1963-09-13 - The Slap
Summary: Sadie is dinner-ambushed by a strange woman with an awful secret to share.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
natasha sadie 

Sadako Mitsuwa, known better by her nickname of "Sadie," does not look like the kind of hard driving cow poke that that name might suggest. At the moment she looks like an exhausted businesswoman or office worker who is just a little out of the natural rhythm of the City.

She is at a Horn and Hardart's Automat, a place that is, in fact, an Acceptable Location to be a single working girl and not have to deal with waiters being awkward or weird or hitting on you. You get your food here with nickels. There's walls of hot and cold windows. You put a couple of nickels in whatever and you pull it out. Great for immigrants and the antisocial.

Sadie is seated near a window looking out at the street going past her. She has a cup of coffee, a slice of lemon pie, and a bowl of half-eaten goulash in front of her. She also has a cigarette but that's something she brought in with her. She looks outwards, as if lost in thought.

Technically this is true. She's looking into the thoughts of people going north on the nearby avenue. Brief glimpses. But hey! It beats the Bugle!

She has a faint suspicion she's being tailed, but, of course, New York City is a bad place for precision spotting of faint telepathic impulses.


Natasha never got a chance to practice her telepath-stalking technique with Emma Frost, and isn't even sure if Ms. Mitsuwa is indeed a suitable training partner. When she sent word to the embassy that she needed files on low-ranking and/or vulnerable members of NATO's intelligence apparatus, the police reports helped Sadie's stand out among the three choices she was given in turn. The reports definitely a suggested a greater-than-normal influence over other people, which was enough to spur her to down her only dose of mental process-slowing drugs before she went a-tailin'.

Her technique is fairly straightforward: mundane thoughts inspired by the random slices of life she's observed in her months spent familiarizing herself with the city, clothes plucked from the depths of a discount catalogue, and a respectful distance. The odd detail about Sadie or her doings leaks into the Widow's mental camouflage now and again, giving some hint that there is something unusual going on— or, at least, a sense of deja vu. Even as Sadie enjoys(or does not enjoy) her meal, someone else in the Automat seems to be trying real hard to remember a lemon pie recipe from a magazine.

"Miss Mitsuwa?"

Natasha sets a messenger bag, and then a tray with a turkey sandwich and a small salad on the table before helping herself to the opposing seat. Someone— she— begins to mentally check off things that (probably) go in a pie crust before briskly shaking her head to banish the mental reel, then offers her hand.

"My name is Natalia, and I really think we ought to talk."


Sadie looks up from her goulash slowly.

What comes is probably hard to detect immediately, because Sadie's reflexive mental touching is for everybody, and she also either lacks the power or the willingness to really dig deep and core out someone's engrams on casual acquaintance. She doesn't get much of a grip on the woman in front of her, which is enough to make her take the cigarette out of her mouth.

Bag comes down. Tray comes down. Hand is extended. Sadie looks at all of these things. Then she looks back up at Natasha as she offers a hand.

Sadie doesn't take it. "Yeah?" she asks, laconically. "Have we met before… Natalia?"


If Sadie's willing to keep at it, she'll get slow-drip from Natasha's surface thoughts: Sadie's shoes. A broken man shaking in a corner. Black binders. A little girl with razors jutting from her hands.

"No." Confusion, then curiosity flicker over her expression as she studies Sadie and contemplates the strange pressure behind her eyes. "But I think you'll be glad we did, if you'll just hear me out."

With one hand still extended expectantly, she lifts her sandwich in the other and takes a small bite. Bland gratitude that it's edible seeps into her surface thoughts, right there amidst the less savory psychic content.


The images shudder out. The girl with razors in her hands…

Well that's weird, but Sadie has seen far worse. Her day job involves monitoring Nazi scientists. Von Braun is bad enough, approaching an average human being. The other guy…

Sadie tilts her head down. "Go on, then. Have a seat," she says, and still does not shake Natalia's hand. She picks up her spoon and stirs at her goulash, though she doesn't dig into it. "First time at one of these?" she asks.

The sandwich is decent. Perhaps not the finest imaginable but highly edible. It was made fresh and recently; only things like soups get made in large batches for this place. It can't last, but what does? Sadie picks up her coffee cup then, tilting it slightly towards herself.

"Talk whenever."


"Mmm," is Natasha's dispassionate response. Even though Sadie isn't taking it, she keeps her hand out for a couple more bites before finally lowering it to the bag's flap.

