The Curve


devon2_icon.gif elaine2_icon.gif evan_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif holly_icon.gif

Scene Title The Curve
Synopsis A flashmob outside a Manhattan bookstore leads to many people making their thoughts known on a volatile subject.
Date August 16, 2011


'It had started suddenly, just a few minutes ago. That's how these things work, after all - a text message, a phone call, an email, a FaceBook post - something small goes out to one person, and through the miracle of technology within minutes it's found its way to tens, maybe even hundreds of people. Flash mobs are a modern wonder, though no one should be surprised that people sharing similar views are so willing to flock together in such a public manner. Such is exactly what has come to pass in the last few minutes, college students gathering outside of a Manhattan bookstore, one catering to college students with textbooks, music, and other small services. A handful carry quickly made, crude signs, while others simple shout or march around the store in an almost classic like fashion - and the reason they've gathered for is almost immediately evident.

"No more Evo students!" one twenty something shouts. Another carries a large piece of poster board with No more unfair advantages! written hastily across it in permanent marker. Other similar calls are made, and the message is quite clear. Students dressed in clothes marked in the logos and mascots of both NYU and Columbia make up the majority of the group, of all ages and classes. Hate and distrust is not exclusive to one demographic, after all.

There is one young man, a microphone in hand and a small, portable amplifier at his feet, who stands closed to the building, arms crossed over his chest as he watches the group with a smile on her face. Maybe not the organiser, not that anyone really knows, at this point, who originally made the post that got everyone moving. But he is certainly the one taking charge as he pushes off the wall and steps forward, raising the mic to his mouth and addressing the crowd.

"How wonderful it is to see everyone here today!" he begins, causing several of the students to stop and look in his direction as others continue their shouts. "It's so great to see so many other people are are completely dissatisfied with the unfair advantages and treatment that evo kids are getting in our classes with every passing year!"

In the crowd, there's a few cheers, even as the crowd of bystanders around the store begins to grow and swell, some interested in seeing what's going on, a few others seeking to join the action.

Word does get around, and not just to the focus group of the protest or those who've a bone to pick with the Evolved community. Devon had caught wind of it while visiting campus, and though he's not at all a supporter of the sign holders' views, he's curious to see what's being said.

Nondescript and dressed to not stand out in the crowd, in a gray-blue hoodie layered over a t-shirt and blue jeans despite the fine summer weather, the teenager could fit in with the picketers at a glance. Though he doesn't join with the cheering as he works himself through the crowd to get near an edge, be it front or side, something with an unobstructed view.

Hands kept in his pockets, Devon ducks around one sign-wielder to come up on the other side. A glance over his shoulder shows him the rest of the crowd before he continues onward.

Though she's been a bit on the reclusive side lately, Holly Parker has today taken to the streets in khaki shorts, a pastel pink shirt and thick shades to try to get some footage. The indie journalist does not approach the crowd too closely at first, sticking to the outskirts with her camcorder in tow as she often is seen. Though the disgust in the signholders is visible easily, she keeps back to see what develops if anything.

Facebook. Sometimes it was something to be loved and sometimes it was something to be hated. As a student herself, Elaine was privy to things such as student gatherings. So when she read exactly what this was, she had a bad feeling about it. She's not particularly too happy, but she's not doing anything to stand out either. Staying on the edge of the crowd, she figures at the very least she should see what exactly their arguments were. She stays out of the way, leaning against the wall of the bookstore.

Evan has been hanging around for a while - he's a bit older than average for this crowd, perhaps, but only just - killing time with his cell phone as the crowd mills around him. He suspects he's going to be on the minority side of this, but until the guy with the mic makes it clear which way he's going with it, he's going to keep his mouth shut. There'll be something substantive to react to soon enough.

Graeme was visiting campus for his own reasons, and it wasn't far to come over and see what was going on. Hands tuck in into his pockets as if it'll hide that he definitely doesn't blend in with students half his age, and from the distance that he's taken up, he even manages to miss Devon's initial presence, but doesn't miss Elaine's, weaving his way through the crowd to be next to her eventually.

