Quentin and Nica bump heads at one of the mutant rights rallies in the city.
If Quentin did not stop yelling obscenities at the police whose faces he was getting all up in, he was going to give himself the mother of all sore throats. Also probably several lectures from Xavier on maturity, being an effective activist, and managing his temper. The old man ought to be a little impressed, at least. Even though Quentin was sure he could give the pig an aneurysm, he was refraining from using his telepathy at all.
The fact that he knew a legit riot would ensue if any of New York's finest fell to an unforeseen force at a mutant-led protest, and that he was not the only mansion resident there and they would get swept up in it, also influenced his decision to hold back. But still, that he even considered those was progress.
Several people behind, Nica winced at the finer details of the language Quentin was using, but noted that despite his words on the journals and here right now, he didn't seem to be using his powers. Speaking of which... she went momentarily intangible in order to squeeze through the mass of angry protesters to join him at the front line. If something did
happen, at least she could be in a position to defend the crowd.
"Fuck you and fuck your mother, too, buddy." Quentin turned on his heel to break away from the protest for a minute. He needed a break. He almost wished he smoked cigarettes so he'd have something to calm him down. He started when he saw the young woman behind him. And from the look on her face, he didn't need his telepathy to know what she was thinking. "Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt them. Right now."
"Your restraint is admirable," she replied wryly, thinking as she said it that she sounded like her father. "But seriously, it's good. Things are way too hair trigger here."
"Yeah, and whose fault is that?" he asked rhetorically, eyeing the cops again. "Our revolution is never gonna come if we keep playing by their goddamn rules."
"It won't come if we're the antagonists either. We take the first punch and it's crackdowns and the registration act and fucking internment camps like they have in Australia for refugees," was Nica's response. "There's a bigger picture to keep in mind."
Quentin rolled his eyes. "Read a book. America does all that regardless of provocation. It's going to happen even if we segregate ourselves and never interact with flatscans. They'll find a justification. We're keeping to ourselves, we must be planning something, right? Into the gas chambers we go, just the same as if we hide in plain sight and pretend we're flatscans ourselves. Don't you think we should do something to even the odds before they come to slaughter us?"
"Which 'they'? The cops? The politicians? Or just anyone who doesn't happened to have the x-gene?" She gestured behind them at the crowd. "It's not just mutants out here today supporting us."
"You think they're going to stick around after shots are fired by either side?" He visually scanned the crowd, noting the variety of protesters. There were several obvious mutants, but many others who, like the two of them, could pass or weren't even mutants themselves. He sighed and ran a hand through his recently dyed hair.
"I'm willing to wait and give them the chance to show me one way or another before I judge them." Nica's eyes literally flashed - she had trouble keeping her powers in check when she was emotional. "That's your problem, Quire. You're so convinced you're right about everything you don't give anyone a chance to prove they aren't all out to get you."
He chuckled. "You're not the first person to say that. But if there's anything I've learned since I manifested, it's that everyone is
out to get me. It's not paranoia if it's true."
"Downside of the TP?" she asked rhetorically. "Is everyone that
"Upside," he corrected her. "Now I know 'trust no bitch' is a good maxim to live by. So." He turned to survey the crowd. "Who d'you think is gonna crack first and fire the first shots, the pigs or the muties?"
"Nice deflection," she muttered to herself, knowing he'd hear it any way. Apparently she'd hit a spot. "Neither, I hope. But considering the NYPD aren't exactly known for their peaceful negotiation skills, it might be worth trying to get the more vulnerable people to move back out of the line of fire."
Quentin ignored her first comment, although the corners of his lips twitched. "You don't think that's gonna be the spark that sets them off? Cops seeing people mobilize, tougher and bulletproof mutants in front, that makes 'em think they're planning something and an itchy trigger finger makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. I thought Gen X was supposed to teach you better than that. Not that I'd know."
"What would you suggest then, O wise one?" Nica responded, sarcasm dripping from every word. "Attack first and have the media turn even more against us?"
"You flatter me," he said, waving his hand dismissively. "The media's already against us. So are the people and the government. What've we got to lose? Our lives? They're forfeit, anyway, if we stand around and do nothing."
"Wow, way to be totally terrifying," was Nica's reply, although real concern had entered her expression. Just how far would Quentin go? Was he about to start a full-scale riot? "So why are you even with us at all? Wouldn't the Brotherhood be more up to your speed?"
"They don't exactly advertise, and if they're pulling a page from ISIS and radicalizing online, then I've yet to find them." He shrugged nonchalantly, as if this whole conversation were just an exercise in rhetoric and antagonism rather than an actual good-faith discussion. "And besides, contrary to what I might've implied, I don't actually believe mutants are better
than flatscans, which is, you know, the Brotherhood's central tenet. They might have the right means, but the ends? I'm still undecided."
His phone pinged, the alert the sound of a woman in the throes in passion, and he smirked when he checked the screen and, after the briefest of contemplations, swept left. "And besides, hook-up apps aren't gonna work in whatever cave they're hiding in."
Nica rolled her eyes at him. "You could have fooled me, with the not thinking we're superior, to listen to you talking about flatscans and wars. But then again, I guess it all comes down to dick for you, doesn't it? Even the politics is just a way to get laid."
His smirk instantly vanished and any hint of mirth similarly disappeared. He was reminded of Cecilia admonishing him for much the same reason. "Don't mistake flippancy here with apathy and narcissism, Lite-Brite," he reprimanded her. "Are we gonna compare notes? Quantify who's done more to help mutants and fight against flatscan supremacy? Let's not waste each other's time."
"I didn't realise this was a dick measuring contest," she retorted, clearly angry now. "And if I'm going to not
lose my shit and out myself and the mansion, I need out of this. Don't start any riots." She began making her way back through the crowd away from the front line and back towards the less-prominent mass behind. Her fists and jaw were clenched with the effort of holding her powers back, the surge of anger breaking her recently-learned control. Even so, there was a vague shimmer around her and her progress was helped by a certain lack of substance around her edges.
If he had felt drained before, then his own newfound rage reinvigorated Quentin, and he shoved his way back into the forefront of the crowd to resume his chanting, cursing, and threatening.