Log: Liz and Max Who: Liz Taupier and Max Whitaker When: December 20, 2007 Where: A sekrit FOH base in Manhattan What: Max finally stumbles his ass back to somewhere he knows is [or should be] safe only to find Liz. …And then they make out. Or talk about evil FOH plans for all the mutants that have been royal pains in the asses to them.
Max was somewhere between pissed and confused by the time he dragged his ass down to the Friends of Humanity base that he knew existed below the streets of Manhattan. It had been a motherfucking nightmare getting this far, especially once he’d realized that the world was… fucked up. Public transportation wasn’t running [even if it had been, it wasn’t like he could have hopped on the Bee Line, burnt and bloodied as he was, without drawing attention to himself] and things seemed strangely… empty.
In the end, he hotwired an abandoned car and drove. The upside about whatever the fuck had happened was that he didn’t have to pay tolls. But that didn’t really explain a thing to him. Most of the radio stations weren’t working, although he managed to get one to tune in and it was some asshole blathering pro-mutant rhetoric.
What the everliving fuck?
He literally stumbled into the headquarters, after getting past what little security was left with a few passwords and glares. He expected a goddamned celebration over the fact that he was alive after the shit he’d been through.
But there wasn't a celebration. The place was mostly empty, apart from a few people who were bitter and angry. Numbers had dwindled, people seemed scattered, and sitting in the dirty old lounge was a familiar face. Liz Taupier, dressed in pajama pants, a tank top, and an unzipped sweatshirt, flipping through a newspaper. Candles were burning, there weren't any lights. The television was off and collecting dust.
At the sound of footsteps, she looked up, blinking, and then her defensive expression melted into one of shock. "Oh, my God," she whispered. "Max? Max?!"
It was like a war zone down here and things definitely weren’t looking up. Whatever had happened, this was not the world he last been in before he was knocked out and thrown in a cell underground.
Max’s eyes narrowed at the familiar voice and pressed a hand to the wall across from him so that he wouldn’t fall over now that he was actually somewhere he could rest. “What the fuck is going on, Taupier?” He, honestly, didn’t even know how long he’d been missing. Then, giving her a quick once over, added, “You look like shit.”
Liz jumped off the couch and ran to him, throwing her arms around him and openly sobbing. "I thought you were dead. I thought you were dead, just like the others..." Pulling back, she pressed her hands against his chest like she was trying to figure out whether or not he was real. "Where the hell have you been, do you even know..."
Max tended to think that people who did the whole… open hugging and sobbing thing were crazy. But, then, there were people who thought that tugging out mutants’ fingernails to get them to talk was crazy, so he figured they were even. Giving her a brief pat on the back, as though he was hoping that would calm her down and get her to stop sobbing all over what was left of his charred shirt, he said, “Do I look like I know what the fuck is going on? I just got myself out of some underground torture chamber run by mutants, get aboveground only to realize that everyone’s fucked off.” He grabbed her arms to push her back, fingers digging into her skin a little harder than necessary. “You want to fill me in or do I need to find someone else who’s not going to cry all over me.”
"Max. The world has gone to motherfucking hell," Liz said, wiping her eyes and straightening her shoulders. She was better than this, tougher than this. She wasn't a whining little bitch. "You disappeared and then the world went to hell. We thought we were winning. Magneto dead, the Brotherhood breaking up... well, it wasn't true. It was all a goddamn lie. Magneto has been alive this whole time and he killed the president on live television. He killed the president and the Brotherhood took over the country. Everything is being controlled by mutants now, especially the electricity. We have no power, we haven't had power for almost two months. Only mutants have power, and humans who claim they're mutant-lovers."
She looked away, tugging away from him and pacing. "We ran off, we found a place and we took care of mutants in our own way.. but it was raided by a few muties in black and ... they... I don't know what happened to everyone else, I got away... I got away and I ran back here..."
“Fuck…” Max wasn’t usually stunned, but everything Liz had just said had done just that. He’d had a sort of sinking suspicion about things ever since he got out of the woods surrounding the place he was being held and, especially, once he got down to lower Westchester where there should have been more activity. But there was a difference between suspecting it and hearing it flat out. “Fuck.” His fingers tightened even more on her arms.
“And what the fuck were you all doing when those cock-sucking motherfuckers were busy taking over the country? Huh? Were you all sitting on your asses, enjoying the ride and letting things go to hell instead of watching them?” Max gave her a hard shake. Goddamn mutants. They were like that. Tricky. Sneaky. Not above using underhanded tactics. Always thinking they were better just because of a genetic flaw.
"Shut up!" Liz shrieked, slapping him across the face as he shook her. His hands hurt and she didn't care if he was burned and disgusting. "You don't get it. You don't motherfucking get it. You weren't here. You thought we were supposed to know this shit was going on? Huh? Some of us had suspicions Magneto wasn't really dead but what were we supposed to do? We couldn't storm the motherfucking White House after it happened----they've killed most of the government. Not just in the White House, but everywhere. Mayors, governors... Magneto had this huge network of mutants, this huge army... bigger than we ever thought. It's fucking easy to look at it in hindsight and say we could have done something but you weren't here! You have no idea what it was like. You have no idea."
