Morphine And Mummies


melissa_icon.gif nadira_icon.gif

Scene Title Morphine and Mummies
Synopsis A chat about the upcoming ball at Tartarus turns into a discuss on abilities and nazis.
Date September 10, 2010


It's been a few days since Melissa called Nadira and Quinn back into her office. Well, tonight Quinn is off work, so it's lucky Nadira who gets a message to meet 'the boss' back in her office. The door is left cracked a little, an open invitation, and this time Melissa is seated behind the desk rather than on it, working on a laptop with one hand, while the other holds a half-burnt cigarette. Clearly this is stressful work if it requires nicotine!

Considering that the last time Nadira was in Mel's office it was a good thing, she isn't too worried about what might be happening. She gingerly pushes the door open, giving 'the boss' a kind smile as she slips in, letting the door fall shut behind her. "Things going that great, are they?"

Glancing up Melissa gives Nadira a wry smile. "Do you know how much more work it is to plan a ball than an auction? I mean, the fliers alone have to have more detail. Then you've got the decorations, the costumes for the employees, the entertainment, the music…Not to mention my costume. Though I did find someone who's gonna juggle sharp objects for our amusement, so that's one thing crossed off my to do list."

"Don't stress yourself out too much. Everyone can chip in with things, you know. Heck, I don't mind working long hours—well, so long as they're before curfew. I wouldn't get caught dead out there." Nadira rolls her eyes. "Could come in early and help with some planning if you want. I'd rather just keep busy. Easier to ignore your personal life that way. And besides, I'm sure it'll be easy for you to throw something together to wear. You always look great."

Melissa laughs. "Bucking for a raise, Nadira?" she asks, sounding amused. "And yeah, I know. I guess I'm just…Well shit. Okay, so I'm a hypocrite. Telling everyone else to delegate more. Anyway, that's why you're here. I was hoping you had some ideas or something. And, well, I kinda feel bad 'cause we've never really talked much, and I know you said you were coming to the barbeque, but that'll be a group of people, yanno?"

Nadira grins. "I don't need a raise. I'm perfectly fine with what I'm paid. I wouldn't mind working for free. Although, now that I'm saying that… I trust you won't take advantage of my generous nature." She taps her chin for a moment. "Really, I think the thing you should worry about the least is the costumes for the employees. It's a ball… and even if it's over the top, we want servers and stuff to look alike.. but nice. Give them a simple, dressy outfit and give them some neat masks to wear. Still recognizable as employees, but if you get some really great masks, just enough flare there."

"Well, I was debating really between ordering costumes for them, or just letting them pick out their own. I mean, no reason why we can't have fun too, and not just the customers, you know?" Melissa says, frowning a little in uncertainty. "Maybe have like, I don't know. A particular mask or something to denote the servers or bartenders? Let the bouncers blend in though?"

She shrugs a little and leans back, closing the laptop. "Perfectly happy with what you're paid, huh? And why would you not mind working for free? Did you win the lottery or something and not tell me?"

"That works too. Just having some sort of uniformity would be nice. Maybe a color scheme or some other accessory that helps you figure it out. Something obvious, that way they could wear whatever…" Nadira grins sheepishly, though, when it comes to the subject of getting paid. "If I won the lottery, I'd take us all on a vacation somewhere exotic. Or, hell, donate some of it to the funds for putting together costuming or something for the ball. No, I just really bartend for the fun of it. I've got a decent collection of savings from back in Egypt… so I'm not particularly strapped for cash."

"Really? Huh. What'd you do back in Egypt, if you don't mind me asking?" Melissa asks, sounding genuinely interested. "And yeah…yeah. We'll go with the matching masks for the servers and bartenders. I'll find something and get it ordered. And something for our sharp and pointy throwing guy person."

Nadira frowns. "Shame I don't have any talents I can exactly use in performance or I'd offer to make myself available." She seems thoughtful. "What I did? I was a bartender there, too. The tips were fairly good, and I got to talk to a lot of people. Good money, there."

"Really? Tips good enough to be savings? From bartending?" Melissa asks, sounding surprised and a bit unbelieving. "What kind of bar did you work in? Like…hell, I don't even know where to begin to imagine a bar that gives tips that good!"

Nadira raises an eyebrow. "My parents are archaeologists. I could fall back on them for expenses if I needed to." She smirks. "Did odd jobs, too. Whatever needed done. Easy to pick up on what people need when they're all boozed up and talking right in front of you."

Archaeologists? Melissa grins and cocks her head. "Oh yeah? So like, Evie in the Mummy? Is your mom a reincarnated princess? Does your dad fight mummies and pygmies and ancient Chinese warlords? Is he cuter than Brendan Fraser? Oh wait. I shouldn't think about that. Too many guy problems anyway. So yes, mummies. Do they fight mummies? 'Cause that would be so fucking awesome! I mean, I'm sure there's some sort of evolved ability out there that lets people make mummies!"