“Now,” The guy with the microphone starts, leaning to pick up the small amp so he can walk and talk. “I want to make something very clear, for those of you out there, wondering, and for those of you who have gathered here today t’ make your thoughts known.” He walks out to the side of the gathered protesters so that he’s facing the gathering crowd. As he passes Devon, he reaches out and places a hand on Devon’s shoulder – no real reason, other than a show of solidarity with the other gathered, smiling at him. “I am not strictly anti-evolved. I can’t speak for everyone today, but I have nothing against them as a people.” A people, though, who are not his from his tone and wording. “But should they be allowed to be in our classes? To mingle with the students who may not have their advantages?”

From within the crowd, even before he can finish his statement, numerous shouts ring out, all equating to the same thing – no – each baring its own tone, emphasis, or in some cases expletive.

“And as you can see, I’m not the only one. Every day there are students in a classroom suffering because Evolved students who can do whatever the lesson may demand with little to no effort, are throwing off grade curves and showing up students who are already working their damnest to made the gade. And damn if that doesn’t sound unfair to me.”

Turning to Devon, the man smirks. “But enough from me. Let’s hear what the other students have to say.” With a flourish, he offers the microphone Devon’s way. “Where do you go to school, and what do you think on the matter?”

There's a slight stiffening beneath the speaker's hand when it touches Devon's shoulder, the teenager quelling a scowl to the older fellow and merely nodding to the smile. Playing along. His eyes follow the man with the mic, head turning to keep his face turned toward the guy. It could appear as though he's intrigued by the man's words, interested to the point of following along though, unlike others in the crowd, he doesn't join in the cheering. He remains silent.

Until the mic is passed.

Unable to refuse the offer, Devon pulls his hands from his pockets, one extending to grasp the microphone. His fingers curl around it as he steps into the open space, head bowed slightly until he turns to face the crowd. "I go to Columbia," he begins as his lifts the mic to speak into it, leaving out his name for now. His eyes roam over the crowd, taking in faces, signs. "And I think each and every one of you has a chance at throwing off the curve, if you spent more time studying and less time whining about evo-kids."

A glance slants toward the original speaker, and Devon takes a step away from him and closer to the gathering, addressing them once more. "Take responsibility for yourselves instead of complaining that you can't do it because someone else can do it better or faster or whatever! The Evolved community has just as much right to go to any school, be it Columbia, NYU, Harvard, or wherever. There's no unfair advantage to being born with a genetic change and if you spent fifteen minutes in a genetics class you'd all know that!"

Oh my. Now this is a bit of a pickle, and surely will lead to something interesting enough to film one would hope. Holly advances towards the crowd, camera lifted high as she seeks a bench to step up onto for a better view. Though she's a bit nervous getting close to the somewhat agitated and confused protestors after this bit of speech she can't help but grin at the fellow's boldness in making his short speech.

Elaine glances over when she notices Graeme hovering nearby, but her focus turns quickly back to the microphone and Devon, by proximity. "This isn't going to end well," she murmurs, mostly to herself. Folding her arms over her chest, she ducks her head a little lower out of embarrassment. "A big, big mess…"

Near where Evan is standing, the hubbub kicks up a notch, his own voice but one among several. "He's got a point there — how are they any different than someone who just has a high IQ? Or parents who could afford a good private school—" "God, don't get me started on those assholes." "What about need-based scholarships?" "That doesn't help if-" "And what about the Evolved whose ability has nothing to do with learning? Like they can light fires or something?" "Those are even worse! One of them burned down a house last month…"

"Good god," Graeme mutters, recognising the speaker. "Sorry, Elaine," he murmurs, "stay out of things, would you?" Not like he really thinks that she'll obey his warnings, but he has to try.

Graeme's own ability use useful for crowd-diving, at least, not to even mention the all night study sessions he pulled in college without being tired the next day, and his work and training as a bouncer lets him make his way to Devon relatively quickly. The teenager will recognise the hand on his shoulder. "That's enough now, I think," Graeme says, almost annoyed, and taking the microphone back to just throw it down on the ground, before steering Devon for now somewhere with slightly less attention on them, muttering in the annoyed and perhaps overprotective manner that he has the whole time. "What in the hell inspired that, hm? Speaking up is good but not at flash mobs."

