2009-12-01: Pretty Pretty Princess



Date: December 1, 2009


Lena calls Gene to set him up on a chaperoned date and the merits of various Disney Princesses are discussed. For real.

"Pretty Pretty Princess"

Gene's Apartment/Rooftop of Destiny

"We shall begin this when you are ready…"

Gene narrows his eyes as he looks toward the man standing in front of him. Both men are dressed in white gis, Gene having a humble white belt while the other man has a black belt adorned with various symbols of martial art masteries. "Of course," Gene states before he comes in hard and fast. Whirling his arms about, he tries to offer a couple of powerful palm thrusts, but the speed and momentum are not enough, the strikes swiftly redirected by the older man.

The older asian tries to pivot on his foot, moving to lower his stance and sweep out his foe's leg with a mighty strike. Gene leaps over it, but finds himself with a palm in his gut, sending him tumbling back a few feet before he gets back into his stance. Gene grits his teeth as he moves around the rather small space of the apartment, the two combantants circling one another as they prepare for the next exchange.

A couple knocks from the floor let them know that the old man down below doesn't like the ruckus, but he can just deal… They don't complain about the noise his TV makes late at night from programming that usually involves lonely schoolgirls that just turned eighteen.

In the city, the Rooftop of Destiny has been co-opted by one anxious and confused punk princess. She lacks the black trench (and tragically romantic mindset) to cut a compelling figure by standing at roof's edge, looking out over the city. Lena is instead curled against the wall by the door, trying to ignore the uncomfortable poke and pinch of gravel through the thin denim of her blue jeans. Cradled in her hands is a small black radio set thingy; yes, that's her official name for it. After a few minutes of experimention, she has finally discovered the transmit button.

It is pressed without mercy, the girl ignorant of how this technology is supposed to function.

The matching set gives off a metallic tweet. That sound is repeated not once but twice more, each insistent chirp punctuated with the devilish hiss of someone who hasn't yet realize you're supposed to release the button between transmissions.

"Um. Hello? Is this thing working?" The static continues for a few seconds before finally cutting off. Oh, yes. She does want Gene to be able to reply.

The two fighters appear ready to go at it again, but Gene hears the radio going off. It's the first time outside of the apartment that someone has used his 'Encrypted Radio', a special radio that actively scans for free radio frequencies and switches them every few seconds seemlessly.

"I need to take that," Gene states with a tired sigh.

"Once you start a fight, it must be finished," the man states firmly.

Gene just nods and takes a deep breath as the man walks over and throws Gene to the floor, holding his foot to his neck for a few seconds. Once it seems that his face is starting to turn blue, Gene is released and allowed to return to his radio, grumbling about how he never should have told his fighting instructor where he was hiding out. "Lena?" he offers weakly, his air waves not quite as open as they once were.

"Gene! Hey, it worked!" On that distant rooftop, the teen straightens from the dejected slump she'd fallen into, convinced that she had somehow fouled the technology in some fashion. But jubilation is replaced an instant later by what may well be concern. "Hey…hey, are you okay? You sound sick. What happened, did you see that crazy chick already? Jesus, did she hurt you? I swear to god I'll—"

What else she might have said is not transmitted through the radio. In her rough handling of it, clasping it in both hands and holding it close to her mouth, Lena's somehow managed to slip her finger off of the send button. The rooftop is treated to the creative invective intended for the Geek God's ears, instead.

A second later, the girl's voice returns. "Hey, sorry about that…I really suck with this kind of thing. Um, are you busy? I kinda have a thing I needed to tell you."

"No, I haven't seen her yet. I'll likely be trying to talk to her tonight. Just was doing some… exercise and got a little winded, that's all," Gene replies, watching as the man gives a point toward the watch and makes his way out. Gene nods before putting his attention back on the radio, clearly understanding what the sign means. "So, what did you need to talk about?"

"Um." Now that she has him on the line, Lena's brain stalls. How much to tell? Given the man's inclination towards the honorable, an abbreviated and tidied version is finally chosen. "You remember I told you about the lady who taught me the thing I used on Sydney? The one who got away from you know what and is running too? I didn't tell her much but she…well, she maybe kinda wants to hook up with ya'll. Us, I mean. She's…"

After a loaded pause, Lena finishes, "She's kind of weird but really strong with what she does. Maybe useful, you know? Wanted me to arrange a meeting if you're interested. I didn't know if you would be since…well, she's been in there and got out, right?"