Nadira doesn't want to be a downer. Melissa seems so amused by the idea. She doesn't mention the fact that her dad's ill or that she's only really called her mother once since she'd been in New York, and that was only under threat of blackmail. Of course, while Nadira could jokingly go along with the mythology/archaeology/Egyptology train of thought, Melissa inadvertently hits the nail on the head, and the Egyptian woman practically chokes. She coughs, harshly, clearing her throat. "Sorry. Swallowed wrong." She breathes deeply, then looks back over.

"Really, mummies are just dehydrated, when you think about it. All you'd have to do is remove the water, since it's 90% of a human body anyways. Ancient Egyptians used salts and the like to speed up dehydration. Really, that's a horrible fate to befall someone… especially if they aren't dead, first."

It might've just been passed off as information that an archaeologist's daughter would know if it weren't for that choking. Melissa arches a brow, head tilting. "I say something wrong?" she asks lightly.

Nadira shakes her head vigorously. "No, not really. I mean, I just… hadn't thought about an Evolved ability doing that, you know? That'd be pretty dangerous. You could kill someone like that. Scary thought, right?"

Melissa shrugs. "There are a lot of evolved abilities out there that could kill someone. Removing water is just hydrokinesis. Sure there's plenty of 'em out there. And really, any elemental ability can be used to kill. I mean, aerokinesis? Suffocate someone to death. Pyrokinesis? 'Nuff said. Then you get people who can cause injury without touching you, or people who suck out life force."

She puts out her cigarette then leans forward, arms folding on the desk, her chin resting atop them. "But really, it's no more dangerous than any person, evolved or not, with a weapon. Or hell, even behind the wheel of a car. Or flying a plane or with a box of matches and a gas can. Which is why I totally don't get why everyone's so scared of evolved. I mean, is it that they just don't understand us or what? Are they envious? Is it racism, pure and simple?"

"I just think they don't understand it. People fear what they don't understand. In some cultures, it's like being a god. In others, a monster. In Egypt, people keep it secret unless they're already powerful. If they can reign in others with it, put them under their thumb… you can do whatever you want. If you aren't in a position of power of some kind and someone finds out you're Evolved? Stoning's not uncommon. People can be barbaric." Nadira's expression is serious. "People seem to forget that Evolved are humans and treat them like tools instead."

Brows shoot up. "They stone people to death in Egypt? Jesus Christ. And I thought Moab was bad! No wonder you came to America if that's what the country is like. Especially if you've got any evolved family or are evolved yourself," Melissa says, sounding disgusted by the whole thing. "I really wish that someone had the ability to bitchslap all the ignorant jackasses of the world."

Nadira nods, slowly. "Stoning's a simple way to get out of things. You won't hear about it, though. Gets covered up a lot. Back alleys. They find people to get rid of the body… and it'll never be about being Evolved. It'll always be something else, they say. Religion or gender inequality, something along those lines. I can say it's certainly a lot safer to be living here in spite of all of the chaos that seems to go on in New York. Secrets are still kept, yes, but there's more… unity, I guess. You don't know who you can trust over there. Everyone sells each other out. Part of the reason I left."

"Did you get tired of the atmosphere or did you have to watch someone get sold out?" Melissa asks, picking up her pack of cigarettes and offering Nadira one. "And hey, are you evolved? I mean, if you don't wanna tell me it's cool, but I'm totally pro-evolved given that I am one."

The Egyptian woman looks slightly uncomfortable. Hitting close to home, it seems. "You can't trust people you've known for years, there, Evolved or non-Evolved. A friend of mine got sold out, I guess. He was involved in some unsavory business, so to speak, and those a bit higher up decided to try and force an Evolved they knew to kill him." Nadira shifts in her chair a bit, then accepts the cigarette. Which, of course, is notable since she's not normally much of a smoker. "I'm Evolved, but if anyone asks you that, I'm not. No one needs to know that, government or not. I'm sure you can understand why."

Smiling wryly, Melissa nods. "Yeah, believe me, I understand. I got tossed in jail just for being evolved. No crime, no nothing but a funky gene. And that was here." A lighter is offered even as she sighs. "I swear, the world seriously sucks sometimes. I mean, seriously. I know it's usually said while drunk or as joke, but why the fuck can't we all just get along?"

