.]

//// Initializing Thought-Record #4232 [Codename: Battery] ////

Nowhere, Idaho. At least I think this is Idaho. Nobody seems to be perfectly certain. We’ve walked for two days, and I think – I think we’re finally reaching civilization. Of sorts. Opal says we need to get to Portland, Oregon – that’s where he has friends – but we’ll never get there on foot. Especially not like this.

I look over our little assembly. There’s Opal; he looks good. Handsome, relatively well-dressed. Looks rich. Then there’s me, Price and Mirror… we’re wearing lab coats. Seer is in an ill-fitting guard uniform, Ruby is in a prison jumpsuit, and that weird kid is naked. Hm. We’re not going to make the best impression. Considering the news of a prison break is out, we might not want to make an impression at all. We start talking.

It’s concluded pretty fast that we’ll have to steal something. It’s regrettable, but we’re wanted fugitives with almost no money; our options are extremely limited. It’s late, and the city is quiet. Price spots a house that looks empty, and Opal sends in his shadow-self through the wall to unlock the door. No burglar alarm.

Price stands guard while the rest of us enter, spreading out to get a hold of everything we might need for the trip. Mirror heads upstairs to get something to wear. I go for the bathroom and laundry room, and while I’m ashamed to admit it, it’s mostly because it’s relatively safe to turn on the lights in there. I hope nobody asks. Well, now that I’m here, I might as well make myself useful. Toothbrushes, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, I don’t remember ever using these things but still I miss them. I pack up as much as I can in an old laundry bag, and head out. Seer handles the food, and Mirror the clothes; in the process, he changes to mimic Opal. I guess that makes sense. He’s more… normally… built.

We regroup outside. The kid made some noise in the kitchen, but I think Seer had him under control. A car drives by, tinted windows. We head for the trees before he has a chance to spot us.

The clothes fit Mirror like a glove – or rather, they fit Opal. Ruby and Seer easily get into theirs, but me and Price are worse off. I’m too small; he’s too big. I come to think of Goldilocks. He settles for a very tight T-shirt and some sweat pants, I go for a loose pair of shorts and a baggy tank top. It doesn’t look great, but at least we don’t scream “escaped convict” any longer. More like… hillbillies.I guess we’ll blend in, then. We need someplace to sleep and clean up, though. I suggest a school – they have gymnasiums, and therefore, showers.

It isn’t hard to find – a large building with McKinley High in huge metal letters. It has a gymnasium, and while there’s a burglar alarm it turns out they haven’t secured their windows against mutant shadow-men. Opal opens the windows, and they’re small enough for me to squeeze in – but the doors are unfortunately locked. The janitor should have keys, but his office is, of course, also locked. Hm. Seems a little vandalism is inevitable. Fortunately, I guess I’m good at that.

I cut away the lock with my fingers.

Unlocking the main entrance is easy enough once I have the keys, and the alarm doesn’t go off – for the upcoming couple of hours, we have the place to ourselves. I set the alarm on the Foxphone. Price hauls down the giant mattresses. Stupid kid plays with the showers, gets his only shirt wet. Seer must’ve dressed him. Well, he’s not my problem.

We make ourselves comfortable. Time to sleep, I guess. Could use it.

//// End of Thought-Record #4232 [Codename: Battery] ////

//// Initializing Thought-Record #4233 [Codename: Battery] ////

The phone wakes us, pretty rudely. Good thing, though – we have to clear out before people arrive. Opal, to my surprise, is already up and has already showered – his hair is wet. Did he even sleep? Ruby says something about how he’s a very prude and private person. I guess we didn’t make the best first impression on him, then. Or rather, Mirror didn’t. Well. Gaining peoples’ trust doesn’t seem to be Mirror’s thing.

I’m not a very prude and private person, so I just hit the showers along with pretty much everyone else. It feels great to finally be clean; I think I still had some of that weird second-skin from the tubes clinging to me. Right about when we’re done, the phone goes off a second time. Guess that’s our cue to leave. We do. There’s a huge poster outside warning people about escaped mutants – there’s really no point in trying to cover our tracks. They’ll know someone broke in, they’ll assume it was the escaped convicts. We leave. On foot.