There is a long pause on Gene's end as he considers it. He looks at the window, watching the traffic pass outside of the house. "I think I'll need to hear more before I come to a conclusion on that. Tell me more about how she found out about us, why she wants to join and how she's is."

One wouldn't think silence is capable of transmitting guilt, but there it is. There is an equally long pause on the other end (filled with much uncomfortable shifting on that distant rooftop) before Lena keys in again.

"Okay. She asked if I was safe, right? And I said I'd met up with some folks who were like…joining together for safety in numbers, looking to help people like us. I didn't say names or numbers or anything, I swear to God." Pause. "She can move stuff with her mind, like Jean Grey, but not small shi—stuff either. She threw me up on top of a roof, boom, just like that. So I guess they had her locked up, I dunno how she got away. Um. But I don't know if she wants to join, yet. Not till she knew if you guys were cool, I think she said. She's…kind of weird in the head, a little. From being locked up and running so much, I think."

The Geek Genius offers a small smile, clearly not as worried once he gets more information. "I'm not mad if you just brought up being in a group like that. As long as there wasn't names or the like, we're good. A telekinetic? Like Gabriel… But go on about this weird in the head. What did she do… Other than apparently throw you around."

"Nuh uh, like I would! Beautiful and smart, remember?" There's no measuring the relief audible in Lena's tone of voice, the strength of her sudden grin almost a palpable thing. It's short-lived, however. "I dunno Gabriel. But that's…kind of why I wanted to talk to you. She's…she's really strong but she doesn't seem to like…hold it back any, you know? Towards normal people. I thought it was just pranks at first but it can get kind of mean."

Understatement of the century.

"Maybe she just needs to feel safe though, right? They had her awhile. Or you could…look her up or something, see if she was like the guys I took down in the convenience store. I got her name and her number."

"Pranks on normal people? Hopefully, people weren't getting hurt and stuff," Gene replies, running a hand through his hair. "I'll talk to her, but I admit it sounds a little concerning for me. I mean, if you know X-Men, there was Professor X and there was Magneto. Just because we have powers doesn't give us the right to abuse them. I'll talk to her as Prometheus… It seemed to work when I was dealing with another troublesome woman. If it's important to you that I try and talk to her, then it's important to me."

There's another long pause, punctuated by the occasional burst of static. If asked, Lena's going to claim technical difficulty. In reality, she's staring up at the sky wheeling overhead. "Yeah…yeah. I mean, no…jesus, Gene, you seriously need to meet some un-troublesome people. I'm sorry about all of this. Her name is Dex," she goes on, in a bit of a rush. The number that follows is repeated once quickly, and then again more slowly.

"Maybe take me with you if you do meet with her? She's…jumpy, but we get along, kinda."

"If you want to come, then I'll make sure to take you with me when I go," the young man states with a firm tone. "As for meeting un-troubled people, eh, everyone in life is troubled to some extent, you just don't see it. And helping other people helps myself, so it's no trouble at all." Unless they are trying to kill him or backstab him. Sighing in relief, Gene moves to lean against the wall, slowly slumping down to a seated position. "So, with that settled, how you guys doing? Everything alright?"

"You think so? I dunno, there's got to be normal people somewhere, right? That's…math." Probability is beyond the high school drop-out, but the concept isn't unknown to her. Lena releases the button for a second, pausing to knuckle her eyes with one hand as she considers how best to reply to the questions.

"Yeah. Yeah, everything's alright." There's a pause. "I think I'm going to have to steal this roof from you, man. The view's something else, I had to get out for some air and all I could think about was getting back up here. Chi's good though. I think he's excited about getting to work on cars…bummed about keeping it legal though…dunno yet if we're the reforming sort, you know?"

"I think we'll find them roughly the same time we'll find life on Mars," Gene admits, finding that even normal people usually aren't that normal. "Well, better to start reforming now than later if you want to. Sadly enough I'm doing tons of illegal stuff these days, but that's because our government is… You know all that. But yeah, I'll try and get a playdate for all the people that want to work on cars soon and we'll start getting to work on the modding and stuff. It'll be good to have something legal to fall back on… After all, speaking from a man that's been there, prison sucks."