Scowling, she shoved away from him and went back toward the couch again. "You can only take out so many of them. We haven't been able to contact other branches of the Friends of Humanity. We don't know if they've been wiped out... but we haven't been able to e-mail them or call them or send them letters... we're isolated, we're alone... we're alone..." She wrapped her arms around her body and shivered, clenching her eyes shut. It was scary.
"But we have a target. If nothing else, we've got a target."
The slap got a rare smile out of Max. She was much easier to deal with when she was screaming and ranting than when she was sniveling and whining. At least she was fighting back. Good. That was a good sign. Anyone who was just going to roll over and die wasn’t worth having around.
He moved toward the couch, propping one foot on the arm of the couch and twisting a hand in her hair ---- what there was of it, anyway ---- to tug her face toward him. “I don’t want to hear your sob story. I don’t give a fuck what it was like. I don’t give a fuck if you think there wasn’t any way you could have known.” He wasn’t above smacking her back, but, for now, settled on a hard tug of her hair to drive home the point that he wasn’t interested in any excuses. “Open your eyes. Stop shaking. Get the fuck over it.” He had a few more good minutes left in him before his own injuries forced him to admit that he actually needed some sort of medical attention. But he wanted to make sure Liz had stopped acting like a whiny mutie bitch before that happened. “What target? Who’s the target?”
Liz spat in his face, digging her black fingernails into his wrist to try and get his hand out of her hair. "Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters," she hissed, grinning slowly.
He shoved her back roughly to wipe at his face. “The school full of mutant brats?” Now there was a travesty ---- the government knowing that there was a whole school of mutants just… sitting in the middle of Salem Center and not getting rid of it.
Liz gathered her balance again, rubbing her head where he'd pulled her hair. "According to the news, what little news we're getting, Magneto's got plans to build schools like this all over the country. Rumor has it he and this Xavier son of a bitch were real cozy decades ago, that they co-founded this school that they hid from the motherfucking public for years."
She tilted her chin up, smirking. "We already strung up one of the residents in front of the school. Who knows what they thought."
“Move the fuck over, Taupier,” Max said before dropping down to the couch and slouching as he digested this. What a surprise, that two mutants were in cahoots. Even if one was a publicly violent terrorist and the other was a supposedly peaceful pacifist. It just proved that they were all the same and all needed to be controlled or put down.
“Son of a bitch…” he muttered, running a hand back over his head. The good news was that this gave them free reign to do whatever the hell they wanted without any of the candy-assed oddities in the FOH whining about cruelty to mutants or other dumb shit. The FOH was hardly humane on a good day, but this all opened up all sorts of new doors. “We’ll string up more than one before this is over.”
Liz grinned slowly, cracking open a cut on her lip and letting blood drip down her chin. "You're gonna love the information I've been getting..."
There were plenty of things Max should have been worried about getting his hands on for his own health: bandages, food, clean clothes… but more than any of that, Liz’s promise of information caught his attention. “Start talking,” he said, leaning his head against the back of the couch, glancing at her out of the corners of his eyes. “I’m not in the mood for you to be a tease.”
"They're not just a mutant school," said Liz. "Xavier's pushing this pacifist agenda but that's not what's really going on. You know all these anonymous people who keep messing with the Brotherhood? Ending up in the same place at the same time? They're the same people who came after us. Dress in black leather uniforms with an X insignia. Fuckers are a uniformed team. Xavier's training a bunch of mutie kids to be fighters at that place, and I dunno whether it's for or against Magneto, but it's against us. Xavier might not intend for it to be that way but he's giving a kid a gun and loading it, and fuck all who the kid aims at, right?"
She drummed her fingers against the arm of the couch, practically jumping up from it. "So we killed someone who lived there. Strung him up on a motherfucking cross, old-school. I been in Salem Center a lot, watching everyone, watching who's coming and going from the school... there's some big blue freak. Furry. Looks like a motherfucking bear, or a gorilla or something. Big hands, looks like he can tear someone apart with 'em. Walkin' around the town like he owns it."
Fuck that. A mutant was a mutant as far as Max was concerned. There weren’t ‘good’ mutants or ‘friendly’ mutants or mutants that deserve a dog collar and a leash. And if this Charles Xavier guy was actually building some kind of mini-army… well. That needed to be stopped. “So, what? You want to nail big, blue and furry to a cross? Fuck, I’ll help you do that. If only because someone that fucked up shouldn’t be walking around in public with decent people.”
"Not a cross," muttered Liz. "We did the cross, and damned if we can build one to hold him. But we'll get him. Right in the center of town or something. Salem Center's been nice and cushy to fucking mutants for years, housing that school... and then not burning it to the ground when it went public..."
