“And what does our glorious leader say about this? Does he talk to us? Does he share his plan with us? Why haven't we heard what our fearless military has been up to lately? What is the Brotherhood doing in England? Turkey? Japan? What about in America? What about the reports on attacks in New York rumored to be the work of our own people? Why haven't we heard more than a few feeble attempts to quell them?”
The woman standing on a chair in the corner of the moderately-sized coffee shop crumpled a newspaper in her hand as she looked around, her eyes so fierce that she looked as if she were ready to leap off that chair and into the crowd. Drew would have leaned back in his chair had he been sitting closer to her... had he even been in a chair to begin with.
Instead, Drew was propped against the wall near the entrance of the coffee shop, his hoodie raised to hide his face from most of the onlookers who listened to the young woman go off on the evils of Sanctuary. From the edge of his hood, he glimpsed the outside of the shop, noting that many people standing outside were craning their necks to listen at the entrance. Others stood behind and strained to hear over those that had been earlier to arrive. This hadn't been a scheduled event... nothing had been posted up about it. It was just something that had spawned... from nothing; the speaker who was currently tearing up the paper in her hands had apparently lost a son to Brotherhood casualties and a daughter had simply disappeared.
Drew did what he usually did when troubled about the events around him – he shoved his hands in his pockets and hunched his shoulders as he leaned solidly against a wall. He hated being in this position... not the position against the wall, but that of being in the Brotherhood. Lately he'd been looked at with suspicion and muttering whenever his back was turned. He knew... he was quick enough to catch them in the act. He also hated the fact that he agreed with a lot that this broad was saying, yet couldn't really think of what to do about it.
It was all wrong.
“There have been at least twenty-three known disappearances inside Sanctuary's walls, and the police can't – or won't – tell us anything!” She pointed an accusing finger in the general direction of the citadel, “I don't know about you, but between those, the failure to communicate, and the recent break-in and breakout that they're trying to cover up shows exactly what Magneto's true colors really are!” She made a chopping motion through the air as if trying to cut something with her hand, “Magneto never had our best interests at heart! He tricked us... bringing us here where we could be controlled. Now he's scaring us by making our loved ones disappear and giving us limited information of what's happening on the surface!”
And this chick's diarrhea of the mouth was going to get them all into trouble... including herself.
“I say we all go over to The Citadel and stay there until Magneto or Absolom come out and personally answer our questions. What are they doing about our missing? What's happening on the surface? They can't ignore us forever! We outnumber them!” The newspaper flared up briefly before being completely consumed in what could only be described as an almost clear looking glob of superheated gelatin that had a faint reddish glow to it.
“And we're not completely defenseless either!”
Murmurs of agreement came from pockets of the crowd while others shook their heads, disagreeing despite the worry painted across their own faces. This could get messy.
“Ah crap,” Drew muttered as he peered at the woman from under his hood. He was pretty sure there were going to be a lot of deaths before this was all over.
"Thank you, sir!"
Joshua nodded politely as he took the cup from the barista manning the coffee shop. He always knew that caffeine, being a stimulant, tended to send his body into a heated state, but it was a side-effect he had learned to manage a long time ago.
Stay in control...
He knew that his abilities didn't leave much room for error. A single stray thought would end up either melting the styrofoam cup in his hand, or freezing the coffee inside.
Hearing the clamor, he took his cup and made his way outside. He could already guess what was going on even before he could make out the words of the woman on the soapbox. They were the same things that had been occupying him for the past few weeks. The disappearances, the unanswered questions, they were all fuel for a fire that he'd seen spreading slowly but surely in their own little community.
Civil concerns were something he tried to stay out of, especially when it concerned a larger group of people who could decide at any moment that they wanted to take out whatever frustrations they had on you. But now, staring at this impromptu assembly, he realized that his own questions and concerns about what was really rotten in the state of Sanctuary had already bled into the general population.
And he was getting a little sick of it.