More walking. Hurray.

//// Thought-Record #4233 [Codename: Battery] 03h 08m 12s skipped ////

Not much traffic on these roads. Mirror’s playing around with Fox – apparently she’s been trying to contact us. That’s what that second alarm signal was about. Mirror’s texting like a teenager in love. There must be a more efficient means of communication. I ask zir if I can borrow the phone. Ze doesn’t object. I try entering a voicemail message – I figure maybe Fox hasn’t located the call functions, or else there isn’t a voice synthesizer. It works. Fox speaks again, in her soft-spoken female animatronic voice.

She reminds us she read our files. If we have questions, we can ask her. I don’t. I need to stay focused – I can’t go back to a life where I endangered people every day, simply by existing. It’s arrogant, it’s selfish, and it’s dangerous. Am I curious? Of course I’m curious. Now isn’t the time. I hand the phone to Price. Fox reads his story out loud. It’s a sob story, all right.

Dead parents. Forced into prostitution somewhere on the West Coast. Got picked up by somebody named Cho; I think Fox is implying they had a romantic relationship, some kind of Pretty Woman-type situation. If Julia Roberts had been a hulking, musclebound Chinese guy and Richard Gere had been the leader of a biker gang. Pop culture references. I guess I’ve seen that movie at some point.

Nobody else asks any questions, so Fox elaborates a little. Nothing I listen too closely too – it feels too personal. I don’t embarrass easily, but this is a little awkward. Mirror starts shooting zir mouth, though – I don’t really pay attention until Ruby intervenes. Forcefully. Apparently she took offense, because she shoves zir up against a tree. Wow. This is bad. I try to talk them down. It goes… badly. Ruby doesn’t like people smarting off. Mirror loathes violence. It’s a terrible combination. I try to tell them to communicate; it’s a cliché, but it’s true. I don’t think either of them listens. This is bad. They calm down, for now, but the problem doesn’t go away – far from it.

We hear motorcycles roaring down the highway, interrupting the conflict. We should hide. Heading into the foliage, Mirror sends Pebble to scout ahead. He hears something. Apparently everyone else does, too. We stop. I guess we should hide?

I climb a tree. It… was the first thing I came to think of. It probably wasn’t very smart. Price and Ruby stay down there, ready to take on whatever’s coming, whatever that might be. Then, just like that, things start to go horribly, horribly wrong.

Someone throws a knife at Opal. He collapses – I think he’s dead. I panic. Panicking is not good. I’ve no idea what I’m trying to do, but the result is that I blow up the tree. I don’t… think that was the plan.

The enemy emerges. He tackles Seer. Ruby tackles him. Then Priceless tackles him. Then I set fire to some shrubbery. I have terrible aim.

Seer shoots him. It effectively ends the fight, though Ruby is the one who… well, executes the guy. She’s a very frightening woman. It’s over before I even have a clue what’s going on. The motorcycles are coming back, and we need to move. Priceless lifts Opal. Then Ruby throws up and collapses. Fox’s voice comes through all of this, she informs us the guy is some insane war veteran turned mutant, and his power is to poison people by touch. Priceless and Seer are both fine, but Ruby could die. As could Opal. He may not have been poisoned, but there’s still a knife in his shoulder.

In all this chaos, someone calls out for Joey. It stops Priceless dead in his tracks. He sets down Opal, and turns back. I don’t have time for questions, I have to stop the bleeding.

[This was Battery’s sixth botch of the evening. It… wasn’t her best day.]

I think I made it worse. Meanwhile, the bikers approach. I really, really, really hope Price knows what he’s doing. He does. They know him. They like him. Except for one racist guy who’s afraid of mutants. Wait, scratch that. It’s not racist if it’s reasonable, which, knowing me, it actually is.

They talk. Priceless is actually called Joey. Joey WANGCHUNG. They’re his friends, part of his old gang, the Red Dragons. They say they can help us. They have a garage in Nampa, nearby, where this “Cho” guy lives. I ask them if they’ve got a doctor. They might. Good enough for me.