"Are you familiar with mutants, Miss Mitsuwa? On a conceptual level." Her fingers gently, deliberately drum as she speaks. "There's a lot of propaganda out there about them. How they're criminals and ruffians, corrupting the children and degrading society. How they could kill or control any of us with a stray glance, a thought. Et cetera. A lot of fear, mostly."

As she waits for and watches Sadie, she resumes working on the sandwich, apparently content enough with it being both edible to work on it at a steady rate when she isn't speaking.


Sadie continues to not shake the hand like a RUDE LORD, though, perhaps, it makes the artist's life easier - for he can just do a couple of panels of the same posture in a row.

Sadie's head tilts to the side. "Sure," she says, about mutants. Her lower lip purses as the rest is spoken. Bringing things out. She smiles faintly. "Well, you hear that kind of thing about a lot of people. Once in a while there's something to it. But I think it's a mistake to judge anybody as a race." The words have a sardonic edge to them, and she picks up the coffee to her lips to take a long sip of it after saying it. Maybe to clean out her mouth.

"May I ask you something? When you're done, that is. Take all the time you need."


"It's an easy mistake to make," says Natasha after swallowing a bite. "At least, it seems that way, seeing as how certain people seem real keen on repeating it." Nibble.

"Not that you need to be reminded of that, I guess."

After one more larger bite, the sandwich half is gone and her hands are free to be spread before her, inviting Sadie's question.


Sadie's question comes nice and easy: "How did you know my name?"

She isn't in uniform, after all. Sadie smiles, faintly, without much experience in it after saying this. "I don't suppose it was a lucky guess."



Natasha returns the smile, faintness and all, as her fingers slide towards the buckle.

"I know a thing or two that could be interesting, horrifying, embarrassing, or inspiring, depending on the audience. I asked a friend of mine who I could trust to share those things with. He asked his friends. Eventually, I had your name." As lies go, this particular one has the benefit of being essentially true, if askew in certain details.

Her index finger hooks the strap and tugs until the flap slides open, giving Sadie a peek at black binder within. She sits up a little straighter, head swiveling around the automat for a few moments before she relaxes and lifts the other half of the sandwich.

"Have you ever heard of a program called 'Weapon X'?"


Sadie picks up her cigarette again, takes a small puff, and sets it back down. It's a very deliberate motion. Then the bag opens and she looks at a binder.

The thought passes through Sadie's mind that she could just take that binder. Just tell the woman to give it to her and then go stand in traffic. It's a thought that's occured to her now and then: in fact, it's kind of a persistent consideration. But, no: if she didn't do it to Arnim Zola, there's no reason to even think of doing it to 'Natalia.'

"I think I saw that at a drive in when I lived out West," Sadie says then, with the closest she's had to a legitimate smile. "But I bet you're not talking about the movies, are you."


"It's a top secret mutant detention, weaponization, and neutralization initiative previously run out of facilities in New Orleans and Coney Island."


"Would be a very depressing movie, I think. I counted three children among their Coney Island test subjects before some mutant operatives broke in and shut the place down." Draping her arm over the bag and the binder, she continues, "They were very well-funded and prepared: adamantium and vibranium cells. A decently trained security staff. Countermeasures for a wide range of inmates. Not quite well enough, obviously, but. Well. Mutants are complicated."

Another bite.

"Anyway. My working theory is that Coney Island and New Orleans were setbacks; the people behind them are still out there. I think you'd agree that that's not ideal, wouldn't you? So: I'd like to propose an arrangement, if you'll hear it."


Sadie blinks once, with a sort of slow absorption, as "Natalia" begins to speak of these things. At length. Coney Island, Sadie thinks.

That's when she reaches for Natalia's mind. As she speaks and drapes her arm over that binder, Sadie doesn't go for the command, but rather for the psychological depths - to feel out if these things are true. Her expression shows signs of moderate incredulity, if perhaps in a forgivable way. After all, adamantium AND vibranium — where would you get that much?

"I guess so," Sadie says, sounding distracted. As that attempt at truth-feeling keeps on, Sadie frowns - because it's a slippery feeling. "These things are happening on American soil? - Let's hear what you have in mind."


That strange, behind-the-eyes pressure gradually returns and Natasha's brow furrows. The small, bald girl with the razors, the broken man— they were from Coney Island. She saw them, if the sights and smells and sounds leaking from her chemically dilated thoughts into Sadie's are indication. She interviewed them at some length. One of them - a young man with a mohawk who didn't feature in the previous run of images - claimed to be the son of the Wolverine, an infamous covert operative.