Lena isn't the chuckling sort, but a vaguely amused sound crackles through the speaker as she keys the mic again. "He'll get used to it, I figure. Just a lot of new stuff, all at once. But he's good at it…modding stuff and adapting. I'll have to figure out what I'm gonna do once all this goes normal. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a princess at Disneyworld but…yeah. If you laugh, I'm spiking your bedtime milk first chance I get."

There's another silence, longer this time. When she sends again, there are sirens in the far distant, the wail of the city. "Hey Gene? You meant it when you said you think maybe the bad guys sometimes deserve what they get, yeah?"

"I think you'd make a great Snow White," Gene replies, actually sincere in his thought… though he does offer a chuckle before going on. "Not sure how Tiago would be at the whole Prince Charming thing. Good luck getting him in a suit of any sort."

The pause shows a change in the mood, Gene almost ready to break the silence by the time Lena does. "…They do all the time. Evil is something that needs to be punished. However, the ability to show mercy and forgive is supposed to be what makes humans human and gives us hope that while we can't make the world perfect… We can at least make it a place worth living." Gene smiles faintly at the thought, but it fades as he asks the question. "Why you ask?"

"Yeah," Lena agrees wryly, "Maybe I'll move back to Florida and apply. So long as I could keep my mouth shut." Which doesn't appear to be on the agenda any time soon, because the words pour out in a rush almost immediately after. "I was just wondering, you know? I mean. Like you just said. They should be punished but we should also show mercy and forgive? That's one of those contradictions, right? And…and I think maybe there are things you can't forgive. I guess I was still just thinking about it. You've thought about it a lot, I could tell."

In the silence that follows, finger safely off of the button, the rooftop is treated to a very low and very grumbly, "Fuck. Shut up, already."

Frowning, the young man taps his head against the wall of the apartment a few times. "I have. It's been something I've been thinking about for a few years. Sometimes, people do an action without remorse and will hurt other people. In order to defend others, sometimes you have to step in to stop them. But most times, when people do an action, it's something that they regret. Sometimes the only way to save them, is to show mercy and give them a way out. At least that's what my grandfather tells me. We used to talk about this stuff for like… hours. But might be good to practice showing mercy…. If you want to be a Disney Princess, they are supposed to have that in spades. Except maybe Mulan, but she doesn't take crap from nobody."

"The ones who don't regret, they don't stop, do they? That's…yeah. I guess." Following a deep breath, a slow exhalation, Lena pulls her mouth into something resembling a smile, so that it colors her voice. "Sounds like you have a cool grampa, mine just used to get me to bring him beers from the fridge in the garage. I don't remember him saying much." The hand not holding the radio is used to scoop up a palmful of gravel; one small chunk of rock after another is flicked over the roof as if she were skipping rocks. "I think I'd be a better Mulan than a Snow White, just have to get a sword and I'd be good to go. Can I ask one more question? I don't wanna keep you too long, I know you're busy and all. This one's like…really important though. You don't answer honest, I might have to quit and go back to slinging drugs on the street."

The answer is short but without any hestiation from Gene's side of the radio, perhaps trying to ensure his answer is honest. "Sure, what's up?"

Just as prompt is the question. There's no need for the teen to force her good cheer this time. "What do you wanna be when you grow up? For serious?"

There is a brief pause. It's clear that Gene wasn't expecting THAT one. He gives a nervous chuckle. "Um… When I was a kid, I wanted to be a scientist. When I thought I was dying, figured I wasn't going to grow up. Right now? …I honestly don't have any idea. I guess it'll just depend on how everything with this Alpha Protocol turns out. I wish I had a firm answer… but you wanted an honest one, so… yeah, here you go."

"Yeah? That's…actually, that's pretty cool. If you don't know, I figure then maybe it's okay I don't have any clue either. Good stuff. I'll let you go, thanks for letting me be a pest, man. Gonna go hit the library, I think, see what other goodies I might be able to make…let me know when you're gonna go talk to Dex, okay?" Lena pauses, then presses the button again. "And hey, if you could add a sword and maybe sword lessons to that new wardrobe from Eric, that'd be totally badass. I'm good for it, honest."

"You got it… I'll see what I can do on the sword though." Swords are rather lethal. If Lena wants something a melee weapon, maybe… This will require some thought. "No worries on the talk, enjoyed it. If you need me, got the way to reach me. Talk to you later!" And with that, he clicks off. He briefly gives a small little smile, but then shakes it off. "Got work to do," he says to himself, getting up and moving to his laptop. He's got some designing to do.

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