"Because people are, and always will be, idiots." Nadira rolls her eyes, then shifts uncomfortably. "I don't want to get you in trouble or anything with my being here. As far as things go, I don't particularly want the registration people looking too closely at me. Or really, much of anyone from back home for that matter. I'm not a fan of paper trails or anything linking me to anything. The less they can find of me back home, the better. I'd rather not be so much on record here at all. Wouldn't be surprised if someone just decided I wasn't here legally and sent me back to Egypt with a big Evolved stamp on my forehead or something. Sorry, I'm ranting a bit."

"Nadira, honey. You have nothing to worry about with me. I'm the absolute last person who'll turn in another evolved, and if by some chance they do find you, you come to me, alright? I'll make sure you don't gotta leave or anything," Melissa says gently. "So don't worry about it, okay? Believe me, I've got a major grudge with the government as a whole and Registration specifically. I'm registered, yes, but only because everyone who got tossed in Moab was registered."

Nadira scowls. "Guess you're lucky they aren't knocking at your door with pitchforks and torches yet. I wouldn't put it past Humanis First. But… thank you. I appreciate the offer. Hopefully I won't have to take you up on it. I prefer most of the world not trying to use me for my ability or kill me for it otherwise."

When Nadira mentions Humanis First she sees an expression on Melissa's face that she's never seen. It's pure loathing and rage. "Oh, trust me, Humanis First would dare almost anything. I mean, you were there with the explosion of the ice cream cart. A few days later, a couple of them decided to kick the shit out of me. Broken ribs, concussion, the whole nine yards. I swear they're as bad as Nazis. Worse, maybe."

A long drag on her cigarette and Mel calms herself down. "Mind if I ask what your ability is? Again, you don't gotta tell me. I'm just curious. Mine is pain manipulation."

"At least they don't have some sort of Hitler yet," Nadira mutters. "Knock on wood." The cigarette hangs from her lips before Nadira takes a drag from it. "Ah, you've sort of already figured it out, you know. I suppose it's a bit cliché, but.. we can't help if we're born into stereotypes."

Melissa looks confused, thinking about it for a moment before she shakes her head. "Sorry, but I'm drawing a complete blank. I mean, I mentioned some abilities before, but…it's one of those? The elements or injury from a distance or…uh…fuck. I forgot the others I mentioned. You'll just have to take pity on me."

"Hydrokinesis. I left Egypt because someone literally wanted me to make someone into a mummy. They didn't take kindly to my refusal to kill my friend." Nadira scowls at the idea, another long drag of the cigarette. "I don't usually separate water from people, though."

"Whoa. They actually asked you to turn your friend into a mummy? And thought you'd do it? What a fucking moron on top of being an asshole," Melissa says, wrinkling her nose. "But that sounds like a pretty cool ability. Mummy stuff aside and all, 'cause that's just gonna get me thinking about movies again." A pause, then she snickers softly. "Though…Water bending. No no. Must not go there. Hydrokinesis. Awesome ability! Sometimes I wish I had a cool ability like that."

Nadira raises an eyebrow as she leans in closer to look at Melissa. "You've got to be kidding me. You're very useful to have around… trust me, I'd probably have been a lot grumpier that day with that shrapnel. I kinda figured it was you once it started hurting and you'd passed out. Thanks for that. I'm not sure if I ever thanked you." As far as asking her to kill people… "Really, though, they were a shady bunch and thought they could make me do what they wanted. Hell, I had to leave the country. They've got some sway. Hence my discomfort with registration… too much of a papertrail to find me by. That and it's none of their damn business if I can turn them into mummies or just refill their glass."

"Oh, don't get me wrong. I know my ability is useful. I'm a walking morphine drip," Melissa says with a grin. "But hey, a girl's allowed to wish for something big and flashy every once in a while. Flying or pyrokinesis or teleportation or something. But when all is said and done, I like being me. It took me a long time to get over the fact that I cause pain and can enjoy it — using my ability I mean — but if you can't be comfortable with who you are, you're never gonna be happy. I wanna be happy."

"You're wise. I think you've got a head start on me. I don't know if I can be so… sure, I guess." Nadira smiles weakly. "I've got a lot of life I'm still figuring out. I know what makes me happy, but… I'm not sure I'm quite set on who I am in my skin. Got some feeling things out to do." She grins. "I am happy, for the most part. I'm doing what I love and have less to fear, in different ways."

Sure? Melissa busts out into laughter. "Sure? Honey. I am so not sure and so far from happy that it's not even in the same solar system. But I'm not gonna give up trying. And in the mean time, my life is pretty damn full. It satisfies me for the most part. And speaking of a full life. I better get back to work before I have to dock my own pay. I'll see you on Monday though? The barbeque?"

Nadira's grinning. "Yeah, I'll be there with bells on. Not literally, though." She runs her fingers lightly through her hair, idly untangling any knots that might have formed there. "I'll leave you to your planning. Looking forward to the barbeque, Melissa."

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