“Stocks. Guillotine.” You couldn’t hang this mutant if he was as big as Liz was saying. “Whatever you want, Taupier.” He wasn’t picky when it came to the method of killing a mutant, as long as it was painful. “Pressing.” The corners of his mouth kicked up. “Burning at the stake. I bet all that fur would soak up a lot of gasoline.”
"Looks like someone burned you good," Liz said after a moment. "What if we go ahead and burn a mutant right back?"
“We’re not going to stop at one, Lizzie.” If Max had his way, they’d be lining mutants up and setting them on fire. Granted, there were a few mutants on his list that he wanted to get rid of where that particular method wouldn’t work. But they’d just have to get more creative in those cases.
"I'm all for blowing up that fucking school," Liz said with a grin, "but I want to draw it out... I want them to be so goddamn scared..."
“One step at a time,” he said, waving her over and patting the couch next to him. “There’s no point to any of this unless we take the time to enjoy it.” Which was, really, how Max thought about the whole fight against mutants. Sure, there were FOH members who thought that they were protecting humanity. But, for Max, he mostly just liked beating the shit out of mutants.
Liz crawled across the cushions and came to kneel beside Max. "We lost Cody. He's a mutant-loving bitch and I don't know or care where he is. I don't know where the others are or what they're doing... but we have our group. Our numbers have dwindled.. but we have to fight back. Even if it kills us. Humanity's last hope, Max. That's what this is. We have to inspire others to do the same."
Max squeezed her knee. “Good, that’s good. You wasted too much of your attention on him.” God, Cody. He was as bad as the mutants themselves; maybe worse, since he was pure and had willingly gone and tainted himself by associating himself with mutants. “You need to be focused on the cause. On righting things. And we’ll get things back to the way they were. ---Better than the way they were. No more of that mutant-peace-loving bullshit.”
Liz had been in love with Cody. She'd wanted him so bad... but look what a mistake that had been. She was misguided. All she had to do was focus on the cause, focus on their war. Cody was insignificant. "I'm not wasting any more goddamn attention on him. This is all that matters, Max."
“Good girl.” As long as she wasn’t going to spend her time moping over that jackass. Cody was another one on the list of people Max Most Wanted To Burn At The Stake. “Go get me something to eat. They didn’t feed me so great in solitary. ---We do have food here, don’t we?”
"We got some food. It's not great food, but it's food, and it's good enough." Liz looked him over, frowning. "And you need to wash up. Jesus. They fucking nailed you. So you'll eat, you'll clean up, and then you'll rest. We can't take down a four-hundred-pound beast if you're not up to strength."
“Fucking cunt…” Max muttered. Although, from the way he shut his eyes when he said it and wasn’t looking at Liz, it was clear that the comment was about Liz. “Cody got his ass handed to him by a fire mutant, didn’t he?” Fire manipulators were a dime a dozen. But, still, it was the same general area.
"What?" Liz glanced back at him, frowning. "Yeah, some asshole boyfriend of this mutie bitch with white streaks in her hair. Cody was the first person she ever attacked."
Max didn’t open his eyes; he just shook his head, chuckling softly. “Fuck. Fucking hell.” The odds of having a run-in with the exact same people that Cody had were astronomical. But how many mutants with white-streaked hair and over-protective pyrokinetic significant others existed in the area?
"...What. What, they fucked you up, too?" Liz gulped, staring at him. "That Marie bitch is a cunt, Max. I fought her. And that guy? Pyro. He's a motherfucking legend in some places, they say."
Max opened his eyes then. Pyro. That name he knew. Of course he kept up with different mutants who made the papers. And Pyro was a name that came up repeatedly. “Then they fucked up.” Max couldn’t be sure he could find his way back to where he’d been locked up. It had been dark, he’d been in pain, and he’d stumbled around for awhile before finding the road. But the general area? Yeah, sure.
"You think you could find the place where you were kept?" Liz asked, jumping on the thought and leaning over the back of the couch. "There aren't a lot of us but ... we can find more. We can take care of it like we take care of the school. You think? There's some ice mutant at Xavier's. Drake. His brother's with us now. Says this Pyro blew up a bunch of cop cars in his front lawn a few years ago, destroyed half the house, before Pyro and a couple other mutants flew off in a goddamn jet. They're all fucking working together."
“Drake… Get whatever information you can get out of him.” That was perfect. An FOH member with a brother who was a mutant. And a mutant who lived at Xavier’s. And knew Pyro. It was an unbelievably perfect inside track on what was happening. “After we burn the ape, we can move onto the skunk-haired bitch, Pyro, and Drake’s asshole brother.”
"And anyone else who comes our way," Liz muttered. "I got a score to settle with the dragon bitch I went to college with. But. First fucking things first. You need to eat." She smirked, glancing in Max's direction.