As he scanned the crowd, taking in the angry glares, he noticed a familiar face. Drew Wexler. Sabre. The "other speedster", as he called him when Spitfire was still present. He was leaning against the wall of the coffee house, and from the look on his face and the whispered comment, could see the exact same thing he was seeing.
So now the question was how to handle it.
"This is gonna get ugly fast..." he said as he approached. "Any ideas? Because I suck with crowds."
The back of the little coffee shop was usually a pleasant place to sit, sip a cup of coffee that had absolutely no effect on her, and read a book. Really, the coffee was pointless, caffeine had no effect on the metal girl, and she had no actual need for food or beverage. But she could smell the delightful scent of coffee beans and flavoring, and relish the smooth taste of warm coffee sliding down her throat. The book was a new one – some might question how she was able to read it, during such times. The silver girl had heard rumors. New York City, disappearances, attacks, and she’d have to be stupid to not feel the tension that had slowly been rising in Sanctuary. The Brotherhood was losing control of a bad situation.
None of that had any bearing on Cessily’s reading time, at least until one of the women in the shop decided to turn the morning crowd into a caffeine fueled lynch mob. For the majority of the shouting, accusations, and general strife, the redhead had kept her nose diligently in her book. Another pointless thing, because when push came to shove, the metallic polymorph could see out of every surface of her body – which meant that the woman climbing on chairs still made her way into the redhead view. How irritating. And really, Cessily might have minded her own business, if it weren’t for the fact that she could see how nervous the staff of the shop was getting.
And then there was the threatening. This woman was getting all these people riled up about marching right over to the Brotherhood’s front doorstep and raising a fuss. Was she insane? Glancing at the crowd, silver eyes taking in the scared looks, the nervous shifting, and the angry glares – along with Drew, who looked wholly uncomfortable. With a sigh, Cess placed her bookmark into the book, and she didn’t bother standing from her corner before speaking, her low pitched voice carrying easily through the shop.
“…You’re kidding, right?” Cessily was no stranger to fighting back. She’d fought the human Purifiers who had attempted to kill her, destroy her home and way of life. She had been there during Apocalypse, fighting to stay alive. But this…After a moment of letting her words sink it, the shiny silver girl stood up, sweeping a sharp gaze over the crowd, her skin glittering beneath the lights in the shop. She was impossible to miss, even if she hadn’t been speaking.
“That’s your brilliant plan? March right to the gates of Oz and demand to see the wizard?” A gusty sigh escaped her, one hand lifting to rub the bridge of her nose, before she stepped forward, staring at the woman on the chair. “Then let me ask you this – how many people have you killed? Huh? Anyone? No? That’s what I thought.” Her narrowed gaze lingered across the room, hands on her hips.
“Oh, I’m sure all of you are thinking ‘I could kill someone!’ – yeah, it’s easy to think about. But I bet everyone here has a conscience. You know, a voice that says, ‘hey, killing people is bad’.” One hand lifted, silver skin shaping into a blade for a moment. “Well, the Brotherhood doesn’t have that voice. Here you are, saying how they’re murderers, that they’re making people disappear…And you want to stomp over there and confront them? If it’s true, what makes you think they won’t kill you?” Stomping to where the woman on the chair stood, Cessily glared at the woman, long red hair swinging behind her.
“Did it ever occur to you that pissing off the killers isn’t the best way to get results? I have friends in New York City, same as you. Did it ever occur to you that the reason the Brotherhood isn’t telling you anything about the disappearances is because they don’t know???” Her voice rose just a pinch, arms crossing over her chest. “Or maybe that making a big scene and starting a riot isn’t the kind of attention you want to have on you, during such unstable times?” Call her crazy, but she knew full well what the Brotherhood was capable of…And drawing this kind of attention, during times when things were this bad, just screamed ‘bad, bad things’ to her. There were times to stand up a fight, and times to work in the background towards a common goal. Cessily may live in Sanctuary for now, but she was still an X-Man at heart, and she didn’t want to see this crowd broken up by enforcers because it got too out of hand. That would end in injuries. Did Cess want to know what was going on? Of course. But she wasn’t going to do something to end up with her ass in a sling trying.