The man scowls at Devon as he speaks up, and takes a surprised step back when Graeme takes hold of him, bending over to pick up the discarded microphone. “I’m glad to see people still have respect for other people’s things,” he mutters, just loud enough to be caught by the microphone. Clearing his throat, the device is brought back up to his mouth, and with an annoyed glare, he continues largely undeterred.

“So, we should be the only ones to take responsibility for ourselves, then? Genetic advancement or not, abilities still put certain people at a distinct advantage over others, without the need for effort or work. Would you not condemn someone who uses steroids? I admit, the difference is there in the fact that an Evolved gets no choice, but the fact is that they still have that one up on anyone else who tries to beat them out. Private lessoning, special Evolved only classes, any number of solutions could be afford to those with these advantages. But putting them in with the rest of us? It’s unacceptable!”

Reaching into his back pocket, he pulls out a newspaper clipping. “What I have here is a story of a guy who by all means was a good student. One of the best in his languages classes! And yet, because of an evolved student, he was consistently below the curve. Now, I don’t think people should run out and ruin their lives shooting people like he did, but the fact that the presence of one simple student drive someone to this because of what they could do, thanks to genetics? That’s not right. That student should have tested out, or been in a special class.”

The hand on his shoulder is familiar, enough that Devon hardly has to glance over to see who it is. He's on the verge of continuing his calls, to play to those in support of his stand point while refuting the debate against so called dangerous abilities. But just as the words prepare to leave his mouth, the microphone is taken and tossed aside, and he's turned to be led out of the crowd.

It rankles.

The teenager pulls his shoulder from the teacher's grasp and serves him with a Look. "Who the hell do you think you are," he counters, far louder than Graeme's whispered tones. "No. Just… Speaking up is something we need to do more of. I'm so sick of hiding, sick of skirting around all oh no, don't look at me! Don't hate me, I'm just a little evo-kid." The example Devon claims is coupled with hands shaken near his face, his voice hitting a falsetto. "It's time we stopped hiding before the bigotry devours everyone!"

Following, Devon turns on the apparent frontman for the protest group. "Our forefathers must be rolling in their graves and face palming over the legacy they left behind. Segregation? Didn't we fight wars so that people with different colored skin could right the same busses, go to the same schools as everyone else?!" He jabs a finger at the paper. "That guy there? I could beat him out of any language class and run him out of school and my ability has nothing to do with intellect. I'll bet your pal who went off shooting people had issues besides just poor grades. Probably just needed a hug and a little recognition for his hard even though he wasn't top of his class."

Oh yeah, that's the stuff that makes showing up with a camera worthwhile. The young woman with camera gets a decent angle of the dispute and keeps a good zoom on it, keeping near the outskirts still since she knows how these things can go. Her grin remains pretty satisfied with the young man fairly roundly handing the ringleader his ass in debate, at least from her perspective.

Oh. Oh no. Elaine's face turns red at the mention of an article, shifting uncomfortably where she stands. As much as she might want to protest and say something, explain how they wouldn't let her just test out, there's the discomfort of being in the public eye like this. She's just not liking it. She glances around, wincing at Devon's outspoken protest. She looks back to Graeme, then lets her gaze drift to somewhere else. She's really considering giving the place a slip before things get really uncomfortable.

A couple knots of argument are still going, but several more are dropped to focus on this latest example instead. "I heard about that shooter! Just like Columbine!" "Oh, the hell it is, his family bought off—" "Serves the bitch right, you ask me." It's that last comment - coming from a lanky frat boy with slicked-back black hair - that finally sets Evan off. He holds back the urge to actually throw a punch, but he does shove the guy hard in the chest, knocking him back into some others… it's not looking good out there.

Graeme lets Devon go, turning around, without going much of anywhere except a few steps off to distance himself from the teenager, enough to be closer to the crowd when things start to get nastier. And it is purely by the fighter's instinct that the man who has now been shoved into Graeme by proxy gets one leg knocked out from under him and pushed to the ground, and Graeme looks over to Evan. "Easy, there," he cautions, not that it's heard over the mass of other protests being shouted and said at louder volumes. Two steps over the now downed frat-boy puts Graeme nearer to the professor, though he doesn't repeat himself.