Joey goes with them back to the city, alongside Pebble and Opal – he’s well enough to hang on to a bike, it seems. They promise they’ll send a car for the rest of us. I don’t exactly trust them, but what choice do we have? Ruby is in dire need of medical assistance, and it’s all I can do to try and feed her everything on those toxin-infomercial lists. We need a doctor. A real doctor. I… don’t think anyone of us is one.

Fox tells us the crazy mutant – Toxic – is still poisonous. We need to bury him or burn him. Seer keeps an eye on Ruby, and since we can’t touch the guy without probably dying, I guess the questionable honor of disposing of the body falls to me. I incinerate it. It isn’t pleasant, but I’m pretty sure what’s left isn’t poisonous. I almost throw up myself, but I fight the urge – I brushed my teeth for the first time in… well, years, this morning.

I get back. We hide near the road, and wait.

[This would be a great place to splice in Priceless’s thought-record from the garage, but I’m not going to write that.]

The car eventually arrives. It’s a van. It’s tacky, but not as tacky as it could have been. By which I mean, there are strippers painted on it, but at least they’re well painted. The driver looks sleazy, but trustworthy. Mirror rides in the front with him. Me and Seer tend to Ruby in the back of the van, because I don’t dare to leave her alone. It seems bad, she’s burning up from some kind of fever. I wish I knew what kind of poison this is.

We’re being followed. More bikers. Our guys had red motorcycles. These guys have silver motorcycles. I’m no expert in how gangsters work, but I have a feeling that means they’re on different teams. The driver confirms this. He also confirms that it’s very bad news, and that if they catch up, unpleasant things will happen to us. I guess I’d better stop them. Somehow. What can I do? I can set fire to things. The street? No, that’s insane. The bikers? God, what am I thinking!? There’s… blankets! We have blankets!

I start throwing burning blankets into the street. They should prove a distraction, if nothing else. Unfortunately they’re not distracting enough – they keep their distance, but they hang on our tails. Seer saves us. I’d almost forgotten how impressive her powers are.

A glowing blue phantom-van manifests out of nowhere. It seriously freaks them out – they swerve, we turn a corner, and they’re gone.

//// Thought-Record #4233 [Codename: Battery] 00h 12m 12s skipped ////

We arrive. Their place is… just about as classy as the van. They’re clearly criminals, but relatively classy criminals. The garage is full of gang symbols, but they’re nicely drawn gang symbols. Apparently I judge criminals by how good they are at arts and crafts. Maybe I shouldn’t. I’m very glad they’re Chinese, though, and not white. Maybe it’s stereotyping, but I have a feeling white bikers might be less welcoming to someone like me, even in this day and age.

We finally meet Cho. He’s nice. Handsome, pleasant, a little awkward. I guess that’s because of Price. They… apparently have a history. I don’t pry. I focus on what’s important – the doctor. He’s a tiny old man named Dr. Ming. He’s seen to Opal, but Ruby is a far more difficult question. Cho pays for the procedure without asking. They’re extremely hospitable. Either Cho really, really, really likes Joey, or our good friend Priceless used to be very important around these parts. I’m guessing it’s a combination of both.

They tell us to make ourselves at home. Mirror disappears somewhere in the crowd. Seer settles in naturally, apparently not at all fazed by the room full of scary men with weapons. Priceless talks a little with Cho. I’m feeling awkward, and worried for Ruby. The doctor comes back. He says she’s strange. “Strange”. What kind of answer is that?

The bikers clear out. They’ve apparently decided to give us the place to ourselves. Very nice of them, almost strangely nice, but I chalk it up to how much Joey must mean to them. I overhear them mention how he and his mutant friends used to make them top dogs around these parts, and now without him, things have been falling apart. So I guess that explains it. Not only do the Red Dragons give us food and lodging, they also give us money, and even outfit Seer with more guns. I… idly wonder how smart that is. That woman’s love of firearms seems to go a little above and beyond just exercising the Second Amendment.

Opal says Ruby will be fine. She’s immune to heat, so the fever won’t kill her. The rest of the poison should clear out naturally. Mirror goes out shopping for better clothes. The rest of us, well… I guess we settle in.

//// End of Thought-Record #4233 [Codename: Battery] ////



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