Natasha's left hand tightens around the edge of her tray as her teeth grit.

Before the broken man was broken, he lashed out at a man named Stryker with a bolt of kinetic energy past his bars. There's a memory of warm blood trickling down her back and legs as pulverized tile digs deep.

Green eyes remain fixed on Sadie, focused and outraged.

Razor-girl puts herself between a pair of blonde twins and tile-shrapnel. The shrapnel wins, shredding her but sparing the twins. And then, the bald girl's flesh knits together as i


Natasha at least has the courtesy to wait until Sadie agrees to hear her out before flicking her left hand across the table and towards Sadie's cheek like some kind of Soviet cobra.

She remains halfway out of her seat as she calmly but firmly states, "That'll be enough of that," and rests her hand gently against the tray. "Right?" She takes a beat to watch Sadie expectantly. If she manages to remain unslapped for that long, she continues, "Now: I have information about what they were doing at Coney Island. You can take it to your superiors; say you got it from an asset in the field. I believe that one way or another, they might find it interesting. In return, I need information on some individuals associated with the program, to assist my own investigation.*"

(* Dialogue may change in the event of revenge-slappings. -Ed.)



The noise rings out through the automat. (A couple of nearby people look over momentarily.)

Sadie flinches at the blow. She stares at Natalia with a dead, coal-black look in her eyes that is accompanied by a completely neutral expression, like a photograph. As the red mark appears on her wheat-hued cheek Sadie weighs things silently and -

- doesn't do anything.

There is a moment of internal turmoil that is probably visible. A sense of something that was held back. Sadie hadn't had a cup or a dish in her hand at the time; her fingers uncurl, which is probably a good sign on the balance. Her lips split in an ugly attempt at a smile. "That's alright. That's alright. - Don't do that again."

There is no resumed sense of psychic invasion. Sadie takes a deep breath and continues to NOT slap back. Ain't I a fucking lady, Sadie thinks to herself. "We'll need some way to contact you," Sadie says, which has its own unstated corollaries. She seems to be on the verge of saying more, but, perhaps out of /petty spite/, does not in fact volunteer that thought.


Natalia slowly exhales and drops back into her seat. Her right hand drums a little while she lets the outrage still lingering in her features drain away, leaving them as cold and collected as they were when she arrived.

"Alright," she murmurs, a bit flat. "Good." She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, then opens them back up on Sadie. "That was rude of me. I'm sorry. There's a small park south of Houston street— " she rattles off an address. "In the bushes behind the restrooms, there's a crack big enough for a slip of paper. I'll check it every few days."

Natalia reaches in and drags the binder over to Sadie. Inside are lab notes detailing months of experiments on mutant subjects. They aren't complete by any means, but there's enough to make it clear that the experiments were intended to analyze and neutralize powers, as well as figuring out how to activate latent ones.

There isn't any sense from what's there that the authors saw their subjects as people, however.

After the lab notes come records with gathered data on mutant powers detailed genetic information for easily a few dozen individuals. Parts of them are readable, but the lionshare would probably be best gone over by an actual scientist.

"William Stryker. Yuriko Oyama. David North, including a full employment history— that one was a mercenary, so you may have to dig a little. His last employers happened to either be a front for, or share backing with Weapon X; I would very much like to know more about them."


Yeah, Sadie thinks: It was.

Sadie takes the binder and opens it. She seems to be persuaded after leafing through it, at least; convinced enough that she folds it and draws it nearer to herself.

"Interesting. And that's what you want, for this helpful piece of information? I'll be sure to.. pass that along, Natalia."

Sadie doesn't look /quite/ at Natasha as she says this, but there also isn't any more of that brain-touchy feeling, either.


"Please do," Natalia replies while shutting and shouldering her satchel. "Awkwardness aside, I think that we could help each other a lot. Not to mention whoever else is being victimized right now." Normally, she'd have stuck around to finish her meal, because it'd be weird not to. Unfortunately, The Slap made things super weird, so now she's kind of got no choice. She brings the tray up with her as she stands, and with a brisk, "Thank you for your time," she's off to dump it and leave.


"Be seeing you," Sadie can't help but say, possibly out of spite. She doesn't get up right away.

After all, that might be telling.

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