The so called frontman stands with his arms crossed, the protesters behind him muttering amongst each other, a few shouting some less than nice epithets at Devon, as well as in response to the story he brings up - everything ranging from "Poor guy" to "that stupid evo bitch" and other less than positive commentary. The student with the microphone swols, turning back ot the crowd. "Hey, hey! That's not the point here!" As if he's trying to keep the protest somewhat on point, regardless of what the point may or may not actually be.

He turns back, pointing at Devon. "I don't think our forefathers ever really counted on super powers." And then, he rolls his eyes at Devon. "You're missing the point. No one said anything about segregating all evos." Well, he didn't at elast. "But the ones like the chick in this?" he says,w aving teh article, "with the languages? Or the ones who just-" snap "-get math? They should have their own math and language and Lit classes, and whatever. Tell me, how should school be any different from sports? THey've banned unfaily advantaged players from football, afterall. Shouldn't education be as important?"

He looks up and around, spotting Holly with her camera, waving. "I see, someone has taken the initative of recording this! Would you please step up, miss?" He glares in Evan's direction, at what looks like a fight about to break up, and then past them as she sees a police car pull up down the street and park. Looks like it might be time to let the mob disperse soon.

"And what would you say if I told you that Lincoln had super powers," Devon's quick to counter. He casts a glare in the direction of the continuing opposition before taking a step closer to the ringleader. It could be conceived as an imposing, bordering on threatening, step. He reaches up to take the news clipping, head tipping slightly in effort to meet the older man's gaze. "What about people who are just naturally smart? Hm? You look old enough to have been in some of my classes when I was a freshman." In truth, the teen himself looks like he's barely old enough to have graduated high school. "Being naturally smart an unfair advantage? I was put into advanced classes and still set the curve." A brow raises, prompting any questions.

But before they can be asked, Devon turns to again address the crowd. "You all got a lot of balls gathering like this to protest things beyond our control! Talk about lame, next time you all should gather and protest against people with freckles or something equally as asinine. As for this article, this Evo-girl who got shot?" He pauses very briefly to look at the frontman. "Shame on you who use her as an example. She could have died because some fool wasn't man enough to get help for his problems. Because he couldn't hack it and needed a scapegoat! We, those of us who're Evolved, aren't any more different than any of you out here." Without turning, staying face to face with the perceived organizer, the boy motions to one side and the gathered crowd. "We bleed and have feelings, hopes, dreams, fears, same as each and every one of you here. We deserve to be treated no differently than the rest of you freaks."

Who me? That is what Holly's hands and expression present as she gestures in a little bit of confusion. She does try to somewhat lean closer with her camera though, taking a moment to pan around to the anxious crowd and the potential fight that may erupt.

What? There's a punch and people are yelling and there's police pulling up down the street and this is just what Elaine figured (and dreaded) happening. "Would you all stop using me as an example?" She yells in protest, looking completely and utterly frustrated. "Education is not a contest. All I want to do is learn languages and understand them and they don't always let you test out of a class, regardless of what you do. They don't always let the smart kids test out, and if you want a degree you have to take the classes they tell you to. If you've got a problem with how professors grade, don't go protest it in the street—go write to the dean of your department and take it up with them. Being upset at people who are different does nothing but make a mob of idiots yelling at each other and spouting hatred."

Elaine pushes herself off of the wall, peering back at the crowd. "I don't think anyone deserves to be shot for getting an education and doing what they really love in life, especially if it doesn't hurt anyone." She turns her back to the crowd, shoves her hands in her pockets, and begins off down the street.

"Education isn't a contest, but evo students throwing off the curves and the balances in classes, the kids who have to actually work to get what they want out of life aren't getting the recognition they need to move on to the next…" He trails off, furrowing his brow as he watches the cops finally get out of their squad car, either to supervise or put a stop on the rally. "You don't get it, kid. You don't get what it's like to be told you're not good enough in school when you work your ass off, and some evo who doesn't even have to think is sailing on through. You'll see, sometime."

The mic clicks off and he rolls his eyes, turing away from Devon to the group. "I think my point has been made. I'm going home, everyone else can stay if they want to." The tone he uses implies he might not thing it's the best of ideas, waving a hand at the gathered crowed. And while he may not have been the one who got the group together, with this self proclaimed leader taking off, signed are crumpled up and many of the students begin to disperse, leaving only a handful milling about outside the store, for passerbys to hear what they have to say.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License